Islam Way of Life/Practising Islam
"ISLAM" is derived from the Arabic root salaama peace, purity, submission and obedience. In the religious sense, Islam means submission to the will of God and obedience to His law.
This book is about Modern Islam, a 1.5 millennium old religion originating in the Middle East. There was an Ancient Islam, which is explained in other parts of this book. The Ancient Islam is inclusive, religion-neutral and guarantees equal salvation to the followers of Judaism and Christianity as well, anyone who trusts in God and acts accordingly. This is based on the Holy Book of Islam, Quran 2:62 or Quran 5:69.
Islam as a religion consists of Faith (Aqidah), Law (Sharia) and Attitude (Akhlaq). The first two regulates the Six Articles of Faith and Five Pillars. The later and the most important of all is remembering God continuously, 24 hour per day. We discuss the public part of Law in another chapter, Legislation.
- 1 Articles of Faith
- 2 Pillars of Islam
- 3 Remembering God
- 4 One Day in Muslim Life
- 5 One Year in Muslim Life
- 6 Muslim Family
- 7 Muslim World View
Articles of Faith
First, the six principles of beliefs start this book from the inner soul of a believer. This chapter tries to present a vivid vision on what results you will get from God if you succeed in becoming the true believer. This chapter also discusses about things that happen before this life, the hidden and future after life.
Time is precious. "Time is money" might best express it. So, why should we believe on some invisible things and doing some weird rituals like Muslims do? We are busy people.
In Chapter 103, The Quran address this "busy" people straight to the point.
2The human is indeed in loss.
3Except those who believe, do good works, support one another with the truth, and support one another with perseverance.
The Quran argues that by becoming a true believer, humans can reach its full potential, by directing him/her resources more effectively and efficiently to achieve what is the most precious for him/her. This book tries to explore The Quran's unique approach to the Time and Resource management issue through Faith, Good Works, Collaboration and Perseverance.
What to Believe?
This book argues that belief in God and the Final Justice are something natural for humans. The book Quranic Law of Nature shows to the great length how natural it is. But the true believers do not stop on that point. True believers also believe in God's Books, Prophets, Angels, Divine Guidance and Predestination.
Allah, the One and Only God
A Muslim believes in ONE GOD, Supreme and Eternal, Infinite and Mighty, Merciful and Compassionate, Creator and Provider. God has neither father nor mother, neither sons nor was He fathered. None equal to Him. He is God of all mankind, not of a special tribe or race.
God is High and Supreme but He is very near to the pious thoughtful believers; He answers their prayers and helps them. He loves the people who love Him and forgives their sins. He gives them peace, happiness, knowledge and success. God is the Loving and the Provider, the Generous, and the Benevolent, the Rich and the Independent, the Forgiving and the Clement, the Patient and the Appreciative, the Unique and the Protector, the Judge and the Peace. God's attributes are mentioned in the Quran.
God creates in humanity the mind to understand, the soul and conscience to be good and righteous, the feelings and sentiments to be kind and humane. If we try to count His favors upon us, we cannot, because they are countless. In return for all the great favors and mercy, God does not need anything from us, because He is Needless and Independent. God asks us to know Him, to love Him and to enforce His law for our benefit and our own good.
Messengers and Prophets of God
A Muslim believes in all the Messengers and Prophets of God without any discrimination. All messengers were mortals, human beings, endowed with Divine revelations and appointed by God to teach mankind. The Holy Quran mentions the names of 25 messengers and prophets and states that there are others. These include Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. Their message might look different, but the core message is similar. The miracles of the prophets are somehow dependent on the era they were chosen.
Moses had miracles to challenge the magicians, because magic was very popular in his era. At the time when Jesus was chosen, medicine and healing was popular, so his miracles was mainly related to giving life to the dead or making a statue come alive. Corrupt poetry was very popular when Muhammad was chosen. Muslims believe that Muhammad’s miracle is the holy Quran, and is the direct book of God.
The book itself challenges people in many ways, and tells them they can not bring a verse, or a sura like Quran. God tells the humankind that he protects Quran from being corrupted, and has saved it until now without any corruption.
Revelations and the Quran
A Muslim believes in all scriptures and revelations of God, as they were complete and in their original versions. Allah, the Creator, has not left man without guidance for the conduct of his life. Revelations were given to guide the people to the right path of Allah and sent down to selected people, the prophets and messengers, to convey it to their fellow men.
The message of all the prophet and messengers is the same. They all asked the people of their time to obey and worship Allah and none other. Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus and Muhammad who were revealed their own book of Allah, were sent at different times to bring back straying human beings from deviation to the right course.
The Quran is the sacred book of the Muslims. It is the last book of guidance from Allah, sent down to Muhammad, peace be upon him, through the angel Jibraeel (Gabriel). Every word of it is the word of Allah. It was revealed over a period of 23 years in the Arabic language. It contains 114 Surahs (chapters) and over 6000 verses.
The Quran deals with man and his ultimate goal in life. Its teachings cover all areas of this life and the life after death. It contains principles, doctrines and directions for every sphere of human life. The theme of the Quran broadly consists of three fundamental ideas: Oneness of Allah, Prophethood and life after death. The success of human beings on this earth and in the life hereafter depends on obedience to the Quran teaching.
The Quran is unrivalled in its recording and preservation. The astonishing fact about this book of Allah is that it has remained unchanged even to a dot over the past fourteen hundred years. No scholar has questioned the fact that the Quran today is the same as it was revealed. Muslims till today memorize the Quran word by word as a whole or in part. Today, the Quran is the only authentic and complete book of Allah. Allah is protecting it from being lost, corrupted or concealed.
There are purely spiritual and splendid beings created by Allah. They require no food or drink or sleep. They have neither physical desires nor material needs. Angels spend their time in the service of Allah. Each is charged with a certain duty. Angels cannot be seen by the naked eyes. Knowledge and the truth are not entirely confined to sensory knowledge or sensory perception alone.Angels have been created from 'nur' which means light.We do not know the exact number of angels from the holy Quran or authentic hadiths.
The Day of Judgment
A Muslim believes in the Day of the Judgment. This world as we know it will come to an end, and the dead will rise to stand for their final and fair trial. On that day, all men and women from Adam to the last person will be resurrected from the state of death for judgment. Everything we do, say, make, intends and thinks are accounted for and kept in accurate records. They are brought up on the Day of Judgment.
One who believes in life after death is not expected to behave against the Will of Allah. He will always bear in mind that Allah is watching all his actions and the angels are recording them.
People with good records will be generously rewarded and warmly welcomed to Allah's Heaven. People with bad records will be fairly punished and cast into Hell. People who killed other people will go to Hell, because their records are bad. They killed people who were created by Allah. The real nature of Heaven and Hell are known to Allah only, but they are described by Allah in man's familiar terms in the Quran.
If some good deeds are seen not to get full appreciation and credit in this life, they will receive full compensation and be widely acknowledged on the Day of Judgment. If some people who commit sins, neglect Allah and indulge in immoral activities, seem superficially successful and prosperous in this life, absolute justice will be done to them on the Day of Judgment. The time of the Day of Judgment is only known to Allah and Allah alone.
Qadaa and Qadar
A Muslim believes in Qadaa and Qadar which relate to the ultimate power of Allah. Qadaa and Qadar mean the Timeless Knowledge of Allah and His power to plan and execute His plans. Allah is not indifferent to this world nor is He neutral to it. It implies that everything on this earth originates from the one and only Creator who is also the Sustainer and the Sole Source of guidance.
Allah is Wise, Just, and Loving, and whatever He does must have a good motive, although we may fail sometimes to understand it fully. We should have strong faith in Allah and accept whatever He does because our knowledge is limited and our thinking is based on individual consideration, whereas His knowledge is limitless and He plans on a universal basis. Man should think, plan and make sound choices, but if things do not happen the way he wants, he should not lose faith and surrender himself to mental strains or shattering worries.
Pillars of Islam
Second, the five pillars of Islam give you the framework that gives schedule, controls and state of mind necessaries to prepare you into the real actions. There are several schools in Islam about this study notably Hanafi, Shafi'i, Hanbali and Maliki.
That Allah is one and Muhammad is His Messenger
This statement of faith must be declared publicly. It should be a genuine belief which includes all the above articles of faith. The witnessing of the Oneness of Allah is the rejection of any form of deity other than Allah, and the witnessing that Muhammad is His Messenger is the acceptance of him being chosen by Allah to convey His message of Islam to all humanity and to deliver it from the darkness of ignorance into the light of belief in, and knowledge of, the Creator. The statement of Shahada in Arabic is:
Ashhadu Alla Ilaha Illa Allah Wa Ashhadu Anna Muhammad Rasulu Allah
An English translation would be:
I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Messenger
Praying to the Creator on a daily basis is the best way to cultivate in a man a sound personality and to actualize his aspiration. Allah does not need man's prayer because He is free of all needs. Prayer is for our immeasurable benefit, and the blessings are beyond imagination.
In prayer, every muscle of the body joins the soul and the mind in the worship and glory of Allah. Prayer is an act of worship. It is a matchless and unprecedented formula of intellectual meditation and spiritual devotion, of moral elevation and physical exercise, all combined.
Offering of prayers is obligatory upon every Muslim male and female who is sane, mature and in the case of women free from menstruation and confinement due to child birth. Requirements of prayer: performing of ablution (Vozu), purity of the whole body, clothes and ground used for prayer, dressing properly and having the intention and facing the Qiblah (the direction of the Ka'bah at Mecca).
Obligatory prayers: Five daily prayers, the Friday's noon congregation prayer and the funeral prayer. Times of obligatory prayers:
- Early morning: After dawn and before sunrise.
- Noon: After the sun begins to decline from its zenith until it is about midway on its course to set.
- Mid-afternoon: After the expiration of the noon prayer time until sunset.
- Sunset: Immediately after sunset until the red glow in the western horizon disappears.
- Evening: After the expiration of the sunset prayer until dawn.
Highly recommended prayer:Those accompanying the obligatory prayer and the two great festival prayers.
Optional prayer:Voluntary prayer during the day and night.
Prayer should be offered in its due time, unless there is a reasonable excuse. Delayed obligatory prayers must be made up. In addition to the prescribed prayer, a Muslim expresses gratitude to God and appreciation of His favours and asks for His mercy all the time. Especially at times of, for example, childbirth, marriage, going to or rising from bed, leaving and returning to his home, starting a journey or entering a city, riding or driving, before or after eating or drinking, harvesting, visiting graveyards and at time of distress and sickness (see Remembering God).
Obligatory Charity (Zakah)
Obligatory charity giving is an act of worship and spiritual investment. The literal meaning of Zakah is purity and it refers to the annual amount in kind or coin which a Muslim with means must distribute among the rightful beneficiaries. Zakah does not only purify the property of the contributor but also purifies his heart from selfishness and greed. It also purifies the heart of the recipient from envy and jealousy, from hatred and uneasiness and it fosters instead good-will and warm wishes for the contributors.
Zakah has a deep humanitarian and social-political value; for example, it frees society from class welfare, from ill feelings and distrust and from corruption. Although Islam does not hinder private enterprise or condemn private possession, it does not tolerate selfish and greedy capitalism. Islam adopts a moderate but positive and effective course between individual and society, between the citizen and the state, between capitalism and socialism, between materialism and spiritualism.
Zakah is paid on the net balance after paying personal expenses, family expenses, due credits, taxes, etc. Every Muslim male or female who at the end of the year is in possession of the equivalent of 85 grams of gold (approx. $1400 in 1990) or more in cash or articles of trade, must give Zakah at the minimum rate of 2.5%. Taxes paid to government do not substitute for this religious duty. The contributor should not seek pride or fame but if disclosing his name and his contribution is likely to encourage others, it is acceptable to do so.
The recipients of Zakah are: the poor, the needy, the new Muslim converts, the Muslim prisoners of war (to liberate them), Muslims in debt, employees appointed to collect Zakah, Muslims in service of research or study or propagation of Islam, and wayfarers who are foreigners in need of help.
Note the obligatory nature of Zakah; it is required. Muslims can also go above and beyond what they pay as Zakah, in which case the offering is a strictly voluntary charity (sadaqa).
Fasting is abstaining completely from eating, drinking, intimate sexual contacts and smoking from the break of dawn till sunset. It is a matchless Islamic institution which teaches man the principle of sincere love to God. Fasting teaches man a creative sense of hope, devotion, patience, unselfishness, moderation, willpower, wise saving, sound budgeting, mature adaptability, healthy survival, discipline, spirit of social belonging, unity and brotherhood.
Obligatory fasting is done once a year for the period of the month of Ramadan; the ninth month of the Islamic year. Recommended fasting includes every Monday and Thursday of every week, three days in the middle of each Islamic month, six days after Ramadan following the Feast Day and a few days of the two months before Ramadan. But usually it is done on everyday in the month of Ramadan in India, this is up to my knowledge. Fasting of Ramadan is a worship act which is obligatory on every adult Muslim, male or female if he/she is mentally and physically fit and not on a journey. Exceptions: women during their period of menstruation and while nursing their child, and also in case of travel and sickness for both men and women.
The Pilgrimage (Hajj)
It is a pilgrimage to Mecca, at least once in a lifetime and it is obligatory upon every Muslim male and female who is mentally, physically and financially fit. It is the largest annual convention of faith on earth (in 1989: 2.5 million). Peace is the dominant theme. Peace with Allah, with one's soul, with one another, with all living creatures. To disturb the peace of anyone or any creature in any shape or form is strictly prohibited.
Muslims from all walks of life, from every corner of the globe assemble in Mecca in response to the call of Allah. There is no royalty, but there is loyalty of all to Allah, the Creator. It is to commemorate the Divine rituals observed by the Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael, who were the first pilgrims to the house of Allah on earth: the Ka'bah. It is also to remember the great assembly of the Day of Judgment when people will stand equal before Allah.
Muslims go to Mecca to glorify Allah, not to worship a man. The visit to the tomb of Prophet Muhammad at Madena is highly recommended but not essential in making the Hajj valid and complete.
Third, The Remembering God (Zikr Allah), is the real actions you need to do continuously in your life 24 hour per day to be the true believer.
The purpose of life
A Muslim believes that the purpose of life is to worship Allah. Worshipping Allah does not mean we spend our entire lives in constant seclusion and absolute meditation. To worship Allah is to live life according to His commands, not to run away from it. To worship Allah is to know Him, to love Him, to obey His commands, to enforce His laws in every aspect of life, to serve His cause by doing right and shunning evil and to be just to Him, to ourselves and to our fellow human beings.
Status of Human Beings
A Muslim believes that human beings enjoy an especially high ranking status in the hierarchy of all known creatures. Man and woman occupy this distinguished position because they alone are gifted with rational faculties and spiritual aspirations as well as powers of action. Man and woman are not a condemned race from birth to death, but dignified beings potentially capable of good and noble achievements.
A Muslim also believes that every person is born Muslim. Every person is endowed by Allah with the spiritual potential and intellectual inclination that can make him a good Muslim. Every person's birth takes place according to the will of Allah in realization of His plans and in submission to His commands. Every person is born FREE FROM SIN. When the person reaches the age of maturity and if he is sane, he becomes accountable for all his deeds and intentions. Man is free from sin until he commits sin. There is no inherited sin, and no original sin. Adam committed the first sin, but he prayed to Allah for pardon and Allah granted Adam pardon.
A Muslim believes that man must work out his salvation through the guidance of Allah. No one can act on behalf of another or intercede between him and Allah. In order to obtain salvation, a person must combine faith and action, belief and practice. Faith without doing good deeds is as insufficient as doing good deeds without faith.
Also, a Muslim believes that Allah does not hold any person responsible until he has shown him the Right Way. If people do not know and have no way of knowing about Islam, they will not be responsible for failing to be Muslim. Every Muslim must preach Islam in words and action.
Acceptance of Faith
A Muslim believes that faith is not complete when it is followed blindly or accepted unquestioningly. Man must build his faith on well-grounded convictions beyond any reasonable doubt and above uncertainty. Islam ensures freedom to believe and forbids compulsion in religion (one of the oldest synagogues and one of the oldest churches in the world are in Muslim countries).
A Muslim believes that the Quran is the word of Allah revealed to prophet Muhammad through the Angel Gabriel. The Quran was revealed from Allah on various occasions to answer questions, solve problems, and settle disputes and to be man's best guide to the truth. The Quran was revealed in Arabic and it is still in its original and complete Arabic version today. It is memorized by millions.
A Muslim also believes in a clear distinction between the Quran and the Traditions (called Hadiths) of the Prophet Muhammad. Whereas, the Quran is the word of Allah, the Traditions of Prophet Muhammad (hadiths - i.e. his teachings, sayings, and actions) are the practical interpretations of the Quran. Both the Quran and the Hadiths of Prophet Muhammad are the primary sources of knowledge in Islam.
The Straight Path
This part will explain The Straight Path as understood in Islam Way of Life. According to the Islam Way of Life, the straight path is keeping the moral values of Equality, Family, Humanity, Fairness and Integrity.
One Day in Muslim Life
Meet Khadijah! She is a twenty-year old Muslimah. Currently, she is studying in France, who bans headscarf in public school. Her home country, Turkey, bans the headscarf years earlier before France. Most of the time, she covers her head, except at school and at home. She feels comfortable and confidence with it. What is important for her is dress modestly, so it bring respect from the boys and they did not disturb her.
Khadijah is a complete opposite of her brother, Khidr, who spent most of his time in the mosque. For her, Islam is the most pure and flexible form of religion that strengthen her soul and enhance her productivity. She believes that the problem in the Muslim world today, such as poverty and lack of education is because of lack of commitment. The leaders do not commit to their people, the fathers do not commit to their children future, even her friends often have problems keeping their promises or deciding something even for themselves.
Reading the Quran
She wakes up at 5 a.m. in the morning. As usual, she starts her day with a tahajud prayer. The fresh water helps her to wake up fully. The standing and bowing doubles as her morning stretch.
Normally, she would start either listening or reciting Quran. The rhythm of Quran calms her, massages her soul. But, from time-to-time she tries to understand the translations to get some inspiration from her Creator. Some verses in Quran are quite practical, but some other verses require deep understanding and may contain multiple valid meanings. She understands this and only focuses on practical verses and uses her heart for the other verses. It is a great way to start a day. After reading the Quran, normally she feels ready for anything that could happens today.
But, today is special. She and her friends invite decided for Online Quran Study. Normally, she does it through internet mailing-list. But, today they choose to chat about it, before the Early-morning prayer.
The sound of Adzan, calling for prayer, breaks their chat. The sound came from the prayer-time software installed in one of their computer. The sound thrills their heart. Some of them listen, some of them leave to do the preparatory washing.
Once the Adzan stop, they continue chatting because the chat was almost finished. After saying goodbye, Khadijah perform the Early-morning prayer.
Today’s breakfast is cereals and orange juice. Even then, she never forgets to mention the God's name before eating. While eating, her eyes wander around her kitchen and notice that the sink was blocked. It is still early in the morning, so she writes in her agenda to call her landlord to fix it.
God told her to keep her commitments. She has several lists in her agenda to help her remembers all commitments that she make to her self or other people. The blocked sink is an urgent one, but she can only call her landlord during office hour. Therefore, she writes the task in her "at office" task list. Similarly, when she remembers to bring something from home, she write the task in her "at home" list while she is in the office. Each time, she needs to buy something, she write it in her "at shopping" list first. To keep her commitments under a manageable number, she drop, do it now or delegate it as much as possible.
The Prophet Muhammad pbuh. was known as "Al-Amin" or The Trustworthy in his community. She believes that if someone dares to claim that he or she is the follower of Muhammad pbuh., then the first thing she or he should follow is how the Prophet manages his commitments. Don't be surprise if she also keeps track of other people commitment to her. For example, if the landlord promises to fix the sink, she will note it in her "at people" list. If the landlord forgets, she will help him to remember.
She also keeps track her schedule and projects. So, when one of her relatives ask her whether she can come to help this weekend, she can answer it quickly yes, no or propose alternative time or other person to help. She believes that undecided commitment is the second worst than a broken commitment. It burdens everybody and "Make me getting old faster", she jokes.
Also when she knows in advance that she will not be able make a commitment, she informs the other party as soon as possible. A renegotiated commitment is not a broken one. Last but not least, she never makes a commitment without saying, "God Willing, I will do that". Because, she never knows what would happens tomorrow, but God decides it.
As typical women, she likes to shop. Especially if there is something new or discounted. Therefore she likes to read offers. Each time she receive an offers, she quickly decide whether to trash it, put it in her "at reading" box to read it later or if she has interest, note in her calendar when the offer expires. Her desk is clean most of the time, so is her mind. Her friends always wonder why she could be so productive and happy with so many activities and commitments.
Of course, she also keeps the list of summary of moral codes and wisdoms from sura Al-An'aam and Al-Isra. See Remembering God above. This is her commitments to God, she does not want to forget.
She tries to keep her prayer short and on time. Even in such a short she does it in full concentration. When she stands for the prayer, she tries to imagine God in front of her, heaven on her right and hell on her left. That way she can forget whatever is going on in this temporarily world. Once she finishes her praying, she feels that she is ready for anything. When her forehead touch the ground, the gravity refreshes the blood presure in her brain. She feels humbleness in front of The Almighty.
And during the extreme winter or summer time she combines two prayers in one go. The praying time during these two extreme is totally impractical. During the extreme summer, the night prayer and early morning prayer are too close to each other giving her no time to sleep. During the extreme winter, the noon, afternoon and evening prayer are too close to each other, giving her no time to work.
For her, what she does in-between prayers that are important. Remember that to do the prayer we need to be in a clean condition? She tries to be in clean condition all the time. When she breaks this condition, such as coming from the toilet, she tries to take another abdulation as soon as possible. She believes that clean and fresh body helps to clean her mind, her acts and her talks all the time. The water on her skins reminds her that God watch her all the time on every single acts, talks and intention she makes.
Unlike typical Muslimah from Arabian countries who prefers to pray at home, she likes to go to the mosque. Except during Friday noon prayer when so many Muslim men crowd the mosque for Friday gathering. In the mosque, she often meets Muslimah from Asian countries that also likes to go to the mosque. She prays anywhere she could, at her office, at the parking or in a janitor room.
For her, charity has a broad meaning. Prophet Muhammad pbuh. once said that smile is also a charity. Charity for her means solidarity and empathy. She learns from her Online Quran Study that the Koran wants her to take cares of her relatives first before the rest of the world. In her agenda there are entries like "One month since I call my auntie in Turkey". That way she can regularly call and find out whether her relatives need her help. If she cannot helps, at least she can sooth them or ask somebody else to help.
For her solidarity starts early:
First, she should be honest on her work, so she is not a burden to the society such as the corrupts and criminals. One day she bought a discount train ticket, but can only be used after 9 a.m. Her friend ask her, why she let the 8:55 trains away? She said that she does not want God to kick her out of heaven just because of this stupid 2 Euro ticket.
Second, she should not spend money on unnecessary things and tries to re-use a lot. Remember that she tries to keep track everything, so she knows where to buy, why and when efficiently. She also shares and gives away some items she is not using for friends who need it.
Third, she keeps up with her relatives and her neighborhood whether her helps is needed. Because some people does not ask repeatedly or even asked for help when they need it.
When she goes to sleep, she prays to God that her life and her death are belonging to God. Salvation is a condition of no fears and no regrets. With this peace in her mind, she can rest and ready for another day of her life tomorrow. If there is still something in her mind, she writes it down to a paper and off her mind and tries to rest. She prays to God to grant her wealth, so she can be as rich as Khadijah, the Prophet first wife. She also asks a loving husband as handsome as the Prophet and life happily ever after during her life in this world. She has a firm believe that God will grant her wish or replace it with something better. Sweet dream.
One Year in Muslim Life
Khidr is Khadijah's older brother. Unlike his sister, he has no interest of getting rich. He chooses simple life with less commitments and devout more time at the mosque glorying God and learns the Books of older Scholar of Islam. He spent sometime in jail during his struggle with his friends to turn his country back into an Islamic State.
Because he does not like to see so much violence and hatred, he later joins a tarika. He believes peace is the true meaning of Islam and the greater jihad is to conquer our own soul. He also believes that true Islam can only be learned through scholarship and not from friends or by reading the Quran yourself, like what he did before he went to jail.
He spends some time in Syria, just to learn Islam from a knowledgeable scholar. Unlike Iran or Saudi Arabia follows only one version of Islam, Syria has both. This phenomenon is reflected in Khidr respects on what other people believes. People turn to him for help and spiritual cure. He never says no and always can see the bright side of even the worst situation.
Of much interest to us Muslims these days should be the fasting of the 9th and the 10th of Muharram. The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said about the voluntary fasting on the Day of Aashooraa: "It expiates the sins of the preceding year." (Muslim)
"The day of Aashooraa was the day when Moosa and his men got freedom from the hands of the Pharaoh and it was in the sacred memory of this great event that the Muslims observed voluntary fasting. The idea underlying this is to stress the affinity amongst the messengers of Allah and to show that religious devotion is a constant flow from one generation to another. The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) came not to abrogate all the earlier religious practices but to codify and preserve them for all times to come in ideal forms."
Prophet Muhammad pbuh. was born on 12 Rabi Al-Awaal. We can use this moment to gather and reflects of his path.
Ramadhan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Muslims consider this whole month as a blessed month. They fast during the days of this month and make special prayers at night. People also give more charity and do extra righteous deeds. Also, in this Holy Month, The Prophet Muhammad received the first revelation of Al-Qur'an. Ramadhan is the month of celebration as well as the month of discipline and self-control. Muslims always wait for the first day of Ramadhan to come.
The Night of Power is a very important occasion in Islam. Everyone is asked to live it and to enjoy it. This Night is a night of Mercy, a night of Blessing, a night of Peace and a night of Guidance. It is a night of Unification between the finite world of ours and the Infinite Universe of the Unseen.
Anyone who is interested in attaining the Mercy of Allah will strive very hard to look for the Night of Power. Anyone who is interested in receiving the blessings of Allah on the Blessed Night will work very hard to enjoy the Night of Power. Anyone who is interested in attaining peace of mind, peace of body and peace in society, he has to look for this Night and to live it.
At the conclusion of the month of Ramadhan, on the first day of the 10th month of Islamic lunar calendar, Muslims all over the world celebrate Eidul Fitr. This is one of two main festivals of Islam.
The ceremony of Eidul Fitr starts early morning with a worship service. This service is generally held in a large open place and is attended by thousands of Muslims. After the prayer, a short sermon was delivered and then the people greet each other. The rest of the ceremonies are held generally privately with families and friends.
The significance of Eid is that it is the day of thanksgiving to Allah that He gave the opportunity to Muslims to benefit from and enjoy the blessing of the month of Ramadhan.
Following the day of Hajj or Pilgrimage (9th of Thw al-Hijjah), it comes the Eidul Adha day. It begins from the 10th of the 12th month of Islamic lunar calendar. This is the second main annual festival in Islam. On this day, like on the Eidul Fitr celebration, festivities begin with a prayer service held in an open place in the morning of the first day. This prayer is usually attended by a large number of Muslims. Since this festival occurs immediately after the Day of Pilgrimage, those who go to make pilgrimage celebrate it in Mina, near Makkah. Other Muslims around the world also join with the pilgrims in their joy and thanksgiving.
One of the significances of Eidul Adha is that it is a time of sacrifice. Muslims commemorate Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice everything for Allah including his beloved son, Ismael. Since Allah gave Prophet Abraham a lamb to sacrifice instead of sacrificing his son, Muslims also offer the sacrifice of animals. The sacrifice can be done after the prayer on the 10th until 12th day of Thw al-Hijjah month before sunset. The meat of the animals is given to needy people and friends and a portion of it is also kept for one's own consumption. Often people cook this meat during holidays, make feasts and enjoy the celebration.
Khadijah and Khidr are children from Imron and Hana family. This is just a fictional story and has nothing to do with people with similar name mentioned in the Quran.
As in typical Muslim family, Imron is the bread whiner for the family and Hana is the stay at home mom. In Islam, it is the husband who should give the dowry to his bride. A dowry is normally significant financially. Therefore sometimes, it came from the male family collectively. This prevents tragic phenomenon like selective-abortion in India, where female fetus is the primary target, because in India, it is the female who should pay for the dowry.
The dowry is not considered as buying a woman because it goes directly to the bride and not to her father. This is handy when the new family face a financial difficulty, she can help. Or when she asks for a divorce, she should return the dowry. In the western world, woman sometimes face dilemma between missing her children often or miss the money. The dowry helps to ease the dilemma.
While a stay at home mom takes care the children, it does not mean that the house keeping is her responsibility. There are reports that the Prophet Muhammad pbuh. he is responsible for cleaning his cloths. In Islam, it is part of husband responsibility to support and protect his family. It is important for him to feed his family from a lawful job. He believes if his children eat food from unlawful money, the food will become part of their body and drives them to become criminals later on.
Engage and Educate
They believe that humans are social creatures. There are times when a child needs to check things out and testing the limits. But there are times when they have to respect, shares and care of each other. Imran and Hana believes that names are prayers. So, they refrain from calling bad names if their children make mistakes. For example, they keep calling Khidr as good boy (salih) or upright boy (hanif), hoping that God will grant it to be true someday.
In case of Khadijah, Imran and Hana gives a lot of things to try during her childhood. She even went for swimming and horse riding. Imran and Hana afraid that when Hana reach the age of independence, she will try those things out wildly. They want Khadijah to have enough experiences and knowledge, to deal with even the super liberal or ultra conservative environment where ever she goes later. The first will exploit an unexperienced girl, the later will deprive the girl from such experiences. Both Imran and Hana cannot predict the future, they can only prepare their children for it.
They believe education is important for both Khadijah and Khidr. Besides professional skills they learn at school, they learn social skills at home and their neighborhood. Their father also sent them to practice some financial skills at their neighbor shops. There are many skills that they cannot get from ordinary school, but important for survival. They learn Islam also from two different mosques who has different views to keep their mind open. Imran and Hana always remind them over and over, that their parents will leave someday and they have life on their own.
Freddy, a French colleague of Khadijah, asks her to marry. Imron and Hana should make a though decision, but at the end it is up to Khadijah to decide. In Islam, a boy should not marry a girl without her father permission. But, if the girl asked for independence to choose, the father should grant her. At the same time, Islam does not allow a non-Muslim to marry a Muslim girl. Therefore a background checks and re-check is a must before a Muslim marriage could take place.
After face-to-face discussion and parallel investigations, it became apparent that Freddy shares the same interest with Khadijah for a pure and simpler religion. With Imron helps, Freddy learns about Islam faiths, rituals, moral and ethics. One day, he converts to Islam by confessing the Shahada in front of an Imam and take Faisal as his new name. Finally, Imron gives his blessing to the marriage between Faisal and Khadijah.
At first, Khidr has no interest on family life, but in Islam parents should encourage and support their children to marry. Hana with the helps of the "auntie"-net (not internet), comes up with several candidates to become Khidr's wife. Khidr knows that he should follow the Prophet example to life a family life finally picks on of the girl. He was so afraid at first to take more commitments, because in Islam a marriage is super-big commitment equivalence to the commitment of the prophets to their God. But he trust in God and he is lucky that his wife also fully trust in God and at him. She has firm believes that if Khidr does not have enough wealth to supply her, God will grant him.
Before he dies, Imran wrote a will that his wealth should be divided evenly between his wife and one child that wish to take care of his wife. In Islam, if there is a will from a deceased, it will take precedent over Islamic ruling. Islam encourages parents to write their will, because parents knows better of their family situation instead of outsiders.
It turns out that both children want their mother to stay with them in rotation. Then it is up to the court to distribute the wealth. Anyway, Imron does leave much wealth. It is the spiritual skills that he teaches to their children, the most valuable inheritance possible. His family are one amongst the fortunate families who does not split and fought each other over inheritance.
Muslim World View
Muslims do not live in vacuum. There are many things happening in this world that affect their lives.
Imron goes further by explaining that the true enemy of Muslims is materialism. All of the world wars are wars of resources. The world probably will have to support 9 billion people in 50 years. The resources will be enough and war is unnecessary only if people stop their materialistic thinking. Imron told his son that he can start it with himself, then his family and then his neighbor.
Consumerism replaces all things that the local community can provide with products made by factories. This includes necessities and entertainments. This leads to two problems. First, the social breakdowns, where family and neighbor does not look for entertainments from each other any more. They became isolated and do not recognize each other anymore. This leads to frustration, drugs/alcohol abuse, domestic violence, or even suicides. Second, their increased dependence on consumer products and services drains their resources and the resources from the Third World countries more than their fair share through Globalization and Free Trade.
Imron tries to remember the story of Fir'aun (Pharaoh), Qarun (Corah) and Hamman who rules and destroys the Ancient Egypt. Today, the Multinational Company, The World Bank and the International Media rule the world. Local Governments, including the Government of United States has less and less power.
It is the Multinational Company who holds the executive power of the world, much like Fir'aun in the Ancient Egypt. They have the power to transfer their money and business in and out as reward or punishment to local governments. The local government is forced to lower their taxes to attract foreign investments. It translates to less government funding for social, education and health services, and more taxes for the worker.
The World Bank, International Monetary Funds and World Trade Organization holds the budget and legislation power, much like the super-rich Qarun in the Ancient Egypt. IMF forced local governments to free their market, let the Multinational Company to take over local banks and important companies with cheap prices and plunder the natural resources and cheap workforces. They do this by overriding local legislators and supporting dictatorial regimes.
The International Media giants holds the Educational and Yudicial powers, much like the highest-priest Hamman in the Ancient Egypt. It is no longer the parents but the television that educates our children nowadays into materialism way of thinking. It is the media who judges who is the criminals and who is the heroes today.
Imron believes that Globalization is just a disguise of a global plundering of rich countries over the Third Worlds. For example, Globalization and Free-market causes poor countries to plants and exports bananas to pay their debts instead of rice to feed their people. Globalization and Free Market will remove the ability of one country to rejects woods sold by companies who did not replant the forest. They will increase hunger and speed up draining the natural resources of the poor countries.
Imron keep saying to himself that, if he wants to fight for injustice and oppression, we should identify first the real enemy and the best way to defeat them. The best way to defeat them are by strengthening yourselves with four strategy mentioned before in Chapter 103.
2The human is indeed in loss.
- those who believe,
- do good works,
- support one another with the truth, and
- support one another with perseverance.
First, starting by turning off the television and strengthen your soul and your family against excessive life style (believe and perseverance). Second, strengthen local economy by consuming only local products and producing local necessities instead of export goods to pay government debts (good works and support one another). Third, limits global plundering by influencing the local government to redirect as much as possible local resources and profits into local people even under the pressures of the modern day Fir'aun, Qarun and Hamman (support one another with the truth).
The strategy includes seeing the world beyond its physical states. Wealth should no longer be measured by physical possession but the actual benefits of possession. Beauty should no longer be measured by physical appearance but by attitude and inner beauty. The second strategy is to remember death will certainly come, so we will seek for eternal pleasure in hereafter instead of a temporary one in this world. The third strategy is observe God's limits to avoid extremism. For example, while it is good to seek the hereafter but it does not mean you can force everybody to do the same. More information on God's limit in Islam Way of Life
Imron dreams about the old fashioned system of tribes, where each tribe have zero economic growth and self-sufficiently provide their own necessities and entertainments. These are honorable and sustainable tribes who have no desire to plunder other tribes’ resources under the pre-text of economic growth, conquering new markets or joining the world powerful nations.
Prophet Muhammad handles the trio oppressors similar to how Prophet Moses did. First, both of them defends the poor and oppressed as the just cause. Second, both of them invites the ruler into the truth and exposes lies of the magicians. Third, both of them and their follower migrates leaving the ruling power crumbles, without direct confrontation. Fourth, both of them build and lead a powerful and prosperous nation.
Imran may let the capitalism and materialism works to produce nice things in this world, on the second thought. Spirituality may give direction, limits and harmony to reduce the bad effects of capitalism and materialism. It is similar to controlling fire or water. You can use it for your own benefits but also it can drown or burn you as well.