Competing in Sin

 

If there is a phrase that can describe the world today, it has to be "Competing in Sin!"

Many Muslim governments, groups and individuals have taken an un-Islamic path and are trying to do what non-Muslim governments, groups and individuals are doing. It is a competition in sin and Muslims are losing. About fourteen hundred years ago, one of the most beloved person of the Muslim ummah, Umar bin Abdul Aziz wrote a letter to a military commander and said:

Sin is even more dangerous than the ruses/tricks of the enemy. Amirul-Momineen bids upon Mansur that instead of taking fright of his enemy, he should fear transgressing the limits of Allah T’ala. We overcome our enemies in the battlefield only because of their vices and sins, for, had it not been so, we would not have had the courage to face them. We can not deploy troops in the same numbers as our enemies can do, nor do we possess the equipments they have got. Thus, if we equate ourselves with our enemies in misdeeds and transgressions, they would undoubtedly gain a victory over us by virtue of their numerical superiority and strength.  

Competing in Sin!

{tab= 1. Outline} 

Outline

  • Surah Al-Teen
  • Comments on asfala safeleen
  • A careful analysis of Current world crises and the state of the Muslim Ummah is needed.
  • One of the letters of Umar bin Abdul Aziz to his military commander may give us an understanding.
  • Statistics
  • The sentences from the letter again
  • Ayah on unjust killing


 

 

سورة التين - سورة 95

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

1.     وَالتِّينِ وَالزَّيْتُونِ

2.     وَطُورِ سِينِينَ

3.     وَهَذَا الْبَلَدِ الْأَمِينِ

4.     لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ

5.     ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَاهُ أَسْفَلَ سَافِلِينَ

6.     إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَلَهُمْ أَجْرٌ غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ

7.     فَمَا يُكَذِّبُكَ بَعْدُ بِالدِّينِ

8.     أَلَيْسَ اللَّهُ بِأَحْكَمِ الْحَاكِمِينَ

THE FIG, THE FIGTREE, CHAPTER NO. 095

With the Name of Allah, the Merciful Benefactor, The Merciful Redeemer

095.001 By the Fig and the Olive,

095.002 And the Mount of Sinai,

095.003 And this City (Makkah) of security,-

095.004 We have indeed created man in the best of moulds,

095.005 Then do We abase him (to be) the lowest of the low,-

095.006 Except such as believe and do righteous deeds: For they shall have a reward unfailing.

095.007 Then what can, after this, contradict thee, as to the judgment (to come)?

095.008 Is not Allah the wisest of judges?

 

Yes Indeed!

 

This Surah tells us, among other things, that if a person does not have the true faith (Eiman) and is not striving for righteous deeds (amal-us-saleh), using The Holy Quran and Sunnah as The Guidance, then even though every person is created by the best of moulds, that person becomes the lowest of the low!   Asfala Safileen.

Islam is taken as a complete way of life. Righteous deeds therefore are not limited to prayers, Zakat and fasting.

{tab=2. An African Boy & a Vulture} 

The world we live in todayis filled with great number of occurrences of brutalities, blood baths and destructions caused by people. So many by Muslims, but so many more by non-Muslims. So if I can give a topic to this article, it is Muslims “Competing in Sin” with non-Muslims.

Our spiritually living hearts are feeling great pain at the sufferings of humanity caused by many governments, deviant groups and individuals. Today, a man may feel safer in a jungle surrounded by wild beasts than in many human societies. Wolves are claiming to be shepherds and they are complaining that the sheep is bad.

 

Look at the picture below very carefully:

 

 

In this 1994 Pulitzer Prize winning photograph, an African boy, nothing but a skeleton, was trying to crawl towards a U.N. Food Shelter, about one kilometer away. Behind his back, a few yards away was a vulture waiting for the boy to die to feast. The vulture did not attack the living boy. It could have. But it has God-given law that it follows. Even the animals have law of God that they obey. Not the man. So many governments, groups and individuals have become worst than the vultures!

{tab=3. Umar bin Abdul Aziz}

Umar bin Abdul Aziz (r.a.)

One way to understand the current world crises is by what Umar bin Abdul Aziz (r.a.) said in a letter he sent to one of his military commanders named Mansur. His words show his deep understanding of the Quran and Sunnah. You will see how it is so applicable today, even though he said so about 1400 years ago.

In his letter, he says that “sin is even more dangerous than the ruses/tricks of the enemy. Amirul-Momineen bids upon Mansur that instead of taking fright of his enemy, he should fear transgressing the limits of Allah T’ala. We overcome our enemies in the battlefield only because of their vices and sins, for, had it not been so, we would not have had the courage to face them. We can not deploy troops in the same numbers as our enemies can do, nor do we possess the equipments they have got.

Thus, if we equate ourselves with our enemies in misdeeds and transgressions, they would undoubtedly gain a victory over us by virtue of their numerical superiority and strength.”

About fourteen hundred years ago, Umar bin Abdul Aziz told us that when we compete in sins, we loose! We loose in the Akhirah and we loose in this world. And certainly, the loss in the Hereafter is far greater than any loss in this world!

{tab=4. Some Statistics} 

SOME STATISTICS:

To understand this point further, I want to give you a brief on some statistics, especially from the twentieth century. These statistics come from an article, titled, “Christian versus Muslim Violence in History.”

 

We can look at the start of Christianity and see how millions of Christians were tortured and killed by Christians, but let us just pick a few major events from the history.

 

The Crusades

The European armies were saying, as they slaughtered Jews and both Christian and Muslim Arabs: “Kill them all, God will know his own.”

Europe's Reformation and Counter Reformation Era

Two thirds of the Christian population of Europe was slaughtered by Christians

The African slave trade

Claimed the lives of 10 million

The Colonial Conquests

Estimates for the number of Native Americans slaughtered by the Europeans in North, Central and South America run as high as 20 million within three generations.

The 20th century's Western Civilization took warfare to new extremes

A conservative estimate puts the total number of brutal deaths in the 20th century at more than 250 million. Of these, Muslims are responsible for less than 10 million deaths. Christians, or those coming from Christian backgrounds account for more than 200 million of these! The greatest death totals come from World War I  and World War II. In World War I, about 20 million killed, at least 90% of which were inflicted by “Christians”. In World War II ( 90 million, at least 50% of which were inflicted by “Christians,” the majority of the rest occurring in the Far East).

In the 20th century alone

 

Western and/or Christian powers have been responsible for at least twenty times more deaths than have Muslim powers in the whole of Islamic history.

In the 20th century, Rawanda, 1994

Witness the slaughter of 900,000 Rwandans in 1994 in a population that was over 90 % Christian

1992-1995 Bosnia

The genocide of over 300,000 Muslims and systematic rape of over 100,000 Muslim women by Christian Serbs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Based on these and other events, the article draws a conclusion:

“The horrible truth is that, numerically and statistically speaking, Christian Civilization is the bloodiest and most violent of all civilizations in all of history, and is responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths. Even so, Muslims will never associate this violence and blood bath with the teachings of Jesus (peace be on him).”

When we look at recent brutal events, we find that Muslims killed Muslims in Iraq-Iran war and Iraq-Kuwait war. Additionally, certain deviant groups of Muslims caused the tragedy of 9/11, hijacked planes, killed innocent civilians, and some of which is still going on.

These are events as if these people and groups are trying to compete in sin!

As a result of some of these evil events, non-Muslim governments and groups have killed several hundred thousand people in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.

{tab=5. Conculding Remarks}

CONCLUSIONS:

As far as unjust killings are concerned, let us remember what the Holy Quran says:

 

Speaking about the first murder committed by a son of Adam, Allah T’ala says in Surah 5, Ayat 32:

 

مِنْ أَجْلِ ذَلِكَ كَتَبْنَا عَلَى بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَنَّهُ مَن قَتَلَ نَفْسًا بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِي الأَرْضِ

 فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا وَمَنْ أَحْيَاهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا وَلَقَدْ جَاء تْهُمْ رُسُلُنَا

 بِالبَيِّنَاتِ ثُمَّ إِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِّنْهُم بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ فِي الأَرْضِ لَمُسْرِفُونَ

5.32. On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.

This ayah teaches us that ONE unjust killing is one too many!

This commandment applies to the Israelites, to the followers of Jesus (a.s.) and to Muslims.

 But who is following it?

Muslims should, even if no one else does.

 

Islam is a message for the salvation of humanity. It is to save not to destroy people. Islam is not terrorism. It is not for self revenge. It is not hate, it is love. Law of Islam is based on The Holy Quran and Sunnah. It is not what others do. There is a strict code of Law even in wars.  [Read at http://www.islam101.com/rights/hrM4.htm ]

 

Those Muslims who go against the teachings of Prophet Muhammad(s.a.a.w.) and commit crimes against humanity have to face Allah T'ala one day and answer to the Almighty. We all do! There is a Day of Judgment for all mankind! Let us be true followers of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.). Let us not compete in sins!

Ishaq Zahid

Sept. 1, 2006

{/tabs}

Surely the guilty shall not prosper!

 

إِنَّهُ لاَ يُفْلِحُ الْمُجْرِمُونَ 

 

The Qur'anic term falah (prosperity, success) used in the above verse (last part of verse 10:17) has been understood by some to signify such things as longevity, worldly prosperity and other worldly attainments. Under this false impression, they tend to believe that if a claimant to prophethood attains material prosperity and longevity or if his message is spread around, then he ought to be considered a genuine Prophet because he has indeed attained 'prosperity'. Had he been an impostor, it is argued, he would soon have been assassinated, or would have starved to death, and, in any case, his message would not have spread around. Such an absurd line of argument can only be pursued by those who are altogether ignorant of the concept of falah (prosperity) as envisaged in the Qur'an, who are unaware of God's law of respite regarding evil-doers, and who are altogether unappreciative of the special meaning in which the term has been employed in the present context.
In order to fully understand what is meant by saying that 'the guilty shall not prosper', a number of things ought to be borne in mind. In the first place, the Qur'anic statement that "the guilty shall not prosper' is not made with a view to providing a yardstick that might be applied by people so as to determine the truth or falsity of the claimants of prophethood. The verse does not seek to stress that all those who 'prosper' after claiming to be a Prophet are truly Prophets, and that those who do not prosper after making such a claim are not so. The point of emphasis here is altogether different. Here the Prophet (peace be on him) is being made to say that since he knows fully that those guilty of inventing lies against Allah could not prosper, he would not dare make any claim to prophethood if such a claim was false.
On the other hand, the Prophet (peace be on him) also knew that the unbelievers were guilty of rejecting the true signs of God and of declaring a true Prophet of God to be an impostor. In view of that monstrous guilt, it was quite apparent to the Prophet (peace be on him) that they would not prosper.
Moreover, the Qur'anic term falah (prosperity, success) has not been used in the limited sense of worldly success. Rather, it denotes that enduring success which admits of no failure regardless of whether one is able to achieve success in the present phase of one's existence or not. it is quite possible that someone who calls people to falsehood might enjoy life and nourish in a worldly sense, and he might even be able to attain a substantial following for his message. But this is not true prosperity or success; rather it constitutes total loss and failure. Contrarily, it is also possible that someone who calls people to the truth might be exposed to much persecution and be overwhelmed by pain and suffering. It is possible that even before he is able to create any significant following, he is continually subjected to persecution and torture. In the Qur'anic view, such an apparently tragic end constitutes the very zenith of such a person's success rather than his failure.
Moreover, it should be remembered that it has been amply elucidated in the Qur'an that God does not punish evil-doers instantly: that He rather grants them a fair opportunity to mend their ways. Not only that, if the evil-doers misuse the respite granted by God to perpetrate further wrongs, they are sometimes granted an even further respite. In fact, at times a variety of worldly favours are bestowed upon such evil-doers in order that the potential for wickedness inherent in them might be fully exposed by their actions, proving that they do indeed deserve a very severe punishment. Hence, if an impostor continues to enjoy periods of respite and if worldly favours are lavished upon him this should not in any way give rise to the notion that he is on the right path.
In the same way as God grants respite to other evil-doers. He also grants respite to impostors. There are no grounds whatsoever for believing that the respite granted to other evil-doers would not be granted to those impostors who lay false claim to prophethood. We may well call to mind that Satan himself has been granted a respite until Doomsday, It has never been indicated that although Satan is granted a free hand to misguide human beings, as soon as he throws up an impostor claiming prophethood such a venture is instantly nipped in the bud.
In order to refute the view expressed above it is possible that someone may refer to the following verse of the Qur'an: Now if he [i.e. Muhammad] would have made up, ascribed some sayings to Us, We would indeed have seized him by the right hand, and then indeed would have cut his life-vein (al-Haqqah 69: 44-6).
Even a little reflection makes it obvious that the verse in question does not contradict the view we have expressed above. For, what the present verse says relates to a principle which God follows in dealing with true Prophets. Were any such Prophet to falsely claim something to be a revelation from God, he would instantly be seized by God's wrath. To argue to the contrary that all those who are not seized by God's wrath are necessarily genuine Prophets is simply a logical fallacy devoid of any justification. For the threat of instant Divine wrath embodied in this verse is applicable only to true Prophets, and not to impostors who, like other evil-doers, are granted a respite.
This can be well understood if we bear in mind the disciplinary rules laid down by different governments for their officials. It is obvious that those rules are not enforced in respect of ordinary citizens. Were the latter to lay any false claim to being a government official, he would be subjected to the normal rules of the criminal code relating to the conviction of those who are guilty of fraud rather than to the disciplinary rules meant for government officials. Under this analogy, an impostor who claims to be a Prophet, would be dealt with by God along with other evil-doers who commit evil, and who, as we know, are not necessarily punished immediately.
In any case, as we have pointed out earlier, the verses quoted above were not revealed so as to provide the criterion to judge the truth of anyone who lays claim to prophethood. This verse should not be considered to mean that if a celestial hand stretches forth to cut off the life-vein of a claimant to prophethood, such a person is an impostor; and if that does not happen, he is a genuine Prophet. Such a weird criterion would have been needed only if no other means were available to judge the genuineness of a claimant to prophethood. But as things stand, a Prophet is known by his character, by his work, and by the contents of his message. (Tafheemul Quran)

Love for the Poor


Love for the poor

The Prophet (s.a.a.w.) enjoined upon Muslims to treat the poor kindly and to help them with alms, Zakat, and in other ways. He said: "He is not a perfect Muslim who eats his fill and lets his neighbor go hungry."

He asked, "Do you love your Creator? Then love your fellow beings first."

Monopoly is unlawful in Islam and he preached that "It is difficult for a man laden with riches to climb the steep path that leads to bliss."

He did not prohibit or discourage the acquisition of wealth but insisted that it be lawfully acquired by honest means and that a portion of it would go to the poor. He advised his followers

"To give the laborer his wages before his perspiration dried up."

He did not encourage beggary either and stated that

"Allah is gracious to him who earns his living by his own labour, and that if a man begs to increase his property, Allah will diminish it and whoever has food for the day, it is prohibited for him to beg."

To his wife he said, "O A'isha, love the poor and let them come to you and Allah will draw you near to Himself."  [Sahih Bukhari]

One or two instances of the Prophet's (s.a.a.w.) concern for the poor may be given here. A Madinan, Ibad Bin Sharjil, was once starving. He entered an orchard and picked some fruit. The owner of the orchard gave him a sound beating and stripped off his clothes. The poor man appealed to the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) who remonstrated the owner thus:

"This man was ignorant, you should have dispelled his ignorance; he was hungry, you should have fed him."

His clothes were restored to the Madinan and, in addition, some grain was given to him [Abu Dawood]

A debtor, Jabir Bin Abdullah, was being harassed by his creditor as he could not clear his debt owing to the failure of his date crop. The Prophet (s.a.a.w.) went with Jabir to the house of the creditor and pleaded with him to give Jabir some more time but the creditor was not prepared to oblige. The Prophet (s.a.a.w.) then went to the oasis and having seen for himself that the crop was really poor, he again approached the creditor with no better result. He then rested for some time and approached the creditor for a third time but the latter was adamant. The Prophet (s.a.a.w.) went again to the orchard and asked Jabir to pluck the dates. As Allah would have it, the collection not only sufficed to clear the dues but left something to spare. [Sahih Bukhari]

His love for the poor was so deep that he used to pray: "O Allah, keep me poor in my life and at my death and raise me at resurrection among those who are poor." [Nasai]

The Similitude with which Allah has sent him


THE SIMILITUDE WITH WHICH ALLAH'S APOSTLE (MAY PEACE BE UPON HIM) HAS BEEN SENT WITH GUIDANCE AND KNOWLEDGE

Abu Musa reported Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) as saying: The similitude of that guidance and knowledge with which Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, has sent me is that of rain falling upon the earth. There is a good piece of land which receives the rainfall (eagerly) and as a result of it there is grown in it herbage and grass abundantly. Then there is a land hard and barren which retains water and the people derive benefit from it and they drink it and make the animals drink. Then there is another land which is barren. Neither water is retained in it, nor is the grass grown in it. And that is the similitude of the first one who develops the understanding of the religion of Allah and it becomes a source of benefit to him with which Allah sent me. (The second one is that) who acquires the knowledge of religion and imparts it to others. (Then the other type is) one who does not pay attention to (the revealed knowledge) and thus does not accept guidance of Allah with which I have been sent. (Muslim, Book 030, Number 5668)

Dress

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 Can dress be so important that its violations may put a man or a woman into hellfire? Let us read.

Allah T'ala says in the Holy Quran:

يَا بَنِي آدَمَ قَدْ أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكُمْ لِبَاسًا يُوَارِي سَوْءَاتِكُمْ وَرِيشًا وَلِبَاسُ التَّقْوَىَ ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ ذَلِكَ مِنْ آيَاتِ اللّهِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَذَّكَّرُونَ

(7:26) 0 Children of Adam!  Indeed We have sent down to you a garment which covers your shame and provides protection and adornment. But the finest of all is the garment of piety. That is one of the signs of Allah so that they may take heed.
By referring to an important aspect of Adam and Eve's story, the attention of the people of Arabia of those days was drawn to the evil influence of Satan upon their lives. Under Satan's influence they had begun to see dress merely as a shield of protection against the inclemencies of the weather and as a means of adornment. The basic purpose of dress to cover the private parts of the body - had receded into the background. People had no inhibition about the immodest exposure of the private parts of their body in public. To publicly take a bath absolutely naked, to attend to the call of nature on thoroughfares, were the order of the day. To crown it all, in the course of Pilgrimage they used to circumambulate around the Ka'bah in stark nakedness. Women even surpassed men in immodesty. In their view, the performance of religious rites in complete nudity was an act of religious merit.
Immodesty, however, was not an exclusive characteristic of the people of Arabia. Many nations indulged in it in the past, and many nations continue to indulge in it even now. Hence the message embodied in these verses is not directed just to the people of Arabia. It is rather directed to all men. Mankind, which is the progeny of Adam, is warned against this particular aspect of Satanic influence on their lives. When men show indifference to God's Guidance and turn away from the Message of the Prophets, they virtually place themselves at the mercy of Satan. For it is Satan who makes them abandon way's that are consistent with true human nature and who leads them to immodesty in the same way he did with Adam and Eve. Were man to reflect on this, it would become quite evident that when he is deprived of the guidance of the Prophets, he cannot even appreciate, let alone fulfil, the primary requirements of his true nature.
يَا بَنِي آدَمَ لاَ يَفْتِنَنَّكُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ كَمَا أَخْرَجَ أَبَوَيْكُم مِّنَ الْجَنَّةِ يَنزِعُ عَنْهُمَا لِبَاسَهُمَا لِيُرِيَهُمَا سَوْءَاتِهِمَا

إِنَّهُ يَرَاكُمْ هُوَ وَقَبِيلُهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لاَ تَرَوْنَهُمْ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا الشَّيَاطِينَ أَوْلِيَاء لِلَّذِينَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ
(7:27) Children of Adam! Let not Satan deceive you in the manner he deceived your parents out of Paradise, pulling off from them their clothing to reveal to them their shame. He and his host surely see you from whence you do not see them. We have made satans the guardians of those who do not believe.
These verses bring into focus several important points.
First, that the need to cover oneself is not an artificial urge in man; rather it is an important dictate of human nature. Unlike animals, God did not provide man with the protective covering that He provided to animals. God rather endowed man with the natural instincts of modesty and bashfulness. Moreover, the private parts of the body are not only, related to sex, but also constitute 'sawat' that is, something the exposure of which is felt to be shameful. Also, God did not provide man with a natural covering in response to man's modesty and bashfulness, but has inspired in him (see verse 26) the urge to cover himself. This is in order that man might use his reason to understand the requirements of his nature, use the resources made available by God, and provide himself a dress.

Second, man instinctively knows that the moral purpose behind the use of dress takes precedence over the physical purpose. Hence the idea that man should resort to dress in order to cover his private parts precedes the mention of dress as a means of providing protection and adornment to the human body. In this connection man is altogether different from animals, With regard to the latter, the natural covering that has been granted serves to protect them from the inclemencies of weather and also to beautify their bodies. However, that natural covering is altogether unrelated to the purpose of concealing their sexual organs. The exposure of those organs is not a matter of shame for them and hence their nature is altogether devoid of the urge to cover them. However, as men fell prey to Satanic influences, they developed a false and unhealthy notion about the function of dress. They were led to believe that the function of dress for human beings is no different from that for animals, viz., to protect them from the inclemencies of weather and to make them look attractive. As for concealing the private parts of the body, the importance of that function has been belittled. For men have been misled into believing that their private parts are, in fact, like other organs of their body. As in the case of animals, there is little need for human beings to conceal their sex organs.

Third, the Qur'an emphasizes that it is not enough for the dress to cover the private parts and to provide protection and adornment to the human body. Man's dress ought to be the dress of piety. This means that a man's dress ought to conceal his private parts. It should also render a man reasonably presentable - the dress being neither too shabby and cheap nor overly expensive and extravagant relative to his financial standing. Nor should dress smack of pride or hauteur, or reflect that pathological mental state in which men prefer characteristically feminine dresses and vice versa: or that the people belonging to one nation mimic people of other nations so as to resemble them, thereby becoming a living emblem of collective humiliation and abasement. The Qur'anic ideal can only be achieved by those who truly believe in the Prophets and sincerely try to follow God's Guidance. For as soon as man decides to reject God's Guidance, Satan assumes his patronage and by one means or another manages to lead him into error after error.

Fourth, the question of dress constitutes one of the numerous signs of God which is visible virtually throughout the world. When the facts mentioned above are carefully considered it will be quite clear as to why dress is an important sign of God. (Tafheemul Quran)

 

Short Quotes

Mercy

"And We have not sent you (O Muhammad) except as a mercy to mankind" (The Holy Quran, Al-Anbiyah, The Prophets 21:107)