Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"The meaning has changed for me"

"The meaning has changed for me".... have you heard this before? I mostly hear or read this when Muslims are trying to justify celebrating holidays other than the 2 Eids. Aside from the following hadith telling us that we only celebrate Eid... just about every other holiday that is out there has some sort of pagan, religious or evil origin.

Anas (ra), a companion of prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reported that when the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) migrated from Makkah to Madinah, the people of Madinah used to have two festivals. On those two days they had carnivals and festivity. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) asked the Ansaar (the Muslims of Madinah) about it. They replied that before Islam they used to have carnivals on those two joyous days. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) told them: 'Instead of those two days, Allah has appointed two other days which are better, the days of Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha.'

Lets take Thanksgiving for example. From a very young age, Americans are duped into thinking that Thanksgiving was a day that the pilgrims and Native Americans came together for a feast. The real story goes a little something like this:

In 1637 near present day Groton, Connecticut, over 700 men, women and children of the Pequot Tribe had gathered for their annual Green Corn Festival which is our Thanksgiving celebration. In the predawn hours the sleeping Indians were surrounded by English and Dutch mercenaries who ordered them to come outside. Those who came out were shot or clubbed to death while the terrified women and children who huddled inside the longhouse were burned alive. The next day the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared "A Day Of Thanksgiving" because 700 unarmed men, women and children had been murdered.

You can read more here if you like:

So back to my point. Even if you share this information with some, they will tell you that it does not mean that to them and its all about family and food. So lets create an imaginary holiday with a similar history and see how it sounds.

Victory Day is celebrated through out La La Land. Long ago, brave fighters from La La Land rode thousands of miles on horseback to a far away land called Splovia. The LaLa soldiers were on a mission and they plundered, killed, raped and burned their way through Splovia. It was said that Splovians were evil and wicked people. The blood ran in the streets of Splovia like rivers. When the battles were over, the King of La La Land declared the mission accomplished and the first Victory day was celebrated by burning a final village of Splovians to the ground and stringing up the bodies for all to see. In modern times, Victory day is celebrated with huge feasts and red and white flags flying. Families travel long distances to see each other and even exchange Victory candles. No one really thinks too much about the murderous past of the day because its 'All about family and food'.

How about we replace La La Land with Europe and Splovia with the 'Holy Land'. Now we have the crusades. Should we celebrate that? I mean come on!!??? It isn't about a murderous rampage... its about family and food! right?

Perhaps my little scenario is far fetched, but when I do my research on most holidays it amazes me that no one cares what they are really about. I'm not saying that we have to protest non Muslim holidays, we should just avoid them and go about our lives. Why do we need to participate in these things? They either involve shirk, pagan rituals, murder or nationalism. None of which we are supposed to give a second thought.

If commercialism wants to take the Christian holidays and make them into a marketing ploy, so be it, but why would we want to support their misguided greed? Santa and the Easter Bunny want one thing from everyone... their money. I don't even understand why Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th... he was most likely born in the spring. The only reason the early Church established it in December was to appeal to the pagans of the time and make their transition easier to Christianity.

So saying that the meaning has changed for you is sort of like saying that you know better than Allah and his messenger. That you know whats best. May Allah make it easy for us all to follow the straight path.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It has been a while

So, its been a while since I wrote. I am not sure why, but when ever I thought of something to blog about I didn't really feel like writing. This may turn out to be another hodge podge of thoughts and feelings.

Have you ever gotten into a discussion with another Muslim that insists that they are taking the middle path? Their idea of the middle path can consist of not covering all the way to rejecting hadith.... Lets talk about the middle path. There was a hadith that talked about 3 men. One said I will fast all the time and never break my fast, another said, I will pray all night and not sleep and the 3rd said I will not marry woman. When the Prophet sallalahu Alayhi wa salam learned of this, he went to these men and said, I fast, but I break my fast, I pray but I also rest and I marry women. Who told you to be so extreme?

The middle path is not going to extremes that the Prophet told us not to go to. It does not mean just do what ever you want. If you take the extreme the other way you fall into not obeying any of the commands of Allah and the prophet, or just choose the ones that you like. Then we come to those who can't quite justify what they are doing unless they reject hadith for one reason or another. I know that they are fabricated Hadith out there, but the great scholars of Hadith, like Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood etc knew the science of hadith better than anyone. They knew how to classify, research and substantiate what the collected. Who are we to just come along and don't think I'll follow this one. I don't like it.

Finally, and I've said this before, you can find a ruling on the internet that makes just about anything permissible... You need to find scholars that are highly qualified that you trust. Mind you, not the ones that come up with rulings that YOU like, but the ones that give the best proof and have the most knowledge. Lets use the example of men and women shaking hands. There is a site that says this is permissible. They actually even quote the hadith that is proof that it is not, but then go onto say that if you don't fear that it will cause fitnah then it is ok. This puts the opportunity in our hands to make a ruling based on what we feel, not on what is right.

My next thought comes from revert Muslims identifying themselves as American Muslims. Yes, I am Muslim and I am American. But that does not give me any special licences to ignore the commands of Allah or the Prophet. My 'culture' or lack there of, does not make it so I can do things I should not. In fact it is a part of our test that we live as American Muslims everyday. Not that its so hard to do, but that we are tempted with thoughts that we should still do all the things that all other Americans do. We get sucked into useless holidays and celebrations. We long for what we once had... when in fact we should be happy to leave those things behind, because Allah has guided us to the truth. We have a wonderful, peaceful, happy way of life. Why do we need to try to be like the disbelievers? We all have weaknesses, and it is a struggle everyday to overcome them. Sometimes we fail. But we should make an effort to be happy with what we have and not strive for the dunya.

Another thing I hear a lot is 'I'm not Arab so why should I act like one?'. Well You shouldn't. Those things that bother you about Arab CULTURE are very similar to the things that we should avoid about American culture. They are not the same issues but it is the same concept. Unfortunately, this gives people the excuse not to follow things that they deem as Arab, but are actually just a part of Islam. For example, covering properly. People always say that they are not Arab so why dress like one? You don't have to dress like one, but you still need to follow the commands of modesty. It just so happens that an abaya or jilbab covers those requirements pretty well. It should not matter what culture you think they are from. American fashion does not fit the bill. You can take a long dress and put a long shirt under it and pants but you are most likely still showing the shape of your body. Those cute little stretchy dresses cling... helloooo. Not everything in a person's culture is bad, but we need to avoid falling into the trap that we have to stay true to our culture at all costs.

Finally, what is the deal with people freaking out about cheese? I mean really. The process used to make cheese can use certain enzymes that might be derived from an animal that was not killed in a halal way, but then we are talking about the unknown. We are not supposed to dig so deep as to try to identify the origins of the enzymes in our cheese. Ibn Taymihah gave a ruling saying that the rennet used to make cheese is permissible because the milk of the animal that had not been slaughtered properly was drunk by the companions after the battle of Iraq. In any case, even if you think you should not eat doritos or what ever else scares you, would you really yell at someone who does? I witnessed a sister get red in the face when she thought another sister was going to have a microwave pasta meal with cheese sauce. These are the same people that say that capri sun juice boxes are haram because of some flavor carrier that may of been extruded using alcohol. Who comes up with this stuff?

So, I guess this is it for now. Inshallah I didn't say anything wrong, and if I did, may Allah swt forgive me.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Help a Sister in need

Asalamu Alaikum All

One of my blogging friends has started a 'chip in' campaign to help a sister and her 5 kids. Please follow this link and read the story and give what you can.
Inshallah every little bit counts. Sometimes we just need a little boost to get us through the tough times.

Help A Sister in Need

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Abayas, black henna and what ever else comes to mind

Wow, its been quite some time since I wrote anything here. I've had little tid bits that I wanted to write about, but never got around to it. So I'll mush them all into one post.

A few months ago in my Friday class the question came up about the proper clothing for Muslim women. Now don't roll your eyes! It is a constant struggle for some of us, and something that needs to be addressed. The question was "do we have to wear an abaya?". The instructor then quoted the following ayat:

And as for women past child-bearing who do not expect wed-lock, it is no sin on them if thy discard their outer clothing in such a way as not to show their adornment. But to refrain is better for them. And Allah is the All Hearer, All Knower. 24:60

She went on to explain that this ayat tells us that when we are out of the house that we have to wear an over garment that can only be cast off when we are past the age of child bearing, but that it is better to keep it on. Now lets ask ourselves a question. if we are not wearing something abaya like, what are we casting off? If we are wearing pants and a long shirt, what is under there when we 'cast them off'? How about salwar kameez? What is under there? Now a lot of sisters will say 'I'm not Arab, why should I wear something Arab??". The truth is... if it fits the requirement of an over garment, who cares what it is called. If you want to wear a giant sheet loosely wrapped around you, go for it. But its got to cover your 'inner clothes' and it can't be tight, transparent or short. So it became clear to me that most western clothes are not appropriate for wearing out in public. I'll start to brace myself for the storm of comments that will be coming my way over this one.

So moving on... the next thing I wanted to write about is black henna. You may, or may not know that I do henna as a little side business. I recently have been getting inquiries about doing bridal henna. This past weekend I went on a bridal consultation, and the sister asked me for the 'black henna'. For those of you that do not know, there is no such thing as black henna. What people call black henna is really just black hair dye made into a paste and put on the skin. It can cause severe burns, permanent scars and health problems. I absolutely refuse to use this death paste. Usually darker skinned sisters want this done because they say that natural henna won't show up (which it will). I calmly explained that I don't do black henna and why. She said that she had it done before and nothing happened. I calmly told her that it may not burn your skin, but it is getting into your bloodstream and causing problems. She didn't care... it was her 'big day' and she wanted it to show up. She called her sister and she came over to talk to me. She said that natural henna only lasts 3 days. I showed them what I had on my own palm and said that it had been there for 7 days and it was still dark. Her sister said it again. The bride to be said perhaps we can do a test on her before the wedding to see if it shows up. I agree, and we set a date and time to do the test. Her sister keeps going on about it not lasting. At that point I said, do you realize that as a Muslim if you knowingly do something dangerous like black henna that it could be considered a sin? Blank stare. Again, she said it was her big day. And for a final time her sister said that natural henna lasted only 3 days. I finally said, perhaps we should not do this at all. You seem to think I'm lying to you about the henna on my own hand. Oh no! they said, apologies galore. We part ways, agreeing on the date of the test. The night before the test I call to confirm and she tells me that she found someone to do black henna. Sigh. After all of the warnings and even bringing up that it could be sinful, she just didn't care. I guess its best that I didn't do it... she never would have been happy.

So I guess that is it for now, I'm all blogged out. May Allah swt keep us safe and on his straight path.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Drawing Creatures that do Not Exisit

As most Muslims know, we cannot draw people or animals, unless it is for some educational purpose that we cannot avoid. This ruling is supported by the following hadiths:

While I was with Ibn 'Abbas a man came and said, "O father of 'Abbas! My sustenance is from my manual profession and I make these pictures." Ibn 'Abbas said, "I will tell you only what I heard from Allah's Apostle. I heard him saying, 'Whoever makes a picture will be punished by Allah till he puts life in it, and he will never be able to put life in it.' " Hearing this, that man heaved a sigh and his face turned pale. Ibn 'Abbas said to him, "What a pity! If you insist on making pictures I advise you to make pictures of trees and any other unanimated objects." Bukhari 3:428

Narrated by Aisha: I stuffed for the Prophet a pillow decorated with pictures (of animals) which looked like a Namruqa (i.e. a small cushion). He came and stood among the people with excitement apparent on his face. I said, "O Allah's Apostle! What is wrong?" He said, "What is this pillow?" I said, "I have prepared this pillow for you, so that you may recline on it." He said, "Don't you know that angels do not enter a house wherein there are pictures; and whoever makes a picture will be punished on the Day of Resurrection and will be asked to give life to (what he has created)?" Bukhari 4:47

It appears very clear that we should not draw things that are or were living. But what about things that never really existed? Mythical creatures? Unicorns, dragons, even cartoon characters? I was interested in the answer to this question, so I searched for the answer and found the following:


Assalamoalaikum. i know that drawing or painting human faces or animals is wrong in the eyes of Almighty, and on the day of Judgment we will be asked to blow life into it. however, the thing i would like to ask is it alright to draw or sketch dragons? because they are mythical creatures and never existed, so is it okay if we draw them? please answer in detail. Thank you.


All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. We ask Allaah to exalt his mention as well as that of his family and all his companions.

It is not permissible to draw pictures of what is thought to be one of the living creatures even if it never existed in reality, for two reasons:

1- This is because it is imitating the creation, and it is only Allaah Who has the ability to create. It is known that the reason of the prohibition of drawing pictures of living creatures is because it is imitating the creation of Allaah, as mentioned in a Qudsi narration: "And who is more unjust than he who creates like my creation [who tries to imitate my creation]." [Al-Bukhaari]. What would be the case of the one who gives himself the attribute of being able to create what never existed before?

2- Drawing pictures of living creatures is forbidden in order to prevent any forbidden means which lead to something forbidden. This is indeed a great fundamental rule in religion; when Allaah forbids something in itself, He forbids any means which may lead to it.

Allaah Knows best.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ignorance is Dangerous

Over the last few weeks the news has been full of stories of Muslims doing crazy things. I am sure I don't need to mention any of the specifically for you to know what I am talking about.

Sometimes I wish I could stop the news broadcast and just explain that these people do not represent the true Islam. That they are acting on ignorance and misguidance, and that the majority of Muslims do not hold the same twisted views as these people in the story.

Ignorance is Dangerous. This statement, while at first may seem to apply to only those who act out violently, can also apply to those ignorant to their religion who are not violent. The same ignorance that can cause someone to think they should kill themselves to destroy and enemy, can also cause someone to deny a part of Islam. So while one is more physically dangerous than the other, they both have the same emotional and mental dangers.

If you meet a Muslim who does not pray, does not fast, does not follow sunnah, but yet thinks its their place in life to tell others to do the act like they do, you have met someone who is very dangerous. There are always going to be people that struggle with their deen, but know what is right and strive to get there. Then there are those who revel in their defiance and lash out at those who are doing their best to obey their creator. They not only spread the wrong message to other Muslims, but to non Muslims as well.

What is the solution to this dangerous ignorance? Knowledge. Not the kind of knowledge that we make up ourselves to fit out desires, but the kind that we can learn from the Quran and Sunnah. May Allah guide us all.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Just a Cookie?

I recently came across this article written by Bilal Phillips. I know its long, but it is well worth reading. Sometimes things as simple as a fortune cookie can send us astray. May Allah protect us from this.

There are among mankind, people who claim knowledge of the unseen and the future. They are known by various names, among them: fortune-teller, soothsayer, foreseer, augur, magician, prognosticator, oracle, astrologer, palmist, etc. Fortune-tellers use various methods and mediums from which they claim to extract their information, among them: reading tea-leaves, drawing lines, writing numbers, palm-reading, casting horoscopes, crystal ball gazing, rattling bones, throwing sticks, etc.
Practitioners of occult arts, which claim to reveal the unseen and predict the future, can be divided into two main categories:
1. Those who have no real knowledge or secrets but depend on telling their customers about general incidences which happen to most people. They often go through a series of meaningless rituals, then make calculatedly general guesses. Some of their guesses, due to their generality, usually come true. Most people tend to remember the few predictions that come true and quickly forget the many which do not. This tendency is a result of the fact that after some time all the predictions tend to become half-forgotten thoughts in the subconscious until something happens to trigger their recall. For example, it has become a common practice in North America to publish, at the beginning of each year the various predictions of famous fortune-tellers. When a survey was taken of the various predictions for the year 1980, it was found that the most accurate fortune-teller among them was only 24% accurate in her predictions!
2. The second group are those who have made contact with the Jinn. This group is of most importance because it usually involves the grave sin of Shirk, and those involved often tend to be highly accurate in their information and thus present a real Fitnah (temptations) for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
World of the Jinn
Some people have attempted to deny the reality of the Jinn about whom the Qur'an has devoted a whole chapter, Soorah al-Jinn (72). By relying on the literal meaning of the word Jinn which comes from the verb Janna, Yajunnu: "to cover, hide or conceal", they claim that the word Jinn really refers to "clever foreigners". Others have even stated that a Jinn is a human who does not have a true mind in his head but he has a fiery nature. But, the reality is that the Jinn represent another creation of Allaah, which co-exists with man on the earth. Allaah created the Jinn before He created mankind, and He also used a different set of elements than those used for man. Allaah said: "Verily we created man from dried clay, from black putrid mud. And we created the Jinn before that from a fiery wind." (Surah al-Hijr 15:26)
They were named Jinn because they are hidden from the eyes of mankind. Iblees (Satan) is from the world of the Jinn, even though he was among the angels when they were commanded by Allaah to prostrate to Adam. When he refused to prostrate and was asked why, Allaah said: "He said, 'I am better than he is. You (Allah) created me from fire and You created him from clay!" (Surah Saad; 38:76)
'Aa'esha reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said, "The angels were created from light and the Jinn from smokeless fire." (Sahih Muslim)
Allaah also said, "And when We told the angels to prostrate to Adam, they all prostrated except Iblees. He was of the Jinn." (Surah al-Kahf, 18:50)
Therefore it is incorrect to consider him a fallen angel or the like.
The Jinn may first be divided into three broad categories in relation to their modes of existence. The Prophet (pbuh) said: "There are three types of Jinn: One type which flies in the air all the time, another type which exists as snakes and dogs, and an earthbound type which resides in one place or wanders about. " (At-Tabaree and al-Haakim)
The Jinn may be further divided into two categories in relationship to their faith: Muslims (believers) and Kaafirs (disbelievers). Allaah refers to the believing Jinn in Soorah al-Jinn as follows: "Say: It has been revealed to me that a group of Jinn listened and said, 'Verily we have heard a marvellous Qur'an. It guides unto righteousness so we have believed in it. And, we will never make partners with our Lord. He, may our Lord's glory be exalted, has not taken a wife nor a son. What the foolish ones among us used to say about Allaah is a horrible lie."(Surah al-Jinn 72:1-4)
"And there are among us Muslims and others who are unjust. Whoever accepts Islam has sought out the right path. As for those who are unjust, they will be fuel for the Hell fire." (Surah Jinn 72:14)
The disbelievers among the Jinn are referred to by various names in both Arabic and English: 'Ifreet, Shaytaan, Qareen, demons, devils, spirits, ghosts, etc. They try to misguide man in various ways. Whoever listens to them and becomes a worker for them is referred to as human Shaytaan (devil).
Allaah said: "Likewise, we have made for every Prophet an enemy, Shaytaans from among mankind and the Jinn. (Surah al-An'aam 6:112)
Every human has an individual Jinn accompanying him referred to as a Qareen (i.e. companion). This is a part of man's test in this life. The Jinn encourage his lower desires and constantly try to divert him from righteousness. The Prophet (pbuh) referred to this relationship as follows, "Everyone of you has been assigned a companion from the Jinn. " The Sahaabah asked, "Even you, O Messenger of Allaah?" And the Prophet replied, "Even me, except that Allaah has helped me against him and he has submitted. Now he only tells me to do good."(Muslim)
Prophet Sulaymaan (Solomon) was given miraculous control over the Jinn, as a sign of his prophethood. Allaah said: "And, we gathered for Sulaymaan his army from the Jinn, mankind and the birds." (Surah an-Naml 27:17) and they were all kept in order and ranks.
But this power was not given to anyone else. No one else is allowed to control the Jinn and no one can. The Prophet said, "Verily an 'Ifr-eeit from among the Jinn spat on me last night trying to break my Salaah. However Allaah let me overpower him and I wanted to tie him to one of the columns in the masjid so that you all could see him in the morning. Then, I remembered my brother Sulaymaan's prayer: 'Oh my Lord, forgive me and bestow on me a kingdom not allowed to anyone after me.' (Surah Saad 38:35) (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Man cannot gain control over the Jinn as this was a special miracle given only to Prophet Sulaymaan. In fact, contact with the Jinn in circumstances other than possession, or accident is most often made by the performance of sacrilegious acts despised and forbidden in the religion. The evil Jinn summoned in this fashion may aid their partners in sin and disbelief in God. Their goal is to draw as many others as they can into the gravest of sins, the worship of others besides or along with God.
Once contact and contract with the Jinn are made by fortune-tellers, the Jinn may inform them of certain events in the future. The Prophet (pbuh) described how the Jinn gather information about the future. He related that the Jinn were able to travel to the lower reaches of the heavens and listen in on some of the information about the future, which the angels pass among themselves. They would then return to the earth and feed the information to their human contacts.(Bukhari and Muslim) This used to happen a lot prior to the prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh) and fortune-tellers were very accurate in their information. They were able to gain positions in the royal courts and enjoyed much popularity and were even worshipped in some regions of the world.
After the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) began his mission the situation changed. Allaah had the angels guard the lower reaches of the heavens carefully, and most of the Jinn were chased away with meteors and shooting stars. Allaah described this phenomena in the following Qur'anic statement made by one of the Jinn, "We (the Jinn) had sought out the heavens but found it filled with strong guardians and meteors. We used to sit on high places in order to listen, but whoever listens now finds a flame waiting for him.."'
Allaah also said, "And We have guarded it (the heavens) from every cursed devil, except the one who is able to snatch a hearing and, he is pursued by a brightly burning flame."(Surah al-Hijr 15:17)
Ibn 'Abbaas said, "When the Prophet and a group of his companions set out for the Ukaadh market, the devils were blocked from hearing information in the heavens. Meteors were let loose on them, so they returned to their people. When their people asked what happened, they told them. Some suggested that something must have happened, so they spread out over the earth seeking the cause. Some of them came across the Prophet and his companions while they were in Salaah and they heard the Qur'an. They said to themselves that this must have been what blocked them from listening. When they returned to their people they told them, 'Verily we have heard a marvellous Qur'an. It guides unto righteousness so we believed in it. And we will never make partners with our Lord.' (Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi and Ahmad)
Thus, the Jinn could no longer gather information about the future as easily as they could before the Prophet's (pbuh) mission. Because of that, they now mix their information with many lies. The Prophet said: "They (the Jinn) would pass the information back down until it reaches the lips of a magician fortune-teller. Sometimes a meteor would overtake them before they could pass it on. If they passed it on before being struck, they would add to it a hundred lies." (Al-Bukhari and Tirmidhi)
'Aa'eshah reported that when she asked Allaah's messenger (pbuh) about fortune-tellers, he replied that they were nothing. She then mentioned that the fortune-tellers sometimes told them things, which were true. The Prophet (pbuh) said: "That is a bit of truth which the Jinn steals and cackles in the ear of his friend; but he mixes along with it a hundred lies." (al-Bukhari, Muslim)
Once while 'Umar ibn al-Khattaab was sitting, a handsome man, Sawaad Ibn Qaarib passed by him. 'Umar said: "If I'm not wrong, this person is still following his religion of pre-Islamic times or perhaps he was one of their fortune-tellers." He ordered that the man be brought to him and asked him about, what he suspected. The man replied, "I have never seen a day like this where a Muslim is faced with such accusations." 'Umar said, "Verily I am determined that you should inform me." The man then said, "I was their fortune-teller in the time of ignorance." On hearing that 'Umar asked, "Tell me about the strangest thing which your female Jinn told you." The man then said, "One day, while I was in the market, she came to me all worried and said, 'Have you not seen the Jinns in their despair after their disgrace? And their following of she-camels and their riders." 'Umar interjected, "It is true." (Al-Bukhari)
The Jinns are also able to inform their human contact of the relative future. For example, when someone comes to a fortune-teller, the fortune-teller's Jinn gets information from the man's Qareen (the jinn assigned to every human being) of what plans he had made prior to his coming. So the fortune-teller is able to tell him that he will do this or that, or go here or there. By this method, the real fortune-teller is also able to learn about a stranger's past in vivid detail. He is able to tell a total stranger of his parents' names, where he was born, the acts of his childhood, etc. The ability to vividly describe the past is one of the marks of a true fortune-teller who has made contact with the Jinn. Because the Jinn are able to traverse huge distances instantaneously, they are also able to gather huge stores of information about hidden things, lost articles and unobserved events. Proof of this ability can be found in the Qur'an, in the story about Prophet Sulaymaan and Bilqees, the Queen of Sheba. When Queen Bilqees came to see him, he asked the Jinn to bring her throne from her land. "An Ilfreet from among the Jinns said, I will bring it for you before you can get up from your place. Verily, I am strong and trustworthy for the assignment.(Surah an-Naml)
The Islamic Ruling on Fortune-telling
Because of the sacrilege and heresy involved in fortune telling, Islam has taken a very strong stance towards it. Islam opposes any form of association with those who practice fortune-telling, except to advise them to give up their forbidden practices.
Visitation of Fortune-tellers
The Prophet (pbuh) laid down principles, which clearly forbade any form of visitation of fortune-tellers. Safiyyah reported from Hafsah (wife of the Prophet) that the Prophet (pbuh) said, "The Salaah of whoever approaches a fortune-teller and asks him about anything will not be accepted for 40 days and nights."(Muslim) The punishment in this Hadeeth is for simply approaching a fortune-teller and asking him questions out of curiosity. This prohibition is further supported by Mu'aawiyah Ibn al-Hakam asSalamee's Hadeeth in which he said, "O Messenger of Allaah, verily there are some people among us who visit oracles. " The Prophet (pbuh) replied, "Do not go to them". Such a severe punishment has been assigned for only visitation because it is the first step to belief in fortune-telling. If one went there doubtful about its reality, and some of the fortune-teller's predictions come true, one will surely become a true devotee of the fortune-teller and an ardent believer in fortune-telling. The individual who approaches a fortune-teller is still obliged to make his compulsory Salaah throughout the 40 day period, even though he gets no reward from his prayers. If he abandons the Salaah all together, he has committed another major sin. This is similar to the Islamic ruling in the case of Salaah on or in stolen property, according to the majority of Jurists. They hold that whenever obligatory Salaah is performed, it produces two results under normal circumstances:
1. It removes the obligation of that prayer from the individual. 2. It earns him a reward.
If Salaah is performed on or in stolen property it removes the obligation of Salaah, but it is devoid of reward. Consequently, the Prophet forbade praying the same obligatory prayers twice.
Belief in Fortune-tellers
The Islamic ruling with regard to anyone who visits a fortune-teller believing that he knows the unseen and the future is that of Kufr (disbelief). Abu Hurayrah and al-Hasan both reported from the Prophet (pbuh) that he said, "Whosoever approaches a fortune-teller and believes what he says, has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad. Such a belief assigns to creation some of Allaah's attributes with regard to the knowledge of the unseen and the future. Consequently, it destroys Tawheed alAsmaa was-Sifaat, and represents a form of Shirk in this aspect of Tawheed.
The ruling of Kufr includes, by analogy (Qiyaas), those who read the books and writings of fortune-tellers, listen to them on the radio or watch them on the T. V., as, these are the most common means used by 20th century fortune-tellers to spread their predictions.
Allaah clearly states in al-Qur'an that no one knows the unseen besides Him. Not even the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Allaah said: With Him are the keys to the unseen and none knows it except Him alone."
Then he told the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), "Say! I have no power to bring good to myself nor avert harm but it is only as Allah wills. If it were that I knew the unseen, I would have multiplied the good and no evil would have touched me."
And he also said: "Say! None in the heavens nor the earth knows the 'unseen except Allah'."
Therefore, all the various methods used around the world by oracles, fortune-tellers, and the likes, are forbidden to Muslims.
Palm-reading, I-Ching, fortune cookies, tea leaves as well as Zodiacal signs and Bio-rhythm computer programs, all claim to inform those who believe in them about their future. However, Allaah has stated in no uncertain terms that He alone knows the future: ''Verily the knowledge of the Hour is with Allaah alone. It is He who sends down the rain and knows the contents of the wombs. No one knows what he will earn tomorrow nor in which land he will die, but Allaah is all-knowing and aware."(Surah Luqmaan 31:34)
Therefore, Muslims must take utmost care in dealing with books, magazines, newspapers as well as individuals who, in one way or another, claim knowledge of the future or the unseen. For example, when a Muslim weather-man predicts rain, snow, or other climatic conditions for tomorrow he should add the phrase, "In ShaaAllaah (If Allaah so wishes)". Likewise, when the Muslim doctor informs her patient that she will deliver a child in 9 months or on such and such a day, she should take care to add the phrase "In ShaaAllaah", as such statements are only estimations based on statistical information.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A House in Paradise

Narrated AbuUmamah: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: I guarantee a house in the surroundings of Paradise for a man who avoids quarrelling even if he were in the right, a house in the middle of Paradise for a man who avoids lying even if he were joking, and a house in the upper part of Paradise for a man who made his character good. (Book #41, Hadith #4782)
I've actually posted about this hadith before, but I'd like to revisit it.
Over the past few years that I have been Muslim (alhamdulilah), I have read numerous blogs and posted on quite a few forums. In the beginning, when I was still learning, I was a bit too harsh sometimes with the things that I said. Not that they weren't true, but the approach could have been better. After a while I learned that it was best to stay away from things that cause fitnah. I stopped reading blogs that drove me crazy, and I stopped posting on forums for the same reasons. I still enjoy reading blogs, but I have to keep away from the ones that frustrate me. I also still like reading forums, but I don't post or comment much... it just doesn't seem to make any difference or do any good. This brings me to the first part of the hadith I posted above. 'The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: I guarantee a house in the surroundings of Paradise for a man who avoids quarreling even if he were in the right'. I've had to implement this recently. I slipped back into some of the old bad habits of reading blogs that make me crazy and I've had to step back and let it go. Nothing I can so or do will change the problem, so I leave it. For the sake of Allah swt, I leave it and walk away.
Next we have the part of the hadith about lying. 'a house in the middle of Paradise for a man who avoids lying even if he were joking' I always make an effort not to lie... even if it is a joke or I'm kidding. It is a hard thing to do, as it becomes a part of human nature to kid with people, but we have to remember that a lie is a lie, and we have been warned of the consequences of lying.
And finally, the part about good character. 'and a house in the upper part of Paradise for a man who made his character good.' I think we all get tempted sometimes, when arguing, to go for the low blow. Many a time I have typed a response to someone on a blog or forum only to delete what I wrote, knowing that it is not something a good Muslim would do. Believe me, plenty of things go through my mind, but they don't leave it. I try my best not to resort to name calling, insults or outright lies to get my point across... even when I'm angry.

InshAllah we can all learn from this hadith and try to live by it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Cage

You are in a cage that you have trapped yourself in. You rattle the bars violently, screaming at your captors that you have created in your mind. As your anger grows, you begin hurling yourself against the walls of the cage... over and over again... you fall to the floor from exhaustion, drawing ragged breaths while the sweat drips from your forehead to splash on the concrete below. Moments later you are back up, and slamming against the bars once more. People on the outside of your self imposed cage watch you with concern, wincing each time you slam into the bars. Someone comes to comfort you and offer you a cool drink of water, but you slap it out of their hand and snarl like a wounded animal.
The cage.....its in your head. Your violent reactions are self imposed. Its all because you refuse to submit the religion you claim to follow.
The scenario above happens more and more. People accept Islam, but fight so hard not to follow it. They lash out at anyone who tries to help them, all the while spewing venom and hatred towards those who do submit. They would rather make up their own rules that fit their desires than follow the pure guidance of Allah and his Messenger.
When Allah perfected this deen, he didn't put loop holes, footnotes or clauses at the end.... he made it perfect for then, for now, for all time. Can anyone dare to say that Allah didn't know how the world would change when he gave us his guidance to follow? Who are we to decide to change that guidance? And worse yet, to tell others to change it too?
Islam means submission. And if you truly submit, the cage will disappear. The hatred and rage in your heart will dissolve and you will be at peace with yourself and others. Ask Allah to give you this peace. Ask him to show you the path, and if you are sincere, he will give it to you.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

May Allah Protect us....

Recently a Muslim told my husband in a blog comment response that by wearing the niqab, I, and other women, are making the statement that we support the ideology that the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden stand for. This Muslim also said that the context of the niqab had changed and it stood for a backwards, extremist ideology and should not be worn by anyone who thing terrorism is wrong.

I'll give you a moment to stop laughing....... 3...2....1...

For those of you who laughed, you understand my jaw dropping shock. I mean really... this might be this person's opinion, but where do they get this from? Fox News? Of all of the niqabis I know... none of us even remotely fit this description. It is also a very horrible blanket statement about a whole group of Muslim sisters that this person does not even know. Its kind of like turning it around and saying that sisters that do not cover at all support zina and like to sin openly.

I ask Allah to protect us from such things.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Magic in Islam

I recently heard a lecture that talked about magic in Islam. Magic is real. It is something that we have to believe is real, but we can't participate in it or be pleased with it.

Allah Subhanna Wa T'ala sent two angels as a trial. They told people that they could learn magic but that it was a trial for them and not do it. In the Quran it says:

And they followed [instead] what the devils had recited during the reign of Solomon. It was not Solomon who disbelieved, but the devils disbelieved, teaching people magic and that which was revealed to the two angels at Babylon, Hārūt and Mārūt. But the two angels do not teach anyone unless they say, "We are a trial, so do not disbelieve [by practicing magic]." And [yet] they learn from them that by which they cause separation between a man and his wife. But they do not harm anyone through it except by permission of Allāh. And the people learn what harms them and does not benefit them. But the Children of Israel certainly knew that whoever purchased the magic would not have in the Hereafter any share. And wretched is that for which they sold themselves, if they only knew. 2:102

The whole point of the lecture that I was listening to was to warn Muslims of falling into disbelief by learning about magic or being pleased with it. One of the examples that he used was the series of books about Harry Potter. Now I know that a lot of people would say that its not real (the story line) and we know it, its just for fun, but if you think about it when you read books like that you are actually pleased with magic and its effects. If you think back to each book release, hordes of children and adults alike lined up to get their copy. They would read it with a passion and be so excited to hear the next step of the young wizard. They actually root for him as the 'hero' of the series. In this way, we are becoming pleased with magic. I think the same thing applies for books like Twilight. I've never read them but from what I've heard there is a lot of magical things going on. The lecturer went on to say that watching movies with magic and playing video games with magic was just as bad. Unknowingly we are sucking ourselves in to thinking its cool.

In the end, the lecturer said that if we practice magic or are pleased with it in any way that it is pure disbelief, that it is a form of shirk. We are giving power to others that Allah. Let us all protect ourselves from this by reciting the last three surahs of the Quran:

Al Ikhlas

Say, He is Allah, who is one
Allah the eternal refuge
He neither begets or is born
Nor is there to Him any equivalent

Al Falaq

Say, I seek refuge in the Lord of daybreak
From the evil of that which He created
And from the evil of the darkness when it settles
And the evils of the blowers in knots
And from the evil of an envier when he envies

Al Naas
Say, I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind
The sovereign of mankind
The God of mankind
From the evil of the retreating whisper
Who whispers evil into the breasts of mankind
From among the Jinn and mankind