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To Defend Our Beloved Prophet, Let Us Exemplify His True Ideals Say Imams

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Following the shocking murders in Paris, condemned by Muslims all over the world, and subsequent moves to depict the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once again, Imams from around the world have come together to issue the following advice to those concerned about the depiction.

1.    For Muslims, love of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is a NECESSARY part of our FAITH. He is dearer to us than our parents and children. We prefer him to our own self.

2.    Accordingly we regret and are naturally hurt by the depiction of our Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace), a great personality held in high esteem by 1.8 billion Muslims and millions more, in such a manner.

3.    Muslims do believe in freedom of speech. And they do respect the right for people to say what they believe to be correct. However, freedom of speech should not be translated in to a duty to offend. Furthermore, it is common knowledge that absolute freedom of speech does not exist. There are laws to protect the dignity and properties of people. We urge governments, civil society and our media to foster a culture of mutual respect and unity, not one of division and disdain.

4.    Most Muslims will inevitably be hurt, offended and upset by the republication of the cartoons. But our reaction must be a reflection of the teachings of the gentle and merciful character of the Prophet (peace be upon him).  Enduring patience, tolerance, gentleness and mercy as was the character of our beloved Prophet (peace and Blessings be upon him) is the best and immediate way to respond. With dignified nobility we must be restrained, as the Quran says “And when the ignorant speak to them, they say words of Peace.”

Our aim is to not, inadvertently, give the cartoons more prominence through our attention. Muslims must remain calm and peaceful in their speech and actions. Repel harm with goodness is the Qur’anic imperative and by which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) lived. If we feel strongly, the only course of action to us is with reasoned debate, civil activism and other legal avenues, God willing.

5.Muslims have to remember that by depicting the Prophet (peace be upon him) no one can ever tarnish his image, as he is way beyond what is depicted, as Allah says, ‘We have elevated your remembrance’. We should spend such regrettable moments in supplicating with many litanies and prayers of blessings on the Prophet; may Allah’s mercy, peace and blessing be upon his soul.

6. Engage with others about your feelings. Speak of your love for the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and do not be shy to let your non-Muslim friends know your justified displeasure at the mockery that is made of our faith. People need to know how much love we have for our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

7.  Learn more and share more about the greatness of the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Hassaan bin Thaabit (may Allah be pleased with him) describes him with the following couplets:

“My eyes have never seen anyone more perfect than you
No woman has given birth to anyone more handsome than you
You have been created free from all defects
As if you were created the way you wished”

8. We should, through our actions and deeds, display the sublime character of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet faced many great challenges but he exhibited impeccable beauty of character in his actions. He did not react inhumanely or violently. He was attacked verbally and physically in Taif but he forgave the people. His uncle and companions were murdered but he reacted peacefully and in a humane manner. And there are many such examples from the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) we must display.

9. As citizens of our respective countries, we must not allow hate to creep into our hearts due to the horrific incidents of Paris. Muslims, non-Muslims and people of all backgrounds must come together and show unity and solidarity and not let it divide our communities. We must remember the statements of the Prophet (peace be upon him) such as: “Someone who unjustly kills a non-Muslim citizen cannot attain a whiff of Heaven, even though its fragrance is felt from a distance of forty years. (Bukhari), or, “He who hurts a non-Muslim citizen hurts me, and he who hurts me annoys Allah.” (Tabarani) And many other similar hadiths highlighting that Muslims are not allowed to hurt their non-Muslim brothers and sisters in humanity.

10. We must continuously supplicate to Allah that He rectifies our situation. Pray to Him that the chaos, injustice and oppression is lifted from all societies. We should pray to Allah so that He makes Britain, Nigeria, United States, India, United Kingdom, Australia, better, fairer and just countries for all. Pray to Him to aid the oppressed and the victims of the oppressors all over the world. Pray that He allows us to contribute to a more peaceful and just world. Sincerely pray at night and beseech Him to protect our honour and our dignity.

May Allah give us the ability to do what is right and avoid what is wrong. May Allah protect the whole of humanity from trials and tribulations.

Signed:

1. Mawlana Yunus Dudhwala (Head of Chaplaincy, Barts Health NHS Trust)
2. Dr Omer al Hamdoon (Muslim Association of Britain)
3. Imam Abdullah Hasan (Imams Against Domestic Abuse)
4. Imam Irfan Chishti (Chishtia Mosque, Rochdale)
5. Imam Shams ad Duha (Ebrahim College)
6. Sheikh Abdur Raheem Limbada (Tafseer-raheemi.com)
7. Imam Shafiur Rahman (Jibreel Institute)
8. Imam Ibrahim Mogra (MCB)
9. Imam Zuber Karim (Dundee Mosque)
10. Imam Abdul Wahhab (Plashet Grove Mosque)
11. Muhammad Ashraf Hansrot (Thornton Heath Islamic Centre)
12. Mawlana Abdul Mateen (Head teacher and Muslim Chaplain Quwwatul Islam Society London)
13. Mawlana Khalil Laher (Quwwat-ul-Islam Society, London)
14. Imam Sulaiman Gani (Chaplain and Presenter on Iqra TV)
15. Imam Wasim Kempson, West London Islamic Cultural Centre, UK
16. Imam Yahya Adel Ibrahim, Al Kauthar Institute, Australia
17. Imam Ghulam Moyhuddin, Ashton Central Mosque
18. Mawlana Mujahid Ali (Hafs Academy)
19. Imam Saeed Algadi (Almuntada Trust)
20. Dr Abul Kalam Azad (Khateeb, Dockland Community Mosque)
21. Dr Mufti Abdur-Rahman Mangera, Scholar and Founder Zam Zam Academy, UK
22. Sheikh Zahir Mahmood (As Suffa Institute)
23. Shaykh Muhammad Umar Al-Qadri, Al-Mustafa Islamic Educational & Cultural Centre, Ireland
24. Mawlana Adnan Qurayshi (Al-Ashraaf Secondary School)
25. Mawlana Zakaria Maljee (Stamford Hill)
26. Imam Ahmed Desai, Masjid Quba, Bradford, UK
27. Mawlana Abdullah Rawat, Musallah an Noor Stoke Newington, London, UK
28. Mufti Sajid (Azhar Academy Ltd/Quwwatul Islam Mosque)
29. Imam Tahir Talati (Imam Zakariya Academy)
30. Imam Ilyas Amin (Azhar Masjid)
31. Mawlana Muhammad Saleem  (Quwwat ul Islam)
32. Mawlana Zenulabedin Yakub (Masjid e Tauheed)
33. Mawlana Said Ahmed (Masjid e Salaam, Preston)
34. Mawlana Ilyas (Masjid e Mahad, Preston)
35. Imam Yusuf Rios, Muslim Chaplain, The Shaukani Institute, United States
36. Mawlana Muhammad ibn Ismail (Newham Ulama Forum)
38. Imam Qari Asim, Makkah Masjid, Leeds, UK
38. Mawlana Imran Ali, BMACC Bearsden, Glasgow, Scotland
39. Dr Mansur Ali (Cardiff University)
40. Imam Imtiyaz Damiel (Abu Hanifah Foundation)
41. Sheikh Jaffer Ali Ladak (Hyderi Islamic Cente)
42. Imam Shabir Moosa Adam, Masjid Ibrahim, Australia
43. Shaykh Arif Abdul Hussain (Al-Mahdi Institute)
44. Shaykh Mohammad Saeed Bahmanpour (Resident scholar, Islamic Centre of England)
45. Sheikh Mohammed Al-Hilli (Noor Trust)
46. Ayatollah Seyed Milani (AlKhoie Islamic Centre)
47. Mufti Salim Ismail (Upton Park Islamic Centre)
48. Moulana Mohammad Shahid Raza, Leicester Central Mosque, UK
49. Sheikh Abdul Qayyum, East London Mosque, UK
50. Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi (World Ahlulbayt Islamic League)
51. Imam Fahimul Anam (Beacon Institute)
52..Imam Fadel Soliman (Bridges Foundation)
53. Dr Jasser Auda, Qatar
54. Imam Muhammad Mustaqeem Shah, Al Mustaqeem Centre, Bradford, UK
55. Imam Abdur Rahman Anwar (Imam, London)
56. Imam Amer Jamil (iSyllabus, Scotland)
57. Mufti Mohammad Ibrahim Qureshi (Islamic Center Northridge), Los Angles, CA, USA
58. Imam Yasuf iban Steven Deardorff
59. Maulana Mohammed Mota, Jame  Masjid  Batley, Birmingham, UK
60. Imam Omar Suleiman- Resident Scholar -Valley Ranch Islamic Center, TX, USA
61. Imam Ajmal Masroor (Palmers Green Mosque)
62. Imam Muhammad Tahir Kiyani, Batley, Birmingham, UK
63. Shybatu Hassan Ibrahim-Bayero University Kano, Nigeria
64. Barrister Unusa Karimu, Banjong Mosque
65. Mawlana Idris Abdus Salam, Darul Hidayah
65. Syed Zafar Mahmood, Zakat Foundation of India
66. Imam Abdul Hakim HamidMuslim Community of Palm Beach County
67. A Mushahid Kadir, Shadwell Jame Masjid
68. Kasali Kehinde, Asst Ameer Akinmorin Jamaa (Adeyemi College Mosque, Ondo) Muslim Student Society Of Nigeria
69. Javaid Ali Khan, Millat
70. Bro. Nassib Said (Abushureim), Director of Outreach,  Coast Muslim Youth Forum (Kenya)
71. Imam Ajmal Masroor (Palmers Green Mosque)
72. Imam Muhammad Tahir Kiyani (Batley, Birmingham)
73. Imam Hassan Rabbani (Zia ul-Quran Mosque)
74.Imam Adil Rehman (Beyond Boundaries)
75. Ustadh Abdur Raheem Green (iERA)
76. Imam Fahim Hammadur Rahman (European Islamic Centre, Oldham)
77. Imam Shams Tameez (Aylesbury Masjid)
78. Imam Abdul Malik Sheikh (Khateeb, Holborn Mosque)
79. Sheikh Shouaib Ahmed  Mirpuri (Abdul aziz ibn bazz masjid banbury)
80. Sheikh Abdul Hadi (Ameer Markazi Jamiat Ahlehadith, UK)
81. Imam Mohammed Ibrahim Mirpuri (Muhammadi Masjid, Bham)
82. Sheikh Hafiz Sharrif Ullah (Al Huda Masjid, Bradford)
83. Imam Hafiz Akhlaq Ahmed (Masjid Ahlehadith, Bradford)
84. Hafiz Abdul Aala (Masjid Muhammadi, Keighly)
85. Hafiz Hamood Ur Rahman (Makki Masjid, Manchester)
86. Sheikh Mustafidh Gani (Beyond Boundaries)
87. Imam Aziz Ibraheeem (Imaan Trust Community Centre, Saint Helens, Merseyside)
88. Imam Rizwan Hussain Al azhari (Imam Bashir Ahmed masjid, Southampton)
89. Mawlana Munawar (Khateeb, Balham Mosque)
90. Qari Ashraf (Tooting Islamic Centre)
91. Imam Choukri Majouli (Finsbury Park Mosque)
92. Imam Mubarak Manya (Zakariyya Jaame Masjid, Bolton)
93. Imam Ashraf Ali, Muslim Welfare Association of Port Talbot, Wales
94. Dato Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim Al-Haj, Chairperson JIHAD for JUSTICE, Malaysia
95. Shaykh Muiz Bukhary (Sakeenah Institute)
96. Shaykh Yasir Qadhi, USA
97. Imam Anas Hlayhel, East Valley Masjid, Phoenix, USA
98. Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda, Qalam Institute, TX, USA
99. Shaykh Yase Birjas, Valley Ranch Masjid, TX, USA
100. Imam Nadim Sulaiman Ali, Community Masjid of Atlanta, USA
If you are a leader of a congregation and would like to add your name to sign this statement please fill out this form:
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25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Pingback: TO DEFEND OUR BELOVED PROPHET, LET US EXEMPLIFY HIS TRUE IDEALS SAY IMAMS | PASS THE KNOWLEDGE (LIGHT & LIFE)

    • Avatar

      vewsmith

      January 18, 2015 at 1:01 PM

      Just a question of clarification. I understand that an interpretation of the Qur’an that no pictures or depictions be made of Muhammad was to avoid worship of him as the prophet instead of Allah. This was a very long time ago when books did not exist, nor newspapers, and pictures and words were all hand-written. Christians and Jews are also not in favor of pictures of God or idols, but seem to have no ban on imagined depictions of Christian or Jewish prophets, though I think they would go along with worshipping those pictures of prophets instead of the one God. I am not talking about the fact that many Christians think Jesus is god or part of God as I know in Islam the distinction is clear between Allah and anyone or anything else. I understand is the same one God believed in by all the mono-theist religions such as Islam, Christianity, and the Jewish religion, even though there is that whole Jesus/God confusion which frankly isn’t to the credit of that particular religion. Since there were no photographs back in the day and no drawings done of the prophets at the time , any later depictions would have to be purely based on imagination, so it would not even possible to show any actual likeness of any prophet and someone’s later attempt to do so via cartoon seems in some way to be part of the cult of celebrity that currently runs the world. I also thought that the discouragement, not outright ban of such images of Muhammad was to deal with the cultures of a long time ago, closer to the time the prophet was alive, clearly discouraging undue adoration of him instead of Allah. My question is why such an issue is still relevant since everyone knows there is no way to really depict the prophets who lived so many centuries ago so any attempt to do so would not have any relation whatsoever to any reality. No one I know believes that the endless depictions of Jesus in paintings or drawings are what he looked like-I hope not anyway. Nor any depictions of Moses or other Jewish prophets.
      You are right to make a distinction between the prophet and Allah, but in this day and age I do not understand how it represents an insult, why someone could actually get so angry as to execute a whole room full of people over a drawing that both the drawer and the believer knows not possibly represent the prophet Muhammad nor any of the other religious leaders they drew pictures of. Thank you for listening to the question and answering it if you wish to.

      • Avatar

        Sheima Salam Sumer

        January 18, 2015 at 1:53 PM

        Dear Vewsmith,
        Thank you for your sincere comment and question. First of all I want to say that I and 99.9% of Muslims would never ever defend murder in the name of our beloved faith. Our beloved Prophet was a Messenger of Mercy and disliked bloodshed extremely. I also want to say that yes, Muslims believe in the same 1 God of the Bible, Torah and other books all sent from the same 1 Merciful, Great Creator. Now, I would like to attempt to answer your question, which I understand to be: Why do Muslims today still ban the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) even though such depictions would not accurately represent him and it is unlikely that these depictions would lead people to worship him instead of Allah (Glory be to Him the Most High)? I hope this is the correct summary of your question. My answer as a practicing Muslimah is that Muslims hold the Prophet Muhammad with the highest respect and we consider it disrespectful to draw him or depict him in any form. To my knowledge, Muslims really shouldn’t depict any of the Prophets, because we love and revere them all, including Prophets Jesus, Moses, Abraham etc. So today it’s more an issue of respect, but even today there might be a risk of deifying Prophets.

    • Avatar

      Mark

      June 21, 2015 at 1:58 PM

      I can’t help thinking that the numerous points have over-egged the pie. It only needs two or three.

      After the Danish cartoons and the Charlie Hebdo thing (ie numerous murders), the whole thing was about “Love of Muhammed” and “Limits of free speech”.
      I saw the problem as the “Love of Muhammed” and it being needed to be tackled from that direction, rather than “Free-speech” being the problem, so there is a little light here in that this is the first attempt I’ve seen to do this.

      Points 1 and 3 are still problematic.

      Point 1: Can someone tell me how “we love Muhammed more than our own families,” can possibly translate into any practical use in day to day life? Could it be that a daughter asks her dad to help with her homework, otherwise she will fail an exam, but he says, “no, I have to go to the mosque to pray, so Allah and Muhammed comes first.” I really don’t know, so it seems like empty, impractical words. Otherwise, it could be one of these:

      1. Make people admire the stance? That isn’t going to happen.
      2. An explanation for the murders? That would be mad.
      3. An excuse for the murders? That would be even madder.
      4. A veiled threat, in that “This fervent love isn’t going away, so think twice before you draw that picture, write a book, make a TV documentary,” etc, etc. This one is my favourite.

      But I suppose number 4 is being tackled to an extent in this article.

      Point 3: The problem here is the “however” as always. And as I say, the problem is not from this direction at all. It is with the fervency of the “love of Muhammed,” which can be tackled from that direction. People aren’t born with it, it is indoctrinated. I suppose other religions (of particular types) “love” their religious idols, but there are none at the moment who go as far as what we have seen happen. It is up to those within the religion to put a stop to it and find a balance.

      Finally, I’d say that this article talks of “Muslims” with the implied “all”.
      Surely you know that there is a broader range of people in any given religion, but you seem to be pushing that the orthodox is the only way “Muslims” can go, and that, in my opinion is dangerous.

  2. Avatar

    Gavin Volaire

    January 14, 2015 at 12:37 PM

    I’m sure this comment has no shot of ever appearing but here is my two cents. Nobody cares to hear you speak about the depictions at this point. If you must speak and deem to give counsel to your fellow Muslims, tell them to speak against the murders, not the depictions. To focus on the depictions instead of the murders might be construed as missing the big picture.

    An apology to the free world would be a better way to go at this point, boys.

    • Avatar

      Inam Saifi

      January 14, 2015 at 5:25 PM

      Everyone had different level of tolerance, and the two who carried out the attached naturally has no more tolerance left against the offence Charlie committed to offend Muslim world, they didn’t listen to wise advice of 1.8 billion Muslims of not to carry out such offence, but truth is society of west actually think that ‘Freedom of Speach’ is ‘Freedom to Offend’, and to the making mockery of people is their birth right,
      SO you(because you are Charlie), carried on with your act without thinking anybody’s sentiments and consequence, and so did the two, in their frame of mind, being right.
      So don’t be cry baby and please don’t be offended because it is ‘Freedom of Speach’, just a dialogue (that you wanted).

      • Avatar

        aliama mehru

        July 17, 2015 at 1:35 AM

        What pretty words we use to paint pictures of our Man Mohammed, gushing with emotion in our submission to this perfect image that has been painted for us by the men who have gone before.
        what is the difference in using ink and paper to paint images in pictures or words? Is the effect not the same. An artefact that we can associate with and be captured by, and embue with our emotion. The image is not the creation.

        Unfortunately the Arabs wrote their images down, and then fought wars over whose version was the only one. What arrogance and pride. ‘we are special’, ‘it was only given to my ancestors’, ‘my way is the only way and you must all submit to it’.

        Is the creation so feeble and sheepish that it has only been noticed by a single man? No, it is ever present, ever shining, and there are many who bump into aspects of it and occasionally recognise and name it throughout the world on a daily basis. Has it sewn only a single seed in a single location in the history of mankind? No it is virile, and our history is littered with many ways that show how to get closer to the creation.Revelations abound before and after the 6th century.

        Unfortunately It it the nature of man that our attention is captured by our own desires and arrogance and pride and a million other emotions, even love and hate, and we lose these fleeting connections, concentrating instead on the form of a revelation rather than what is being taught. In this way Religions become prisons. and Islam is no different.

        We have created a prison that has ensnared 1.8b people around the world. Our attention is captivated by images that have been written of the perfect prophet and the perfect way. we are so convinced in the superiority of our 6c arab way that we consume ourselves competing with and destroying those who dare to disagree with us and have the audacity to use other ways to get close to the creation, and in our crazy imaginings we dream that this is what the creation wants.

        The door to this prison is not closed, but
        we have become so accustomed to the support and friendship our brothers in this prison, that they have become the bars that hold us in place and prevent us from submitting to the creation instead of submitting to the creation of the Arabs.

    • Avatar

      Aly Balagamwala

      January 15, 2015 at 10:58 AM

      I think this is what you are looking for http://muslimmatters.org/2015/01/09/get-the-muslim-icondemn-app/

      *Comment above is posted in a personal capacity and may not reflect the official views of MuslimMatters or its staff*

    • Avatar

      Ahmad

      January 15, 2015 at 11:15 AM

      Why would the Imam’s or anyone else, apologize for the actions of those. They condemn it as everyone does.

      Just like its not you job to personally apologize for all lunatics that walk about your neighborhood, killing, murdering and doing even worse. Or apologizing for your governments actions in going and killing a bunch on innocent people who have never done any harm to you.

      So if you want to start apologizing for all the crimes committed by, you relatives, neighbors, community members, religious groups, organisations, namesakes or any other body remotely related to you. I will be more then happy to start apologizing for the same. When do you want to start Gavin?

      Also i may remind you that there are a lot of LAW’s limiting free speech, specifically doing what has been done to muslim’s if it was done to Jews the Magazine would have been fined and the cartoonist jailed. So please dont go about preaching Free Speech. As we speak there are people(non-Muslims) being brought to criminal courts just because they spoke out against what the magazine did.

      • Avatar

        Gavin

        January 19, 2015 at 7:46 AM

        You must not have heard about the lowlifes who killed a bunch of innocent people over a cartoon, M. Mahmud.

      • Avatar

        Gavin

        January 19, 2015 at 7:50 AM

        How about everyone who wants to focus on the cartoon instead of the murderous psychopaths who killed innocent people apologize to the entire world for their incredibly stupid, rude, belligerent attitude?

      • Avatar

        M. Mahmud

        May 6, 2015 at 1:31 AM

        Gavin I repeat-none of us owe you an apology. If you want an apology, try to run in-front of me when I’m driving or something. Barring that, you won’t get an apology so get off your knees and stop begging for one. It’s undignified.

    • Avatar

      M. Mahmud

      January 15, 2015 at 10:30 PM

      None of us owe you an apology.

    • Avatar

      Haider Rehman

      June 18, 2015 at 2:41 PM

      Why should I apologize for a crime some other person committed? I can only condemn it, and that’s what I do.
      Non-Muslims used to disrespect prophet PBUH, but he tolerated them. We educate people that they are not following prophet PBUH by murdering people who disrespect him. But I do NOT owe you an apology if a particular group does not heed to it.

  3. Pingback: TO DEFEND OUR BELOVED PROPHET, LET US EXEMPLIFY HIS TRUE IDEALS SAY IMAMS « The Quran Blog - Enlighten Yourself

  4. Pingback: Imams From Around The World Have Shared Advice On How Muslims Should Respond To The Muhammad Cartoons | InTheKnow

  5. Avatar

    Haig McCarrell

    January 17, 2015 at 9:15 PM

    I am a Christian and after these attacks I tweeted: “Je ne suis pas Charlie Hebdo”, I am not Charlie Hebdo. Why? I find the cartoons to be gratuitous and that they were offensive, immature, peurile and in the end, irresponsible. Mere offence is not satire. Satire is intended to criticize, expose hypocrisy or complicity and tends to take on “untouchables”. It has intent to illicit discussion and to challenge those given or having power. Just the same, commentary, even offensive commentary, does not justify taking life, which was also wrong.

    As you note this is not Muhammad’s way, nor is ti Jesus’ way. On the cross, he asked his Father in heaven to forgive those who killed him, saying that they did not know what they were doing. When we foment hatred, unrest, slander and intolerance, we disobey God’s will for us. When we kill another, we desicrate his image in which we are all made.

    Where do we go from here? I hope leaders in our communities, elected officials, those in authority, Muslims, Christians and others can discuss inclusion, understanding and mutual respect. In North America, a very high percentage of Muslims identify as American and Canadian. National identification is a very low number in some European countries such as France and maybe the UK too? How are immigrants and minorities being included and integrated? How do they have opportunity and hope for a better life.

    This is a problem elsewhere too. This is a human problem. The discussion ought to be expanded to discuss the fate of Christians and other minorities including Muslims in the Middle East for example. When we come together and advocate for each other, and permit unfettered freedom of religion without compulsion in all countries, we will live out God’s call to foster the dignity of each person.

    I hope you agree and you will be an advocate for this inclusion without fear as well. Peace.

  6. Avatar

    Truth

    January 25, 2015 at 11:09 AM

    White people are trying to demonize the Muslims to make their murder of them fair-seeming and justified – the same as white people did to the Natives of every continent and island before they slaughtered them and stole their lands and resources!! Muslims are the final feast for these white satanic BEASTS! As prophesied!

    • Avatar

      Haider Rehman

      June 18, 2015 at 2:44 PM

      I think you have a problem against white people, which I as a Muslim and a human, find disturbing.

  7. Avatar

    arshad bin zakir

    March 2, 2015 at 1:28 PM

    peace be upon all,,,,,,,,,,,
    I wonder that some people only only these few people who are killing people (as they are killing even muslims) nowhere is such thing to kill people, while more than 1.8 billion muslims condemn this shameful act.

  8. Avatar

    iftekhar

    May 6, 2015 at 5:54 AM

    assalam
    the best way to protest is to introduce all human beings about Prophet (SWS) and his teaching.

  9. Avatar

    Sheima Salam Sumer

    May 31, 2015 at 2:12 AM

    http://www.islamicity.com/articles/articles.asp?ref=ic0811-3718

    To Jalalaa: First, scholars of Islam have shown that our beloved Prophet (s) actually married Aisha (r) when she was around 17. You can view the above link. And even though some scholars said that she was younger, you need to understand that in that time and culture, marrying young was very normal. The Quran and Islam teach that both people need to be at the age of maturity when they get married:

    “Test the orphans until they reach the age of marriage ; if you then find sound judgment in them, release their property to them… When you release their property to them, take witnesses in their presence.” (Quran, 4:6)
    In this passage, marriageable age is equated with sound judgment–an age at which a person can responsibly handle his or her wealth & possessions. Common sense, then, would dictate that a person has not reached marriageable age until adulthood, since children could hardly be expected to look after their possessions responsibly.

    This passage is from a great article by Ro Waseem that I recommend you read: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/quranalyzeit/2015/03/08/child-brides-and-the-quran-dispelling-the-misconceptions-on-international-womens-day/

  10. Avatar

    Sweetz

    June 22, 2015 at 5:20 PM

    Before world leaders marched in Paris, the Muslim world had condemned the actions of the gunmen. But, I guess such actions are overrided by Hate for Muslims in general, rather than for the few Radicals.

    Furthermore, I stand corrected, but Muslims are not permitted to draw anything that depicts life, not even animals. Neither can we pray where such pictures are visible. One won’t find photos displayed in a Muslim home either as we know the consequences.

    Don’t understand the reason that people want to draw The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) other than to provoke pain to Muslims. Has a Muslim drawn anything to upset any other religion?

    The action of extremists cannot be blamed on over 1.6 billion and still growing Muslims.

    THEIR REACTION IS NOT CONDONED!

    • Avatar

      Aliama Mehru

      June 29, 2015 at 3:32 PM

      Seems to me that the Man Mohammed has become an idol! What has been written about idols?

      “Muslims have to remember that by depicting the Prophet (peace be upon him) no one can ever tarnish his image, as he is way beyond what is depicted, as Allah says, ‘We have elevated your remembrance’. We should spend such regrettable moments in supplicating with many litanies and prayers of blessings on the Prophet; may Allah’s mercy, peace and blessing be upon his soul.”

  11. Avatar

    kang cepot 46

    June 6, 2016 at 12:15 PM

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Co-written by Shaykh Osman Umarji

As writers on MuslimMatters, it came as a surprise when the website we write on marked itself zakat-eligible on its fundraiser for operations in Ramadan. This website has previously highlighted the misuse and abuse of zakat for vague and dodgy reasons, including instances of outright fraud by nonprofit corporations.  We have lamented the seemingly inexorable march from zakat being for living human beings in need to financial play-doh for nonprofit corporate boards.

Estimated global zakat is somewhere between $200 billion to $1 trillion.  Eliminating global poverty is estimated at $187 billion– not just for Muslims, but everyone.  There continue to be strong interests in favor of more putty-like zakat to benefit the interests of the organizations that are not focused on reducing poverty. Thus, in many ways, a sizeable chunk of zakat benefits the affluent rather than the needy. Zakat, rather than being a credit to the Muslim community, starts to look more like an indictment of it.

No, it’s not ikhtilaf

The recent article on this website, Dr. Usama Al-Azmi seemed somewhat oblivious to the cavalier way the nonprofit corporate sector in the United States treats Zakat.  The article did not do justice to legitimate concerns about zakat distribution by dismissing the issue as one of “ikhtilaf,” or a reasonable difference of opinion, as it ignored the broader concern about forces working hard to make zakat a “wild west” act of worship where just about anything goes.  

It’s essential to identify the crux of the problem. Zakat has eight categories of permissible beneficiaries in the Quran. 1 Two are various levels of poor, distribution overhead; then there are those whose hearts are to be inclined,  free captives, relieve indebtedness, the wayfarer, and the cause of Allah (fisabilillah). The category of fisabilillah, historically,  the majority of scholars have interpreted as the cost of jihad (like actual fighting). However, in recent times, Muslim nonprofit corporations, with support of learned Muslim leaders, have adopted an increasingly aggressive and vague posture that allows nearly any beneficial cause to get zakat.   

The concerns about the abuse of zakat, and the self-serving desire by corporations to turn fisabilillah into a wastebasket Zakat category that could be “incredibly broad” has to do with far more than a difference of opinion (ikhtilaf ) about the eligibility of Dawah organizations. Let’s assume dawah and educational organizations are eligible to administer Zakat funds.  We need to know what that means in practice. What we have is a fundamental question the fisabilillah-can-mean-virtually-anything faction never manages to answer: are there any limits to zakat usage at all?

Show Your Work

We fully understand that in our religious practice, there is a set of rules.  In Islamic Inheritance for example, for example, we cannot cavalierly change the definition of what a “daughter” is to mean any girl you want to treat like a daughter. There is an established set of rules relating to acts of worship. For the third pillar of Islam, zakat, there seem to be no limits to the absurd-sounding questions we can ask that now seem plausible.  

Unfortunately, we have too many folks who invoke “ikhtilaf” to justify adopting almost any opinion and not enough people who are willing to explain their positions. We need a better understanding of zakat and draw the lines on when nonprofit corporations are going too far.

You can be conservative and stand for zakat as an act of worship that contributes to social justice. You can have a more expansive interpretation friendly to the nonprofit corporate sector’s needs to include the revenue source. Wherever you stand, if you don’t provide evidence and develop detailed uniform and accepted principles and rules that protect those people zakat was meant to help, you are inviting abuse and at the very least, opening the door towards inequitable results. 2

Can you feed the needy lentils and rice for $100 a meal, with margins of $99 a meal going to pay salaries to provide these meals and fundraise for them?  Why or why not?

Can a Dawah organization purchase an $80 million jet for its CEO, who can use it to travel the world to do “dawah,” including places like Davos or various ski resorts?  What rules exist that would prevent something like this? As far as we know, nothing at all.

Bubble Charity

In the United States, demographic sorting is a common issue that affects all charitable giving, not just giving by Muslims. The most affluent live in neighborhoods with other people who are generally as prosperous as they are. Certain places seem almost perversely designed to allow wealthy residents to be oblivious to the challenges of the poor.  There are undeniable reasons why what counts as “charity” for the wealthy means giving money to the Opera, the Met Gala, and Stanford University.

The only real way affluent Muslims know they supposed to care about poor people is that maybe they have a Shaikh giving khutbas talking about the need to do so and their obligation of zakat once a year or so. That is now becoming a thing of the past. Now it is just care about fisabilillah- it means whatever your tender heart wants it to mean.   

As zakat becomes less about the poor, appeals will be for other projects with a higher amount of visibility to the affluent.  Nonprofits now collect Zakat for galas with celebrities. Not fundraising at the gala dinner mind you, but merely serving dinner and entertaining rich people. Educational institutions and Masajid that have dawah activities (besides, everything a Masjid does is fisabilillah) can be quite expensive. Getting talent to run and teach in these institutions is also costly. Since many of the people running these institutions are public figures and charismatic speakers with easy access and credibility with the affluent. It is far easier for them to get Zakat funds for their projects.

People who benefit from these projects because they send their children to these institutions or attend lectures themselves will naturally feel an affinity for these institutions that they won’t have with the poor. Zakat will stay in their bubble.  Fisabilillah.

Dawa is the new Jihad

Jihad, as in war carried out by a Khalifah and paid for with zakat funds, is an expensive enterprise. But no society is in a permanent state of warfare, so they can work towards eliminating poverty during peacetime. Muslim communities have done this in the past.  Dawah is qualitatively different from jihad as it is permanent. There was never a period in Islamic history when there was no need to do dawah. Many times in history, nobody was fighting jihad. There was no period of Islamic history when there were there was never a need for money to educate people. Of course, earlier Muslims used zakat in education in limited, defined circumstances. It is not clear why limitations no longer apply.  

Indeed dawah is a broad category.  For example, many people regard the Turkish costume drama “Diriliş: Ertuğrul” as dawah.  Fans of the show can’t stop talking about the positive effects it has had on their lives and their iman. What prevents zakat from funding future expensive television costume dramas? Nothing, as far as we can see.   

No Standards or Accountability

Unfortunately, in the United States, there are no uniform, specific standards governing zakat. Anything goes now when previously in Islamic history, there were appropriate standards. Nonprofit corporations themselves decide if they are zakat-eligible or not. In some instances, they provide objectively comical explanations, which supporters within the corporation’s bubble pretty much always swallow whole. Corporations don’t have to segregate Zakat-eligible funds from general funds. When they do, they can make up their own rules for how and when they spend zakat. No rules make zakat indistinguishable from any other funding source since they can change their standards year after year depending on their funding needs (if they have rules at all) and nobody would be the wiser. It is exceedingly rare for these corporations to issue detailed reports on how they use zakat.  

The Shift to Meaninglessness

Organizations with platforms (like the one that runs this website) are going to be eager to get on the zakat gravy train. There is no cost to slapping a “zakat-eligible” label on yourself, either financial or social. It seems like everyone does it now. Some Zakat collectors are conscientious and care about helping the poor, though they are starting to look a little old-fashioned. For them, it may make sense to certify Zakat administrators like halal butchers.

Zakat used to be about helping discrete categories of human beings that can benefit from it.  It can now mean anything you want it to mean. In the end, though, without real standards, it may mean nothing at all.

Footnotes:

  1. The sunnah also highlights the essence of zakah as tending to the needs of the poor. For example, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) commanded Muadh bin Jabal, when sending him to Yemen, to teach the people that Allah has obligated charity upon them to be taken from their rich and given to their poor (Sahih Muslim).
  2. In Islamic legal theory (usool al-fiqh), sadd al-dhariya is a principle that refers to blocking the means to evil before it can materialize. It is invoked when a seemingly permissible action may lead to unethical behavior. This principle is often employed in financial matters.

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Do You Know These Heroes of Eid?

Ramadan is a time of sacrifice, and the Eid honors and celebrates the fulfillment of that sacrifice. But for many the hardships do not end.

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Rohingya children

Ramadan is a time of sacrifice, and the Eid honors and celebrates the fulfillment of that sacrifice. But for many the hardships do not end.

Between one million and three million Muslims are being detained in concentration camps in China, while masjids are being demolished and imams executed.

The Rohingya Muslims of Burma continue to suffer from terrible persecution. In one Rohingya refugee camp on the Burma / Bangladesh border there are half a million children. These children are banned by the Burmese authorities from attending school and are at risk of early marriage, child labor or being trafficked.

In the Central African Republic, the Muslim minority lives in daily fear of being killed, especially in the south.

The Palestinians continue to suffer after seventy years of occupation, with no end in sight.

Russian and Assad regime attacks on civilians continue in Syria, with the real possibility of an upcoming genocide in Idlib province.

Heroes Abound

In the midst of this all suffering, heroes abound. There’s Serikzhan Bilash of Kazakhstan, who has labored feverishly to document China’s internment of Muslims across the border. He urges those in his organization to continue their work, even as he himself has been arrested.

Those Rohingya children I mentioned in the refugee camp, banned from attending school? One 14-year-old Rohingya girl mentioned in the article has managed to enroll in school in Bangladesh. Her mother sold her food rations and borrowed money to create a fake Bangladeshi birth certificate, then paid a smuggler to take her daughter out of the camp. The girl herself says, “People hate the Rohingya here. I don’t tell people I am one… I have to lie about my identity to survive. Even though it’s a big struggle… I am able to study. There are hundreds of thousands of kids like me inside of the camps who are forced to marry off early…They have no opportunities.”

Also in that camp is 13-year-old Halim, who runs his own tutoring service, where he teaches more than 20 children. He says, “I am teaching them so they can do something for our nation. If they don’t learn anything, they can’t prosper in their life, as well as they can’t fight for the nation.”

Razan al-Najjar

Razan al-Najjar

In Palestine, let us not forget Razan al-Najjar, a 21-year-old volunteer paramedic from Gaza who was shot by an Israeli sniper on June 1, 2018, while tending to a tear gas victim. In her last Facebook post, the day before she was killed, she wrote, “Your conscience will be comforted as much as possible since God always knows your intention. #sleep_well Be good.”

In Syria, we have Dr. Omar Ibrahim, an Egyptian neurosurgeon who could probably be earning a hefty salary anywhere in the world, but instead labors under constant bombardment in the war-torn and half crushed city of Idlib. He’s been in Syria for five years and says, “I have no regrets about doing this work. Because I have passion for my work, and this work inspires me.”

A Religion of Heroes

Dr. Omar Ibrahim

Dr. Omar Ibrahim

Such stories are amazing, but they are not unique. There are countless heroes, and should that surprise us? Islam is a religion of heroes, and has always been so, going all the way back to its inception in Makkah, when the Prophet Muhammad (sws) drew around himself the weak and powerless, the slaves and foreigners. They were tortured, but did not surrender their new faith. Heroes.

Or, several years later, when the disbelievers of Arabia came in great numbers to wipe the Muslims off the face of the earth. The Muslims dug a great trench around Madinah, and held off the attackers under conditions of hunger and terrible cold, until – with Allah’s help – the siege was broken. Heroes.

So if you thought such heroes were a thing of the past, remember Serikzhan Bilash, the Rohingya girl, Halim, Razan al-Najjar, Dr. Omar Ibrahim and the untold, uncounted heroes like them. You may even know a few heroes personally. I do.

There’s my friend Karim, who works for an organization that sponsors Muslim orphans. He’s overworked and underpaid, and struggles to support his family and two children. He’s highly experienced and could earn more somewhere else. But he sticks with it because he believes in Islamic work.

I think also of my daughter’s homeroom teacher, sister Sharmeen. She’s an enthusiastic teacher who pushes the children to read, write and understand the roots of language. She does more than is required and is not appreciated as she should be. But once again, her passion drives her.

Persistence of Dua’

Our local Imam recently gave a khutbah about the importance of dua’. He said that Allah loves the dua’ that is persistent. Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Daa’ wa’l-Dawa’: “One of the most beneficial of remedies is persisting in dua’.”

So be persistent. Pray for our suffering Ummah, and pray for our heroes. And donate whatever you can spare to the organizations that work on their behalf.

My Ordinary Life

As for me, my life is ordinary. On the morning of Eid, I, my mother and my daughter Salma – who is twelve years old now – wake up early and put on our best clothes, inshaAllah. We get in the car and stop at Krispy Kreme donuts.  I buy a box of a dozen to share with others after Salat al-Eid, and a few extras in a bag for our family, so we don’t have to wait in a long line and elbow people to snatch a cruller.

I pick up my cousin’s son, who does not have a car. We go downtown to the Fresno convention center and sit among a thousand other Muslims. We recite the Takbeerat al-Eid, praising Allah’s greatness. The Eid salat begins, then I strain to hear the khutbah as so many people begin chattering right away. Especially, the sisters. Sorry ladies, but it’s true :-)

I know, it all sounds a bit silly, but I’m excited. It’s a wonderful day. I see brothers that I haven’t seen since last year. Everyone is wearing their best outfits.

But it’s not about the donuts or the nice clothes. It is this feeling of sharing a connection with every Muslim around the world; a feeling of being part of something great.

When we return home, my mother makes cookies, and we put some decorations on the walls. Salma opens her presents, which this year are a new Switch game, a dartboard and a pearl necklace. It’s the first piece of real jewelry I’ve ever bought her. Buying it left me with $18 in my bank account, which means I predict a lot of Uber driving (my side job) in my near future. So I hope she likes it.

On such days, I thank Allah that I am alive to see another sunrise. Another day to strive to be a better Muslim and a better human being.

The Spirit of the Prophets

I also talk to Salma, as I do every year, about our Muslim brothers and sisters who are struggling all over the world, fighting for their freedom and their very survival. They don’t have pizza and donuts on Eid or pearl necklaces. Some are starving. Most have lost someone: a parent, a child, a sibling or a friend. Some have been utterly devastated.

Yet they are resolute. They have a deep strength that, like the well of Zamzam, never runs dry, SubhanAllah. They will not give up their hopes, their dreams or their faith, Allah willing.

These are the real heroes of Eid. I feel small next to them. They are the ones living the spirit of the Prophets and the Sahabah. They have made the greatest sacrifices, and are still striving, undaunted. They are living the words of Allah:

Say: ‘Verily, my ṣalāh, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are all for Allāh, the Lord of the ‘Alameen’ (6:162).

May Allah ease the hearts of all who are suffering, replace pain with comfort and joy, sickness with health, oppression with liberation, and tyranny with freedom. May Allah give them security, safety, comfort, victory, and Jannah.

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Lesson 13 From Surah Al -Kahf

Last verses of Surah Kahf

Shaykh Furhan Zubairi

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Surah Kahf

Alhamdulillah last session we were able to cover the meanings of verses 83-98. InshAllah tonight we’ll explore the meanings of verses 99-110, which will bring us to the end of this noble and beautiful Surah. Just as a quick reminder, the last set of verses related the story of Dhul Qarnain, who was an upright and God-conscious ruler who ruled over the entire known world of his time. He was a righteous servant of Allah to whom Allah granted might, power and sovereignty over the world along with knowledge and wisdom. He was a special servant of God. We’re told about his journeys to the east, west, and north as well as his building of a huge wall to prevent Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj from escaping. This story highlighted the fitna and trial of might, power, leadership, and authority and showed us that the way to deal with it is through faith and sincerity. Dhul Qarnain was tested with a lot of wealth and power but it was unable to corrupt him because of his faith and sincerity. The Surah follows the story of Dhul Qarnain with a scene from the Day of Judgment.

Verse 99: And We shall leave them, on that day, to surge over one another like waves. And the trumpet shall be blown, and We shall gather them together.

The first part of this verse is referring to Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj and the second part refers to resurrection, when the Angel Isrāfīl will blow into the horn bringing all creation back to life. On that day, is referring to the day near the end of times when Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj will break through the barrier and surge down the mountains like waves upon humanity destroying everything in their way. As Allah ﷻ tells us in Surah Al-Anbiya, “Until when [the dam of] Gog and Magog has been opened and they, from every elevation, descend…” They will wreak havoc for a period of time known to Allah until they will be destroyed.

As we’ve covered before there will be two instances when the trumpet will be sounded. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has appointed the Angel Isrāfīl to blow into the trumpet. This will happen twice. The first time every single thing will be destroyed. The second time every single thing will be brought back to life. This is how the day of Resurrection will start. The sūr, which is a trumpet or a horn, will be blown and all of mankind will rise from their graves and come towards the plain of judgment. That’s what Allah ﷻ is mentioning here in this verse, “And the trumpet shall be blown, and We shall gather them together.”

The Surah then describes a scene from the day of Judgment that’s specific to the non-believers. Those who received the message and consciously chose to reject it and rebel against God and His messengers.

Verse 100-101: And We shall present Hell, on that Day, as an array before the non-believers, those whose eyes were veiled from the remembrance of Me, and could not hear.

Meaning on the Day of Judgment Allah ﷻ will show the non-believers Hell Fire, exposing it to them so that they can see it with their own eyes. They will see it with their own eyes and hear its raging and frightening sounds even before entering it. Allah then describes the non-believers with 3 characteristics, which are essentially three reasons why they will be punished in the hereafter:

1) “Those whose eyes were veiled from the remembrance of Me, and could not hear.” They weren’t able to understand the truth when it was presented to them because they were spiritually blind and deaf. They were blind to the signs of Allah’s existence and power all around them spread throughout the universe, so they never thought or reflected over them. On top of that, they weren’t able to understand what was being recited to them. Meaning, they consciously chose to ignore the message and turn away from it. Here Allah is contrasting their condition in the hereafter to their condition in the life of this world. In this world, they chose to turn away from belief in the fire and in the hereafter, they won’t have the option to turn away. The veil over their eyes will be removed and they will see the consequences of their choice.

2) The second is that they worshipped others besides Allah.

Verse 102: Do those who disbelieve reckon that they may take My servants as protectors apart from Me? Truly We have prepared Hell as a welcome for the disbelievers!

Allah is scolding them and showing them their mistake. Did they really think or believe that they could take created beings or inanimate objects as protectors apart from Me? Did they really believe that worshipping idols, angels or people would benefit them or help them in any way? There’s no help or protection except with Allah, who deserves to be worshipped alone without any partners. As Allah ﷻ says in Surah Maryam, “No! Those “gods” will deny their worship of them and will be against them opponents [on the Day of Judgment].” Allah then tells us that their punishment is Jahannam, which has been prepared as a resting place for them. “Truly We have prepared Hell as a welcome for the disbelievers!”

3) The third quality that the non-believers are described with is that they are fools for thinking that their actions in this world will be of any benefit to them in the Hereafter.

Verse 103-104: Say, “Shall We inform you who are the greatest losers in respect to their deeds? Those whose efforts go astray in the life of this world, while they think that they are virtuous in their works.

In this verse, Allah ﷻ is addressing the Prophet ﷺ directly and he’s telling him to pose this question to the non-believers. “Shall We inform you who are the greatest losers in respect to their deeds?” Do you want to know who the greatest and biggest losers are with respect to their deeds? They are the ones who did good deeds and put in effort, but all of it went to waste. Those individuals who were misguided in the life of this world so their actions were guided by their wants, desires, and pleasures. Their actions were misplaced and not guided by faith in Allah. The reason why all of their efforts will go to waste is their disbelief or absence of faith. As Allah says,

Verse 105-106: They are those who disbelieve in the signs of their Lord, and in the meeting with Him. So their deeds have gone to waste, and on the Day of Resurrection, We shall assign them no weight. That is their recompense, the Jahannam, for having disbelieved and for having taken My signs and My messengers in mockery.

The greatest losers with respect to their deeds are those who reject the signs of Allah in this world. Those who refuse to accept the oneness, might, power and magnificence of Allah, those who refuse to believe in life after death and accountability. Their deeds will go to waste and on the Day of Judgment, they won’t have any weight. We know from multiple verses and narrations that our deeds are going to be weighed on the Day of Judgment. And on the Day of Judgment, it’s not about the number of deeds but the quality. That’s why on the Day of Judgment our deeds won’t be counted but they will be weighed. It could be that the weight of one action or deed is more than a thousand other deeds.

Those actions that are devoid of faith and sincerity will have no weight whatsoever. As Allah ﷻ says in Surah Al-Furqān, “And We will regard what they have done of deeds and make them as dust dispersed.” Their recompense is the fire of Jahannam, and that is the ultimate justice and fairness. They get punishment as recompense because of their rejection and disbelief and mockery of Allah’s signs and His messengers. Allah ﷻ then contrasts the punishment of the non-believers with the reward of the believers in Paradise.

Verse 107-108: Those who believe and perform righteous deeds, theirs shall be the Gardens of Paradise as a welcome. Abiding therein forever, they don’t seek any change from it.

Just as Hell is a “welcome” for the non-believers, Paradise is a true “welcome” for the believers. Meaning, those who believe in the existence and oneness of Allah, believe in the Prophet ﷺ and life after death and that faith expresses itself through their actions, their reward will be Gardens of Paradise. Again we see this formula being mentioned, faith + righteous deeds. This is the simple formula to achieve success in this world and the next. Our faith has to be real and practical; it has to translate into action. If we do so then our reward will be Jannah al-Firdaws, which is the highest and most virtuous level of Paradise. The Prophet ﷺ said, “When you ask Allah for Paradise ask Him for Al-Firdaws. It is the highest level of Paradise, the middle of Paradise and the rivers of Paradise flow from it.”

  • إذا سألتم الله الجنة، فاسألوه الفردوس، فإنه أعلى الجنة، و أوسط الجنة، و منها تفجر أنهار الدنة.

In another narration, the Prophet ﷺ said, “In Paradise, there are a hundred levels, what is between every two levels is like what is between the heavens and the earth. Al-Firdaws is its highest level, and from it the four rivers of Paradise are made to flow forth. So when you ask Allah, ask Him for Al-Firdaws.”

  • “‏ فِي الْجَنَّةِ مِائَةُ دَرَجَةٍ مَا بَيْنَ كُلِّ دَرَجَتَيْنِ كَمَا بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالأَرْضِ وَالْفِرْدَوْسُ أَعْلاَهَا دَرَجَةً وَمِنْهَا تُفَجَّرُ أَنْهَارُ الْجَنَّةِ الأَرْبَعَةُ وَمِنْ فَوْقِهَا يَكُونُ الْعَرْشُ فَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُ اللَّهَ فَسَلُوهُ الْفِرْدَوْسَ ‏”‏ ‏.

They will be in Paradise for all of eternity, enjoying all of its pleasures and not wanting or desiring anything other than it. Allah (swt) then tells us about the extent and vastness of His knowledge. That his knowledge is infinite. This is also a description of the greatness and status of the Qur’ān.

Verse 109: Say, “If the ocean were ink for the words of my Lord, the ocean would be exhausted before the words of my Lord were exhausted, even if We brought the like thereof to replenish it.”

“The words of my Lord” may be a reference to Allah’s infinite knowledge or wisdom or the meanings of the Qur’ān. Meaning that if the oceans were turned into ink and the words of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) were to be written with this ink, then the ink would run out and the words of Allah (swt) would still be left, even if more ink were to be brought. This is an example to make us understand the vastness of Allah’s knowledge, wisdom, and secrets. This example is being given to make us as human beings recognize the infinite nature of Allah’s knowledge as compared to or finite and limited knowledge.

The ocean is the largest and richest creation known to us as human beings. It takes up more than 70% of the surface of the Earth. And we use ink to document and record our knowledge, which we think is vast and amazing. So Allah gives this example of the ocean as ink being used to write and record His words. The entire ocean is used up and then it’s replenished but the words of Allah are still being written. This example is trying to help us comprehend the difference between the infinite and the finite. “And if all the trees on earth were pens, and if the sea and seven more added to it were ink, the words of Allah would not be exhausted. Truly Allah is Mighty, Wise.” This example should allow us to recognize the greatness and magnificence of Allah ﷻ as well as humble us as human beings as well.

We as human beings should never be deceived or fooled by our own intellect and abilities. No matter how much we learn and how advanced we become scientifically and technologically, it’s nothing compared to the infinite knowledge and wisdom of Allah ﷻ. Our knowledge compared to the knowledge of Allah is like a drop of water compared to all the oceans. Allah ﷻ then ends the noble Surah by reminding the Prophet (saw) about humility and us about the path of true salvation.

Verse 110: Say, “I am only a human being like you. It has been revealed to me that your God is one God. So whosoever hopes for the meeting with his Lord, let him perform righteous deeds and make no one a partner with his Lord in worship.

Allah ﷻ is speaking directly to the Prophet ﷺ. He’s telling him to tell his nation, his community, that he is a human being just like them. He’s not an Angel nor is he divine in any way. He eats, drinks, walks, talks and sleeps just like them. The only difference is that he ﷺ receives revelation from above from the Most High. It has been revealed to him that there is only one God, alone without any partners. So whoever believes in the meeting with their Lord, meaning they believe in the last day, resurrection, accountability and judgment. They know that the life of this world is temporary and finite and that the life of the hereafter is eternal and infinite, should “perform righteous deeds and make no one a partner with his Lord in worship.”

Righteous deeds include fulfilling all of our obligations, obeying the commands of Allah and staying away from His prohibitions. It includes all voluntary acts of worship such as praying, fasting, reading Quran, making dua, dhikr and charity. It includes being kind to our parents, spouses, children, relatives, neighbors, and co-workers. It even includes smiling at someone. There are multiple paths of righteousness in Islam.

We’re then reminded to not associate partners with Allah in our worship; to not commit shirk. There are two types of shirk: al-shirk al-akbar and al-shirk al-asghar. Al-Shirk Al-Akbar is associating partners with Allah; it’s an act of disbelief. Al-Shirk Al-Asghar refers to ostentation and showing off or not having sincerity in acts of worship. The Prophet ﷺ referred to ostentation as “the lesser idolatry.” The Prophet ﷺ said, “I do not fear that you will worship the sun, the stars and the moon, but I fear your worshipping other than Allah through ostentation.” The Prophet ﷺ said, “What I fear most for my community is doing things for other than the sake of Allah.” Ibn al-‘Arabi quotes his shaykh, “Let not the hours of your dear life pass away confronting contemporaries and socializing with friends. Watch out! Allah concluded His statement on the following verse…”

Alhamdulillah that brings us to then end of this noble and beautiful Surah. A Surah that has a special and unique status because the Prophet ﷺ encouraged us to recite it specifically on Fridays. Through four stories the Surah focuses on four different types of trials we’re going to face in this world and how to respond to them.

1) The story of the people of the cave represents the trial of faith. And we’re taught that one of the best ways to deal with it is through good company; surrounding ourselves with people of faith and righteousness.

2) The story of the owner of the two gardens is representative of the trial of wealth. And we’re taught the most powerful way to deal with it is by recognizing the reality of the life of this world.

3) The story of Musa (as) with Khidr is representative of the trial of knowledge and the way to deal with it is through seeking knowledge and humility.

4) The last story, the story of Dhul Qarnain is representative of the trial of power. The solution is sincerity and righte

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