Health Benefits of Saying "Alhamdulillah"
By Karima Burns
There are many examples in the Qur'an and Hadith of the virtues of a positive mental attitude, perseverance and optimism in the face of adversity. However, did you know that patience and a positive outlook on life are two of the greatest healing tools that you can use?
The Qur'an (2:155) says, "Give glad tidings to those who exercise patience when struck with adversity and say, 'Indeed, we belong to God and to Him is our return.' Such ones receive [the] blessings and mercy of their Lord, and such are the guided ones." According to the findings of modern science, it appears that this mercy may often come in the form of improved health.
Bernard Jensen says, in his book The Science and Practice of Iridology, "The doctor of the new day will recognize that a man's most important workshop is not the physical body, but the mind that controls it." Dr. Ted M. Morter confirms this in his book, Your Health... Your Choice, when he says that "negative thoughts are the number one acid producer in the body (and high body acidity levels are a major cause of disease)… because your body reacts to negative mental and emotional stress brought about by thought the same way it reacts to 'real' threats of physical harm."
In fact, hospital studies show that, of all the patients who consult outpatient clinical facilities in the United States, an astounding seventy percent are found to have no organic basis for their complaint. That figure is amazingly high. However, although medically these patients are not found to have an obvious organic source for their complaints, there actually is a physical basis for this phenomenon. Since Freud popularized the idea of psychoanalysis, people have often focused exclusively on the mental realm to solve certain problems, forgetting that we cannot separate the physical and mental realms. The mind is in the brain, and the brain is an organ. Like all other organs, it feeds from the same pool of nutrients that other body organs feed from and is susceptible to all of the same problems. Ultimately, the brain is just a part of our body like all of the other parts and is completely dependent on the body. It requires sugar to develop energy unlike other tissues that can develop it from potassium and fats. Consequently, it is the first organ to suffer from low blood sugar and it reacts most severely. Freud himself said that psychoanalysis was not suitable for treating diseases such as schizophrenia, and he postulated that their causes eventually would be found to be biochemical.
If we keep in mind that the brain is an organ and that it works in harmony with the other organs and feeds from the same bloodstream, we can understand how various mental events can affect us physically. For example, simply using our brains to think and study burns up nutrients in our system, particularly phosphorus. Heavily exercising the brain can cause us to suffer from a phosphorus deficiency. And we find that the reverse is also true in this relationship. People who have high intellectual capacity usually have high levels of phosphorus in their system.
There is much wisdom in the Prophet's (SAW) statement (narrated by Abu Huraira), "The strong [person] is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong [person] is the one who controls himself while in anger." In fact, staying patient and calm is key to physical strength.
Phosphorus is not the only nutrient that can be depleted by mental stress and a lack of spiritual calm. If the thyroid gland, the primary organ to handle our emotions, works overtime, we can suffer from a deficiency in iodine. Stress from a demanding job, a divorce or relocating can cause a loss of potassium and sodium in the body because it effects the adrenal glands creating more of a need for these minerals.
Even hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can be caused by excitement. The prophet (SAW) recommended our taking the more moderate path in life; however, we often engage in or expose ourselves to intense excitement by yelling, excessively watching television, and going to the mall, movies, parties, amusement parks, etc. When we see something exciting, our adrenal cortex is stimulated and there is an increase in our blood sugar. This, in turn, stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin into the blood to lower the sugar level, causing us to then feel tired or weak.
It produces calm and health to practice saying, "Alhamdulillah" for what we have and for what we are faced with. We should try to keep our home and work environments peaceful and as free from stress as possible. One way we can counteract the effects of stress are to simply be aware of the stress we are encountering, and to consume sufficient nutrients and supplements such as herbs.
For instance, if a person is up late praying or reading Qur'an during Ramadan, they can eat phosphorus rich foods and those that will help them maintain their phosphorus intake. If a person is moving, traveling or making Hajj or Umra, they may want to increase their intake of foods high in potassium and sodium as well as vitamin B complex.
If we completely ignore the relationship between mental and physical health, we are missing an important detail in the picture of personal health. And, as in most health problems, practicing prevention is superior to finding a cure. Therefore, the best manner to avoid having negative attitudes and emotions control our bodies is simply to practice the wisdoms that we have been given throughout the Qur'an and Hadith. We should say, "Alhamdullilah" for what we have; "Insha'Allah" for what we intend; and, "Subhana' Allah" when we see something exciting or amazing. We should remember to say, Astaghfir'Allah" when we lose our tempers or become weak, and most importantly, "Allahu Akbar" when we are faced with the challenges of life. These five phrases, said regularly, are like taking a multi-vitamin for holistic health.
Akifah Baxter - USA/Christian background
I have always been aware of the existence of God. I have always felt that He was there. Sometimes that feeling was distant, and often times I ignored it. But I could never deny this knowledge. Because of this, throughout my life, I have been searching for the truth of His Plan.
I have attented many churches. I listened, I prayed, I talked to people from all different faiths. But it seemed that there was always something that didn't feel right, it felt confusing, like there was something missing. I've heard many people in the past say to me, "Well, I believe in God, but I don't belong to any religion. They all seem wrong to me." This was my feeling exactly, however, I didn't want to just let it go at that and just accept it. I knew that if God exists then He wouldn't just leave us with no direction, or even a warped version of the truth. There had to be a plan, a "true religion." I just had to find it.
The various Christian churches is where I concentrated my search, simply because that is what I grew up with, and there seemed to be some truths in some of their teachings. However, there were so many different views, so many conflicting teachings on basic things like how to pray, who to pray to or through, who was going to be "saved", and who wasn't, and what a person had to do to get "saved." It seemed so convoluted. I felt I was near giving up. I had just come from yet another church whose views on God, and the purpose of our existence, left me so completely frustrated because I knew what they were teaching wasn't true.
One day, I had wandered in the bookstore and I went over to the religious section. As I stood there gazing over the vast array of mostly Christian books, a thought occured to me to see if they had anything on Islam. I knew virtually nothing about Islam, and when I picked up the first book it was solely out of curiosity. But I became excited with what I was reading. One of the first things that struck me was the statement 'There is no god but Allah,' He has no associates, and all prayers and worship are directed to Him alone. This seemed so simple, so powerful, so direct, and made so much sense. So from there I started reading everything I could about Islam.
Everything I read made so much sense to me. It was as if suddenly all the pieces of this puzzle were fitting perfectly, and a clear picture was emerging. I was so excited my heart would race any time I read anything about Islam. Then, when I read the Qur'an, I felt like I was truly blessed to be able to read this. I knew that this had come directly from Allah through His Messenger (SAW). This was it, the truth. I felt like all along I had been a Muslim but I just didn't know it until now. Now as I start my life as a Muslim, I have a sense of peace and security knowing that what I am learning is the pure truth and will take me closer to Allah. May Allah keep guiding me. Ameen.
Taken from trueislam
Islam in China
Yusuf Abdul Rahman
Although it may come as some surprise, Islam has survived in China for over 1300  years. It has done so despite such upheavals as the Cultural Revolution as well as regimes hostile to it.
Even though there are only sparse records of the event in Arab history, a brief one in Chinese history, The Ancient Record of the Tang Dynasty describes a landmark visit to China by an emissary from Arabia in the seventh century. Saad ibn Abi Waqqas (ra), one of the companions of Prophet [Muhammad (s)], led the delegation [in 650 C.E.], which brought gifts as well as the belief system of Islam to China. According to the traditions of Chinese Muslims, this event is considered to be the birth of Islam in China.
Although the emperor of the time, Yung-Wei, found Islam to be a bit too restrictive for his taste, he respected its teachings and considered it to be compatible with the teachings of Confucius. For this reason, he gave Saad complete freedom to propagate the faith among his people. To show his admiration for Islam, the emperor ordered the establishment of China's first mosque at Ch'ang-an. The mosque still stands today, after thirteen [fourteen] centuries.
As time passed, relations between the Chinese and the Muslim heartland continued to improve. Many Muslim businessmen, visitors, and traders began to come to China for commercial and religious reasons. [Arabs had already established trade in the area before Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam).] The Umayyads and Abbasids sent six delegations to China, all of which were warmly received by the Chinese.
The Muslims who immigrated to China eventually began to have a great economic impact and influence on the country. They virtually dominated the import/export business by the time of the Sung Dynasty (960 - 1279 CE). Indeed, the office of Director General of Shipping was consistently held by a Muslim during this period.
In spite of the economic successes the Muslims enjoyed during these and later times, they were recognized as being fair, law-abiding, and self-disciplined. Thus, there is no record of appreciable anti-Muslim sentiment on the part of the Han (Chinese) people.
By the beginning of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 CE) Islam had been nourishing in China for 700 years. Up to this time, the Muslims had maintained a separate, alien status which had its own customs, language, and traditions and was never totally integrated with the Han people. Under the Ming Dynasty, generally considered to be the golden age of Islam in China, Muslims gradually became fully integrated into Han society.
An interesting example of this synthesis by Chinese Muslims was the process by which their names changed. Many Muslims who married Han women simply took on the name of the wife. Others took the Chinese surnames of Mo, Mai, and Mu - names adopted by Muslims who had the names Muhammad, Mustafa, and Masoud. Still others who could find no Chinese surname similar to their own adopted the Chinese character that most closely resembled their name - Ha for Hasan, Hu for Hussein, or Sai for Said, and so on.
In addition to names, Muslim customs of dress and food also underwent a synthesis with Chinese culture. The Islamic mode of dress and dietary restrictions were consistently maintained, however, and not compromised. In time, the Muslims began to speak Han dialects and to read in Chinese. Well into the Ming era, the Muslims could not be distinguished from other Chinese other than by their unique religious customs. For this reason, once again, there was little friction between Muslim and non-Muslim Chinese.
The rise of the Ch'ing Dynasty (1644 - 1911 CE), though, changed this. The Ch'ing were Manchu (not Han) and were a minority in China. They employed tactics of divide-and-conquer to keep the Muslims, Han, Tibetans, and Mongolians in struggles against one another. In particular, they were responsible for inciting anti-Muslim sentiment throughout China, and used Han soldiers to suppress the Muslim regions of the country.
When the Manchu Dynasty fell in 1911, the Republic of China was established by Sun Yat Sen, who immediately proclaimed that the country belonged equally to the Han, Hui (Muslim), Man (Manchu), Meng (Mongol), and the Tsang (Tibetan) peoples. His policies led to some improvement in relations among these groups.
After Mao Zedong's revolution in 1948 and the beginning of communist rule in China, the Muslims, as well as other ethnic minorities found themselves once again oppressed. They actively struggled against communists before and after the revolution. In fact, in 1953, the Muslims revolted twice in an effort to establish an independent Islamic state [in regions where Muslims were an overwhelming majority]. These revolts were brutally suppressed by Chinese military force followed by the liberal use of anti-Muslim propaganda.
Today, the Muslims of China number some 20 million, according to unofficial counts. The government census of 1982, however, put the number much lower, at 15 million. These Muslims represent ten distinct ethnic groups. The largest are the Chinese Hui, who comprise over half of China's Muslim population and are scattered throughout all of China. There is also a high concentration of Hui in the province of Ningsha in the north.
After the Hui, the remainder of the Muslim population belong to Turkic language groups and are racially Turks (except for the Mongol Salars and Aryan Tajiks). The Turkic group is further divided between the Uygurs, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Kirgiz, Tatars and Dongshiang. Nearly all of the Turkic Muslims are found in the western provinces of Kansu and Xinjiang. The largest of these Muslim groups are the Uygurs.
The Uygurs are most populous in the province of Xinjiang, where they make up some 60% of the total population. This relatively small percentage is due to the massive influx of non-Muslim Chinese into the province in recent times, a situation that has brought problems of assimilation and raised concerns about the de-Islamization of one of China's predominantly Muslim regions. [Muslims in Central Asia, under the USSR, were subjected to a similar population management, Russification of Central Asia;Muslims, and the Uygur in particular, suffered tremendously under the regime of Mao Zedong and his "Cultural Revolution." During the communist reign of terror, there was a violent campaign to eradicate all traces of Islam and of the ethnic identity of all non-Chinese. The Uygur language, which had for centuries used Arabic script, was forced to adopt the Latin alphabet. The Uygurs, as with most believing Muslims, were subjected to forced labour in the some 30,000 communes set up in the predominantly Muslim provinces. The Imams and akhunds were singled out for humiliating punishments and tortures....[and were forced to] tend to pig farms, which were sometimes kept in government-closed mosques.
Under the pretext of unification of national education, Islamic schools were closed and their students transferred to other schools which taught only Marxism and Maoism. Other outrages included the closing of over 29,000 mosques, the widespread torture of imams, and executions of over 360,000 Muslims.
Since the death of Mao and the end of his hard-line Marxist outlook nearly fifteen years ago, the communist government has greatly liberalized its policies toward Islam and Muslims. And despite the horrors of the Cultural Revolution, Islam has continued to thrive in China.
Today the campaign for assimilation started during the Cultural Revolution has slowed somewhat and the Turkic Muslims have greater freedom to express their cultural identity. The government has, for instance, allowed the reinstatement of the Arabic alphabet for use with the Uygur language. There is, however, continued discrimination against the Turkic Muslims by the immigrant Chinese (favored by the government) who have settled in the far western province of Xinjiang. This immigration has posed a problem as Han Chinese are migrating to Muslim areas at the rate of 200,000 a year. In many places where Muslims once were a majority, they are now a minority.
Since religious freedom was declared in 1978, the Chinese Muslims have not wasted time in expressing their convictions. There are now some 28,000 mosques in the entire People's Republic of China, with 12,000 in the province of Xinjiang. In addition, there is a large number of Imams available to lead the Muslim community (in Xinjiang alone there are over 2,800).
There has been an increased upsurge in Islamic expression in China, and many nationwide Islamic associations have been organized to coordinate inter-ethnic activities among Muslims. Islamic literature can be found quite easily and there are currently some eight different translations of the Qur'an in the Chinese language as well as translations in Uygur and the other Turkic languages. The Muslims of China have also been given almost unrestricted allowance to make the Hajj to Mecca . In 1986 there were some 2,300 Chinese Muslims at Hajj. (Compared to the 30 Soviet Muslims allowed to make the same pilgrimage, this number seems quite generous, considering that the Soviet Muslim population outnumbers China's by nearly four times).
China's Muslims have also been active in the country's internal politics. As always, the Muslims have refused to be silenced. Several large demonstrations have been staged by Muslims to protest intrusions on Muslim life. Last year, for instance, Muslims staged a massive protest rally in Beijing to demand the removal of anti-Islamic literature from China's bookstores. The Turkic [group] Muslims have also held demonstrations for a greater voice in the running of their own affairs and against the continued large-scale immigration of non-Muslims into their provinces. In the news this spring are more reports of demonstrations and struggles by Chinese Muslims to regain their rights. Insha'Allah they will be successful.
Ambassadors of Islam
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Umm Haram bint Milhan, a Sahabiya, (a companion of the Prophet) was married to Ubadah ibn as-Samit Ansari. Along with her husband she undertook several trips to foreign countries. Now her grave is in Cyprus, and is called the grave of the pious woman (Hayat As-Sahaba 1/592). The grave of Khalid ibn al-Walid, who was born in Mecca, is in Hims (Syria).
The same is the case with the majority of the Companions of the Prophet. At the time of the Prophet’s demise, his companions numbered more than one hundred thousand. However it is worth noting that if you go to Mecca and Medina you will find only a small number of graves there. The reason for this is that these companions left Arabia and spread to various countries far and beyond its borders. The majority of them breathed their last in various Asian and African countries, where their graves still exist.
Why did this happen? It was because during his last days the Prophet gathered his companions together in the mosque in Medina and addressed them in these words: God has sent me as his messenger for the entire world. So you do not differ with one another. And spread in the land and communicate my message to people inhabiting other places besides Arabia. (Seerat Ibn Hisham 4/279).
It was this injunction of the Prophet that led to the Sahaba (companions of the Prophet) settling in foreign lands. In those countries either did business or earned their living by hard work, all the while communicating to their non-Muslim compatriots the message of monotheism which they had received from the Prophet. Every one of them thus became a virtual ambassador of Islam. This resulted in Islam spreading across the globe. Its evidence can still be seen in the inhabited world of that time.
I feel history is repeating itself in modern times. New circumstances, produced in the wake of industrial revolution, have resulted in Muslims leaving their homelands to spread all over the world. Today, whichever part of the globe you visit, you will find Muslims there. Mosques and Islamic institutions have come up everywhere. Muslims have settled in these countries either for work or for business. However, in respect of their religion, their actual position is that of Islam’s representatives. It is as if each one of them is an ambassador of God. Now the need of the hour is to awaken the missionary spirit in these Muslims settled in foreign lands, so that they may effectively communicate the message of Islam-a task of universal magnitude made incumbent upon them by their new sets of circumstances.
Why Did I Embrace Islam?
By Muhammad Nazeeh Khalid
I was born in the city of Mansoorah in the Arab Republic of Egypt in an ordinary Christian family in which religion had not much significance. We did not go to Church except on festive and ceremonial occasions. As far as we were concerned, religion did not mean anything more than rites which we observed, when necessary, even though we did not understand the language in which these rites were conducted. Despite our not grasping what they meant, the rest of my family was deep in the blind fanaticism of the ignorant, who fear the loss of a thing even though they do not know its value. As for myself I never had such feelings even for a single moment. I found the services so tedious that I never sat through them to their conclusion. I was plagued by boredom and unease. I felt sure that I was not meant to be one of them. I felt a total stranger in this place full of pictures, icons and statues like the temples of the idolaters of yore. Then I turned to reading with inexhaustible greed and enthusiasm, which stimulated my faculties and sharpened my feelings.
Questions began to strike my mind like a spade striking virgin land to prepare it for the sowing of good seeds to bring forth delicious fruits. It was at this time that doubt arose within me about the religion to which I was born, violently and extensively shattering my frame of mind. My heart rejected emotionally and my mind denied logically the idea that Almighty God could appear in the tangible form of a man and come down to the earth and permit sinners to beat him, to spit on his face, and ultimately to torture and crucify him (according to the Christian claim), even if it was to exonerate them from the fault of their father Adam, as the Christians argue. As for the belief that God has three entities, this too I refused to admit as true, because God is one and only one and He has no compare. As for the doctrine of the trinity, it must ultimately lead to a division of the entity of God Himself, whose glory is far above such a misconception. Such beliefs are the fundamentals of Christianity, viz., the divinity of Jesus Christ, his crucifixion as an atonement for humanity, and the Trinity—the Father, the Son and The Holy Ghost. I banished these beliefs totally from the domain of my thinking; expelled them from my mind; and struck them off the register of my beliefs and conviction. I thus discarded all false and misleading beliefs.
They say that it is not possible to acquire sound belief through wisdom, because it is too sublime to be within the reach of the human mind. I, on my part, am fully convinced that if we use our intellect rightly, refined of the turbidity of passion and pre-conceived, ready-made ideologies, we can surely find a wealth of firm and unshakable Faith in Allah and in His supreme might and ability, before Whose dazzling signs one has no alternative but to surrender in humility and helplessness. Thus did I cross over the mountains of doubt of firm belief: the true religion of Allah which is Islam.
I studied the revealed religions as well as the non-revealed cults, like Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, etc. In some I found traces of high morals and philosophy of the sort to guide man to ideal conduct. But when it comes to formulating a definition of Allah, they go too far either by supposing many gods, each of them entrusted with the management of one specific department of the affairs of the world, or by presenting Allah in tangible form, resembling very closely the forms and shapes of earthly creatures. These gods indulge both in serious activities and in vengeful pranks, express anger, eat and drink, and generally behave as mortals do.
As for Islam, it is the religion of nature. Almighty Allah has purified it of all material and tangible forms, and raised it to the highest degree of spiritualism and purity. Islam confirms that Allah possesses, will, wisdom, discretion, knowledge and authority. According to Islam, Allah beautiful names are attributes which cannot be separated from His Being under any circumstances. It also emphasizes His oneness, which is not shared by anyone, and His existence for all eternity, as mentioned in Surah 112.
Say He is Allah the One and Only.Allah, the Absolute, the Eternal.He begot none, nor was He begotten. And no one is comparable to Him.
Thus did Islam attract me to its sublime and sacred fold—Islam the purest and most sublime of the revealed religions, unsullied by apostasy or the doctrine of incarnation.
ACCEPTANCE OF ISLAM
On the 8th of Ramadan I entered the mosque for the first time with two companions. My soul and conscience became purified in the melting pot of magnificent faith. I underwent that sweet, pleasant experience which opened to me the door of salvation. Every bit of my body pulsated with a pious soaring, high in the high heavens. Neither did I feel disgusted nor perplexed—No, never. It was the radiation of brilliant light which shone outside and inside of me which acquainted me with who I really was. Soft, soothing, melodious inner voices whispered to me that from now onwards, till the end of my life, my path was Islam. In this moment which rose high above the summits of time, I stood before Allah, the One and Only, the Almighty, the Forgiving. His most High Spirit embraced me and asked me to resign myself to His care after the period of my prolonged loss and misfortune. Immediately after concluding the prayer, I took the Holy Book at the gate of the Al-Husain mosque, and came back home imbibing enlightenment from the seas of its sacred verses and its eternal, clear wisdom by which I was thoroughly overwhelmed. This is the Book of God "about which there is no doubt.""Falsehood cannot come at it from before it or behind it." (41:32)
It shall remain preserved till the end of the world without distortion or change.
"We have without doubt, sent down the message; andWe will assuredly guard it (from corruption)." (15:9)
In plunging into this Divine, copious and flowing bounty, I uttered the two Shahdatain (testimonies) and announced my Islam to Allah. So that the firmness of my faith might flourish and its impact on me might grow strong, I began to read books and works of contemporary Muslim thinkers who command influence in the Arab and other Muslim countries, Aqqad, a famous literary figure in Egypt, being one of them.
I hope in all humbleness that Allah may accept my Islam which I have embraced heart and soul as my last refuge. I have entered the fold of Islam in love of God, and His Prophet whose status is sublime and exalted and whose personality is unique and exceptional. I have always appreciate and honored him in the past and have an unflinching belief that he is the greatest of all personalities to love an indelible mark on the annals of world history.
Tips for Da’wah
· Know what you have to convey: Make sure you have the correct knowledge about an issue or point in Islam. Practise explaining different key aspects of Islam to yourself, so that when you actually have to do the explaining, it comes easily.
· Know who you are talking to: ‘Seek first to understand and then to be understood’ is one of the ‘Seven Habits of Highly Successful People’ as detailed in Steve Covey’s book. Listen to people carefully to understand their background and what they know already. Then you will know better where to start. Once we had some Jehovah’s Witnesses round for tea. I was talking to the lady trying to prove to her that Jesus (Peace be Upon Him) never asked people to worship him…he always asked people to worship God and he himself worshipped only God etc. She was agreeing with me..later I found out that Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t worship Jesus (alaihis salaam)! A little bit of background research on my part about JWs would have been useful.
· Use terminology that people understand: Depending on if they are atheists or Christians etc, you have to use the language that will convey to them the message in the best way. Some people find religious terminology off-putting as it reminds them too much of a concept of God they have already heard of. So use words like: the ‘Creator’ or ‘the Source of Creation’ (instead of God), ‘communications from the Creator’ (for the books and scriptures that God sent), ‘extraordinary individuals who were given a message by the Creator’ (for the Prophets) etc. Be easy to talk to.
· Never underestimate the value of your contribution. Every good thing you convey, even a smile or helping someone is valuable. Think of a persons coming closer to Islam as a puzzle. Each Muslim they meet causes a piece of that puzzle to click into place until eventually they can have a whole picture. You are a piece of that puzzle.
· Chat to people in public places. Sometimes they think we can’t speak English or that we don’t want to talk to people. Open the doors to conversation and smile! (At people of the same gender of course).
· Be willing to talk to anyone. If anyone wants to talk to you, be willing to engage with them. If you don’t have time, make a date. If it is a member of the opposite sex, answer the most important questions they have but try to refer them to a brother or sister for long term da’wah.
· Be clean in your appearance. We should be clean and smart. Not showing off or trying to attract attention, but just smart.
· If someone asks you something about an issue don’t go on the defensive…sometimes people genuinely just need a full explanation and just want to understand.
· Acknowledge mistakes that Muslims make and show people that Muslims don’t always do what Islam tells them to. Tell them not to judge Islam by the actions of Muslims because Muslims are fallible and don’t always follow Islam.
· Don’t water Islam down when explaining something….say the truth and try and make it easy to understand. Allah will help you insha Allah. For example when talking about polygamy…some people say …’oh but you have to ask the first wife’s permission’….or ‘it’s better to have one wife’. Just explain it as it is and show them the benefits.
· Keep your composure at all times, don’t get angry or thrown by anything. Have tawakkul. You don’t have to address all issues there and then. If someone puts something to you that you don’t know how to explain, tell them you will get back to them on it.
· Be positive and measured in your response: be understated and in your language…not full of anger and emotion. Be confident because you know the straight path.
· Be calm and not a hothead: ‘The strong person is not the one who wrestles and wins, the strong person is the one who controls himself when he is angry.’ That is a paraphrased translation of a Hadeeth.
· Do da’wah along with another Muslim for support: if you forget something, they may remember and vice versa.
· Deconstruct the argument and appeal to common sense.
· Give gifts to people as a genuine token of good will towards them. We can even give zakah to people who are close to Islam.
· Utilize scientific evidence and statistical evidence: Back Islamic teachings up with scientific findings if possible.
· Obtain consensus as you go along. Get the persons agreement on a point before moving on. Sometimes just leave them with one point and let it sink in over time.
· Offer the Islamic solution or proposition: at some point you have to present Tawheed and Islam as the answer. Reach a balance between not being too pushy, and not too reserved in da’wah.
· If lost for words to explain something: quote a Qur’anic aayah or Hadeeth...they are the most eloquent.
· It’s sometimes easier to write a letter to someone than to talk face to face.
· You could write articles or letters to editors of newspapers.
· Have a website or blog: any sort of web presence is useful, even if it is just to stick articles up on it by other people, because if someone does a search on an aspect of Islam your blog may come up as one of the hits. Otherwise they may find some dodgy website.
· You could produce or distribute leaflets & literature about acpects of Islam. Some books like: ‘From My Sisters’ Lips’ by Na’ima B Robert, or ‘Enemy Combatant’ by Moazzam Begg explain a lot about Islam and may be suitable to give to different types of people even people who are not interested in religion.
· Radio phone-ins. You could contribute to Radio phone ins. (See the ‘Guidelines for Radio Phone-in Da’wah’ article.)
· Hold exhibitions or open days or coffee mornings. This could be at your local mosque...or even at your home for a few Muslims and non-Muslims to meet and chat.
· Arrange to visit a school and give an assembly on ‘What do you know about Islam?’.
History and Corruption of Christianity
THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY
Historical facts reveal that Jesus did not use the word Christianity. He and his followers used to worship in the temple which other Israelites used. The message of Jesus was to call people back to the religion of Abraham and Moses from which they had gone astray. After the disappearance of Jesus, Paul declared that belief in Jesus sufficed for salvation. The Jewish scholars of that time called the followers of prophet Jesus the misguided sect of Nazarene or Galilaens. In 43 C.E., when Paul and Barnabas went to Antioch to preach, they were ridiculed and were called Christians by the masses. The ones who were called Christians felt that if they are being given a name in reference to Jesus, there is nothing wrong in accepting it. A present day analogy may be the case of Muslims being called Mohammedans in the West and Muslims giving in to the name.
PAUL ALTERED THE MESSAGE
At the beginning, Paul was a staunch opponent of prophet Jesus and remained so for many years after his ascension. When he did join the followers of Jesus later on, he initiated many alterations in the teachings of Jesus in hopes of winning over the Gentiles (non-Jewish people). He introduced the following concepts into Christianity:
1. The concept of Jesus as son of God;
2. Jesus died on the cross to wash eternal sins of Adam's children through his blood; and
3. the Law of Torah was renounced. He eliminated all regulations concerning food and abrogated the injunctions of circumcision.
The real followers of Jesus opposed these blatant misrepresentations of the message of Jesus. Their struggle to reject the notion of Divinity of Jesus continued for about two hundred years. Since these alterations were very appealing to the Gentiles, the true believers were unable to stop the misguidance.
In 325 C.E., a council of Christian leaders met at Nicaea and officiated Paul's beliefs as their religion. Roman Empire declared Paul's religion as the religion of the State and all those books which denied these beliefs were banned. In 367 C.E., the State announced a list of books acceptable to it and fifteen years later, a council held under the presidency of Pope Damasius gave its approval to these books. At the end of the fifth century, Pope Galasius published a list of unauthorized books (Apocryphal) to further conform with Paul's religion of Christianity.
All this basically proves that Hazart Isa(as)'s teachings have been corrupted and changed since it does not resemble what he(as) preached. Which was the belief in the All-Mighty and that He is the one with no partners. Also his job was to come and reform the Israelites and not to form a new religion as these people have done. Hazart Isa(as) himself states that he came not to change anything but to reinforce the previous teachings, so as to reform or change the Israelites way.
He, Whose is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and Who did NOT take to Himself a SON, and Who has no associate in the kingdom, and Who created everything, then ordained for it a measure.(25:2)
Say: He, Allah, is One. Allah is He on Whom all depend. He begets not, nor is He begotten. And none is like Him.(112:1-4)
Some Tips on Da'wah
First off, make sure you have both ikhlaas and i'tibaa - sincerity in intention and correction of action. Is your intention truly to bring this person closer to the truth? Or is it to prove him wrong? Or to show off your oratory skills? Make sure your intention is solely for the pleasure of Allah. To bring this person closer to the truth and to guide him to the deen of Allah, al-Islam. And make sure you are performing this Da'wah in the correct manner, at the proper place and time.
Know what you're talking about. Make sure you have a sound, deep knowledge of what you say. Remember that Rasulullah, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, promised a seat in the Hell fire for whoever says a lie about him. Make sure what you say is absolutely correct. Be honest if you don't know. If you do not have a solid knowledge of what you are saying, your contribution may be negative instead of positive.
- Have complete faith in what you're saying with no doubt. It is said that what comes from the mouth goes to the ear, but what comes from the heart goes to the heart. The Arabic saying goes, if you do not have it, you cannot give it. If you don't truly believe something, you can't get someone else to. Your sincerity and certainty in your faith plays a large part in your successfulness at Da'wah.
- Practice what you preach. The best Da'wah is by way of example. Don't discuss the importance of truth and honesty in Islam when you lie and cheat constantly. Make sure your actions express the beautiful beliefs and commands of Islam. Hypocricy turns people away.
- Don't compromise Islam or it's beliefs. Don't feel the need to hedge around the truth because it will turn people away. Can men have four wives? Why can't we date? Why don't we accept homosexuality? Don't be apologetic about certain aspects of Islam. Explain it in a way people can understand, but don't change it or act like it's incorrect or archaic.
- Do not become angry. Don't let people effect you or cause you to change your conduct. Have adab always. If someone refuses to hear you out, walk away. Don't sink to their level. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says what means in the Quran, "Hold to forgiveness; command what is right; but turn away from the ignorant". He subhanahu wa ta'ala also says what means, "And when they hear vain talk, they turn away therefrom and say: 'To us our deeds, and to you yours; peace be to you: we seek not the ignorant.' It is true thou wilt not be able to guide every one whom thou lovest; but Allah guides those whom He will and He knows best those who receive guidance." Don't waste your time or energy with those who refuse to listen.
- Use proper functions. Go to interfaith programs and open discussions.
- Stay away from missionaries. This cannot be emphasized enough. Their goal is to take your faith apart and cause you to doubt. Leave the missionaries to those who are trained to deal with them. Missionaries have been trained to seem friendly and willing to learn on the outside, when their sole goal and objective is to cause you to reject Islam. Do not talk to missionaries. Do not open a discussion of Islam with them. Do not visit their sites. Do not waste your time with them. Your time can be used in a much more beneficial way than trying to argue with someone who has been trained to cause you to doubt.
- Don't insult the other person's faith. No matter how tempting it would be to talk about the errors and inconsistencies in other people's beliefs, don't do it. It offends people, and will possibly give them a bad impression of Islam. Talk about how Islam is different, and in that perhaps exposing the other belief's errors, but do not openly insult another person's faith. Be respectful. A daawah horror story: a Muslim was speaking at a local high school, and began his speech with: "You're all going to Hell." With that, he lost his whole audience before he even started his speech.
- Discuss what makes Islam beautiful to you. Da'wah doesn't have to mean repeating the five pillars. Sometimes we are so busy discussing the pillars of Islam we forget the actual building itself. Islam plays a part in every aspect of our lives. Talk about how it plays a role in how you sleep, how you dress, how you speak, how you marry, how you deal with animals, parents, elders, children, the opposite sex. Talk about Islam's respect for women, the concepts of purity or modesty, it's call to reflect and think about the world around us. I know that one brother became Muslim in part because of Islam's respect and honour for nature. Islam is a Deen, a whole way of life. Go into more detail then the 9th grade social studies text book.
And lastly, have sabr. Your job is not to convert people - it is not an obligation in Islam to make a certain amount of people Muslim. But it is your obligation to call people to Islam, to distinguish between right and wrong. Who is guided and who is not, however, is solely up to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala.
And Allah, the Guide, knows best.
Police Personnel Embrace Islam
By Hj Minor Absah
Bandar Seri Begawan - A police personnel yesterday embraced Islam at a conversion ceremony held at the RBPF headquarters' surau in Gadong.
APO 6651 Stoney Anak Jumat who has been with the police force since July last year is now known as Muhammad Shahrizan bin Abdullah Jumat.
Present at the conversion ceremony was the Commissioner of Police, Pehin Dato Kerma Setia CP Dato Paduka Seri Zainuddin bin Jalani.
Muhammad Shahrizan took the oath in front of an officer from Islamic Dakwah Centre. Also witnessing the ceremony were senior police officers, friends and family members of Muhammad Shahrizan. -- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin
WHY A DEVOUT CATHOLIC DECIDED TO BECOME A MUSLIM
24 April 2008
Believing in God, or Allah, requires individual strength and faith in the increasingly secular society in which we live. So what could inspire somebody to change from one religion to another? As police hold Bristol Muslim convert Andrew Ibrahim for suspected terrorism involvement, reporter JACK HUNTER spoke to a Bristol student who left his devout Catholic beliefs behind to become a Muslim.
For most Christians the thought of converting to Islam is almost taboo. Children are raised on tales of Richard the Lionheart and his noble knights crusading to rid the Holy Land of unbelievers.
Then there is the widespread news coverage about Islamic terrorism at home and abroad.
But one Bristol student stunned his dyed-in-the-wool Christian family by announcing his intention to become Muslim.
Mohammed Hakeem, 28, knew it would be difficult for his family to accept his conversion.
Mr Hakeem, formerly Belizaire, is from a committed church-going family who observe Lent and other Christian holidays with devotion.
He was baptised Roman Catholic and attended Catholic schools in Bath.
But the death of his mother in 2003, at the age of 42, revealed cracks in his belief which ultimately led him to embrace Islam.
After years of consideration, while he worked in recruitment and sales in various firms in Bristol, Mohammed converted in September 2007.
He said: "I lost faith in school having religion and science classes back to back.
"I'm logically minded and some of the so-called miracles Jesus performed just didn't make sense to me.
"When my mum passed away, my faith was shaken.
"I always believed everything happened for a reason and couldn't understand why someone so good and so young was taken.
"When I was feeling lost and confused by my religious education, I found that Islam made sense to me.
"It gave me a concrete feeling in the existence of God and an afterlife, which helped me deal with the loss of my mother."
His brother Lewis, now Yusuf, had converted 19 months earlier, a move that had a major influence on Mohammed's decision.
He said he watched his brother, who attended the Catholic St Brendan's Sixth Form College in Brislington, grow in conviction and happiness and after some deep thinking took the leap from one faith to another.
He announced his intentions at the St Mark's Road Mosque, familiar to so many from its dome which can be seen from the M32.
Mohammed said: "I was nervous, but as soon as I went in I was openly welcomed by the imam and some young people.
"They asked about my reasons for wanting to convert.
"It's difficult to describe the feeling when you go through with it and say the Shadadah, the vow of belief in God and Mohammed as the prophet of God.
"It's a wonderful sensation.
"It's a feeling of spiritual clarity rather than feeling lost and forsaken."
If he is not praying in St Mark's Road, Mohammed worships at home or in a prayer room at the University of the West of England, where the first-year student is studying business and is a member of the university business club and Islamic association.
He said he was surprised to find how similar the Catholic and Muslim faiths were, not least the fact that Jesus is a part of Islam, which considers him an important prophet.
Both faiths worship one God, too.
Mohammed became a model Muslim, praying daily, learning Arabic, giving generously to charity and renouncing pork and alcohol.
Although he does not wear traditional dress all the time, Mohammed sometimes wears a formal kafnee suit and flat-topped crocheted topi hat for prayers.
Mohammed - who does not want his former Christian name to be known - chose his new first name out of respect for the prophet, and Hakeem because it means wise.
He said: "It's not compulsory to change names, but being around the Muslim community, when someone asks you your name and you give an English name, it doesn't feel appropriate.
"I almost feel awkward and embarrassed because it wasn't an Islamic name.
"Becoming a Muslim certainly has had an influence on my identity in that respect."
As a Muslim, he says the portrayal of Islam since the September 11 terrorist attack in New York and Washington angers him.
He said: "I despise the negative portrayal of the Muslim community in parts of the media.
"Watching the martyrdom videos of the suspects of 7/7, they explained why they were doing it.
"I condemn their actions. Taking life is against the faith.
"However, their reasons - about British foreign policy and the killing of innocent Muslims every day - has to be understood rather than people being too quick to judge the entire Muslim race based on the actions of a few individuals.
"I've heard tales of people receiving aggro because of their religion, but personally I haven't been targeted.
"I've met quite a few converts who come from different backgrounds.
"All were very peaceful and happy individuals.
"I was surprised to hear about all that has been going on in Westbury-on-Trym because these things tend to happen elsewhere."
Mohammed's brother, who is now 19, took the name Yusuf after he converted but, unlike his brother, has retained his surname.
He chose Yusuf because it is a name his family could pronounce.
Yusuf is a law student in London and said his family were shocked when he announced he would be converting to Islam.
But he said it was easy to convert and that he was warmly welcomed by the Muslim community.
He said: "My grandmother thought I was moving away from God.
"But I sent her a copy of the Koran and she read through it.
"Over Christmas, she helped me find which direction to pray.
"Because I was so worried my conversion would create a divide, I waited almost a year to make sure I wasn't being influenced or caught up in something new and interesting.
"In January 2006 I felt I'd waited as long as I could.
"The conversion was a lot simpler than I thought.
"I went to Bristol Central Mosque as people were leaving after Friday prayers and went to the front to announce my intentions.
"They were all quite shocked.
"All of a sudden half the people came and sat down in front of me and looked at me with such love on their faces.
"They asked if I had read up on it, and was I sure nobody had put me up to it.
"They wanted to be sure that I was the real deal.
"I took the Shahadah.
"I was repeating the lines of Arabic spoken to me, but I had practised as much as I could and I knew the meaning behind the words.
"Then that was it.
"They all came and gave me hugs, spoke to me and invited me to their homes for meals and one gave me a lift home.
"It was the best feeling of my life. I couldn't stop smiling.
"It was only a couple of lines, but in my heart I felt like something big had happened.
"I could then actually start my journey and become a Muslim."
Yusuf said he likes to mix new and old, wearing a hoodie and polo shirt he bought online bearing the name Allah in Arabic, rather than the more traditional dress.
He keeps a library of about 100 religious books and is planning to take a pilgrimage soon, one of the key responsibilities all Muslims must undertake at least once in their lifetime.
Yusuf said he felt complete again with his new faith, but was not prepared for the reaction it would provoke in strangers.
He said: "I've never been used to any form of prejudice and suddenly getting it put me in other people's shoes.
"A lot of times people don't know how to take it when I tell them I'm a Muslim convert.
"Terrorism is the first thing that comes into their minds.
"They are thinking 'please tell me you're not one of them'.
"You get used to it. I can totally understand where they are coming from because I was there.
"But when I get the chance to speak to them, 90 per cent want to know more about Islam.
"Islam just seemed to suit me. I never went out much, going to bars and clubs, and I wasn't a ladies' man.
"My friends would joke about me not going out, but it seemed to suit my lifestyle."
Just as it may seem strange to Christians to learn of one of their own choosing a new faith, so it surprised some Bristol Muslims, too.
Yusuf said: "I often get a few looks during prayers.
"They aren't bad looks, but intrigued 'wow, there's a white person' looks.
"I was told that the general view is that when you convert from other religions you are generally seen as more devoted because you've done it out of choice."
Yusuf said that he has not met Andrew Ibrahim, the suspect being held by police in Bristol under the Terrorism Act.
"It's a relatively close-knit society in Bristol, so you generally know everyone," he said.
"I would have thought that I'd have seen him, but I haven't heard much about him.
"In Bristol I've always been looking for any of this happening so I can tell the police about it.
"Some people sometimes say 'come to this house, there's going to be a talk' and I would wonder.
"But when I went it was a perfectly innocent meeting.
"I've never come across anything negative."
His progress impressed his mentor Mohammed Chowdhury, chairman of Bristol Central Mosque in Easton.
Mr Chowdhury said: "Yusuf is studying with my daughter in London, so he's like a child to me.
"My younger son calls him brother.
"He's a good Muslim in all sorts of ways.
"He's praying and doing his duty and integrating into society very well.
"The reaction of other Muslims is simple - they accept him as a brother.
"When he converted, people at the mosque were amazed and interested and wanted to welcome him.
"But it's not unusual for someone to convert.
"Hundreds of people are converting to Islam.
"If anyone comes to me showing their willingness, I will help them."
What should I teach a person who has just embraced Islaam?
The following is a guideline on what to teach a person who has just accepted Islaam?