Something to Reflect On

December 24, 2012

Is Christmas Really Merry?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Qur'an is my GPS @ 1:15 pm

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

December marks the end of the Gregorian year. Worldwide, December is a month that is filled with the excitement of Santa Clause, Christmas trees and rhymes of “Jingle bells and ‘Tis the season to be jolly.” People who celebrate this holiday prepare to exchange gifts and invite their families to dinners. As the snow covers the streets of North America, Europe and other countries, the shops are filled with the hustle and bustle of the preparation for December 25th. Now this celebration is crept into Muslim countries where we not only participate in such event but also equally celebrate it.

As Believers, we need to ask ourselves, what does “Christmas” really mean to us? What should it mean?

In a hadith, Rasul Allah (صلي  اللهُ عليهِ وسلم) said:

Narrated Abu Sa’id al-Khudri:

The Prophet said, “You will follow the ways of those nations who were  before you, span by span and cubit by cubit (i.e., inch by inch) so  much so that even if they entered a hole of a mastigure (lizard), you would follow them.” We (Sahabas) said, “O Allah’s Apostle! (Do you mean) the Jews and  the Christians?” He said, “Whom else?”  (Sahih Al-Bukhari) 9:422

We are reminded through this hadith, that being a Muslim calls for us to have taqwa. Taqwa is fearing Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) in all senses. In simple words, having taqwa really means to have focus. It is to be aware of that which goes around you.  Literally, taqwa is to have a shield that protects one from actions that are displeasing to Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) and are contradictory in nature of what the prescribed way is. In contrast, this involves doing all those actions that are pleasing to Allah (سبحانه وتعالى). Hence, we need to be aware of our surroundings and ensure that all our actions are in line with our saying, “La ilah Illallah” (there is no God but Allah). Ones who fear Allah  (سبحانه وتعالى) do not join the bandwagon if they see something that is not as per shariah (the ordained way).

Are We Having an Identity Crisis?

These last few years in December, I am amazed and also saddened at how we as Pakistanis and more importantly as Muslims have forgotten who we really are. Malls, shopping centers and even restaurants are filled with the coming of Santa Clause with goodie bags for the children and Christmas decorations. Stores have “Merry Christmas” and “Season’s Greetings” written all over creating a pull. It is a pull of no one else but our enemy the Shaitan.

Children are exposed to teachings of other religions which is filled with wasteful entertainment whereas they are not taught to pray. What are we thinking as an Ummah? The fact is we are not thinking and hence we are blindly following without any thought to the destination.

In the capital city of Islamabad, trees are being decorated with ornaments. This roundabout is located in the Blue Area.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Unfortunately, Muslim nations are now also buying into the capitalist theory of    commercialism. The Park Tower Mall in Karachi, has a Season’s Greeting Festival in December. The Mall is decorated with lights and glitz. People from places came in for the Festival to entertain their family and kids. This becomes a  “fun social” event and an outing for Muslim families.

The Counterargument:

We must respect other religions!

Now one can say, why make such a big deal about this matter? After all, Muslims are taught to respect others and other religions. Additionally, Pakistan is a multicultural nation and there are Christians amongst us. They celebrate our Eid with us so we should celebrate their holidays with them.

Similarly, in foreign countries we wish our fellow colleagues with Christmas greetings and we give out holiday gifts to them or attend their parties. We argue saying that  they would think Islam to be a religion that teaches self-interest and seclusion if we do not mix with them in their celebrations. Those of us who do indulge in the activities ons of Christmas further present the fact that Muslims respect Isa (عليهِ سلام) because he was our prophet also so there is no harm in our participation. Furthermore they give evidence from the Sunnah that we are to respect others whether Muslim or Non-Muslims. As per hadith we hear:

Narrated ‘Abdur Rahman bin Abi Laila: Sahl bin Hunaif and Qais bin Sad were sitting in the city of Al-Qadisiya. A funeral procession passed in front of them and they stood up. They were told that funeral procession was of one of the inhabitants of the land i.e. of a non-believer, under the protection of Muslims. They said, “A funeral procession passed in front of the Prophet (صلي  اللهُ عليهِ وسلم)  and he stood up. When he was told that it was the coffin of a Jew, he said, “Is it not a living being (soul)?” (Bukhari Book #23, Hadith #399)

But the Fact of the Matter is…

Yes, most definitely Islam teaches us goodness, piety and kindness. What it does not teach us is the compromising of our principles in deen. We simply cannot jeopardize our faith to become “acceptable.” The Muslim Ummah in general including Pakistan as a nation upholds Islamic values and beliefs. Pakistan is under the title of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and we simply cannot pursue practices that our contradictory to our basic belief of Tawheed. Hence, first and foremost, we submit to values that are aligned to our belief of Oneness of Allah (وتعالى سبحانه). Celebrating Christmas including the wishing  whether in Pakistan or elsewhere, wishing via Facebook or a phone message for the sake of others as gestures, is an act that we will have to pay a heavy price for. When we  follow the others’ ways just “to maintain good relations,” we compromise on our values and aqeedah (creed). Not only this but what is more significant is that we enter into grounds of shirk by advocating a belief that is contradictory to ours as Muslims.

Is it This Grave?

“How is it shirk?”, one may ask. When we wish another “Merry Christmas” regardless of the fact that he/she is a Christian or not, what wish are we really giving? By conveying Christmas greeting, we are actually confirming and affirming their false beliefs about Isa (عليهِ سلام) being the son of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) (Naudubillah). We are actually giving our tasdeeq (affirmation) of their saying: Allah is three, Naudubillah. We pat them on the back and say, “It is quite acceptable to say that Allah  (سبحانه وتعالى) (naudubillah) has a son and to associate partners with the Magnificent Creator. We celebrate the birth of Jesus and his existence in the capacity as you have described it and we are with you. 

We please the world by advocating the fact that we are a multicultural society and practice a deen that is accommodating of others. In essence this act falls under folds of the biggest dhulm (Injustice) which is unforgivable. Can we afford to take a chance with this to please others? Absolutely not!

What we think to be a small thing, is actually in Allah (سبحانه وتعالى)’s sight the following:

وَقَالُوا اتَّخَذَ الرَّحْمَنُ وَلَدًا88

لَقَدْ جِئْتُمْ شَيْئًا إِدًّا89

تَكَادُ السَّمَاوَاتُ يَتَفَطَّرْنَ مِنْهُ وَتَنشَقُّ الْأَرْضُ وَتَخِرُّ الْجِبَالُ هَدًّا90

أَن دَعَوْا لِلرَّحْمَنِ وَلَدًا91

وَمَا يَنبَغِي لِلرَّحْمَنِ أَن يَتَّخِذَ وَلَدًا93

“And they say the Most Merciful has taken for Himself a son. You have done an atrocious thing. The heavens almost ruptured therefrom and the earth splits open and the mountains collapse in devastation that they attribute to the Most Merciful a son. There is no one in the heavens and the earth but that he comes to the Most Merciful as a servant.”
[Al-Qur’an – Surat Maryam: 81-93]

Or in another place in the Qur’an:

يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لاَ تَغْلُواْ فِي دِينِكُمْ وَلاَ تَقُولُواْ عَلَى اللّهِ إِلاَّ الْحَقِّ إِنَّمَا الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولُ اللّهِ وَكَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقَاهَا إِلَى مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِّنْهُ فَآمِنُواْ بِاللّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَلاَ تَقُولُواْ ثَلاَثَةٌ انتَهُواْ خَيْرًا لَّكُمْ إِنَّمَا اللّهُ إِلَـهٌ وَاحِدٌ سُبْحَانَهُ أَن يَكُونَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَات وَمَا فِي الأَرْضِ وَكَفَى بِاللّهِ وَكِيلاً

“O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a Messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul created at a command from Him. So believe in Allah and His Messengers. And do not say, three, desist, it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but One God, Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the Heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.”
[Al-Qur’an: Surat An-Nissa (The Women):171]

Dr. Zakir Naik, an Islamic scholar, aptly describes this scenario as: “If someone bad mouths your mother, you will be ready to kill him. How dare this person say a word against my mother. Yet here are people who say a thing that shakes up the mountains and we smile at them and give out gifts to them. How naïve are we? More specifically, this is the response he gave to a question he was asked. “Is it alright to wish people Christmas in order to maintain good relations?” Response: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSdMesudyQ8

قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لاَ تَغْلُواْ فِي دِينِكُمْ غَيْرَ الْحَقِّ وَلاَ تَتَّبِعُواْ أَهْوَاء قَوْمٍ قَدْ ضَلُّواْ مِن قَبْلُ وَأَضَلُّواْ كَثِيرًا وَضَلُّواْ عَن سَوَاء السَّبِيلِ

“Say: “O People of the Book! Exceed not in your religion the bounds (of what is proper), trespassing beyond the truth, nor follow the vain desires of people who went wrong in times gone by, who misled many, and strayed (themselves) from the even Way.”
[Al-Qur’an – Al-Maa’idah (The TableSpread): 77]

So before we jump on the bandwagon of those who follow blindly all that comes their way, we need to stop and think. What is the destination of this ride? Is that a place where we want to end up and not be able to return from there? Merry Christmas may not seem so “merry,” when we stand in front of the blazing fire as punishment for not being more “focused,” and aware of what we used to term as “innocent” actions.KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Fatawah from Scholar

Here is what scholars say about celebrating any such event as per Islamqa.com

Praise be to Allaah.

It is not permissible to celebrate innovated festivals such as the Christmas of the Christians, or Nowrooz (Persian New Year) or Mahrajaan (Persian festival), or festivals that have been innovated by Muslims such as the Prophet’s birthday in Rabee’ al-Awwal or the Israa’ in Rajab and so on. It is not permissible to eat from that food which the Christians or Mushrikeen prepare on the occasion of their festivals. It is also not permissible to accept their invitations to join them in their celebrations of those festivals, because this encourages them and is tantamount to approving of their bid’ah, which gives the wrong idea to ignorant people and makes them think that there is nothing wrong with that. And Allaah knows best.

From Al-Lu’lu’ al-Makeen min Fataawaa Ibn Jibreen, p. 27.

Despite all the knowledge, here is what is sadly witnessed around the cities all over Pakistan…May Allah  (سبحانه وتعالى) guide us to the Straight Path and rectify our affairs. Aameen.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
K

Advertisements

November 2, 2012

It’s So Hot, I think I will Melt!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Qur'an is my GPS @ 8:59 am

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The most common topic in every household in Pakistan today is the gift of load shedding. All we talk about is how the Pakistani government (KESC) cannot solve such a simple problem, how the UPS or the generator broke and simply how terrible life is in Pakistan because of all of this.

Let’s face this reality collectively; we all know it is hot! But when we say it out loud or discuss it at never-ending lengths, does it make it any cooler than it was a second ago? We complain to others and feel better, although nothing has drastically changed in terms of the weather. We should realize that this activity is to no avail.   We waste each others’ time on a discussion that takes us away from the remembrance of Allah  (سبحانه وتعالى ). At the same time, we actually stop thinking about the comforts that we actually have and become ungrateful for the blessings.

Not so long ago, UPS or generators were unheard of. The most common form of light was merely a candle. All meals took place under that one candle which was then later used for children to study under. This is still a common scene in many households today throughout Pakistan. So those of us who are living in the luxury of ACs and UPS that turn on automatically the moment the electricity goes, have absolutely no reason to complain about the electricity situation.

    As Muslims, we are to present all our problems to Allah  (سبحانه وتعالى )  in the form of a du’a. We are supposed to invoke Allah (سبحانه وتعالى ) to make the weather easy for us to bear. The Sahabas did not go around chit chatting about how there was no water. They collectively did the Salat-ul-Istisqaa for example.

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Zaid: The Prophet (صلي  اللهُ عليهِ وسلم) went towards the Musalla and invoked Allah for rain. He faced the Qibla and wore his cloak inside out, and offered two Rakat.
(Sahih Bukhari)

Additionally, to Believers, this heat should give a complete enlightening perspective of what it would be like to even go near the Hellfire. It should be a way to connect ourselves to the condition of the Akhira as presented in the Qur’an. In the duniya, we love to talk about the heat; we do not stop to even think of what it would be like to be in the Hellfire.

I Need a Glass of Iced Water Right Now!

Today, when we are hot, we crave for water. We can easily fill our glasses up with iced cold water, gulp it down and feel comforted. In the Qur’an, Allah  (سبحانه وتعالى ) says:

وَقُلِ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكُمْ فَمَن شَاء فَلْيُؤْمِن وَمَن شَاء فَلْيَكْفُرْ إِنَّا أَعْتَدْنَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ نَارًا أَحَاطَ بِهِمْ سُرَادِقُهَا وَإِن يَسْتَغِيثُوا يُغَاثُوا بِمَاء كَالْمُهْلِ يَشْوِي الْوُجُوهَ بِئْسَ الشَّرَابُ وَسَاءتْ مُرْتَفَقًا

And say, “The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills – let him believe; and whoever wills – let him disbelieve.” Indeed, We have prepared for the wrongdoers a fire whose walls will surround them. And if they call for relief, they will be relieved with water like murky oil, which scalds [their] faces. Wretched is the drink, and evil is the resting place.
[Al-Qur’an: Surah Al-Kahf (The Cave):29]

On the other hand, imagine, can anyone drink oil when there is need of water? Most definitely not! Real thirst can only be quenched with water and no soft drink can even satisfy the need. Another ayah of the Qur’an also describes the drink of the Hellfire.

هَذَا فَلْيَذُوقُوهُ حَمِيمٌ وَغَسَّاقٌ

“This – so let them taste it – is scalding water and [foul] purulence.”
[Al-Qur’an: Surah As-Saad: 57]

Where Allah mentions the punishments, the contrast is also given. Hence, the drink of Jannah is described as:

يُطَافُ عَلَيْهِم بِكَأْسٍ مِن مَّعِينٍ

بَيْضَاء لَذَّةٍ لِّلشَّارِبِينَ

“.There will be circulated among them a cup [of wine] from a flowing spring. White and delicious to the drinker”

[Al-Qur’an:Surah As-Saffat (Those Lined Up): 45-46]

A clear choice is given and we have to decide which one to take. Following His path leads to the cool wonderful drinks, whereas denying Allah (سبحانه وتعال ) and His Messenger (صلي  اللهُ عليهِ وسلم) leads to the boiling water burning up the intestines.

The Fluctuation Problem

As this heat wave continues, we all have witnessed the fluctuation of the light. One second there is light and the next there is pitch darkness so much so that you cannot see your hand right in front of you. Let’s use this analogy to imagine crossing over the burning Hellfire on a beamlike Bridge of Siraat where the heat can be felt. The Bridge Siraat is a bridge that all have to cross no matter who they are.

Narrated Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri:

Then the bridge will be laid across Hell.” We, the companions of the Prophet said, “O Allah’s Apostle! What is the bridge?’

He said, “It is a slippery (bridge) on which there are clamps and (Hooks like) a thorny seed that is wide at one side and narrow at the other and has thorns with bent ends. Such a thorny seed is found in Najd and is called As-Sa’dan. Some of the believers will cross the bridge as quickly as the wink of an eye, some others as quick as lightning, a strong wind, fast horses or she-camels. So some will be safe without any harm; some will be safe after receiving some scratches, and some will fall down into Hell (Fire). The last person will cross by being dragged (over the bridge).”  (Translation of Sahih Bukhari: Extract from Hadith of Volume 9, Book 93, Number 532s

Our deeds will determine how much light we have on the Bridge and how quickly we are able to cross it.

For a Believer: The light will be like 1000 watts bulb, like on a cricket stadium, where each feature of the Bridge would be highlighted, the path would be crystal clear and the crossing the Bridge would be a simple exercise.

For a Disbeliever: There would be no light.

For a Hypocrite: The light would be like the current day light scenario where the light plays hide-and-seek. It will come but it will soon go for long periods. For some there would be like only a phase coming. Yet for others, it would be light but a dull light like when today when we turn on the bulb in our houses, but there is dim light and we say, “It is not coming to its full strength.”

Thanks to the current electricity scenario, we all have experienced what it is like to have the light suddenly taken away from us. We stop in our tracks. We suddenly feet intense heat. We panic. We worry about our next step. Imagine, if the next step that we take will determine whether we end up in the Hellfire or not. Keeping this thought in mind, can we still complain about light in the duniya?

So next we think about how hot it is in Pakistan, let’s also think about what it would be like to be in Eternal heat. That is where the season will not change. It will be a place where there will be no cold water and not even mango shake as we go through the hot summer here. Let’s think about how blessed each one of us is to have means like fans and ACs that relieve us of our heat. Let’s also think about the fact we can expect the light to go during the times of days so we can prepare for it. Let’s prepare for the Akhira also like we prepare for the light to go today because load shedding maybe occur on an expected time during our day, but our death will not.

:Let’s also remember this du’a and recite it often

رَبَّنَا أَتْمِمْ لَنَا نُورَنَا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا إِنَّكَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

Our Lord! Perfect for us our light and forgive us; surely You are Potent over everything.

[Al-Qur’an:  Surah At-Tahrim (The Prohibition)- Verse 8]

Additionally, let’s remember: It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness!

 

November 16, 2011

Hello world!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Qur'an is my GPS @ 11:31 am

Welcome to WordPress.com. After you read this, you should delete and write your own post, with a new title above. Or hit Add New on the left (of the admin dashboard) to start a fresh post.

Here are some suggestions for your first post.

  1. You can find new ideas for what to blog about by reading the Daily Post.
  2. Add PressThis to your browser. It creates a new blog post for you about any interesting  page you read on the web.
  3. Make some changes to this page, and then hit preview on the right. You can always preview any post or edit it before you share it to the world.

Blog at WordPress.com.