Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Women in Islam

Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood

How can anyone justify Islam's treatment of women, when it imprisons Afghans under blue shuttlecock burqas and makes Pakistani girls marry strangers against their will?

How can you respect a religion that forces women into polygamous marriages, mutilates their genitals, forbids them to drive cars and subjects them to the humiliation of "instant" divorce? In fact, none of these practices are Islamic at all.

Anyone wishing to understand Islam must first separate the religion from the cultural norms and style of a society. Female genital mutilation is still practised in certain pockets of Africa and Egypt, but viewed as an inconceivable horror by the vast majority of Muslims. Forced marriages may still take place in certain Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities, but would be anathema to Muslim women from other backgrounds.

Indeed, Islam insists on the free consent of both bride and groom, so such marriages could even be deemed illegal under religious law.

A woman forbidden from driving a car in Riyadh will cheerfully take the wheel when abroad, confident that her country's bizarre law has nothing to do with Islam. Afghan women educated before the Taliban rule know that banning girls from school is forbidden in Islam, which encourages all Muslims to seek knowledge from cradle to grave, from every source possible.

The Koran is addressed to all Muslims, and for the most part it does not differentiate between male and female. Man and woman, it says, "were created of a single soul," and are moral equals in the sight of God. Women have the right to divorce, to inherit property, to conduct business and to have access to knowledge.

Since women are under all the same obligations and rules of conduct as the men, differences emerge most strongly when it comes to pregnancy, child-bearing and rearing, menstruation and, to a certain extent, clothing.

Some of the commands are alien to Western tradition. Requirements of ritual purity may seem to restrict a woman's access to religious life, but are viewed as concessions. During menstruation or postpartum bleeding, she may not pray the ritual salah or touch the Koran and she does not have to fast; nor does she need to fast while pregnant or nursing.

The veiling of Muslim women is a more complex issue. Certainly, the Koran requires them to behave and dress modestly - but these strictures apply equally to men. Only one verse refers to the veiling of women, stating that the Prophet's wives should be behind a hijab when his male guests converse with them.

Some modernists, however, claim that this does not apply to women in general, and that the language used does not carry the textual stipulation that makes a verse obligatory. In practice, most modern Muslim women appreciate attractive and graceful clothes, but avoid dressing provocatively.

What about polygamy, which the Koran endorses up to the limit of four wives per man? The Prophet, of course, lived at a time when continual warfare produced large numbers of widows, who were left with little or no provision for themselves and their children.

In these circumstances, polygamy was encouraged as an act of charity. Needless to say, the widows were not necessarily sexy young women, but usually mothers of up to six children, who came as part of the deal.

Polygamy is no longer common, for various good reasons. The Koran states that wives need to be treated fairly and equally - a difficult requirement even for a rich man. Moreover, if a husband wishes to take a second wife, he should not do so if the marriage will be to the detriment of the first.

Sexual intimacy outside marriage is forbidden in Islam, including sex before marriage, adultery or homosexual relationships. However, within marriage, sexual intimacy should be raised from the animal level to sadaqah (a form of worship) so that each considers the happiness and satisfaction of the other, rather than mere self-gratification.

Contrary to Christianity, Islam does not regard marriages as "made in heaven" or "till death do us part". They are contracts, with conditions. If either side breaks the conditions, divorce is not only allowed, but usually expected. Nevertheless, a hadith makes it clear that: "Of all the things God has allowed, divorce is the most disliked."

A Muslim has a genuine reason for divorce only if a spouse's behaviour goes against the sunnah of Islam - in other words, if he or she has become cruel, vindictive, abusive, unfaithful, neglectful, selfish, sexually abusive, tyrannical, perverted - and so on.

In good Islamic practice, before divorce can be contemplated, all possible efforts should be made to solve a couple's problems. After an intention to divorce is announced, there is a three-month period during which more attempts are made at reconciliation.

If, by the end of each month, the couple have resumed sexual intimacy, the divorce should not proceed. The three-month rule ensures that a woman cannot remarry until three menstrual cycles have passed - so, if she happens to be pregnant, the child will be supported and paternity will not be in dispute.

When Muslims die, strict laws govern the shares of property and money they may leave to others; daughters usually inherit less than sons, but this is because the men in a family are supposed to provide for the entire household.

Any money or property owned by women is theirs to keep, and they are not obliged to share it. Similarly, in marriage, a woman's salary is hers and cannot be appropriated by her husband unless she consents.

A good Muslim woman, for her part, should always be trustworthy and kind. She should strive to be cheerful and encouraging towards her husband and family, and keep their home free from anything harmful (haram covers all aspects of harm, including bad behaviour, abuse and forbidden foods).

Regardless of her skills or intelligence, she is expected to accept her man as the head of her household - she must, therefore, take care to marry a man she can respect, and whose wishes she can carry out with a clear conscience. However, when a man expects his wife to do anything contrary to the will of God - in other words, any nasty, selfish, dishonest or cruel action - she has the right to refuse him.

Her husband is not her master; a Muslim woman has only one Master, and that is God. If her husband does not represent God's will in the home, the marriage contract is broken.

What should one make of the verse in the Koran that allows a man to punish his wife physically? There are important provisos: he may do so only if her ill-will is wrecking the marriage - but then only after he has exhausted all attempts at verbal communication and tried sleeping in a separate bed.

However, the Prophet never hit a woman, child or old person, and was emphatic that those who did could hardly regard themselves as the best of Muslims. Moreover, he also stated that a man should never hit "one of God's handmaidens". Nor, it must be said, should wives beat their husbands or become inveterate nags.

Finally, there is the issue of giving witness. Although the Koran says nothing explicit, other Islamic sources suggest that a woman's testimony in court is worth only half of that of a man. This ruling, however, should be applied only in circumstances where a woman is uneducated and has led a very restricted life: a woman equally qualified to a man will carry the same weight as a witness.

So, does Islam oppress women?

While the spirit of Islam is clearly patriarchal, it regards men and women as moral equals. Moreover, although a man is technically the head of the household, Islam encourages matriarchy in the home.

Women may not be equal in the manner defined by Western feminists, but their core differences from men are acknowledged, and they have rights of their own that do not apply to men

English convert to Islam, Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood, is the author of over thirty books on Islam and other subjects.

Email: Ruqaiyyah@aol.com

Monday, August 16, 2010

History of Taraweeh Salaah

Simple instructions on how to perform Salatul Taraweeh

This method is according to the Hanafi school of thought.

As this is not a Fardh (compulsary) prayer, the Dua's / tasbeehs (supplications) may vary VERY slighty to the version you have learned, but insha'Allah both versions are correct.

Please bear in mind this is a basic method, so dont start any debates here about the number of rakats and methods. All corrections pointed out will be gracefully taken on board...

Before you start your taraweeh complete your fardh prayers for salatul Esha.


The 1400 Year History of Taraweeh Salaah

By Ahmed

Amongst the special Ibaadah of the month of Ramadhaan are the fasts and the Taraweeh salaah. The information below will be dedicated to the history of the number of Rakaahs of Taraweeh that have always been performed in the two holy Harams.

The Taraweeh Salaah During the Time of Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم)

Saheeh Muslim reports a hadith from Hadhrat Aaisha (رضى الله عنها) that when (during Ramadhaan) Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) once performed the Taraweeh salaah in the Masjidun Nabawi, the Sahabah رضى الله تعالى عنهم followed him in the salaah. When Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) again performed the salaah the following night, an even larger congregation followed him. It was then either on the third or fourth night that Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) did not come to the Masjid for the Taraweeh salaah. Explaining his reason the following morning, Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said to the Sahabah رضى الله تعالى عنهم, “I noticed your fervour and did not come to the Masjid to perform the Salaah fearing that this Taraweeh salaah should become compulsory for you.” 1

It is therefore evident that Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) performed the Taraweeh salaah in congregation at least twice or thrice in his lifetime. Imaam Ibn Taymiyyah رحمة الله and Allaama Showkaani رحمة الله have both mentioned that a study of Ahadeeth regarding Taraweeh reveals that Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) never specified the number of rakaahs for Taraweeh.

During the Period of Hadhrat Abu Bakr (رضى الله تعالى عنه)

During this period, the Sahabah رضى الله تعالى عنهم meticulously performed the Taraweeh salaah individually or in small congregations.

During the Period of Hadhrat Umar (رضى الله تعالى عنه)

During his Khilaafah, the second Khalifah Hadhrat Umar Faarooq (رضى الله تعالى عنه) combined all the small congregations into one because of the possibility of the Taraweeh salaah becoming Fardh no longer existed. With the approval of all the Sahabah رضى الله تعالى عنهم, twenty rakaahs Taraweeh salaah was performed every night of Ramadhaan after the Isha salaah, followed by three Rakaahs Witr salaah. 2

There are many people nowadays who perform the Taraweeh salaah with Jamaah throughout Ramadhaan because it was carried out during the time of hadrat Umar (رضى الله تعالى عنه) with the consent of all the Sahabah رضى الله تعالى عنهم. However, these people object to the number of Rakaahs. If they keep the following Hadith in mind, their objection will Inshaa Allah be removed.

Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “I advise you fear Allah, to listen and to obey (your leaders) even though your leader be an Abyssinian slave because those of you who live after me shall see great disputes. It is therefore compulsory for you to adhere to my practices and to the practice of the righteous and rightly guided successors (Khulafaa Raashideen). Hold fast to these practices and bite on them with your molars.” 3

In this Hadith Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) has emphasised to his Ummah that it is imperative for them to emulate his practices as well as the practices of the Khulafaa Raashideen. When Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) has instructed the following of the practices of his Khulafaa, how can their practices be labelled as Bidah? How can one promote forsaking something that Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) empathetically wanted done? How can there be scope to oppose something that the Sahabah رضى الله تعالى عنهم unanimously agreed upon?

This practice of the righteous Khalifah Hadhrat Umar (رضى الله تعالى عنه) falls perfectly within the purport of this Hadith. Therefore one should perform twenty Rakaahs Taraweeh salaah in congregation every night of Ramadhaan after the Isha salaah. This is then followed by three Rakaahs of Witr salaah.

During the period of Hadhrat Uthmaan (رضى الله تعالى عنه)

The third righteous khalifah Hadhrat Uthmaan (رضى الله تعالى عنه) also continued the practice of twenty Rakaahs Taraweeh salaah in congregation, followed by the three Rakaahs of Witr salaah. 4

During the period of Hadhrat Ali (رضى الله تعالى عنه)

The fourth righteous khalifah Hadhrat Ali (رضى الله تعالى عنه) also continued the practice of twenty Rakaahs Taraweeh salaah in congregation, followed by the three Rakaahs of Witr salaah. 5

The Taraweeh salaah in the Masjid Haraam in Makkah

The famous book of Ahadeeth Jaami Tirmidhi states that according to the majority of scholars, the number of Rakaahs in the Taraweeh salaah is twenty, as reported from Hadhrat Umar رضى الله تعالى عنه, Hadhrat Ali رضى الله تعالى عنه and other Sahabah رضى الله تعالى عنهم. This is also the opinion of Hadhrat Sufyan Thowri رحمة الله and Hadhrat Abdullah ibn Mubaarak رحمة الله. Hadhrat Imaam Shafiee رحمة الله says, “I have seen the learned scholars of Makkah perform twenty Rakaahs of Taraweeh salaah.” 6

In his famous book Kitaabul Umm (vol 1 page 142), Imaam Shaafiee رحمة الله says that twenty Rakaahs Taraweeh salaah is reported from Hadhrat Umar رضى الله تعالى عنه and the learned scholars of Makkah also perform twenty Rakaahs Taraweeh with three Rakaahs Witr.

In the third century A.H., the famous historian of Makkah Muhammad bin Ishaaq Faakihi documented that during the month of Ramadhaan it was the practice of the people of Makkah to sit five periods of Taraweeh (rest periods between every four Rakaahs of the Taraweeh salaah. This denotes that they performed twenty Rakaahs of salaah.) 7

It is therefore evident twenty Rakaahs of Taraweeh salaah has been performed in the Masjid Haraam of Makkah for the past fourteen hundred years. Throughout, this period, there has never been a single night when only Rakaahs have been performed.

Taraweeh salaah in the Masjidun Nabawi صلى الله عليه وسلم

The renowned Saudi scholar and Mufassir Sheikh Atiyya Saalim رحمة الله who was a Sheikhul Hadeeth, judge and lecturer in the Masjidun Nabawi صلى الله عليه وسلم wrote a book in Arabic entitled “The history of the Taraweeh salaah in the Masjidun Nabawi صلى الله عليه وسلم for more than a thousand years.” In this book[8], he conclusively proves from historical evidence that twenty Rakaahs Taraweeh salaah has been performed in the Masjidun Nabawi صلى الله عليه وسلم for the past fourteen centuries. He adds further that even after the establishment of the Saudi rule, both the Harams in Makkah and Madinah have twenty Rakaahs of Taraweeh salaah with three witr. 9

The heart-rending and beautiful Taraweeh salaah in both the Harams is broadcast live throughout both on radio and television.

A fourteen century old practice

Twenty Rakaahs Taraweeh salaah is being performed from the first century of Islaam up to this fifteenth century.

Source: The Historyof Makkah Mukarramah
by Dr Muhammad Ilyas Abdul Ghani

1 – Muslim – The Chapter concerning encouragement for performing the Taraweeh salaah.
2 – Mu’atta Maalik, as quoted in Nasbur Ra’yah
3 – Tirmidhi – Hadith 6272. The hadith is classified Hasan Saheeh and even Albaani has verified its authenticity [see Mishkaat annotated by him (Vol. 1 pg. 28)]
4 – Sunan Kubra of Bayhaqi – Chapter concerning the number of Rakaahs during the nights of Ramadhaan.
5 – Sunan Kubra of Bayhaqi – Chapter concerning the number of Rakaahs during the nights of Ramadhaan.
6 – Tirmidhi
7 – Akhbaar Makkah by Faakihi (Vol.2 Pg. 156,157)
8 – Pgs. 41-58
9 – Pg. ६५

courtesy Haq Islam

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Partition Shamshad Ilahi Ansari Shams جشن ء آ ز ا د ی تقسیم کی 63 و یں بر سی پر

شمشا د الہی انصاری شمس کی نظم

کب جانو گے تم کب سمجھو گے

تم پیچھے چھوڑ گئے تھے

میرے بلکھتے ، معصوم والد کو
گھٹنوں -- گھٹنوں خون میں لتھپتھ
آ دھی جلی لاشوں اور دھد کتے گھروں کے درمیان
سے بھری ان گلیوں میں د م گھو ٹو ں د ھو یں
جسے د و ڈ کر پار کرنے میں وہ ا ہل نہ تھا.
نفرت اور ہیوانیت کے گھنے کہا سے میں
میرے والد نے اپنے بھائیوں ، لواحقین کے
ڈ ر ے سہمےچہرے غا ئب ہوتے دیکھے تھے.

غلیظ نعر و ں کے تا جرو ں نے
تخر یب کے تلا تم پر بیٹھا کر
جو خواب تمہاری آنکھوں میں بھر دیئے تھے
تمہیں انہیں جینا تھا ، لیکن
تم پیچھے چھوڑ گئے تھے
میرے بلکھتے ، معصوم والد کو
اس کے آدھے خاندان کے ساتھ...

میں پو چھتا ہوں تم سے
آخر کیا حاصل ہوا تمہیں
ان مبینہ نئے نعر و ں سے
نیا ملک ، نئ ر اہ اور نئی تاریخ سے
جو شر و ع ہوتی قا سم ، غز نی ، لنگ سے
اور مشرف تک جا تی.
گز شتہ نصف صدی میں کیا ہوا حاصل.
جنگ ، چند د ھما کے اور بامیان میں بدھ کا قتل.

تم کب جانو گے
کہ تقسیم صرف ز مین کا ہی ممکن ہے
وراثت ، ثقافت ، تاریخ کا نہیں.
توپوں کے گولوں سے مجسمہ کشی ہے ممکن
خیال اور وجود کشی نہیں.

تم کب جانو گے
کہ تمہارے گہرے سبز رنگ عکس نعر و ں کی
بر عکس گو نج میرے گھر میں زعفر ا ن گرم کرتی ہے.
جو گھر خاندان تم بیسہارا ، مجبو ر ، مخد وش
پیچھے چھوڑ کر گئے تھے
وہاں بھی کبھی کبھی ترشول کا خوف ستا تا ہے.
تمہارے گہرے سبز رنگ نے
زعفر ا ن کا رنگ بھی گہرا کر دیا ہے.

تم کب جانو گے
کہ وہ تاریخی توانائی
جو تقسیم کی با ئث بنی
وہ نئے بھارت کی سنجیو نی بن سکتی تھی
جو لوگ باہم قتل کر رہے تھے
وہ بنجر زمین کو سبز ہ بنا سکتے تھے
کل -- کارخانے چلا سکتے تھے
تعمیر کے بلند کو ہ پر چڑھ کر
دنیا کو بتا سکتے تھے کہ یہ ہے
ایک ترقی یا فتہ ، جمہوری ، مہذب ، بلند ہندوستان

تم کب جانو گے
کہ تمہارے بغیر یہ کام اب تک نا مکمل ہے
خلا میں لٹکا ہے کیونکہ
تم پیچھے چھوڑ گئے تھے
میرے بلکھتے معصوم والد کو

تم کب جانو گے
کہ میرے پس ماند ہ والد کو سہارا دینے والے ہاتھ
ہر شام کرشن کی عبا د ت میں مربوط ہو تے تھے
گنگا کا جمنا سے ر بط کا راز
بدھ کی خمو شی اور مہا ویر کی ر حم د لی
کبیر کے دو ہے ، خسر و کی ر با ئیا ں
مندر میں پو جا اور مسجد و ں میں عبادت
تم کس طرح سمجھو گے ؟
کیونکہ تم نے اس خطے کی تمام عقل کے برعکس
سرہد یں ز ہن میں بھی بنائی تھیں

تم کب جانو گے
کہ مذہب کے نام پر تعمیر یہ شیطا ن
اب خود تم سے آزاد ہو چکا ہے
وہ ہر پل تمہارے وجود کو ختم کر رہا ہے کیونکہ
تم پیچھے چھوڑ گئے تھے
میرے بلکھتے معصوم والد کو

تم کب جانو گے
کہ ماضی لا محد و د ، تا بند ہ اور غیر منقسم ہے
وہ سچ کی طر ح مقدس ہے
کب تک جٹھلا و گے اسے
کتنی نسلیں اور بھو گیگیں
تمہارے تاریخ کے بد فعل کو
کیوں نہیں بتاتے انہیں
کہ ہم سب ایک ہی تھے
ہمارے ہی ہاتھوں نے بوئ تھی پہلی فصل
مہن جوداڈو میں
سند ھو تہذیب کے عا دم مکا ن
ہم نے ہی بنا ئے تھے
ہم نے ہی رچی تھی ویدوں

کی رچا ئیں
ہم سب تھے مہا بھا رت
ہمارا ہی تھا رام ، کرشن ، بدھ ، مہا ویر
ہم نے ہی قبول کیا تھا محمد کا پیغام
ہم نے ہی بنائی تھی پیروں کی درگاہیں

تم کب جانو گے
کہ جھوٹ کے پاؤں نہیں ہوتے
جھوٹ کو نہیں ملتی تا بند گی
تمہارے ہر گھر میں رفیع کی آواز
مینا ، مدھوبالا ، ایشوریہ کا حسن
کرشن کی بانسر ی پر لہر ا تی دلوں کی د ھڑکنيں
ہر نوجوان میں چھپا دلیپ ، امت ، شاہ رخ کا چہرہ
تمہارے جھوٹ سے بڑا سچ
اور کیا ہو سکتا ہے

تم کب مانو گے
کہ تم سب کچھ جانتے ہو
سیاسی فریب کی ریت میں
دبی آنکھیں ، دماغ ، دل اور وجود
سچ کی آ ند ھی میں
برلن کی دیوار کی طر ح
کبھی بھی ڈ ھہ سکتا ہے.
جھوٹ کی چادر میں لپٹے بم ، بند و قیں اور بارود
محو فر بیب کی دیواریں ، سر حدیں ، ا فو اج
مخنث بناسکتی ہیں
لاکھوں بے گنا ہ لوگوں کا بہا خون
کبھی بھی مانگ سکتا ہے حساب
ا جڑ یں گھر و ں کی بد د عا ئیں
اپنا اثر دکھا سکتی ہیں ، کیونکہ
تم پیچھے چھوڑ گئے تھے
میرے بلکھتے معصوم والد کو..

تم کب جانو گے

تم کب جانو گے
کہ ہم بھی خطاوا ر ہیں
ہم نے بھی چلی ہیں سیاسی چا لیں
ہم نے بھی توڈی ہیں قسمیں
ہمیں بھی بتانی ہیں گاندھی کی جوانی کی بھولیں
سمجھنی ہے جنا ح کی نا دانی
نوسکھیا کانگریس کی جھوٹی مر د ا نگی
انگریزوں کی گھو ڑ وں کی چال ، شہ - مات کا کھیل
فیض ، فراز ، جوش ، جالب کا درد
اور ظفر کے بکھرے خواب ، کیونکہ
تم پیچھے چھوڑ گئے تھے
میرے بلکھتے معصوم والد کو..

تم کب جانو گے
کہ میرے والد کئی برس ہوئے گزر گئے ہیں
کھلی آنکھوں میں خواب اور آس لئے
کہ تم لوٹ آ و گے
ان کا وہ جملہ مجھے بھی کچو ٹتا ہے
جو چھوڑ کر گیا ہے ، اسے ہی لوٹنا ہوگا"
میں نے جب سے ہوش سمبھا لا ہے
میں بھی یہی دہرا تا ہوں
میرے بچے بھی اب ہو گئے ہیں جوان
وہ بھی سوال کرتے ہیں
نئی روشنی ، نئی طرز ، نئی سمجھ کے ساتھ
تمہارے یہاں بھی یہی ہے حال
آج نہیں تو کل یہ شور اور تیز ہوگا
جوان نسلیں جائز سوال پوچھیگیں
ہزاروں برس کے سا جھے چلھے؟
پچاس ساٹھ برس کی علیحد گی؟
تمہیں دینے ہوں گے جواب کیونکہ
تم پیچھے چھوڑ گئے تھے
میرے بلکھتے معصوم والد کو..

تم کب جانو گے
کہ پیچھے چھٹے ، جلے ، بکھرے ، ٹو ٹےگھر
پھر آباد ہو گئے ہیں
وہاں پھر سے بس گئے ہیں
بچپن کی کلکاریاں ،
جوانی کی رونق
اور ضعیفی

کی شا ن و شو کت
تمہارا پلنگ ، تمہاری کرسی
تمہاری کتابیں ، تمہارے خط
تمہاری گلیاں ، وہ چھت
اور آم جامن کے پیڑ
تمام کچھ قا یم ہیں منتظر ہیں
تمہیں واپس آنا ہوگا
تمہیں ہی لوٹنا ہوگا کیونکہ
تمہی تو چھوڈ کر گئے تھے
میرے بلکھتے معصوم والد کو..

ساٹھ برس قبل

ہند ی سے ا ر د و پیشکش شہر و ز

Courtesy Hamzabaan

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Taraweeh Salaah – Night 1

In the Name of Almighty Allah Most Gracious, Most Merciful

By Sheikh Abdul Hamid Lachporia

“Blessed is He Who hath revealed unto His slave the FURQAN [the Criterion of Right and Wrong], that He may be a warner to mankind. He unto Whom belongeth the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, He hath chosen no son nor hath He any partner in the Sovereignty. He Who created all things, and ordered them in due proportion”. [Surah Al-Furqan: Verses 1 and 2].

“We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an,In order that you may learn wisdom.” [Surah Yusuf Verse 2].

In the spirit of the above verses these notes are being prepared in order to foster an interest in understanding the Most Glorious and Noble Qur’an with the sincere intention of recognizing it as a practical Divine Book with which to influence our lives. How much more inspiring would it have been if only all of us would have understood a minute portion of its Divine Message. It is hoped Insha’Allah that that we can all derive full advantage of this humble effort. It is humbly suggested that this brief synopsis of the Surah/Surahs as recited each night during Ramadan be explained to the Jamaat prior to commencing the Tarawee prayers.

May Almighty Allah Jallah Wa’ala in His Infinite Mercy and Bounty accept our humble efforts and may He accept all our Duahs,Supplications, Ibadah and good deeds during this glorious month of Ramadan and throughout the coming years – Insha’Allah Bie Itt’Nillah. Ameen Ya Rabbul Ala’meen.

The Surahs recited for the first night of Tarawee consists of: Surah Al-Fatiha and two thirds of Surah Al-Baqara.

The prayers and invocations with which our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam began a prayer-service would appear to be little else than the acknowledgement and affirmation before Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata’ala of His Glory, His Unity, His Majesty and His Greatness and of one’s own humbleness.”O Allah! With Thy glorification and Thy Praise; Blessed is Thy name, and great is Thy Glory, and there is no god save Thee.”O Allah! I seek refuge in Thee from the enticement, the whisper and the spit of Shaytaan Lanathulahi Alay.” Refuge is then sought from Shaythaan and in order to keep the Salaat and reverence for the Most Holy and Glorious Qura’n safe from his evils it is begun with Bismillah, in accordance with the Quranic dictum: Verse 98 of Surah An-Nahl:

“And when thou recitest the Qura’n, seek refuge in Allah from Shayhaan the outcast.”

Let us now take Surah Al- Fatihah. Our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wassallam said that Surah Al- Fatihah is the greatest and most virtuous in the Most Holy and Glorious Qura’n and declared: “By Him Who is in possession of my life, a ‘Surah’ like this one has neither been revealed in the Taura’h, nor in the Zaboor, nor in the Injeel nor even in the rest of the Most Holy Qura’n.” Hazrat Hassen Al- Basri Rahmatullahi Alay reports the saying of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alyhi Wasallam “that whoever reads Surah Fateha with total and complete understanding is like one who has read the Taura’h, the Zaboor, the Injeel and the Most Holy and Glorious Qura’n. It is also reported in a Hadith that Shaytaan Lannatulahi Alay lamented, wept and threw dust on his head on four different occasions; first when he was cursed; secondly when he was cast out of Jannah; thirdly when our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam received his Prophethood and fourthly, when Surah Al-Fatihah was revealed. Surah Al- Fatihah is without any doubt, a priceless gem of the Holy Qura’n. If the scholars, moral teachers and spiritual mentors of the world were to get together to produce a text which could suffice for all of mankind, irrespective of the diversity of their needs and circumstances, and through which they could express in their prayers what lay at the bottom of their hearts they could not bring forth the like of it.

Since Surah Al-Fatihah is the first chapter of the Holy Qura’n, it has been referred to as Fatihatul-Kitaab or the opening of the Qura’n. Because of its intrinsic value, it has been assigned a place of honour in the Most Holy and Glorious Qura’n and allowed to appear at the very beginning of the opening chapter. Indeed, the Most Holy and Glorious Qura’n endorses its importance in the following terms as declared by Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata’ala in verse 87 of Surah Al-Hijr:

“O Prophet! It is a fact that We have given thee seven oft-repeated verses and the great Qura’n.”

These Seven oft-repeated verses are the Opening Surah and they sum up the entire teaching of the Holy Qur’an. What can be a more precious gift to a Muslim than the Glorious Qur’an or any Surah of it? All the wealth in the world, honour and material possessions sinks into insignificance in comparison with it. Surah Al-Fatihah is also called “Umm-ul-Qur’an ” (the core of the Qur’an), “Al-Kafia” (the Sufficient), “Al-Kanz” (the Treasure House), “Asasul-Qur’an” (the basis of the Qur’an) and “Sab’a-al-Mathani” (The oft-repeated seven), each emphasizing a particular aspect of its great and paramount importance. To style this chapter as “Umm-ul-Qur’an” (the core of the Qur’an) is to acknowledge that in its tense comprehensiveness, it concentrates within its ambit the thought-content of the entire Qur’an, and that, on that account, it rightly deserves the place of honour among its chapters. If any one of us were to read nothing but Surah Al-Fatihah out of the Qur’an and grasp its true meaning, we would understand all the essentials of the Faith which form the subject of detailed exposition by the Qur’an. Hence, knowledge of the contents of Surah Al-Fatihah is regarded as indispensable to a Muslim. According to Sahih Bukhari and Muslim, our Beloved Nabee Muhammad Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam is reported to have said that “there is no Salaat for him who does not recite Surah Fatihah.” What plainer view can be taken of human devotion to Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata’ala and all that it implies than what is presented in Surah Al-Fatihah?

Here are but seven brief phrases, each one of not more than five words, every word crystal clear and impressive. Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata’ala is here invoked in His Attributes, the manifestations of which mankind beholds day in and day out, however much he may, through indifference, neglect to reflect over them. Here you have mankind’s admission of his absolute dependence on none other than Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata’ala, his acknowledgement of the Divine Kindness shown to him, his earnest yearning to be saved from the pitfalls of life and to be led along the straight path i.e. The Path of Seerathal Mustaqeem By way of Surah Al-Fatiha – Almighty Allah Azza Wajjal teaches us and He introduces Himself to us and He tells us with words of wisdom and with the expression of Truth of His Sovereignty, His Qualities and His relationship with mankind and with the rest of His creation. He tells us to commit ourselves totally and completely to Him Alone if we want to succeed in this life as well as in the Aghirah. The essence of Surah Al-Fatiha is that mankind is crying out to the Glorious Creator and Sustainer: “O Almighty Rabbul Ala’meen! Help me and show me the Right Path, the Royal highway leading to the Path of Seerathal Mustaqeem”.

[The Cow revealed in Madinah and contains 286 Verses].
Surah Al-Baqara sums up the teachings of the Most Glorious Qur’an. When mankind is crying out to the Glorious Creator and Sustainer: “O Almighty Rabbul Ala’meen! Help me and show me the Right Path, the Royal highway leading to the Path of Seerathal Mustaqeem” – Almighty Allah Jallah Wa’ala replies with Surah Al-Baqara. The revelation of Surah Al-Baqara is when Almighty Rabbul Ala’meen Exalted replies by saying: “Here is the help that you asked for.” Surah Al- Baqara discusses the creation of mankind, his ultimate fall from Grace as well as the Divine promise of forgiveness in spite of his wrong doing. We are told the story of the Bani Isra’eel and how they transgressed the Divine Will of Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala and how they persisted in their evil ways.

Surah Al Baqara also covers the story of Nabee Moosa Alayhis Salaam and Nabee Esa Alayhis Salaam, and how they had to deal with the corruption and evil ways of their people. We are also told how the Yahood and Nasara despite been blessed with divine scriptures and prophets rejected Nabee Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam and the Din of Islam out of pride and jealousy. Which Muslim, Christian or Jew does not know the name of Nabee Ebrahim Alayhis Salatu Wassallam? Two thirds of mankind revere him as their leader. Nabee Moosa A.S., Nabee Esa A.S. and our Beloved Nabee Muhammad Sallalahoo Alayhi Wassallam are all his descendants. It is the lamp of Taqwa and Imaan lit by him that has for so long illuminated the entire world. Nabee Ebrahim A.S. was born in the city of Ur in what is now Iraq over four thousand years ago. At that time the people had completely forgotten Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata’ala. No one recognized Almighty Allah as the Master and Supreme Creator and no one lived in surrender and obedience to Him or to His Laws.

Together with his illustrious son – Hazrat Isma’il Alayhis Salaam they built the Ka’bah in the Holy City of Makkah and purified it, thus establishing the one and only true and complete Din of Islam for mankind. The Holy Ka’bah was to be the very centre and home of Taqwa and Tawhid. The name of this Surah i.e. Surah Al-Baqara [The Cow - Verses 67 to 71] deals with the hypocrisy and evil deeds of people who have gone astray. This is when people reach the abyss of a spiritual death and referred to by Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala as “deaf”, “dumb” and “blind” despite the fact that they are physically alive.

The final summation of Surah Al-Baqara confirms to us that our honesty and upright conduct are not mere matters of policy or convenience: all our life in this world must be lived as in the presence of Almighty Allah Jallah Wa’ala. The finest example of Faith we have in our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam’s life; full of faith. Let us render willing obedience to the Will of Rabbul Ala’meen Exalted. Our responsibility though great, is not a burden greater than any one of us can bear. Let us pray for Almighty Allah’s assistance, and He will Insha’Allah, surely help and assist us. Ameen.

Courtesy: everymuslim

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

In India: How long will Muslims remain marginalized?

Shamim Akhter

A Week back I went through a report in BBC website under the title “India state-run banks ‘turn away Muslims’” regarding denial of access to government banks to Muslims in India. The report reveals the truth of the government banks operating in different parts of the country.

The report quotes the National Commission of Minorities as saying that there has been a 100% increase in the number of complaints it has received over the past year from Muslims who say they are being prevented from opening accounts in state-run banks.

On the other hand this is the fact that Muslims make up India's largest minority community.
BBC writes that reports indicate the worst case took place in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, where some 90,000 Muslim students were unable to open accounts to deposit scholarship cheques given to them by the government.

However, some bankers say it is not so much their religious background, but their economic status that makes it hard for Muslims to get banking facilities. It says Muslims’ poor economic status means they are often excluded by private banks, which prefer more well-to-do clients.

Official reports frequently put Muslims at the bottom of India's social and economic ladder. And already a number of reports have suggested that India's Muslims fare poorly when it comes to getting access to quality education or employment opportunities.

Not only this, if we talk about the presence of Muslims in government jobs it is more heart-rending.

Today, about 140 million Muslims constitute over 13% of India’s billion-strong population. Since the independence of India in 1947 the percentage of Muslims in government census has remained same, i.e. 12% or 13% or less. But in an interview with "The Hindu" newspaper (Friday, October 01, 1999) Mr. Justice K. M. Yusuf, a retired Judge from Calcutta High Court had said that in his view the total percentage of Muslims in India is at least 20%.

But the appalling fact is that Muslims comprise only 5% of employees in the government of world’s largest democracy. A study says the figure for Indian Railways, the country's biggest employer, is only 4.5%.

The study continues to reveal that the community continues to have a paltry representation in the bureaucracy and police – more or less 3% in the powerful Indian Civil Service, 1.8% in Foreign Service and only 4% in the Indian Police Service. And Muslims account for only 7.8% of the people working in the judiciary.

Moreover Indian Muslims carry a double burden of being labelled as 'anti-national' and as being 'appeased' at the same time’, says a three-year back report on the state of Indian Muslims.

India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had said, “If India was to be a secular, stable and strong state, then our first consideration must be to give absolute fair play to our minority.”

But what fair play and treatment have been provided to the Muslims of the largest democracy of the world? (The BBC report - India state-run banks 'turn away Muslims' reveals partially the truth). Why are we lagging behind in every walk of life? It is the time of self and collective introspection and to find the ways to overcome the appalling state.

(The writer hailing from the state of Bihar in India works in Kabul with Ariana Radio & Television Network, Kabul, Afghanistan)

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