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Islam and Spiritualism

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. ....

One of the matters that different religions have greatly stressed is number and timings of prayers. The scheduled times of obligatory prayers are of utmost importance, as only those prayers are accepted which are offered within a certain span of time specially meant for them. That’s precisely why prayers have been deeply linked with their scheduled times right from their inception. Most of the religions have scheduled times of prayers at sunset and sunrise.  In ancient times, people merely looked at the sun to determine the various times of day for prayer. This was partly because they were unable to make out the time and partly because they showed great veneration to the sun, the moon and the stars, as they are the most prominent celestial bodies that appear and disappear every day and night…..

 

Leading prayer congregations is not a profession or hereditary status in Islam. It is rather left to the discretion of the worshippers. They can select whosoever they want to be their Imam. But just after an Imam finishes the prayer, his Imamat (leadership) too ends with it. It is not allowed for an Imam to demand any sum of remuneration for his religious services, because being an Imam is completely voluntary and temporary in Islam. This is the reason that any sane and religiously knowledgeable person can lead the prayer in congregation…….

The adherents of the primitive religions aimed at obtaining their goals and realizing their dreams when in prayer. They did not offer prayers only to express devotion and gratitude to God’s grace and attributes, they, rather, focused on achieving their selfish desires. For they strongly believed that their prayers would earn them benefit or cause harm to them, therefore, they would pray abundantly whenever any catastrophic or miserable situation fell upon them, hoping that doing that would please God and earn His favour. Most of the faiths have divided their prayers into obligatory and non-obligatory. Obligatory prayers have to be performed for God, as He has enjoined them upon His servants. As for non-obligatory prayers, they are virtuous and commendable but not compulsory. Therefore, a person who leaves them does not deserve God’s punishment. Such prayers are performed by those who wish to attain close personal relationship with God……

THE Noble Qur’an is the eternal miracle of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), because all the miracles of the prophets (peace be upon them) ended with their death, except our Prophet (peace be upon him), whose miracle is still preserved. This everlasting miracle is the Book of Allah and His revealed speech that “Falsehood cannot approach it from before it or from behind it.” (Qur’an, 41:42) Allah the Almighty confirms this fact, when He says: • “And if any one of the polytheists seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the Words of Allah.” (Qur’an, 9:6)…..

 

Being tolerant of difference, and not being influenced by cultural, racial or religious prejudices, I do believe that a good Muslim should always be a just Muslim, especially toward non-Muslims. For example, one of the most controversial issues surrounding current day Muslim and Jewish relations revolves around how to deal with the horrific Holocaust; the large scale Nazi destruction of millions of innocent lives….

His mercy and compassion was so great that on more than one occasion, God, Himself, reprimanded him for it. One of the greatest opponents of Islam and a personal enemy, was Abdullah bin Ubayy, the leader of the hypocrites of Madinah. Outwardly proclaiming Islam, he surreptitiously inflicted great harm to the Muslims and the mission of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Knowing his state of affairs, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) still offered the funeral prayer for him and prayed to God for his forgiveness…..

The Head of the Sufi Saints Sheikh Abdul Quadir Jilani and the Contemporary Relevance of His Discourses
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam
The Head of the Sufi Saints Sheikh Abdul Quadir Jilani and the Contemporary Relevance of His Discourses
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

Scores of Sufi-minded Muslims the world over subscribe to his Tariqah (Sufi order) mainly in Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia and, of course, India. In his time, people of great positions including rulers and governors of states figured among his disciples venerating him as the pioneer of the noble Islamic mysticism.  Being a great Sufi saint, Islamic theologian, earnest preacher, Sheikh Abdul Quadir (r.a) was a veteran and well-versed mystical writer. He wrote and spoke quite a lot. Some of his major mystical works that have been serving the humanity as a great source of spiritual inspiration down the ages.....

Islamic prayer is a phenomenon of a Human’s relationship with God. The chief purpose of Namaz or Salat in Islam is to act as a person's communication with and remembrance of God. It is an integral part of the essential Islamic duties that has to be carried out either in person or in congregation. It is a form of gratitude to God for His divine blessings as well as a supplication to Him asking for the fulfilment of one’s yearnings and wishes 1. Therefore, there are two basic elements in the Namaz or Salah: (1) Giving reverence, praises, thanks and gratitude to God and (2) asking for His divine blessings believing that He is the giver to all the needy. Namaz or Salah is one of the prayers that existed, in one form or the other, in almost all previous Shariats (revealed religious laws)......

Allah himself answers this question in the Qur’an: “Had the Qur’an been from other than Allah, they would have found in it many contradictions.” Part of our criterion for determining authenticity is that the Book should not contain contradictions and it should not conflict with established scientific fact. We have today those Books which people claim are from Allah. (i.e., the Torah, Bible, Qur’an, etc) Our focus here is not to test each book and discover its mistakes….

In the words of renowned exegete of the Quran Abdullah Yusuf Ali, delivered at a Muharram Majlis in London in 1931, Imam Husain’s “blameless and irreproachable life was in itself a reproach to those who had other standards. They sought to silence him, but he could not be silenced”......

EVERY language has one or more terms that are used in reference to God and sometimes to lesser deities. This is not the case with the term ‘Allah,’ which is the specific name of the one true God. Nothing else can be called Allah. The term has no plural or gender. This shows its uniqueness when compared with the word ‘god,’ which can be made plural, as in ‘gods,’ or made feminine, as in ‘goddess.’ It is interesting to notice that the name ‘Allah’ is referred to in Aramaic, the language of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) and a sister language of Arabic….

The present world has been created for a limited period of time. After the completion of this period, all the human beings born in this world will be presented before God. According to the records prepared by the angels, God will decide the future of every man. Those men and women whose records show that they lived in the world with nobility of character, and used their freedom according to God’s will, thus proving that they were fit to be lodged in the environs of paradise, will be selected to inhabit the Gardens of Paradise. And all those who failed to demonstrate nobility of character will be rejected and sent to the universal dustbin…

 

Failures, mistakes, losses, wound and pain always have a lesson for us to learn and hold the key to right destination, triumph and success. One of the most important lessons is to think seriously, live responsibly and work properly, on common lines if working with others, for the right purpose, good reason and just cause…..

 

Muslims down the generation and to this day recite it particularly during the travails of life seeking divine assistance to a way out of the peril befalling their lives. Thus, Muslim students from traditional families going to take an exam or patients waiting to be taken to the OT for an operation recite it unceasingly, while a calligraphic inscription of the invocation hangs in the walls of millions of Muslim homes.....

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Invitation from God
Sadia Dehlvi
Invitation from God
Sadia Dehlvi

In this month of Zilhijj, the 12th and last month of the Islamic calendar, millions of people from different nationalities would have performed the Haj pilgrimage. Haj is an invitation from God to liberate the soul by submission to Him alone. Haj, one of the five pillars of Islam, literally means, “To set out for a higher destination”....

Similar to some New Age beliefs, water could have a 'healing power', such the water from the well of Zamzam in Makkah, which the Prophet said about: "The Angel Gabriel once descended through the ceiling of my house when I was in Makkah and washed the inside of my chest with Zamzam water and then poured faith and wisdom in it …"….

 

For example Jesus spoke Aramaic but there is no original manuscript found which Jesus spoke till date, what we have is the translations. The Christian world boasts of twenty-four thousand manuscripts of the Bible but no two are identical. The Old Testament was originally in Hebrew and the New Testament was in Greek and in parts Aramaic; however we don’t have the original Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament…..

Now this might sound strange to our Jewish or Christian or even Hindu brothers. I have never heard of anyone having memorized the entire Bible from A to Z, word for word. Even if we take into account of the Vedic literature, the four Vedas: Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Athar Veda, I have not heard of anyone who has memorized all or even one Veda. There are claims made about many people memorizing them but it is not the truth. Some people have memorized quite a major chunk of the Sama Veda (as it is the most musical) but never from A to Z....

What do you mean by Word of Allah? Do you mean it has to be specifically in a title of a book given in the scriptures? The word Bible was not uttered by any of the Prophet. The word Bible is not in the Bible. When we speak about the Word of Allah, we mean His revelation, His guidance. That guidance can come and did come from one prophet and then elaborated or repeated to another prophet. So when we speak about the Quran as the last preserved Word of Allah and revelation, it is the Word of Allah preserved!...

The Greater Jihad
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
The Greater Jihad
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

According to a Hadith report, one’s faith increases and decreases. To save one’s faith from erosion itself requires a continuous jihad. Living along with other people, one is repeatedly attacked by negative feelings or emotions, such as anger, jealousy, revenge, pride, ingratitude, greed and so on. These negative emotions constantly threaten to weaken or decrease one’s faith. ….

 

One of the first steps on the path to Allah Most High is to ensure that we seek forgiveness from those wrong actions we have committed in the past. Each time we sin, disobeying Allah or leaving one of his commandments, we add a layer of spiritual filth onto our hearts. The result of this is that when we try to perform Dhikr and other acts of worship, we cannot fully experience them, because that filth becomes a block between the reality of that act, and its receptor in the body, which is the heart….

 
Sarmad: The Fearless Sufi
Sadia Dehlvi
Sarmad: The Fearless Sufi
Sadia Dehlvi

An Armenian Jew, Sarmad embraced Islam and changed his name to Mohammed Said. A trader from Persia, Sarmad arrived in Delhi in 1654. He stayed with Khwaja Syed Abul Qasim Hare Bhare, a Qadri Sufi, and became his disciple. Prince Dara Shikoh was amongst the devotees of Sarmad….

 
Violence Is Not an Option
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Violence Is Not an Option
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

“Don’t wish for confrontation with the enemy. Always ask for peace from God.” It means that violence and war are not options. You must try to establish peace at any cost. The only exception is when you are pushed to war compulsorily and out of compulsion, for a temporary period. ...

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