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Islam and Spiritualism

When they claimed that they were prophets sent down by God and that they were ordained to tell people not to worship false gods, they would be surprised as to how one who ate like men and wandered about in the market place be a prophet. They wondered if they were prophets sent by God why angels did not accompany them or why their appearance was not different from ordinary persons.....

Prayer Is Better Than Sleep
Idris Tawfiq
Prayer Is Better Than Sleep
Idris Tawfiq

Praying five times a day is at the heart of Islam. It is one of the things that distinguish a Muslim from everyone else in the world; that all the activities of life can be made significant by the cycle of prayer and praise which we offer to Almighty Allah. So why, then, do we have such a problem being faithful to prayer?....

Baba Farid composed meditation prayers in Punjabi for his disciples, many of which are still recited by his devotees. His verses had a deep impact on Guru Nanak. The Guru Granth Sahab, the Sikh Holy Scripture, contain 134 verses of Baba Farid....

 
The Collection of Qur’anic Verses into a Book Form: Prevailing Perceptions and Reality
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam
The Collection of Qur’anic Verses into a Book Form: Prevailing Perceptions and Reality
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

We Muslims need to take a hard look at the common perception about the collection of the holy Qur’an. It is generally believed that the Qur’an had not been duly compiled and shaped into a book in the prophetic era and that it was finally done later during the caliphate of the Prophet’s beloved companion, Hazrat Usman (r.a). The commonly believed story goes like this.  All the materials like parchments and shoulder bones of animals which carried different portions of the holy Qur’an were scattered in different places. The work of collecting them meticulously with collective testimony started in the lifetime of the first Caliph of Islam, Hazrat Abu Bakr (r.a.). But the Quran we read today was finally canonised in the time of the third Caliph Hazrat Usman (r.a) who then ordered the burning of all personal copies of the Qur'an. Though this story is entirely based on traditions, all reported through Ibn-e-Shihab Zuhri (r.a), I find it difficult to believe. For it contradicts what the holy Qur’an clearly speaks about itself.....

We need Istighfar to constantly purify and cleanse our heart. We are not born in sin, but we are born in weakness. We are prone to fall prey to the many temptations that are part of our test in this life. And when we do fall and commit a sin, it produces a dark spot in our heart. A famous Hadith, reported by Abu Huraira (RA), describes this process. When a person shows remorse and repents, that dark spot is removed. Otherwise it will stay there and grow with each additional sin....

 

The Islamic call to worship, known as Azaan and recited by the muezzin at prescribed times, had not been obligated in Makkah, as Makkan Muslims were a very small minority and hence they used to offer their prayers in secret places fearing the pagans of the Quraish. It was, then, impossible to openly announce the timings of the Islamic prayers to Muslims......

 

In Mecca, there were only two Rak’ats (cycles) in the Islamic prayers for both types of worshippers i.e. Muqeem (residents) and Musafir (travellers). But when the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) migrated to Medina and spent a complete month in it, two more Rak’ats were added to the prayers of the resident worshippers in the Islamic month of Rabi-ul-Sani. Hence, they were named “Salat-ul-Hazr” meaning the prayer of the residents. …..

Some Qur’an exegetes have referred to the Fajr as the middle prayer, while some others have referred to the prayer of Isha (the night prayer). Some declared the Jumu’ah as the middle of the prayers (4), while others have stated that it is “the collective prayer” or “Salat-ul-Khauf”. This contention went to the extent that even the prayers of Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Azha and Witr have also been declared as the middle prayer by some or the other commentators of the holy Quran......

Rationality in Islam
Dr A Q Khan
Rationality in Islam
Dr A Q Khan

In Islam, all actions are supposed to be based on reason, logic and consideration of the feelings of others. This is derived from clear and emphatic instructions in the Quran (17:89). In the west, rationalism came in the wake of a massive social and cultural movement in the religious establishment, thus invoking reason as an alternative to religious precepts. This came about because the church had established absolute domination over society and had chained human thought and conduct to arbitrary clerical authority in the name of God. ....

Extremism in any form, of anything, in brief is an abnormal human behaviour, which is far from reasonable, or acceptable in a civilized society. Being too liberal or too harsh in understanding Islam is also an exercise in extremism, which is again not in line with normative Islam. Either of the approaches hence greatly hurts the image of Islam in its own way.....

 

First, the overwhelming majority of people who believe that their religion is supreme are tolerant, respect the beliefs of others, and happily co-exist with them. Second, fanatics show intolerance not only to those who embrace other religions, but also to believers who share their faith but whom they do not see as good believers. Clearly, intolerance here is the result of one seeing themselves better than other believers of the same faith. Third, fanaticism does not express itself in one’s relationship with God, but in one’s relationship with other people....

What I have mentioned earlier is that the Islamic prayer, initially, consisted of two Rak’ats (cycles) until the Salat-ul-Isra was revealed. This is a unanimous opinion based on the consensus of Ulema. As regards the reports telling that all the daily prayers were ordained on the very first day of divine revelation, they starkly contradict with the unanimous statement of Ulema who hold that the prayers were ordained during the event of Isra. Also, they do not corroborate the report that two prayers i.e. the dawn prayer (Fajr) and the evening prayer (Asr, which is also known as Salat-ul-Asha) were being performed before the event of Isra ....

 

Based on the books of Sirah and the Qur'anic exegeses, Islamic scholars conducted their researches and concluded that the five daily prayers were enjoined upon Muslims several years after the first Qur'anic verse was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Moreover, they have established that the Prophet PBUH would offer the Tahajjud prayer and engage in other night prayers before he proclaimed his prophethood. Hazrat Ibn Abbas narrates that the night prayers were mandatory for the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his Ummah at the advent of Islam. They continued with this practice for one or ten years until it was abrogated by the commandment of the five daily obligatory prayers....

 

Islam is the final religion and the Prophet Muḥammad   the final prophet and messenger.  Other prophets had miracles that they performed.  Moses parted the sea; Jesus raised the dead.  But those miracles were for those who were there to witness them.  Sure, we can try to imagine them, but unless you were there it's not the same.  That is more proof that it was meant specifically for their people.  While the Prophet Muḥammad   did perform some miracles, his most important miracle is the Qurʾān. ….

 

The Qur'anic exegeses point to the fact that the Prophet Muhammad PBUH used to offer Namaz (Salah) before people in the earliest three years of his prophethood, that too at the most manifest place of Mecca, known as “Muqam”. This is what outraged one of the chieftains of Quraish, Abu Jahal Bin Hisham, who threatened him for that. It implies that this verse had been revealed shortly after the revelation of the first verses of the Surah Iqra. It was at the time when the Prophet Muhammad PBUH and Abu Jahal came at odds with each other, as the Quraish could not tolerate the Prophet’s praying to a God whom they did not pray or believe, particularly at the place of Muqam. So, Abu Jahal attempted to stop the Prophet PBUH from offering his prayer....

... the commandment of Namaz (Salat) in Islam did not come at once, but it was revealed gradually, first in Mecca and then in Medina. Thus, It was completed after the Prophet (peace be upon him) migrated to Medina. We also get to know that the Prophet’s prayers consisted of only two Rak’ats when he was in Mecca, but they increased in number when he migrated to Medina. Moreover, prayers were categorized into Salat ul Muqeem (non-traveller’s prayer) and Salat ul Musafir (traveller’s prayer). In addition, some more prayers were introduced in Medina whereas they were never offered in Mecca. All this happened because of the nature of the Prophethood that attained its perfection after the Prophet’s migration to Medina. Since Namaz is one of the main pillars of Islam, its edicts progressed with the evolution of Islam…..

At the Alameda County Fairgrounds there were several non-Muslims who also attended and joined in the prayer for rain – including a man with a dog, who also was sitting in the last row of the men’s prayer lines. So perhaps God accepted the dog’s prayer? All joking aside, in our Dua (supplication), we ask God to give water to the plants and animals and ask God not to punish them as well as the innocent children for our sins…..

Humility and its Virtues
Abu Usama Ath-Thahabi

One of the clearest examples of his humility is that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) would sit in the Masjid with his companions and if a stranger or visitor came to the Masjid he wouldn’t know who the Prophet was until he asked, “Which one of you is Muhammad?” This is because he would not sit, dress, or be treated in a way that distinguished him from the people….

The Holy Book has termed this technique Sabr or patience. Invariably, God expects human beings not to be impatient. When faced with turmoil and pain, He insists that we should seek help from prayer and patience. As it is mentioned in the Quran, the Almighty is with those who hold on to the practice of patience. Those who practice Sabr become satisfied. Patience can be of multiple types....

Experience of the Presence of God
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Experience of the Presence of God
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

The greatest achievement for someone in this world is to begin seeing God, to feel the presence of God near him. If he is truly alive, he will see the light of God in the brilliant rays of the sun. He will discern reflections of God in the verdant trees. He will experience the touch of God in the softness of the breeze....

Two Examples of Forgiveness
Khalid Zaheer
Two Examples of Forgiveness
Khalid Zaheer

Magnanimity, which includes forgiving others, ranks at the very top of all human virtues. If you are magnanimous, you are one of the very best of humans, no matter what your worldly status is. If you are someone who carries grudges in his heart against others, you are a very ordinary person, no matter how seemingly virtuous your deeds are. All prophets were magnanimous. We Muslims take pride in mentioning the magnanimity of our prophet, and rightly so....

 
Sufi Saints of Bihar
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam
Sufi Saints of Bihar
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

‘Sufism’ comes from the Arabic word ‘Safa’, which means “purity”. The other meaning, which is derived from the term ‘Suf’, means “wool”, indicating lack of extravagance and signifying simplicity. In short a Sufi is one who lives a simple life and has purity of faith.....

In one of his recent speeches. Mr. Sultan Shahin, the founder editor of New Age Islam, triggered a thought-provoking and brainstorming process: “ ... It is very important for us to study what the Prophet did before he was chosen by God to be his messenger. We don't know much but what we do tells us that he spent hours and days in mediation… " ... This question is no doubt of paramount importance at a time when Islam is being turned into a political, extremist, exclusivist, totalitarian and fascist ideology. I would earnestly want the readers to seriously ponder over the question, particularly on the Prophet Muhammad’s birth day, so that they may find a creditable retort to the extremist interpretation of Islam by the people who peddle hate, intolerance, exclusivisim and fascism, in the name of Islam. Therefore, we should consider this point very carefully.

Though the practice celebrated by God Almighty and the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) has been an apple of discord among Muslims in the last few decades, the mainstream Muslim intellectuals, Jurists (Fuqaha) and scholars over time have come to celebrate it as part of the mental and emotional furniture of Muslim community. The birthday commemoration of the prophet, particularly among the Sufi orders worldwide, is not a departure from the mainstream but a living testimony that the contemporary Muslims are still faithful to the Qur'anic injunction:

“Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace”. [33: 56] 

Islam is based on the foundation of mysticism, total trustworthiness of the Prophet and his social activism, fight against oppression and exploitation, said Sultan Shahin, founder and editor of the multilingual Islamic website NewAgeIslam.com, addressing a mixed gathering of intellectuals, activists and youths in Pune, Maharashtra. The session was chaired by Syed Bhai, president of Muslim Satyashodhak Samaj, Pune. The founder of the Society Mr. Dnyaneshwar Mulay is at present Consul General of India, New York and was earlier India's High Commissioner in Maldives.

People who peddle hate and intolerance, exclusivisim and fascism, in the name of Islam, should study the character of the Prophet (saw), his early life as much as his career as a prophet, said Mr. Shahin. He went on: " It is very important for us to study what did the Prophet do before he was chosen by God to be his messenger. We don't know much but what we do tells us that he spent hours and days in mediation, in the way of our Sufis and Rishis, was considered a man of impeccable honesty by the people of Mecca including later his enemies and ran what today would be called a human rights NGO, called The Alliance of the Virtuous, fighting oppression, protecting the weak."

Mr. Shahin continued: "The mystic meditations of the prophet in the cave of Hira (Ghar-e-Hira) for weeks at a stretch are well known, and so are his personality traits like honesty and total trustworthiness, for which the Meccans had named him al-Ameen (The Trustworthy). But perhaps not many know about his social activism and his fond memories and moving descriptions of these activities during his days as prophet. The Prophet and his allies in the organisation were active in search of justice for all, particularly the wayfarers, traders from foreign soil who had been wronged by Meccans and other oppressed and exploited. "  

"This group of Meccan activists The Alliance of the Virtuous," explained Mr. Shahin, "had been formed by the prophet's uncles Zubair and Abu Talib, in his presence, in a meeting at the house of Abd Allah ibn Judan. The circumstances in which this Alliance  was formed and the purpose behind it are quite instructive. South African author  Farid Esack quotes a narration by Ibn S'ad (1967,1, p., 144) to tell this fascinating story of pre-Islamic Mecca. ....

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