[Taken from Introduction to Islam by Muhammad Hamidullah (Centre Culturel Islamique, Paris, 1969), with some changes to make it more readable. The changes are marked by pairs of brackets like around this paragraph.]
IN the annals of men, individuals have not been lacking who conspicuously devoted their lives to the socio-religious reform of their connected peoples. We find them in every epoch and in all lands. In India, there lived those who transmitted to the world the Vedas, and there was also the great Gautama Buddha; China had its Confucius; the Avesta was produced in Iran. Babylonia gave to the world one of the greatest reformers, the Prophet Abraham (not to speak of such of his ancestors as Enoch and Noah about whom we have very scanty information). The Jewish people may rightly be proud of a long series of reformers: Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon, and Jesus among others.Read more...
The following is a four years old article by Khalid Baig, but with a new movie out, it is worth reading before one decides to go to the cinema. (July 10, 2007)
Harry Potter: Facts about Fiction
Posted: 21 Rabi-u-Thani 1424, 21 June 2003
As expected there was much frenzy around the latest Harry Potter book. Bookstores and clubs around the world arranged special midnight parties and other events in celebration of the launching of the long-awaited fifth book in the series. A grandiose countdown was held in Times Square for the coming of the fifth book.
The book was set to break many old records. Online bookseller Amazon had already received one million pre-orders of the new book, its largest pre-order ever. Scholastic, the American publisher had ordered 8.5 million copies as the largest first printing ever. Worldwide, 13 million copies of the book had rolled off the presses in a massive print run.
The other books in the Harry Potter series have been translated into more than 55 languages, including Urdu, Persian, and Turkish. Nearly 200 million copies of the first four books have been sold in 200 countries.
What is all this craze about?
The series chronicles the growing up of a young orphan wizard named Harry Potter who attends a secret magic boarding school called Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Harry is a very unique wizard. His parents are killed while he is a baby by a wicked powerful wizard named Voldemort, but generally called "you-know-who" or "he-who-must-not-be-named". Voldemort fails in his attempt to kill Harry and instead is nearly destroyed when his magic rebounds on him. Harry is left with a lightning shaped scar on his forehead.
Harry is sent to live with his "muggle" (non-magical people) relatives for the next ten years. He lives a miserable life, tormented by his aunt and uncle and his spoiled cousin. They attempt to keep him from knowing that he is a wizard.
Then, suddenly a letter arrives from Hogwarts on his eleventh birthday, changing his life completely. Harry finds out he is a wizard and rather famous for his encounter with the evil lord Voldemort. Despite opposition from his aunt and uncle, Harry goes to the wizard boarding school where he meets new people, including his best friends Ron and Hermione. Harry discovers that he has both admirers and enemies.
Each book details the events of one school year.
The main characters in the story have few noble qualities; they lie with impunity, use profanity, don't respect their elders, break rules regularly, and are unrepentant.
While the books are characterized by most people as innocent fantasy and entertainment, they contain many evil messages - not all of which are subtle.
The books glorify magic and sorcery. Harry and his classmates regularly cast spells, brew potions, learn to tell the future, communicate with the spirits of the dead, train magical animals, and ride brooms. They study astrology, crystal gazing, numerology, transfiguration, and divination. Darker things occur as well such as murder, human sacrifice, drinking of unicorn blood, etc. The fight between good and evil in this book is actually a conflict between "good magic" and "evil magic", both of which are evil.
The books are in effect promoters of paganism. They glorify magic and paganism while non-magical people, called Muggles, are despised and portrayed as boring, narrow-minded, and paranoid of magic.
Not surprisingly, the main characters in the story have few noble qualities; they lie with impunity, use profanity, don't respect their elders, break rules regularly, and are unrepentant.
And for all these qualities and more, the books are popular and are having an effect. It is the "in" thing to purchase the book. And not just the book. Children have gone crazy over Harry Potter memorabilia, surrounding themselves with Harry Potter T-shirts, posters, toys, costumes, wands, hats, etc.
The media has been glorifying the book that glorifies sorcery.
Welcome to the world of capitalism and paganism, where superstitions and the occult reign supreme in the hearts and minds of people, and where the twin forces have forged an "alliance of the willing" that is doing its "magic" on a global scale.
Capitalism is all about maximization of profits and if that requires appealing to the lowest instincts and the darkest recesses of human nature, so be it. Millions of dollars have been spent on advertising the latest craze on billboards, buttons, bumper stickers, and posters etc. U.S. publisher Scholastic alone has planned a $4 million marketing budget for this single book - among the largest advertising budgets ever for a book.
The media machine --- equally adept at political, cultural, and commercial propaganda --- has been doing its part faithfully, paying a great deal of attention to the smallest events relating to the coming of the fifth book. It has been glorifying the book that glorifies sorcery.
Even if it were innocent entertainment (which it is not) the extreme devotion would be unjustified. But this culture is given to extremes and incidents of mass craziness are nothing new in it. The cabbage patch dolls craze in the 1980s was similar to current craze over the Harry Potter books. The Cabbage Patch Dolls were the fad of the 1980s. The most distinctive feature about them was that each doll looked a bit different from others and came with its own unique name and birthday, "adoption papers," and a "birth certificate." Marketing gimmick and television coverage combined to make sales explode starting in 1983. Chartered planes were used to bring the dolls from the overseas manufacturing plants to meet the ever increasing demand. Fist fights among eager customers often broke out in retail stores when a shipment of dolls arrived. In 1985, Coleco posted record sales of $600 million, thanks to their Cabbage Patch Kids.
When life has no higher purpose, entertainment and fun become the over-riding goal in life. When there is no belief in or clear concept of God as Creator and Master of the universe, superstition, sorcery, and the occult become fascinating.
When life has no higher purpose, entertainment and fun become the over-riding goal in life.
It is a reflection on the state of the society that there has been scarce opposition to this series that promises to become darker with each new release.
The Role of Muslims
In this current state of hysteria, Muslims should have played an important role in opposing this book and exposing the flaws of this culture. It is the duty of Muslims to guide the world, rather than blindly follow the ignorant masses. The Qur'an commands us in Surah Al-Kahf, "And don't obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires, whose case has gone beyond all bounds." [Al-Kahf 18:28]
Yet, unfortunately, we find very little opposition or reflection from Muslims, many of whom have chosen to blindly follow the pop culture. Many Muslims have assured themselves that the books are harmless fiction. Others even claim them to be beneficial because they encourage reading. Reading what? It does not occur to them to ask that question.
Islam prohibits both pointless entertainment (lahw) and sorcery. But countless Muslims seem to be unaware of that. And they are the ones fascinated by Harry Potter.
Principles of Success—
In the light of Seerah
By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
It is a well-known fact that the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) was the supremely successful man in the entire human history. But he was not just a hero, as Thomas Carlyle has called him. According to the Qur’an, he was a good example for all mankind. He has shown us the way of achieving supreme success in this world.
By studying the life of the Prophet we can derive those important principles which were followed by the Prophet. In short, the Prophet of Islam was a positive thinker in the full sense of the word. All his activities were result-oriented. He completely refrained from all such steps as may prove counter-productive.
First Principle: To begin from the possible
This principle is well explained in a saying of Aishah. She said: "Whenever the Prophet had to choose between two options, he always opted for the easier choice." (Al-Bukhari)To choose the easiest option means to begin from the possible, and one who begins from the possible will surely reach his goal.
Beneficial lessons derived from the Hijrah
a khutbah by ‘Ali Al-Hudhayfi
1) Mankinds desperate need for the message of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.
2) The predicament of the people when the message of Islaam was revealed.
3) The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam called to Islamic monotheism, justice and good conduct.
4) The different types of opposition to the message.
5) His journey to Madeenah.
6) His encountering of attempted assassination plots.
7) What he did upon arrival in Madeenah.
8) The abandonment of sins and immorality.
9) Taking admonition from the alternation of day and night.
10) Recommended actions, derived from the Hijrah, for the rectification of the Muslim nation.
All praise is due to Allaah, the Subduer. I testify that there is nothing worthy of worship except Allaah and I testify that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
Fellow Muslims! Fear Allaah as He should be feared so that you will prosper in this world and the Hereafter.
Fellow Muslims! The aspiration of lofty goals and the fulfilment of one's religious obligations require a great deal of time, effort and wealth. One’s very life may even be at stake during the course of fulfilling these great objectives in addition to the loss of friends, the gaining of enemies, the exposition of oneself to ridicule and the vulnerability of having few helpers and protectors. This in fact was exactly the situation of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam during his propagation of Islam.
Allaah sent Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam to mankind at the time when they were most in need of his message. The People of the Book (i.e. the Jews and Christians) had by then altered their books and the whole world was in the total darkness of polytheism and ignorance. It was at this time that Allaah chose to send His slave Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam to mankind.
The Almighty says that which translates as: "Say [O Muhammad], ‘O Mankind, indeed I am the Messenger of Allaah to you all, [from Him] to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. There is no deity except Him; He gives life and causes death.’” (Al-A'raaf: 158).
The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was sent at a time when people were worshipping unworthy objects such as trees, stones, the moon, angels, Jinns, the prophet 'Iesaa (or Jesus, peace be upon him) etc. He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam found them supplicating to these deities, seeking assistance and refuge with them, beseeching them for benefits, slaughtering for them, vowing to them, and taking them as intermediaries to Allaah. He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam also found them consulting fortune-tellers and sorcerers, spreading immorality, mistreating neighbours, severing bonds of kinship, earning money from dubious means, practicing interest-based transactions and usurping other people's properties. This was in addition to all the other well-known evils that were prevalent in that society. Their religion, customs and traditions were purely based on personal interests and material considerations.
It was at this very time that Allaah sent His Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam to mankind, calling people to testify that there is nothing worthy of worship except Allaah alone and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah. He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam called to all that this statement entailed such as devoting all acts of worship like Du’aa’, or supplication, slaughtering, vowing, and seeking help and refuge, making Tawaaf, or circumambulation of the Ka’bah, etc. to Allaah alone. Allaah says that which translates as: “Say, ‘Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited to you. [He commands] that you not associate anything with Him…'" (Al-An'aam: 151).
He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam also called on mankind to take himself as the only example for guidance. Allaah says that which translates as: "…And whatever the Messenger has given you – take; and what he has forbidden you – refrain from." (Al-Hashr: 7).
The Prophet of mercy sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam came to enjoin on people chastity, noble manners and characteristics, firmness in faith, kindness to kith and kin, good neighbourliness and abstention from injustice and oppression. He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam enjoined them to consult the Book of Allaah in all their affairs and forbade them from visiting soothsayers. He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam enjoined earning from lawful means and spending in virtuous ways and made everybody equal with respect to the law of Allaah. Allaah says that which translates as: "Say, ‘My Lord has only forbidden immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed – and sin, and oppression without right, and that you associate with Allaah that for which He has not sent down authority, and that you say about Allaah that which you do not know.’" (Al-A'raaf: 33).
He also says that which translates as: “Indeed, Allaah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives…" (An-Nahl: 90).
Ibn Jareer, who was one of the great early Qur’aanic commentators, related from Ibn 'Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with him, that he said: “When Abu Taalib, the uncle of the messenger of Allah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam fell sick, the elders of Quraysh, including Abu Jahl, visited him and said: 'Your nephew insults our gods. Do justice to us and stop him from insulting them. If he does so then we will leave him and his God alone in return’. Abu Taalib then addressed the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, who was among them, and said: 'O nephew! Why do your people complain that you insult their gods?' The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam replied: 'O uncle! I only want them to utter a statement through which all the Arabs will be indebted to them (i.e. the Quraysh) and due to which the non-Arabs will have to pay them Jizyah (poll-tax).' Abu Jahl remarked, 'If this is the case, then we will even say it ten times if need be.' Then the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: 'Then say: Laa Ilaaha Ill-Allaah.' [i.e., the Kalimah: there is nothing worthy of worship except Allaah]. The Quraysh elders were disgusted when they heard this and turned their backs dusting their garments (this is an expression of utter rejection) saying: 'Does he want that we give up all our gods and only worship his One God? This is really an amazing thing!' These elders fully appreciated the ramifications of uttering this statement; that it would transform man totally in his worship, social interactions and whole way of life; as Allaah says that which translates as: "Say, ‘Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allaah, Lord of the worlds. No partner has He. And this I have been commanded, and I am the first [among you] of the Muslims." (Al-An'aam: 162-163).
This is the true meaning of the Kalimah from which the Quraysh idolaters fled. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam called all of mankind to this concept; to a religion that elevates man to highest ranks and which can make him achieve eternal happiness.
Only a few weak people responded to his call and they were severely persecuted by the disbelievers. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was opposed by three sets of people: the envious, the arrogant who knew the truth yet denied it; and the misled ignorant ones. These people exerted all their efforts to stop the spread of Islam.
"They want to extinguish the light of Allaah with their mouths, but Allaah will perfect His light, although the disbelievers dislike it." (As-Saff: 8).
When the torment became severe in Makkah and the idolaters wanted to assassinate the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, the angel Jibreel, peace be upon him, came to him and said: "Allaah has given you permission to migrate to Al-Madeenah; therefore, do not spend tonight in your house; giving them (the idolaters) the chance to get to you." While the idolaters were lying in wait outside the house of the messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam for him to come out - so that they could all strike him at the same time, he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam emerged, reciting the opening verses of Soorat Yaaseen and throwing sand in their faces. Allaah prevented the idolaters from seeing him and made slumber overtake them. The Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and his companion, Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, hid in the cave of Thawr for three days until the search for them subsided. Quraysh searched for him in every nook and cranny and followed his tracks until they were at the very entrance of the cave that they were hiding in. Abu Bakr then said, ‘If any of them looks down at their feet, they will see us.’ The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam replied, assuring him: "What do you think about two companions, of whom Allaah is the third? (i.e. in terms of assistance)". After three days, the two companions found a guide and proceeded to Madeenah. This is the story of how Hijrah took place and it represented a manifest victory for Islaam and the Muslims in that Allaah rendered the disbelievers' plots fruitless.
Allaah says that which translates as: "If you do not aid him (i.e. the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) – Allaah has already aided him when those who disbelieved had driven him out [of Makkah] as one of the two, when they [i.e. Muhammad and Abu Bakr] were in the cave and he [i.e. Muhammad] said to his companion. ‘Do not grieve; indeed Allaah is with us.’ And Allaah sent down His tranquillity, upon him and supported him with soldiers [i.e. angels] you did not see and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the word of Allaah – that is the highest. And Allaah is Exalted in Might and Wise." (At-Tawbah: 40).
The Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was exposed to several assassination attempts, both before and after his migration. In Makkah, Abu Jahl had attempted to kill him before Allaah sent the angel Jibreel, peace be upon him, to prevent him from carrying out this devilish act. At the battle of Tabook, an attempt was made on his life by some of the hypocrites. Even in his own mosque in Madeenah, an attempt was made to kill him by poisoning, but Allaah saved him from all these attempts. This was due to him actualising all forms of worship totally for the sake of Allaah and for his sincere dependence on Him. Allaah says that which translates as: "...And whoever relies upon Allaah – the He is sufficient for him." (Talaaq: 3).
While the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was on his way to Madeenah during his migration, Suraaqah bin Maalik, may Allaah be pleased with him, who had not yet embraced Islaam at that time, pursued the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam in order to capture or kill him and win the prize money that Quraysh had offered for doing so. However, Allah intended that Suraaqah, may Allaah be pleased with him, would change his mind and ask the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam to forgive him instead.
The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and his companion Abu Bakr, may Allaah be pleased with him, entered Madeenah gloriously and honourably. He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam then moved into a house, built his mosque with quarters for his wives and started a new era full of blessings and victories based on divine support. After this, Hijrah from Makkah to Madeenah became compulsory on every Muslim, until the conquest of Makkah by the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Also, Hijrah is compulsory upon all Muslims from all places at all times from where they are unable to practice their religion. The Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: "Embracing Islaam wipes out all sins which were committed before it and making Hijrah also erases all the sins that were committed before it." He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam also said: "Hijrah will not cease until there is no more repentance and repentance will not cease until the sun rises from the west.”
The issue of Hijrah to Madeenah was a miracle in itself, for the city at that time was very meagre in terms of commerce, infrastructure and agricultural resources. In fact, living in the city was financially-restrictive even for its inhabitants. By any human estimation, emigration to such a city, with all its deficiencies, would cause immense economic and social difficulties, but as Allaah would have it, the reverse was the case for the Hijrah to Madeenah. This Hijrah was the cause the town accomplishing an immense amount of benefit. People now had the opportunity of meeting the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, learning their religion from him, emulating his noble character, preserving his Sunnah, knowing much of his public and private life and everything else about the religion of Islaam. Hijrah had a great impact on Islaam and the Muslims, for Allaah bestowed a lot of His blessings on Muslims through this.
Although the Muslims faced some difficulties during the first days of their emigration to Madeenah, they were able to overcome these difficulties through their strong belief, patience and perseverance. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was full of love and compassion for the people in general and their children in particular. After the initial period of hardships, Allaah bestowed good things in abundance upon Madeenah in all areas of life.
Dear Muslims! We have all missed out on the reward of making Hijrah to Allaah and His Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam during the prophetic era, but there is another type of Hijrah which we can make and which will earn us immense rewards: We must emigrate from disobedience to obedience of Allaah; shun negligence in religious matters and migrate to adherence; emigrate from sins to submission to Allaah; emigrate from laziness and false hopes to diligence, seriousness and striving in what pleases Allaah; and emigration of our hearts from affinity to this mundane life to the love of the hereafter. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: "The Muslim is one who does not harm other Muslims with his hands or tongue and the Muhajir (or emigrant) is the one who shuns all that Allaah has forbidden." He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam also said: "An act of worship performed during the time of Fitnah (trials) is equal to an act of emigration to me in reward." Allaah says that which translates as: "Indeed, those who have believed and those who have emigrated and fought in the cause of Allaah – those expect the mercy of Allaah. And Allaah is Forgiving and Merciful." (Al-Baqarah: 218).
Brothers in faith! Fear Allaah as he should be feared and do not die except as Muslims. Fellow Muslims! The All-Mighty says that which translates as: "And it is He who has made the night and day in succession for whoever desires to remember or desires gratitude." (Al-Furqaan: 62).
Indeed, the succession of day and night is one of the great signs of Allaah and a great mercy from Him. It allows a person who has missed out on the performance of a righteous deed in the night to make it up during the next day and vice versa.
Brothers in Islaam! There are in the in the Prophet's Hijrah admonitions and lessons for every Muslim, especially of patience and perseverance. Also, another of its lessons is that it was the will of Allaah to make His Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam perform the Hijrah with means that human beings are well accustomed to, such as riding on a camel and hiring a guide. If He had wished, He could have willed that his Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam did the Hijrah on Al-Buraaq (an extraordinary animal that moved at great speed), but the will of Allaah was that He wanted the Muslims to emulate their Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and to aid and assist their religion with whatever means that Allaah He has facilitated for them. The greatest obligation upon you all then, dear brothers, is to aid and assist the religion of Allaah by practicing it and calling to it in your community and being patient upon that.
Indeed, the current predicament of the Muslims throughout the world necessitates that we benefit from the lessons derived from the Hijrah. We must realise that the situation of this generation of Muslims cannot improve except by that which improved the condition of our righteous predecessors, namely; Sincere and correct belief, an real actualisation of Tawheed, or the unity of Allaah in terms of worship, noble manners and characters, absolute trust in Allaah, patience and perfection of acts of worship in accordance with the sunnah. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: "Fear Allaah wherever you are, follow up an evil deed with a good one; for it will erase it - and be well mannered in your dealings with people."