Sunday, February 22, 2009

Islam is Simple: Islam is Easy in Practise

God is Most Merciful, Most Gracious and Most Just. He does not burden a person with something that he or she cannot bear.
“Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope."
(Al-Baqarah 2:286)

God judges us based on the best that we can do. God does not compare us to other people. The best that we can do is not the same as the best that another person can do.

When someone embraces Islam, he does not have to drastically carry out all the teachings of Islam. He only needs to do what he can, gradually introducing Islam into his life, step-by-step and at his own pace, according to priority.

The Qur’an came down in stages
In the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the Qur’an was not sent down in one go, but was sent down in stages, over a period of 23 years. Therefore, the companions*
learned Islam from the Prophet and then practiced it gradually, step-by-step.
The Prohibition of Alcohol
Many of the companions were alcoholics and drunkards. They drank alcohol in great quantities. With the coming of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), alcohol was forbidden. But this prohibition did not happen drastically. It occurred gradually.

Beginning with explaining the hazards of alcohol:
“They ask you (O Muhammad) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: “In them is a great sin, and (some) benefits for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit.” And they ask you what they ought to spend. Say: “That which is (spare) beyond your needs.” Thus Allah makes clear to you His Laws in order that you may give thought." (al-Baqarah 2:219)

This was followed by the reduction of the intake of alcohol by forbidding the companions* from performing solat (prayer) while drunk. With this, they had fewer opportunities to drink alcohol.
“O you who believe! Approach not shalat (the prayer) when you are in a drunken state until you know (the meaning) of what you utter…” (4:43)

After that, only then was alcohol forbidden entirely.
“O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan's handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper” (5:90)

A lot of rukhsah (convenience)
In Islam, there are a lot of rukhsah (conveniences)that are given to us by God. For example, when we are travelling or sick, we are allowed to not fast in the month of Ramadan and replace our fast on other days.

"Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (Should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful" (2:185)
God has given us many more conveniences. For example:
- People who are travelling are allowed to combine and shorten two solats (prayers) in one time.
- People who are sick can combine their solats (prayers) in one time.
- People who are sick can perform solat (prayer)sitting or lying down.
- Food that is forbidden becomes permissible in times of crisis.

“Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked the name of other than Allah; that which hath been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death; that which hath been (partly) eaten by a wild animal; unless ye are able to slaughter it (in due form); that which is sacrificed on stone (altars); (forbidden) also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows: that is impiety. This day have those who reject faith given up all hope of your religion: yet fear them not but fear Me. This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But if any is forced by hunger, with no inclination to transgression, Allah is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful (5:3)

* The companions are those who believe, have met Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and have passed away as Muslims.
-article by Zahir & Firdaus

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Islam is Simple: Life is easier with Manual

People always say, “Islam is a difficult religion. So many do’s and don’ts (commands and prohibitions/laws). This is haram, that is haram! What is halal??! It’s so difficult!”
In truth, the commands and prohibitions in Islam are only a few.

For example, Islam prohibits its followers from eating pork. But at the same time, there are hundreds, even thousands of kinds of food that are considered halal.

Islam makes it compulsory for its followers to perform solat (prayer) five times a day. Each solat only takes about 5 minutes. This means, 23 hours and 35 minutes of the day of a Muslim is outside of solat.

Other than that, as has been explained before this, do’s and don’ts in Islam are for the good of mankind himself.

Muslims do not live in trial and error. The entire life of a Muslim is based on a practical manual that was given by the Manufacturer of humanity and the entire universe. The Most Gracious and Most Merciful God sent the Prophet as a technician to explain the manual that was given to humanity so that they may live in the best way.

“…This day, I (God) have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But as for him who is forced by severe hunger, with no inclination to sin, then surely Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” 5:3

The teachings of Islam embrace all aspects of life, including personal issues, family, society, law, nationhood, entertainment, economy, military, politics, civilization and so on and so forth. It encompasses the relationship between a human and his God, the relationships between humans and the relationship between humanity and the universe.

Islam does not just revolve around faith, it also revolves around deeds. It does not only give guidance on spiritual issues, it also gives guidance on material, physical, mental and emotional issues.

With this manual, we are not left floundering looking for a path that has been theorized by humans for our lives. God has made our lives more convenient by giving us this all-encompassing manual. What we need to do is only refer to this manual and be obedient to the commands of God.

Monday, February 2, 2009

ISLAM IS SIMPLE: Islam makes life easier

Islam makes life easier

Islam is a unique religion. As explained before this, belief in Islam is not given blindly. It is based on reason and clear evidence. Faith is not blind.

However, when it comes to obedience, we blindly follow God’s commandments without question. Obedience is blind.

Is this logical?

Say we take a small child as an example. The parents of that child forbid him from playing in the middle of the road, or forbid him from playing with fire. But from the child’s perspective, those things are cool and fun. He cries when his parents do not permit him from doing those things.

This is because the child does not know those things are dangerous and harmful to him. His parents know what is best for him, and so they forbid him from things that are harmful.When the child is old enough, his parents send him to school. But from the child’s point of view, playing is more fun than studying in school. Learning in school is boring.

He does not know the importance of getting education at school. And yet, his parents still send him to school because they want a better future for their child.
God is All-Caring and All-Loving. He Knows all that is good and all that is bad for us. Because of His Love for us, He tells us to do the things that are important to us and to stay away from things that are bad for us.

Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write (Muhammad) whom they find written about in the Taurat and the Injil with them – he commands them to do good and forbids them from evil, he allows them as lawful all that is good and prohibits them as unlawful all that is bad, he releases them from their heavy burdens and from the fetters (bindings) that were upon them. So those who believe in him (Muhammad), honour him, help him, and follow the light (the Qur’an) which has been sent down with him, it is they who will be successful.” (7:157)

Often, the wisdom behind a certain commandment is obvious and easily understood. But sometimes the human mind cannot grasp the reason behind a commandment. Even so, because of our faith in Allah that is not blind, we blindly obey the command of Allah.

"And they ask you (O Muhammad) concerning the Ruh (the spirit). Say: “The Ruh (the spirit) is one of the things, the knowledge of which only with my Lord. And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little.” " (17:85)

This is why, the loyalty of a Muslim to the instructions of Allah is blind and without question. Our obedience is blind.
“The only saying of the faithful believers, when they are called to Allah and His Messenger, to judge between them, is to say: “We hear and we obey”. And such are the successful.” (24:51)

article by Zahir & Firdaus