Quest and Conquest

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The spirit that Prophet Muhammad (sa) came to instil was for one to take the flag of Islam and march forward. What is the quest of the Muslims? It is to attain salvation, gain the pleasure of Allah (swt) and follow the Messenger (sa). This quest is of the hearts and minds, thus, it is more significant than any military quest.

The Prophet (sa) enabled his companions to liberate themselves from the shackles of social pressure. Prior to Islam, the Arabs were enslaved by the Quraish. Psychological enslavement of humans always begins with the enslavement of the mind, when one carries a self-defeating attitude and suffers from inferiority complex.

Allah (swt) commanded the Prophet (sa): “O you (Muhammad (sa)) enveloped (in garments)! Arise and warn! And your Lord (Allah) magnify!” (Al-Muddathir 74:1-3)

Allah (swt) inspired the Prophet (sa) to take the people out of the enslavement of other people and connect them to the Creator. This is where freedom of body and mind lied. How did this journey begin?

When the Prophet (sa) received through Jibreel the first five verses of Surah Al-Alaq, commanding him to read in the name of his Lord, he got confused and ran to Khadijah (rtaf). Being a loving and trusting spouse, she assured the Messenger (sa) that Allah (swt) will never wrong him, as he used to stand for the truth and was considered to be the best man in the city. Khadija (rtaf) led him to Waraqa bin Nawfal, her uncle, who was a wise man and well-versed in the earlier scriptures. He perceived what was to come and informed the Prophet (sa) that he would be driven out of his home town, because he would challenge the socio-political status quo of the Quraish

A similar scene was sketched hundreds of years ago, when Allah (swt) brought Musa (as) to be nurtured in the palace of the Pharaoh. When Musa (as) was prepared for his mission, he looked at the Pharaoh in the eye and told him that he was a transgressor and doing wrong.

A common man from Banu Israel could not even have dreamed of demonstrating such courage. They were slaves. We always fear lack of experience or understanding. Musa (as) had nothing to fear, as by growing up in the palace, he knew the shortfalls of the Pharaoh’s system. He was not in awe of the Pharaoh and thus, he acted with confidence. Hence, Musa’s (as) quest began by liberating the suppressed slaves. He revealed to them that the Pharaoh was nothing compared to the power and grandeur of Allah (swt), Who had more right to their submission. Here began the quest, and the conquest followed soon after.

What was so magnificent about the Prophet’s (sa) companions and other early Muslims, which made them reach every known part of the world and enforce Islam? They conquered the Byzantines, the Persians, the Indians (through Muhammad bin Qasim), the Spaniards (through Tariq bin Ziyad) and the Chinese. The Islamic state was enormous in size – larger than what Alexander had conquered.

They were not super humans. They were simple Arabs. Rabiya bin Amir, a Bedouin clad in sheepskins, addressed Rustum, a king in silk and jewels. Allah’s (swt) soldier, commanding an army of merely 8,000, invited Rustum with a formidable army of 150,000 to embrace Islam. When asked by Rustum why he was there, Rabiya answered: To liberate your people from humans and give them into the enslavement of Allah (swt). Why didn’t the pomp and power of Rustum penetrate the heart of Rabiya?

No firm conclusions can be drawn over how Muslim conquests came so fast. In some cases, historians (Muslims and non-Muslims) believe that due to the tolerant nature of the Islamic rule, disbelievers preferred to take shelter with them. While Europe was facing the dark ages, Christians and Jews ran to Muslim lands to seek asylum.

In the final sermon, our beloved Prophet (sa) asked all 1,24,000 believers: “Have I delivered?” They all confirmed in unison. He then pointed towards the sky, addressing Allah (swt): “Bear witness, O Allah (swt), that I have delivered.” Then, he commanded the Muslims to go and deliver the message to the rest of the people. It was this spirit and sense of purpose that drove them. The Ashab-e-Rasool heard the Messenger (sa) and obeyed him until death.

Imagine the Sahabahs who had it drilled in their heads: Don’t just drink camel milk; eat dates and die; rise and take the message of Allah (swt) to the rest of the world! How come less than 10% of the companions died in Hijaz? Didn’t they know the merits awarded for prayers in Masjid-ul-Haram (1 Salah equivalent to 100,000 prayers), in Masjid-e-Nabwi (1 Salah equivalent to 1,000 prayers) and in Masjid-ul-Aqsa (1 Salah equivalent to 500 prayers)? Didn’t they have families or businesses? Then what was it that drove them out to conquer the world with limited capacity and scarce resources? Where did they all die? If you visit their graves, you will discover that Abu Ayub Ansari (rtam) is buried in Istanbul, Abu Ubaidah ibn Jarrah (rtam) is resting in Jordan, Zaid bin Harithah (rtam) is buried in Jordan, etc.

The single common thing among all companions was the Quran. This book was recited to them day and night. Umar bin Khattab (rtam) states that they were a disgraced nation; it was this Quran that bestowed honour upon them. They submitted to Allah (swt) alone and Allah (swt) freed them. No oppressor or tyrant was able to control them.

The quest of Muslim lies in liberating the minds and understanding the Quran. The Quran speaks for itself. If we, with all our iphones, ipads, TVs and jets, cannot reap results today, who can?

Today, Muslims collectively suffer from perpetual enslavement. We have the same Quran and its powerful message with us. However, we differ from the early Muslims in our understanding and application of the Quran. If the Quran could have such a deep impact on that generation, why doesn’t it work for 1.5 billion Muslims today? Simple! We think of ourselves as inferior beings. We choose to believe that we are slaves of the West -.we look up to them, we run after them and we obey them. The West is no different from the Quraish. They look down upon all and do not like to reason with anyone. However, we allow these social and cultural pressures to be imposed upon us. We do not have leaders; we have only beggars.

Learn your magnificent history! In the golden Andalusian period of the Shariah law, non-Muslims used to run to the Muslim lands for refuge. A Christian author George Maqdeesi writes that the present-day western university has been derived from the Islamic Madrassah model of Spain. In those Madrassahs, students learnt philosophy, Ahadeeth, Mantaq, Fiqh, chemistry, physics, mathematics, etc. Do our Madrassahs look like this today?

The reason the Sahabahs didn’t care for the riches of the world or fear any rulers of the time was because they were mentally liberated. For them, the quest began at home. They submerged themselves into the Kalamullah – the Quran, the finely mathematically tuned order of the universe.

The Quran is your quest, too. The command of the Prophet (sa) was as much for the companions as it is for me and you. The Quran is no joke. It is serious. Learn it. Act upon it. Intertwine Islamic and secular sciences. Gather material strength, and produce power and capacity within yourself to establish justice and peace in the world. Embark u[on the quest. By Allah (swt), everything will change – we will overcome all.

Based on the “Rise with Faith” conference organized by “LiveDeen”. Transcribed for Hiba by Rana Rais Khan.

Confronting Atheism with Evidence

Confronting Atheism with Evidence

By Rana Rais Khan – Editor, Hiba Magazine

And we fathomed Pakistan was a safe haven to keep our Muslim identities intact. Are we naïve or want to bury our heads in the sand? And you may question, where is it happening? Well, right here under our noses in many top educational institutions, which have regretfully become breeding grounds for disobedience to Allah (swt). Also in the cyberspace with its uncensored and unstoppable access to all kinds of warped ideologies for everyone with unclear and fragile beliefs. Denial of God exists.

Brother Adnan Rashid, a senior researcher at the “Hittin Institute”, U.K., who specializes in Islamic studies and comparative religion, was invited by “LiveDeen”. On a very short notice, a four hour intensive workshop on Dawah was organized at a centrally located hotel of Karachi. In spite of an exhaustive schedule of delivering talks at the city’s top tier universities, brother Adnan made time to address this critically growing and disturbing issue around the globe – Does a Creator exist?

He urged all Muslims to train themselves for tackling Atheism rationally, instead of waiting to earn a degree from the Madinah university. In his words: “If you know it, understand it, then deliver it.” Those of you, who wish to master the skill of Dawah, visit: www.iera.org.uk

“Invite (mankind, O Muhammad (sa)) to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islam) with wisdom (i.e. with the Divine Inspiration and the Qur’an) and fair preaching…” (An-Nahl, 16:125)

Preceding the Hajj, Muhammad (sa) held Allah (swt) as a witness that he had delivered the message to mankind. The 100,000 men and women present at the sermon also served as a witness and agreed in unison that our beloved Prophet (sa) had fulfilled his commitment. He asked them to deliver Dawah to those, who were not present and for generations to come, until the Hour occurs. Well, brothers and sisters, as Muslims you and I carry that responsibility upon our shoulders today.

For selfish reasons, because our dear ones are as vulnerable as any stranger on the street. For selfless reasons, because people are heading towards a pit of fire, and we can’t sit and watch them take the plunge. As devout Muslims, we believe that Allah (swt) exists. But to prove this we need to present our case with rationality, intellect and in a robust manner. Here is the strategy brother Adnan offers briefly:

  1. Cosmological argument.
  2. Theological/design argument.
  3. Argument based on morality.
  1. Cosmological Argument.

We consider Allah (swt) as Rab-ul-Alimin. According to some Tafaseer (commentaries) it means Creator of all that exists other than Allah (swt). For the universe to come into existence there could be three plausible theories:

a) either the universe came about by itself,

b) or the universe created itself,

c) or it was created.

If we take into account the first explanation that the universe came into existence instantaneously, it means there was nothing before it. Can nothing produce anything? If you have nothing in your pocket and you draw your hand out, will you have anything in your hand or will you still have nothing? Then how could nothing create anything? It means the universe didn’t happen to exist suddenly.

Now, let’s consider option two that the universe created itself. Again, in order to create itself, the universe needs to exist in the first place, which it didn’t. This argument is paradoxical.

This leads us to take into account the last option that the universe was created by someone. This is the only logical explanation that a sound mind can accept. ‘Kun fa ya kun’ or ‘Be.’ This is all it took the Lord to create the universe.

  1. Theological / Design Argument.

Whether we cast a brief glance or a deeper look at the environment around us, the precision, with which physical laws govern the universe, is spellbinding. There is sophisticated design in the universe.

This design ensures the presence of a designer. How could the Quran have explained numerous Ayahs with exact details pertaining to the universe, whereas the Astrophysists can only speculate as they have no tools to measure, what is out there today.

The Quran explains that the supernatural does exist – whether it was the birth of Adam and Hawa (as), the parting of the Dead Sea by Musa (as) or the virgin birth of Isa (as). The evidence is overwhelming.

  1. Argument Based on Morality.

Who will decide what is moral today? Man? Well, then we are in for many surprises. Man changes his stance every now and then, according to what is suitable to him. Homosexuality was a crime in Europe earlier. Today it is a celebrated virtue. Man’s morality is objective, whereas the Creator’s morality transcends subjectivity – it does not alter with time and preferences.

Richard Dawkins in his bestseller titled “The God Delusion” attributes all evils to religion. Hamza Andreas Tzortzis attempted to respond to Dawkin’s central arguments and arguments that the philosophers consider to be his best.

He puts forth convincingly: “War and conflict are not religious monopolies; rather, they are human phenomena and not unique to religion.” Historians record the earlier century to be one of the Godless eras of civilization that brought upon humanity the following wrath in terms of genocide, killings and sufferings, etc.:

  • 70,000,000 under Chairman Mao
  • 20,000,000 under Stalin
  • 2,000,000 no longer exist because of Pol Pot
  • 7,000,000 innocent Iraqi’s under current occupation
  • 5,000,000 Iraqi children in the 10 year sanctions

Those, who depend on scientific theories, must understand that science keeps shifting poles, because its scope is limited. But the Quran is based on established reality. It is wrong to state that the Quran agrees with science. We should accept the Word of God to be true, as it indicates many scientific phenomena around us. Quran does not depend on science to prove its authenticity.

The parchment showcased in St. Petersburg (Russia) of a copy of the Quran of Usman (rta) can be matched with the Quran resting in your shelf. It will, Insha’Allah, be exactly alike. For those who wish to explore further please visit www.islamic-awareness.org.

Hamza states: “Intellectual gymnastics – no matter how truthful – seldom convince others, so I thought it best to allow the expression of God – the Quran – to have the final say: ‘Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, and the ships which sail through the sea with that which is of use to mankind, and the water (rain) which Allah sends down from the sky and makes the earth alive therewith after its death, and the moving (living) creatures of all kinds that He has scattered therein, and in the veering of winds and clouds which are held between the sky and the earth, are indeed Ayat (signs) for people of understanding.’” (Al-Baqarah, 2:164)

Should more be said? I think not.

About “LiveDeen”

In 2011, a group of brothers, with a passion to help the Ummah, founded “LiveDeen” – a non-profit project with an up-to-the-minute concept of lectureshops; a combination of workshops and live lectures of international speakers broadcasted via hi-technology video conferencing tools. Their main aim is to bridge the gap between the English-speaking strata of the society and Deen. To date, “LiveDeen” has conducted multiple lectureshops along with one full day conference.

Contact Details:

www.livedeen.com

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Ameer “LiveDeen”: Nouman Idrees Sheikh (0300-863-7735)