Friday, December 14, 2018

Hadith of the Day: Actions are dependent upon Intentions

The entire life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is an excellent specimen of how a true Muslim and believer should live his life.  Thus the numerous sayings or Hadiths as these are called of the Prophet of Allah must be correctly understood in reference to the context for their better understanding and implementation in our daily chores and undertakings. 

One of the very famous Hadith attributed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is:
"Innamal a’malu binniyat" ~ “Actions are dependent upon their Intentions”
We must understand that Allah will bless us or otherwise of our actions based on our intentions, for He alone knows what resides inside our thoughts. 

This [articular saying of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is attributed to an event that took place during the migration of Muslims from Makkah to Medina. While most of the Muslims migrated in the name of Allah to preserve His religion from being polluted by the pagans of Makkah, it so happened that one man who when found that the woman he loved was migrating to Medina, he followed suit to be near her and marry her. Thus his intention was not to migrate in the name of Allah but to follow his worldly desires.

This incident has been narrated on the authority of Omar bin Al-Khattab, who said : I heard the messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam say : “Actions are but by intention and every man shall have but that which he intended. Thus he whose migration was for Allah and His messenger, his migration was for Allah and His messenger, and he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some woman in marriage, his migration was for that for which he migrated.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

It has also been related to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as narrated by Imam Muslim,that:
The first people to be judged on the Day of Judgement was a martyred. Allah asked him, “What have you done in the world?” The martyred replied, “I fought for your religion.” Allah said, “You lie. You fought so that people will call you the dare one.” And you will be judged for your intention accordingly.
A seeker of knowledge that knowledge and diligent practice read the Qur’an comes before God. Allah asked, “What have you done in the world?” He replied, “I seek knowledge, act upon it, and I read the Qur’an because of Allah.”  Allah said, “You lie. You seek knowledge and you read Qur’an so that others call you religious people.”  
one with a wealth of rich and famous because his charity come before God.  Allah asked, “What have you done in the world?” He replied, “I spent all the wealth that I have because of You.” God said, “You lie. You do it all so that people call you generous.” 
Then the Prophet of Allah remarked: “They are the first people to feel the heat of hell fire on the Day of Resurrection.”

There are many Hadiths that can be quoted on this account, but the purpose here is to highlight the importance of our hidden desires and to reign these as per the dictates of the commandments of the Holy Qur'an and sayings of the Prophet of Allah so that our actions do not go waste and instead of being blessed with for our apparent good and noble actions, we may not displease Allah and suffer His wrath. 

Watch this beautiful video below on intentions and actions:

So before embarking upon anything, first set your intentions right and be mindful of the fact that any polluted intention and its consequent action may harm you rather than benefiting from it. Having set your course right, then put in your best effort not to implement your plan but also keep in mind that you may not select a discourse that is illegal or Haram for any such act may ruin your intentions, no matter how good and noble these may be. Then leave it to Allah to make it happen, and whatever is the outcome,rest assured that Allah never wrongs His true believers.

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 |
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Surah Al Qalam - The Pen: Summary of 68th Chapter of Holy Quran

Sūrat al-Qalam is the 68th surah with 52 ayats with two rukus, part of the 29th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an. This Surah is called Nun as it begins with the letter Nun.

Like many surahs of the Holy Qur'an, Sūrat al-Qalam too is one of the earliest surahs to be revealed at Makkah, for its subject matter shows that it was sent down at the time when opposition to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) had grown very harsh and tyrannical.

The surah consists of three themes: (1) Replies to the opponents objections, (2) administration of warning and (3) admonition to them, and exhortation to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) to patience and constancy. 

Before proceeding to exegesis / tafsir of Sūrat al-Qalam, let us see a brief co-reference / relevance of subject matter of of Sūrat al-Qalam to that of the preceding and proceeding surahs of the Holy Qur'an: [1]
Surah Al-Mulk, the 67th chapter/surah and Sūrat al-Qalam form a pair with regard to their subject matter. Although there is no principal difference between the central themes and topics of the two, the difference lies in the style, nature of arguments and the tone adopted. In Surah Al Mulk, the Quraysh are warned of the Day of Judgement, while in Surah Qalam they are warned of the punishment which a people necessarily face if they deny their punishment of the Day of Judgement, similar is the warning sounded in this sūrah. However, this sūrah is more stern in its tone. Surah Al Mulk focused on believing in Allah, this Surah Al Qalam focuses on believing in His Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Surah Al-Haaqah (69) also deeply resembles Surah Al Qalam for both having same the central theme: substantiation of the Day of Judgement. As per Professor Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, a Pakistani Muslim theologian, Quran scholar, exegete, and educationist, the nature of arguments differ. Just as the greatness and truth of the Qur'an are explained in the Surah Al Qalam and people are warned of the consequences of rejecting the Qur'an, similarly, in the next surah (Surah al Haaqah) this subject is discussed. The difference is that in Surah Al Qalam, it is discussed in the opening part while in Surah Al Haaqah it is in the concluding part. Near the end of surah Qalam, Allah says: “Then leave Me (to deal) with the one who rejects this Hadeeth/Statement.“ and in the beginning of surah Al-Haaqah, Allah tells how He dealt with previous nations (ʿĀd and Thamud) who rejected and oppressed the Messenger of Allah who came to them. Allah mentioned two groups of people briefly in Surah Al Qalam; i.e. in Ayah 38 He mentions the people of Paradise, and in ayah 42 He mentions people who will not be able to prostrate/sajdah to Allah. Allah talks about two groups of people who receive their books on Judgment Day, good and bad.

Let us now read explanation of the Surah segmented into portions as per the subject matter:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

نٓ​ وَالۡقَلَمِ وَمَا يَسۡطُرُوۡنَۙ‏
1. Nun. By the pen and what the scribes write.
[These letters (Nun, etc.) are one of the miracles of the Qur'an, and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings]. Such words are known as Muqaṭṭaʿāt (Arabic: حُرُوف مُقَطَّعَات‎ ḥurūf muqaṭṭaʿāt, "disjointed letters" or "disconnected letters"; also "mysterious letters") which are combinations of between one and five Arabic letters figuring at the beginning of 29 out of the 114 chapters (surahs) of the Quran just after the Bismillah. The letters are also known as fawātiḥ (فَوَاتِح) or "openers" as they form the opening verse of their respective surahs. The original significance of the letters is unknown. Tafsir (exegesis) has interpreted them as abbreviations for either names or qualities of God or for the names or content of the respective surahs. 

The great commentator Mujahid says that by pen here is meant the Pen with which the Qur'an was being written down. From this it automatically follows that that which was being written implies the Holy Qur'an itself. There are other opinions about the pen as well. 

  • One opinion is that it refers to the Pen of decree through which destinies of every creation has been written down till the end of times. 
  • Another opinion is that it refers to the pen of angels through which they record the deeds of the servants. 
  • One more opinion is that this refers to the pen that we use to write with. Elaborating this opinion, Ibn Katheer writes Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is alerting His creatures to what He has favored them with by teaching them the skill of writing through which knowledge is attained.

At the outset (verses 2-16), the Holy Prophet has been addressed, to the effect: "The disbelievers call you a madman whereas the Book that you are presenting and the sublime conduct that you practice, are by themselves sufficient to refute their false accusations. Soon they will see as to who was mad and who was sane; therefore, do not at all yield to the din of opposition being kicked up against you, for all this is actually meant to cow you and make you resort to a compromise with them."

Then, in order to enlighten the common people the character of a prominent man from among the opponents, whom the people of Makkah fully well recognized, has been presented, without naming him:At that time, the Holy Prophet's pure and sublime conduct was before them, and every discerning eye could also see what sort of character and morals were possessed by the chiefs of Makkah, who were leading the opposition against him.
2. You (O Muhammad ) are not, by the Grace of your Lord, a madman. 3. And verily, for you (O Muhammad ) will be an endless reward. 4. And verily, you (O Muhammad ) are on an exalted standard of character. 5. You will see, and they will see, 6. Which of you is afflicted with madness. 7. Verily, your Lord knows better, who (among men) has gone astray from His Path, and He knows better those who are guided. 8. So (O Muhammad ) obey not the deniers [(of Islamic Monotheism those who belie the Verses of Allah), the Oneness of Allah, and the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad ), etc.] 9. They wish that you should compromise (in religion out of courtesy) with them, so they (too) would compromise with you. 10. And obey not everyone who swears much, and is considered worthless, 11. A slanderer, going about with calumnies, 12. Hinderer of the good, transgressor, sinful, 13. Cruel, after all that base-born (of illegitimate birth), 14. (He was so) because he had wealth and children. 15. When Our Verses (of the Qur'an) are recited to him, he says: "Tales of the men of old!" 16. We shall brand him over the nose!
In verses 17-33, the parable of the owners of a garden has been presented, who after having been blessed by Allah turned ungrateful to Him, and did not heed the admonition of the best man among them when it was given them. Consequently, they were deprived of the blessing and they realized this, when all they had lay devastated. With this parable the people of Makkah have been warned to the effect:"With the appointment of the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) to Prophethood, you, O people of Makkah, too, have been put to a test similar to the one to which the owners of the garden had been put. If you do not listen to him, you too will be afflicted with a punishment in the world, and the punishment of the Hereafter is far greater."
17. Verily, We have tried them as We tried the people of the garden, when they swore to pluck the fruits of the (garden) in the morning, 18. Without saying: Insha' Allah (If Allah will). 19. Then there passed by on the (garden) something (fire) from your Lord at night and burnt it while they were asleep. 20. So the (garden) became black by the morning, like a pitch dark night (in complete ruins). 21. Then they called out one to another as soon as the morning broke, 22. Saying: "Go to your tilth in the morning, if you would pluck the fruits." 23. So they departed, conversing in secret low tones (saying), 24. No Miskin (poor man) shall enter upon you into it today. 25. And they went in the morning with strong intention, thinking that they have power (to prevent the poor taking anything of the fruits therefrom). 26. But when they saw the (garden), they said: "Verily, we have gone astray," 27. (Then they said): "Nay! Indeed we are deprived of (the fruits)!" 28. The best among them said: "Did I not tell you: why do you not say: Insha' Allah (If Allah will)." 29. They said: "Glory to Our Lord! Verily, we have been Zalimun (wrong-doers, etc.)." 30. Then they turned, one against another, in blaming. 31. They said: "Woe to us! Verily, we were Taghun (transgressors and disobedient, etc.) 32. We hope that our Lord will give us in exchange a better (garden) than this. Truly, we turn to our Lord (wishing for good that He may forgive our sins, and reward us in the Hereafter)." 33. Such is the punishment (in this life), but truly, the punishment of the Hereafter is greater, if they but knew.
Then, in verses 34-47 continuously, the disbelievers have been admonished, in which the address sometimes turns to them directly and sometimes they are warned through the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace). A summary of what has been said in this regard, is this: Well being in the Hereafter inevitably belongs to those who spend their lives in the world in full consciousness of God. It is utterly against reason that the obedient servants should meet in the Hereafter the same fate as the guilty. There is absolutely no basis of the disbelievers misunderstanding that God will treat them in the manner they choose for themselves, whereas they have no guarantee for this. Those who are being called upon to bow before God in the world and they refuse to do so, would be unable to prostrate themselves on the Day of Resurrection even if they wanted to do so, and thus would stand disgraced and condemned. Having denied the Qur'an they cannot escape Divine punishment. The rein they are being given, has deluded them. They think that since they are not being punished in spite of their denial, they must be on the right path, whereas they are following the path of ruin. They have no reasonable ground for opposing the Messenger, for he is a preacher without any vested interest: he is not asking any reward of them for himself, and they cannot either make the claim that they know with certainty that he is not a true Messenger, nor that what he says is false.
34. Verily, for the Muttaqun (pious and righteous persons - see V.2:2) are Gardens of delight (Paradise) with their Lord. 35. Shall We then treat the (submitting) Muslims like the Mujrimun (criminals, polytheists and disbelievers, etc.)? 36. What is the matter with you? How judge you? 37. Or have you a Book through which you learn. 38. That you shall have all that you choose? 39. Or you have oaths from Us, reaching to the Day of Resurrection that yours will be what you judge. 40. Ask them, which of them will stand surety for that! 41. Or have they "partners"? Then let them bring their "partners" if they are truthful! 42. (Remember) the Day when the Shin shall be laid bare (i.e. the Day of Resurrection) and they shall be called to prostrate (to Allah), but they (hypocrites) shall not be able to do so, 43. Their eyes will be cast down, ignominy will cover them; they used to be called to prostrate (offer prayers), while they were healthy and good (in the life of the world, but they did not). 44. Then leave Me Alone with such as belie this Qur'an. We shall punish them gradually from directions they perceive not. 45. And I will grant them a respite. Verily, My Plan is strong. 46. Or is it that you (O Muhammad ) ask them a wage, so that they are heavily burdened with debt? 47. Or that the Ghaib (unseen here in this Verse it means Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz) is in their hands, so that they can write it down?
In conclusion, the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) has been exhorted to the effect:"Bear with patience the hardships that you may have to face in the way of preaching the Faith till Allah's judgment arrives, and avoid the impatience which caused suffering and affliction to the Prophet Jonah (peace be on him)."
48. So wait with patience for the Decision of your Lord, and be not like the Companion of the Fish, when he cried out (to Us) while he was in deep sorrow. (See the Qur'an, Verse 21:87). 49. Had not a Grace from his Lord reached him, he would indeed have been (left in the stomach of the fish, but We forgave him), so he was cast off on the naked shore, while he was to be blamed. 50. But his Lord chose him and made him of the righteous. 51. And verily, those who disbelieve would almost make you slip with their eyes through hatredness when they hear the Reminder (the Qur'an), and they say: "Verily, he (Muhammad ) is a madman!" 52. But it is nothing else than a Reminder to all the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists).
You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrat al-Qalam with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Part backwards for chapters in 30th Part are shorter and easier to understand). 

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |
An effort has been made to gather explanation of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic souses and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. However, those wanting detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to sites the references of which are given above.

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Life of Muslims in Non Muslim Countries: Philippines

I grew up listening to Moro National Front and its fight with the government of Philippines. And today is the first time since that I have thought of writing on the life of Muslims in Philippines  and the names I have been hearing since my childhood got refreshed.

And when one talks of Muslims in the Philippines, the name of Mindanao or the commonly known as Southern Philippines comes to forth. Mindanao which is the second largest island in the Philippines, joins with the smaller islands surrounding it make up the island group of the same name. And it is here that majority of the Muslims of Philippines have their abode.

Islam is the oldest recorded monotheistic religion in the Philippines.The Muslims came to Philippines islands as far back as the 13 and 14 centuries from Indonesia and Malaysia. Muslim missionaries arrived in Tawi-Tawi in 1380. In 1457, the Sultanate of Sulu was founded, followed by the sultanates of Maguindanao and Buayan. By this time in the second of the 16th century the Spanish came to this part of the world and started colonizing these islands. The Spaniards called the Filipino Muslims as Moros, a term derived from Moors, as the Spaniards used to describe the Muslims in Morocco.  

The Muslim sultanates, while ensuring their sovereignty, reacted to the expanding Spanish domination and started conducting raids on Spanish coastal towns. It was not until the last quarter of the 19th century that the Sultanate of Sulu formally recognized Spanish suzerainty, but these areas remained loosely controlled by the Spanish as their sovereignty was limited to military stations and garrisons and pockets of civilian settlements, until they had to abandon the region as a consequence of their defeat in the Spanish–American War.

The struggle of the Muslims since then continued against the American rule. In second World War, the Japanese came and captured the islands, later to be liberated by the Allies and independence of the present day Philippines. And from then on the Moro Muslims resistance and struggle morphed into their current war for independence against the Philippine state.

The resistance of the Philippine Muslims continued against the mainland government and their movement for independence was increasingly identified with the worldwide Islamic community, particularly in Malaysia, Indonesia, Libya, and Middle Eastern countries. Longstanding economic grievances stemming from years of governmental neglect and from resentment of popular prejudice against them contributed to the roots of Muslim insurgency. By 1980s the Moros were confined almost entirely to the southern part of the country--southern and western Mindanao, southern Palawan, and the Sulu Archipelago.These hostilities between government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front prompted President Ferdinand Marcos to issue a proclamation forming an Autonomous Region in the Southern Philippines. The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was  officially inaugurated on November 6, 1990 in Cotabato City, which was designated as its provisional capital. From then on the ARMM and the government have been negotiating for its expansion which has seen many ups and downs since then.

While the negotiations between the government and the Muslims continued, as early as January this year, the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned another war could break out in Mindanao if legislation on Muslim autonomy collapsed.

Later in July, President Rodrigo Duterte signed a historic Bangsamoro Organic Law  to ending the Muslim rebellion in the south of the mainly Catholic Philippines that had claimed about 150,000 lives since the 1970s. The restive Filipino Muslim have long battled for independence or autonomy in Mindanao, which they regard as their ancestral homeland for they have lived here for more than 500 years. The law aimed at enforcing the historic 2014 peace deal under which the Moro Islamic Liberation Front vowed to give up its quest for independence and lay down the weapons in return for self-rule.

As per the law, freedom of religion will be enshrined in a proposed law that will allow the creation of a new autonomous Muslim region in the southern part of the Philippines. The law will give state funding and local control of natural resources to a largely Muslim region on the southern island of Mindanao.

As per a 2012 estimate by the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) there were 10.7 million Muslims, or approximately 11 percent of the total population in Philippine. Most Muslims live in parts of Mindanao, Palawan, and the Sulu Archipelago – an area known as Bangsamoro or the Moro region. Most Muslim Filipinos practice Sunni Islam according to the Shafi'i school.

How is the life of Muslims in Philippines in general. Well I have to probe many sites to get to know the answer. A rather independent view by Michael Figueroa, Co-founder/Program Officer at The Reaching Astronomy to a question "What is life like for Muslims living in the Philippines?" at Quora is rather positive:
I'm not a Muslim, but I could say that they are well integrated in the Filipino society. Or I should say, they are an important part of our society. Generally, Filipino Muslims are just like any common Filipinos. They have the same rights and respect. The Philippines observe both of religion’s main occasions e.g. Christmas and Ramadan. There is a distinct number of Muslim merchants in public markets not just in Mindanao but all over the Philippines. 
It is a common sight to see Muslim Women not wearing hijab. I have a good friend who doesn't. Since the Philippines is a Christian majority country, Halal Resto are hard to find if you are in a non-Muslim region.
Overall, Filipino Muslim are in good place. They hate the Islamic terrorist in the south too.
But how do Muslims feel when they compare themselves with Christians living on the mainland. Well many feel that they are second class citizens as compared to the Christians who get more job share and privileges and preferences.  The Muslims are generally poorer and less educated than other Filipinos. In the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao the average per capita income in the 1990s was around $350, one third of the national average and less than half the Mindanao average of $800. In some Muslim neighborhoods in Zamboanga unemployment rates approach 90 percent. One elderly woman there told the Los Angeles Times, “I have 14 children and 33 grandchildren. Only four of them have jobs, and they are living abroad.

Muslim have suffered from neglect and underdevelopment. One Muslim leader told the Los Angeles Times, “Governments have promised us everything. But look around and what is the ‘everything’ they've delivered? Do you see roads? Electricity? Economic development? Factories? The everything is nothing.”

Muqtedar Khan in his report and plight of Muslims of Philippine in HuffPost writes: "Muslims of Philippines break my heart. They are beautiful, devoted and sincere, but also poor, marginalized and living directly or indirectly under the shadow of war for nearly four hundred years."

I would request Muslims of Philippine reading this post to give their feedback so as to make this post wholesome based on first hand information and account.

On a lighter note, the Moro Muslims are very festive and take part in all religious and local festivals and cultural events. The people of the Bangsamoro region, including Muslims and non-Muslims, have a culture that revolves around kulintang music, a specific type of gong music, found among both Muslim and non-Muslim groups of the Southern Philippines. Each ethnic group in ARMM also has their own distinct architectures, intangible heritage, and craft arts. A fine example of a distinct architectural style in the region is the Royal Sulu architecture which was used to make the Daru Jambangan (Palace of Flowers) in Maimbung, Sulu. 

You may like to watch a video on Crescent Feast: The food specialties of the Philippines' Moro tribes

About Tulay Mosque: It is the main mosque of the capital of Sulu province. The mosque is dominantly coastal, as the people who adhere to it are the Tausug, who call themselves as people of the sea. The mosque has four towers and one dome. The dominant colors of the mosque are white and yellow. 

Photo: Tulay Mosque (Wikipedia) | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |
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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Surah Al-Waqi'ah - The (Inevitable) Event: Summary of 56th Chapter of Holy Quran

Sūrah Al-Waqi'ah is the fifty sixth surah with 96 ayahs with three rukus, part of the 27th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an.

The surah by the subject it contains is described by many as the Meccan surah. The main theme revolves around the Day of Judgment, rather it very beautifully paints the End Day with lot of details leaving no ambiguity in the minds of the believers and the disbelievers as to how  they will be treated and awarded and rewarded. Though it is a pity that despite forewarning the pagans of Makkah of the punishment that would be meted out to them for their stubbornness to accept the reality of the Day of Resurrection and who continued to mock the Prophet of Allah for frightening them of something that they would not be able to see as they would be long dead.

In fact this surah explains the rewards and punishments as already mentioned in the previous surah, Surah Ar Rehman, the 55th surah of the Holy Qur'an. However, here three types of people are mentioned who would be rewarded and punished for the extra good, good and bad deeds.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been reported as saying that whoever recites Al-Waqi'ah every night "shall never be afflicted by need". For this reason, the chapter is one of the most recited of the Quran.

Let us now read explanation of the Surah segmented into portions as per the subject matter:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

The opening of the surah adequately signifies that it is to answer those pagans and disbelievers who would often mock Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) whenever He talked of the afterlife.
1. When the Event (i.e. the Day of Resurrection) befalls. 2. And there can be no denying of its befalling. 3. It will bring low (some); (and others) it will exalt; 4. When the earth will be shaken with a terrible shake. 5. And the mountains will be powdered to dust. 6. So that they will become floating dust particles.
The mention of earthquake here is not the ordinary, or even severe earthquakes, that we witness, which are mostly restricted to an area. But this extraordinary earthquake will be so violent and forceful that it will shake the whole earth to its depths all of a sudden, and it will experience a tremendous jolt and tremors all through.

Having painted the disastrous and inevitable day, Allah mentions three categories of people: the "the foremost", "the companions of the right" and "the companions of the left".The first two groups will enter paradise while the companions of the left will go to hell. Here, "the right" is associated with goodness, the righteous will be seated to the right of God's throne and receive their records of deeds in their right hand. The "foremost" refers to a special group of people who will have even better fate than the companion of the right in the afterlife. 
7. And you (all) will be in three kinds (i.e. separate groups). 8. So those on the Right Hand (i.e. those who will be given their Records in their right hands), Who will be those on the Right Hand? (As a respect for them, because they will enter Paradise). 9. And those on the Left Hand (i.e. those who will be given their Record in their left hands), Who will be those on the Left Hand? (As a disgrace for them, because they will enter Hell). 
The Foremost category on the Day of resurrection will be the most blessed people and will be rewarded the best of the paradise, the Jannat ul Fibrous:
10. And those foremost [(in Islamic Faith of Monotheism and in performing righteous deeds) in the life of this world on the very first call for to embrace Islam,] will be foremost (in Paradise). 11. These will be those nearest to Allah. 12. In the Gardens of delight (Paradise). 13. A multitude of those (foremost) will be from the first generations (who embraced Islam). 14. And a few of those (foremost) will be from the later time (generations). 15. (They will be) on thrones woven with gold and precious stones, 16. Reclining thereon, face to face. 17. They will be served by immortal boys, 18. With cups, and jugs, and a glass from the flowing wine, 19. Where from they will get neither any aching of the head, nor any intoxication. 20. And fruit; that they may choose. 21. And the flesh of fowls that they desire. 22. And (there will be) Houris (fair females) with wide, lovely eyes (as wives for the pious), 23. Like unto preserved pearls. 24. A reward for what they used to do. 25. No dirty, false, evil vain talk will they hear therein, nor any sinful speech (like backbiting, etc.). 26. But only the saying of: Salam!, Salam! (greetings with peace) !
The people falling in the second category are called the People on the Right Hand. Usually, the right hand signifies positivity and here too the people are the blessed one, though a shade lower than that of the Foremost category:
27. And those on the Right Hand, - Who will be those on the Right Hand? 28. (They will be) among thorn-less lote trees, 29. Among Talh (banana-trees) with fruits piled one above another, 30. In shade long-extended, 31. By water flowing constantly, 32. And fruit in plenty, 33. Whose season is not limited, and their supply will not be cut off, 34. And on couches or thrones, raised high. 35. Verily, We have created them (maidens) of special creation. 36. And made them virgins. 37. Loving (their husbands only), equal in age. 38. For those on the Right Hand. 39. A multitude of those (on the Right Hand) will be from the first generation (who embraced Islam). 40. And a multitude of those (on the Right Hand) will be from the later times (generations).
And then the fate of those on the Left has been discussed in detail, telling the disbelievers of their fate and the painting of the picture of the hell which shows their permanent abode for defying the commandments of Allah and the invitation extended to them by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), which they repeatedly discarded:
41. And those on the Left Hand Who will be those on the Left Hand? 42. In fierce hot wind and boiling water, 43. And shadow of black smoke, 44. (That shadow) neither cool, nor (even) good, 45. Verily, before that, they indulged in luxury, 46. And were persisting in great sin (joining partners in worship along with Allah, committing murders and other crimes, etc.) 47. And they used to say: "When we die and become dust and bones, shall we then indeed be resurrected? 48. "And also our forefathers?"
Here the Prophet of Allah has been asked to stress on the gathering that will be held on the Day of Resurrection to to take stock of the deniers and mockers:
49. Say (O Muhammad ): "(Yes) verily, those of old, and those of later times. 50. "All will surely be gathered together for appointed Meeting of a known Day. 51. "Then moreover, verily, you the erring-ones, the deniers (of Resurrection)! 52. "You verily will eat of the trees of Zaqqum. 53. "Then you will fill your bellies therewith, 54. "And drink boiling water on top of it, 55. "So you will drink (that) like thirsty camels!" 56. That will be their entertainment on the Day of Recompense! 
The arguments from here to verse 74 provide the reasoning to prove both the doctrines of Tauhid and of Hereafter rationally. For it was there two basic doctrines of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) teaching that the people of Makkah were debating and objecting to at that time.
57. We created you, then why do you believe not? 58. Then tell Me (about) the human semen that you emit. 59. Is it you who create it (i.e. make this semen into a perfect human being), or are We the Creator? 60. We have decreed death to you all, and We are not unable, 61. To transfigure you and create you in (forms) that you know not. 62. And indeed, you have already known the first form of creation (i.e. the creation of Adam), why then do you not remember or take heed? 63. Tell Me! The seed that you sow in the ground. 64. Is it you that make it grow, or are We the Grower? 65. Were it Our Will, We could crumble it to dry pieces, and you would be regretful (or left in wonderment). 66. (Saying): "We are indeed Mughramun (i.e. ruined or lost the money without any profit, or punished by the loss of all that we spend for cultivation, etc.)! 67. "Nay, but we are deprived!" 68. Tell Me! The water that you drink. 69. Is it you who cause it from the rainclouds to come down, or are We the Causer of it to come down? 70. If We willed, We verily could make it salt (and undrinkable), why then do you not give thanks (to Allah)? 71. Tell Me! The fire which you kindle, 72. Is it you who made the tree thereof to grow, or are We the Grower? 73. We have made it a Reminder (for the Hell-fire, in the Hereafter); and an article of use for the travellers (and all the others, in this world). 74. Then glorify with praises the Name of your Lord, the Most Great. 
In the verse 75 below, the usage of La (in Fala) is not an extra character without meaning, as some of the scholars of Tafsir say. Rather it is used at the beginning of an oath when the oath is a negation. This is like when `A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her said, "La by Allah! Allah's Messenger did not touch any woman's hand at all. So in this way, the meaning is, "No! I swear by the Mawaqi` of the stars. The matter is not as you people claim - about the Qur'an - that it is a result of magic or sorcery, rather it is an Honorable Qur'an.'' Ibn Jarir said, "Some of the scholars of the Arabic language said that the meaning of: 
75. So I swear by Mawaqi (setting or the mansions, etc.) of the stars (they traverse).  76. And verily, that is indeed a great oath, if you but know. 
The oath of stars above implies that just as the system of the celestial bodies is firm and stable, so also is this divine Word (The Holy Qur'an) firm and stable. Allah Who has created that system has also sent down this Word. Just as there exists perfect consistency and harmony among the countless stars and planets found in the countless galaxies of the universe, so also this Book presents a perfectly consistent, and systematic code of life in which detailed guidance has been given, on the basis of belief, about morals, modes of worship, civilization and culture, economic and social life, law and justice, peace and war, in short, about every aspect of human life. Then, just as the system of the heavens set and planned by God is stable and unalterable, and does not ever admit of the slightest variation, so also are the truths and instructions given , in this Book stable and unalterable: no part of these can be changed or displaced in any way. 
77. That (this) is indeed an honourable recital (the Noble Qur'an). 78. In a Book well-guarded (with Allah in the heaven i.e. Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz). 79. Which (that Book with Allah) none can touch but the purified (i.e. the angels). 80. A Revelation (this Qur'an) from the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists). 81. Is it such a talk (this Qur'an) that you (disbelievers) deny?
In the verse 82, the word "rizq" probably means livelihood. 
82. And instead (of thanking Allah) for the provision He gives you, on the contrary, you deny Him (by disbelief)! 
Since the disbelieving Quraish regarded the message of the Quran as harmful to their economic interests and feared that if it succeeded it would deprive them of their means of livelihood, the verse may also mean this: You have made the denial of this Quran a question of your economic interests, and for you the question of the right and wrong is of no consequence; the only thing of real importance in your sight is the bread for the sake of which you would least hesitate to oppose the truth and adhere to the falsehood.

In conclusion, man has been warned, as if to say: "You may brad and boast as you like and may shut your eyes to the truths in your arrogance of independence, but death is enough to open your eyes. At death you become helpless: you cannot save your own parents; you cannot save your children; you cannot save your religious guided and beloved leaders. They all die in front of your vary eyes while you look on helplessly. If there is no supreme power ruling over you, and your this assumption is correct that you are all in all in the world, and there is no God, then why don't you restore to the dying person his soul?Just as you are helpless in this, so it is also beyond your power to stop Allah from calling the people to account and mete out rewards and punishments to them. You may or may not believe it, but every dying person will surely see his own end after death. If he belongs to those nearest to God, he will see the good end meant for them if he be from among the righteous, he will see the end prepared for the righteous; and if he be from among the deniers of the truth, he will see the end destined for the criminals.
83. Then why do you not (intervene) when (the soul of a dying person) reaches the throat? 84. And you at the moment are looking on, 85. But We (i.e. Our angels who take the soul) are nearer to him than you, but you see not, 86. Then why do you not, if you are exempt from the reckoning and recompense (punishment, etc.) 87. Bring back the soul (to its body), if you are truthful? 88. Then, if he (the dying person) be of the Muqarrabun (those brought near to Allah), 89. (There is for him) rest and provision, and a Garden of delights (Paradise). 90.  And if he (the dying person) be of those on the Right Hand, 91. Then there is safety and peace (from the Punishment of Allah) for (you as you are from) those on the Right Hand. 92. But if he (the dying person) be of the denying (of the Resurrection), the erring (away from the Right Path of Islamic Monotheism), 93. Then for him is entertainment with boiling water. 94. And burning in Hell-fire.
95. Verily, this! This is an absolute Truth with certainty. 96. So glorify with praises the Name of your Lord, the Most Great.

Uqbah bin Amir Juhni relates that when verse 96 was sent down the Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded that the people put it in their ruku, i.e. they should recite Subhana-Rabbi-yal-Azim in the position of ruku in the Prayer. And when the verse Sabbi-hismi-Rabbi-kal-Aala was sent down, he enjoined that they put it in their sajdah, i.e. they should recite Subhana-Rabbi-yal-Aala in sajdah. (Musnad Ahmad, Abu Daud, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban, Hakim). This shows that even the most minor details of the procedure enjoined by the Prophet (peace be upon him) for the Prayer are derived from the allusions given in the Quran.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrah Al-Waqi'ah with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Part backwards for chapters in 30th Part are shorter and easier to understand). 

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |
An effort has been made to gather explanation of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic souses and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. However, those wanting detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to sites the references of which are given above.

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Sunday, December 9, 2018

If We Only Had Time

Sometime back, I visited my city of birth and had plans to call on one of my long lost friends. When I had just reached my guest room, I received a message that my friend had passed away moments ago. I was simply stunned to read the message - but he did not have time more than what was granted to him. I went to his funeral and was thinking that while I had come for some other purpose but Allah had actually called me to  attend my friend's funeral.

We commence each day of our life with renewed vigour and aspirations to do many things. Most of us are worried about earning more than yesterday to realise many of our unfinished plans or to buy a better living for our family and children. And most of our lives is spent in such pursuits. But what we normally forget is the bitter fact that while we may have wealth, would we have TIME?

Life is all about time, not wealth, for Allah has promised us that He would make arrangements for our sustenance and living. But He never promises us to give TIME for it may run out of our lives in the click forward of second showing hand of of our watches.

Stressing the importance of time for the Muslims, the Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran: “By time, indeed, mankind is in loss, Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.” (Quran, Surah Al Asr 103: 1-3).

Surely indeed, those who make best use of their time and are never ignorant of their prayers, and righteous deeds to please Allah by remaining on the straight path and helping others and always keep in mind that time may run out of their lives at anytime - a time that will come unannounced. So a true Muslim should be ready all the time to face the day when the time will stop clicking for him.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been quoted as saying: “Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth before you become old; your health, before you fall sick; your wealth, before you become poor; your free time before you become preoccupied, and your life, before your death” (Musnad Imam Ahmad). All these five things hinge on time. For as long as all is going well, we do not know of the hard times that can befall on us at any time. This cautions us to be ready not only to brave out bad times, bad health, or loss of wealth and last of all the time when the life may end suddenly.

So be ready for the end time and always pray for your forgiveness, continuously seek repentance for one's sins or follies and times aimlessly spent in leisure that took us from remembering Allah. Remember, Time is running out !!

Photo | Reference: | 1 |
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Life of Muslims in Non Muslim Countries: Japan

Islam in Japan is a relatively new religion. The earliest Muslim records of Japan can be found in the works of the Muslim cartographer Ibn Khordadbeh, who has mentioned Japan as the "lands of Waqwaq": "East of China are the lands of Waqwaq, which are so rich in gold that the inhabitants make the chains for their dogs and the collars for their monkeys of this metal. They manufacture tunics woven with gold. Excellent ebony wood is found there.” And: “"Gold and ebony are exported from Waqwaq." Mahmud Kashgari's 11th century atlas indicates the land routes of the Silk Road and Japan in the map's easternmost extent. [1]

From then on, the presence and mention of Muslims is found during the various dynastic rules. Some Portuguese sailors are said to have made a mention of an Arab passenger aboard their ship, who had sailed to the islands in Malacca in 1555 and preached Islam to the people of Japan. The scriptural Islamic made their inroads to Japan in the last quarter of the 19th century when the biography of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was translated into Japanese. This helped Islam spread and reach the Japanese people. Another important contact was made in 1890 when the Ottoman Empire dispatched a frigate "Ertugrul"  to Japan for the purpose of saluting the visit of Japanese Prince Komatsu Akihito to Constantinople several years earlier. However, the vessel was destroyed in a storm along the coast of Wakayama Prefecture on September 16, 1890. [1]

After the Russian October Revolution,  hundreds of Turko-Tatar Muslim refugees from Central Asia and Russia came to Japan and given asylum. In 1909 the first ethnic Japanese, Kotaro Yamaoka embraced Islam and took the name Omar Yamaoka. He also became the first Japanese to go on the Hajj. During his journey, he also sought the Sultan's approval for building a mosque in Tokyo. This approval was granted in 1910 and the Tokyo Mosque (more on Tokyo mosque a little while later) completed in 1938. However, Kobe Mosque was Japan’s first mosque built in 1935 with the support of the Turko-Tatar community.

Some nationalistic organizations have been instrumental in petitioning the Japanese government on matters such as officially recognizing Islam, along with Shintoism, Christianity and Buddhism as a religion in Japan, and in providing funding and training to Muslim resistance movements in Southeast Asia, such as the Hizbullah, a resistance group funded by Japan in the Dutch Indies. The Greater Japan Muslim League founded in 1930, was the first official Islamic organization in Japan and caused an "Islamic Studies Boom". It was the time when Shūmei Ōkawa managed to complete his translation of the Qur'an.

After the World War II, Turks were the biggest Muslim community in Japan. The Japanese invasion of China and South East Asian regions during the WW II brought the Japanese in contact with Muslims. Those who converted to Islam through them returned to Japan and established in 1953 the first Japanese Muslim organization, the "Japan Muslim Association", which was officially granted recognition as a religious organization in 1968. The economic boom in Japan in the 1980s saw an influx of immigrants to Japan. Today, there are Muslim student associations at some Japanese universities.

As for the total population of Muslims, the estimates are mere speculations as there are no official account available. As per some Japanese scholars, Muslim population is around 70,000, of which perhaps 90% are resident foreigners and about 10% native Japanese. Of the immigrant communities, in order of population size, are Indonesians, Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, and Iranians. The Pew Research Center estimated that there were 185,000 Muslims in Japan in 2010.

The Japanese have started to realise the importance of growing Muslim population in Japan and wish to understand them better which they call the first step in living in harmony starts from taking an interest in the other party:
“By the end of this century, Muslims will overtake Christians to become the world’s largest religion in terms of followers. In fact, it is not uncommon to find Muslim community in our surroundings. It is important for us to first lend a listening ear to better understand them in order for us to live in harmony with the Muslim community,” says Professor Tanada from the Faculty of Human Sciences, Waseda University. [2]
Japan has seen an increase in people converting to Islam. The majority of Japanese converts are believed to enter the faith upon marriage to foreign Muslim spouses. Shigeru Shimoyama, a spokesman for the Tokyo Camii and a convert himself, estimated in an interview with Nippon News in 2013 that around five Japanese enter the Islamic faith every month. Japanese wrestling icon Antonio Inoki famously converted to Islam in the 1990s, changing his name officially to Muhammad Hussain Inoki, a decision he revealed publicly only recently. Besides becoming an emblem of religious tolerance, Inoki continues to make his mark as an ambassador for world peace on the global stage.[4]

Since the beginning of 1990s, there has been an increasing number of mosques being built across the Japanese archipelago, from Okinawa prefecture all the way to Hokkaido prefecture. Even though there are currently over 90 mosques throughout Japan, most Japanese are unaware of it. The Muslims living in Japan come from diverse backgrounds – nationality, ethnicity, culture, lifestyle, clothing, etc. Some Muslims strictly follow customs and traditions such as prayers and fasting, while others enjoy more freedom. As such, people who have never met or interacted with a Muslim might have misconceptions and stereotypes about them. [2]

Saeed Akhtar of NAHA [Photo]

One of the top concerns for Muslims traveling to non-Muslim countries is food. Nippon Asia Halal Association (NAHA) which is one of the halal certification organizations in Japan, sends out its auditors to visit eateries to ensure that the ingredients and equipment used meet halal standards. NAHA chair Dr. Saeed Akhtar, overseeing the certification process, commends Japanese as “sincere and thorough in complying with halal rules.” Dr Saeed Akhtar, is graduate from the University of Agriculture, Rawalpindi and the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan. He received his PhD in 1999 from the Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo. [3]

The mosque on wheels has the capacity for up to 50 people [Mobile Mosque Executive Committee via AP]

Muslims are given due consideration when it comes to performance of their religious rituals. As Japan prepares to host visitors from around the world for the 2020 Summer Olympics, a Tokyo sports and cultural events company has created a mosque on wheels that its head hopes will make Muslim visitors feel at home. Sakaguchi, the representative director of an Osaka retail company says, "Going forward, I would be so happy if people from Indonesia, Malaysia, Africa, the Middle East and, for example, refugees who are coming from Syria are able to use the mosque as a tool to promote world peace." [6]

However, living in Japan as a foreigner and as a Muslims has its own problems. The main problem arises when one is seen as a non-Japanese, which something instantly known due sharp contrast between the physical appearance. In fact foreigners are known as "gaijin or gaikokujin," literally “people from the outside.” And when it comes to religion, Japanese Christians and Muslims are to a degree seen as somewhat 'different' as they subscribe to what are widely perceived as being foreign ideas. There are many more traditional people who would say that their views make them rather less Japanese. In fact in Japan, one is either Japanese or they are not. [5]

Due to small space available in most of the mosques, the space cramps are felt during larger congregations like during the Ramadan and Eid festivals. “We had to hold the prayers four separate times so all the people lining up could fit in,” explains Haroon Qureshi, secretary-general of the mosque’s Japan Islamic Trust organization. “There must have been 1,000 people waiting to pray.” [4]

The fears over Muslims' presence in the wake of Islamophobia is yet another concern for the Muslims. Although, Islamic terrorism represents no domestic threat in Japan today, and never has in the past, many Muslims feel that while performing their religious rituals in congregations, a cloud hangs over their celebrations and it seems that they are constantly under the ever-watchful eyes of the police. Qureshi, like almost all of Japan’s roughly 100,000 Muslim residents, is no stranger to police surveillance. However, the true extent of the systematic profiling and surveillance of Japan’s Muslim community only came to light in 2010, when over 100 internal Metropolitan Police Department documents were leaked on line. The leak revealed that the police had compiled detailed profiles on 72,000 Muslims and their including personal information. The leak also showed that police had at times planted cameras inside mosques and used undercover agents to infiltrate Islamic nonprofit organizations and halal grocers and restaurants. [4]

Junko Hayashi, 37, a Japanese Muslim who converted to Islam in 2001, has also become the country’s first female Muslim lawyer. Commenting on the leaked police surveillance of Muslims, Hayashi argues “If somebody did something wrong, did something suspicious, then the police have a good reason to watch them. But when you are just being Muslims — acting like a Muslim — it doesn't make sense.” 

A Japanese convert to Islam, who asked that his real name not be used, says that when intelligence officers started regularly visiting him shortly after the 9/11 attacks, he was courteous. “They would come to me at home or at the mosque,” he recalls. “I didn't want to be misunderstood, for them to think I am against them, so I always gave them my time. They always asked me very simple questions about Islam, and eventually I told them they were just wasting time. “There are better ways to use the citizens’ tax money,” he adds with a laugh. He was among those listed in the leaked documents, and was one of the 17 Muslims who took the government to court over the spying.

Herein under watch the video on how ordinary Japanese think about Islam and Muslims:
As can be seen from the video, the general perception about the Muslims is very positive. We do hope, with no case of Muslim terrorism ever taken place in Japan, the life of Muslims in Japan will come to an ease as Japanese authorities start to understand the very peaceful Muslim community of their country.

Photo - Tokyo Camii (mosque) in Yoyogi, Tokyo -(photo contributed by Research Associate Hirofumi Okai) [2]
References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |
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