Archives

Why is Salaat (five times obligatory prayer) so important for a Muslim?

In Surah Maryam Ayahs 58 & 59 Allah Subhanuhu wa Taala says that He selected prophets and messengers among the children of Adam and among the generations of Noah, Abraham and Israel and blessed them; and when these Apostles received the revelations of Allah they bowed down in prostration to Him and cried in submission to their Lord. But after them, came more generations of people who stopped praying completely or did not observe the timings of their prayers, nor were they regular in their prayers, or when they prayed they did so half-heartedly and paid no attention to it, and continued to follow their own carnal desires. For such people there is a bad outcome awaiting them in the Hereafter, unless they repent and establish Salat and follow the right path.

أُوْلَئِكَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ مِن ذُرِّيَّةِ آدَمَ وَمِمَّنْ حَمَلْنَا مَعَ نُوحٍ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّةِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْرَائِيلَ وَمِمَّنْ هَدَيْنَا وَاجْتَبَيْنَا إِذَا تُتْلَى عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُ الرَّحْمَن oخَرُّوا سُجَّدًا وَبُكِيًّا
oفَخَلَفَ مِن بَعْدِهِمْ خَلْفٌ أَضَاعُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَاتَّبَعُوا الشَّهَوَاتِ فَسَوْفَ يَلْقَوْنَ غَيًّا
oإِلَّا مَن تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَأُوْلَئِكَ يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ وَلَا يُظْلَمُونَ شَيْئًا
[19:58-60]

In Surah Al-Ankaboot, Ayah 45 Allah has also given a criterion to see if our Salat is right. Allah says Salat keeps the worshipper away from immoral acts and evil deeds. So by applying this measure we can see for ourselves if our Salat is Alhamdulillah correct. If not, then we need to make improvement in the performance of our Salat to avoid the outcome predicted in Surah Maryam inshaAllah.

اتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاء وَالْمُنكَرِ وَلَذِكْرُ اللَّهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ
[29:45]

The essentials of Islam consist of the following sources of Islam in the order of priority as listed below where each is not equal to the other but flows from its preceding point. In this matrix, Salat forms part of elements 1 and 2:

1) Teachings of the Holy Quran which reinforce the fundamental principles of nature and humanity;
2) Demonstration of major obligations and prohibitions and human relationships to reinforce the fundamental principles, as personified in the Seerah of Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless and preserve him;
3) Additional enhancement such as nawafils and good deeds to reinforce the fundamental principles established through the Sunnah;
4) Agreement of majority of scholars on additional enhancement;
5) Agreement of the scholars of the Ummah on additional enhancement.

Complete Taraveeh ki Soghat PDF (Urdu)

The holy month of Ramadan is only two weeks away and millions of Muslims throughout the globe are preparing to benefit from Allah’s blessings in this month by bracing themselves to fast, recite the Holy Quran, give charity, pay the obligatory zakaat on wealth, establish Qiyam-ul-Lail (Taraveeh) at night hours and do good deeds.

For the followers of Sunni madhab in all four schools, Taraveeh prayers are offered in congregation after Isha prayers from the eve of Ramadan until the end of the blessed month. Number of rakaats varies from 8 to 12 to 20. These are, however, not obligatory. In countries where Arabic is not spoken, most Muslims who attend Taraveeh prayers in mosques are unfortunately not able to understand the meaning of the Quranic surahs recited in the Qiyam.

Mr Syed Basheeruddin Zamani, may Allah grant him Jannat al Firdous, thought about this issue and wrote thirty short essays which attempt to capture what is recited in each Taraveeh prayer progressively in the month of Ramadan. Those who have read his essays have found these very helpful in understanding the themes Quran discusses in the 114 chapters. In fact, the reading of these essays has encouraged many people to read the Quran with translation. Some have also started reading a Tafseer of their choice to understand Allah’s message with authentic Ahadith and commentaries of scholars of Ilmul Kalam.

Taraveeh ki Soghat was first published in Urdu in Karachi in January 2005. Full Urdu text of the book in PDF format is provided here for the Urdu readers. Taraveeh ki Soghat[Urdu pdf]

اللہ تعالی ھمی اپنی آخرت کی فکر کرنے کی توفیق عطا فرمائے اور اس کی کمائ کے لیے ھمیں ھر دم مستعد رکھے۔  کتاب پڑھنے کے لیے اوپر بٹن کو ٹک کریں۔

Posted by Syed Sharfuddin
London: 15 Shabaan; 21 April 2019

Reflections on Death and Journey to the Hereafter

The reality of death and questions relating to what happens after death have fascinated man in every era and generation from the Pharaohs who built impressive pyramids for themselves to live in the company of the gods to modern times when occurrence of death has multiplied manifold and the graveyards and cemeteries in our cities have become fully overcrowded. Death is an inevitable passage everyone will walk through to get to the other aside but no one has ever been able to bypass it without a single exception.

In this book Ayatul Kitab (Safar-e-Akhirat) the author Mr Syed Basheeruddin Zamani, may Allah grant him Jannat al Firdous, discusses the theme of death and life-after-death from the Islamic perspective in the light of the information given to Muslims in the Holy Quran and elaborated by Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. The book was first published in Urdu in Karachi in January 2005.

Full Urdu text of the book in PDF format is provided here for Urdu readers.

Safar_e_Akhirat_Complete_PDF (Urdu)

سب جانتے ھیں کہ موت برحق ھے اور یہ بھی گردانتے ھیں کہ موت ایک ایسا راستہ ھے جو انسان کو اس فانی زندگی سے حیات جاودانی کی طرف لے جاتا ھے۔ لیکن اس کے باوجود موت ایک ایسا موضوع ھے جو ھماری گفتگو میں سب سے کم حصہ پاتا ھے اور جہاں تک قبر کے احوال یا ما بعد الموت کے مراحل کا تعلق ھے اس کے بارے میں ویسے بھی ھمیں بہت کم علم دیا گیا ھے اور جو دیا گیا ھے وہ بھی ھم جاننے کی کوشش نہیں کرتے ھیں۔ سید بشیر الدین صاحب نے اس کتاب میں اردو قارئین کے لیے بہت سادہ الفاظ میں اس موضوع پر قرآن اور سنت کی روشنی میں دل لبھادینے والی اور نصیحت سے بھر پور بحث کی ھے تاکہ ھر فرد جو اس دنیا سے ایک دن کوچ کرنے والا ھے وہ موت کی حقیقت سے روشناس ھو جائے اور  آخرت کی کمائ کرکے اپنی آنے والی ابدی زندگی سنوار لے۔ دیکھئے کتنی عجیب بات ھے کہ اس کتاب کے مصنف جنہوں نے یہ کتاب ۲۰۰۵ میں رقم کی تھی وہ ۲۰۱۹ میں پوری تیاری و رضا کے ساتھ اپنے رب سے جا ملے۔ اللہ تعالی ھمیں بھی اپنی آخرت کی فکر کرنے کی توفیق عطا فرمائے اور اس کی کمائ کے لیے ھمیں ھر دم مستعد رکھے۔
کتاب پڑھنے کے لیے اوپر بٹن کو ٹک کریں۔

اللهم إنا نسألك
توبة قبل الموت
و شهادة عند الموت
و المغفرة بعد الموت
و صلى الله عليه وسلم وبارك على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين
امين يارب العالمين

Posted by Syed Sharfuddin
London: 17 April 2019

Journey to the Holy Land

In this spiritual travelogue of the Muslim Holy Land, the author Mr Syed Basheerudin Zamani takes the reader into his personal experience of the journey performed by him to Egypt, the land of the ancient Pharaohs and Moses, and his visit to Harmain Sharifain, the two holiest sites in Islam. It is an interesting travel account by any literary yardstick in the author’s mother tongue Urdu.

Credits for the work are due to many officers of the Pakistan Foreign Office for their generous hospitality and guidance who were posted in Cairo and Jeddah circa 2002, notably Ambassador Anwar Kamal and the Late Tahir Iqbal Butt, Consul General in Jeddah. Credits are also due to Syed Zeeshan Alam Shazli for composing and editing the book which was first printed in Karachi in 2003.

Click here

Content posted by: Syed Sharfuddin

Zalikal Kitab

By: Syed Basheeruddin-Zamani

A review of the major Themes and Guidance contained in the Holy Quran in an easy to follow commentary in Urdu language. Originally published in Karachi, Pakistan, in hard copy in 1997 by Syed Basheeruddin-Zamani (RA).

This blog is in 4 attachments in PDF format

Download _Intro

Download_1

Download_2

Download_3

 

There is no restriction on the free circulation of the contents of the book.

اس کتاب میں سادہ اردو میں قرآن کریم سے ملنے والے ارشادات اور احکامات کی وضاحت بغیر کسی مسلک یا مکتبہ فکر کے توسط سے کرنے کی ایک ادنی کوشش کی گئی ھے۔ اگر آپ اس کتاب کو آسان پائیں یا اس سے مستفید ھوں تو مصنف مرحوم کے حق میں دعائے مغفرت فرمائیں۔ آمین
مقصد اشاعت: صدقہ جاریہ
قیمت: صفر
نوٹ: اگر کسی معاملہ میں غلطی نظر آے تو ضرور مطلع فرمائیں۔ ان شا الله نظر ثانى کی جائے گئ۔  
و ما علينا الا البلاغ المبين 

Complete Book “Quraner Sogat” in Bangla (PDF)

Quraner Sogat2

By: Syed Basheeruddin-Zamani

A review of the major Themes and Guidance contained in the Holy Quran in an easy to follow commentary in Bangla language. Originally translated from “Zalikal Kitab” published in Urdu in 1997 by Syed Basheeruddin-Zamani (RA).

Full Text is attached as PDF above.

Credits: Late Behrouze Isphanai for financing the original publication in Dhaka (now out of print) and Brother Zahid for translating text from Urdu to Bangla.

There is no restriction on the free distribution of the contents of the book.

Reflections on Innovation in Deen (Bidaa)

Syed Sharfuddin

1. What is Bidaa?
Bidaa is a thoughtless addition or removal of certain things of worship or actions from the authorised rituals of Islam, which may have good intention to start with but which have devastating impact on the Ummah in the long run. Bidaa includes everything which sounds and looks good but which is unsupported by the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. Bidaa also comprises social practices which are popular with certain Islamic communities but which are not endorsed by the majority of eminent scholars and Aimmah of Islam.

2. Is Bidaa mentioned in the Quran?
In the holy Quran, Allah Subhanuhu wa Taala mentions the position of Ahle Kitaab who unwittingly added more burden on themselves in following their deen such as introduction of the institution of monastery and the oath of celibacy for Christian priests but they could not do justice to it and failed to carry out what they had themselves innovated in their deen in good faith.

ثُمَّ قَفَّيْنَا عَلَى آثَارِهِم بِرُسُلِنَا وَقَفَّيْنَا بِعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ وَآتَيْنَاهُ الْإِنجِيلَ وَجَعَلْنَا فِي قُلُوبِ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُ رَأْفَةً وَرَحْمَةً وَرَهْبَانِيَّةً ابْتَدَعُوهَا مَا كَتَبْنَاهَا عَلَيْهِمْ إِلَّا ابْتِغَاء رِضْوَانِ اللَّهِ فَمَا رَعَوْهَا حَقَّ رِعَايَتِهَا فَآتَيْنَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْهُمْ أَجْرَهُمْ وَكَثِيرٌ مِّنْهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ
Translation: Then We sent following their footsteps Our messengers and followed [them] with Jesus, the son of Mary, and gave him the Gospel. And We placed in the hearts of those who followed him compassion and mercy and monasticism, which they innovated; We did not prescribe it for them except [that they did so] seeking the approval of Allah . But they did not observe it with due observance. So We gave the ones who believed among them their reward, but many of them are defiantly disobedient. [Surah Al-Hadeed 57:27].

Two things become clear in this verse. One that if someone wants to do additional worship and be more devotional than required, he will get its reward; but if after adding the innovation he fails to carry it out he will be considered as disobedient because he added to the original commandment and then failed to carry it out in fulfilment of his covenant with Allah.

3. How Bidaa starts?
Bidaa always starts with good intentions and positive thoughts but it’s cumulative effect on society in the long run causes confusion. After the passage of a few generations, Bidaa loses its original meaning and causes a collusion with the fundamentals of the faith itself. For instance the early inhabitants of Makkah who followed the deen of Abraham and Ishmael were monotheists. Many centuries later the wandering Arab pilgrims brought the statues of pious people from Syria and around the Arabian peninsula to the Kaaba. The placement of the statues of Laat, Manaat, Uza, and Hubul around Kaaba was meant in the beginning to remind people to do good deeds and follow the example of these good men and woman of faith. After a few more years, the message got lost in what became a meaningless tradition. The next generations of Arabs started revering these statues and took them as symbols of blessings and good luck. A few more generations down the line people raised the level of these statues to that of gods and started worshipping them. Thus a pure and clean monotheistic faith was transformed into polytheism and idol worship because of Bidaa. It took our beloved Prophet to repeat what our forefather Abraham did; to revive monotheism and remove all other false partners people had joined with God. That’s why making and keeping statues of heroes or celebrities and mounting these in prominent plazas in cities or adorning these as objects of art at home etc is not allowed in Islam. You may have all the good intentions in the world and be a hardcore monotheist but following a few generations your innovative practices will cause confusion and conflict with the basic tenets of faith. That’s what Bidaa does to society and faith in the long run.

4. Isn’t hypocrisy and non obedience to Allah greater evil than Bidaa?
Actually, the answer is No because hypocrisy and being sinful are individual acts and despite the damage they cause, these are still limited to the concerned individual. When such people die they take away with them their lifestyle and practices and their hisab is between them and God. Bidaa, on the other hand, goes beyond the concerned individuals even after they die. It affects the whole society in a major way. When a person who introduced Biaa dies, his Bidda does not die with him because it has been passed on to the society. If a person who innocently introduced a Bidda in deen was resurrected 500 or 1000 years after his death he would be absolutely gob smacked and literally shocked to find out what became of his innocent Bidaa at the hands of his great grand children. This explains how near the final hour Islam will be very different from its original spirit. We are already witnessing the signs of the end of time which are quite shocking to be honest. May Allah Taala save us all from the trap of Shaitaan and the big fitna of maloon anti-Christ, Dajjal. Ameen.

6. So shall we not organise any activity, or pray any salat or do any good deed in the modern world if it is not supported by Hadith?
Again, the answer is No. No one stops you from doing nawafil and additional good deeds or prayers or zikr but don’t advance it as a part of deen which the Ummah must follow collectively as a sign of being Muslim. As individuals, we must try to excel others in doing good deeds but let us not get too excited about forcing our community to do things which if they cannot do, they feel left out and embarrassed. And then to add insult to injury we reject their membership of our faith on grounds of being suspect or lacking in demonstration.

7. So why are we not warned against Bidaa?
We are constantly reminded by our religious leaders that Bidaa is not to be pursued in any form or action. In the Friday Sermons delivered in thousands of mosques worldwide, the Imam reads out, among other things, the following excerpt from Shahih Muslim (hadith 867) and Sunan Nisai (hadith 1579):

أَمَّا بَعْدُ فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الْحَدِيثِ كِتَابُ اللَّهِ وَخَيْرُ الْهُدَى هُدَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَشَرُّ الأُمُورِ مُحْدَثَاتُهَا، وكل بدعة ضلالة، وكل ضلالة في النار

Translation: “The best of the speech is embodied in the Book of Allah, and the best of the guidance is the guidance given by Muhammad. And the most evil affairs are their innovations; and every innovation is a misguidance and all misguidance leads to the Hellfire.

Thanks and Jazakallah for reading

The Significance of Hajj: A New Perspective

by Syed Sharfuddin

Hajj is a pagan ritual which existed even before the advent of Islam in Arabia. The circumambulation of the Kaaba was done by the tribes of Arabia long before the birth of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, whose belief system comprised a plethora of superstitions and worships of multiple gods.

Why Continue a Pagan Ritual?
When Islam was introduced to the people of Makkah, many pagan practices were outlawed, the Kaba was emptied of idols and certain cultural practices such as gambling and drinking alcohol were gradually discouraged and finally forbidden for the followers of the new religion. But the ritual of Hajj was not only retained but was made simple and compulsory for every Muslim once in his/her lifetime, subject to Halal financial means. Even in the pre-Islamic days the pagans of Makkah considered it unlawful to perform Hajj using money from stolen goods or looted property from passing caravans.

The First House of Allah
It is therefore reasonable to enquire what is so special about Hajj that it was continued in Islam and became one of the five pillars of the Muslim faith. Even in this day and age when so many things have changed, and every aspect of faith has been given a certificate of scientific backing, what is so peculiar about this worship which keeps millions of Hajis travelling to Makkah from all parts of the world and yet desiring to come back again. Here is my attempt in answering this question. Islamic belief includes the notion that the Kaaba was the first House of Allah built by Adam and rebuilt by Abraham from its foundations after its original edifice succumbed to the wear of rough weather and time.

Focus of Worship
The five pillars of Islam comprise Shahadah (declaration of faith); Salat (prayer); Zakat (payment of charity on personal wealth); Saum (fasting during the month of Ramadan); and, Hajj which is visiting Makkah and performing certain prescribed rituals in Mina, Arafat, Muzdalifa and Makkah on the specified dates of the Islamic month of Dul Hajjah every year.

Every Worship is Different
Four of these five pillars are single-focused, which means that each of these is associated with one specific aspect of worship. Shahadah is an oral declaration of faith affirmed by heart. Salat is concerned with the glorification and remembrance of Allah requiring concentration and peace of mind. Zakat is about purifying one’s wealth and fortune. Saum is a physical and mind worship about piety and denying oneself from food and water for a specific period of time.

A Complete Worship
Hajj on the other hand is a worship which involves all the individual aspects of the other four pillars in one form or another. It is about making a declaration in the form of glorification of Allah through the loud recitation of Talbiyah whose wordings are: Labbayk Allahumma labbayk (here I am, O Allah, here I am). Labbayka la shareeka laka labbayk (here I am, O Allah there is no partner with you, here I am). Innal hamda wal nemata laka wal mulk (truly, the glorification and bounty belong to you and all the land and its sovereignty is yours), la shareeka laka (there is no partner with you).

Hajj Signifies Return to Allah
Before departing for Hajj all debts must be paid, all severed relationships must be restored and a will must be drawn in the event a Haji passes away during the pilgrimage. This reinforces the relationship between Hajj and the hereafter in which a Haji prepares himself to return to Allah.

Requirements for Hajj
The requirements for performing Hajj are intention, as in any other worship; the financial means to undertake the journey to Makkah; physical strength and agility; and, looking ahead to one’s final destination after death. Hajj requires spending Halal money to travel to Makkah. Hajj involves a great deal of physical activity during the specific days of the pilgrimage. Hajj also requires full attention and concentration. Hajj has multiple attributes and is focused on the life of the hereafter both symbolically and in terms of the meaning of its various rituals.

A Different Perspective
Those lucky ones who have already had the opportunity to perform Hajj and have enjoyed this unique experience and those who intend to do so at least once in their lifetime in the coming years Insha’Allah will appreciate the association of Hajj with the various aspects of afterlife. Every act of Hajj carries a deeper symbolic meaning, as explored below.

Reminder of the Day of Judgement
Hajj is an orientation to the Day of Judgement. Everything that is done in Hajj has a significance and a deeper meaning for the afterlife.

Everyone’s Hajj is Different
People usually go to Makkah in groups. The group organisers charge their clients a fixed amount of money per person for their travel, boarding and lodging during Hajj. Each member of the group receives the same hospitality and same facilities. Yet the Hajj experience of each Haji is different. This will be the same on the Day of Judgement. There will be tribes and communities who would have come from same traditions and similar lifestyles and yet the destiny of each individual will be different on Judgement Day. This will include family members who enjoyed the same comforts and shared the same tragedies, ate the same food and spent time together in the same company. Yet the outcome for each person will be different.

Jannah has Different Levels
Those who will go to Jannah will receive different gradings and allocation for their eternal abode. Some will be allotted secure mansions. Others will have penthouses and high rise apartments as their residences.

Jahannam has Different Levels
Those who will be sent to Jahannam (hellfire) will also receive different levels of punishment.

Hajj is by Invitation and Approval of Allah
Not everyone who goes to Hajj makes it to all stages of Hajj. Some people fall sick and are unable to stay in Mina, or travel to Arafat or perform jamarat. It is a reminder that although the journey of all mankind is toward the hereafter through the cycle of birth, death and rebirth, not everyone in the next life will be rewarded with Jannah. Even if someone thinks that he/she is following the right path, it may not be so if his faith is convoluted like the owner of the two gardens or like those who think that they are bringing justice in land but in fact they are the ones who undermine peace.

Access to Kaaba is Protected
Those of us who have frequently been to Makkah Alhamdulillah must have observed that it is not always easy to reach the inside of the Haram to view the Kaba. In fact, with increasing numbers of Hajis performing Hajj and Umrah now, it is becoming more difficult to reach Kaba easily than it was in the past years. The Haram security places barriers randomly in the Grand Mosque and blocks walkways at different times for crowd control. Pilgrims are asked to follow alternate passages to find a place to sit down or offer prayers.

In such situations any Haji who manages to reach inside the Haram without being stopped by security staff ends up directly in front of the Kaaba. Such a person is indeed lucky to have been given the honour to come that close to Allah’s House. It is like someone knowing all the passwords to a protected website where he/she can roam without any restrictions.

Gates of Jannah and Jahannam
Just as there are over 100 doors of the grand mosque in Makkah, there are reportedly 8 gates of Jannah and 7 gates of Jahannam. The people who will be assigned the various grades of heaven or hell will be processed through these gates to reach their destination.

Compare this now to an imaginary scene in the hereafter when mankind will march after resurrection to its final abode and encounter angels on duty at various barriers and checkpoints. Only those lucky ones who have been awarded Jannah will find no barrier or closures on their smooth walk to Jannah.

All mankind will walk through Siratul Jannah. Those who are not rewarded Jannah will be turned away to other routes by the Heavenly guards in order to reach their places in Jahannam

The Cost of Jannah
Hajj is an expensive worship. Similarly, Jannah is also not cheap. Commitment of Allah and his apostles requires steadfastness and patience. There are many trials and tribulations in this mortal life before Jannah can be earned.

Answer to an Awkward Question
People often wonder why certain things which have been promised in the afterlife such as luxurious living, company of women, drinking alcohol and other things of pleasure are forbidden for Muslims in this world. Hajj has an answer to this question. In the state of Ihram which is a pre-requisite of Hajj, many things which are allowed in normal daily life are forbidden such as clipping nails, shaving or cutting hair, killing an animal for food or sleeping with one’s partner. This is not because there is something intrinsically wrong with these things but it is a part of the protocol of Hajj.

As in the fasting month of Ramadan, during Hajj Muslims learn that what is forbidden in this world, whether temporarily or in the entire lifetime is a part of a Musalman’s discipline to prove that he/she is a true slave of Allah and is willing to submit his/her desires to the commandments of Allah.

Meaning of Ihram
Ihram itself is a symbol of leaving everything in the world to meet the Lord. Irrespective of the social status of a person, everyone is clad in an unstitched two-piece cloth very similar to the white shroud in the grave. Hajis usually carry a small bag on the shoulders tied to their neck where they keep their identity documents and few essential items. On the Day of Judgement each individual will also carry a scroll attached to his/her neck which will contain an account of their deeds. This parallel between Hajj and the Day of Judgement is most striking.

Similarity between Kaaba and Arsh
The Kaba attracts Muslims from all parts of the world. It is a kind of magnet which does not please a worshipper to depart even after he/she has seen and touched it personally. Every Haji who makes the final rounds of the Kaba before departure from Makkah has only one wish, which is to come back to this blessed venue again. This is how the Throne of Allah will be in Jannah. The residents of Paradise would find nothing more satisfying in their life of luxury and opulence than being closer to the Throne of Allah.

Reason for Prayers
It is said that the obligatory prayers are only for the worldly life and there will be no such requirement in Jannah because its inhabitants will get a chance to see their Lord directly. Prayers facilitate remembrance of Allah and provide the essential link between man and his Creator. A glimpse of this is observed on the plain of Arafat where Hajis are required to shorten their Zuhur and Asr prayers and offer them in one combined session after the meridian. The obligatory Maghreb prayer is not performed in Arafat and Hajis are required to move on to Muzdalifa and perform another set of shortened combined prayers for Maghreb and Isha there. This gives a glimpse of the state of affairs on the Day of Judgement which will not be the occasion to worship Allah but find out one’s result of the trials and tribulations in this mortal world and how one has fared being good to other beings, kind to animals and aware of one’s place in the universe.

The Night Stay in Muzdalifa
The sleeping over in the plain of Muzdalifa by Hajis the night after the large gathering in Arafat signifies how after death everyone will have an everlasting deep sleep six feet down under until the clarion for the resurrection has sounded. What happens in that sleep no one knows but as Hajis experience the night in Muzdalifa, those who have been tired glorifying Allah and praying for their forgiveness in the day sleep peacefully because they exhaust themselves in the remembrance of Allah. There is a sign in this ritual that if you spent your life serving and obeying Allah your death will be easy and your grave-sleep will be sweet and comfortable Insha’Allah. Those who do not sleep, spend the night praying and remembering Allah under the starry sky wondering how they will be raised when the clarion is called and hoping they will meet their Lord in a happy state.

Return to Mina
The return to Mina after Muzdalifa for two or three days signifies the wait the people of Al-Araaf will experience waiting in fear and hope for their names to be called out and learn whether they have been allocated a place in Jannah.

Stay in Mina
The stay of Hajis in Mina is a reminder to them that man’s next big gathering after life will be on a similar earth. Their walk towards Mount Arafat and gathering on 9 Dul Hajj in the plain of Arafat will be like the Day of Judgement where the sun will shine with all its might and there will be no shadow except the shadow of the Throne of Allah and everyone will be on his own, worried about his/her final destination.

Most of the time of Hajj is spent by Hajis is in Mina. They arrive in Mina on 8 Dul Hajja and after their journey to Arafat and Muzdalifa on 9 Dul Hajja, they return to Mina on 10th and stay there until 11 or 12 Dul Hajja. The days after the Udhiya are called Ayyamul Tashreeq. The one-day stay in Mina before proceeding to Arafat symbolises the wait man will experience between the day he/she dies until the Day of Resurrection; the 2 to 3-day stay in Mina during Ayyamul Tashreeq symbolises the period every human will go through from

Significance of Udhiya
The Udhiya is a symbolic commitment of the Haji to sacrifice everything for the sake of Allah and the Jamarat is to show the Haji’s deliverance from the influence of Shaitan who is man’s sworn enemy and ill-wisher. The symbolic stoning of the Shaitan using the 70 pebbles picked up the previous night from Mashar on returning from Arafat signifies the continuous war between good and evil and the effort of a Muslim to always seek the refuge of Allah against Shaitan.

Significance of Tawaf and Saee
Tawaf-e-Ifada is followed by Saee. In this worship there is a multitude of crowd but in this multitude everyone is alone. Everyone is responsible for himself. This Tawaf signifies Allah’s acceptance of Adam and Ibn Adam’s return to Paradise and granting him/her the permission to come to His throne of Majesty and Noor.

An Important Warning
After Hajj, a Haji should be extra careful about the attacks of Shaitan because he is free from all sins. Those who are not strong in their faith succumb to his attacks soon after Hajj. That’s why one finds some people still indulging in unlawful activities after returning from Hajj. Hajj is also a catalyst. It brings out the real person inside you.

A Humble Prayer
May Allah give all Muslims the opportunity to perform Hajj with its full meaning and significance and those who have already performed this great worship to have a second, third or more occasions to repeat this blessed experience and enrich their understanding of the universe and the purpose of creation, Adam’s birth and his fall from grace, the purpose Ibn Adam’s life on the earth and the final destiny of re-joining the great and glorious Allah in Paradise forever. Remember that when you make the intention to perform Hajj you should be firm in your mind that Allah will accept your Niyah and facilitate its fulfilment.

End Notes

فِيهِ آيَاتٌ بَيِّـنَاتٌ مَّقَامُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمَن دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آمِنًا وَلِلّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلاً وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ الله غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ
There are clear signs in the place whereon Abraham once stood; and whoever enters it finds inner peace. Hence, pilgrimage unto the House of Allah is an obligation from your Lord for those believers who are able to undertake it. And as for those who deny the truth – verily, Allah is free from any need in all the worlds. [Surah Al-Imran 3:97]

رَّبَّنَا إِنِّي أَسْكَنتُ مِن ذُرِّيَّتِي بِوَادٍ غَيْرِ ذِي زَرْعٍ عِندَ بَيْتِكَ الْمُحَرَّمِ رَبَّنَا لِيُقِيمُواْ الصَّلاَةَ فَاجْعَلْ أَفْئِدَةً مِّنَ النَّاسِ تَهْوِي إِلَيْهِمْ وَارْزُقْهُم مِّنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَشْكُرُونَ (14:37)
Our Lord, I have settled some of my descendants in an uncultivated valley near Your sacred House, our Lord, that they may establish prayer. So incline the hearts of believers toward them and provide for them from the fruits that they might be grateful. Surah Ibrahim 14:37].

إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِّلْعَالَمِينَ
The first Temple ever set up for mankind was indeed the one at Makkah; rich in blessing and a source of guidance for all the worlds. [Surah Aal-e-Imran 3:96].

لَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَبْتَغُواْ فَضْلاً مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ فَإِذَا أَفَضْتُم مِّنْ عَرَفَاتٍ فَاذْكُرُواْ اللّهَ عِندَ الْمَشْعَرِ الْحَرَامِ وَاذْكُرُوهُ كَمَا هَدَاكُمْ وَإِن كُنتُم مِّن قَبْلِهِ لَمِنَ الضَّآلِّينَ
You will be committing no sin if you seek to obtain any bounty from your Sustainer. And when you surge downward in multitudes from Arafat, remember God at the holy place, and remember Him as the One who guided you after you had indeed been lost on your way. [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:198].

قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
O my servants who have transgressed against your own selves, despair not of Allah’s mercy: behold, God forgives all sins – for, verily, He alone is much forgiving, a dispenser of grace. [Surah Az-Zumar 39:53].

وَأَشْرَقَتِ الْأَرْضُ بِنُورِ رَبِّهَا وَوُضِعَ الْكِتَابُ وَجِيءَ بِالنَّبِيِّينَ وَالشُّهَدَاء وَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُم بِالْحَقِّ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ
And the earth will shine with the light of its Lord, and the record (of deeds) will be placed, and the prophets and the witnesses will be brought, and it will be judged between them in truth, and they will not be wronged. [Surah Al-Zumar 39:69].

وَمَا أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَلَا أَوْلَادُكُم بِالَّتِي تُقَرِّبُكُمْ عِندَنَا زُلْفَى إِلَّا مَنْ آمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَأُوْلَئِكَ لَهُمْ جَزَاء الضِّعْفِ بِمَا عَمِلُوا وَهُمْ فِي الْغُرُفَاتِ آمِنُونَ
For, it is neither your riches nor your children that can bring you nearer to Us: only he who attains to faith and does what is right and just (comes near Allah); and multiple recompense awaits for all that they have done; and it is they who shall dwell in the secure mansions in paradise. [Surah Saba 34:37].

لَكِنِ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا رَبَّهُمْ لَهُمْ غُرَفٌ مِّن فَوْقِهَا غُرَفٌ مَّبْنِيَّةٌ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ لَا يُخْلِفُ اللَّهُ الْمِيعَادَ
Those who fear their Lord shall [in the life to come] have lofty mansions built on top of each other beneath which running waters flow: this is Allah’s promise – and Allah never fails to fulfil His promise. [Surah Al-Zumar 39:20]

وَفُرُشٍ مَّرْفُوعَةٍ
And on couches or thrones, raised high [Surah Al-Waqia 56:34].

إِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ فِي الدَّرْكِ الأَسْفَلِ مِنَ النَّارِ وَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُمْ نَصِيرًا
Verily, the hypocrites shall be in the lowest depth of the hellfire, and you will not fine anyone who could succour them. [Surah Al-Nisa 4:145].

وَمَا أَظُنُّ السَّاعَةَ قَائِمَةً وَلَئِن رُّدِدتُّ إِلَى رَبِّي لَأَجِدَنَّ خَيْرًا مِّنْهَا مُنقَلَبًا
And neither do I think that the Last Hour will ever come. But even if it came were I brought before my Sustainer, I will surely find something even better than this as my resort. [Surah Kahaf 18:38]

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ لاَ تُفْسِدُواْ فِي الأَرْضِ قَالُواْ إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُصْلِحُونَ
أَلا إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْمُفْسِدُونَ وَلَـكِن لاَّ يَشْعُرُونَ
And when it is said to them, do not cause corruption on the earth, they say, We are but reformers. Indeed, it is they who are the corrupters, but they don’t see it. [Surah Baqarah 2:10-11].

وَلَئِنْ أَذَقْنَاهُ رَحْمَةً مِّنَّا مِن بَعْدِ ضَرَّاء مَسَّتْهُ لَيَقُولَنَّ هَذَا لِي وَمَا أَظُنُّ السَّاعَةَ قَائِمَةً وَلَئِن رُّجِعْتُ إِلَى رَبِّي إِنَّ لِي عِندَهُ لَلْحُسْنَى فَلَنُنَبِّئَنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِمَا عَمِلُوا وَلَنُذِيقَنَّهُم مِّنْ عَذَابٍ غَلِيظٍ
And if We let him taste mercy from Us after an adversity which has touched him, he will surely say, “This is (due) to me, and I do not think the Hour will occur; and [even] if I should be returned to my Lord, indeed, for me there will be with Him the best.” But We will surely inform those who disbelieved about what they did, and We will surely make them taste a massive punishment. Surah Fussilat 41:50].

وَسِيقَ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا رَبَّهُمْ إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ زُمَرًا حَتَّى إِذَا جَاؤُوهَا وَفُتِحَتْ أَبْوَابُهَا وَقَالَ لَهُمْ خَزَنَتُهَا سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ طِبْتُمْ فَادْخُلُوهَا خَالِدِينَ
But those who feared their Lord will be driven to Paradise in groups until, when they reach it while its gates have been opened and its keepers say, “Peace be upon you; you have become pure; so enter it to abide eternally therein. Surah Al-Zumar 39:73.

وَسِيقَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِلَى جَهَنَّمَ زُمَرًا حَتَّى إِذَا جَاؤُوهَا فُتِحَتْ أَبْوَابُهَا وَقَالَ لَهُمْ خَزَنَتُهَا أَلَمْ يَأْتِكُمْ رُسُلٌ مِّنكُمْ يَتْلُونَ عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِ رَبِّكُمْ وَيُنذِرُونَكُمْ لِقَاء يَوْمِكُمْ هَذَا قَالُوا بَلَى وَلَكِنْ حَقَّتْ كَلِمَةُ الْعَذَابِ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ
قِيلَ ادْخُلُوا أَبْوَابَ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا فَبِئْسَ مَثْوَى الْمُتَكَبِّرِينَ .

And those who disbelieved will be driven to Hell in groups until, when they reach it, its gates are opened and its keepers will say, “Did there not come to you messengers from yourselves, reciting to you the verses of your Lord and warning you of the meeting of this Day of yours?” They will say, “Yes, but the word of punishment has come into effect upon the disbelievers. [To them] it will be said, “Enter the gates of Hell to abide eternally therein, and wretched is the residence of the arrogant. [Surah Al-Zumar: 39:71-72].

أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَن يُتْرَكُوا أَن يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ
Do people think that if they say ‘we have embraced the faith’, they will be left to themselves, and will not be put to a test? [Surah Al-Ankaboot 29:2].

الْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَّعْلُومَاتٌ فَمَن فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ فَلاَ رَفَثَ وَلاَ فُسُوقَ وَلاَ جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ وَمَا تَفْعَلُواْ مِنْ خَيْرٍ يَعْلَمْهُ اللّهُ وَتَزَوَّدُواْ فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُونِ يَا أُوْلِي الأَلْبَابِ
Hajj is (during) well-known months, so whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein (by entering the state of Ihram), there is (to be for him) no lewd speech, no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj. And whatever good you do – Allah knows it. And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allah. And fear Me, O you of understanding. [Surah Al Baqarah 2:197].

وَكُلَّ إِنسَانٍ أَلْزَمْنَاهُ طَآئِرَهُ فِي عُنُقِهِ وَنُخْرِجُ لَهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ كِتَابًا يَلْقَاهُ مَنشُورًا
And every human being’s destiny have We tied to his neck; and on the Day of Resurrection We shall bring forth for him a record which he will find wide open. [Surah Al-Isra: 17:13].

الَّذِينَ يَحْمِلُونَ الْعَرْشَ وَمَنْ حَوْلَهُ يُسَبِّحُونَ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّهِمْ وَيُؤْمِنُونَ بِهِ وَيَسْتَغْفِرُونَ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا رَبَّنَا وَسِعْتَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ رَّحْمَةً وَعِلْمًا فَاغْفِرْ لِلَّذِينَ تَابُوا وَاتَّبَعُوا سَبِيلَكَ وَقِهِمْ عَذَابَ الْجَحِيمِ
Those (angels) who carry the Throne and those around it exalt Allah with praise of their Lord and believe in Him and ask forgiveness for those who have believed, saying ‘Our Lord, You have encompassed all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who have repented and followed Your way and protect them from the punishment of Hellfire’. [Surah Al-Ghafir 40:7].

وَبَيْنَهُمَا حِجَابٌ وَعَلَى الأَعْرَافِ رِجَالٌ يَعْرِفُونَ كُلاًّ بِسِيمَاهُمْ وَنَادَوْاْ أَصْحَابَ الْجَنَّةِ أَن سَلاَمٌ عَلَيْكُمْ لَمْ يَدْخُلُوهَا وَهُمْ يَطْمَعُونَ
And there will be persons who (in life) were endowed with the ability to distinguish right from wrong, recognising each by its mark (but were indifferent). And they will call out unto the inmates of paradise, ‘Peace be upon you!’. They would not have entered it (Jannah) themselves, but would long (for it). [Surah Al A’raf 7:46].

يَوْمَ تُبَدَّلُ الأَرْضُ غَيْرَ الأَرْضِ وَالسَّمَاوَاتُ وَبَرَزُواْ للّهِ الْوَاحِدِ الْقَهَّارِ
On that Day the earth will be replaced by another earth, and the heavens (as well), and all creatures will come out before Allah, the One, the Prevailing. [Surah Ibrahim 14:48].

وَإِمَّا يَنزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللّهِ إِنَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
And if it should happen that a prompting from Satan stirs thee up [to blind anger], [164] seek refuge with God: behold, He is all-hearing, all-knowing. [Surah Al Araaf 7:200].

إِنَّ الصَّفَا وَالْمَرْوَةَ مِن شَعَآئِرِ اللّهِ فَمَنْ حَجَّ الْبَيْتَ أَوِ اعْتَمَرَ فَلاَ جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِ أَن يَطَّوَّفَ بِهِمَا وَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَإِنَّ اللّهَ شَاكِرٌ عَلِيمٌ
Indeed, Safa and Marwah are among the symbols of Allah. So whoever makes Hajj to the House or performs Umrah, there is no blame upon him for walking between them. And whoever volunteers to do good, then indeed Allah is appreciative and Knowing. [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:158].

وَكُلُّهُمْ آتِيهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فَرْدًا
And everyone will appear before Him alone on Resurrection Day [Surah Maryam 19:95].

أَلَّا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَى
No bearer of burdens shall be made to bear another person’s burden [Surah An-Najm 53:38].

فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا
And how man is inspired by wickedness and righteousness. [Surah As-Shams 91:8].

وَأَوْفُواْ بِعَهْدِ اللّهِ إِذَا عَاهَدتُّمْ وَلاَ تَنقُضُواْ الأَيْمَانَ بَعْدَ تَوْكِيدِهَا وَقَدْ جَعَلْتُمُ اللّهَ عَلَيْكُمْ كَفِيلاً إِنَّ اللّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَفْعَلُونَ
And be true to your bond with Allah whenever you bind yourselves by a pledge, and do not break oaths after having [freely] confirmed them and having called upon Allah to be witness to your good faith: indeed, Allah knows all that you do. [Surah Al-Nahl 16:92].

Does Islam have Enemies.

Syed Sharfuddin

Disclaimer. This article is a reaction to a fake and anonymous chain letter which was received in March 2018 though second class UK post by several members of the public, including British Muslims which said “April 3 would be “Punish a Muslim Day,” and points would be awarded for acts of violence: 25 points for pulling off a woman’s head scarf, 500 points for murdering a Muslim and 1,000 for bombing a mosque.” This article does not in any way consider Jews, Christians and persons or other faith or no faith as enemies of Islam. However, it identifies the radical elements within these communities as the enemies of Islam who openly hurl abuses against Islam and Muslims and do not have any respect for the Quran and the prophet of Islam.

The mega popularity of an individual, country or religion automatically generates controversy and in the process produces its critics and enemies. Having critics is in fact a positive thing because critics hold a mirror to the principals and show them a way to correct and adjust to what is acceptable behaviour in society. However, having enemies is a different ball game altogether, because enmities are created from jealousy and their main object is to destroy the fame on which the principal stands or to undo it in such a way that it falls from grace and is unable to stand on its own ever again.

Going by this definition, Islam as a popular and living religion also has its enemies. These enemies consist of two groups. One group is internal which, because of its lack of knowledge of Islam and harmful actions, undermines the very religion its seeks to promote foolishly. The other group is external, mainly comprising non-Muslims which does not believe in diversity and cohabitation with Muslims and seeks to drown them in the sea once and for all. The victims of both these groups of enemies of Islam are ordinary Muslims who have no political or religious manifestos to implement as part of a divine plan to establish a global Khilafa or Ummah in the world. Their main preoccupation is to work hard for themselves and their families, be good to others and stick to their roots and identity. In Europe and the US, the emerging Far Right groups are stirring this unsettled pot further to drive out the Muslim communities from their societies by reverse migration or reduce them into ghetto communities by scare mongering and intimidation.

So who is the enemy of Islam? Apart from the fire-born devil Shaitan who is mankind’s biggest enemy, there is also an exclusive group of people who are the enemies of Muslims. This group comprises the extremely radical Jews who are not content with the establishment of a sovereign independent Israel to practice their religion and repent for their sins which resulted in the loss of the coveted treasures of King Solomon. Their aim is to reclaim all the lands which once belonged to the Biblical kings, judges and prophets and rule the world according to Yahweh (Jehovah), the God of Israel. In doing so, they earnestly believe they are fulfilling a biblical prophecy.

Why is this enmity? The ultra-right Jewish radicals see Islam as the only credible obstacle to achieving their aim because it is the fastest growing religion today. With a decline in Jewish and Christian populations, they worry that the law of demographics will favour Muslims in the coming years and might prevent their mission of ruling the world to seek the pleasure of the God of Israel. They are as much politically motivated to implement this objective as they are religiously committed to see it through within a couple of generations.

Where are they based? These radical Jews live not only in Israel but also in the United States and Europe. They are enemies of Islam for a good reason. It was Islam which acclaimed their apostles, their holy places and their religious icons. It was Islam which said that the Torah had been corrupted by rabbis which necessitated the arrival of Jesus who give a New Testament to the Scripture of Moses. They call Islam a fake religion and a cut and paste faith because everything they find in Islam is already in Judaism and Christianity. But Islam is not tailored to their wishes. In fact, it says the Jews were the chosen people but because they disobeyed and rejected Allah’s commandments they were exiled from the holy land. Yahweh took away their special status from them and gave it to the children of Ismail who were the new Jews, named Muslims. So it is mainly family rivalry, jealousy and the fear of losing their religious heritage which makes them the enemies of Islam. But underlying this jealousy is also the fear that Islam has the motivation, power and capacity to defeat them if there is ever a show of power play.

Who else is with the Enemy? Not every Jew falls in the category of Islam’s enemy just as not every Jew is bothered about Israel or the prophesy of prophets being fulfilled about the future. Only the radical Jews are the enemy of Muslims but for tactical reasons they have made friendship with Christian Evangelists, Neo-Conservatives and Alt-Right Groups which are against Muslims for a number of other reasons such as growing Muslim populations, higher Muslim numbers in refugee movements and the rise of mosques and practicing Muslims in Europe and the US. In this climate of fear and mistrust, the radical Jews find a fertile ground to plant their hatred of Muslims by pointing out the horrible acts of terrorism committed globally in both Muslim and non-Muslim states by people purporting to be Muslims, as well as political conflicts in Muslim lands against the occupying armed forces, and also against their governments which are seen as oppressors or vessels of foreign powers. The radical Jews have the natural advantage of claiming Jesus and the followers of Jesus on their side because of the synonymous nature of the Old and New Testaments. For tactical reasons, the radical Jews, their Jewish organisations and groups do not find Christians as a threat. In fact, they use them as facilitators to implement their grand design of dominating the resources of the world through covert hands.

What do they want? The aim of radical Jews, their client organisations and groups is to confuse and divide Muslims into radical Muslims and good Muslims. They define radical Muslim as anyone who understands Quran and practices Islam. The define good Muslims as Muslims who don’t know Islam apart from the fact that they are born in Muslim families, participate in Muslim festivals and rituals and occasionally attend prayers in a language that they do not understand. The former are called Islamists, the latter are called moderates.

How do they oppose? The opposition of radical Jews to Islam is not covert. These fellows are open and direct in calling Islam a false religion. They call the prophet of Islam a possessed person, who was a peaceful man until he became powerful and that he and his followers used power to kill non-believers. They call archangel Gabriel as a demon who told Muhammad parts of Jewish and Christian history which became stories of prophets in the Quran. They call Quran a radical book which preaches nothing but hatred of Jews and Christians and obliges Muslims to take to sword. They say Ismail was not part of the house of Abraham. He was not part of the Plan of God who chose Abraham and his offspring to go to different places and discover the land for the children of Israel. Armed with such highly provocative narrative these radical Jews hope to provoke Muslims into anger, and create a fear of Islam among the non-Muslim people, and stop its global reach and popularity. May Allah always protect us from the doubts inspired by the devil.

What is their methodology? The methodology employed by these enemies of Islam is threefold: time money and resources. The spread hatred of Islam through formal and informal channels of communication, especially social media. They have set up Anti-Islam websites and chat groups who turn out loads of hate speech against Islam under the guise of freedom of expression and opinion. But they are careful never to threaten or abuse anyone online. They use agents who know the languages and cultures of people living in the target countries. An important part of this methodology is ganging up. They don’t argue a point on one on one basis. They crowd and become a group so that the target is inundated by many and believes that he has been relying on incomplete or incorrect information and must change his views because so many people can’t be wrong.

What kind of Muslims are acceptable to them? Radical Jews have no issues with ‘cultural’ Muslims who do not know Quran and are unlikely to read it because of their busy lifestyle or lack of education or knowledge of Arabic language. A cultural Muslim is perfectly acceptable because he poses no threat to their global mission of total control and domination. Such a Muslim is always warmly welcomed; even described as a good model Muslim so that his foundation remains weak on Islam but strong in the community he engages with. The people who have the knowledge of Quran and Hadith are the main problem. They are taken for granted to be ‘extremists’ and ‘radicals’ because the radical Jews believe that the message of Quran is essentially a radical message where there is no room for moderation. To them, a Muslim who reads the Quran and follows Muhammad, peace be upon him is automatically prone to be ‘radicalised’ and become a ‘terrorist’. The radical Jews have done extensive study of the Quran and taken out of context verses which talk about war and retribution and if they have their way, they will be happy with a Muslim Quran which expunges all such verses and defangs the ‘snake’ whose bite they fear most. One popular method employed by them is to separate the Quran from Hadith; promote the former and reject the latter. After they have succeeded in convincing someone to do this, they introduce the cancelled verses (ayat-e-tanseekh) and verses which have multiple meanings (ayat-e-mutashabihat) to create doubt and confusion in the Muslim mind about the message of the Quran.

What is their final aim? The final aim of radical Jews is to create the second coming of Israel and occupy almost all the Arab lands where there are footprints of biblical prophets and archaeological sites. This makes the whole of Palestine, a great part of Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf States a target area where a greater Israel must be established to fulfil the prophesy that Yahweh will once again empower His chosen people, the children of Israel to inherit the earth.

Where do we go from here for finding a solution? The solution to counter the hatred and anti-Islam project of radical Jews joined by their like-minded Evangelists and Alt-Right groups presents a major dilemma for Muslims. Should they give up and get out of the way or resist this hard attitude with a counter-narrative of their own? If they give up, they are fulfilling their own prophesy that close to the end of times Muslims will be overpowered by Christians and Jews and the only place where they will be safe will be in Makkah and Madinah. If they resist, then they are doing the right thing to exercise their duty to defend Islam against a barrage of disinformation and the negative propaganda which is being heaped on it to misrepresent it and deform its message of peace and compassion for mankind.

How can one go about correcting Islam’s faux image? The important thing for the Muslims is to first know their internal and external enemies but not to fall in the trap of taking them on individually. They should form think tanks and join organisations which promote Islam’s message of peace and tolerance and dispel the misplaced fears that it is a threat to any faith or community. They should know that the biggest trap they can fall into is the trap of provocation and repetition of false propaganda which can work them up mentally and force them to react and fall in the category of extremism. Muslims have a tendency to use the f words and become aggressive even in conversation. That is their biggest folly. Nor should they give up and start doubting their faith and its foundations. The secret of success is: remain cool and always be reasonable.

13 March, 2018

Does Privacy Matter? The Other View

Syed Sharfuddin

(A phone rings in a room in a lighted building somewhere in a city in the middle of the night. The call is answered and a conversation follows).
Caller: Hello! Is this Gordon’s Pizza?
No sir, it’s Google’s Pizza.
Caller: Did I dial the wrong number?
No sir, Google bought the pizza company and its shops.
Caller: Oh, alright – then I’d like to place an order please.
Okay sir, do you want the usual?
Caller: The usual? You know what my usual is?
According to the caller ID sir, the last 15 times you’ve ordered a 12-slice with double-cheese, sausage, and thick crust.
Caller: Okay – that’s what I want this time too.
May I suggest that this time you order an 8-slice pizza with ricotta, arugula, and tomato instead?
Caller: No, I hate vegetables.
But your cholesterol is not good.
Caller: How do you know?
Through the subscribers’ guide. We have the results of your blood tests for the last 7 years.
Caller: Maybe so, but I don’t want the pizza you suggest – I already take medicine for high cholesterol.
But you haven’t taken the medicine regularly. 4 months ago you purchased from La Drug Network a box of only 30 tablets.
Caller: I bought more from another drugstore.
It’s not showing on your credit card sir.
Caller: I paid in cash.
But according to your bank statement you did not withdraw that much cash.
Caller: I have another source of cash.
This is not showing on your last tax form, unless you got it from an undeclared income source.
Caller: To hell with Pizza. Enough. I’m going to an island without internet, where there’s no ISP, no Wi-Fi signal and no one to spy on me.
I understand sir, but you’ll need to renew your Passport before you fly. Your passport expired 5 weeks ago.
Caller: I will complain to the authorities for intrusion of my privacy. What’s your name?
Sir I don’t have a name. I have a number – KV238509P.
Caller: Why do you have a number and not a name?
Sir I am an Android Robot programmed for Google Customer Services. I hold information about you, your family and friends from your loyalty cards and shared profiles, as well as from your FB, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, Amazon Prime, Tumbler, LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, Snapchat, Google+, Skype, Viber, Sina Weibo, VKontakte, Pinterest, Reddit, Myspace, flicker and Flixter contacts. Did I miss anything in the list sir?
(There is a loud sound of the caller falling down on the floor. The phone line is active but there is no response. The Google Pizza android calls 911 and sends an ambulance to the caller’s home for A&E assistance).

The above is a short skit meant for light entertainment. But in reality it is a scary because it means everything we do or share by way of sending or receiving a medium or by entering a chatroom is uploaded from our location in the form of audio, video and data and is archived on some unknown server in cyberspace. What we are watching, buying, selling, sharing, ordering, saying and paying is all recorded with evidence. No one can deny that it is not true because we are seeing it happen in front of our own eyes. But when the prophets of Allah came to previous nations in their time in all corners of the world to warn them about the Day of Judgement when the deeds of the everyone will be brought before him/her in the form of a replay to account for them, those people did not believe these prophets. They ridiculed the apostles and rejected the divine message except those who understood it as the word of God and said “we heard and we obeyed”.

Until a few decades ago before YouTube and videos became a common household feature, this verse from the holy Quran was hard to visualise even though every single Muslim believed it the true word of God.
الْيَوْمَ نَخْتِمُ عَلَى أَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَتُكَلِّمُنَا أَيْدِيهِمْ وَتَشْهَدُ أَرْجُلُهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ
Translation: “On that Day (of Judgement), We shall set a seal over their mouths but their hands will speak to Us, and their feet will bear witness to what they used to do (when they were living)”. [Surah Ya’Seen 36:65].

حَتَّى إِذَا مَا جَاؤُوهَا شَهِدَ عَلَيْهِمْ سَمْعُهُمْ وَأَبْصَارُهُمْ وَجُلُودُهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
وَقَالُوا لِجُلُودِهِمْ لِمَ شَهِدتُّمْ عَلَيْنَا قَالُوا أَنطَقَنَا اللَّهُ الَّذِي أَنطَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ وَهُوَ خَلَقَكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
Translation: “Till, when they come close to it, their ears, their eyes and their skins will bear witness against them, speaking of what they were doing (on earth). And they will ask their skins: ‘Why did you bear witness against us?’ These will reply: ‘God, who gives speech to all things, has given speech to us (as well) for He has created you in the first instance, and unto Him you are (now) brought back.” [Surah Fussilat 41:20-21]

It is now an open secret that a complete record of most individuals is available on government and commercial servers and those who are left out of it are being brought into the net because of the rapid digitalisation of data about property records, educational data, passports, identity cards and bank accounts. It should not be hard now, in this day and age to accept that our information is also being constantly updated on the divine servers to be presented to us when we are brought before Allah on the day of Judgement. The only saving grace is that we may not be held to account for our thoughts until we act on them, although even those are not hidden from Allah and he alone knows best.
أَلَمْ يَعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللّهَ يَعْلَمُ سِرَّهُمْ وَنَجْوَاهُمْ وَأَنَّ اللّهَ عَلاَّمُ الْغُيُوبِ
Translation: “Don’t they know that Allah knows their hidden thoughts and their private conversations, and that God knows fully all the things that are beyond the reach of human perception”? [Surah Tauba 9:78]

There is a difference between the archiving of information about citizens on government or google servers and the archiving of information about us on divine servers. While the acquisition and filing of personal data in this world is for security and commercial (advertisement) reasons, the accumulation and updating of our data which is performed by the two angels assigned to each living soul is for presenting evidence, lest a person denies the charges and claims he never did any evil deed for which he was being charged.

It is not necessary that the charge against a person will come only from Allah. It can also come from other people who may have been wronged by the person being held accountable for his deeds. In such cases when it is proved that he did wrong to another person, the aggrieved person will be given the virtues/good deeds of the aggressor as compensation. If the accused runs out of good deeds and still there are other claimants, the sins/bad deeds of the aggrieved persons, after presenting the evidence will be transferred to the account of the aggressor. No one will receive a verdict without evidence and no one will be able to say I was wrongly judged. This is the perfect justice of our Lord.

May Allah give us the understanding to be conscious that there is nothing hidden from our Creator whether we are in the company of others or in the complete privacy of the most inner sanctums of our private homes. This is because wherever we seek to hide we will carry with us our ears, eyes and skin which will testify against us before Allah. [41:22]

February 4, 2018