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Issue 97 » December 22, 2000 -

General

QURAN

Translation:

"We have fastened every person's omen (fate) to his/her own neck. "

[Al-Quran- Sura Al-Isra 17: 13]

Tafseer:

  • The causes that lead us to ultimate salvation, to our perpetual happiness or unending misery, lie within ourselves. It is the proper use of our natural faculties, our power of judgment and decision, our preference and choice which makes us earn either happiness or misery.
  • People who do not understand things properly hold external factors to be
    responsible for their fortune.
  • If people were to critically examine themselves, they would appreciate that the factors which had put them on the road to their destruction and ultimately led to their undoing lay within themselves - their own bad character traits and bad decisions.  Their destruction was not thrust upon them by outside factors.
[Compiled from "Towards Understanding the Quran", by S. Abul Ala Maududi, vol. V, pg. 29]
 
Signs Before the Hour- What have we prepared for it?
 > Mahdi - Dajjal - Jesus - Yajuj & Majuj <
 
After the lesser signs of the Hour appear and increase, mankind will have reached a stage of great suffering. Then the awaited Mahdi (peace be upon him) will appear; he is the first of the greater, and clear, signs of the Hour. There will be no doubt about his existence, but this will only be clear to the knowledgeable people. The Mahdi will rule until the False Messiah (Anti-Christ or al-Masikh al-Dajjal) appears, who will spread oppression and corruption. The only ones who will know him well and avoid his evil will be those who have great knowledge and Iman (faith). Th False Messiah (Dajjal) will remain for a while, destroying mankind completely, and the earth will witness the greatest Fitna (trial) in its history! Then the Messiah, Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) will descend, bringing justice from heaven. He will kill the Dajjal, and there will be years of safety and security.
 
Then the appearance of the two tribes, Yajuj and Majuj (Gog and Magog), will take mankind by surprise, and corruption will overtake again. In answer to Jesus' faithful prayer to Allah, they will die, and safety and justice will return. This state of affairs will continue for some years, until the death of Jesus (peace be upon him).
 
[Taken from "The Signs before the Day of Judgment", by Ibn Katheer (Rahimahullah)]
 
 <*> RaMaDan Special! <*>  
 Crying in Front of Allah-Itís not impossible!
 
When was the last time you cried? Not "crocodile tears", or a few drops of salty water from your eyes, or the odd tear that slipped down your face while watching Muhammad Al-Dura of Palestine screaming in agony as he was murdered by Israeli soldiers. Iím talking about a flood of tears that wonít stop. Tears that stain your face...because theyíve been there so long, their bitter saltiness hurts your skin. When was the last time you cried like a baby? Back when you, and all of us, were closer to our Fitra, our true nature.
 
Ramadan is coming to an end! Thatís enough of a reason to cry! But whatís even more important is to take stock of ourselves before it ends and we cannot benefit from its blessings any further. According to the Quran, the blessings of the Nigh of Power (Laylatul Qadr) are greater than the blessings of 1000 months (see Quran 97:3)! We canít afford NOT to be crying in front of Allah, asking for all that we want in these last nights, seeking the Night of Power.
 
Crying happens when we remember how much Allah has blessed us with and how much we disobey Him. We can never repay Allah for everything we have, yet we still blatantly commit sins both big and small: whether itís backbiting, taking and giving interest, treating our family badly, lying, doing good deeds to show off, cheating, etc. We should also remember how Allah puts us in difficulties and opens ways out of them for us, easing our burdens. Yet, we still disobey Him and take His Mercy for granted.
 
Abdullah ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said that he would rather shed two tears from the fear of Allah than give a thousand dinars in charity.
 
And the most telling example of a man who few would think would cry because of fear of Allah is Umar (may Allah be pleased with him). He was known for being strong, fearless, and uncompromising when it came to matters of faith. Yet, Abdullah ibn Isa said that Umar had two black streaks on his face because of constant weeping. He feared Allah so much that he said, "If someone announced from the heavens that everybody will enter Paradise except one person, I would fear that that person would be me." And this is the man who the Prophet (peace be upon him) was pleased with when he died. Umar also died as a martyr. Umar was one of the strongest believers. Yet he cried and feared Allah.
 
We have no reason not to cry in whatís left of Ramadan. Letís be more contemplative and pray for an awareness of and forgiveness for our sins, as well as softness in our hearts. If Umar the brave and pious did it, we have even more need and urgency to do it.
 
[Taken from http://www.soundvision.com/ramadan/10.cry.shtml]
 
Don't leave your home for the Eid Prayer without reading, "14 Things to Remember For Eid day"
 
Want this Eid to bring life and joy to your family?....the article "16 Things to Make this Eid Special for family" could be of some help, In-sha-Allah!
 
'Tis The Season: The Muslim Perspective On Christmas
 
To a Muslim living in the West, the Christmas Holiday period is one of the most stressful times because of the differences in our attitudes towards holidays and celebrations from the status quo there.
 
The fundamental issue for Muslims everywhere is whether or not to celebrate Christmas. Their Christian colleagues may stress the secular aspects of the holiday and the need to comply with social customs in order to advance in society there. Many times I have been told to forget Christmas as a religious holiday and just consider it as a social occasion. Especially in the United States, failure to participate in business Christmas parties, makes oneself an object of ostracism. One needs to climb the social ladder to optimize one's chances for promotion, etc.  and it is difficult to resist the pressure  to conform.
 
 
Christmas and its Origins:
 
Many Christians do not realize that much of the celebration of Christmas is actually of pagan origin. When the date of Christmas was set by the Christian priests to fall in December, it was done at least in part to compete with ancient pagan festivals that occurred about the same time. The Romans celebrated the Feast of the Invincible Sun on December 25. The early church fathers elected to celebrate the birth of Jesus (peace be upon him) on this date,  although there was no particular reason to choose this date. In fact, many Christian scholars believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) was actually born in summer. This is consistent with the Quranic account of Jesus' birth, because there is specific mention of ripe dates falling on Mary (peace be upon her), in Sura Maryam, verse 25.  It seems the early church elders redefined some of the pagan celebrations in Christian terms, rationalizing them as a celebration of some aspect of their dogma on the life of Jesus (peace be upon him). Nowadays, few may remember the reasons for the various customs that they practice.
 
Unfortunately, many Westerners feel that we Muslims should celebrate Christmas. They cite the example of many other non-Christians doing so, including many Jews, Hindus, etc. who join the merrymaking. They find it frustrating that many of us Muslims will not comply. It is regretful that they do not apply the same standard to themselves. They don't expect us to pressure them to celebrate our holidays nor do we Muslims put such pressure on them. After all, we Muslims must follow the Quranic verse 2:256: "Let there be no  compulsion in religion." In fact I recently heard from some who consider it an insult that we won't celebrate it. However, I ask them. "Did Jesus (peace be upon him) or any of the other prophets celebrate their birthdays?" On what authority do they do it now?
 
Of course, there is also the problem of the children. They are bombarded with numerous advertisements for the toys and are essentially brainwashed so that they should expect something "under the tree" on Christmas Day.
 
Coping with the pressure:
 
To us Muslims, each and every thing we do is part of our worship of the One, Supreme God - nothing is excluded. We do not make any distinction between the secular and the religious. 
 
Strictly speaking, for Muslims there are only two holidays, the two Eids. Namely, Eid-ul Fitr -  the festival of fast-breaking immediately after the end of Ramadan - and Eid- ul-Adha - the festival of sacrifice during the major pilgrimage time. They do not celebrate birthdays (despite all the Western conventions to the contrary) - not even the birth of any of the prophets (peace be upon them all), including Muhammad (peace be blessings be upon him).
 
Thus, we as Muslims cannot condone nor should we participate in those practices. It is not out of disrespect to Christian colleagues that this is done; rather, it is out of respect and love for Jesus (peace be upon him) and Mary (peace be upon her) and Allah Himself that we must refuse!
 
What we should really celebrate are the praises of Allah, Who is free of all imperfections, as stated in the Quran: "Therefore be patient with what they say, and celebrate (constantly) the praises of your Lord before the rising of the sun, and before its setting; yea, celebrate them for part of the hours of the night, and at the sides of the day: so that you may have (spiritual) joy. Nor strain your eyes in longing for the things We have given for enjoyment to parties of them, the splendor of the life of this world, through which We test them: but the provision of your Lord is better and more enduring." [Sura Ta-Ha (20): verses 130 - 131].
 
[Compiled from " 'Tis The Season: The Muslim Perspective On Christmas" by Zeyd Ali Merenkov, M.D.]
 
Note:
You may also visit the following link to read Dr. Muzzammil Siddiqi's views on this issue.