Message for Muslims in the West

 

 

By Maulana Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (Rahmatullahi Alayh). Summary of a speech delivered in Urdu at Tabligh Markaz, Dewsbury in 1982.

Your warm reception and friendliness is a source of great happiness for me. If I do not respect your wishes and express my inner feelings, I would be most ungrateful. If I desire, I could shower you with praises, for Almighty Allah has bestowed me with an abundance of vocabulary, but I would not be fulfilling the right of friendship.

As you are aware, the Prophet Sallallaho Alahi Wasallam had a burning desire to invite humanity to accept Islam. Despite 13 years of untiring effort in Makkatul Mukarramah and 7 years in Madinatul Munawwarah, there was no large scale conversion of non-Muslims into Islam. However, between 7 AH and 10 AH, after Fateh Makkah until the Prophet’s demise, there was such an influx of people entering into Islam as was not witnessed in the preceding 20 years.

Imam Zuhri Rahmatullahi Alayh, an eminent Muhaddith and Tabee, expresses surprise on this sea change, with so many people embracing Islam in a matter of just 3 years. He along with other distinguished Muhaddith have commented that this large scale conversion was due to non-Muslims having an opportunity, for the first time, to observe and intermingle with Muslims, witnessing their honesty, fair dealing, compassion, and their sole reliance on Almighty Allah. This left such a deep and profound impression on non-Muslims that thousands entered into the fold of Islam within a relatively short period of time.

This incident also contains abundant lessons on how Muslims should live in this country. Their conduct should be so sublime and captivating that whosoever sees us accepts Islam. Whosoever sits with us should be inclined towards Islam. There should be no need to convince anyone to accept the Truth.

Therefore, in this country, if you wish to live peacefully and have an opportunity to present Islam to the host community, you will need to inculcate and manifest sterling qualities “ not just inside the Mosques“ but also outside in the streets, in the markets, in your daily activities, and at home. A life of Taqwah will immediately attract non-Muslims towards Islam.

As an ordinary student of Islam it is my religious responsibility to warn you. If you do not lead an upright life, if you continue to live an insular lifestyle, and if you fail to manifest the beauty of Islam to non-Muslims, then you face some real dangers. In such a case, there is no reason for you to feel content and secure in this country. If ever the fire of race, religion or nationalism rages here, then you will not be saved. In Spain, there were Mosques a hundred times more beautiful than yours. So do not feel content and self-satisfied. As an ordinary student of religion, I would wish to express my joy and happiness at this wonderful new Mosque. But how shall I congratulate you on your achievement when the words of congratulation are self-evident on the walls. How better can I compliment you?

Others may not speak to you as plainly, but remember the glorious Masjid-e-Cordova still stands in Spain. Iqbal so eloquently reminisces the great legacy of Islamic Spain in his famous poem Masjid-e-Qurtaba. In Islamic Spain there were such brilliant Mosques, celebrated Madressahs, famous scholars, for instance Shaykh-e-Akbar, Ibne Hazm, Qurtubi, Shatbi – and how many others shall I mention? However, when the flames of religious sectarianism raged, then the Mosques and Madressahs became deserted. Once Islamic Spain boasted such magnificent structures, distinguished educational centres, and a refined culture and society. Regrettably the Muslims, despite such a high standard of living, did not draw the native non-Muslims of that country to see the Truth of Islam, to warn them of the dangers of disbelief, with the result that religious subsequently consumed Muslims like a morsel. The Arabs with their glowing history, architectural splendour, vast ocean of knowledge, were displaced from the country, and today the ears eagerly wait to hear the Adhaan and the empty Mosques thirst for your Salaat.

You must earn your place in this country. You should leave an imprint on the host community of your usefulness. You must demonstrate your existence here is more beneficial than that of the native people. You must impart on them the lessons of humanity. You should demonstrate how noble and principled you are, and that there cannot be found more upright humans elsewhere besides you. You need to establish your worth, that you are a blessing and mercy for this country. However if you decide to live in an enclosed environment content with your Prayers and Fasting, apathetic to the people and society you live in, never introducing them to the high Islamic values, and your own personal qualities, then beware lest any religious or sectarian flares up. In such a situation you will not find safety.

I pray to Almighty Allah my prediction is totally untrue and baseless. Remember, you are guests here. Your Tabligh, Mosques, Madressahs, Ibaadah, and religious sacrifices are all worthy of commendation. May Almighty Allah grant you Barakah, but do not forget to earn your place in this country. Gain mastery of the national language and become proficient so that you can use it effectively to propagate Islam. Prepare writers and orators and, although you will distance yourself from their religion, do not distance yourself from them. Earn credibility through your daily activities, so much so that if you are entrusted with onerous responsibilities, as was Prophet Yusuf Alayhis Salaam, you do not shirk but embrace all challenges wholeheartedly.

You will have to present a new pattern of life to this country. You will not earn recognition by exerting yourselves in the workplace. If you overwork, you will looked upon disparagingly and be likened to horses and bulls and labelled as money-making machines. However if you can show to the natives here that you are worshippers of Almighty Allah and not wealth, you do not bow before power but only before virtue, you are humans and think like humans, you are concerned not only about yourselves but also about others, and you are compassionate not just to your own children but also to theirs – and to them – you are earnestly concerned about the path of destruction they have chosen for themselves, you will then earn their respect. They will begin to respect Islam and become desirous of studying it. They will ask you for literature concerning Islamic beliefs and practices, and an opportunity will arise here for you to propagate Islam.

However if you remain preoccupied in eating and working and engaged in Prayers, indifferent to what is happening in the country, insulated within Muslims, totally apathetic to what is happening outside, which direction the country is taking, in such a situation if there is any trouble you will not be able to save yourselves.

I have been meaning to convey and emphasise this message to you, because I do not know whether I will be able visit you in the future. You gathered here with love and affection and therefore it was easy for me. As a student of religion it would have been convenient for me to suggest virtues of reciting various Zikr or prescribe certain Wazifahs, but you might not have had an opportunity of listening to the message I have just conveyed from anyone else.

Please strengthen your position in this country and earn your recognition. Do not be like a straw or crop that is uprooted by the slightest breeze. You should be so firm that not even a hurricane is able to shift you. Display such noble character that you enslave the natives, then see how these people will stand to defend you. If there is the slightest opposition against you, they will be the first ones to argue on your behalf and vouch what a blessing you are for them.

May Almighty Allah grant us the ability to understand what is right; may He bless and protect you. Ameen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What problems do muslims have because of how others perceive them?

Praise be to Allaah.  

The Muslims have suffered persecution and harm because of how others perceive them and because of their adherence to their religion, but no matter how great the persecution, they cannot be humiliated in themselves or made to hate Islam, rather they bear that with patience for the sake of Allaah, seeking reward for that. Their Lord says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“So do not become weak (against your enemy), nor be sad, and you will be superior (in victory) if you are indeed (true) believers” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:139]

With regard to what some of the kaafirs do to the Muslims, it is for one of three reasons:

Either this kaafir is ignorant of Islam and its greatness, and of the fact that it is the true religion, so he tries to harm the Muslims because of that ignorance;

Or he knows that the Islamic religion is the true religion, but he harms the Muslims out of stubbornness and arrogance;

Or he knows of the superiority of Islam and the Muslims, but he does that because of envy towards Islam and its followers.

Yet despite that the Muslims believe that Islam is the religion of honour and pride, and the religion of high status in this world and in the Hereafter; whoever adheres to it, Allaah will raise his status, and whoever turns away from it harms no one but himself.

One of the things that Islam teaches us is to be proud and strong. Our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allaah than the weak believer, although both are good.” (Narrated by Muslim, 4815).

Islam tells us that the older ones among us should show mercy towards the younger ones. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “He is not one of us who does not show mercy to our young ones and show respect to our old ones.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1842; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 1565).

Islam commands us to be merciful and compassionate towards one another, and in contrast we are to be severe and harsh against the kaafirs. Allaah says, describing the Companions of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him):

“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah. And those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves” [al-Fath 48:29 – interpretation of the meaning]

Our religion permits us (Muslim men) to marry Jewish or Christian women, but we are not permitted to marry our daughters to them (Jews or Christians), because the Jews and Christians are lower in status than us, and our women are higher in status than them, and one who is inferior cannot prevail over one who is superior. Islam should prevail, not be prevailed over. And we believe in their Prophets but they do not believe in our Prophet.

Our religion commands us to expel them from the Arabian Peninsula and not to let them remain there, because the Arabian Peninsula is the land of Revelation, so it is not permissible for it to be contaminated by the presence of unclean kaafirs. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Expel the mushrikeen (polytheists, pagans) from the Arabian Peninsula.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2932; Muslim, 3089).

Our religion forbids us to eat from the vessel of a Jew or a Christian unless we cannot find anything else. In that case it is permissible for us to eat from it on condition that we wash it thoroughly. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, when he was asked about eating from the vessels of the People of the Book: “If you can find any other vessel, then do not eat from them; if you cannot find anything else, wash them and then eat from them.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5056; Muslim, 3567 – this version was narrated by him).

Our religion forbids us to imitate the dress of the kaafirs or to imitate the way they eat or any of their customs, because we are superior and the kaafirs are inferior, and the one who is superior should not imitate the one who is inferior. Indeed, our Prophet warned us that the one who imitates the kaafirs is going to meet the same fate as them in Hell, what a terrible fate! The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” (narrated by Abu Dawood, 3512. Al-Albaani said concerning this hadeeth: (it is) hasan saheeh. See Saheeh Abi Dawood, 3401).

Our Prophet commanded us to fight the kaafirs when we are able and to attack them in their homelands and to give them three choices before we enter their lands: either they become Muslim and be like us, sharing our rights and duties; or they pay the jizyah (poll tax) and feel themselves subdued; or they fight, in which case their wealth, women, children and homes become permissible as booty for the Muslims.
Islam is a divinely-revealed religion, which connects a believer to his Lord with no intermediary. So a person worships his Lord whenever he wants, and calls upon Him when he wants. He is connected to his Lord by ties of worship, by turning to Him and beseeching Him. He does not need the intercession of priests or rabbis. Rather he turns directly to Allaah, the One, the Subduer of all.

What you see nowadays of the humiliation of the Muslims and the domination of the Jews and Christians over them is the result of the Muslims’ negligence and failure to adhere to their religion, their failure to prepare for jihad for the sake of Allaah, and their love of this world which kills the love of Allaah and the Hereafter in their hearts. Hence you see that the blood of the Muslims  is shed and has become cheap, and their homes are destroyed and counted as worthless, and their lives are counted as cheap because of their weakness. Allaah indeed spoke the truth when He said (interpretation of the meaning):

“And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much”[al-Shoora 42:30]

So our humiliation and weakness are because of what we Muslims have done, not because of Islam. But when we come back to our religion, our glory and pride will come back to us.

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
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Needing Allah

There can be no doubt that human beings need each other. We all need other people. Likewise, many other people depend on each one of us. People in society assist each other and serve each other’s needs, even in ways that we are often unaware of.

However, we do not rely on others in the same way that we rely on Allah. We know that He alone is Self-Subsisting, Self-Sufficient. All the sustenance we have and all the success we enjoy ultimately stems from Him.

Being aware of this fact is crucial. Someone who understands this and believes this will always retain his or her dignity.

There is a great difference between helping one another in a dignified manner as part of the natural course of social existence – the best manifestation of which is to help one another in righteousness and piety – and the ignoble state of debasing oneself before other than Allah in an unseemly fashion where one’s dignity is compromised. A believer who is assured that Allah is Self-Subsisting, upon who all others depend for their existence and their needs, will be safeguarded from such ignobility.

When misfortune befalls us and we cry out to Allah, we know with certainty and assurance that we call upon one who will not fail us. When we appeal to other people, they may or may not be willing or able to help us. We know they are people like ourselves. Allah calls upon us to ask of Him. He wants us to turn to Him with our needs, and to submit ourselves to His greatness and His honor.

Ibn `Abbas relates the following advice that Allah’s Messenger gave him when he was still a youth:

Young man, I will teach you something: Remember Allah and He will remember you. Keep Him in your heart and you will find Him with you. If you beg of someone, beg of Allah. If you rely on someone, rely on Allah.

Know that if the whole world united in order to provide you with some benefit, they could only benefit you with what Allah has already decreed for you. And know that if the whole world united in order to bring you harm, they could only harm you with what Allah had already decreed to befall you.

The pens have been lifted from the pages and the ink has dried. [Sunan al-Tirmidhī (2516)]

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) gave this advice to a young man who was at the brink of adulthood, but it is good advice for anyone. Whatever need we have, we should turn to Allah to fulfill that need, beseeching Him in our prayers and supplications.

We should turn to Him with our hopes and fears, with our worldly concerns as well as our spiritual aspirations, in all matters great and small.

  • by Sheikh Salman al-Oadah
  • Mon, 08/29/2011
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The 99 Club

Once upon a time, there lived a King who, despite his luxurious lifestyle, was neither happy nor content.

One day the King came upon a Servant who was singing happily while he worked. This fascinated the King; why was he, the Supreme Ruler of the Land, unhappy and gloomy, while a lowly servant had so much  joy. The King asked the Servant, “Why are you so happy?”

The Servant replied, “Your Majesty, I am nothing but a servant, but my family and I don’t need too much – just a Roof over our heads and warm food to fill our tummies.” The King was not satisfied with that reply.

Later in the day, he sought the advice of his most trusted Advisor. After hearing the King’s woes and the Servant’s story, the Advisor said, “Your Majesty, I believe that the servant has not been made part of The 99 Club.”

“The 99 Club? And what exactly is that?” the King inquired.  The Advisor replied, “Your Majesty, to truly know what The 99 Club is place 99 Gold Coins in a bag and leave it at this Servant’s doorstep.”  When the servant saw the bag, he took it into his house. When he opened the bag, he let out a great shout of joy… so many Gold Coins!

He began to count them. After several counts, he was at  last convinced that there were 99 Coins. He wondered, “Whatcould’ve happened to that last Gold Coin? Surely, no one would leave 99 Coins!”  He looked everywhere he could, but that final Coin was elusive. Finally, exhausted, he decided that he was going to have to work harder than ever to earn that Gold Coin and complete his collection.

From that day, the servant’s life was changed. He was overworked, horribly grumpy, and castigated his family for not helping him make that 100th Gold Coin. He stopped singing while he worked.
Witnessing this drastic transformation, the King was puzzled. When he sought his Advisor’s help, the Advisor said, “Your Majesty, the servant has now officially joined The 99 Club.”

He continued, “The 99 Club is a name given to those people who have enough to be happy but are never contented, because they’re always yearning and striving for that extra “1” telling to themselves: “Let me get that one final thing and then I will be happy for life.”

We can be happy, even with very little in our lives, but the minute we’re given something bigger and better, we want even more! We lose our sleep, our happiness, we hurt the people around us; all these as a price for our growing needs and desires.

That’s what joining the 99 Club is all about.”

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How Aisha Bhutta Converted her Parents, Family and 30 Friends to Islam

Aisha Bhutta, also known as Debbie Rogers, is serene. She sits on the sofa in big front room of her tenement flat in Cowcaddens, Glasgow. The walls are hung with quotations from the Koran, a special clock to remind the family of prayer times and posters of the Holy City of Mecca. Aisha’s piercing blue eyes sparkle with evangelical zeal, she smiles with radiance only true believers possess. Her face is that of a strong Scots lass – no nonsense, good-humoured – but it is carefully covered with a hijab.

For a good Christian girl to convert to Islam and marry a Muslim is extraordinary enough. But more than that, she has also converted her parents, most of the rest of her family and at least 30 friends and neighbours.

Her family were austere Christians with whom Rogers regularly attended Salvation Army meetings. When all the other teenagers in Britain were kissing their George Michael posters goodnight, Rogers had pictures of Jesus up on her wall. And yet she found that Christianity was not enough; there were too many unanswered questions and she felt dissatisfied with the lack of disciplined structure for her beliefs. “There had to be more for me to obey than just doing prayers when I felt like it.”

Aisha had first seen her future husband, Mohammad Bhutta, when she was 10 and regular customer at the shop, run by his family. She would see him in the back, praying. “There was contentment and peace in what he was doing. He said he was a Muslim. I said: What’s a Muslim?”.

Later with his help she began looking deeper into Islam. By the age of 17, she had read the entire Koran in Arabic. “Everything I read”, she says, “Was making sense.”

She made the decision to convert at 16. “When I said the words, it was like a big burden I had been carrying on my shoulders had been thrown off. I felt like a new-born baby.”

Despite her conversion however, Mohammed’s parents were against their marrying. They saw her as a Western woman who would lead their eldest son astray and give the family a bad name; she was, Mohammed’s father believed, “the biggest enemy.”

Nevertheless, the couple married in the local mosque. Aisha wore a dress hand-sewn by Mohammed’s mother and sisters who sneaked into the ceremony against the wishes of his father who refused to attend.

It was his elderly grandmother who paved the way for a bond between the women. She arrived from Pakistan where mixed-race marriages were even more taboo, and insisted on meeting Aisha. She was so impressed by the fact that she had learned the Koran and Punjabi that she convinced the others; slowly, Aisha, now 32, became one of the family.

Aisha’s parents, Michael and Marjory Rogers, though did attend the wedding, were more concerned with the clothes their daughter was now wearing (the traditional shalwaar kameez) and what the neighbours would think. Six years later, Aisha embarked on a mission to convert them and the rest of her family, bar her sister (“I’m still working on her). “My husband and I worked on my mum and dad, telling them about Islam and they saw the changes in me, like I stopped answering back!”

Her mother soon followed in her footsteps. Marjory Rogers changed her name to Sumayyah and became a devout Muslim. “She wore the hijab and did her prayers on time and nothing ever mattered to her except her connections with God.”

Aisha’s father proved a more difficult recruit, so she enlisted the help of her newly converted mother (who has since died of cancer). “My mum and I used to talk to my father about Islam and we were sitting in the sofa in the kitchen one day and he said: “What are the words you say when you become a Muslim?” “Me and my mum just jumped on top of him.” Three years later, Aisha’s brother converted “over the telephone – thanks to BT”, then his wife and children followed, followed by her sister’s son.

It didn’t stop there. Her family converted, Aisha turned her attention to Cowcaddens, with its tightly packed rows of crumbling, gray tenement flats. Every Monday for the past 13 years, Aisha has held classes in Islam for Scottish women. So far she has helped to convert over 30. The women come from a bewildering array of backgrounds. Trudy, a lecturer at the University of Glasgow and a former Catholic, attended Aisha’s classes purely because she was commissioned to carry out some research.

But after six months of classes she converted, deciding that Christianity was riddled with “logical inconsistencies”. “I could tell she was beginning to be affected by the talks”, Aisha says. How could she tell? “I don’t know, it was just a feeling.”

The classes include Muslim girls tempted by Western ideals and needing salvation, practicing Muslim women who want an open forum for discussion denied them at the local male-dominated mosque, and those simply interested in Islam. Aisha welcomes questions. “We cannot expect people blindly to believe.”

Her husband, Mohammad Bhutta, now 41, does not seem so driven to convert Scottish lads to Muslim brothers. He occasionally helps out in the family restaurant, but his main aim in life is to ensure the couple’s five children grow up as Muslims. The eldest, Safia, “nearly 14, Al-Hamdulillah (Praise be to God!)”, is not averse to a spot of recruiting herself. One day she met a woman in the street and carried her shopping, the woman attended Aisha’s classes and is now a Muslim.

“I can honestly say I have never regretted it”, Aisha says of her conversion to Islam. “Every marriage has its ups and downs and sometimes you need something to pull you out of any hardship. But the Prophet said: ‘Every hardship has an ease.’ So when you’re going through a difficult stage, you work for that ease to come.”

Mohammed is more romantic: “I feel we have known each other for centuries and must never part from one another. According to Islam, you are not just partners for life, you can be partners in heaven as well, for ever. Its a beautiful thing, you know.

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How I came to Islam – by Yusuf Islam (Formerly Cat Stevens)

How I came to Islam – by Yusuf Islam

From Musician to Muslim by Allah’s Will

All I have to say is all what you know already, to confirm what you already know, the message of the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) as given by God – the Religion of Truth. As human beings we are given a consciousness and a duty that has placed us at the top of creation. Man is created to be God’s deputy on earth, and it is important to realize the obligation to rid ourselves of all illusions and to make our lives a preparation for the next life. Anybody who misses this chance is not likely to be given another, to be brought back again and again, because it says in Qur’an Majeed that when man is brought to account, he will say, “O Lord, send us back and give us another chance.” The Lord will say, “If I send you back you will do the same.”

MY EARLY RELIGIOUS UPBRINGING

I was brought up in the modern world of all the luxury and the high life of show business. I was born in a Christian home, but we know that every child is born in his original nature – it is only his parents that turn him to this or that religion. I was given this religion (Christianity) and thought this way. I was taught that God exists, but there was no direct contact with God, so we had to make contact with Him through Jesus – he was in fact the door to God. This was more or less accepted by me, but I did not swallow it all.

I looked at some of the statues of Jesus; they were just stones with no life. And when they said that God is three, I was puzzled even more but could not argue. I more or less believed it, because I had to have respect for the faith of my parents.

POP STAR

Gradually I became alienated from this religious upbringing. I started making music. I wanted to be a big star. All those things I saw in the films and on the media took hold of me, and perhaps I thought this was my God, the goal of making money. I had an uncle who had a beautiful car. “Well,” I said, “he has it made. He has a lot of money.” The people around me influenced me to think that this was it; this world was their God.

I decided then that this was the life for me; to make a lot of money, have a ‘great life.’ Now my examples were the pop stars. I started making songs, but deep down I had a feeling for humanity, a feeling that if I became rich I would help the needy. (It says in the Qur’an, we make a promise, but when we make something, we want to hold onto it and become greedy.)

So what happened was that I became very famous. I was still a teenager, my name and photo were splashed in all the media. They made me larger than life, so I wanted to live larger than life and the only way to do that was to be intoxicated (with liquor and drugs).

IN HOSPITAL

After a year of financial success and ‘high’ living, I became very ill, contracted TB and had to be hospitalized. It was then that I started to think: What was to happen to me? Was I just a body, and my goal in life was merely to satisfy this body? I realized now that this calamity was a blessing given to me by Allah, a chance to open my eyes – “Why am I here? Why am I in bed?” – and I started looking for some of the answers. At that time there was great interest in the Eastern mysticism. I began reading, and the first thing I began to become aware of was death, and that the soul moves on; it does not stop. I felt I was taking the road to bliss and high accomplishment. I started meditating and even became a vegetarian. I now believed in ‘peace and flower power,’ and this was the general trend. But what I did believe in particular was that I was not just a body. This awareness came to me at the hospital.

One day when I was walking and I was caught in the rain, I began running to the shelter and then I realized, ‘Wait a minute, my body is getting wet, my body is telling me I am getting wet.’ This made me think of a saying that the body is like a donkey, and it has to be trained where it has to go. Otherwise, the donkey will lead you where it wants to go.

Then I realized I had a will, a God-given gift: follow the will of God. I was fascinated by the new terminology I was learning in the Eastern religion. By now I was fed up with Christianity. I started making music again and this time I started reflecting my own thoughts. I remember the lyric of one of my songs. It goes like this: “I wish I knew, I wish I knew what makes the Heaven, what makes the Hell. Do I get to know You in my bed or some dusty cell while others reach the big hotel?” and I knew I was on the Path.

I also wrote another song, “The Way to Find God Out.” I became even more famous in the world of music. I really had a difficult time because I was getting rich and famous, and at the same time, I was sincerely searching for the Truth. Then I came to a stage where I decided that Buddhism is all right and noble, but I was not ready to leave the world. I was too attached to the world and was not prepared to become a monk and to isolate myself from society.

I tried Zen and Ching, numerology, tarot cards and astrology. I tried to look back into the Bible and could not find anything. At this time I did not know anything about Islam, and then, what I regarded as a miracle occurred. My brother had visited the mosque in Jerusalem and was greatly impressed that while on the one hand it throbbed with life (unlike the churches and synagogues which were empty), on the other hand, an atmosphere of peace and tranquility prevailed.

THE QUR’AN

When he came to London he brought back a translation of the Qur’an, which he gave to me. He did not become a Muslim, but he felt something in this religion, and thought I might find something in it also.

And when I received the book, a guidance that would explain everything to me – who I was; what was the purpose of life; what was the reality and what would be the reality; and where I came from – I realized that this was the true religion; religion not in the sense the West understands it, not the type for only your old age. In the West, whoever wishes to embrace a religion and make it his only way of life is deemed a fanatic. I was not a fanatic, I was at first confused between the body and the soul. Then I realized that the body and soul are not apart and you don’t have to go to the mountain to be religious. We must follow the will of God. Then we can rise higher than the angels. The first thing I wanted to do now was to be a Muslim.

I realized that everything belongs to God, that slumber does not overtake Him. He created everything. At this point I began to lose the pride in me, because hereto I had thought the reason I was here was because of my own greatness. But I realized that I did not create myself, and the whole purpose of my being here was to submit to the teaching that has been perfected by the religion we know as Al-Islam. At this point I started discovering my faith. I felt I was a Muslim. On reading the Qur’an, I now realized that all the Prophets sent by God brought the same message. Why then were the Jews and Christians different? I know now how the Jews did not accept Jesus as the Messiah and that they had changed His Word. Even the Christians misunderstand God’s Word and called Jesus the son of God. Everything made so much sense. This is the beauty of the Qur’an; it asks you to reflect and reason, and not to worship the sun or moon but the One Who has created everything. The Qur’an asks man to reflect upon the sun and moon and God’s creation in general. Do you realize how different the sun is from the moon? They are at varying distances from the earth, yet appear the same size to us; at times one seems to overlap the other.

Even when many of the astronauts go to space, they see the insignificant size of the earth and vastness of space. They become very religious, because they have seen the Signs of Allah.

When I read the Qur’an further, it talked about prayer, kindness and charity. I was not a Muslim yet, but I felt that the only answer for me was the Qur’an, and God had sent it to me, and I kept it a secret. But the Qur’an also speaks on different levels. I began to understand it on another level, where the Qur’an says,

“Those who believe do not take disbelievers for friends and the believers are brothers.”

Thus at this point I wished to meet my Muslim brothers.

CONVERSION

Then I decided to journey to Jerusalem (as my brother had done). At Jerusalem, I went to the mosque and sat down. A man asked me what I wanted. I told him I was a Muslim. He asked what was my name. I told him, “Stevens.” He was confused. I then joined the prayer, though not so successfully. Back in London, I met a sister called Nafisa. I told her I wanted to embrace Islam and she directed me to the New Regent Mosque. This was in 1977, about one and a half years after I received the Qur’an. Now I realized that I must get rid of my pride, get rid of Iblis, and face one direction. So on a Friday, after Jummah’ I went to the Imam and declared my faith (the Kalimah) at this hands. You have before you someone who had achieved fame and fortune. But guidance was something that eluded me, no matter how hard I tried, until I was shown the Qur’an. Now I realize I can get in direct contact with God, unlike Christianity or any other religion. As one Hindu lady told me, “You don’t understand the Hindus. We believe in one God; we use these objects (idols) to merely concentrate.” What she was saying was that in order to reach God, one has to create associates, that are idols for the purpose. But Islam removes all these barriers. The only thing that moves the believers from the disbelievers is the salat. This is the process of purification.

Finally I wish to say that everything I do is for the pleasure of Allah and pray that you gain some inspirations from my experiences. Furthermore, I would like to stress that I did not come into contact with any Muslim before I embraced Islam. I read the Qur’an first and realized that no person is perfect. Islam is perfect, and if we imitate the conduct of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) we will be successful. May Allah give us guidance to follow the path of the ummah of Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). Ameen!

– Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens)


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It is mustahabb to isolate oneself at times of tribulation when the Muslim fears he may lose his religious commitment

I recently read this hadith which is related by Bukhari but I dont understand its meaning, it goes something like; ‘A time will come when the best property of a Muslim will be sheep which he will take to a mountain so as too flee with his realigion from afflictions’ Can you please try and explain it’s meaning to me?

Praise be to Allaah.

Commentary on the hadeeth by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

This hadeeth was narrated by al-Bukhaari in a number of places in his Saheeh, such as (7088) Kitaab al-Fitan, where he narrated that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Soon there will come a time when the best wealth a Muslim will have will be sheep which he will take to the mountaintops and places where rain falls, fleeing for the sake of his religious commitment from tribulation.” And Muslim narrated a similar hadeeth in his Saheeh (1888), also from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him), which says that a man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, “Which of the people is best?” He said, “A man who strives in jihad for the sake of Allaah with his wealth and his self.” He asked, “Then who?” He said, “A believer in a mountain pass who worships Allaah and leaves the people alone.”

The word sha’af [in the second hadeeth] means a mountaintop. The word shi’b [in the first hadeeth] means a gap or pass between two mountains. Al- Nawawi said in Sharh Saheeh Muslim (13/34): “This does not mean the mountain pass itself, rather what is referred to is being alone and isolating oneself. A mountain pass is mentioned as a metaphor because it is usually devoid of people.”

The hadeeth indicates that it is preferable to isolate oneself from people and not mix with them in cases where a Muslim fears for his religious commitment because of widespread tribulation, where if he mixes with people he cannot be sure that his religious commitment will be safe and that he will not apostatize or deviate from the truth, or fall into shirk or abandon the basic principles and pillars of Islam, and so on.

Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar said in al-Fath (13/42):  “This report indicates that isolation is preferable in the case of one who fears for his religious commitment.”

Al-Sindi said in his footnotes on al-Nasaa’i (8/124): “This shows that it is permissible to isolate oneself, indeed it is preferable at times of tribulation.”

In the second hadeeth quoted above the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) mentioned the believer who isolates himself second in virtue only to the mujaahid who fights for the sake of Allaah. Al-Haafiz said in al-Fath (6/6): “The believer who isolates himself is second in virtue only to the mujaahid because the one who mixes with people cannot guarantee that he will not commit sin, and these sins may be greater in number than the hasanaat (rewards for good deeds) that he gains as a result of mixing with people. But being isolated is regarded as preferable only in cases where there is tribulation.”

As for isolating oneself at times other than times of tribulation when a Muslim fears for his religious commitment, the scholars differed in their views in this case. The majority said that mixing with people is preferable to withdrawing from them, and they quoted several texts as evidence for that, including the following:

1 – That this was the way of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the Prophets before him (peace be upon them), and the majority of the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them). (Sharh Muslim by al-Nawawi, 13/34).

2 – The report narrated by al-Tirmidhi (5207) and Ibn Maajah (4032), which says that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The believer who mixes with people and patiently bears their annoyance will have a greater reward than the believer who does not mix with people and patiently bear their annoyance.” (Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 2035).

Al-Sindi said in his footnote on Ibn Maajah (2/493): “This hadeeth indicates that the one who is patient and mixes with people is better than the one who isolates himself.”

Al-San’aani said in Subul al-Salaam (4/416): “This indicates that mixing with people whereby one enjoins what is good and forbids what is evil and deals with them in a good manner is better than keeping away from them and not putting up with mixing with them.”

3 – The report narrated by al-Tirmidhi (1574) from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: “One of the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came upon a mountain pass where there was a small spring of fresh water, which delighted him because it was so good. He said, ‘What if I were to withdraw from the people and settle in this mountain pass? But I will not do it until I seek the permission of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).’ So he mentioned it to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who said: ‘Do not do that, for if any one of you remains striving for the sake of Allaah, it is better than praying in His House for seventy years. Do you not want Allaah to forgive you and admit you to Paradise? Fight in Allaah’s cause. He who fights in Allaah’s cause as long as the time between two milkings of a she-camel will be assured of Paradise.’” (It was classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 1348).

The benefits that the Muslim gains by mixing with people for legitimate shar’i purposes, include establishing the rituals of Islam, increasing the number of the Muslims, spreading all kinds of goodness among them by helping and aiding them etc., attending Jumu’ah (Friday) prayers and prayers in congregation, attending funerals, visiting the sick, attending dhikr circles, etc. (Fath al-Baari, 13/43); Sharh Muslim by al-Nawawi, 13/34).

And Allaah is the Source of strength. And Allaah knows best. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and all his family and companions, and grant them peace.

Islam Q&A

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