Daily Archives: November 9, 2008

One truth?

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To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have We prescribed a Law and an Open Way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single People, but (His Plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute. Q:5:48

This verse, in my opinion perhaps the most difficult verse in the entire Qur’an, indeed tells in a nutshell what belief in a Creator is and why it is so that the various believers do not come nearer to each other. The way of conduct and the open path refer to the relation between Allah swt and each individual of His creatures, but also between Allah and the entire community of men. Every person has his, her own relation with Allah, however, there also is a Scripture that not only addresses itself to the individual, but also to all those other people. Except for this Scripture Qur’an there are other scriptures, where communities other than the Islamic listen to. Therefor we may conclude: it is so simple, there is only one physical truth. Yet it is not simple, as man has received only a very limited view on this physical truth and has, however, obtained the right to make his own idea of it. So there is one truth and yet everybody has their own truth. Not is said here who precisely is correct. Not without reason Islam means peaceful surrender to God and man has received the needed tools from the Prophet, but also the option of choice. Precisely because we have only a limited view on the truth, there can never be compulsion in religion. The last Scripture the Qur’an contains the truth. Yet it may be so that other paths to this truth may be acceptable. And truly acceptable, not just second best. Allah knows truly in the end.

Then the second aspect is that discussions between believers and non-believers or otherwise-believers usually don’t lead to much result in the sense of convincing others of your being right. Islam has said: Allah decides whether a person believes and if so then what, or disbelieves. The separation of minds leads to different religious communities, but also to different individual religious views and those are usually strongly established within firm outlines. Discussions on faith therefor are not always and everywhere possible or desirable. People don’t come nearer to each other and it is better to respect that and find a common ground in earthly matters that are less far from every day’s experience.

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A few ahadith of the Prophet on signs of disbelief

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The Prophet of Islam saws has said a great deal on disbelief, its rewards in the hereafter and its symptoms. Mentioned above already we saw the major signs of disbelief like accrediting others in worship to Allah swt, or murder and violence. Here follows a first selection of the most representative and leading sayings by the Prophet on on signs of disbelief in daily life. About each of them a lot more can be added and this is done so in both the Qur’an al Karim and the ahadith. The three most obvious signs are oppression of others, committing the most clearly prohibited sins and dishonesty. Examples of oppression are not working for a living, taking and using other people’s land and property without their consent, to force others to return goods bought from someone else so as to buy your goods, or violence on the human body like mutilation or torture. Another example of oppression is slander and false accusation, avariciousness and ingratitude, especially to one’s own family, and misusing the property of those who cannot defend themselves such as minors. Examples of the most obvious sins are not only drinking, gambling and adultery, but also prostitution and selling products that are forbidden in the holy Qur’an like alcohol and pork fat. A big example of dishonesty is introducing new (or old!) customs into Islam that are not consistent with its principles. Other examples of dishonesty are trade with pre-knowledge and trade secretly apart from the regular market, selling goods without having the required expertise (‘a town dweller should not sell the goods of a desert dweller’), selling goods that not yet exist or selling goods below the agreed measure and quality. Nor is it a sign of honesty to have secret meetings between buyers or sellers away from the market: nowadays we would call it a cartel or secretive price deals. In business and private people display how much they truly fear Allah swt. In all this, Islam tries to balance rights and duties between people justly. The extent of forgiveness from others as regards the harm inflicted on them partly determines Allah’s forgiveness.

Volume 1, Book 2, Number 9:

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr:

The Prophet said, “A Muslim is the one who avoids harming Muslims with his tongue and hands. And a Muhajir (emigrant) is the one who gives up (abandons) all what Allah has forbidden.”

Volume 1, Book 2, Number 28:

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:

The Prophet said: “I was shown the Hell-fire and that the majority of its dwellers were women who were ungrateful.” It was asked, “Do they disbelieve in Allah?” (or are they ungrateful to Allah?) He replied, “They are ungrateful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors and the good (charitable deeds) done to them. If you have always been good (benevolent) to one of them and then she sees something in you (not of her liking), she will say, ‘I have never received any good from you.”

Volume 2, Book 17, Number 121:

Narrated Masruq:

We were with ‘Abdullah and he said, “When the Prophet saw the refusal of the people to accept Islam he said, “O Allah! Send (famine) years on them for (seven years) like the seven years (of famine during the time) of (Prophet) Joseph.” So famine overtook them for one year and destroyed every kind of life to such an extent that the people started eating hides, carcasses and rotten dead animals. Whenever one of them looked towards the sky, he would (imagine himself to) see smoke because of hunger. So Abu Sufyan went to the Prophet and said, “O Muhammad! You order people to obey Allah and to keep good relations with kith and kin. No doubt the people of your tribe are dying, so please pray to Allah for them.” So Allah revealed: “Then watch you For the day that The sky will bring forth a kind Of smoke Plainly visible … Verily! You will return (to disbelief) On the day when We shall seize You with a mighty grasp. (44.10-16) Ibn Masud added, “Al-Batsha (i.e. grasp) happened in the battle of Badr and no doubt smoke, Al-Batsha, Al-Lizam, and the verse of Surat Ar-Rum have all passed.

Volume 3, Book 34, Number 266:

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:

‘Ukaz, Majanna and Dhul-Majaz were market-places in the Pre-lslamic period of ignorance. When Islam came, Muslims felt that marketing there might be a sin. So, the Divine Inspiration came: “There is no harm for you to seek the bounty of your Lord (in the seasons of Hajj).” (2.198) Ibn ‘Abbas recited the Verse in this way.

Volume 3, Book 34, Number 267:

Narrated An-Nu’man bin Bashir:

The Prophet said “Both legal and illegal things are obvious, and in between them are (suspicious) doubtful matters. So who-ever forsakes those doubtful things lest he may commit a sin, will definitely avoid what is clearly illegal; and who-ever indulges in these (suspicious) doubtful things bravely, is likely to commit what is clearly illegal. Sins are Allah’s Hima (i.e. private pasture) and whoever pastures (his sheep) near it, is likely to get in it at any moment.”

Volume 3, Book 34, Number 286:

Narrated Al-Miqdam:

The Prophet said, “Nobody has ever eaten a better meal than that which one has earned by working with one’s own hands. The Prophet of Allah, David used to eat from the earnings of his manual labor.”

Volume 3, Book 34, Number 301:

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Abu Aufa:

A man displayed some goods in the market and swore by Allah that he had been offered so much for that, that which was not offered, and he said so, so as to cheat a Muslim. On that occasion the following Verse was revealed: “Verily! Those who purchase a small gain at the cost of Allah’s covenant and their oaths (They shall have no portion in the Hereafter ..etc.)’ (3.77)

Volume 3, Book 34, Number 360:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah’s Apostle said, “Do not go forward to meet the caravan (to buy from it on the way before it reaches the town). And do not urge buyers to cancel their purchases to sell them (your own goods) yourselves, and do not practice Najsh. A town dweller should not sell the goods for the desert dweller. Do not leave sheep unmilked for a long time, when they are on sale, and whoever buys such an animal has the option of returning it, after milking it, along with a Sa of dates or keeping it. it has been kept unmilked for a long period by the seller (to deceive others).

Volume 3, Book 34, Number 379:

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:

The Prophet said, “The selling of wheat for wheat is Riba (usury) except if it is handed from hand to hand and equal in amount. Similarly the selling of barley for barley, is Riba except if it is from hand to hand and equal in amount, and dates for dates is usury except if it is from hand to hand and equal in amount. (See Riba-Fadl in the glossary).

Volume 3, Book 34, Number 430:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, “Allah says, ‘I will be against three persons on the Day of Resurrection:

1. One who makes a covenant in My Name, but he proves treacherous.

2. One who sells a free person (as a slave) and eats the price,

3. And one who employs a laborer and gets the full work done by him but does not pay him his wages.’ ”

Volume 3, Book 34, Number 414:

Narrated Hisham bin ‘Urwa from his father:

who heard Aisha saying, “The Holy Verse; ‘Whoever amongst the guardians is rich, he should take no wages (from the property of the orphans) but If he is poor, let him have for himself what is just and reasonable (according to his labors)’ (4.6) was revealed concerning the guardian of the orphans who looks after them and manages favorably their financial affairs; If the guardian Is poor, he could have from It what Is just and reasonable, (according to his labors).”

Volume 3, Book 43, Number 628:

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:

The Prophet sent Mu’adh to Yemen and said, “Be afraid, from the curse of the oppressed as there is no screen between his invocation and Allah.”

Volume 3, Book 43, Number 629:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah’s Apostle said, “Whoever has oppressed another person concerning his reputation or anything else, he should beg him to forgive him before the Day of Resurrection when there will be no money (to compensate for wrong deeds), but if he has good deeds, those good deeds will be taken from him according to his oppression which he has done, and if he has no good deeds, the sins of the oppressed person will be loaded on him.”

Volume 3, Book 43, Number 634:

Narrated Salim’s father (i.e. ‘Abdullah):

The Prophet said, “Whoever takes a piece of the land of others unjustly, he will sink down the seven earths on the Day of Resurrection.”

Volume 3, Book 43, Number 637:

Narrated ‘Aisha:

The Prophet said, “The most hated person in the sight of Allah is the most quarrelsome person.”

Volume 3, Book 43, Number 639:

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr:

The Prophet said, “Whoever has (the following) four characters will be a hypocrite, and whoever has one of the following four characteristics will have one characteristic of hypocrisy until he gives it up. These are: (1 ) Whenever he talks, he tells a lie; (2) whenever he makes a promise, he breaks it; (3) whenever he makes a covenant he proves treacherous; (4) and whenever he quarrels, he behaves impudently in an evil insulting manner.” (See Hadith No. 33 Vol. 1)

Volume 3, Book 43, Number 640:

Narrated Aisha:

Hind bint ‘Utba (Abu Sufyan’s wife) came and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Abu Sufyan is a miser. Is there any harm if I spend something from his property for our children?” He said, there is no harm for you if you feed them from it justly and reasonably (with no extravagance).”

Volume 3, Book 43, Number 655:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, “When an adulterer commits illegal sexual intercourse, then he is not a believer at the time, he is doing it, and when a drinker of an alcoholic liquor drinks it, then he is not a believer at the time of drinking it, and when a thief steals, then he is not a believer at the time of stealing, and when a robber robs, and the people look at him, then he is not a believer at the time of doing robbery.

Volume 3, Book 49, Number 861:

Narrated Aisha:

Allah’s Apostle said, “If somebody innovates something which is not in harmony with the principles of our religion, that thing is rejected.”

Volume 8, Book 82, Number 840:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, “Avoid the seven great destructive sins.” They (the people!) asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! What are they?” He said, “To join partners in worship with Allah; to practice sorcery; to kill the life which Allah has forbidden except for a just cause (according to Islamic law); to eat up usury (Riba), to eat up the property of an orphan; to give one’s back to the enemy and freeing from the battle-field at the time of fighting and to accuse chaste women who never even think of anything touching chastity and are good believers.”

Volume 9, Book 83, Number 21:

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:

The Prophet said, “The most hated persons to Allah are three: (1) A person who deviates from the right conduct, i.e., an evil doer, in the Haram (sanctuaries of Mecca and Medina); (2) a person who seeks that the traditions of the Pre-lslamic Period of Ignorance, should remain in Islam (3) and a person who seeks to shed somebody’s blood without any right.”

Source: University of Southern California USC-MSA Compendium of Muslim Texts

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Signs of disbelief

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Do they exist: signs in everyday intercourse that indicate disbelief, even before grotesque acts of mischief have been committed or before the it has been acknowledged in the open? This is what Qur’an al Kerim says:

But never did a single one of the Signs of their Lord reach them, but they turned away therefrom. And now they reject the truth when it reaches them: but soon shall come to them the news of what they used to mock at. See they not how many of those before them We did destroy? Generations We had established on the earth, in strength such as We have not given to you for whom We poured out rain from the skies in abundance, and gave streams flowing beneath their (feet): yet for their sins We destroyed them and raised in their wake fresh generation. If We had sent unto thee a written (message) on parchment, so that they could touch it with their hand, the unbelievers would have been sure to say: ‘This is nothing but obvious magic!’ They say: ‘Why is not an angel sent down to him?’ If We did send down an angel, the matter would be settled at once and no respite would be granted them. Ik We had made it an angel, We should have sent him as a man. And we should certainly have caused them confusion in a matter which they have already covered with confusion. Mocked were (many) Messengers before thee; but their scoffers were hemmed in by the thing that they mocked. Say: ‘Travel through the earth and see what was the end of those who rejected Truth’. Q:6:4-11

Or lest ye should say: ‘If the Book had only been sent down to us, We should have followed its guidance better than they’. Now then hath come unto you a Clear (Sign) from your Lord and a guide and a mercy: then who could do more wrong than one who rejecteth Allah’s Signs, and turneth away therefrom? In good time shall We requite those who turn away from Our Signs, with a dreadful chastisement for their turning away. Q:6:157

The day that certain of the Signs of the Lord do come, no good will it do to a soul to believe then, if it believed not before nor earned righteousness through its Faith. Say: ‘Wait ye, we too are waiting’. Q:6:158

They say: ‘We shall not believe in thee, until thou cause a spring to gush forth for us from the earth or thou have a garden of date trees and vines and cause rivers to gush forth in their midst, carrying abundant water or thou cause the sky to fall in pieces, as thou sayest (will happen), against us, or thou bring Allah and the angels before (us) face to face. Or thou have a house adorned with gold, or thou mount a ladder right into the skies. No we shall not even believe in thy mounting until thou send down to us a book that we could read. Say: ‘Glory to my Lord! Am I aught but a man, a messenger?’ What kept men back from Belief when Guidance came to them, was nothing but this: they said ‘Has Allah sent a man to be Messenger?’ Say: ‘If there were settled, on earth, angels walking about in peace and quiet, We should certainly have sent them down from the heavens an angel for a messenger’. Say: ‘Enough is Allah for a witness between me and you: for He is well acquainted with His servants, and He sees (all). Q:17:90-96

When Our Clear Signs are rehearsed to them, the unbelievers say to those who believe: ‘Which of the two sides is best in point of position and fairer in assembly?’ Q:19:73

When Our Clear Signs are rehearsed to them, thou wilt notice a denial on the faces of the unbelievers! They nearly attack with violence those who rehearse Our Signs to them. Say ‘Shall I tell you of something worse than that? It is the Fire Allah has promised it to the Unbelievers! And evil is that destination!’ ! Q:22:72

They swore their strongest oaths by Allah that if a warner came to them, they would be more rightly guided than anyone of the nations. But when a warner came to them, it has only increased their aversion. On account of their arrogance in the land and their plotting of Evil. But the plotting of Evil will hem in only the authors thereof. Now are they but looking for the way the ancients were dealt with? But no change wilt thou find in Allah’s way: no turning off wilt thou find in Allah’s way. Do they not travel through the earth and see what was the End of those before them. Though they were superior to them in strength? Q:35:42-44

Sad. By the Qur’an, full of Admonition: but the Unbelievers in Self-glory and opposition. How many generations before them did We destroy? In the end they cried when there was no longer time for being saved! So they wonder that a Warner has come to them from among themselves! And the Unbelievers say ‘This is a sorcerer telling lies! Has he made gods into one God? Truly this is a strange thing!’ And the leaders among them go away ‘Walk ye away and remain constant to your gods! For this is truly a thing designed! We never heard of this in the last religion this is nothing but a made-up tale!’ ‘What! Has the Message been sent to him – among us?’ But they are in doubt concerning My Message! Nay, they have not yet tasted My Punishment! Or have they the Treasures of the Mercy of thy Lord, the Exalted in Power, the Grantor of Bounties without measure? Or have they the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all between? If so, let them mount up with the ropes and means (to reach that end)! Q:38:1-10

Seest thou not those that dispute concerning the Signs of Allah? How are they turned away. Those who reject the Book and the (revelations) with which We sent Our messengers, but soon shall they know. Q:40:69,70

Had We so willed, We could have shown them up to thee, and thou shouldst have known them by their marks: but surely thou wilt know them by the tone of their speech! And Allah knows all that ye do. Q:47:30

When the Hypocrites come to thee, they say ‘We bear witness that thou art indeed the Messenger of Allah’. Yea, Allah knoweth that thou art indeed His Messenger, and Allah beareth witness that the Hypocrites are indeed liars. They have made their oaths a screen (for their misdeeds): thus they obstruct (men) from the Path of Allah: truly evil are their deeds. That is because they believed, then they rejected Faith: so a seal was set on their hearts, therefore they understand not. When thou lookest at them, their bodies please thee and when they speak, thou listenest to their words. They are as pieces of timber propped up, they think that every cry is against them. They are the enemies; so beware of them. The curse of Allah be on them! How are they deluded! And when it is said to them ‘Come, the Messenger of Allah will pray for your forgiveness’, they turn aside their heads, and thou wouldst see them turning away their faces in arrogance. It is equal to them whether thou pray for their forgiveness or not. Allah will not forgive them. Truly Allah guides not rebellious transgressors. They are the ones who say ‘Spend nothing on those who are with Allah’s Messenger, till the disperse (and quit Madinah)’. But to Allah belong the treasures of the heavens and the earth; but the Hypocrites understand not. They say: ‘If we return to Madinah, surely the more honorable will expel therefrom the meaner’. But honour belongs to Allah and His Messenger, and to the Believers, but the Hypocrites know not. Q:63:1-8

Then will no intercession of intercessors profit them. Then what is the matter with them that they turn away from admonition? As if they were affrighted asses, fleeing from a lion! Forsooth, each one of them wants to be given scrolls (of revelation) spread out! By no means! But they fear not the Hereafter. Nay, this surely is an admonition: let any who will keep it in remembrance! But none will keep it in remembrance except as Allah will: He is the Lord of Righteousness and the Lord of Forgiveness. Q:74:48-56

And when it is said to them ‘Prostrate yourselves!’ They do not so. Q:77:48

Rejections of God’s signs and then ask for new ones, whether this be miracles, a new prophet or a new Scripture, is perhaps one of the most obvious examples of disbelief. Disbelief is dissatisfaction and it is not satisfied with what we possess and rejects this without a good reason as evidence. Furthermore, hidden disbelief or hypocrisy cannot be seen on a person’s forehead; it also exists within one’s own community and can only appear from conversation or behavior. Certainly the person who without justification pretends to be a believer, will not deal fairly with this, towards himself included. Loss of faith happens unnoticed, sometimes. That’s why one should be careful judging other people’s credentials. Unless beyond any doubt a desecration in the sense of committing injustice and disorder should be the case: then disbelief is self-evident.

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