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Monday, July 27, 2009

How About Some Dawah? Seven Questions About Islam

This post is a follow up to my previous post Seven Things I Love About Islam. In this post I will discuss some of the issues that have yet to be resolved for me about the religion.

I don't mean for any of these things to be accusations against Islam or any of the wonderful and honest Muslims that I know and love. In fact, I would love to get some feedback on some of these issues, so hopefully some other bloggers can post information that will be useful to others who are learning about Islam. I would love to see individual posts on some of the questions if you consider yourself an expert on any of these issues and have access to good sources of information. I am not an expert by any means. I have only a scanty knowledge of Arabic and don't know which hadiths are considered most authoritative next to the Quran.

So, give me some love, and give me some dawah. I have questions, and who doesn't love a good answer right?

1. How can we be sure of Muhammad's prophethood?
The Hebrew Bible (Genesis-Malachi) is evidenced to have existed in its current form since before the lifetimes of both Jesus and Muhammad. Copies of the Greek New Testament also exist from centuries before Muhammad was born.

The prophetic books in the Bible all have a common theme. That is calling the people back to true worship of God as defined in the Torah. Jesus kept with this theme and is recorded to have said in Matthew 5:17: Don't even think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish but to fulfill them.

Muhammad did call the pagans to worship the one Creator God in strict Monotheism, but he replaced the Torah with another law that contradicts it. Some of the biggest changes include the replacement of the Biblical feasts such as Passover and Sukkot with the 'Eids in the Quran and replacing the Sabbath with Friday prayer. Why would God change these after 2000 years?

In saying this also understand that I think it was a mistake for the Christians to abandon the Saturday sabbath with Sunday and celebrate Christmas and Easter rather than the Biblical holidays. This happened as the Christians became Romanized, but the Bible itself doesn't teach Sunday worship or the holidays of Christmas or Easter. Jesus kept the Sabbath, ate Kosher, and celebrated the holidays of Passover, Sukkot, the Day of Atonement.

2. What is required of the people of the book according to Quran?

Surah Al Maidah 68a says.
Say: O' people of the book! You have no ground to stand upon unless you stand fast by the Torah, the Gospel and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord...
and 69b Those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians and the Christians, -any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

These verses seem to suggest the People of the Book are fine as they are and have no need to change their faith.

Contrast this with S. Al Imran 85: If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost.
Or S Al Tawba 29: Fight against those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by Allah and his Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth from, among the People of the book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

These seem to suggest that those living after the coming of Islam must become Muslim or they can never attain Jannah and that they are to be considered lesser than Muslims. Which is true?

3. Will there be sex and marriage in Heaven?

In Matthew 22:30 Jesus says: For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels in heaven.

Surah An-Nisa 57: But those who believe and do deeds of righteousness we shall soon admit to Gardens, with rivers flowing beneath, their eternal home: therein shall they have spouses purified. . .

It is hard to understand what the purpose of sexual activity in heaven would be. It seems that our most base desires are something of this earth that don't belong in the next life.

4. The Prophet's many marriages
Why would God limit the number of wives to 4 for ordinary Muslims (S 4:3), while Muhammad could have as many as he wanted according to S. Al Ahzab 51?
Also problematic for me is that Muhammad married Zainab even though she had already married his adopted son Zaid, and of course there is the matter of Aisha's age when she was married. I have heard some theories saying that she had to be older than 9, but I don't know how reliable their accounting methods are. I do, however, think it was wonderful that Muhammad was willing to marry women who were widowed, and that he did exhibit great kindness with his wives. He also forbid the female infanticide that was prevalent in pagan Arab culture.

5. Which one of Abraham's sons did he offer for sacrifice?

The Biblical narrative in Genesis 22 states specifically that Yahweh commanded to offer his son Isaac for sacrifice. This story takes place in the Bible after Ishmael and Hagar were sent away from Abraham. The story mentions Isaac by name five times. This text could not have been changed any later than about the 6th Century BCE if someone was going to used the argument that the Bible was edited to say Isaac instead of Ishmael. Hebrews 11 excerpts the story of Abraham's faith in the New Testament and also mentions the name of Isaac.

The Quran is less detailed in the retelling of this story in S. As Saffat. The story in the Quran much shorter that in the Bible, yet emphasizes the obedience of Abraham to God's test. The Quranic narrative doesn't mention the son by name but Islamic tradition seems to say unanimously that it was Ishmael. Are there any segments of Islam that believe Isaac was the son in this story?


6. Honoring Muhammad too much?

I am not sure of what to think of the custom of saying Salah Allahu 'Alayhi w salaam after every mention of the Prophet's name. He is also mentioned during the prayer in al tashahuud. The Quran is very clear in its instruction not to make partners with Allah, yet praising the Prophet during prayer is sanctioned as part of the prayer pattern. I just don't know what to make of it. Are there any Muslims who don't particularly feel comfortable with this custom? I am not against giving respect where respect is due, I just don't know how I feel with that being included in the Shahada and in Salaah.

7. How can you know for sure?

That is, how can you know for sure that you will make it to Jannah according to Islam? There are 2 verses that come to mind that speak of good deeds being the most important element.

Al Isra'a 13: Every man's fate we have fastened on his own neck: on the Day of Judgment we shall bring out for him a scroll which he will spread open.
Al Muminun 102-103: Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy, they will be successful. But those whose balance is light, they will be those who have lost their souls; in Hell will they abide.

The Quran is a book that speaks much about the Day of Judgment, heaven and hell. In contrast, much less of the Bible's content is focused on these subjects.
In fact, the Torah doesn't speak about an afterlife specifically. The Torah does, however, teach that animal sacrifice is the means by which humans can receive atonement for their sins (Lev. 17:11). The concept in Christianity is that the death of Jesus, who never sinned, provides the final atonement for regular humans who can never attain perfection before God.

My feeling is that God wanted us to worship him out of love and awe for having created us and all that is in the world. If we are only worshiping out of fear of punishment, it is hard to experience the presence of God in this world.

Overall, there are a lot of things that are hard to understand in both the Quran and in the Bible. The first thing we can do is study and compare both sets of scriptures in the historical settings they were written in. This is easier for the Quran because it was written in a single lifetime, while the Bible was composed and edited over a period of about 1,300 years. However, I think that both sets of scriptures can do a lot to illuminate each other. That's about all I've got for now.

Seriously though, I would welcome any answers or further questions as long as they are respectful so that we can create further dialogue between people who just want to worship God as best we know how.

Check out this post that Pixie just made today that talks about some reasons that Muslims don't follow the Bible.

I would love to pursue some of the issues raised in the videos she posted in some further posts if I have time.


43 comments:

Nikki said...

I want to keep my eye on this question because even though I have converted to Islam, I still have questions myself.

I had a big problem with number 6 myself. My husband and I actually argued about it. I think coming from a Christian background, I am just wary of placing a prophet too high. In my Christian church services most of the emphasis was always on Jesus...I want to hear about GOD. I've even seen children's CDs entitled "We Love Muhammad." Why not "We Love Allah" ? I still am uncomfortable with all of the emphasis placed on him to be honest.

I don't have a problem with Muhammad being mentioned in the Shahada, though, because Muhammad is the final prophet, and by saying that you accept Muhammad as a messenger of the one God, you are in essence saying that you believe in all of the prior prophets, as well. (i.e. Jesus, Moses, Abraham, etc.)

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

Yeah I agree Nikki. There are whole CD's of nasheeds that are just praises to Muhammad. In some countries Mawliid al Nabi is a bigger holiday than the two Eids themselves. It just makes me uncomfortable somehow.

I agree with your second point to an extent. I think that the reason that Muhammad is mentioned in the shahada is to differentiate the person accepting Islam as much from the prior religion as possible. It does make sense, its just easy to take the respect meant for him and take it to the level of worship which is definitely wrong.

Aynur said...

Interesting questions. I will only address a few, some of them I'm not sure about myself.

#1 "Why would God change these after 2000 years?"
~I'm not sure. That's a good question.

#2 - "Contrast this with S. Al Imran 85: If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost."
~ Ah yes, but "Islam" simply means "submission". Now when we look at Islam we see a whole religion with numerous sects - but, in the form of how the word was when the Qur'an was revealed it did not have the same meaning. Muhammad Asad's translation mentions that topic in his forward ... but then yes there are many Muslims who believe it means you have to be "Muslim" in order to go to heaven.
"Or S Al Tawba 29: Fight against those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by Allah and his Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth from, among the People of the book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued."
~ I don't see this as saying anything bad about the People of the Book, just that they have to pay the Jizyah (Muslims had to pay different tax).

#3 - I don't know. Maybe just spouses to hang out with. :p

#4 - From what I know each marriage had an importance - like marrying widows, divorcees, a black woman, a Jew, etc.

#5 - I don't know.

#6 - yes. The Qur'an is super super clear that we are to honor all Prophets equally.
It would be different if we were honoring all prophets in the nasheeds, it also makes me uncomfortable.

[2:285] THE APOSTLE, and the believers with him, believe in what has been bestowed upon him from on high by his Sustainer: they all believe in God, and His angels, and His revelations, and His apostles, making no distinction between any of His apostles; and they say: We have heard, and we pay heed. Grant us Thy forgiveness, O our Sustainer, for with Thee is all journeys' end!

[4:152] But as for those who believe in God and His apostles and make no distinction between any of them - unto them, in time, will He grant their re­wards [in full]. And God is indeed much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.

We are to mention Allah's name only when praying, so I am uncomfortable with the current practice. Also a little confused, trying to read more. :D

[6:162] Say: "Behold, my prayer, and (all] my acts of worship, and my living and my dying are for God [alone], the Sustainer of all the worlds

I have no problem saying the Shahadah in its current form, as I see it as a statement of a fact.
There is also the issue of intercession, the Qur'an is very clear about that too, but yet many hadiths say that Prophet Muhammad (saw) has the power of intercession.

#7 - "My feeling is that God wanted us to worship him out of love and awe for having created us and all that is in the world. If we are only worshiping out of fear of punishment, it is hard to experience the presence of God in this world."
~I agree.

Sarah the Seeker said...

Great post! I'll be interested to see any other answers too.

A few of my thoughts:

1 - Muhammad was never a Jew, unlike all the prior prophets, and if he was illiterate he wouldn't have read the Torah. But the other side of Abraham's family - descending from Ishmael - had a monotheistic tradition too as I understand it, but it wasn't the same as Judaism. I am not sure why the specific rules differ from one tradition to another but I can cope with the idea that God would give different rules at different times and places.

5 - I suspect the tradition of it being Ishmael pre-dates Islam.

7 - I'd be interested to hear how you understand animal sacrifice in terms of atoning for sins. Is the idea that the animal bears the punishment for the sin? Or is it that by sacrificing valuable livestock, they would humble themselves before God and remind themselves to put God first?
I totally agree that we should not worship God solely out of fear of punishment. But I think in any of these faiths it is possible to be fixated on reward/punishment avoidance.
I'm not sure how important I think it is that we know "for sure" that we are going to heaven. Part of me thinks having faith in that is crucial... part of me thinks we should be able to put that aside.
I'm also unsure on what I think grants us salvation, but I'm tending towards thinking that it's a matter of developing good character, faith and good deeds. I am uncomfortable with forgiveness without any changes on our part. And I'm uncomfortable with the way some Muslims talk of collecting bigger rewards for doing certain things. Maybe these doctrines are just tools to help us get to a place of genuine worship of God, and they work or don't work depending on us.

Organica said...

I can't address all the questions, but I can answer a few...

The wives issue: If you study the marriages closely a lot of them were done to strengthen political ties and reaffirm beliefs or disapprove. For example, when he married Zainab, it was to prove that legal adoption in Islam doesn't exist. You can foster an orphan but you can't give them your name, thus they aren't kin! In this particular era, ties were strengthened between tribes, etc through marriage relations. Think France and England?
In addition, the prophet married other women who were considered undesirable, older widows. It was more of honor to be married to the prophet. In the traditions of the prophet you will read how these women would give up their nights for Aisha because he seemed to love her the most.

It's important to note that Pre-Islamic Arabia welcomed Polygamy. Men in those times had a multitude of wives (10 15,20)...When Islam came to limit it, some actually complained! And you will find the worst of Islam enemies at the time, never attacked these particular points.

Organica said...

Honoring the Prophet too much?

If you look into the history of what Islam came about and what the Prophet and his companions did for Islam, you would think the least we can do is honor him. He tirelessly worked to make us Muslims, to spread the truth of God.

Saying "Salah Allah Alyhe we salaam" was a favor the prophet asked his nation! In an authentic hadeeth, the prophet asked us to say the prayers and blessings so God will bless him on the day of Judgment. Even after his death, he still seeks the pleasure of Allah. How humble of a messenger! Although he doesn't need our prayers, it's the least we can do for the messenger who brought us the truth?

ellen557 said...

I hope you don't mind, but I did a little continuing on post on my blog in the same line of yours.
A lot of our questions are the same, and I agree with you about the veneration of Mohammad.
I don't have a problem with him being included in the Shahadah though. In Christianity, you accept Jesus (in a different way but you get what I mean). Judaism has a similar thing with Moses so I think Islam is just a continuation of that. It's just accepting the message and the Prophet himself, who broadcasted the message.

But yeah... sometimes I feel a bit strange with the "peace be upon him" things too. Sometimes it seems people remember to say "pbuh" after Mohammad's name, but forget to add "swt" after God's name. :|

Organica said...

People of the Book issue...

At a time, before Moses, after Moses and after Jesus, there were People of the Book who believed correctly--The belief in One God. Allah revealed a set of laws, etc and they followed and lived by them. At these times, these People of the Book were submitting to One God, i.e. they were Muslim and will InshAllah be granted Jannah.

However, according to Muslim tradition, the message was corrupted in between, thus the many prophets were sent after to bring people back to the truth. And these attempts to restore the belief in the Oneness of God were at times restored successfully! These people are still considered People of the Book, but they are followers of the truth!

Then corruption once again erupted and people fell astray. You even mentioned that Modern day Christians don't even follow Biblical holidays or traditions. They've been Romanized, i.e. they are follower of men's interpretation of God's rules, not God's Law. They made Jesus into a God and gave God a son (authobillah!). They changed and corrupted their holy books accordingly and created a religion that wasn't sent by God!

For further idea of how the Bible was corrupted by its followers, please refer to Ahmed Deedat's studies on the matter. He brings ample evidence as to how many verses and passages were taken out and then put back at the conveniences of those in control!

Thus, modern day Christian and Jews don't follow the true Risala (message) which was to believe in One God! Christians worship Jesus and some Jews don't even include God in their daily prayers!

So Allah sent the last and final message: The Quran. The messages very similar and almost identical to what was before, but instead the prophets are honored, not incestuous monsters trying to sleep with their daughters! The same message was delivered: Believe in One God and you are granted Jannah.

Why different laws? God knows best. These Quranic laws are supposed to be universal and adaptable to every time and place. I think the Quran succeeded to prove this already, but we sometimes forget to return to the Quran and follow blindly people who interpret it for us!

But it surely is a test to see who will believe. Even at the time of the Prophet, the Christian and Jews predicted that Muhammad would appear and almost expected him! But you won't hear that from the Christian side because that evidence was wiped out for their political agendas!

I hold a very simple belief that is guided by one of the verses that you posted. The true key to Jannah is the belief that God is One! La ilah ila Allah...And the other verse that mentions that God forgives everything but Shirk (partnership). So who passes this test? It's rather simple.

Organica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Organica said...

Muhammad in the Bible:

(1/11)

(2/11)

(3/11)

(4/11)

(5/11)

(6/11)

(7/11)

(8/11)

(9/11)

(10/11)

(11/11)

miseducation of the cushitic girl said...

6. Its not a sin not to say peace be upon him, its just that he said in a hadith that people should say that and a message will be given that you said it and he will say it back to you. But this is not only to him but to all the prophets. There's nothing like too much love for the Prophet. A hadith says that you have to love him more than yourself. He was the perfect example. Love is different from worship. I get what you mean though, if you feel uncomfortable you don't have to say it.

7. Nope, no one can know. You know what, I love it because imagine if you definitely knew, would you work as hard? And it also stops anyone from bragging about how they stayed up all night praying. Even the smallest thing can get you there. Allah is the Most Merciful, if we beg for forgiveness sincerely He forgives everything. It is said of all His attributes, Most Merciful is the greatest.
Balance fear and hope. You can never have too much of one or the other. Inshallah sis we will get there.
I learnt in madrasa, I've got to find a reference for this, but they said that all who believe in the One God will enter Jannah, but not before they are punished for their sins. Theres a river that they will be purified in and will come into Paradise.

Sis hope I helped...so happy that you ask these instead of the doubt piling up. We all need reassurance. My husband also reverted and he needs to read to investigate his questions.

Love and all the best.

miseducation of the cushitic girl said...

Asalam alaykum sis,

I think this is awesome. We all have questions and the fact that all of this happened 1400 and something years makes things feel so far away. Something the Quran promised is that the Word of God will withstand the test of time and thats another miracle of the never-changing Quran.

1. Different methods of worship were revealed to different Prophets to suit their times and also to renew the purity of altered texts and ideas. Muhammad peace be upon him was for a fact a Messenger. The Bible as changed as it is today still has in its Hebrew text the mention of Muhammad peace be upon him by name. (http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ahmed+deedat+muhammad+in+the+bible&search_type=&aq=0&oq=ahmed+deedat+muha). Interestingly enough Prophet Musa also mentioned of another like him who will bring a fiery law. And Jesus peace be on him did n such thing. In fact he brought the Good News, what good news? Of one who they were not yet ready for. The miracle of the Quran for me is all I need, but there is more that Ahmed Deedat has lectured about.
And about the holidays, the Jews have that meaning for them but Islam came to the wider world that had not gone through what the Jews were celebrating in them. Islam has universal holidays, an eid during Hajj time and another after we all fast.

2.About the people of the Book. The Quran calls to them to embrace monotheism. Thats the end result, belief in one God. No Trinity, no Rabbi following such as the Talmud. The way I understood things, the Jews are in a different position to the Christians. The Jews totally rejected Isa alayhi salam and even abuse him and Maryam in the Talmud. The Christians is another extreme of worshipping him. For the Jews they cannot be helped until they believe in Isa and Muhammad peace be on them both. The Christians are our brothers. It is said in a hadith on the day of Judgement Isa alayhi salam will be asked if he told them to worship him. He will deny this and say to Allah that at least they loved him and did not reject him, and surely He is the Most Merciful. This hints that he will ask for their forgiveness. May Allah forgive them. Amin.

3. Yes there will be sex and marriage. We will be spirit versions of ourselves inshallah and will have the joys we had here but not the undesirable experiences such as need for toilet. If you and your husband make it to jannah inshallah, you will be still married there but no one will be unhappy if you wish other mates inshallah you will get and you will look more desirable to him than any other woman and he to you.

4.Before the verse of marrying 4 wives only, the arabs had no limit to wives. After the ayat the companions and followers had to divorce the excess wives except the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam. After you marry the Prophet, how can you marry anyone else, no one can match up to that so it was sot permitted.
I had a problem with the number too, but I read this book (http://www.sharaaz.com/index.php3?menu=describe&table=Book&cat=Books&id=b00074p). It tells of the circumstances and benefits to Islam of all those blessed women. Merging warring tribes into Islam, Aisha who remembered minute details of the Prophets life until way past he died and she became a great scholar of Islam.

5. No idea. I'd be curious too.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Aynur
We're getting a good compilation of information here!
#2 I like your idea of defining Islam by its simple linguistic meaning of "submission." I think that it makes the group more inclusive to all of those who are truly seeking to honor and worship God in the best way. As for the Jizyah, that itself is not the problem, but saying that the Christians must be "subdued" could include political and religious oppression. This is still happening today among Copts in some villages and the Yemenite Jews.
#6 As for honoring the prophets, the verses you provided suggest that all historical prophets deserve the same level of honor, so it is important that people don't let that honor increase to a level that would be displeasing to God.
I might need to make individual posts for each of these topics to cover them more fully!

Habibti said...

assalamu alaykum
1- the coming of prophet muhammad salalahou alayhi wa salam is in the bible and the taurah. the jews and christians knew about it. we have historical facts that prove it. we have the Quran which is a clear proof and the ahadiths. i mean a simple man couldnt have made up all these predications that happen in this time. it would be liek a book to dwell into all these facts
2-the christians and the jews who followed jesus ( peace be upon him) and musa ( peace be upon him) will be in jannah insha'Allah. but after the coming of the prophet mohamed ( peace be upon him), the christians and the jews were required to follow him and his message. because the prophet is a messenger to all of mankind.
3-its very hard to try to imagine the pleasure in the hereafter. i mean Allah said no creature can imagine what it is like. it is beyond our imagination. we know we wont have any grief, we will be satisfied forever. i mean for me it is sufficient
4-in africa, you know people have up to 50 wives. hahahha funny but true. its just a matter of culture. and that was the culture in the time of the prophet ( peace be upon him). he was not the only one having many wives. and he was treating them exxcellently may i say. in islam, there is no such thing as adoption. you know the prophet ( peace be upon him) was resilient to marry zaynab because of what people would say. and Allah revealed a verse about adoption and all that stuff. concerning aisha, she was 9 years old. we dont have to find excuses and say she was more than that. we have nothing to be ashamed of. it was the culture of that time for girls to get married that early. and in africa also to this century, it still happens. we cannot judge. its a matter of culture. and to prove that even, the worst enemies of islam never commented on that. so go figure
5-the christians honor too much jesus ( peace be upon him) we muslims dont honor too much mohamed ( peace be upon him). we love him and we love jesus too. we love all the prophets. but seeing all that the prophet did for our ummah, we cannot do anything but feel love for him and respect. he had such a heart, such mercy soubhanallah. he was the best man on earth to this day. how can we not pay respect? and he asked us to always say peace be upon him after his name. i mean for all he did for us, this is nothing. the day of judgment, we will ask intercession to all the prophets, all of them will refuse except him. soubhanallah what a heart. how can we not honor and love him! however we do not worship him and we do not call on him. maybe you have seen some people worship him, they exist. and the prophet warned us against that. only Allah is to be worshipped. only Him. the prophet was just a man like us but he was better.
6-one cannot know if he will enter jannah until his death. thats why we never stop worshipping Allah until our last breath. and thats why we always are humble cause we dont know our fate. and i think its good like that. because we tend to get so boastful and immodest. if humans knew in advance whether they would be in jannah or not, you imagine they wouldnt work for it and they would get arrogant and immodest.
i mean this could take days and books to cover these issues. myself i was wondering about the same things and im not a revert. but as i read books, as i listened to lectures i came to understand. insha'Allah it will be the same for all of us

Sarah Plain And Short said...

Hi Stacy, I tried to answer your question about the Sabbath.

http://saveoursunnah.blogspot.com/2009/07/for-stacey-aka-fahiima.html

Aynur said...

Habibti - "we will ask intercession to all the prophets, all of them will refuse except him"
~that seems to go against what the Qur'an says about intercession:

[2:254] O YOU who have attained to faith! Spend [in Our way] out of what We have granted you as sustenance ere there come a Day when there will be no bargaining, and no friendship, and no intercession. And they who deny the truth -it is they who are evildoers!

[39:43-44] "What! Do they take for intercessors others besides God? Say: "Even if they have no power whatever and no intelligence?" Say: "To God belongs exclusively (the right to grant) intercession: to Him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth: In the End, it is to Him that ye shall be brought back."

[6:70] "Leave alone those who take their religion to be mere play and amusement, and are deceived by the life of this world. But proclaim (to them) this (truth): that every soul delivers itself to ruin by its own acts: it will find for itself no protector or intercessor except God: if it offered every ransom, (or reparation), none will be accepted: such is (the end of) those who deliver themselves to ruin by their own acts: they will have for drink (only) boiling water, and for punishment, one most grievous: for they persisted in rejecting God."

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Organica,
As always, you are a wonderful voice for Islam and source of good information :)
I love what you said about the key to Jannah being belief in the oneness of God. It sounds so simple doesn't it?
I read something by a Christian author, Rob Bell recently.

He said, "Questions bring freedom. Freedom that I don't have to be God and I don't have to pretend that I have it all figured out. I can let God be God."

I love asking questions and seeking answers, but even if I don't feel 100% sure I can still trust that our Creator knows what he's doing.

Habibti said...

asalamu alaykum aynur it doesnt go against the Quran.

http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/21672/intercession

hope this clarify for you

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

That is the first I have heard of the prophets acting as intercessors in Islam too. Not sure if I agree, but it is in those hadiths.

Habibti said...

well it is in the hadiths and they are sahih ( authentic). we dont question them and we believe in them. we believe in all the prophets sent by Allah, all of them without disregard

Aynur said...

Habibti - Sorry, I think it does. I've read that Q&A before, it doesn't make sense to me. I can understand intercession as in pleading on the behalf of someone, but no more than that. I am going to stick with what the Qur'an says about this topic, as opposed to the hadith.
I take more stock in what the Qur'an says, even if a hadith is considered "sahih" but contradicts what the Qur'an says.

Aynur said...

Habibti, I forgot to say alaikum wasalaam. And I didn't want it to seem like I'm picking a fight, it's just an issue that bothers me a lot.

Habibti said...

im sorry aynur but it doesnt contradict it. i just picked this issue on islam qa. but i heard many lectures by other sheikhs who say the same thing like bin baz, uthaymeen, taymiyyah, the one at almaghrib center. did you read the tafseer of those verses you gave me? no sahih hadith contradicts the Quran. we cannot interpret the quran or hadiths by ourselves because we are not scholars in the matter. anyways i look up the tafsir on your verses and i come back to you insha'Allah on the issue

Habibti said...

oh dont worry i know you are not picking up a fight
i looked up the tafsir from ibn kathir for the verses you stated
(254. O you who believe! Spend of that with which We have provided for you, before a Day comes when there will be no bargaining, nor friendship, nor intercession. And it is the disbelievers who are the wrongdoers.)

tafsir: Allah commands His servants to spend for His sake, in the path of righteousness, from what He has granted them, so that they acquire and keep the reward of this righteous deed with their Lord and King. Let them rush to perform this deed in this life,

(before a Day comes) meaning, the Day of Resurrection,

(when there will be no bargaining, nor friendship, nor intercession.)

This Ayah indicates that on that Day, no one will be able to bargain on behalf of himself or ransom himself with any amount, even if it was the earth's fill of gold; nor will his friendship or relation to anyone benefit him. Similarly, Allah said,

(Then, when the Trumpet is blown, there will be no kinship among them that Day, nor will they ask of one another) ﴿23:101﴾.

(Nor intercession) meaning, they will not benefit by the intercession of anyone.

Allah's statement,



(and it is the disbelievers who are the wrongdoers) indicates that no injustice is worse than meeting Allah on that Day while a disbeliever. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Ata' bin Dinar said, "All thanks are due to Allah Who said,
(and it is the disbelievers who are the wrongdoers) but did not say, `And it is the wrongdoers who are the disbelievers.'''

Habibti said...

az zumar

There is no Intercession except with Allah, and how the Idolators are filled with Disgust when Allah

Allah condemns the idolators for taking intercessors besides Allah, namely the idols and false gods whom they have taken on the basis of their own whims, with no evidence or proof. These idols are not able to do anything; they have no minds with which to think, and they cannot hear or see. They are inanimate and are much worse off than animals. Then Allah says: `Say -- O Muhammad -- to these people who claim that those whom they have taken as intercessors with Allah, that intercession is of no avail except for the one with whom Allah is pleased and to whom He has granted permission to intercede. The whole matter rests with Him.'

(Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His permission) (2:255).

(His is the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth.) means, He is the One Who is in control of all that.

(Then to Him you shall be brought back.) means, `on the Day of Resurrection, then He will judge between you with His justice, and He will reward or punish each person according to his deeds.' Then Allah condemns the idolators further:

(And when Allah Alone is mentioned) means, when it is said there is no (true) God except Allah Alone,

(the hearts of those who believe not in the Hereafter are filled with disgust) Mujahid said, "Their hearts are filled with disgust means they recoil in horror.'' This is like the Ayah:

(Truly, when it was said to them: "La ilaha illa Allah,'' they puffed themselves up with pride.) (37:35) which means, they were too proud to follow it. Their hearts could not accept anything good, and whoever cannot accept good will accept evil. Allah says:

(and when those besides Him are mentioned,) meaning, the idols and false gods -- this was the view of Mujahid --



(behold, they rejoice!) means, they feel happy.

Habibti said...

(70. And leave alone those who take their religion as play and amusement, and are deceived by the life of this world. But remind (them) with it (the Qur'an) lest a soul Tubsal for that which one has earned, when he will find for himself no protector or intercessor besides Allah, and even if he offers every ransom, it will not be accepted from him. Such are they who are given up to destruction because of that which they have earned. For them will be a drink of boiling water and a painful torment because they used to disbelieve.) Allah said,


(And leave alone those who take their religion as play and amusement, and are deceived by the life of this world.) The Ayah commands to leave such people, ignore them and give them respite, for soon, they will taste a tremendous torment. This is why Allah said,



(But remind with it) meaning, remind the people with this Qur'an and warn them against Allah's revenge and painful torment on the Day of Resurrection. Allah said;



(lest a soul Tubsal for that which one has earned,) meaning, so that it is not Tubsal. Ad-Dahhak from Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Al-Hasan and As-Suddi said that Tubsal means, be submissive. Al-Walibi said that Ibn `Abbas said that Tubsal means, `be exposed'. Qatadah said that Tubsal means, `be prevented', Murrah and Ibn Zayd said that it means, `be recompensed', Al-Kalbi said, `be reckoned'. All these statements and expressions are similar, for they all mean exposure to destruction, being kept away from all that is good, and being restrained from attaining what is desired. Allah also said;



(Every person is restrained by what he has earned. Except those on the Right.) ﴿74:38-39﴾, and



(when he will find for himself no protector or intercessor besides Allah,) and,


(and even if he offers every ransom, it will not be accepted from him.) meaning, whatever the ransom such people offer, it will not be accepted from them. Allah said in a similar statement,


(Verily, those who disbelieved, and died while they were disbelievers, the (whole) earth full of gold will not be accepted from anyone of them.) ﴿3:91﴾ Allah said here,

(Such are they who are given up to destruction because of that which they have earned. For them will be a drink of boiling water and a painful torment because they used to disbelieve. )

Habibti said...

and here are other verses and their tafsir which speak about the fact that intercession will be allowed by Allah
sura Hud. verse 103. Indeed in that (there) is a sure lesson for those who fear the torment of the Hereafter. That is a Day whereon mankind will be gathered together, and that is a Day when all will be present.) (104. And We delay it only for a term (already) fixed.) (105. On the Day when it comes, no person shall speak except by His (Allah's) leave. Some among them will be wretched and (others) blessed.)
llah, the Exalted, is saying that in the destruction of the disbelievers and the salvation of the believers by us is,

(a sure lesson). This means an admonition and lesson concerning the truthfulness of that which We are promised in the Hereafter.

.(Verily, We will indeed make victorious Our Messengers and those who believe in this world's life and on the Day when the witnesses will stand forth.)﴿40:51﴾ Allah, the Exalted, also says,

(So their Lord revealed to them: "Truly, We shall destroy the wrongdoers.) ﴿14:13﴾ Concerning Allah's statement,

(That is a Day whereon mankind will be gathered together,) This means the first of them and the last of them. This is similar to Allah's statement,

(And We shall gather them all together so as to leave not one of them behind.) ﴿18: 47﴾

(and that is a Day when all will be present.) This means a day that is great. The angels will be present, the Messengers will gather and all of the creation will be gathered with their families. The humans, Jinns, birds, wild beasts and domesticated riding animals will all be gathered. Then the Most Just, Who does not wrong anyone even an atom's weight, will judge between them and He will increase their good deeds in reward. Concerning the statement,

(And We delay it only for a term (already) fixed.) This means for a fixed period of time than cannot be increased or decreased. Then He says,
(On the Day when it comes, no person shall speak except by His (Allah's) leave.) This means that on the Day of Judgement no one will speak except with the permission of Allah. This is similar to another verse, which says,

(they will not speak except him whom the Most Gracious (Allah) allows, and he will speak what is right.) ﴿78:38﴾ Allah also says,

(And all the voices will be humbled for the Most Gracious (Allah). ) ﴿20:108﴾ In the Hadith about the intercession, which is recorded in the Two Sahihs, the Messenger of Allah said,

(No one will speak on that day except the Messengers, and the call of the Messengers will be, "O Allah, save us, save us.'') Concerning Allah's statement,
(Some among them will be wretched and (others) blessed.) This means that from the people of the gathering (on Judgement Day), some will be miserable and some will be happy. This is as Allah said,

(When a party will be in Paradise and a party in the blazing Fire) ﴿42:7﴾ Al-Hafiz Abu Ya`la recorded in his Musnad on the authority of Ibn `Umar that `Umar said, "When this verse was revealed,

(Some among them will be wretched and (others) blessed.) I asked the Prophet , `O Messenger of Allah, will there be a sign for us to know (which party we are from) Will it be because of something that a person did, or something that he did not do' He said,
(O `Umar, it will be due to something that he did and the pens wrote it down. But every easy deed was created for its purpose (to be carried out).)

Habibti said...

the long hadith is mentioned in both muslim and bukhari and it is also mentioned in the tafsir of ibn kathir for the sura Al Isra.
(78. Perform the Salah from midday till the darkness of the night, and recite the Qur'an in the early dawn. Verily, the recitation of the Qur'an in the early dawn is ever witnessed.) (79. And in some parts of the night (also) offer the Salah with it as an additional prayer for you. It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqam Mahmud.)

( i skipped the part about the verse 78 to come to the topic of intercession okay)
(It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqam Mahmud.) meaning, `do that which you are commanded to do, and We will raise you to a station of praise and glory (Maqam Mahmud) on the Day of Resurrection, where all of creation will praise you,' as will their Creator, may He be glorified and exalted. Ibn Jarir said, "Most of the commentators said, `This is the position to which Muhammad will be raised on the Day of Resurrection, to intercede for the people so that their Lord will relieve them of some of the hardships they are facing on that Day.''' It was reported that Hudhayfah said, "Mankind will be gathered in one arena, where they will all hear the call and will all be seen. They will be standing barefoot and naked as they were created, and no person shall speak except by the leave of Allah. He will call out, `O Muhammad,' and he will respond,

Habibti said...

(At your service, all goodness is in Your Hands and evil is not to be attributed to You. The one who is guided is the one whom You guide. Your servant is before You, from You, and to You and there is no salvation or refuge from You except with You. May You be blessed and exalted, Glory be to You, Lord of the House (the Ka`bah).) This is the position of praise and honor (Maqam Mahmud) which was mentioned by Allah.'' Ibn `Abbas said, "The position of praise and honor is the position of intercession.'' Ibn Abi Najih reported something similar from Mujahid, and this was also the view of Al-Hasan Al-Basri. Qatadah said, "He is the first one for whom the earth will be opened on the Day of Resurrection, and he will be the first one to intercede.'' So the scholars consider this the position of praise and glory to which Allah referred in the Ayah:
(It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqam Mahmud.)

Habibti said...

This has been explained in comprehensive detail at the end of the Book of Sirah, in the chapter on the specific qualities. Praise be to Allah. Now with the help of Allah we will mention the Hadiths that were reported concerning Al-Maqam Al-Mahmud. Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Umar said: "On the Day of Resurrection, the people will be humbled to their knees, each nation following its Prophet and saying, `O so-and-so, intercede,' `O so-and-so, intercede,' until the power of intercession is given to Muhammad , and that will be the day when Allah raises him to a position of praise and glory. Ibn Jarir recorded that `Abdullah bin `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said:
(The sun will come close until the sweat reaches halfway up one's ears. When the people are in that state, they will ask Adam for help, and he will say, "I am not the one to do that.'' Then they will ask Musa, and he will say likewise, then they will ask Muhammad, and he will intercede for the people and will go and take hold of the handle of the gate of Paradise, and that will be the Day when Allah resurrects him to a position of praise and glory.) Al-Bukhari also recorded it in the Book of Zakah, where he added:
(That will be the Day when Allah resurrects him to a position of praise and glory, and all the people will praise him.) Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded that `Abdullah said, "Then Allah will give permission for intercession, and Ar-Ruh Al-Quddus, Jibril, will stand up, then Ibrahim, the close Friend of Allah will stand up, then `Isa or Musa will stand up - Abu Az-Za`ra' said, `I do not know which of them, ' -- then your Prophet will stand up and will intercede, and no one after him will intercede as much as he does. This is the position of praise and glory to which Allah referred:
(It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqam Mahmud.)''

Habibti said...

This has been explained in comprehensive detail at the end of the Book of Sirah, in the chapter on the specific qualities. Praise be to Allah. Now with the help of Allah we will mention the Hadiths that were reported concerning Al-Maqam Al-Mahmud. Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Umar said: "On the Day of Resurrection, the people will be humbled to their knees, each nation following its Prophet and saying, `O so-and-so, intercede,' `O so-and-so, intercede,' until the power of intercession is given to Muhammad , and that will be the day when Allah raises him to a position of praise and glory. Ibn Jarir recorded that `Abdullah bin `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said:
(The sun will come close until the sweat reaches halfway up one's ears. When the people are in that state, they will ask Adam for help, and he will say, "I am not the one to do that.'' Then they will ask Musa, and he will say likewise, then they will ask Muhammad, and he will intercede for the people and will go and take hold of the handle of the gate of Paradise, and that will be the Day when Allah resurrects him to a position of praise and glory.) Al-Bukhari also recorded it in the Book of Zakah, where he added:
(That will be the Day when Allah resurrects him to a position of praise and glory, and all the people will praise him.) Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded that `Abdullah said, "Then Allah will give permission for intercession, and Ar-Ruh Al-Quddus, Jibril, will stand up, then Ibrahim, the close Friend of Allah will stand up, then `Isa or Musa will stand up - Abu Az-Za`ra' said, `I do not know which of them, ' -- then your Prophet will stand up and will intercede, and no one after him will intercede as much as he does. This is the position of praise and glory to which Allah referred:
(It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqam Mahmud.)''
and then ibn kathir cited the long hadith from abu hurayrah which is in both sahihs. to understand the quran, we have to use the hadiths. we cannot use the quran and disregards hadiths which are authentic just because we dont understand them. ya'nee i mean we cannt just take certain verses in the quran and interpret them like that.
myself too i read those verses about no intercession. and then i heard somewhere else that there is intercession. i was puzzled but it was after more research i came to get the point. and i hope you do too insha'Allah. and this was a reminded to myself first

Habibti said...

you can check the tafsir of ibn kathir online for more info. at www.tafsir.com or www.qtafsir.com

Sarah Plain And Short said...

Hi Stacy, I answered your question about the sun rising on Friday,

http://saveoursunnah.blogspot.com/2009/07/for-stacy-aka-fahiima-why-is-friday.html

Aynur said...

Salaam Habibti - JazakAllah Khair for posting all of that. I think it's a topic that is confusing for me, still seems to me that according to the Qur'an there is no intersession unless Allah allows it, and it worries me that if a Prophet it an intercessor it's like we're raising him above what his status is - almost like idolworship. I may be analyzing it too much. I need to do a lot of reading. :)

Candice said...

Wow, that was a lot of comments H. Hope the blog owner doesn't mind... Might've been better to post a link but I guess it's not my place to say since it's not my blog.

S aka F: What a great post! I've been meaning to come and comment a little, and I'm also meaning to do a similar topic post myself soon, when I think up of things to ask and think about! It's great you're thinking about all these things.

1- Very interesting thoughts. I'd never thought about that. I do see Judaism and Christianity as following each other closer (since Jesus was a Jew, I guess) than with Islam, but there would be no reason to replace practices with new ones if Allah is here to confirm the previous scriptures. I like to believe that the Jews when they got their message, and the Christians when they got their's, were following God the same way we should now be following God, but I understand that documents do show differences like the ones you mentionned. I feel though, about Friday prayer, that since Jumah is the word for congregation, it could technically be done on any day of the week and it would be OK. It's just tradition that makes it fall on a Friday, so I don't see it as a big deal that it's not on Saturday like it was for Jews and Christians.

And about Muhammad's prophethood, I read a great explanation about it too... I will work to post on that soon on my blog because I can't recall very well offhand.

2- Islam just means submission (to the will of God) and I personally think someone without ever having heard of Muhammad or Islam or any religion, could be Muslim (follow Islam).

3- I don't think so. I think all the descriptions used are just to make us imagine how perfectly great it will be. It uses human terms like rivers of wine, and so on, but I don't see it like that at all.

4-I don't like the idea of Aisha's age much somehow, but I am able to accept it knowing the kind of relationship it was and how different it was then. And I can accept how many there were because he was the prophet and not just anyone else, and it seems clear that it's just for him to have that many wives.

6- I think that yes, there is the wrong kind of importance put on Muhammad. He is equaling God in importance a lot of times and I don't like that at all. I accept mentionning Muhammad in the shahada though because that is what differenciates Islam from other religions, and it does say that Muahammad is the messenger, which is the key word because it includes the believe in that message, which is the Qur'an, which is important to being a Muslim.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Candice, I would love to see more posts like this one. I'm sure we all have lots of questions, its just hard to phrase them right or get them all out at once.
#2 This is a good point too. You have to have a way for people to worship the true God who never have an opportunity to actually hear the message. I like to think that humans have an innate knowledge of Monotheism are easily tempted to go astray.

#3 I like your take on this too. It doesn't
have to be literal at all, but human terms fail to describe with it will be like in Paradise.

#4 I still can't accept Aisha's age at this point, because I don't see how any girl in that time period would have reached puberty at such a young age. Girls reach it earlier now, but that is only because they have higher body-fat percentages on average. She was definitely mentally more mature though, just look at the amount of material in the hadiths that is narrated by her!

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Sarah Plain and Short,
Thanks for doing those posts. Seriously, I do appreciate it a lot.
Salaam!

Yasemin said...

What a fabulous post, I feel terrible that I missed out, just amazing habibti.

First, I think of Islam as but a continuance of Christianity and firstly Judaism. These other religions are equally important in the scheme of things, and as such I came back to Islam. Knowing that these religions were close to my heart as well, and that I COULD BE either of them given different circumstances in life...

I came back to Islam despite my knowledge not being there, to just finally make the effort. Half is based on the logic of Islam, but again I could easily be a Jew (more likely) or possibly Christian (problems with Trinity), but my life was taken into account as well with Belal and Youssef.

Islam hit me in Disneyland as I recalled this verse:

Qur'an 10 37-37 "...it (the Qur'an) is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it, and a fuller explanation of the Book - wherein there is no doubt - from The Lord of the Worlds.".

1) For me, my biggest issue is being 100% sure that it is the Prophet pbuh mentioned as the Final messenger in the Bible. I have chosen to ignore this larger issue and remember that I am following a continuation of these previous religions especially Judaism. And yet I'm also venerating Jesus in the Muslim way he deserves and was not given in Judaism.
I also honor the Sabbath and Shabat as holy days as well.

2) I personally feel that The People of The Book will be in Jannah. It is proper of them to also see Islam and Muhamad as very important as well, but I do feel that based on findings, they have a chance as we do. However, they should be true monotheists who do not believe that Jesus could die or that Jesus is part of the Trinity.

3) I totally agree and was often troubled by the Islamic Jannah and idea of houris. However, it also seems clear that jannah is much like heaven in other ways, namely the look o Paradise, and the things we will see.

4, 5, 6) These are all questions and things I wonder about as well and don't have good answers for.

7) Choosing Islam was simple because most Jews do not believe in an afterlife in my experience. At all. They do very good work here on Earth and are prominent in society for that reason. This was my experience at Texas Hillel and it WAS hard...

As for Christians, it always seemed TOO EASY to enter heaven. Like it had to be harder than that.

Islam has been the best fit for me then, because of the idea that it will be as simple as my good works, and on The Day of Judgement I will stand there before my Maker, and if I have done bad, my lips will be sealed no matter how much I want to talk and refute my bad deeds...I will not even be able to say yes when asked if I was Muslim....

Love you endlessly!

krulayar said...

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Susanne said...

I really enjoyed this post. Great questions!

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Susanne, Be sure to come back! I'll definitely have more posts related to such topics in the future.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Yasemin, We have similar views on some things in Islam. I do still have a problem with the idea of sexuality in heaven.

I do have less of the problem now with the idea of knowing whether you will attain Jannah or not. Why? Because no matter what we do, we could never even repay God's kindness to create us in the first place. It is all done through his infinite mercy, which we can't even fathom. As you said, the idea of afterlife is very vague in Judaism, and developed more after the coming of Jesus. It is a subject of major importance in the Quran. I don't think the idea is that you live out of fear of hell as much as you live right out of awe and love for the Creator.

I'm glad you're back to posting and commenting again!

misschatterbox said...

hmm very thoughtful questions. I like how you centred on specific examples rather than generalities such as "islam allows polygamy, oppresses women blah blah."
I too am intrigued by the case of Mohammed's marriage to Zaid's wife - which was previously forbidden, until a revelation revealed this did not apply to adopted children. Seems a bit too conveniant to me.
Re No 6 you touch on a very sensitive point. Of course worship of Mohammed is strictly forbidden per se. However the treatment afforded him is akin to adulation. Even amongst Muslims, there are some who recognise (even some people I know personally) that many Muslim's perception of M. is tantamount to worship.

For me the key element is Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection - you can twist and contort most of the Bible to fit in with the Islamic perspective.. however the concept of salvation and payment of sin in Islam and Christianity really isn't compatible.
I find the Islamic view far more.. arbitrary almost? In Islam God can and does chnage or make up Hid mind at will. One person will enter heaven while another is denied paradise. And you never really know which category you are in! It also fails to deal with the existence of sin- doing good stuff doesn't erase the bad stuff:
A judge in a court of law doesn't say to a crime barron or murderer - "You committed a few crimes - but since you take care of your elderly mum, give money to charity and live an otherwise moral life I will just overlook it - you're free to go."
Biblical claims about Jesus and His death and life are pretty clear- in extra-biblical sources also- and the Islamic claim that this has all been made-up/changed doesn't really hold up historically.(Qurum scrolls, Josephus, Tacitus etc)

I think the question of "who is Mohammed?" is a hard one- it's the reason I all but became Muslim because the evidence seemed pretty convincing that he was a prophet. This is usually what causes most people to convert/revert to Islam. Anyone who has started to look into Islam has been presented with a list of information on Mohammed's described moral life, scientific miracles and recitation of Quran- which for most christians can be confronting.
I can't claim to know the truth- but I do recall that Satan can make himself appear like "an angel of light" - I personally am inclined to think Mohammed at least originally had good intentions and really believed he was recieving revelation from God, but was decieved. Former Muslims friends who became Christian agree with me..

ok sorry for rambling on so much! Just a very interesting topic! If i came across as too "preachy" or offened anyone I'm sorry - no matter what our religious beliefs I have much respect and love for my muslim brothers and sisters!