Friday, December 9, 2011

Concept of God in Islam

Allah! There is no God save Him, the Alive, the Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep overtaketh Him. Unto Him belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that intercedeth with Him save by His leave? He knoweth that which is in front of them and that which is behind them, while they encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He will. His throne includeth the heavens and the earth, and He is never weary of preserving them. He is the Sublime, the Tremendous. (Holy Qur'an 2:255)
Anything dead cannot be the God. God is Alive.
Something dead for even a second cannot be the God
God does not sleep. Who will look after the universe if He went to sleep.
All human innovations are possible when God wills knowledge to be given to humans.
God knows that is in front of them and that is behind them, while they encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He will
Newborn baby: Weak and totally dependent on others for survival. No, God cannot be in his state ever.

God has no beginning
God has no end.

God doesn't need this

No, you don't need this sign for God.
You don't need this sign either.

You can create them but you can't make them talk. About them creating humans, they cannot create even a fly. And if a fly took something from them, they cannot even retrieve it back.
God does not need this

God does not need this either.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mary, Peace be upon her in the Qur'an

Islam honors Mary, peace be upon her, as one of the most honored women among universe. There is a chapter in the Holy Qur'an named after her. She is the only named women in the Qur'an, which consists of over 6,000 verses. Here are some of the verses of the Qur'an from Chapter 3 (The Family of Imran 35-49) dealing with her.

Behold! When wife of Imran (mother of Mary) said: "O my Lord! I do dedicate into You what is in my womb for Your special service so accept this of me! for You hear and know all things." (35) 

When she was delivered she said: "O my Lord! behold! I have delivered a female child!" And Allah knew best what she brought forth, "And a male is not like the female. I have named her Mary and I commend her and her offspring to Your protection from the Satan the Rejected." (36)

Right graciously did her Lord accept her: He made her grow in purity and beauty; to the care of Zechariah was she assigned. Every time that he entered (her) chamber to see her, he found her supplied with sustenance. He said: "O Mary! whence (comes) this to you?" She said: "From Allah: for Allah provides sustenance to whom He pleases, without measure." (37)

There did Zechariah pray to his Lord saying: "O my Lord! Grant unto me from You a progeny that is pure; for You hear the prayers!" (38) 

While he was standing in prayer in the chamber, the angels called unto him: "Allah does give you glad tidings of John (Yahya), witnessing the truth of a Word from Allah and (be besides) noble, chaste, and a Prophet,―of the (goodly) company of the righteous." (39) 

He said: "O my Lord! how shall I have a son, seeing I am very old, and my wife is barren?" "Thus" was the answer "Does Allah accomplish what He wills." (40) 

He said: "O my Lord! Give me a sign!" "Your Sign" was the answer "shall be that you shall speak to no man for three days but with signals. Then celebrate the praises of your Lord again and again and glorify Him in the evening and in the morning." (41)

 Behold! The angels said: "O Mary! Allah has chosen you and purified you;―chosen you above the women of all nations. (42)

"O Mary! worship your Lord devoutly; prostrate yourself, and bow down (in prayer) with those who bow down." (43)

This is part of the tidings of the things unseen, which We reveal unto you (O Prophet!) by inspiration; you were not with them when they cast lots with arrows, as to which of them should be charged with the care of Mary; nor wer you with them when they disputed (the point). (44)

Behold! the angels said, "O Mary! Allah gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Maseeh Isa, the son of Mary held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah. (45)

 "He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity and he shall be (of the company) of the righteous." (46) 

She said: "O my Lord! how shall I have a son when no man has touched me?" He said: "Even so: Allah creates what He wills; when He decrees a plan, He just says to it `Be', and it is! (47)

"And Allah will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel. (48)
"And (appoint him) an Messenger to the Children of Israel, (with the message): I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay as it were the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah's leave; and I heal those born blind, and the lepers and I quicken the dead by Allah's leave; and I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if ye did believe. (49)

In the Chapter 21 (Maryam (Mary)), the following verses were revealed:

And make mention of Mary in the Scripture, when she had withdrawn from her people to a chamber looking East, (16)

And had chosen seclusion from them. Then We sent unto her Our Spirit and it assumed for her the likeness of a perfect man. (17)

She said: Lo! I seek refuge in the Beneficent One from you, if you are God-fearing. (18)

He said: I am only a messenger of your Lord, that I may bestow on you a faultless son. (19)

She said: How can I have a son when no mortal has touched me, neither have I been unchaste? (20)

He said: So (it will be). Your Lord says: It is easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may make of him a Revelation for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained. (21)

In Chapter 21 (The Prophets), verse 91 says this:

And (remember) her who guarded her chastity: We breathed into her of Our Spirit, and We made her and her son a Sign for all peoples. (91)

The Chapter 66 (Prohibition), Verse 12, mentions this:

And Mary the daughter of `Imran, who guarded her chastity; and We breathed into her (body) of Our spirit; and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and of His Revelations, and was one of the devout (Servants). (12)

The conception and the birth of Jesus, peace beupon him, is mentioned in the following verses of Chapter 19, verses 22-34.

So she conceived him, and she retired with him to a remote place. (22)

And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree: she cried (in her anguish): "Ah! would that I had died before this! Would that I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight!" (23)

But (a voice) cried to her from beneath the (palm-tree): "Grieve not! for yor Lord has provided a rivulet beneath you; (24)

"And shake towards yourself the trunk of the palm-tree: it will let fall fresh ripe dates upon you. (25)

"So eat and drink and cool (your) eye. And if you do see any man say `I have vowed a fast to (Allah) Most Gracious, and this day will I enter into no talk with any human being.' " (26)

At length she brought the (baby) to her people, carrying him (in her arms). they said: "O Mary! truly an amazing thing have thou brought! (27)

"O sister of Aaron! your father was not a man of evil, nor your mother a woman unchaste!" (28)

But she pointed to the baby. They said: "How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?" (29)

He (Jesus the baby) said: "I am indeed a servant of Allah: He has given me revelation and made me a prophet; (30)

"And He has made me Blessed wheresoever I be, and has enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live; (31)

"(He) has made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable; (32)

"So Peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again on the Day of Judgment)"! (33)

Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute. (34)

In the following verse, Allah explains the miraculous birth of Jesus, peace be upon him,

It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! When He determines a matter, He only says to it "Be", and it is. (35)


Monday, September 5, 2011

Moonsighting: A Convincing Proposal

Below is the translation of a presentation in Urdu by Shaikh Tahirul Qadri on how to resolve the moonsighting issue. If you want to watch the video, please go to the link below:

The well known meaning of the word moonsighting  (royat-e- hilal) is derived from the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad, pbuh,: Fast when you see (roya) it, and break your fast when you see (roya) it.” Now, the whole discussion depends on the meaning of the word “roya.”

The well known meaning of the word “roya” is seeing. That is why in the old days, people use to “see” the new moon and celebrate eid. If they didn’t see it they used to fast 30 days. That is the real rule about the moonsighting.

It is also recorded that people used to see the moon in different towns and celebrate eid according to their local sighting.

Those were simple times. As time goes by things develop, the society develops and things become complex. So, now, the question is how to define the word “roya.”

The first definition of Roya (Sighting)

The “naked eye sighting” meaning of roya makes the sighting of the moon possible only the night before the eid. This kind of sighting on the eve of eid makes it difficult for Muslims living as minorities in the western world to celebrate eid. Many people miss the eid.

You cannot go out of hadith to define “roya.” So this made it necessary to investigate whether there is another meaning of “roya”. And for sure there is one.

The Second Definition of Roya (sighting)

Then the fuqaha (jurists), ulama (scholars) and the astronomers came to the conclusion that another meaning of “roya” could be that moon attains conditions (age, height and angle from the sun) under which it becomes visible.

In the last few years the science has developed along with the development of telescopes, etc. So, the sighting of the moon using these equipment also came under the definition of “roya.”

If you studied the moon sighting history of the last 100 years, you will find that the naked eye sighting of the moon is possible only if the new moon was at least 12 hours old. Any moon that was younger than 12 hours was still not sighted even with telescopes. Only 4 or 5 cases of moon sighting, either naked eye or with the aid of telescope, where the moon was just 12-13 hours old has been reported in the last 100  years.

There are reasons for the invisibility of the younger than 12-hour old moon. For the moon to be visible to a naked eye, it has to meet certain minimum conditions: It has to be at a certain height from the horizon, it has to be at a certain angle from the sun, and it has to be on the horizon for certain duration. When it attains these conditions only then it becomes visible to the naked eye. These are some of the astronomical details for the visibility of the moon.

These are the ways of sighting of the moon with the naked eye. This can be done only on the eve of the Eid and it is not much helpful for Muslims living in the US or the UK. So they had to take one more step.

This step was to define “roya” as the attainment of the conditions that makes the moon visible rather than the actual sighting. This would help with the possibility of finding out dates many days or months in advance.

The information about visibility of the moon is available through published resources. We can find out the moonrise time, the angle of the moon, the altitude, etc. This information can be used to announce eid several days or weeks in advance.

But this caused a difference of opinion. People were not ready to arrive at one formula. The scholars initially used 16 hours as the minimum age of the moon. As I mentioned earlier, the 12-13 hour old moon was sighted only 5-6 times in about hundred years. The normal average sighting age of the moon is 16 hours because it meets attains certain height and certain angle that makes it visible. So this 16-hour age became a standard principle.

I had in an article described in detail three or four astronomical principles of the moon’s visibility, and they have been published. But whether you make 16-hour age or even 13-hour age of the moon as the minimum age to call it a “sighting,” it is not workable because some countries cannot wait for even 13 hours.

In some countries, the eid is announced hours after the moon is born. Sometimes the birth of the moon happens after the sunset. So there is not one rule defined for “conditions fit sighting.” Unless this rule is standardized, the sighting will always be a problem.

The Third Definition of Roya (sighting)

So I came up with the third definition of “roya”. This is neither actual sighting with the naked eye nor the moon attaining conditions to make it visible (attaining age, height in the sky and attaining an angle from the sun). The third definition of “roya” is knowledge.

أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ فَعَلَ رَبُّكَ بِأَصْحَابِ الْفِيلِ

 “A lum tara kaifa faa’la rabbuka bi ashaabul fil.”

Some scholars question how could one announce the new moon so far in advance. I am giving you evidence for that.

The event of the companions of the elephant led by Abraha that tried to attack Kaabah happened 50 days before the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him received a revelation (Wahi) describing the event:

“Did you not see how your Lord dealt with the Companions of the Elephant?”

The Prophet, peace be upon him, was not even born yet when this event happened. So there was no question of him seeing the event with the eye.

Then what is the meaning of the word تَرَ (tara)? In what context was this word used?

The word is used to mean: “Are you not aware of this event?” or “Did you not get the news of this event?” or “Did you not hear about this event/”

So, without seeing anything with your own eyes, when you get the knowledge, news or information from a reliable source, it is called “roya” because the objective of “roya” is knowledge. What is the objective of seeing? It is attaining knowledge that moon is born. So if the knowledge is attained through either seeing with naked eye or receiving news from other source is acceptable.

Just like we testify, “There is no God but Allah.” The testimony happens when you “see” something. When the Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, testified, he testified after seeing. And we relied the sighting by the Prophet, pbuh. We testified without seeing Allah because we received the news from the Prophet, peace be upon him.

Same is the case of “roya,” We get the news that the new moon took birth. With this definition, we need not wait for the moon to become visible. Whenever the new moon takes birth, and we get this information from scientific calculation that the new moon will take birth on certain day at certain time and there is no error of even a minute and that is as accurate as 2+2=4, then in what in the old days the work the eye used to do is being done by the science. The scientific calculations have become our eyes.

So if the science shows you that the new moon will take birth on such a day at such a time, make the new moon announcement relying on the information. This could become our formula for moonsighting.

And I often say that one day the ummah will have to agree on this formula. It will not take many years and you will see it in your life that this formula will be ultimately adopted. Everyone has to come to this conclusion. Today you may call it illegal and reject it, there will be no resolution without this if we wanted uniformity.