Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Emily, Ex-Christian, New Zealand

Growing up in New Zealand, I was raised as a Christian however my parents were not overly religious. As a young girl I went to Sunday school every week and attended church with my grandmother and went to Christian classes as part of the school curriculum. As I got older I stopped going to church as I never really felt passionate about Christianity. In my teenage years I made a few mistakes as I got involved with a group of friends that were a bad influence and my family decided to move to Australia at the beginning of 2006 when I was 15.

I attended high school in Australia and really began to excel at school and began a new life. I achieved the grades I needed to get into my University Course so I moved out of home (closer to the university) and into student accommodation. Up until this point I had no idea about Islam except from what I had heard in the media, I had never met a Muslim person before.

One of my housemates was a Muslim and he was very open minded and was the most genuine, kind hearted person I have ever met. I did not ask him much about his religion until I got to know him a bit more and when I did I was very intrigued. I was asking him questions everyday about everything from the Quran to Arabic words! I was always interested and excited by the answers.

I was usually very skeptical about religions but with Islam I felt connected right away. A year went by and I met a lot of Muslims and they were all very kind and peaceful people and they were always willing to answer my questions. I started doing my own research just before I turned 19 and I knew I wanted to convert to Islam before Ramadan 2009. The previous Ramadan I had fasted some days but I later learned that none of those counted unless I was Muslim.

After my 19th birthday I was eager to learn even more about Islam as I received the book called “Don’t Be Sad” which had a lot of referencing to the Quran and I realized a lot of it was my theory on life anyway. I then moved into a house by myself and I was very lonely and depressed all the time. Because I was always alone, whenever I said Bismillah (I begin with the name of God) I felt very relieved and safe. I knew I needed to convert to Islam but I didn’t want my Muslim friends to think I was doing it just because of them so I was very hesitant.

I was also hesitant because I did not realize how easy Islam would be for a 19 year old girl. I was just very concerned that people, even my friends, did not know much about Islam. Then one night I had a dream that I was in Saudi Arabia and I was Muslim and I was wearing a Hijab and it fell off in front of everyone, but nobody said anything to me. When I woke up I felt this was a sign that Islam was going to be easy for me. Many things happened to me over the course of the few weeks, all of which I knew were signs from Allah.

I was discussing my concerns with Zia and Samy from islamreligion.com and they said why wait? You don’t know what will happen tomorrow. It just made so much sense. I wanted to convert to Islam right away.

I was very nervous to tell my friend who had answered all my questions over the past year as I didn’t know what he would think. He was very happy for me and he said he would help me and the next day he brought me a compass as a gift so I could find the right direction to pray. I learnt the Shahada and that evening he helped me convert to Islam. I was so happy that evening, I cried out of joy. It was one of the happiest moments of my life and I was so glad my friend could be there with me to help me.

I have still not told some of my friends. I am waiting, in the meantime I am still learning. All in all, I am loving my new life as a Muslim. I hope everyday I can just learn more about Islam and I am very excited for my first Ramadan

Nichole Arel, Ex-Christian, USA

Often I find myself reflecting upon how blessed I am. The life that I lead now is a world away from the one I expected to lead just a year ago: my first thoughts upon waking in the morning, my imagined path in life, and especially my heart and soul. I would never have dreamt that in less than a year my life would take such unexpected turns. Not only that. The path I now take has led me to roads I never knew existed. Indeed where you start your journey is in no way indicative of where you end up.

As a child, I longed to be taken to church. The feeling of community and worship held my mind in fascination. I longed for the feeling of drawing close to God even before I could formulate such thoughts in my own mind. Something incomprehensible held my young soul in awe, so much so that I made a habit of waking my father every Sunday by begging him to take me to church.

Unfortunately my family was much like average American Christians, content to call themselves religious based on their twice-yearly attendance to Catholic Mass: on Christmas and Easter Sunday. Thus I grew accustomed to hearing the phrase, “not today, maybe next week.” Dejectedly, I would sulk back into my room and wait for next Sunday to arrive, only to repeat the disappointing process all over again.

As I grew older, I learned to stop asking since my attempts had all been in vain. I became content to spend all my free time in solitude reading, usually books on world cultures and religions. As I learned more about the history of my religion, Catholicism, I was repulsed by its condemnation of questioning the doctrine. “Surely this cannot be the right sect of Christianity,” I thought.

Time ticked by and still I had not found the religion that seemed to speak to my heart. Perhaps I was expecting to find something to stir the same feelings that I felt as a child in church, although I knew this was a naïve wish. The alienation from religion occurs only when one begins to understand religions’ claims and contradictions.

I couldn’t wrap my mind around the claim of the Trinity no matter how hard I tried. I couldn’t understand how I was supposed to believe in concepts that were incomprehensible. I was angry that reason was assumed to have no place in Christianity and the act of questioning doctrine was considered a sign of weak faith. What then could be the reason God gave man the ability to rationalize?

Eventually I gave up altogether and assumed that I would never find the truth. I was resigned to believe that there was a God but that humans would never be able to know God’s nature or the true religion for man until we met Him one day.

I lived many years with this belief until very recently when it seemed that something inexplicable was urging me back to my quest for the truth. This urge was almost a voice but not in the normal sense. It was an insistent nagging that never left me alone no matter what I did to drown it out.

So naturally I bought a Bible to read, thinking that the truth must be hidden between the pages. Maybe I just missed it all those years ago. This was closer to the truth than I could ever have guessed.

During my reading of the Bible I happened to be obsessed with the current events of the world. I found myself spending all my free time alternating between writing letters to my government’s officials pleading for the rights of the Palestinians and the Sudanese as well as against wars that are so commonplace around the globe, and reading about sects of Christianity.

I planned on volunteering in Palestine if I could gather the money to travel there. Naturally, given the turmoil in the region and my travel plans, it seemed necessary to read about Islam and understand the faith of the people that I yearned to help.

I was enthralled by what I read about the Muslim faith.The concept of One God not a trinity, the reverence for all of the prophets which I found lacking in the Bible, the scientific aspects of the Qur’an, the all-encompassing facets of Islam, the respect for mothers, the sanctity of family. This was the only religion that I had ever happened upon which made sense to a rational mind yet was still filled with the mystery of God.

But Islam had to be an Arab religion, right? It can’t be the faith that young American women gravitate to, can it? I soon discovered that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, that the majority of Muslims are not Arab, and that some of the most rapid growth of Islam in the West is among my demographic group of young white women.

The thought of actually turning away from Christianity, no matter how little sense the religion itself made to me, was terrifying and confusing. I decided to attend a non-denominational church on Sundays and devote more time to reading the Bible. I prayed that I would find what I was searching for but all I came away with was more confusion. I still couldn’t accept the Trinity and I was shocked that I couldn’t find one passage in the Bible where Jesus claimed to be God.

How could we propose to think that God would come to earth to die for our sins? How could I explain the shocking parallels of Christianity’s doctrine with the Pagan myths at the time of Christianity’s rapid spread during the Roman Empire? What about Christianity’s claim that we can live the life we want and still go to Heaven as long as we believed in Jesus? What could it mean when Jesus supposedly cried out that his God had forsaken him if Jesus was claimed to be God incarnate? Who did these passages refer to when it said that Jesus would send “a Comforter” after him? Who was the “Spirit of Truth” that was foretold to come after Jesus?

I was crushed by the questions that plagued me so I did the inevitable. As I sat at work, I prayed that God would show me the religious path that I should follow. If I was supposed to be a Muslim would God send me a sign?

Then I grabbed my purse and headed down to my car in the parking lot. To my astonishment, there was a Muslim woman standing next to my car while she searched for her keys. Could this be the sign I prayed for? “Impossible,” my mind said, but I decided not to waste this opportunity so I approached her.

“Miss, may I ask you something? You are Muslim, right?” She seemed to flinch as she awaited the typical ignorant comment that is so common among people who, on average, have no knowledge of different cultures or religions. “Yes, I am,” she replied. I asked her if she attended the masjid I knew of. I told her briefly that Islam seemed to be the only religion that made sense to me. She insisted that I go to the masjid on the way home but I claimed that I wanted to read the Qur’an first.

As I drove home I found myself parked in front of the masjid. I momentarily thought that this could be another sign but, again, my mind refused to believe it. I walked up to the door shaking like a leaf while I told myself to get back in my car and go home as fast as possible. But instead my legs carried me forward, paying no attention to the commands of my brain.

As I found my way to the women’s section I was met by the most cheerful face I had ever encountered. This Muslim woman was my age and an American convert! Not only that, but she and I had the same name and when we compared our pasts and family life there were undeniable similarities. Needless to say, I declared my Shahadah then and there, not knowing that my future husband was in the masjid that very minute, al-hamdu lillah.

A couple of months after declaring my Shahadah, I felt educated and firm enough in my religion to finally break the news to my father and stepmother. My father responded by saying that as a clear-headed Christian he could tell me that I was making a mistake. I didn’t bother to point out that he doesn’t practice his religion and that his anger at Islam and prejudice against Muslims are sorely misguided. I just bit my tongue for the sake of God.

My father didn’t contact me again after that, but when I emailed him a month later to tell him that I had gotten married, he told me that I was dead to him and not to contact him again. I still email my stepmother to keep in touch with the family but my brother, father, and my old friends have severed their contact with me.

I have spent the following year growing in my new religion, gaining knowledge from wherever I can, and trying to convey the message that has brought me such peace and contentment. I am in the process of learning Arabic and the recitation of the Qur’an, and trying to become a good Muslim wife.

My life has no resemblance whatsoever to the life that I lived before. I spend my days studying God’s commands, the Prophet’s life, and what is required of me in order to be a good Muslim. As a Muslim, I find such peace in every day, so much so that even if Paradise was not the reward for such deeds, I would still be thankful for the joy that comes with living a life dedicated to God.

I said in the beginning that the road you travel does not indicate where you end up, and that life is not merely full of surprises but can altogether change beyond recognition. Sometimes these changes can bring trials but often enough the person who survives these trials is blessed with more than what is ever dreamed possible. In my case, I was blessed with Islam and not only a better life but also a hope for the hereafter. God is the Most Generous and the Most Merciful.

Sally, Ex-Catholic, Philippines

I was brought up in a devout Catholic family and raised with Catholic values and traditions. At fifteen, I entered the monastery. While inside the monastery, I was happy because I could perform my duties as a nun and the people around me including my family were also pleased with me.

Until such time when I began to ask myself every night, “What am I doing here inside the monastery?“ I stayed in our small and humble chapel and started to ask God if he is really listening to me, because I had learned in our catechism that god is present in the blessed sacrament.

Many question were lingering my mid. Doubts were cropping up particularly concerning the reality of Jesus Christ. However, I did not have the courage to ask the priest nor my co-nuns who were with me that time. I was so afraid that they might take it against me.

So I let all doubts linger. I even allowed myself to profess my first temporary vows. I kept renewing it every year for TEN YEARS! Until such time I could not take it anymore; my perpetual vows of chastity and poverty; professing the Jesus Christ as my God; and that he is Lord and son of God.

I started to pray harder, asking God for guidance and to show me the right path.

If I were to leave the monastery, it would bring great pain to my mother! My father actually didn’t mind if I leave the church and have my own family.

But I did not want to hurt my family, particularly my mother, my two brothers who are both priests, and my four sisters who happen to be all nuns!

Above all, I do not want to be a hypocrite and pretend that I am happy practicing something which is against my underlying principle.

So I did not submit my application letter of perpetual profession. I talked to my superior general, informing her that I am leaving the monastery.

Without informing my family, I left to find a work to survive. After awhile I met a close friend of mine who is a priest and offered me to work with him in his church in Marawi City, as a parish coordinator.

Incidentally, my family heard the news that I left the church, and it was very hard for them to accept the fact. But they were hoping that one day I might come bask to serve the church.

While working as parish coordinator, the priest who hired me was not treating me so well.

He did not even pay me salary and he tried to sexually abuse me. But, thank God, he was not successful with his evil intentions.

Again I started to pray asking God to be with me and to make me happy, because I have never been at peace with my life. My heart and mind were miserable.

A New Day
On June 17, 2001, early morning, I heard a beautiful sound but I did not understand what it was. I thought it was coming from the mosque nearby. As soon as I heard the sound, I felt like I was dipped in refreshing water. I cannot explain the feeling.

That day I felt happiness entering my heart, even though I did not understand what I heard. After hearing this amazing sound, I said to myself these few words, “There is a new day, there is new beginning.”

I woke up that morning asking what the sound was and they told me it was call for prayers of the Muslims. Strange! I came to this city (Marawi) on the first week of May 2001, but I could hardly hear the sound until one morning of June 2001.

That day I decided to find out about Islam and the Muslims. I started to research through reading books until I finally left my work. I went back to my family in Pampanga and found out that my father had already passed away.

I was depressed for a while, but I did not stop researching Islam. So I went back to Manila hoping to find someone to explain to me about Islam. In my heart, I was ready to embrace Islam but I did not know how!

I did not give up, I search on internet. I went to the extent of joining chatting rooms, hoping to find a Muslim who can enlighten me about Islam.

On June 16, 2004, I met the brother in Manila. He started to explain about Islam. On the day, I declared;

La ilaha illalah muhammadur rasulullah wa ‘isa ibnu maryam abdullahi wa rasuli (There is no god worthy of worship except Allah, Muhammad is the messenger and that Jesus son of Mary, is a slave and messenger of Allah.)

That fateful day, I finally found a new home, the home of Islam: a home where you can find love, happiness and joy. Now I can smile, a smile that comes from my heart. On that day, I slept very well.

Every time I pray, I cry, not tears of sorrow, but tears of joy. A joy which money cannot buy. It is indescribable.

Now I remember when I had a conversation with my grandfather who is a Catholic priest ( my mother’s uncle) He said; “If you want to change your religion, go back to Islam!” God is Great!

May Allah open the hearts of my family to the light of Islam, and may he protect us from Satan. Amen.

A Canadian's Journey to Islam

It's funny - I'm actually a Muslim! The term used to conjure up images of backward Bedouin Arabs living far away. Well, living in North America likely had something to do with my ignorance. I got all my views from television – that box that people watch for hours a day and assume it has factual information because it's officially titled the "news." Ironically, there are tons of libraries out there, but on average we use them only for specific purposes - cramming for term papers or for other schoolwork. We should use it to grow on a constant basis!
I have to admit, now that I'm a Muslim I can see that the average North American is very ignorant of Islam. It's not totally our fault, the society that we have created sucks you in by making you a constant consumer - whether it is to get you to spend money or simply buy into some idea. We just eat too much, talk too much arrogance, and overall live like royalty while complaining that the rest of the planet hates us. Ah, if people only realized that the problems of the world are in our own backyard... but that's a different story. This is about my becoming a Muslim.

I guess it all started nine months ago. I simply could not ignore that this universe must have a God. I mean seriously, just look out your front door: the beautiful sky, the amazing stars, the gentle breeze on your face, and so many other incredible things. We all take these phenomena for granted. We fail to realize how absolutely amazing and in balance this universe is. The human body itself is a marvel! I could go on forever. The point is, I could no longer be an ignorant ape, so I decided to read some books about God.

I started to read about Christianity. The Bible has some wonderful aspects to it, but where did they get the idea of the "trinity," and who actually could accept the doctrine without experiencing doubts? It's a mystery, the Christians say. It sure is. It was time to read about Judaism. That too has some valuable and interesting aspects. One problem I saw, and it actually was a huge problem, was that they only have about 15 million followers. I mean, God is for everyone and a good religion should spread to the masses.

Thus, it was Islam's turn. I wasn't keen on the idea but I realized I had to take a look. Sure, the television already "educated" me on the issue. To my surprise I found out a lot of things that I never knew. The Qur'an had no chapter on terrorism. It was shocking! I was blown away to learn that Islam actually was for all of mankind and was in fact a peaceful religion. It's an addicting read because it makes total sense and puts you directly in touch with God. The more I read the more I became disgusted with our media because they were either lying or reflecting uneducated views. I wanted to learn more.

Sure, I read many books that I could recommend. However, the most important thing that I did was to actually speak with Muslims – to meet them at a personal level. Seriously, all I can say is wow! I have never met nicer people in my entire life. They embraced me with generosity and tolerance. No, they didn't try to force conversion on me as that is against Islam's beliefs. Instead, they laughed and talked like any other group of people. Okay, so I had to check more Muslims out.

I went to the mosque. I was a little nervous and maybe afraid. However, I had the same experience as my first encounter. Honestly, I swear, Muslims in general are very nice people. Sure, you have a couple of idiots or bad apples, but you get that anywhere. I was beginning to think that Islam might be the true path to life.

Then my North American brainwashing took over again, and I became skeptical. Was I becoming one of those religious nuts? After all, I was constantly seeing all those beer commercials and hot dogs on television, what good religion would take those things away? Or should I say, how much money would those types of companies lose if we accepted Islam? Come to think of it, lots of American business does not conform to religious beliefs.

I took a break, still being confused as I was. I tried to push it away – far away. I was going to be a consumer of worthless items once again. Science had all the answers – we are in the new millennium after all. Why subject myself to all this praying and stuff? Still, every now and again it would pop up. Islam! I tried so hard to just forget about it. I decided to have a plan. I would believe in God but not necessary in some kind of organized religion. I thought God would accept me no matter what, unless I was Hitler of course.

But the problem was, I became a better thinker after reading about Islam and started looking at my life and culture. I realized how shallow my world is. Maybe God did want us to follow some rules. After all, my Dad gave me rules and they were there for a reason. Come to think of it, the entire universe operates on rule systems. No matter how hard I tried to stop thinking about Islam, it was present in my mind. I had to submit. I realized that I had nothing to lose and only something to gain. I personally think one would have to be an utter fool to assume this world is by chance and science alone. It's almost like a bad joke; we just take so much for granted.

It was right before Ramadan this year that I declared my Shahada (declaration of faith) in front of the brothers at the local mosque. I felt good! Well, everything went well for the first week - I prayed and fasted. However, this last week was a mess. I have made mistakes and have discovered another lesson thanks to Islam: nobody is perfect and just because you take your Shahada, you can't expect life to get magically easier. Rather, you are tested and conditioned to become a better person everyday.

The point is, Islam has changed my life for the better and the fascinating thing about it is that it constantly teaches me to grow. My wife says that my behavior has improved, that I think things through a lot more, and that overall I just seem a lot happier as a person. I have my good days and bad days, but having Allah with me makes all the difference. There is a purpose to this life and it feels good to care about all of humanity and not just my country.

I can honestly tell people that the road to religion begins when you actually embrace Allah. When you study and analyze the religion before taking the Shahada you have tons of questions, doubts, and fears. It's when you actually invite God into your heart that the lessons begin and you grow. As I said, it's not easy and it'll take lots of time to become a decent practicing Muslim - but it will happen. The best advice I can give any convert is to take your time. This is something between you and Allah. Listen to the brothers at the mosque, but ultimately do what's best for you and let Allah guide you.

Look around people. Take a good look. If you think there is no God then just keep watching that television. Life is never easy, but I know Allah exists and wants the best for all of us. There are so many facets to why I think I became a Muslim. Ultimately, this is what comes to mind: I don't know if I found Islam, or it found me - Allah guides whom He wills. Of course, I'm sure not being a stubborn mule helped.

Peace be upon all of you. Amen.

The Trinity Led Me to Islam

An Irish Dentist Embraces Islam

My name is Roger Hadden, and I am originally from Dungannon in Northern Ireland. I am a dentist currently working in England. I have lived in Northern Ireland and Scotland, and I am now based in England. I was raised as a Christian, and my parents are born-again Christians.

Although I was raised with the teachings of the Bible, I did not particularly adhere to its principles. I suppose I was like most British youth, in that I liked to have fun but maybe didn't know where the limits were set.

While I did not practice any religion, I always believed that there was a God. I was scientifically minded, but realized that acknowledging there was a Big Bang did not necessarily rule out the possibility of there being a God who controlled and planned this event.

We could not have come out of nothing, and we did not create ourselves, so we must have been created. I thought about God from time to time, but it never had a real impact on my heart. My first encounter with Islam I suppose was the media, but I tend not to judge people or things until I see or find out about them myself and hear both sides of the story.

When I went to university I met many Muslims. At that time we discussed religion a little, but I was not seriously thinking about becoming religious. My desires were too strong, so I just wanted to enjoy myself.

At that time, I knew that at some stage I would want to change my ways and become a Christian. I then would also want to find out about other religions and understand what makes people believe in them. When I was in final year at university, I made plans to reform myself and become as my parents, a "born-again Christian". So I started my research with reading the Bible.

The concept of the Trinity always bothered me, and it was my main aim to understand it. I remember as a child wanting to ask God for something. I was not sure whether to pray to God or to pray to Jesus. I decided to pray to God as I knew if He created everything, then He will hear me and help me.

I spoke to some ministers, and several attempts were made to explain the Trinity. None of them convinced me. I continued to read the Bible, searching for the truth.

Obviously I am not a scholar in the Christian religion but the Trinity issue bugged me. Why did the Old Testament prophets all pray to God and do righteous acts hoping for God's forgiveness? Who did Jesus pray to?

There was no mention of the Trinity in the Old Testament, and many argue none in the New Testament. I knew God did not change, so there was a problem somewhere. I spoke to my friends at University. Some were Sikhs, Catholics, atheists, and some were Muslims.

My conversion changed my life completely, and looking back I know I made the correct decision

When I found out that Islam commands the worship of One God, and not to make any partners with Him, I was very interested. I continued reading the Bible and Christian sources but also started reading some Islamic books.

I read that Muslims believe that God sent his message to mankind through different prophets since Adam the first man. All the prophets believed in only One God and they also believed that there was going to be a day of reckoning when everyone will be raised and judged.

I realized that this is what I believe, and what I thought the Bible was saying to me. I discussed things with my parents, and they were not too impressed. Within a couple of months by the grace of God I became a Muslim.

My conversion changed my life completely, and looking back, I know I made the correct decision, thank God. Instead of living my life in a selfish way pleasing my desires, I try now to help others and please my Lord. I have now been a Muslim for five years and I am still learning new and amazing things about the religion.

Every time I hear something "negative" about the religion, I get the issue explained to me and it turns out to be a very positive and beautiful thing. I am continuing to learn Arabic and the Quran.

In my career it has made me much more focused, and I now desire to do everything to my best ability. My friends at university are often surprised with regards to my change, especially relating to dentistry.

My parents believed I was brainwashed, and many of my friends thought, and still think, it is just a phase. As it has been over five years now, my parents know it is not just a phase.

I first told my parents that I was thinking of becoming a Muslim, and they told me that it was a "hate religion" and that I should not do it. We talked about it for a while, and as I was convinced, I was sure I had to do it. I did not want to be punished in the next life.

A few months later I took the best step and embraced Islam. The same day my Dad bought me a car, not as a conversion gift, rather, it was his kindness and it just happened to be on the same day.

Since university, I have always lived away from my parents but I try to visit them a couple of times a year. Overall though, I feel my relationship with my parents has improved, as I try to be good to them as God commands in the Quran.

I have moved on from university and lost contact with many of my friends, some I speak to now and again, but as with life, we keep moving on and old friends we see less of and new friends are made.

I am currently working as a dentist in the UK. I am working and doing a part time masters program. I am learning Arabic, and I regularly attend Islamic talks and seminars in order to increase my knowledge.

I am married to a very special lady and we have, by the grace of God a beautiful 1-year-
old boy named Ismael (Ishmael from the Bible). We are trying to improve as Muslims, and we would like to travel abroad to a Muslim country. Ideally we would both love to study Islam to a higher level, so we are looking for opportunities to fulfill this dream.

The First Jewish Rabbi Convert to Islam

Abdullah ibn Salam

Al-Husayn ibn Salam was a Jewish rabbi in Yathrib [Madinah] who was widely respected and honored by the people of the city, even by those who were not Jewish.

He was known for his piety and goodness, his upright conduct, and his truthfulness.

Al-Husayn lived a peaceful and gentle life but he was serious, purposeful and organized in the way he spent his time. For a fixed period each day, he would worship, teach and preach in the temple.

Then he would spend some time in his orchard, looking after date palms, pruning and pollinating. Thereafter, to increase his understanding and knowledge of his religion, he would devote himself to the study of the Torah.

In this study, it is said he was particularly struck by some verses of the Torah which dealt with the coming of a Prophet who would complete the message of previous Prophets. Al-Husayn therefore took an immediate and keen interest when he heard reports of the appearance of a Prophet in Makkah.

What follows is his story, in his own words:

When I heard of the appearance of the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) I began to make enquiries about his name, his genealogy, his characteristics, his time and place and I began to compare this information with what is contained in our books.

From these enquiries, I became convinced about the authenticity of his prophethood and I affirmed the truth of his mission. However, I concealed my conclusions from the Jews. I held my tongue.

Then came the day when the Prophet, peace be upon him, left Makkah and headed for Yathrib. When he reached Yathrib and stopped at Quba, a man came rushing into the city, calling out to people and announcing the arrival of the Prophet.

At that moment, I was at the top of a palm tree doing some work. My aunt, Khalidah bint Al-Harith, was sitting under the tree. On hearing the news, I shouted: "Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!" (God is Great! God is Great!)

When my aunt heard me, she remonstrated with me: "May God frustrate you... By God, if you had heard that Moses was coming you would not have been more enthusiastic."

"Auntie, he is really, by God, the 'brother' of Moses and follows his religion. He was sent with the same mission as Moses." She was silent for a while and then said: "Is he the Prophet about whom you spoke to us who would be sent to confirm the truth preached by previous (Prophets) and complete the message of his Lord?"

"Yes," I replied.

Without any delay or hesitation, I went out to meet the Prophet. I saw crowds of people at his door. I moved about in the crowds until I reached close to him.

The first words I heard him say were: "O people! Spread peace... Share food... Pray during the night while people (normally) sleep... and you will enterParadise in peace."

I looked at him closely. I scrutinized him and was convinced that his face was not that of an imposter. I went closer to him and made the declaration of faith that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.

The Prophet turned to me and asked: "What is your name?" "Al-Husayn ibn Salam," I replied. "Instead, it is now Abdullah ibn Sallam," he said (giving me a new name). "Yes" I agreed. "Abdullah ibn Salam it shall be. By Him who has sent you with the Truth, I do not wish to have another name after this day."

I returned home and introduced Islam to my wife, my children and the rest of my household. They all accepted Islam including my aunt Khalidah who was then an old lady. However, I advised them then to conceal our acceptance of Islam from the Jews until I gave them permission. They agreed.

Subsequently, I went back to the Prophet (peace be upon him), and said: "O Messenger of God! The Jews are a people (inclined to) slander and falsehood. I want you to invite their most prominent men to meet you. (During the meeting however), you should keep me concealed from them in one of your rooms. Ask them then about my status among them before they find out of my acceptance of Islam. Then invite them to Islam. If they were to know that I have become a Muslim, they would denounce me and accuse me of everything base and slander me."

The Prophet kept me in one of his rooms and invited the prominent Jewish personalities to visit him. He introduced Islam to them and urged them to have faith in God.

They began to dispute and argue with him about the Truth. When he realized that they were not inclined to accept Islam, he put the question to them:

"What is the status of Al-Husayn ibn Salam among you?"

"He is our sayyid (leader) and the son of our sayyid . He is our rabbi and our alim (scholar), the son of our rabbi and alim ."

"If you come to know that he has accepted Islam, would you accept Islam also?" asked the Prophet.

"God forbid! He would not accept Islam. May God protect him from accepting Islam," they said, horrified.

At this point I came out in full view of them and announced: "O assembly of Jews! Be conscious of God and accept what Muhammad has brought. By God, you certainly know that he is the Messenger of God and you can find prophecies about him and mention of his name and characteristics in your Torah. I for my part declare that he is the Messenger of God. I have faith in him and believe that he is true. I know him."

"You are a liar," they shouted. "By God, you are evil and ignorant, the son of an evil and ignorant person." And they continued to heap every conceivable abuse on me.

Here ends his own narration.

Abdullah ibn Salam approached Islam with a soul thirsty for knowledge. He was passionately devoted to the Quran and spent much time reciting and studying its beautiful and sublime verses. He was deeply attached to the noble Prophet and was constantly in his company.

He spent much of his time in the masjid, engaged in worship, in learning and in teaching. He was known for his sweet, moving and effective way of teaching study circles of Sahabah who assembled regularly in the Prophet's mosque.

Abdullah ibn Salam was known among the Sahabah as a man from the people of Paradise. This was because of his determination on the advice of the Prophet to hold steadfastly to the 'most trustworthy handhold' that is belief in and total submission to God.

Can we Celebrate the Birthday of Prophet Muhammad?

There is nothing in the Qur’aan to say that we should celebrate the Mawlid or birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). The Prophet himself (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not do this or command anyone to do it, either during his lifetime or after his death. Indeed, he told them not to exaggerate about him as the Christians had exaggerated about Jesus (upon whom be peace). He said: “Do not exaggerate about me as the Christians exaggerated about the son of Maryam. I am only a slave, so say, ‘The slave of Allaah and His Messenger.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari). What has been reported is that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made the day of his birth a day of worship, which is different to celebration. He was asked about fasting on Mondays, and he said: “That is the day on which I was born and the day on which I was entrusted with the Mission or when I was first given Revelation.” (Reported by Muslim, al-Nisaa’i and Abu Dawood).

Moreover, we know that the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) were the people who loved the Prophet most. Was it reported that Abu Bakr, who was the closest of people to him and the one who loved him the most, celebrated the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)? Was it reported that ‘Umar, who ruled for twelve years, or ‘Uthmaan, did this? Was it reported that ‘Ali, his relative and foster son, did this? Was it reported that any of the Sahaabah did this? No, by Allaah! Is it because they were not aware of its importance, or did they not truly love the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)? No one would say such a thing except one who has gone astray and is leading others astray.

Did any of the imaams – Abu Haneefah, Maalik, al-Shaafi’i, Ahmad, al-Hasan al-Basri, Ibn Seereen – do this or command others to do it or say that it was good? By Allaah, no! It was not even mentioned during the first and best three centuries. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said in a saheeh hadeeth: “The best of mankind are my generation (or my century), then those who come after them, then those who come after them. Then there will come a people who will not care if their testimony comes before their oath or vice versa (i.e., they will not take such matter seriously).” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Muslim and al-Tirmidhi). The celebration of the Prophet’s birthday appeared many centuries later, when many of the features of true religion had vanished and bid’ah had become widespread.

Thus this celebration became a sign of one’s love for the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)? But can it be possible that the Sahaabah, the imaams and the people of the best three centuries were unaware of it, and it was only those who came later who were aware of its importance?! What the Qur’aan tells us is that love of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is demonstrated by following the guidance he brought. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Say (O Muhammad): ‘If you (really) love Allaah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Say: ‘Obey Allaah and the Messenger.’ But if they turn away, then Allaah does not like the disbelievers.” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:31-32]

The first aayah explains that love is just a claim, but the proof of sincerity is following what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) brought. The second aayah reaffirms the importance and necessity of obeying Allaah and His Messenger. Hence Allaah ended the aayah with a very stern warning in which those who refuse to obey are described as kaafirs, and Allah does not love the disbelievers. We ask Allaah to keep us safe from that. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us of the danger of not obeying him, and the danger of adding to what he brought. The celebration of Mawlid or his birthday is indeed an addition to what he brought – as all the scholars agree. He said: “The best of speech is the Book of Allaah, and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. The most evil of things are those which are newly-invented (in religion), and every innovation is a going astray.” (Reported by Muslim and al-Nisaa’i).

We ask Allaah to protect us from bid’ah and to bless us by helping us to follow. Allaah knows best. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.

Answered by:Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

The Month of Rajab

Praise be to Allaah, the One, the Subduer, and blessings and peace be upon the Chosen Prophet and upon his good and pure family and companions.

Praise be to Allaah Who says (interpretation of the meaning):

And your Lord creates whatsoever He wills and choose [al-Qasas 28:68]. The attribute of choosing or selecting is indicative of His Lordship and Oneness, and of the perfection of His Wisdom, Knowledge and Power.

One aspect of His choosing and preferring is the fact that He has chosen some days and months and given them preference over others. Among the months, Allaah has chosen four which He has made sacred, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

Verily, the number of months with Allaah is twelve months (in a year), so it was ordained by Allaah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred. That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein… [al-Tawbah 9:36]

These months are calculated according to the movements of the moon, not the movements of the sun, as the kuffaar do.

The Sacred Months are mentioned by implication in the Qur’aan, but their names are not given. Their names are mentioned in the Sunnah:

It was reported from Abu Bakrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) gave his Farewell Sermon and said: “Time has completed its cycle and is as it was on the Day when Allaah created the heavens and the earth. The year is twelve months, of which four are sacred, three consecutive months – Dhoo’l-Qa’dah, Dhoo’l-Hijjah and Muharram – and the Rajab of Mudar which comes between Jumaada and Sha’baan.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, no. 1741, in [Kitaab] al-Hajj, al-Khutbah Ayaam Mina; and by Muslim, no. 1679, in [Kitaab] al-Qisaamah, Baab Tahreem al-Dimaa’).

It was called Rajab of Mudar because [the tribe of] Mudar did not tamper with its timing, unlike the rest of the Arabs, who used to tamper with the months and change their order depending on whether they were in a state of war or not. This was the postponing referred to in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):

The postponing (of a Sacred Month) is indeed an addition to disbelief: thereby the disbelievers are led astray, for they make it lawful one year and forbid it another year in order to adjust the number of months forbidden by Allaah, and make such forbidden ones lawful. [al-Tawbah 9:37]

It was also said that the reason why it was attributed to Mudar was because they venerated it and respected it so much, so it was attributed to them.

The reason why it is so called:
Ibn Faaris said in Mu’jam Maqaayees al-Lughah (p. 445):
The letters Ra’, jeem and ba’ form a root which indicates supporting and strengthening something with another thing. … Hence the phrase “Rajabtu’l-shay’” means I venerated it… It was called Rajab because they used to venerate it, and it is also venerated in Sharee’ah.

The people of the Jaahiliyyah used to call Rajab Munassil al-Asinnah [the one that causes the sharp heads of weapons to be taken off], as it was reported that Abu Rajaa’ al-‘Ataaridi said:

We would a rock, then if we found a better rock we would throw the first one aside and adopt the other. If we could not find a rock, we would make a pile of dirt, then we would bring a ewe and milk it over the pile of dirt, then we would do tawaaf around it. When the month of Rajab came, we would say Munassil al-Asinnah [the one that causes the sharp heads of weapons to be taken off], and we would not leave any spear or arrow that had an iron piece in it but we would take the metal head off and put it aside during the month of Rajab. (Narrated by al-Bukhaari).

Al-Bayhaqi said: the people of the jaahiliyyah used to venerate these sacred months, especially the month of Rajab, and they would not fight during this month.

Rajab is a sacred month
The Sacred months have a special status, which applies also to Rajab because it is one of these sacred months. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

O you who believe! Violate not the sanctity of the Symbols of Allaah, nor of the Sacred Month… [al-Maa’idah 5:2]

This means: do not violate their sanctity which Allaah has commanded you to respect and forbidden you to violate, for this prohibition includes both vile deeds and vile beliefs.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
so wrong not yourselves therein… [al-Tawbah 9:36] meaning, in the Sacred Months. The pronoun here [translated here as “therein”] refers to these four sacred months, as stated by the Imaam of the Mufassireen, Ibn Jareer al-Tabari (may Allaah have mercy on him).

So we should pay attention to the sanctity of these four months, because Allaah has singled them out for a special status and has forbidden us to commit sins out of respect for their sanctity, for sins committed at this time are even worse, because of the sanctity of the time which Allaah has made sacred. Hence in the aayah quoted above, Allaah has forbidden us to wrong ourselves even though this – i.e., wronging ourselves, which includes committing sins – is forbidden during all the months of the year.

Fighting during the sacred months
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
They ask you concerning fighting in the sacred months. Say: fighting therein is a great (transgression)… [al-Baqarah 2:217]

The majority of scholars state that (the prohibition of) fighting in the sacred months is abrogated by the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):
Then when the sacred months have passed, then kill the Mushrikeen wherever you find them… [al-Tawbah 9:5] , and other aayat and reports which are general in application and which include commands to fight them.

Others say: it is not permissible to initiate fighting during the sacred months, but it is permissible to continue and conclude fighting, if it started at a different time. The fighting of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) against the people of al-Taa’if is interpreted in this way, because the fighting had begun at Hunayn in Shawwaal.

The above does not apply to fighting in self-defence. If the enemy attacks the Muslim lands, it is obligatory for the inhabitants to defend themselves, whether that happens during a sacred month or not.

Al-‘Ateerah (a kind of sacrifice)
During the Jaahiliyyah, the Arabs used to slaughter a sacrifice during Rajab as an act of worship towards their idols.

When Islam came, teaching that sacrifices were to be offered only to Allaah, this deed of the Jaahiliyyah was abolished. The fuqaha’ differed as to the rulings on offering sacrifices during Rajab. The majority of Hanafis, Maalikis and Hanbalis stated that the sacrifice of al-‘Ateerah was abrogated. Their evidence was the hadeeth, “There is no Fir’ and no ‘Ateerah‘ , narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah.

The Shaafa’is said that al-‘Ateerah had not been abrogated, and they regarded it as mustahabb (recommended). This was also the view of Ibn Seereen.

Ibn Hajar said: this is supported by the hadeeth narrated by Abu Dawood, al-Nisaa’i, and Ibn Maajah, and classed as saheeh by al-Haakim and Ibn al-Mundhir, from Nubayshah, who said:

A man called out to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): We used to offer the sacrifice of al-‘Ateerah during the Jaahiliyyah in the month of Rajab. What do you command us to do? He said, Offer sacrifices, no matter which month is it…

Ibn Hajar said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not abolish it in principle, but he abolished the idea of making this sacrifice especially in Rajab.

Fasting in Rajab
There is no saheeh report from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or from the Sahaabah to indicate that there is any particular virtue in fasting during Rajab.

The fasting that is prescribed in Rajab is the same as that prescribed in other months, namely fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, and the three days of al-Beed, fasting alternate days, and fasting Sirar al-Shahr. Some of the scholars said that Sirar al-Shahr refers to the beginning of the month; others said that it refers to the middle or end of the month. ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) used to forbid fasting in Rajab because it involved resemblance to the Jaahiliyyah. It was reported that Kharashah ibn al-Harr said: I saw ‘Umar smacking the hands of those who fasted in Rajab until they reached out for food, and he was saying, This is a month which was venerated in the Jaahiliyyah. (al-Irwaa’, 957; al-Albaani said: it is saheeh).

Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim said: the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not fast for three consecutive months (i.e., Rajab, Sha’baan and Ramadaan) as some people do, and he never fasted Rajab at all, nor did he encourage people to fast this month.

Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar said in Tabayyun al-‘Ajab bimaa wurida fi Fadl Rajab:

No saheeh hadeeth that may be used as evidence has been narrated concerning the virtues of the month of Rajab or fasting this month or fasting in any specific part of it, or observing Qiyaam al-Layl specifically during this month. Imaam Abu Ismaa’eel al-Harawi al-Haafiz has already stated this before me, and we have narrated this from others also.

In Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah it states: with regard to fasting specifically in Rajab, we do not know of any basis in Sharee’ah for doing that.

‘Umrah in Rajab
The ahaadeeth indicate that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not do ‘Umrah during Rajab, as it was narrated that Mujaahid said: ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr and I entered the mosque, and there was ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar sitting near the room of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her). He was asked, “How many times did the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) do ‘Umrah?” He said, “Four times, and one of them was in Rajab.” We did not want to argue with him. We could hear ‘Aa’ishah Umm al-Mu’mineen brushing her teeth (i.e., the sound of the miswaak) in her room. ‘Urwah said, “O Mother of the Believers, did you not hear what Abu ‘Abd al-Rahmaan is saying?” She said, “What is he saying?” He said, “He is saying that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did ‘Umrah four times, one of them in Rajab.” She said, “May Allaah have mercy on Abu ‘Abd al-Rahmaan, [the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] never did ‘Umrah but he witnesses it (i.e., he was present with him), and he never did ‘Umrah during Rajab.” (Agreed upon).

It was reported by Muslim that Ibn ‘Umar heard this and did not say yes or no. Al-Nawawi said: the fact that Ibn ‘Umar remained silent when ‘Aa’ishah denied what he said indicates that he was confused, or had forgotten, or was uncertain. Hence it is an innovated bid’ah to single out Rajab for making ‘Umrah and to believe that doing ‘Umrah in Rajab has a specific virtue. Nothing to that effect has been narrated, besides the fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is not reported to have made ‘Umrah during Rajab at all.

Shaykh ‘Ali ibn Ibraaheem al-‘Attaar (d. 724 AH) said:
One of the things that I have heard about the people of Makkah – may Allaah increase it in honour – is that they do ‘Umrah frequently during Rajab. This is something for which I know of no basis, all I know is that it was reported in the hadeeth that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “ ‘Umrah in Ramadaan is equivalent to Hajj.”

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his Fataawaa:

As for singling out some of the days of Rajab for any kind of good deed, ziyaarah (visiting the House of Allaah, the Ka’bah) or anything else, there is no basis for this, because Imaam Abu Shaamah stated in his book al-Bida’ wa’l-Hawaadith: specifying acts of worship at times that were not specified by sharee’ah is wrong; no time is to be regarded as better than any other except in cases where the sharee’ah gave preference to a certain act of worship at a certain time, or stated that any good deed done at this time is better than good deeds done at other times. Hence the scholars denounced the practice of singling out the month of Rajab for doing ‘Umrah frequently.

But if a person goes for ‘Umrah during Rajab without believing that this has any particular virtue and because it is just a coincidence that it is easier for him to go at this time, then there is nothing wrong with that.

Bid’ah and innovations in the month of Rajab
Innovation in religion is one of the serious matters which go against the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not die until after the religion had been perfected. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
… This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion…” [al-Maa’idah 5:3]

It was reported that ‘Aa’isha (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours which is not a part of it, will have it rejected.” (Agreed upon).

According to a report narrated by Muslim: “Whoever does an action which is not a part of this matter of ours will have it rejected.”

Some people have innovated a number of practices in Rajab, including the following:
1. Salaat al-Raghaa’ib. This prayer became widespread after the first and best centuries, especially in the fourth century AH. Some liars fabricated this prayer, which is done on the first night of Rajab. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
Salaat al-Raghaa’ib is bid’ah according to the consensus of the scholars of religion, such as Maalik, al-Shaafa’i, Abu Haneefah, al-Thawri, al-‘Oozaa’i, al-Layth and others . The hadeeth that is narrated concerning it is a lie according to the consensus of the scholars who have knowledge of hadeeth.

2. It was reported that major events happened in the month of Rajab, but none of these reports are true. It was reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was born on the first night of Rajab, and that he received his Mission on the twenty-seventh, or twenty-fifth of this month. None of this is correct. It was reported with an isnaad that is not saheeh from al-Qaasim ibn Muhammad that the Prophet’s Night Journey (al-Israa’) took place on the twenty-seventh of Rajab. This was denied by Ibraaheem al-Harbi and others. One of the innovations that take place during this month is the recitation of the story of the Mi’raaj, and celebrations to commemorate it on the twenty-seventh of Rajab, or singling out this night to perform extra acts of worship such as Qiyaam al-Layl or fasting during the day, or rejoicing and celebrating. Some celebrations are accompanied by haraam things such as mixing of men and women, singing and music, all of which are not permitted on the two Eids which are prescribed in Islam, let alone innovated celebrations. Add to that the fact that there is no proof that the Israa’ and Mi’raaj happened on this date. Even if it were proven, that is no excuse for holding celebrations on this date, because nothing of the kind has been reported from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or from his companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, or from any of the Salaf (early generations) of this Ummah. If it were a good thing, they would surely have done it before us. May Allaah help us.

3. Salaat Umm Dawood halfway through Rajab.

4. The du’aa’s which are recited specifically during Rajab are all fabrications and innovations.

5. Visiting graves specifically in Rajab is bid’ah, because graves are to be visited at any time of the year.

We ask Allaah to make us of those who venerate the things that He has made sacred and adhere to the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) outwardly and inwardly, for He is the One Whom we should ask and He is Able to do that. And the close of our request is: praise be to Allaah, the Lord of ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinns and all that exists).

What is the Ruling on Celebrating Halloween?

What is the Ruling on Celebrating Halloween?

Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid

Praise be to Allaah.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his commentary on the aayah (interpretation of the meaning), {And those who do not witness falsehood [al-zoor]} [al-Furqaan 25:72].

As regards the festivals of the mushrikeen: they combine confusion, physical desires and falsehood, there is nothing in them that is of any religious benefit, and the instant gratification involved in them only ends up in pain. Thus they are falsehood, and witnessing them means attending them.

This aaayah itself praises and commends (those who do not witness falsehood), which has the meaning of urging people to avoid taking part in their festivals and other kinds of falsehood. We understand that it is bad to attend their festivals because they are called al-zoor (falsehood).

It indicates that it is haraam to do this for many reasons, because Allaah has called it al-zoor. Allaah condemns the one who speaks falsehood [al-zoor] even if no-one else is harmed by it, as in the aayah forbidding zihaar [a form of divorce in which the man says to his wife "You are to me like the back of my mother", where He says (interpretation of the meaning): {And verily, they utter an ill word and a lie [zooran]} [al-Mujaadilah 58:2].

And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): {So shun the abomination of idols, and shun lying speech (false statements) [al-zoor]} [al-Hajj 22:30].

So the one who does al-zoor is condemned in this fashion.

In the Sunnah: Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: "The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came [to Madeenah] and they had two days in which they would (relax and) play. He said: «What are these two days?», They said: "We used to play (on these two days) during the Jaahiliyyah", The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: «Allaah has given you something better instead of them: Yawm al-Duhaa [Eid al-Adha] and Yawm al-Fitr [Eid al-Fitr]» [Reported by Abu Dawood].

This indicates clearly that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) definitely forbade his ummah to celebrate the festivals of the kuffaar, and he strove to wipe them out by all possible means. The fact that the religion of the People of the Book is accepted does not mean that their festivals are approved of or should be preserved by the ummah, just as the rest of their kufr and sins are not approved of. Indeed, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went to great lengths to command his ummah to be different from them in many issues that are mubaah (permitted) and in many ways of worship, lest that lead them to be like them in other matters too. This being different was to be a barrier in all aspects, because the more different you are from the people of Hell, the less likely you are to do the acts of the people of Hell.

The first of them is: The hadeeth «Every people has its festival, and this is our festival» [Reported by Bukhari & Muslim], implies exclusivity, that every people has its own festival, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): {For every nation there is a direction to which they face (in their prayers)} [al-Baqarah 2:148] and {To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way} [al-Maa'idah 5:48]. This implies that each nation has its own ways. The laam in li-kulli [for every, to each] implies exclusivity. So if the Jews have a festival and the Christians have a festival, it is just for them, and we should not have any part in it, just as we do not share their qiblah (direction of prayer) or their laws.

The second of them is: one of the conditions set out by 'Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) and agreed upon by the Sahaabah and by all the Fuqaha' after them is: that those of the People of the Book who have agreed to live under Islamic rule (ahl al-dhimmah) should not celebrate their festivals openly in Daar al-Islam (lands under Islamic rule). If the Muslims have agreed to prevent them from celebrating openly, how could it be right for the Muslims to celebrate them?, If a Muslim celebrates them, is that not worse than if a kaafir does so openly?

The only reason that we forbade them to celebrate their festivals openly is because of the corruption involved in them, because of the sin or symbols of sin. In either case, the Muslim is forbidden from sin or the symbols of sin. Even if there was no evil involved apart from the kaafir feeling encouraged to celebrate openly because of the Muslim's actions, how can a Muslim do that?, The evil involved (in their festivals) will be explained below, inshaa Allaah.

Al-Bayhaqi reported with a saheeh isnaad in Baab karaahiyat al-dukhool 'ala ahl al-dhimmah fi kanaa'isihim wal-tashabbuh bihim yawmi nawroozihim wa maharjaanihim (Chapter on the abhorrence of entering the churches of ahl al-dhimmah on the occasion of their New Year and other celebrations): From Sufyaan al-Thawri from Thawr ibn Yazeed from 'Ata' ibn Deenaar who said: 'Umar said: "Do not learn the language of the non-Arabs, do not enter upon the mushrikeen in their churches on their feast-days, for the wrath (of Allaah) is descending upon them."

'Umar ibn al-Khattaab said: "Avoid the enemies of Allaah on their festivals."

It was reported with a saheeh isnaad from Abu Usaamah: 'Awn told us from Abul-Mugheerah from 'Abd-Allaah ibn 'Amr: "Whoever lives in the land of the non-Arabs and celebrates their New Year and their festivals, and imitates them until he dies in that state, will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection."

'Umar forbade learning their languages, and even entering their churches on the day of their festival, so how about doing some of the things they do on those days, or doing things that are a part of their religion?, Is not going along with their actions worse than learning their language?, Is not doing some of the things they do on their festival worse than just entering upon them?, If divine wrath is descending upon them on the day of their festival because of what they do, then is not the one who does what they do, or a part of it, also exposed to the same punishment? Do not the words "Avoid the enemies of Allaah on their festivals" mean that we should not meet them or join them on those days?, So how about the one who actually celebrates their festivals?

'Abd-Allaah ibn 'Amr clearly stated: "Whoever lives in the land of the non-Arabs and celebrates their New Year and their festivals, and imitates them until he dies in that state, will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection"

This implies that the one who joins in with them in all of these matters is a kaafir, or that doing this is one of the major sins (kabaa'ir) that will doom one to Hell; the former meaning is what is apparent from the wording.

He mentioned and Allaah knows bestthe one who lives in their land, because at the time of 'Abd-Allaah ibn 'Amr and the other Sahaabah, they used to forbid open celebration of kaafir festivals in the Muslim lands, and none of the Muslims imitated them in their festivals; that was possible only when living in the lands of the kaafirs.

'Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) refused to even acknowledge the name of their festivals which were exclusively theirs, so how about actually celebrating them?

Ahmad mentioned the meaning of the reports narrated from 'Umar and 'Ali (may Allaah be pleased with them) on this topic, and his companions discussed the matter of festivals.

Imaam Abul-Hasan al-Aamidi said: the one who is known as Ibn al-Baghdaadi said in his book 'Umdat al-Haadir wa Kifaayat al-Musaafir: "It is not permitted to attend the festivals of the Christians and Jews. Ahmad stated this in the report of Muhannaa, and his evidence for that is the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): {And those who do not witness falsehood [al-zoor]} [al-Furqaan 25:72]. He said: (This is) al-Sha'aaneen and their festivals. He said: "The Muslims are to be prevented from entering upon them in their synagogues and churches."

From Iqtidaa' al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem Mukhaalifat Ashaab al-Jaheem by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah, p. 183. Greeting the kuffaar on Christmas and other religious holidays of theirs is haraam, by consensus, as Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy on him, said in Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah: "Congratulating the kuffaar on the rituals that belong only to them is haraam by consensus, as is congratulating them on their festivals and fasts by saying "A happy festival to you" or "May you enjoy your festival," and so on. If the one who says this has been saved from kufr, it is still forbidden. It is like congratulating someone for prostrating to the cross, or even worse than that. It is as great a sin as congratulating someone for drinking wine, or murdering someone, or having illicit sexual relations, and so on. Many of those who have no respect for their religion fall into this error; they do not realize the offensiveness of their actions. Whoever congratulates a person for his disobedience or bid'ah or kufr exposes himself to the wrath and anger of Allaah."

Congratulating the kuffaar on their religious festivals is haraam to the extent described by Ibn al-Qayyim because it implies that one accepts or approves of their rituals of kufr, even if one would not accept those things for oneself. But the Muslim should not aceept the rituals of kufr or congratulate anyone else for them, because Allaah does not accept any of that at all, as He says (interpretation of the meaning); {If you disbelieve, then verily, Allaah is not in need of you, He likes not disbelief for His slaves. And if you are grateful (by being believers), He is pleased therewith for you. . .} [al-Zumar 39:7].

{. . . This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islaam as your religion...} [al-Ma'idah 5:3].

So congratulating them is forbidden, whether they are one's colleagues at work or otherwise.

If they greet us on the occasion of their festivals, we should not respond, because these are not our festivals, and because they are not festivals which are acceptable to Allaah. These festivals are innovations in their religions, and even those which may have been prescribed formerly have been abrogated by the religion of Islaam, with which Allaah sent Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to the whole of mankind. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): {Whoever seeks a religion other than Islaam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers} [Aal 'Imraan 3:85]

It is haraam for a Muslim to accept invitations on such occasions, because this is worse than congratulating them as it implies taking part in their celebrations.

Similarly, Muslims are forbidden to imitate the kuffaar by having parties on such occasions, or exchanging gifts, or giving out sweets or food, or taking time off work, etc., because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Whoever imitates a people is one of them." Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyah said in his book Iqtidaa' al-siraat al-mustaqeem mukhaalifat ashaab al-jaheem: "Imitating them in some oftheir festivals implies that one is pleased with their false beliefs and practices, and gives them the hope that they may have the opportunity to humiliate and mislead the weak."

Whoever does anything of this sort is a sinner, whether he does it out of politeness or to be friendly, or because he is too shy to refuse, or for whatever other reason, because this is hypocrisy in Islaam, and because it makes the kuffaar feel proud of their religion.

Allaah is the One Whom we ask to make the Muslims feel proud of their religion, to help them adhere steadfastly to it, and to make them victorious over their enemies, for He is the Strong and Omnipotent.

Christmas - For Muslims??

Written by Editor: ShareIslam.com
Thursday, 07 December 2006

What is this - Christmas?
The word Christmas comes from the words Cristes maesse, or "Christ's Mass". Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus for members of the Christian religion. Most historians peg the first celebration of Christmas to Rome in 336 A.D.

Muslims Celebrating Christmas - Is This Possible?
While you may find this strange, we have received letters asking about the permissibility of allowing Muslim children and adults to join along Christians in celebrating Christmas; giving gifts, decorating their homes, lighting candles, putting up Christmas trees and lights and greeting each other with "Merry Christmas."

No candles?, No Christmas tree, No sleigh?, No reindeer?, No mistletoe?, No bells?, No elves?, No stockings by the chimney?, No Christmas Carols, & NO SANTA CLAUS?

Let us consider some important facts about this occassion and what it really means:

Christmas - For Muslims??
By A Loving Muslim brother

I was a Christain for many years, and I used to get really upset when people took the "Christ" out of Christmas, and I could not imagine why people would let all of this gross commercialism overwhelm the remembrance of the birth of Christ Jesus. So, it came as a great surprise, in my little world, to learn this was from the Solstice celebration, and had been going on for hundreds of years before the time of Jesus. Also, we find no evidence Jesus was even born in the month of Decemeber (and in fact, it becomes obvious from close study of the Bilbe he was not even born in the year claimed to be 2,006 years ago.

Let's consider some very important evidence about the event called "Christmas":
No proof for his birth in December - nor for exactly 2006 years ago for that matter. New Testament claims he was born during the reign of King Herod. He was already dead 6 years before.

No proof for Christmas trees - actually, the Bible (Jerimiah 10) forbids the act of cutting down trees or holly or anything and then taking it into the house and decorating it up.

Nothing about Santa Claus except a bishop who attended the Council of Nicea in 325 A. D. named, Saint Nicholas who was generous with money and used it to help a man get his two older daughters married off by throwing a bag of silver into their open window for their dowry (women paid men - the opposite of the dowry system of Islam), thus earning himself the title of St. Nick.

There can be no absolute proof of the particulars and details surrounding all of the many factors coming together in Rome in 325 A.D. (after Christ's birth), in order to establish with certainty, Jesus Christ was born on December 25, as mentioned.

Solstice Celebrations:
From Babylon to Rome, for thousands of years, virtually every culture has had some sort of celebration for the solstice. The winter solstice is the darkest, shortest day of the year, and since it marks the time at which the glorious light returns, the solstice has long been an occasion for great celebration and rejoicing.

On the surface, the solstice celebration is often a rejoicing of the return of the sun with the promise of the greening of the earth and the warming of the days. But on a deeper spiritual level, the solstice celebration honors the birth and rebirth of the glorious Holy Light which guides and sustains all of creation, the One Light that illuminates every heart and promises new growth, the warmth of loving-kindness and the brilliance of illumination to all of mankind.

The sun god Mithra (Mithra in Persian, Mitra in Sanskrit) was highly honored and well known across the entire region from India to Rome. In the ancient Vedic hymns of India, Mitra is often invoked together with Varuna so that the two are combined as 'Mitravaruna': Varuna is lord of the cosmic rhythm of the celestial spheres, while Mitra brings forth the light at dawn, which was covered by Varuna.

In the Zoroastrian religion, the sun-god Mithra was highly honored as a major deity, and interestingly, the birth of Mithra is celebrated at the eve of the winter solstice called Shab-e Yalda in Farsi (Persian).

The Romans had a great number of temples dedicated to Mithra, and the winter solstice celebration dedicated to the sun god Mithra was indeed a major event in their lives.

In the ancient world, much of the day to day life was centered on a keen awareness of the sun, the stars and the seasons. For thousands of years, the return of the sun at the time of the winter solstice has been a time of good cheer and great celebration, both secular and spiritual.

Early Christians:
The early Christians did not celebrate the birth of Jesus. The early church fathers Origen (d.255), St. Irenaeus (d. 202), and Tertullian (d. 220) do not include Christmas or its date on their lists of feasts and celebrations.

In fact, nobody really knows when Jesus was born. Church father Clement of Alexandria tells us that certain theologians had claimed to have determined not only the year of the Jesus' birth but also the day; that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus and on the 25th day of Pachon (May 20) (Stromata, I, 21). He also added that others said that he was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi (April 19 or 20). Another piece of evidence is De Paschae Computus of 243, which states that Jesus was born on March 28.

Many modern scholars, using the details given in the bible, suggest that Jesus' birthday was likely before October or after March. So, although we don't know when Jesus was born, it seems quite unlikely that it was on December 25th.

The Church In Rome:
The early church fathers in Rome were perhaps feeling a bit left out by all the celebrations that were going on at the time of the Solstice. It's all too difficult to control people who are busy celebrating for just any old reason.

It was not at all common in those days to celebrate a person's birthday, but something drastic had to be done to get the church into the celebration. So, in order to eclipse the solstice celebration of the sun god Mithra, in the middle of the 4th century after Jesus' death, the newly converted Emperor Constantine declared December 25th to be the official birthday of Jesus.

Within a few years, the altars of the temples of Mithra had been destroyed and the temples were quickly rededicated to the activities of the church of Rome. Just that suddenly, the winter solstice which was perhaps the greatest celebration known to the ancient world, was transformed into a matter of church doctrine.

In later years, the English gave this celebration the name Cristes mæsse, literally, Christ's mass... and from that we have inherited the word Christmas.

We see clearly, Christmas as it is celebrated today is not something associated with Judaism or Islam in their original teachings. We must ask the question, "If the prophets of Allah and their people did not engage in such acts of pagan worship, then why should we?"

Our prophet, peace be upon him, ordered us to refrain from following in the footsteps of those who had gone astray before us. He also made sure we understood our celebrations are two; namely: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

Even though some will join in with others to celebrate the beliefs and and practices of non-Muslim activities, we as believers, must not engage in such offensive acts toward our Lord, Allah. He hates that we involve ourselves in practices of worship not ordained by Him and we must avoid such activities at all costs.

We ask Allah to forgive us for our past mistakes and errors and to guide us to do better in the future and grant us from Him, Mercy, Compassion and Forgiveness, ameen

Monday, 21 November 2011

The Truth Seeker : Salman Al-Farisi

This is a story of a seeker of Truth, the story of Salman the Persian, gleaned, to begin with, from his own words:
I grew up in the town of Isfahan in Persia in the village of Jayyan. My father was the Dihqan or chief of the village. He was the richest person there and had the biggest house.
Since I was a child my father loved me, more than he loved any other. As time went by his love for me became so strong and overpowering that he feared to lose me or have anything happen to me. So he kept me at home, a veritable prisoner, in the same way that young girls were kept.
I became devoted to the Magian religion so much so that I attained the position of custodian of the fire which we worshipped. My duty was to see that the flames of the fire remained burning and that it did not go out for a single hour, day or night.

My father had a vast estate which yielded an abundant supply of crops. He himself looked after the estate and the harvest. One day he was very busy with his duties as dihqan in the village and he said to me:
"My son, as you see, I am too busy to go out to the estate now. Go and look after matters there for me today."
On my way to the estate, I passed a Christian church and the voices at prayer attracted my attention. I did not know anything about Christianity or about the followers of any other religion throughout the time my father kept me in the house away from people. When I heard the voices of the Christians I entered the church to see what they were doing.
I was impressed by their manner of praying and felt drawn to their religion. "By God," I said, "this is better than ours. I shall not leave them until the sun sets."
I asked and was told that the Christian religion originated in AshSham (Greater Syria). I did not go to my father's estate that day and at night, I returned home. My father met me and asked what I had done. I told him about my meeting with the Christians and how I was impressed by their religion. He was dismayed and said:
"My son, there is nothing good in that religion. Your religion and the religion of your forefathers is better."
"No, their religion is better than ours," I insisted.
My father became upset and afraid that I would leave our religion. So he kept me locked up in the house and put a chain on my feet. I managed however to send a message to the Christians asking them to inform me of any caravan going to Syria. Before long they got in touch with me and told me that a caravan was headed for Syria. I managed to unfetter myself and in disguise accompanied the caravan to Syria. There, I asked who was the leading person in the Christian religion and was directed to the bishop of the church. I went up to him and said:
"I want to become a Christian and would like to attach myself to your service, learn from you and pray with you."
The bishop agreed and I entered the church in his service. I soon found out, however, that the man was corrupt. He would order his followers to give money in chanty while holding out the promise of blessings to them. When they gave anything to spend in the way oRGod however, he would hoard it for himself and not give anything to the poor or needy. In this way he amassed a vast quantity of gold. When the bishop died and the Christians gathered to bury him, I told them of his corrupt practices and, at their request, showed them where he kept their donations. When they saw the large jars filled with gold and silver they said.
"By God, we shall not bury him." They nailed him on a cross and threw stones at him.
I continued in the service of the person who replaced him. The new bishop was an ascetic who longed for the Hereafter and engaged in worship day and night. I was greatly devoted to him and spent a long time in his company.
(After his death, Salman attached himself to various Christian religious figures, in Mosul, Nisibis and elsewhere. The last one had told him about the appearance of a Prophet in the land of the Arabs who would have a reputation for strict honesty, one who would accept a gift but would never consume charity (sadaqah) for himself. Salman continues his story.)
A group of Arab leaders from the Kalb tribe passed through Ammuriyah and I asked them to take me with them to the land of the Arabs in return for whatever money I had. They agreed and I paid them. When we reached Wadi al-Qura (a place between Madinah and Syria), they broke their agreement and sold me to a Jew. I worked as a servant for him but eventually he sold me to a nephew of his belonging to the tribe of Banu Qurayzah. This nephew took me with him to Yathrib, the city of palm groves, which is how th e Christian at Ammuriyah had described it.
At that time the Prophet was inviting his people in Makkah to Islam but I did not hear anything about him then because of the harsh duties which slavery imposed upon me.
When the Prophet reached Yathrib after his hijrah from Makkah, I was in fact at the top of a palm tree belonging to my master doing some work. My master was sitting under the tree. A nephew of his came up and said:
"May God declare war on the Aws and the Khazraj (the two main Arab tribes of Yathrib). By God, they are now gathering at Quba to meet a man who has today come from Makkah and who claims he is a Prophet." I felt hot flushes as soon as I heard these words and I began to shiver so violently that I was afraid that I might fall on my master. I quickly got down from the tree and spoke to my master's nephew. "What did you say? Repeat the news for me."
My mastcr was very angry and gave me a terrible blow. "What does this matter to you? Go back to what you were doing," he shouted.
That evening, I took some dates that I had gathered and went to the place where the Prophet had alighted. I went up to him and said:
"I have heard that you are a righteous man and that you have companions with you who are strangers and are in need. Here is something from me as sadaqah. I see that you are more deserving of it than others."
The Prophet ordered his companions to eat but he himself did not eat of it.
I gathered some more dates and when the Prophet left Quba for Madinah I went to him and said: "I noticed that you did not eat of the sadaqah I gave. This however is a gift for you." Of this gift of dates, both he and his companions ate.
The strict honesty of the Prophet was one of the characteristics that led Salman to believe in him and accept Islam.
Salman was released from slavery by the Prophet who paid his Jewish slave-owner a stipulated price and who himself planted an agreed number of date palms to secure his manumission. After accepting Islam, Salman would say when asked whose son he was:
"I am Salman, the son of Islam from the children of Adam."
Salman was to play an important role in the struggles of the growing Muslim state. At the battle of Khandaq, he proved to be an innovator in military strategy. He suggested digging a ditch or khandaq around Madinah to keep the Quraysh army at bay. When Abu Sufyan, the leader of the Makkans, saw the ditch, he said, "This strategem has not been employed by the Arabs before."
Salman became known as "Salman the Good". He was a scholar who lived a rough and ascetic life. He had one cloak which he wore and on which he slept. He would not seek the shelter of a roof but stayed under a tree or against a wall. A man once said to him: "Shall I not build you a house in which to live?" "I have no need of a house," he replied.
The man persisted and said, "I know the type of house that would suit you." "Describe it to me," said Salman.
"I shall build you a house which if you stand up in it, its roof will hurt your head and if you stretch your legs the wall will hurt them."
Later, as a govenor of al-Mada'in (Ctesiphon) near Baghdad, Salman received a stipend of five thousand dirhams. This he would distribute as sadaqah. He lived from the work of his own hands. When some people came to Mada'in and saw him working in the palm groves, they said, "You are the amir here and your sustenance is guaranteed and you do this work!"
"I like to eat from the work of my own hands," he replied. Salman however was not extreme in his asceticism. It is related that he once visited Abu ad-Dardaa with whom the Prophet had joined him in brotherhood. He found Abu adDardaa's wife in a miserable state and he asked, "What is the matter with you."
"Your brother has no need of anything in this world*" she replied.
When Abu ad-Dardaa came, he welcomed Salman and gave him food. Salman told him to eat but Abu adDardaa said, "I am fasting."
"I swear to you that I shall not eat until you eat also."
Salman spent the night there as well. During the night, Abu ad-Dardaa got up but Salman got hold of him and said:
"O Abu ad-Dardaa, your Lord has a right over you. Your family have a right over you and your body has a right over you. Give to each its due."
In the morning, they prayed together and then went out to meet the Prophet, peace be upon him. The Prophet supported Salman in what he had said.
As a scholar, Salman was noted for his vast knowledge and wisdom. Ali said of him that he was like Luqman the Wise. And Ka'b al-Ahbar said: "Salman is stuffed with knowledge and wisdomرan ocean that does not dry up." Salman had a knowledge of both the Christian scriptures and the Qur'an in addition to his earlier knowledge of the Zoroastrian religion. Salman in fact translated parts of the Qur'an into Persian during the life-time of the Prophet. He was thus the first person to translate the Qur'an into a foreign language.
Salman, because of the influential household in which he grew up, might easily have been a major figure in the sprawling Persian Empire of his time. His search for truth however led him, even before the Prophet had appeared, to renounce a comfortable and affluent life and even to suffer the indignities of slavery. According to the most reliable account, he died in the year thirty five after the hijrah, during the caliphate of Uthman, at Ctesiphon.

Omar ibn al-Khattab Journey to Islam

Omar was twenty seven when the Holy Prophet began his mission. Young Omar was one of those who did not care to listen to the message of Islam. He was for the old way of life. As years went by, Islam made a slow headway.
This made Omar angry. Do what the Makkan(1) chiefs might, people who once went over to Islam never went back to their old faith. One of Omar's own maid-servants became a Muslim. He beat her as much as he could, but she would not give up the new faith.
At last in the sixth year of the Mission, a number of Muslims left for Abyssinia. This made Omar boil with rage. "Here is a man," he thought to himself "who has split the people. People lived smoothly enough. He appeared on the scene He has torn son from father and brother from brother. Now his followers are running away to another land. Surely Muhammad is the cause of all trouble. I must slay him and put an end to the trouble."
With this resolve Omar drew his sword and set out to kill the Holy Prophet. On the way he met a friend who asked him why he looked so upset. Omar told him what he was going to do. "You better take care of your own kin first," said the friend, "Your sister and her husband have gone over to Islam."
These words changed the direction of Omar's anger. He went straight to the house of his sister, Fatima. He knocked at the door. Someone was reciting the Quran inside. Fatima was terrified when she heard Omar's voice. She hid the portion of the Quran she was reading and opened the door.
"What was it that you were reciting just now?" Omar demanded.
"Oh nothing," said the sister.
"Why nothing?" he shouted in rage.
"I have heard it alright. I know you both have accepted Muhammad's faith."
Saying this, he began to beat his brother-in-law, Saeed. Fatima ran to his help and got a blow to the head. The head began to bleed. This made the couple bold. "Yes, we have become Muslims," they shouted at Omar. "Do what you will."
The sight of the bleeding sister deeply moved Omar. Fatima was such a loving sister! Surely there must be some great truth in the Quran which had won her innocent heart. "Would you let me have a look at the Quran?" said Omar.
Fatima handed him the few pages of the book she had.
Omar sat down to study the pages. Soon his face changed. His anger cooled down. The fear of Allah gripped his heart. He wept and declared, "Surely this is the word of Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah."(2)
Omar was again on his way to the place of the Holy Prophet. But he was a changed man. He was not going to slay him but to embrace his faith.
The Holy Prophet was sitting in the company of some men. He saw Omar coming and asked, "Omar, what brings you here?"
"O Prophet of Allah!" replied Omar, "I have come to embrace Islam."
Great was the joy of the Holy Prophet and his followers. Loud shouts of "Allah is Great" rented the air of Mecca. Soon everyone knew that Omar was no longer an enemy of Islam. It was a great day for Islam because one of its bitterest enemies had become its staunch follower.

Muadh ibn Jabal

Muadh ibn Jabal was a young man growing up in Yathrib as the light of guidance and truth began to spread over the Arabian peninsula. He was a handsome and imposing character with black eyes and curly hair and immediately impressed whoever he met. He was already distinguished for the sharpness of his intelligence among young men of his own age. The young Muadh became a Muslim at the hands of Musab ibn Umayr, the daiy (missionary) whom the Prophet had sent to Yathrib before the hijrah. Muadh was among the seventy-two Yathribites who journeyed to Makkah, one year before the hijrah, and met the Prophet at his house and later again in the valley of Mina, outside Makkah, at Aqabah. Here the famous second Aqabah Pledge was made at which the new Muslims of Yathrib, including some women, vowed to support and defend the Prophet at any cost. Muadh was among those who enthusiastically clasped the hands of the blessed Prophet then and pledged allegiance to him.
As soon as Muadh returned to Madinah from Makkah, he and a few others of his age formed a group to remove and destroy idols from the houses of the mushrikeen in Yathrib. One of the effects of this campaign was that a prominent man of the city, Amr ibn al-Jumuh, became a Muslim.

When the noble Prophet reached Madinah, Muadh ibn Jabal stayed in his company as much as possible. He studied the Quran and the laws of Islam until he became one of the most well-versed of all the companions in the religion of Islam.

Wherever Muadh went, people would refer to him for legal judgments on matters over which they differed. This is not strange since he was brought up in the school of the Prophet himself and learnt as much as he could from him. He was the best pupil of the best teacher. His knowledge bore the stamp of authenticity. The best certificate that he could have received came from the Prophet himself when he said: "The most knowledgeable of my ummah in matters of Halal and haram is Muadh ibn Jabal."

One of the greatest of Muadhs contributions to the ummah of Muhammad was that he was one of the group of six who collected the Quran during the lifetime of the Prophet, peace be upon him. Whenever a group of companions met and Muadh was among them, they would look at him with awe and respect on account of his knowledge. The Prophet and his two Khalitahs after him placed this unique gift and power in the service of Islam.

After the liberation of Makkah, the Quraysh became Muslims en masse. The Prophet immediately saw the need of the new Muslims for teachers to instruct them in the fundamentals of Islam and to make them truly understand the spirit and letter of its laws. He appointed Attab ibn Usay as his deputy in Makkah and he asked Muadh ibn Jabal to stay with him and teach people the Quran and instruct them in the religion.

Sometime after the Prophet had returned to Madinah, messengers of the kings of Yemen came to him announcing that they and the people of Yemen had become Muslims. They requested that some teachers should be with them to teach Islam to the people. For this task the Prophet commissioned a group of competent duat (missionaries) and made Muadh ibn Jabal their amir. He then put the following question to Muadh:

"According to what will you judge?"

"According to the Book of God," replied Muadh.

"And if you find nothing therein?"

"According to the Sunnah of the Prophet of God."

"And if you find nothing therein?"

"Then I will exert myself (exercise ijtihad) to form my own judgment."

The Prophet was pleased with this reply and said: "Praise be to God Who has guided the messenger of the Prophet to that which pleases the Prophet."

The Prophet personally bade farewell to this mission of guidance and light and walked for some distance alongside Muadh as he rode out of the city. Finally he said to him:

"O Muadh, perhaps you shall not meet me again after this year. Perhaps when you return you shall see only my mosque and my grave." Muadh wept. Those with him wept too. A feeling of sadness and desolation overtook him as he parted from his beloved Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him.

The Prophet's premonition was correct. The eyes of Muadh never beheld the Prophet after that moment. The Prophet died before Muadh returned from the Yemen. There is no doubt that Muadh wept when he returned to Madinah and found there was no longer the blessed company of the Prophet.

During the caliphate of Umar, Muadh was sent to the Banu Kilab to apportion their stipends and to distribute the sadaqah of their richer folk among the poor. When he had done his duty, he returned to his wife with his saddle blanket around his neck, empty handed, and she asked him:

"Where are the gifts which commissioners return with for their families?" "I had an alert Supervisor who was checking over me," he replied. "You were a trusted person with the messenger of God and with Abu Bakr. Then Umar came and he sent a supervisor with you to check on you!' she exclaimed. She went on to talk about this to the women of Umar's household and complained to them about it. The complaint eventually reached Umar, so he summoned Muadh and said:

"Did I send a supervisor with you to check on you?"

"No, Amir al-Mumineen," he said, "But that was the only reason I could find to give her." Umar laughed and then gave him a gift, saying, "I hope this pleases you."

Also during the caliphate of Umar, the governor of Syria, Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan sent a message saying:

"O Amir al-Mumineen! The people of Syria are many. They fill the towns. They need people to teach them the Quran and instruct them in the religion."

Umar thereupon summoned five persons who had collected the Quran in the lifetime of the Prophet, peace be upon him. They were Muadh ibn Jabal, Ubadah ibn asSamit, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, Ubayy ibn Kab and Abu adDardaa. He said to them:

"Your brothers in Syria have asked me to help them by sending those who can teach them the Quran and instruct them in the religion. Please appoint three among you for this task and may God bless you. I can select three of you myself if you do not want to put the matter to the vote."

"Why should we vote?" they asked. "Abu Ayyub is quite old and Ubayy is a sick man. That leaves three of us." "All three of you go to Homs first of all. If you are satisfied with the condition of the people there, one of you should stay there, another should go to Damascus and the other to Palestine."

So it was that Ubadah ibn as-Samit was left at Homs, Abu ad-Dardaa went to Damascus and Muadh went to Palestine. There Muadh fell ill with an infectious disease. As he was near to death, he turned in the direction of the Kabah and repeated this refrain: "Welcome Death, Welcome. A visitor has come after a long absence . . ." And looking up to heaven, he said: "O Lord, You know that I did not desire the world and to prolong my stay in it . . . O Lord, accept my soul with goodness as you would accept a believing soul..."

He then passed away, far from his family and his clan, a daiy in the service of God and a muhajir in His path.