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Islam and Spiritualism

Despite all bombings and threats, a large number of people still visit sufi shrines and participate in sufi festivals that shows the love of the people towards the moderate form of Islam as sufis have played a great role to spread the message of love, peace and tolerance in the subcontinent and Central Asia using no swords at all. Their way of preaching and convincing was quite different from the sharp-edged Islam of the Middle East. -- Ahmad Shah Azami

Many Umrah pilgrims repeat the journey every year as a spiritual tonic for their Imaan and perseverance in acts of devotion to Allah. The hearts of such people, as those of billions of Muslims around the world, perpetually yearn towards the Ka’bah, desiring the reward of hajj with the Messenger of Allah (SAW) as he said Umrah in Ramadan is like performing hajj with him; they make savings from legitimate earnings spanning the period between this to another Ramadan for the purposes of the annual trip. Our sisters and mothers have proved themselves to be more dedicated to ibaadah in the Holy Land than some of their male counterparts. You see them never weary in performing Tawaaf, Taraaweeh and Tahajjud. -- Abubakar Sadeeq

THE word zikr has been used innumerable times in the Quran with various meanings. It can mean remembrance, or remembering God through the recitation or repetition of one or more of His names, or some verses or parts of the Quran, or through praying for blessings on the Prophet (PBUH). Salat or formal prayer has also been referred to as zikr. Zikr also means `sincere advice`, (3:58), both when it is given and followed. Each zikr has its own beneficial effect. The negative energy of Satan`s actions and efforts are also countered by the positive energy of zikr. -- Nilofar Ahmed

The testimony is what qualifies a person to be a Muslim in the first instance. It is not sufficient to orally or verbally profess the Shuhada in Islam, but to spiritually imbibe the meaning of this Kalimah. The real meaning is that one should accept Allah- the supreme, as the Creator and Nourisher of all beings; also as the Originator, Fashioner and Designer of all these beings. He is also the provider of sustenance for all living entities. These attributes are not shared with Him by any other entity whatsoever. There is neither creator nor nourisher beside Allah. -- Abdul Jeleel Solahudeen

“To God belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. He creates what He wills (and plans). He bestows female (offspring) upon whom He wills, and bestows male (offspring) upon whom He wills. Or He bestows both males and females, and He leaves barren whom He wills: for He is full of Knowledge and Power.” (Verses 49 & 50) The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), has clearly demonstrated that a girl is not a matter of humiliation to a family. On the other hand, she is a matter of pride. A man who brings up his daughters in a proper way will be among those who have the honor of standing close to the Prophet (pbuh) on the Day of Judgment. -- Arab News

WORLD history has never seen a period where a proper sense of morality prevailed. Only Islamic history projects a period of about 13 years where the Holy Prophet (PBUH) established a society in Medina which can be termed as immaculate: free of evil and exploitation. One of the major objectives of Islam is to extirpate all social evils from society. In order to achieve this, Islam instilled a high of morality amongst its first followers. The Prophet was a living role model amongst them; the Quran describes him as one of exalted character (68:4). After the Quran, the life of the Prophet is the best source of guidance. -- Amin Valliani

THE mystery of life and death can be explained in the Quranic framework by understanding that the soul gives life to the body and that the body dies as soon as the soul leaves it. The foetus in the womb, in spite of being biologically alive, becomes a living thing only after a soul is injected into it (32:9). The greatest reward of the good soul, the moment it has been waiting and working for, is the final and complete harmony and proximity with its Creator, when ‘nafs mutmainna’ will be welcomed by God Himself into His presence and to Paradise on the Day of Judgment (89: 27-30), with these words: “O blissful soul/ Return to your Lord, such that you are pleased with Him, and He with you/ Enter with My devotees/ Enter My Paradise!” -- Nilofar Ahmed

 

A couple is able to fully give love and devotion to each other, raise healthy children who are fully secure in having both a loving father and mother Marriage is an exclusive right given to human beings. Yet, mating would include all species—including even the plant kingdom. What sets humans apart from animals is that they are given intellect, wisdom and ability to choose and discern right from wrong. In Islam, one knows by getting married, he is not only getting a partner for life, he is getting his whole world put on the right balance. -- Raya Shokatfard

Allah, a combination of ‘Al’, meaning ‘the’ and ‘ilah’, meaning ‘deity’, is the personal, proper name of the One God. This name combines in it all the qualities of His attributes. ‘Al Rehman’, meaning ‘the Most Merciful’ is one of the most frequently used of His names. ‘Al Raheem’ means ‘the Ever Merciful’. It has the same root as ‘Al Rehman’: ‘rahama’, meaning the womb — the seat of all love and mercy. These names also seem to be God’s favourite names since they are used in the formula, ‘bismillah hir Rehman nir Raheem’, which is recited before doing anything from starting to read the Quran to eating food to going on a journey. Besides, there is the Hadith Qudsi in which God says, ‘rahmati sabaqat ghadabi’, meaning, “My mercy precedes My wrath.” When God decided to create Adam, He said to the angels: “I am going to appoint a vicegerent on earth.” They replied: “Are You going to appoint one who will destroy the peace and shed blood, although we glorify You, singing your praises and sanctifying You?” He replied, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know!” Then God gave Adam the knowledge of the names of everything and asked the angels about the names of all the things. -- Nilofar Ahmed

Working as a news wire journalist, I was often spending over 10 hours a day in the office or at conferences, interviews and meetings, barely able to make time for a lunch break. If I wasn’t working, my time was divided between house chores, errands, family and friends, and exercise. I was punctual with everything in my life – except that I was late five times a day. Yet, praying the five daily prayers, at their prescribed times, is the backbone of being a Muslim; we cannot stand upright in our faith without them. It is one of the essential practices that God has called on those who endeavour to live in Islam, a state of existence whereby a human strives to live in submission to God. When I came to truly understand the importance of prayer, the realisation was both overwhelming and quick. It dawned on me that if I was not fulfilling this precondition, then I really could not claim to be Muslim. Even if I desired to have a solid connection with the Almighty I was not taking the necessary steps to do so. I promptly reoriented my life and it has now been a year and a half that I have not intentionally missed a prayer time, whether I am in the office, mall, grocery store, out with friends or travelling. -- Daliah Merzaban

Yazid, the caliph of that time, demanded allegiance from Imam Hussain. Yazid realised that the Muslim community otherwise would not accept his leadership. By refusing to pledge his loyalty to the tyrant ruler, Imam Hussain rose against those who acted falsely in the name of religion. His sacrifice drew the line between the real Islam and its false version as propagated by usurpers of power such as Yazid. Imam Hussain fought the corrupt and oppressive leadership not for personal gain, but to reform the nation of his grandfather, the messenger of Islam. Prophet Mohammad said: “My followers will not unite in supporting corruption.” He had also famously said, “I am from Hussain and Hussain is from me.” Muharram literally means, “One that is sacred”, and is one of the four sacred Islamic months, where fighting is forbidden. It is a time for spiritual renewal, for contemplating the great virtues of Imam Hussain and translating those moral and spiritual lessons into our own lives. -- Sadia Dehlvi

It was a conflict between Imam Hussain and Yazid the caliph of that time. Yazid usurped the leadership of Muslim community and wanted the true spiritual leader Imam Hussain to endorse him for legitimacy, which Imam Hussain rightfully declined and Yazid had him killed along with his young children. It was indeed like the Battle of Kurukshetra in Mahabharata; Good against evil, except Krishna’s good forces win the battle over the evil ones.  Yazid was one of the most corrupt and immoral leaders who violated the meritorial and consultative selection process of leadership and took over with his influence; wealth over morality. Personally I have not heard any Muslim who names his or her child Yazid, just as it is a rarity to name Hitler. Prophet Muhammad believed in a consultative process for civil society. -- Mike Ghouse

According to the Quran, contentment is the trait of a true Muslim. Patience, gratitude to God and piety are the constituents of contentment. A true Muslim is thankful to God in all circumstances. He is contented with whatever bounties God has bestowed on him and does not have greed and undue craving for more. God gives countless bounties to whomever He wishes and gives in required measure to whomever He wishes. He also tests some of us by putting us in a state of starvation, penury, hardship, fear, loss of business etc. A true Muslim passes every test by virtue of contentment: “So eat from what Allah has given you pure and clean and be thankful to Allah for his bounties if you worship Him.”(Al Nahl; 114) Greed is present in every man’s heart and be craves for more seeing the wealth, prosperity and other material resources of others. This craving sometimes takes a wrong turn and he uses all the tricks and means to acquire the worldly luxuries. He loses the sense of good and evil and legitimate and illegitimate. The Quran warns him against such behavior: “And wish not for the things in which Allah has made some of you to excel others.”(Al Nisa: 32) -- S. Arshad, NewAgeIslam.com

A pious believer is required to aim for three main targets continuously, when performing the righteous deeds. The first one is to attain Allah’s pleasure, the second is to long for paradise and the third one is to desire to stay away from hell-fire. One who aims for the first target continuously will automatically attain the second and the third. Insha Allah. A believer who achieves these three targets will be awarded with the bounties of patience and gratitude and much more. These two bounties are deeply inter-connected. The gratitude for ongoing blessings is given by acts of worship, submission and complete obedience. Worship and obedience needs enormous patience, especially submitting oneself to the pre-decree. When gratitude is instilled in the hearts, patience follows it. Gratitude must be presented with the heart, tongue and limbs. In the Noble Qur’an, wherever Allah the Almighty mentions His divine bounties, He says “that you may give thanks” or “only few of you give thanks”. Some of the bounties that He mentions are forgiveness for His slaves, guidance, ease, ordering of expiation of sins and the changing of the day and the night etc. Allah says: “And out of His mercy He has made for you the night and the day, that you may rest therein, and that you may seek of His grace, and that you may give thanks.” – 28:73 “And Allah has brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers-- you did not know anything-- and He gave you hearing and sight and hearts that you may give thanks.” – 16:78. -- Farzana Qamar

 

Human needs are much more basic than we have made them in our own greed. This is what Hajj taught me. We were all the same. Wearing the same brand called Islam. This is what Hajj taught me.  Worldly cleanliness means nothing when you are on a journey to cleanse your soul and conscience. This is what Hajj taught me. Worldly cleanliness means nothing when you are on a journey to cleanse your soul and conscience. This is what Hajj taught me. What seems important to us in our day to day lives, like being good looking and impressing others with the way we look, is actually a very petty thing. One needs to get over the petty things and look at the bigger picture. This is what Hajj taught me. It’s a universal process of understanding the human needs, the importance of being humane, the feeling of being ordinary and nothing special and the longing for being together. It’s a much higher level of spiritual journeys than most will ever see and experience. -- Sami Saayer

 

 

SOME time after the migration of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and his followers to Medina, the Makkans banned the entry of the believers in Makkah, even for the purposes of Haj or umrah. The Muslims yearned to visit the Ka’aba to perform the pilgrimage. After about six years, the Prophet and some 1,500 of his companions started out for Makkah on Ziqa’ad 1, 6 AH, (628 CE), with the intention of performing umrah. They put on the ihram, recited the intention and thus entered the state of consecration. The Prophet decided to avoid confrontation and bloodshed, and to take a very rough and circuitous route. The most difficult point to accept was that of one-sided extradition, and which stated that if a Qureshi who had converted to Islam was to escape from his guardian and reach the Prophet in Medina, he would be forced to go back, but if a Muslim renounced his faith and escaped to Makkah, the Makkans would not be obliged to return him. -- Nilofar Ahmed

The Moi-e-Muqqadas or the sacred hair of Prophet Muhammad is enshrined at the Hazratbal mosque in Srinagar; unsurprisingly, this has been drawing visitors despite it having seen quite a bit of unrest over the years on account of political turmoil. They say God's ways are mysterious; therefore, you just need to observe and follow the way shown to you without commenting on it or questioning it. It seemed to be happening to me here. Happy and content at my unscheduled pilgrimage, I marveled at how I was brought here by an Unseen Power to experience Hazratbal, a good 500 kilometers away from what I call home. I went back, far richer from this wonderful experience. -- Mousumi Roy

 

Bayazid's mother had a deep impact on him and he remained devoted to her. He would recall how she sent him to school to study the Quran. When he read the chapter which emphasises thankfulness and obedience to parents, the young boy asked for permission to go home. He told his mother that since Allah had asked to serve both Him and her, he could not do both saying, 'Either you ask for me from God, so that I may be yours entirely, or apprentice me to God, so that I may dwell wholly with Him.' His mother replied, 'My son, I resign you to God, and exempt you from your duty to me, go and be God's. After his mother resigned him to God, Abu Yazid left Bistam, wandering from land to land for 30 years, disciplining himself with continuous vigil and hunger. He sought the tutelage of over a hundred Sufis, the revered Imam Jafar Sadiq among them. -- Sadia Dehlvi

When the woman looked at the saucepan containing the food, she saw that the meat had turned the colour of blood. Shrieking, she blamed Habib and his cursed practices of usury for causing the evil omen. The incident deeply impacted Habib and he decided to mend his ways. The following day Habib set out of his house with the intention of waiving all the debts owed to him. Habib distributed all his wealth amongst the needy, constructed a small hut on the bank of the river Euphrates and led an ascetic life. Once, unaware of his master’s presence, Habib was leading the ritual prayer. Hasan thought of joining in, but finding fault with Habib’s pronunciation, refrained from praying with his disciple. That night Hasan dreamt of God saying to him: “Hasan, you found My pleasure but did not understand its value. I cherish the purity of heart more than mere pronunciation.” -- Sadia Dehlvi

 

“The earth will give out all its possessions keeping nothing to herself”. (Ibn-e-Maja, Kitabul fitan). This process of discovering the material secrets of nature will be done by the western scientists. These scientists will be totally secular. They will be completely indifferent to nature. Their approach to religion will be neither negative nor positive. Nevertheless, the philosophers and thinkers will use their research for their own purposes. Therefore, they will form two groups --- secular thinkers and religious thinkers. After the birth of the scientific age, the vices that were born in the world were not the outcome of science itself but of atheism. In the books of hadith, there are many traditions about the future. One of them says that in the final period, a Dajjal will be born. At the same time, a person from among the Muslims will rise who will become the ‘hajeej’ (One who presents counter arguments) against Dajjal and will, therefore, destroy him (Sahih Muslim, Kitabul fitan). It will be the greatest event of history. -- Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

 

When Nuri, a leading Sufi of Baghdad in the ninth century, spoke, light radiated from his mouth. Nuri defined a true mystic as, 'One who belongs to no one and nothing belongs to him.' He believed that Sufis gain knowledge through God and every action of the enlightened mystic is through Him. During the orthodox Baghdad Caliphate under Ghulam Khalil, some mystic friends of Nuri's, including the famed mystic Shibli, were to be executed on charges of heresy for preaching the Sufi doctrine. In a gesture of rare friendship, Nuri volunteered to go to the gallows in place of the accused. Nuri's death occurred in a peculiar fashion. One day, a blind man was crying, 'God. God!' Nuri went up to him saying, 'What do you know of Him? If you know, you still live?'  Having said that, Nuri lost his senses and overpowered with yearning for God, he walked into the freshly harvested reed beds. The reeds pierced Nuri's feet and with every drop of blood that fell, the word Allah appeared. -- Sadia Dehlvi

 

“Abu Sayeed Khudri narrates that the Prophet (PBUH) said that Gog and Magog would be released and they will move towards populations as had been mentioned in the Quran and they would dominate people. The believers would retreat to their cities and camps to save themselves and take their cattle with them. Gog and Magog will drink all the water of the earth. Some of them will come to a river and drink it dry. Then some people will pass across the river and say that once there was water there. Only those on the earth who would remain in their cities and their shelters would survive. Then someone from Gog and Magog would say that they had dealt with the people on earth and now it was the turn of the heaven folk. After that one of them would switch on their machine and thrust it towards the sky. The machine will boomerang to them bloodied as their test. (Masnad Ahmad, vol 3, p 77). -- Maulana Wahiduddin Khan (Translated from Urdu by Sohail Arshad NewAgeIslam.com)

 

The modern scientific revolution has opened new intellectual doors of the realization of God for every human being. It is now possible for man to ascertain the evidences of God’s presence in the creations through direct study and observations. The divine signs that became evident to man through the scientific revolution made the attainment of the highest divine realization easy to the last degree for man. Thanks to this many servants of God attained divine realization. But evil forces also remain at work along with the good forces in this world as told by Zartusht (551 B.C.): “The world is a perpetual battleground of the good and evil forces.” Therefore, during the same period, some big brains came into existence whose thoughts served as the means to drive away man from the divine realization. The phenomenon was predicted in a hadith saying that in the later phase Dajjal (great deceiver) will be born who will lead people astray through his deceptive thoughts. (Some hadiths talk of thirty Dajjals). What is Dajjal or Dajjalism? It is in fact intellectual misinterpretation that will be observed in the period of Dajjal. -- Maulana Wahiduddin Khan (Translated from Urdu by New Age Islam Edit Desk)

To eradicate corruption we require individuals who are incorruptible and, undoubtedly, what produces such individuals is spirituality. There is a saying that violence begins in the mind. Applied spirituality enables one to infuse daily life with spiritual values and those who do so are able to distance themselves from all kinds of corrupt practices. One aspect of applied spirituality is the duty-consciousness which it induces. A rights-conscious person can see only what is in his own interest, while the duty-conscious person looks to the well-being of others and, in doing so, can never stoop to corrupt practices. How to inculcate spirituality among people. Basically, it is a part of education, both formal and informal. Education means mind training, with special emphasis on inculcating high values. To spread spiritual values in society, we need value-based education, especially during schooling, which is a preparatory period for life, and if we want to build a spiritual society, we must adopt a value-based education. -- Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

As far as swearing on the Quran is concerned, scholars liken giving false testimony as one of the major sins in Islam akin to polytheism. This opinion is based on Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) stating: “Testifying falsely is tantamount to polytheism,” and quoting Surah Hajj (22:60) “therefore avoid the uncleanness of the idols and avoid false words” three times to support his statement. It is a general Muslim belief, or fear, that faith can be so tenuous and Satan so ever-present that despite a righteous life, at the very end one could die a non-Muslim. Tomes and poems have been written on this fear, however irrational it may appear to the calm and spiritually placid. Belief in the Hereafter is an integral part of being Muslim (Surah Baqarah 2:62). -- Dr Mahjabeen Islam

 
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