Importance Of Ethics And Values In Islamic Civilization

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Ragib Al-Sarjani
Language: English | Format: PDF | Pages: 103 | Size: 5 MB

Human rights in Islamic civilization

Introduction

Western philosopher Nietzsche says: «The weak and failures should perish: first principle of our love of humanity. And they should be helped to do this»[1]! But the philosophy of Islam and its law have never deviated from the values and ethics, which were represented in a set of rights that included all human beings without distinction between colors, races or languages, and also included the human behavior in dealing with each other. These values and ethics were also represented in maintaining and applying these rights with the authority of Islamic law and imposing sanctions upon offenders.

Islam’s view for humans

Islam treats man with honor and esteem out of Allah›s saying: {We have honored the sons of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favors, above a great part of our creation.}[Al-Isra: 70]. This view gives special characteristics and features for human rights in Islam. The most important feature is the comprehensiveness of these rights.These rights include political, economic, social and intellectual rights. They are also common for Muslims and non-Muslims without distinction between colors, races or languages. They are not subject to cancellation or change, as they are linked to the teachings of the Lord of the worlds.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) reported this in his farewell address, which was a comprehensive report on human rights, as he said: «… No doubt, your blood and your properties are sacred to one another like the sanctity of this day of yours, in this month of yours, in this town of yours, till the day you meet your Lord..[2]». This prophetic address asserted a set of rights, the most important of which is the sanctity of blood, money, honor, and others.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also magnified the human psyche in general, preserving its greatest right, namely the right to life. Asked about great sins, he (peace be upon him) said: «Polytheism and killing a soul…[3]». The word soul was generalized to include any soul killed without right.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) went further as he ordered man to preserve his own life by prohibiting suicide. He (peace be upon him) said: «Whoever purposely throws himself from a mountain and kills himself, will be in the (Hell) Fire falling down into it and abiding therein perpetually forever; and whoever drinks poison and kills himself with it, he will be carrying his poison in his hand and drinking it in the (Hell) Fire wherein he will abide eternally forever; and whoever kills himself with an iron weapon, will be carrying that weapon in his hand and stabbing his abdomen with it in the (Hell) Fire wherein he will abide eternally forever.»[4]

Islam prohibits any action that diminishes the right to life, whether through intimidation, insult, or beating. Hisham ibn Hakim said he heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him saying: «Allah would torment those who torment people in the world.»[5]

Equality among people

After honoring man in general and stipulating the sanctity of blood, honor and money, and the right to life, the Prophet (peace be upon him) emphasized the right of equality among all people; between individuals and groups, between races and peoples, between rulers and the ruled, and between governors and the governed. So, there are no restrictions or exceptions; no difference in legislation between Arabs and non-Arabs, or between white and black, or between rulers and the ruled. Rather, people are differentiated according to piety. He (peace be upon him) said: «O people! Verily your Lord is one and your father is one. All of you belong to one ancestry of Adam, and Adam was created out of clay. Verily the noblest among you in Allah›s view is he who is the most pious. There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab except in piety.»[6]Let›s look at how the Prophet handled the principle of equality in order to realize his greatness. Abu Umamah reported: Abu Dhar taunted Bilal about his mother and said: You son of a black woman. Bilal went to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and told him the story. The Prophet got angry. Abu Dhar came and did not know what happened. The Prophet turned his face away from Abu Dhar. Abu Dhar said: There should be something that made you turn your face away from me. The Prophet said: «Are you taunting Bilal about his mother?»and then said: «By the One Who revealed the book to Muhammad – or any other oath he wanted, God willing – one is not preferred to another except by work. You are all equal.»[7]

Justice in Islam

Another right is linked to the right to equality, namely the right to justice. One of the masterpieces in this regard is the Prophet›s saying to Usama ibn Zayd when the latter wanted to intercede for the Makhzumi woman who had committed theft: «By Allah, if Fatima, daughter of Muhammad, were to steal, I would have her hand cut off.»[8]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also banned the confiscation of one›s right to self-defense in order to observe justice. He says: «… no doubt, for he (the creditor) has the right to demand his debt (harshly)….»[9]. He says to those who take over governance and judiciary: «…When two litigants sit in front of you, do not decide till you hear what the other has to say as you heard what the first had to say; for it is best that you should have a clear idea of the best decision.»[10]

Right to sufficiency in Islam

The right to sufficiency is a unique right stipulated in the Islamic law. It was not stipulated in any positive system or a human rights charter before. The right to sufficiency means that everyone shall live within the confines of the Islamic state on the adequate needs of life, on condition that he shall lead a decent life, having appropriate standards of living. This right is different from the bare subsistence level stipulated in positive systems, which means the minimum limit that maintains life.[11]

The right to sufficiency is achieved through work. If one is unable to do this, Zakat (alms) can do it; and if Zakat is unable to pay to the poor, the state budget shall pay. The Prophet (peace be upon him) expressed this when he said: «…he who left behind property that is for his family, and he who dies under debt or leaves children (in helplessness), the responsibility (of paying his debt and bringing up his children) lies on me.»[1212]He asserted this right when he said: «The one who sleeps with a full stomach knowing that his neighbor is hungry doesn’t believe in me.»[13]Lauding Ash›arites, he (peace be upon him) said: «When the Ash›arites run short of provisions in the campaigns or run short of food for their children in Medina they collect whatever is with them in the cloth and then partake equally from one vessel. They are from me and I am from them.»[14] Continue reading

Dajjal: The Judeo-Christian ‘Civilization’!

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Mohammad Bayazeed Khan Panni
Language: English | Format: PDF | Pages: 150 | Size: 1 MB

Over the last thousand and four hundred years, the coming of the one-eyed giant, the Dajjal, has remained the topic of numerous discussions and debates in Moslem households all over the world. However, the actual understanding of this enigmatic phenomenon remains as elusive to us as it was to the Companions of the Messenger of Allah so many centuries ago. It all began when Mohammad (s.a.s), the final and the greatest Messenger of Allah, told about the arrival of a giant on earth during the later time (Akheri Zamana), an event he has referred to as the greatest ever in the life of mankind.

To give his people, his ‘Ummah’, both of his time and of the future, a better idea and understanding of this fearsome entity, he has described in great detail what it, the Dajjal, would look like, its activities in this world, what tremendous power it would yield over the world and the destiny of Man and he talked of its demand to be accepted as the lord or ‘rub’ of mankind. He has called this character the ‘Dajjal’, an Arabic word used to describe something or someone deceptive, something very attractive to look at, but is actually despicable a dazzling impostor. The Messenger of Allah has also said that this giant would have sight in one eye only, the other would be blind. Common sense tells us, it can be no living being, for its vehicle is to have one foot in the east and the other in the west, see and hear what is said in a whisper on the other side of the world, and so forth. Among the thousands of ‘Hadis’ or Hadis s attributed to the Messenger of Allah, those concerning the Dajjal occupy a position of great import and significance, deemed as it has been as the gravest danger to ever face mankind. The Hadis regarding the Dajjal are as thought provoking as they are frightening since they speak of a giant that will see with only one eye yet have the power to bring the whole world under its control and in so doing lead a great number of people astray. In one such Hadis, the Messenger of Allah has stated ‘From the Creation of Adam to the Judgment Day, there is no other event as grave and alarming the as the Dajjal.’1 He goes on to state that- ‘There has been no Messenger from the time of Noah (a.s.) who has not warned his followers about the Dajjal.’ 2 And to further stress on its importance, and as an after thought the Messenger of Allah himself sought refuge with Allah from the malaise of the Dajjal.3

So how concerned are we about the colossal import of a situation the Messenger has deemed as the gravest occurrence from the beginning to the end of time, about something all Messengers from the time of Noah (a.s.) have warned their followers about, regarding a matter our Messenger himself sought refuge from? It goes without saying that far from being concerned about it, we are yet to realize that the Dajjal’s birth took place 472 years ago, and having passed its infancy and childhood it is now an adult that has the entire world including its ‘Moslem’ population laying prostrate at its feet!

The reason for this ignorance remains the fact that during the last few centuries we were colonized by the European Christian forces, the method of education they imposed on us has been one that has taken us far away from the true faith of Eslam. The result of which has been that this nation can accurately recall how long it took Hannibal to cross the Alps with his army or recite without mistake from Shakespeare, but is totally in the dark as regards to what the Messenger of Allah has stressed to be the most important event in the history of this world. The small portion of this populace which is actively involved in the study of the Qur’an and the Hadis too have neglected it to oblivion. With their shortsighted and narrow vision, these people are waiting for the literal transformation of the Messenger’s prophecy where he informs of the emergence of a huge one-eyed giant astride a colossal mount and of its tyrannical rule. They have accepted these Hadis in their literal aspect only, neither spending their time nor their effort in trying to see beyond the mere words, to try and gauge why this should be the single most grave, influential and frightening event throughout the world’s history. These people devote far more time on details regarding wadu (ablution), meswak (cleaning teeth), kuluk (using sponge) and other trivial issues than they think about the Dajjal or its significance!

Like others, I too was waiting for a huge one-eyed giant and to hear its proclamation to be the lord and ruler of mankind!

However, the first time I realized that it would not be the case was when I read Muhammad Assad’s book “Road to Mecca”. Muhammad Assad was born as Leopold Weiss into an Austrian Jewish family and converted to Din-ul-Eslam in his youth. It is in this beautiful writing that he first hinted at the idea of the Western civilization being the Dajjal prophesied fourteen centuries ago by the last Messenger of Allah. However he has not elaborated on this issue. It was in the late 50’s or early 60’s that I read this book and from then onwards, the more I thought about it, the clearer it has become to me that his idea is indeed correct. For the Messenger of Allah to give the mostly illiterate Arabs of fourteen hundred years ago a correct and comprehensive picture of a civilization based on today’s technological advancement was next to impossible. Therefore, he did so through a series of allegorical references which exactly match the description of the western civilization of our time.

Everything we know about the Dajjal is derived from the Messenger’s ‘Hadis’ or tradition i.e. words or actions of the Messenger himself, also action of others, he approved or disapproved of. As we all know, Hadis are classified into several groups, among which three are prominent, namely the ‘sahih’ or correct; ‘hassan’ which are also true but not as accurately related as the former and thirdly ‘daif’ or weak, poor Hadis s, some of which are nevertheless accepted when corroborated. Besides these, there are also ‘gharib’, ‘munkar’, ‘maruf’ etc. divisions. During the rigorous process of collecting and verifying true Hadis, many false statements earlier deemed as correct Hadis have been rejected, while some of the true ones have also been omitted due to the fact that they could not be unbrokenly traced back to the Messenger of Allah himself. In order to get a complete and comprehensive idea about any subject broached in the Hadis, it is necessary to study all Hadis regarding it, notwithstanding the fact whether they are accepted without any doubt or rejected outright. Similar has been my method in collecting all relevant data about the Dajjal; however the ones quoted here are almost all Sahih or correct Hadis and those remained the basic platform of this research.

I have categorized all Hadis regarding the Dajjal into two groups. One part containing predictions related to its importance and gravity, the other concerning its identification. From the first group of the Hadis we are able to derive why the emergence of Dajjal occupies a more important stance than the deluge of Nooh’s (a.s.) (Noah) time and why it is graver than the world wars. In the second group of Hadis the Messenger of Allah has related to us some definite signs through which we should be able to correctly identify the Dajjal as what it is and thus resist and reject the influence of the Dajjal. The almost complete lack of education and the total absence of technology could have prevented the people of the then Arabia in understanding the concept of the Dajjal, however, today, when almost every one of the allegories used to describe the Dajjal by the Messenger have been reflected in the mirror of the western society, how close are we in correctly interpreting and identifying it as the self-same “Masih-al-kazzab,” the Dajjal? Unfortunately far from resisting or rejecting it, we, the so- called Moslems of this world, have it in front of our very eyes and yet are not only unable to recognize it for its true self, but have accepted it as our lord, master and have submitted to it.

Let us start with the name, with which the Messenger has introduced us to it, the Dajjal- which is not actually a name, in the sense that it is more of a description than a proper name; like that of Emam Mahdi (a.s) who will have a separate personal name but is known to us as Al-Mahdi or ‘the rightly guided one’ who will appear in the later times to guide mankind to true Guidance, the right path. Similarly, the Dajjal is not a name in the proper sense as an adjective. The literal meaning of the word “Dajjal” is that of an attractive impostor, beautiful outside but dark and ugly inside, a cheat a deceiver and a liar. Is not this statement true of the technologically advanced western civilization which dazzles the beholder with fantastic achievements on the one hand yet due to its absolute detachment from God in their collective lives, society is rife with injustices, crimes and sins of every kind? This ‘civilization’ has been responsible for the deaths of 14 million human lives in course of the two world wars and another 20 million people in different wars and skirmishes ever since. The number of people disabled from these would be at least double of the dead; countless more have been displaced and rendered homeless. It does not end there- injustices and cruelty on a personal and collective level, murders, thefts, rapes, kidnappings go on unabated and it is for these that the western civilization is the dazzling, attractive impostor. Continue reading

Toward The Light

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Imam Hassan Al Banna
Language: English | Format: PDF | Pages: 14 | Size: 1 MB

The most dangerous period in the life of a nation, and the most deserving of critical study, is the period of transition from one situation to another. It is then that plans for the new period are laid and its guiding principles and policies are drawn up, according to which, the nation will be formed and towhich it will adhere. If these plans, principles, and policies are clear cut, sound, and solid, then announce for this nation of a long and extended life, of prosperous and flourishing work. Inform them of success and give them glad tidings of a great reward, eternal fame, the just verdict of history, and a good reputation.

This important task poses two conditions: The first is to liberate the nation from its political bonds so that it may obtain its freedom and regain its lost independence and sovereignty. The second is its reconstruction, so that it may follow its own path among other nations and compete with them in its progress toward social perfection. For the time being, the political struggle has come to a halt, and you, along with the nation, are facing a new period. You will now see two ways before you, each one urging you to turn the nation in its direction and to follow its path . Each has its particular characteristics, its distinguishing features, its effects, its results, its advocates and its promoters. The first is the way of Islam and its principles, its rules, its culture and its civilization; the second is the way of the West and the outward aspects of its life, its organization and its methods. It is our belief that the first way, the way of Islam, its principles and rules, is the only way which ought to be followed, and towards which the present and future nation should direct itself.

If we take the nation along this path, we shall be able to obtain many benefits, among them is the Islamic methodology which has already been experienced and history has testified as to its soundness. It has produced for the benefit of mankind a nation, most powerful and virtuous, most merciful, and righteous, blessed above all other nations. It possesses a sanctity and stability in the minds of men which makes it easy for all to adopt and understand, to respond to, as well as to adhere to, once they are properly oriented to it. Add to that national self esteem and sincere patriotism. For then we will construct our lives on our own rules and principles, taking nothing from others. Herein lie the highest ideals of a social and active independence, after political independence.

To take this course, will firstly mean a strengthening of Arab unity, and secondly, a strengthening of Islamic unity. The entire Islamic world will support with its heart and soul. They will see us as Brothers, and we will stand behind and support each other. And herein lies a great moral advantage which no intelligent person will shun.

This course is complete and comprehensive, and guarantees a nation the best system of organization for public life, both practical and spiritual. This is the advantage that distinguishes Islam, for it bases the organization of the life of a nation on two important pillars: the adherence to good, and the avoidance of that which is harmful. Continue reading

How Similar Is Today To Yesterday

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Dr. Raghib As-Sirjani
Language: English | Format: PDF | Pages: 39 | Size: 1 MB

In the previous lectures, we spoke about the story of the Tattār from the beginning until [the battle of] ‘Ayn Jālūt. We mentioned details from it, and we omitted others. And what we omitted was only due to the lack of time and out of fear of being lengthy. Otherwise, my brothers and sisters, the story truly requires multiples of [the time it was given] so that it may be analyzed with care and studied with precision. But, after this story, we must pause. We did not narrate this story solely for the purpose of chronicling the events of the Earth that have passed. Nor for the sake of speculation and analysis, without concern or pause. We narrated the story, as we mentioned in the beginning of the lectures, as a lesson, to ponder over it, to benefit. We narrated the story to read into the future. Subhān Allāh, how similar is today to yesterday!

How similar is the fall of Baghdād under the feet of the Americans to the fall of Baghdād under the feet of the Tattār. How similar are the Muslims in the time of the Tattār to the Muslims of today. How similar are the rulers of the Muslims in the time of the Tattār to the rulers of the Muslims today. How similar are the Tattār to the Americans. How similar are the allies of the Tattār to the allies of the Americans. A picture of history that has repeated itself in a strange way. And the examples of such a picture are many throughout history, but we will tie this story to our present reality. And if we wanted to speak about other pictures in areas of Islāmic history specifically or areas of human history generally, we will find that many of the pictures can be compared with our present reality now.

And look at the closeness of the first fall of Baghdād to the second fall of Baghdād. The Tattār appeared suddenly on the stage of [world] events, exactly just as the Americans appeared. A nation without a history. It was established through looting and plundering. The Tattār killed millions of innocent people so that they may establish their nation upon the skulls of mankind, and so that their civilization – if it can be called civilization – may drink from the blood of millions, from the blood of the oppressed. The Americans did likewise. The Americans killed hundreds of thousands, rather millions, from the Native Americans, so they could establish a nation for themselves. They plundered the resources of others and established what they also call their civilization, also upon the torn-off limbs and skulls of the original inhabitants. And the days passed, and the Americans became [the dominant force] on the earth, exactly as the Tattār did. And they could never accept another, and implanted oppression and subjugation and violence on the Earth, with their continued claim that they did not come except to spread justice and freedom and security amongst the people. This is what the Tattār did, and this is what the Americans do.

How similar is the Tattār’s table of negotiations to the Americans’ table of negotiations. Covenants with no conscience. Agreements and no trust. Empty words spoken into the air, to pacify the people for a time, and to fool people for a time. The determination to break the covenant is concealed before the entering into the covenant, and the intention is made before the meeting to defame the other side. Continue reading

The Moral Foundations Of Islamic Culture

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Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips
Language: English | Format: PDF | Pages: 117 | Size: 1.5 MB

It is important to understand Islaam from a cultural point of view because the basis of much of the current turmoil within Muslim countries and conflict with their neighbors can be attributed to cultural clashes. Consequently, a clear understanding of culture and its derivatives is necessary to comprehend the relevance of Islaam to the civilization of Muslim peoples in the twentieth century and beyond. The word “culture” comes from the Latin cultura which is a derivative of the verb colere meaning “tending” or “cultivation.” It was first recorded in the Oxford Dictionary of English in 1510 as meaning: “training of the mind” or “manners.” However, culture in anthropological usage, may be defined as “the way of life of specific group.”

“Basically, the idea of culture arises from the observation that what human beings do and what they refrain from doing is, in part, a consequence of being brought up in one group as opposed to another. People have a social heredity as well as a biological heredity.” Biological heredity represents practices common to all human societies, like, sleep, marriage, care for children and smiling, while social heredity refers to customs which usually vary from one society to the next. A simple definition of culture would then be ‘the man-made part of the human environment.’ “Members of the human species are trained in the family and in their education, formal and informal, to behave in ways that are conventional and fixed by tradition.”

The culture of most of the world today is that of Western Europe and America. It was exported to the remainder of the world during the period of European colonization and continued during the neo-colonial era by way of indirect rule. In the twentieth century Western culture has been promoted on a massive scale through the far-reaching effects of the media. Today, it is not surprising to find in the pages of National Geographic pictures of South American Indian youths in loin cloth in the middle of the Amazon wearing baseball caps with a Nike logo or Mongolian horsemen in the middle of the Gobi Desert wearing striped Adidas sweat pants and Rebok trainers. Western culture now represents the dominant cultural influence in most countries, both non-Muslim and Muslim. And it is the natural conflict that arises from the clash of cultures, which dominate the social and political policies in both the West and the East. Harvard University Professor, Samuel P. Huntington summed up the essential issues of the cultural clash in his following observation.

“The underlying problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power. The problem for Islam is not CIA or the U.S. department of defense. It is the West, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the universality of their culture and believe that their superior, if declining, power imposes on them the obligation to impose that culture throughout the world. These are the basic ingredients that fuel conflict between Islam and the West.” Continue reading