Archive for January, 2010
. When Islam is against idol worship why do the Muslims worship, and bow down to the Kaaba in their prayer?
Kaaba is the Qibla i.e. the direction Muslims face during their prayers. It is important to note that though Muslims face the Kaaba during prayers, they do not worship the Kaaba. Muslims worship and bow to none but Allah.
It is mentioned in Surah Baqarah:
“We see the turning of thy face (for guidance) to the heavens: now shall We turn thee to a Qiblah that shall please thee. Turn then thy face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque: wherever ye are, turn your faces in that direction.”
1. Islam believes in fostering unity
For instance, if Muslims want to offer Salaah (Prayer), it is possible that some may wish to face north, while some may wish to face south. In order to unite Muslims in their worship of the One True God, Muslims, wherever they may be, are asked to face in only one direction i.e. towards the Kaaba. If some Muslims live towards the west of the Kaaba they face the east. Similarly if they live towards the east of the Kaaba they face the west.
2. Kaaba is at the Centre of the World Map
The Muslims were the first people to draw the map of the world. They drew the map with the south facing upwards and north downwards. The Kaaba was at the centre. Later, western cartographers drew the map upside down with the north facing upwards and south downwards. Yet, Alhamdullilah the Kaaba is at the centre of the world map.
3. Tawaaf around Kaaba for indicating one God
When the Muslims go to Masjid-e-Haram in Makkah, they perform tawaaf or circumambulation round the Kaaba. This act symbolizes the belief and worship of One God, since, just as every circle has one centre, so also there is only one Allah (swt) worthy of worship.
4. Hadith of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him)
Regarding the black stone, hajr-e-aswad, there is a hadith (tradition), attributed to the illustrious companion of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), Umar (may Allah be pleased with him).
According to Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2, book of Hajj, chapter 56, H.No. 675. Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit nor harm. Had I not seen the Prophet (pbuh) touching (and kissing) you, I would never have touched (and kissed) you”.
5. People stood on Kaaba and gave the adhaan
At the time of the Prophet, people even stood on the Kaaba and gave the ‘adhaan’ or the call to prayer. One may ask those who allege that Muslims worship the Kaaba; which idol worshipper stands on the idol he worships?
It is true that non-Muslims are not allowed in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, by law. The following points will serve to elucidate the possible reasoning behind such a restriction.
1. All citizens are not permitted in the cantonment area
I am a citizen of India. Yet, I am not permitted to enter certain restricted areas like the cantonment. In every country there are certain areas where a common citizen of that country cannot enter. Only a citizen who is enrolled in the military or those who are connected with the defence of the country are allowed in the cantonment area. Similarly Islam is a Universal Religion for the entire world and for all human beings. The cantonment areas of Islam are the two holy cites of Makkah and Madinah. Here only those who believe in Islam and are involved in the defence of Islam i.e. the Muslims are allowed.
It would be illogical for a common citizen to object against the restriction on entering a cantonment area. Similarly it is not appropriate for non-Muslims to object against the restriction on non-Muslims against entering Makkah and Madinah.
2. Visa to enter Makkah and Madinah
a. Whenever a person travels to a foreign country he has to first apply for a visa i.e. the permission to enter that country. Every country has its own rules, regulations and requirements for issuing a visa. Unless their critera are satisfied they will not issue a visa.
b. One of the countries which is very strict in issuing a visa is the United States of America, especially when issuing visas to citizens of the third world. They have several conditions and requirements to be fulfilled before they issue a visa.
c. When I visited Singapore, it was mentioned on their immigration form – death to drug traffickers. If I want to visit Singapore I have to abide by the rules. I cannot say that death penalty is a barbaric punishment. Only if I agree with their requirements and conditions will I be permitted to enter the country.
d. The Visa – The primary condition required for any human being to enter Makkah or Madina is to say with his lips, La ila ha illallah Muhammed ur Rasulullah meaning that ‘there is no God but Allah and Muhammed (pbuh) is His Messenger.’
Al-Quran [84-The Splitting, 18-20]
18- And the Moon when it is full
19- You will surely ride from stage to stage
20- So, why do they not believe?
The moon is associated in our minds with beautiful scenes and romantic landscapes. For those who use the lunar calendar, it is a precision calculator. The ebb and tide it causes have always been a mystery for men. It is used to symbolize mathematics, astronomy, art and romanticism.
Throughout history the moon has been the symbol of the unattainable. All these features also existed at the time of the Prophet.
For 1400 years the meaning of the above quoted verses remained unraveled. In the Quran, the conjunction “and” (wa) is frequently used to stress a point; sometimes it is rendered in English by the preposition “by” when making serious promises, taking an oath or calling someone to witness. Commentators dealt differently with the “ride from stage to stage.” The reason was the inaccessibility of the moon at the time. Going to the moon was beyond imagination.
This “riding from stage to stage” had the association for some of spiritual ascension, symbolizing the passage from this world to the other world, the stages of development of man from an embryo to adolescence and senescence. Yet, the verse foresees that human beings will pass from stage to stage in the future. Spiritual ascension and man’s biological development were nothing new. Therefore, I am of the opinion that these interpretations of the past do not reflect reality. The context of the verse connotes the anticipation that a particular phenomenon will take place in the future and the verse questions the reason why the people do not believe when this event takes place. The Arabic word “tabaq” (stage) also mentioned in the sura 67, 3rd verse, and the sura 71, 15th verse, refers not to spiritual, but concrete things. The use of the word “ride” clearly connotes a journey.
Having thus explained the 19th verse in this fashion, the thing that our attention is drawn to, the moon in the 18th verse, supports the idea that “riding from stage to stage” is done by means of a shuttle from the earth to the moon.
WHY DO THEY NOT BELIEVE?
The Russian spacecraft Luna 2 was the first probe to hit the moon (September 12, 1959), and Luna 3 took the first photographs of the far side of the moon. But the most important event was the landing on the moon on July, 21, 1969 by Neil Armstrong and his companions aboard the Apollo 11. The scene of landing on the blurred TV screen was surely one of the most spectacular events in human history.
What had been thought impossible had come true. There were positivists, however, who pointed to this event as a scientific achievement and used it as an argument against religion. Certain bigoted scholars of Islam contended that it was a lie that there had been such an event, and that anybody who claimed that man was on the moon would be cursed.
The miraculous prediction had come true, showing once again God’s art and power. Photographs taken from the moon reflect once more the splendor of God’s design. The mass of the moon, the moon’s distance from the earth point to God’s splendid design. Had the mass of the moon been larger or had the moon been nearer the earth, the continents would be flooded following the tide, rendering our survival impossible.
Verse 20 that comes after verses 18 & 19 in which the journey to the moon is predicted, which reads: “So, why do they not believe?” may refer to the unbelievers and atheists who remained blind to God’s splendor and wisdom, considering this a victory of science over religion. This misconception accounts for the misinterpretation of God’s ways, namely the fact that science is nothing but the entirety of rules He infused into matter. They labor under the delusion that science and religion vie for supremacy. The origin of science and religion is God. Two things that emanate from God cannot be contradictory. Any contradiction may have been due either to scientific errors or to bigoted theologians who dared to make announcements in the name of God. Verse 21, coming after the verses that I have analyzed in this section, is as follows:
21- And when the Quran is read to them, they do not fall prostrate.
84-The Splitting, 21
THE MOON HAS SPLIT
1- The Hour has come closer and the moon has split (shaqqa).
54-The Moon, 1
There is another indication in the Quran in the above verse referring to the landing on the moon. In order to have a better insight into this, let us dwell on the connotation of the Arabic word “shaqqa” which, among its multifarious meanings, signifies “rending asunder,” “splitting,” “fissuring;” it may also signify plowing the soil.
25- We pour forth water in abundance.
26- And We split (shaqqa) the earth in fragments.
80-He Frowned, 25-26
As we see, to describe the fissures made by water on the earth’s soil, the same word “shaqqa” is used. One of the most important events that occasioned man’s visit to the moon was the sampling of the soil on the surface of the moon. The surface of the moon was fissured by man for the first time in history. The term “shaqqa” may refer to this cleavage. We have examined the 1st verse of the sura “The Moon.” The 2nd verse of the same sura addresses the wrongdoers who preferred to ignore the evidences of God.
2- Yet if they see a sign they turn away and they say, “A continuous sorcery!”
54-The Moon, 2
Thanksto : http://www.islamicmedicines.com
[The Ancient Record of the Tang Dynasty describes a landmark visit to China by Saad ibn Abi Waqqas (ra), one of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (s) in 650 C.E. This event is considered to be the birth of Islam in China. The Chinese emperor Yung-Wei respected the teachings of Islam and considered it to be compatible with the teachings of Confucius. To show his admiration for Islam, the emperor approved the establishment of China’s first mosque at Ch’ang-an. That mosque still stands today after fourteen centuries.
Muslims virtually dominated the import/export business in China during Sung Dynasty (960 – 1279 CE). The office of Director General of Shipping was consistently held by a Muslim during this period. During the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 CE), a period considered to be the golden age of Islam in China, Muslims fully integrated into Han society by adopting their name and some customs while retaining their Islamic mode of dress and dietary restrictions.
Anti-Muslim sentiments took root in China during the Ch’ing Dynasty (1644 – 1911 CE), which was established by Manchus who were a minority in China. Muslims in China number more than 35 million, according to unofficial counts. They represent ten distinct ethnic groups. The largest are the Chinese Hui, who comprise over half of China’s Muslim population. The largest of Turkic groups are the Uygurs who are most populous in the province of Xinjiang, where they were once an overwhelming majority.]
Although it may come as some surprise, Islam has survived in China for over 1300  years. It has done so despite such upheavals as the Cultural Revolution as well as regimes hostile to it.
Even though there are only sparse records of the event in Arab history, a brief one in Chinese history, The Ancient Record of the Tang Dynasty describes a landmark visit to China by an emissary from Arabia in the seventh century. Saad ibn Abi Waqqas (ra), one of the companions of Prophet [Muhammad (s)], led the delegation [in 650 C.E.], which brought gifts as well as the belief system of Islam to China. According to the traditions of Chinese Muslims, this event is considered to be the birth of Islam in China.
Although the emperor of the time, Yung-Wei, found Islam to be a bit too restrictive for his taste, he respected its teachings and considered it to be compatible with the teachings of Confucius. For this reason, he gave Saad complete freedom to propagate the faith among his people. To show his admiration for Islam, the emperor ordered the establishment of China’s first mosque at Ch’ang-an. The mosque still stands today, after thirteen [fourteen] centuries.
As time passed, relations between the Chinese and the Muslim heartland continued to improve. Many Muslim businessmen, visitors, and traders began to come to China for commercial and religious reasons. [Arabs had already established trade in the area before Prophet Muhammad (s).] The Umayyads and Abbasids sent six delegations to China, all of which were warmly received by the Chinese.
The Muslims who immigrated to China eventually began to have a great economic impact and influence on the country. They virtually dominated the import/export business by the time of the Sung Dynasty (960 – 1279 CE). Indeed, the office of Director General of Shipping was consistently held by a Muslim during this period.
In spite of the economic successes the Muslims enjoyed during these and later times, they were recognized as being fair, law-abiding, and self-disciplined. Thus, there is no record of appreciable anti-Muslim sentiment on the part of the Han (Chinese) people.
By the beginning of the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 CE) Islam had been nourishing in China for 700 years. Up to this time, the Muslims had maintained a separate, alien status which had its own customs, language, and traditions and was never totally integrated with the Han people. Under the Ming Dynasty, generally considered to be the golden age of Islam in China, Muslims gradually became fully integrated into Han society.
An interesting example of this synthesis by Chinese Muslims was the process by which their names changed. Many Muslims who married Han women simply took on the name of the wife. Others took the Chinese surnames of Mo, Mai, and Mu – names adopted by Muslims who had the names Muhammad, Mustafa, and Masoud. Still others who could find no Chinese surname similar to their own adopted the Chinese character that most closely resembled their name – Ha for Hasan, Hu for Hussein, or Sai for Said, and so on.
In addition to names, Muslim customs of dress and food also underwent a synthesis with Chinese culture. The Islamic mode of dress and dietary restrictions were consistently maintained, however, and not compromised. In time, the Muslims began to speak Han dialects and to read in Chinese. Well into the Ming era, the Muslims could not be distinguished from other Chinese other than by their unique religious customs. For this reason, once again, there was little friction between Muslim and non-Muslim Chinese.
The rise of the Ch’ing Dynasty (1644 – 1911 CE), though, changed this. The Ch’ing were Manchu (not Han) and were a minority in China. They employed tactics of divide-and-conquer to keep the Muslims, Han, Tibetans, and Mongolians in struggles against one another. In particular, they were responsible for inciting anti-Muslim sentiment throughout China, and used Han soldiers to suppress the Muslim regions of the country.
When the Manchu Dynasty fell in 1911, the Republic of China was established by Sun Yat Sen, who immediately proclaimed that the country belonged equally to the Han, Hui (Muslim), Man (Manchu), Meng (Mongol), and the Tsang (Tibetan) peoples. His policies led to some improvement in relations among these groups.
After Mao Zedong’s revolution in 1948 and the beginning of communist rule in China, the Muslims, as well as other ethnic minorities found themselves once again oppressed. They actively struggled against communists before and after the revolution. In fact, in 1953, the Muslims revolted twice in an effort to establish an independent Islamic state [in regions where Muslims were an overwhelming majority]. These revolts were brutally suppressed by Chinese military force followed by the liberal use of anti-Muslim propaganda.
Today, the Muslims of China number some 20 million, according to unofficial counts. The government census of 1982, however, put the number much lower, at 15 million. These Muslims represent ten distinct ethnic groups. The largest are the Chinese Hui, who comprise over half of China’s Muslim population and are scattered throughout all of China. There is also a high concentration of Hui in the province of Ningsha in the north.
After the Hui, the remainder of the Muslim population belong to Turkic language groups and are racially Turks (except for the Mongol Salars and Aryan Tajiks). The Turkic group is further divided between the Uygurs, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Kirgiz, Tatars and Dongshiang. Nearly all of the Turkic Muslims are found in the western provinces of Kansu and Xinjiang. The largest of these Muslim groups are the Uygurs.
The Uygurs are most populous in the province of Xinjiang, where they make up some 60% of the total population. This relatively small percentage is due to the massive influx of non-Muslim Chinese into the province in recent times, a situation that has brought problems of assimilation and raised concerns about the de-Islamization of one of China’s predominantly Muslim regions. [Muslims in Central Asia, under the USSR, were subjected to a similar population management, Russification of Central Asia].
Muslims, and the Uygur in particular, suffered tremendously under the regime of Mao Zedong and his “Cultural Revolution.” During the communist reign of terror, there was a violent campaign to eradicate all traces of Islam and of the ethnic identity of all non-Chinese. The Uygur language, which had for centuries used Arabic script, was forced to adopt the Latin alphabet. The Uygurs, as with most believing Muslims, were subjected to forced labor in the some 30,000 communes set up in the predominantly Muslim provinces. The imams and akhunds were singled out for humiliating punishments and tortures….[and were forced to] tend to pig farms, which were sometimes kept in government-closed mosques.
Under the pretext of unification of national education, Islamic schools were closed and their students transferred to other schools which taught only Marxism and Maoism. Other outrages included the closing of over 29,000 mosques, the widespread torture of imams, and executions of over 360,000 Muslims.
Since the death of Mao and the end of his hard-line Marxist outlook nearly fifteen years ago, the communist government has greatly liberalized its policies toward Islam and Muslims. And despite the horrors of the Cultural Revolution, Islam has continued to thrive in China.
Today the campaign for assimilation started during the Cultural Revolution has slowed somewhat and the Turkic Muslims have greater freedom to express their cultural identity. The government has, for instance, allowed the reinstatement of the Arabic alphabet for use with the Uygur language. There is, however, continued discrimination against the Turkic Muslims by the immigrant Chinese (favored by the government) who have settled in the far western province of Xinjiang. This immigration has posed a problem as Han Chinese are migrating to Muslim areas at the rate of 200,000 a year. In many places where Muslims once were a majority, they are now a minority.
Since religious freedom was declared in 1978, the Chinese Muslims have not wasted time in expressing their convictions. There are now some 28,000 mosques in the entire People’s Republic of China, with 12,000 in the province of Xinjiang. In addition, there is a large number of imams available to lead the Muslim community (in Xinjiang alone there are over 2,800).
There has been an increased upsurge in Islamic expression in China, and many nationwide Islamic associations have been organized to coordinate inter-ethnic activities among Muslims. Islamic literature can be found quite easily and there are currently some eight different translations of the Qur’an in the Chinese language as well as translations in Uygur and the other Turkic languages. The Muslims of China have also been given almost unrestricted allowance to make the Hajj to Mecca [Reflections from the Hajj]. In 1986 there were some 2,300 Chinese Muslims at Hajj. (Compared to the 30 Soviet Muslims allowed to make the same pilgrimage, this number seems quite generous, considering that the Soviet Muslim population outnumbers China’s by nearly four times).
China’s Muslims have also been active in the country’s internal politics. As always, the Muslims have refused to be silenced. Several large demonstrations have been staged by Muslims to protest intrusions on Muslim life. Last year, for instance, Muslims staged a massive protest rally in Beijing to demand the removal of anti-Islamic literature from China’s bookstores. The Turkic [group] Muslims have also held demonstrations for a greater voice in the running of their own affairs and against the continued large-scale immigration of non-Muslims into their provinces. In the news this spring are more reports of demonstrations and struggles by Chinese Muslims to regain their rights. Insha’Allah they will be successful.
Thanks to: http://www.islamawareness.net
1. Definition of Polygamy:
Polygamy means a system of marriage whereby one person has more than one spouse. Polygamy can be of two types. One is polygyny where a man marries more than one woman, and the other is polyandry, where a woman marries more than one man. In Islam, limited polygyny is permitted and polyandry is completely prohibited. Now coming to the original question, why is a man allowed to have more than one wife?
2. Qur’an is the only religious scripture in the world that says ‘marry only one’
Qur’an is the only religious book, on the face of this earth, that contains the phrase ‘marry only one’. There is no other religious book that instructs men to have only one wife. In none of the religious scriptures like the Vedas, the Ramayan, the Mahabharat, the Geeta or the Bible does one find a restriction on the number of wives. According to these scriptures one can marry as many as one wishes. It was only later, that the Hindu priests and the Christian Church restricted the number of wives to one.
Many Hindu religious personalities, according to their scriptures, had multiple wives. King Dashrat, the father of Rama, had more than one wife. Krishna had several wives. In earlier times, Christian men were permitted as many wives as they wished, since the Bible puts no restriction on the number of wives. It was only a couple of centuries ago that the Church restricted the number of wives to one.
Polygyny is permitted in Judaism. According to Talmudic law, Abraham had 2 wives, and Solomon had hundreds of wives. The practice of polygyny continued till Rabbi Gershom ben Yehudah. (960 A.D to 1030 A.D) issued an edict against it. The Jewish Sephardic communities living in Muslim countries continued the practice till as late as 1950, when an Act of the chief Rabbinate of Israel extended the ban on marrying more than one wife.
3. Hindus are more polygamous than Muslims The report of the ‘Committee of The Status of Woman in Islam’, published in 1975 mentions on page numbers 66,67 that the percentage of polygamous marriages between the year 1951 -1961 was 5.06 among the Hindus and only 4.31 among the Muslims. According to Indian law only Muslim men are permitted to have more than one wife. It is illegal for any non-Muslim in India to have more than one wife. Despite it being illegal, Hindus have more multiple wives as compared to the Muslim. One can imagine what would have been the percentage of polygamous marriages among the Hindus if the Indian government had made it legal for them. Earlier, there was no restriction even on Hindu men with respect to the number of wives allowed. It was only in 1954, when the Hindu Marriage Act was passed that it became illegal for a Hindu to have more than one wife. At present it is the Indian Law that restricts a Hindu man from having more than one wife and not the Hindu scriptures. Let us now analyse why Islam allows a man to have more than one wife.
4. Qur’an permits limited polygyny As I mentioned earlier, Qur’an is the only religious book on the face of the earth that says ‘marry only one’. The context of this phrase is the following verse from Surah Nisa of the Glorious Qur’an: ‘Marry woman of your choice in twos’ threes’ or fours’ but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly, (with them), then only one’ [Al-Qur’an 4:3]
Before the Qur’an was revealed, there was no upper limit for polygyny and many men had scores of wives, some even hundreds. Islam put an upper limit of four wives. Islam gives a man permission to marry two, three or four women, only on the condition that he deals with them justly. In the same chapter i.e. Surah Nisa verse 129 says: ‘It is very difficult to be just and fair between women’. [Al-Qur’an (4:129)]
Therefore polygyny is not a rule but an exception. Many people are under the misconception that it is compulsory for a Muslim man to marry more than one wife.
Broadly, Islam has five categories of Do’s and Dont’s.
(i) ‘Farz’ i.e compulsory
(ii) ‘Mustahab’ i.e recommended or encouraged
(iii) ‘Mubah’ i.e permissible
(iv) ‘Makruh’ i.e ‘not recommended’ or discouraged
(v) ‘Haram’ i.e prohibited or forbidden
Polygyny falls in the middle category of things that are permissible. It cannot be said that a Muslim who has two, three or four wives is a better Muslim as compared to a Muslim who has only one wife.
5. Average life span of females is more than that of males By nature males and females are born in approximately the same ratio. During paediatric age however, in childhood itself a female child has more immunity than a male child. A female child can fight the germs and diseases better than the male child. For this reason, there are more deaths among males as compared to the females during paediatric age.
During wars, there are more men killed as compared to women. More men die due to accidents and diseases than women. The average life span of females is more than that of males, and at any given time one finds more widows in the world than widowers.
6. India has more male population than female due to female foeticide and infanticide. India is one of the few countries, along with the other neighbouring countries, in which the female population is less than the male population. The reason lies in the high rate of female infanticide in India, and the fact that more than one million female foetuses are aborted every year in this country, after they are identified as females. If this evil practice is stopped, then India too will have more females as compared to males.
7. World female population is more than male population In the USA, women outnumber men by 7.8 million. New York alone has one million more females as compared to the number of males, and of the male population of New York one-third are gays i.e sodomites. The USA as a whole has more than twenty-five million gays. This means that these people do not wish to marry women. Great Britain has four million more females as compared to males. Germany has five million more females as compared to males. Russia has nine million more females than males. God alone knows how many million more females there are in the whole world as compared to males.
8. Restricting each and every man to have only one wife is not practical Even if every man got married to one woman, there would still be more than thirty million more females in USA who would not be able to get husbands (considering that America has twenty five million gays). There would be more than four million females in Great Britain 5 million females in Germany and nine million females in Russia alone who would not be able to find a husband.
Suppose my sister happens to be one of the unmarried women living in USA, or suppose your sister happens to be one of the unmarried women in USA. The only two options remaining for her are that she either marries a man who already has a wife or becomes public property. There is no other option. I have posed this question to hundreds of non-Muslims and all opted for the first. However a few smart people before accepting, said they would prefer their sisters to remain virgins. Biologically, it is not possible for an average man or a woman to remain celibate throughout life. It may be possible in exceptional cases of one in ten thousand. In the vast majority, the person either gets married or performs illicit sex or indulges in other sexual perversions. Sex hormones are released in the adult body every day. That is the reason why Islam has prohibited monasticism.
In Western society it is common for a man to have mistresses and/or multiple extra-marital affairs, in which case, the woman leads a disgraceful, unprotected life. The same society, however, cannot accept a man having more than one wife, in which women retain their honourable, dignified position in society and lead a protected life.
Thus the only two options before a woman who cannot find a husband is to marry a married man or to become public property. Islam prefers giving women the honourable position by permitting the first option and disallowing the second. There are several other reasons, why Islam has permitted limited polygyny, but it is mainly to protect the modesty of women.