Friday, March 9, 2018

The Hereafter

Praise be to Allaah.
When the son of Adam dies and his soul departs and he is placed in his grave, then he is in the first stage of the Hereafter, because the grave is the first of the stages of the Hereafter.

It was narrated that Haani’ the freed slave of ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan said: when ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan stood by a grave he would weep until his beard became wet. It was said to him, “You remember Paradise and Hell and you do not weep, but you weep because of this?” He said, “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘The grave is the first of the stages of the Hereafter; whoever is saved from it, whatever comes afterwards will be easier for him, but if he is not saved from it, what comes afterwards will be worse for him.’” And the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I have never seen any scene but the grave is more frightening than it.”

(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2308; Ibn Maajah, 4567; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1684).

Secondly: The two angels who are charged with questioning come to him and ask him 1] what he used to believe in, in this world, 2] who was his Lord, 3] what was his religion and 4] who was his Prophet. 

If he gives a good answer, that is good, but if he does not answer them, they inflict a severe and painful beating on him. If he was one of the righteous, angels with white faces come to him, but if he was one of the evildoers, angels with dark faces come to him. This is the fitnah or tribulation that he suffers.

It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say, ‘Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika min al-kasali wa’l-haram wa’l-maghram wa’l-ma’tham. Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika min ‘adhaab al-naar wa fitnat il-naar, wa fitnat il-qabri, wa ‘adhaab il-qabri, wa sharri fitnat il-ghina wa sharri fitnat il-faqair wa min sharri fitnat il-maseeh il-Dajjaal. Allaahumma ighsil khataayaaya bi ma’ al-thalji wa’l-baradi wa naqqi qalbi min al-khataaya kama yunaqqa al-thawb al-abyad min al-danas, wa baa’id bayni wa bayna khataayaaya kama baa’adta bayna al-mashriqi wa’l-maghrib (O Allah! I seek refuge with You from laziness and old age, and from debts and sins; from the torment of the Fire and from the tribulation of the Fire, and from the tribulation of the grave and the torment of the grave, and from the evil of the tribulation of wealth, and from the evil of the tribulation of poverty, and from the evil of the tribulation of the Dajjaal (Antichrist). O, Allah! Wash away my sins with the water of snow and hail, and cleanse my heart from sin as a white garment is cleansed from filth, and put a great distance between me and my sins, as great as the distance You have made between the East and the West).”
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6014).

Ibn Hajar said:
The phrase “from the tribulation of the grave” means the questioning of the two angels.
Fath al-Baari, 11/177.
And al-Mubaarakfoori said:
“The tribulation of the grave” means confusion when answering the two angels.
Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi, 9/328

Thirdly: With regard to the questions that the angels will ask in the grave, this is explained clearly in the following hadeeth:

It was narrated that al-Bara’ (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: We went out with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) for the funeral of a man from among the Ansaar. We came to the grave and when (the deceased) was placed in the land, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sat down and we sat around him as if there were birds on our heads (i.e., quiet and still). In his hand, he had a stick with which he was scratching the ground. Then he raised his head and said,

“Seek refuge with Allaah from the torment of the grave”, two or three times. Then he said, “When the believing slave is about to depart this world and enter the Hereafter, there come down to him from heaven angels with white faces like the sun, and they sit around him as far as the eye can see. They bring with them shrouds from Paradise and perfumes from Paradise. Then the Angel of Death comes and sits by his head, and he says, ‘O good soul, come forth to forgiveness from Allaah and His pleasure.’ Then it comes out easily like a drop of water from the mouth of a waterskin. When he seizes it, they do not leave it in his hand for an instant before they take it and put it in that shroud with that perfume, and there comes from it a fragrance like the finest musk on the face of the earth. Then they ascend and they do not pass by any group of angels but they say, ‘Who is this good soul?’ and they say, ‘It is So and so the son of So and so, calling him by the best names by which he was known in this world, until they reach the lowest heaven. They ask for it to be opened to them and it is opened, and (the soul) is welcomed and accompanied to the next heaven by those who are closest to Allaah, until they reach the seventh heaven. Then Allaah says: ‘Record the book of My slave in ‘Illiyoon in the seventh heaven, and return him to the earth, for from it I created them, to it I will return them and from it, I will bring them forth once again.’ So his soul is returned to his body and there come to him two angels who make him sit up and they say to him, ~~~

‘Who is your Lord?’ He says, ‘Allaah.’ They say, ‘What is your      religion?’ He says, ‘My religion is Islam.’ They say, ‘Who is this man  who was sent among you?’ He says, ‘He is the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).’ They say, ‘What did you do?’ He says, ‘I read the Book of Allaah and I believed in it.’

Then a voice calls out from heaven, ‘My slave has spoken the truth, so prepare for him a bed from Paradise and clothe him from Paradise, and open for him a gate to Paradise.’ Then there comes to him some of its fragrance, and his grave is made wide, as far as he can see. Then there comes to him a man with a handsome face and handsome clothes, and a good fragrance, who says, ‘Receive the glad tidings that will bring you joy this day.’ He says, ‘Who are you? Your face is a face which brings glad tidings.’ He says, ‘I am your righteous deeds.’ He says, ‘O Lord, hasten the Hour so that I may return to my family and my wealth.’

But when the disbelieving slave is about to depart this world and enter the Hereafter, there come down to him from heaven angels with black faces, bringing sackcloth, and they sit around him as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death comes and sits by his head, and he says, ‘O evil soul, come forth to the wrath of Allaah and His anger.’ Then his soul disperses inside his body, then comes out cutting the veins and nerves, like a skewer passing through wet wool. When he seizes it, they do not leave it in his hand for an instant before they take it and put it in that sackcloth, and there comes from it a stench like the foulest stench of a dead body on the face of the earth. Then they ascend and they do not pass by any group of angels but they say, ‘Who is this evil soul?’ and they say, ‘It is So and so the son of So and so, calling him by the worst names by which he was known in this world, until they reach the lowest heaven. They ask for it to be opened to them and it is not opened.” Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recited (interpretation of the meaning):

“for them, the gates of heaven will not be opened, and they will not enter Paradise until the camel goes through the eye of the needle”
[al-A’raaf 7:40]

He said: “Then Allaah says, ‘Record the book of My slave in Sijjeen in the lowest earth, and return him to the earth, for from it I created them, to it I will return them and from it, I will bring them forth once again.’ So his soul is cast down.” Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recited the verse (interpretation of the meaning):

“and whoever assigns partners to Allaah, it is as if he had fallen from the sky, and the birds had snatched him, or the wind had thrown him to a far off place”
[al-Hajj 22:31]

He said: “Then his soul is returned to his body, and there come to him two angels who make him sit up and they say to him, ‘Who is your Lord?’ He says, ‘Oh, oh, I don’t know.’ They say, ‘What is your religion?’ He says, ‘Oh, oh, I don’t know.’ Then a voice calls out from heaven, ‘Prepare for him a bed from Hell and clothe him from Hell, and open for him a gate to Hell.’ Then there comes to him some of its heat and hot winds, and his grave is constricted and compresses him until his ribs interlock. Then there comes to him a man with an ugly face and ugly clothes, and a foul stench, who says, ‘Receive the bad news, this is the day that you were promised.’ He says, ‘Who are you? Your face is a face which forebodes evil.’ He says, ‘I am your evil deeds.’ He says, ‘O Lord, do not let the Hour come, do not let the Hour come.’”

Narrated by Abu Dawood, 4753; Ahmad, 18063 – this version was narrated by him. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1676.

The correct view is that the two angels will only question the deceased in his grave about matters of Tawheed (monotheism) andaqeedah (belief). This is quite clear.

And Allaah knows best.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Gog and Magog (Ya'juj And Ma'juj)

In the Islamic tradition, they are known as Ya’juj and Ma’juj, who are believed to be two corrupt forces that will cause mass destruction and devastation in the world before the Hour is upon us. In fact, their emergence on earth is one of the 
main signs of Yawm al-Qiyamah (The Day of Judgment). There is also no doubt that these two disbelieving tribes are amongst the descendants of Adam. They will rise swiftly and wreak havoc amongst mankind- leaving nothing behind. It will be like an infestation. In the Holy Quran, Allah (SWT) says:

"When Ya'juj and Ma'juj are let loose (from their Barrier) and they will swiftly swarm from every mound..." (Quran 21: 96)

Thousands of decades ago, during the reign of ‘Dhul-Qurnayn’- a pious and just king, the barbaric and brutal tribes of Ya’juj and Ma’juj were imprisoned behind an iron wall for spreading mischief and disruption amongst the people. Their account is given in detail in Surah Kahf of the Holy Book of Allah (SWT).

The imprisonment of Ya’juj and Ma’juj was at the hands of Dhul-Qurnayn himself, who was a God-fearing man and believed in Allah (SWT) and Allah (SWT) alone. He was endowed with exceptional character and strength in order to carry out the tasks before him. His rule extended to numerous countries and his mission was to extend his rule and conquer more lands so he could establish the laws of Allah (SWT) throughout the world.

On one of his Eastern expeditions, he came across two mountains surrounding a piece of land in between, which was being used as a passageway by people. Here, he encountered a tribe who brought his attention to the barbarous tribes of Ya’juj and Ma’juj, who, at the time, inhabited the territory between the two mountains where they were known for their acts of plunder, bloodshed, and cruelty. The people sought Dhul-Qurnayn’s help and pleaded him to build a barrier between them and Ya’juj and Ma’juj, to safeguard their people and lands from their corruption and brutality. Hence, Dhul-Qurnayn took it upon himself to build a robust iron wall, which essentially imprisoned Ya’juj and Ma’juj and restrained them.

Ya’juj and Ma’juj tried to escape and pierce the barrier with all their might but alas, all their efforts were to no avail. The iron wall was impenetrable. Hence, they began to dig under it and they will continue to do so until it is time and Allah (SWT) allows them to come out before the Hour is near. When Allah (SWT) decrees it, one day, Ya’juj and Ma’juj will escape and spread out and wreak havoc in this world; killing people, plants and everything in their path.

The account of these events is testified by the words of Allah (SWT) Himself, in the Surah Kahf of His blessed book, which leaves no room for doubt regarding the existence of Ya’juj and Ma’juj and validates the iron barrier built to keep them out. In the Surah, Allah (SWT) says:

“Until, when he reached between two mountains, he found, before (near) them, a people who scarcely understood a word.

They said, ‘O Dhu’l-Qarnayn! Verily! Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj are doing great mischief in the land. Shall we then pay you a tribute in order that you might erect a barrier between us and them?’
He said: ‘That (wealth, authority and power) in which my Lord has established me is better (than your tribute). So help me with strength (of men), I will erect between you and them a barrier. Give me pieces (blocks) of iron,’ then, when he had filled up the gap between the two mountain-cliffs, he said, ‘Blow,’ till when he had made it (red as) fire, he said, ‘Bring me molten copper to pour over it.’
So they [Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj] were made powerless to scale it or dig through it.
(Dhu’l-Qarnayn) said: ‘This is a mercy from my Lord, but when the Promise of my Lord comes, He shall level it down to the ground. And the Promise of my Lord is ever true.’”(Quran 18:93-98)

The emergence of Ya’juj and Ma’juj is one of the major signs of Qiyamah. They will emerge once Eesa (PBUH) has killed the Dajjal (The Anti-Christ). According to Prophetic traditions, their numbers (Ya’juj and Ma’juj) will be massive and they shall drink up the lake of Tiberias, in Palestine. Eesa (peace be upon him) and his followers will seek refuge from their disruption and harm in Mount Tur, until Allah (SWT) vanquishes Ya’juj and Ma’juj by sending worms that will eat their necks and thereafter, rain will wipe away their bodies into the sea, ridding this world of even their odor. This can be accounted for in the following hadith narrated by Al-Nawaas ibn Sam’aan (RA):

The Prophet (peace be upon him), while describing the signs of the Day of judgement said: “… and Allah will send Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj, swiftly swarming from every mound. They will pass the lake of Tiberias [in Palestine] and will drink everything that is in it2. Then the last of them will pass by and will say, ‘There used to be water here once.’ The Prophet of Allah, Eesaa (Jesus), and his companions, will be besieged until a bull’s head will be more precious to one of them than a hundred dinars are to any of you today. Eesaa (Jesus) and his companions will pray to Allah, and Allah will send a kind of worm (like that found in the noses of camels and sheep) on their (Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj) necks, and they will fall down dead, all at once. Then Eesaa (Jesus) and his companions will come down out of the place where they were besieged, and they will find hardly a hand span of land that is not filled with the stench (of Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj), so Eesaa (Jesus) and his companions will pray to Allah, and He will send birds like the necks of camels to carry them away and throw them wherever Allah wills.” (Sahih Muslim 18:68).

However, one of the ahadith, reported by Zaynab bint Jahsh (RA) indicates that the time of their emergence may be nearer than one would think. She reported that one day the Holy Prophet (PBUH) came to her in a state of fright and said:

“Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, woe to the Arabs from an evil that has approached! Today a hole like this has been opened in the barrier of Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj,” and he made a circle with his thumb and forefinger. Zaynab bint Jahsh said: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, will we be destroyed even though there are righteous people among us?’ He said, ‘Yes, if evil becomes overwhelming.’” (Sahih Bukhaari, 3097)
Scholars believe this hadith could essentially pose as an indication that the gates of evil have been opened already and the release of Ya’juj and Ma’juj into the world has begun- or at least that their release has been set in motion.

Another authentic warning of the existence of Ya’juj and Ma’juj and their tireless efforts to escape every single day is a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah, who said:

“The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said that Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj are digging every day until they can almost see sunlight, then the one who is in charge of them says, “Go back, we will dig again tomorrow.” Then Allah restores (the barrier) and makes it stronger than it was. (This will continue) until the appointed time. When Allah wishes to send them against the people, they will dig until they can almost see sunlight, then the one who is in charge of them will say, “Go back, we will dig again tomorrow, in sha Allah.” This time he will say “in sha Allah”, so when they come back (the next day), they will find it as they left it, so they will dig their way out and emerge to attack the people. They will dry up water (by drinking it, because of their great numbers), and the people will seek to protect themselves from them in their fortresses. They will fire their arrows into the sky, and the arrows will come back down covered in blood (as a test for them), and they will say, “We have defeated the people of the earth and have gained the upper hand over the people of heaven.” Then Allah will send worms on the napes of their necks, which will kill them. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, the beasts of the earth will grow fat from their flesh.” (Sahih Ibn Maajah 3298)

Hence, these Quranic indications and prophetic traditions leave little room to doubt the actual reality of this world and the existence of Ya’juj and Ma’juj, whose emergence into the world is now only a matter of time. As time is passing, the signs of Qiyamah are starting to uncover themselves, one by one. Hence, this world may not have as much time as we would like to believe.

After the destruction of Ya’juj and Ma’juj, the final signs of the Day of Resurrection will follow shortly, one after the other, until the very end, when the trumpet is blown and the world as we know it today, will cease to exist.

Friday, February 16, 2018


"Qalam" is the Arabic word for “pen,” the instrument through which we write. There are thousands of different styles and colors and shapes of pens, and they range in cost from a dime to several thousand dollars. Some are made of wood, some plastic, and some of the pure gold, among these you’ll find some studded with diamonds. Whatever form they may take, the pen remains an enduring symbol of communication, the means by which thoughts, ideas, and information are moved from one source to its recipients, a system that God created for us. It’s also the way by which He lets His creation know His will.

So important is the “pen,” God Himself makes an oath with it in defense of the Prophet’s soundness of mind and tremendous character: “Nun. By the Pen, and what they inscribe, you are not [O Muhammad], by the grace of your Lord, a madman. And yours shall be an unfailing reward. And you indeed are of tremendous character” (Quran, 68:1-4). According to commentators of the Quran, God’s choice of swearing “by the pen” here, is actually quite profound. The pen, in the visible and unseen realm, serves several important functions: The pen records, at the hands of angelic scribes, the deeds of people, whether the deeds are big or small. Nothing of what we do (physically or mentally) escapes the inscription of the pen (“Then the Book [of deeds] will be set out, and you will see the sinners frightened of what it holds. And they will say, ‘Woe to us! What kind of book is this! It omits nothing small nor great, but all are accounted for!’ They will find all that they had ever done displayed before them, and your Lord will wrong no one” (Quran, 18:49)).

The “pen” is also applied to all the decrees of God, which are infinite, beyond enumeration: “And if all the trees on earth were pens, and the sea [were ink] with seven more seas to supply it, the words of God could not be exhausted. Indeed, God is Mighty, Wise” (Quran, 31:27). The “words” of God alludes to God’s knowledge, power in determining the affairs of all things, known to us and unknown (whether in the earth, in our lives and bodies, or in the deepest caverns of the land or the distant planets and stars, or any of the unseen planes of existence known only to God).

“Say, ‘If the sea were ink for the words of my Lord, the sea would surely run out before the words of My Lord would ever run out, even if we brought another one like it for replenishment’” (Quran, 18:109). A Quran commentator said about this verse, “However astonishing and far-reaching the narratives granted in Scripture may be, they are less than a drop in the ocean, for His attributes, wisdom, and knowledge are without limit.” The very first revelation of the Quran mentions the pen as among the blessings of God: Read in the name of your Lord who created; He created man from a clinging clot. Read, for your Lord is the Most Generous, who taught by the pen, who taught man what he did not know (Quran, 96:1-5). The original meaning of “qalam” in Arabic is “pruning” or “cutting” something out from something bigger, as in trimming a tree or bush or cutting one’s nails.

When God sent Prophets to the various nations He often allowed them to perform miracles that were relevant to their particular time and place.  In the time of Moses magic and sorcery were prevalent therefore Moses’ miracles appealed to the people he was sent to guide.  In the time of Muhammad, the Arabs, although predominantly illiterate, were masters of the spoken word.  Their poetry and prose were considered outstanding and a model of literary excellence.

When Prophet Muhammad recited the Quran – the words of God – the Arabs were moved tremendously by its sublime tone and extraordinary beauty.  The Quran was Prophet Muhammad’s miracle from God.  Muhammad was unable to read or write therefore the Arabs knew that he was unlikely to have produced such eloquent words, but even so, some refused to believe that the Quran was the word of God.  God therefore challenged them, in the Quran, to produce a rival text.  
“And if you (Arab pagans, Jews, and Christians) are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down (i.e. the Quran) to Our slave (Muhammad), then produce a chapter of the like thereof and call your witnesses (supporters and helpers) besides God, if you are truthful.” (Quran 2:23)
Of course, they were unable to do so.  In contrast to those who questioned the origin of the Quran, many Arabs converted to Islam after hearing the recitation.  They knew immediately that such sublime beauty could originate only from God.  Even today it is possible to see Muslims moved to tears while listening to or reciting the Quran.  In fact, some people, unable to understand even one word of the Arabic language are moved by the intrinsic beauty of the Quran.
After establishing that Quran is the word of God and that it is a recitation, it is also important to understand that Quran has remained unchanged for more than 1400 years.  Today when a Muslim in Egypt holds his mushaf in his hands and begins to recite you can be sure that in far away Fiji another Muslim is looking at and reciting the exact same words.  There are no differences.  The child in France holding his first mushaf is tentatively reciting the same words that flowed from the lips of Prophet Muhammad.
God assures us in Quran that He will surely protect His words.  He says,

“Verily, it is We Who have sent down the Quran and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).” (Quran 15:9)

This means that God will guard against anything false being added or any part of it being taken away. It is protected from tampering and if anyone attempts to distort the meanings of Quran, God will guide someone to expose the deception. Muslims believe that the previous revelations from God, including the Torah and the Gospels of Jesus, were either lost in antiquity, or changed and distorted, so it is a source of comfort to them knowing that God’s words – the Quran – are now well guarded.
God sent down the Quran, from above the heavens to the Angel Gabriel in the glorious month of Ramadan.  The story of how this recitation was revealed and how Quran came to be available worldwide, with an interpretation of the meanings translated into over 100 languages. One night during Ramadan an angel came to him and asked him to read.  The Prophet, who was unable to read or write, replied 'I do not know how to read'.  The angel then held him forcibly and pressed his chest so hard that he could not bear the pressure.  The angel then released Muhammad and asked him once more to read.  Again he replied, “but I do not know how to read”.  The angel held him forcibly three times and Muhammad responded each time that he did not know how to read (or asked what shall I read).  The angel then related to him the first words of Quran.
“Read!  In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists).  He has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood). Read!  And your Lord is the Most Generous, Who has taught by the pen, He has taught man that which he knew not.”  (Quran 96:1-5)
After this first revelation, which Muhammad found frightening; he was not visited by the angel Gabriel again for an undetermined amount of time.  The next time he encountered him (the angel) he was walking alone.  Prophet Muhammad heard a voice from the heavens.  When he looked up he saw the angel sitting on a chair between the sky and the earth.  Muhammad was afraid and ran home seeking comfort and asking to be wrapped in blankets.  The second revelation occurred at this time.

“O you covered in garments arise and warn the people of a severe punishment...”  (Quran 74:1-5)

Over the next 23 years until shortly before Prophet Muhammad’s death, the Quran was revealed in stages. Several reasons have been suggested for this.  Some say that it was revealed slowly to offer Prophet Muhammad support and address issues as they arose. 

Writing materials were difficult to obtain and in these very early days portions of Quran were written onto animal skins, thin light colored stones, bones, and even bark.  The companions would write down the words of revelation and Prophet Muhammad would listen to the men recite from the written word to make sure there were no mistakes.  It could be said that the Quran was written down under the direct supervision of Prophet Muhammad.  The Quran was not revealed in order, however, the Angel Gabriel instructed Prophet Muhammad on how to compile the Quran in the divinely inspired correct sequence.

Nun. [These letters (Nun, etc.) are one of the miracles of the Qur'an, and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings]. By the pen and what the (angels) write (in the Records of men).

You (O Muhammad) are not, by the Grace of your Lord, a madman. And verily, for you (O Muhammad) will be an endless reward. And verily, you (O Muhammad) are on an exalted standard of character. You will see, and they will see, Which of you is afflicted with madness. Verily, your Lord knows better, who (among men) has gone astray from His Path, and He knows better those who are guided. So (O Muhammad) obey not the deniers [(of Islamic Monotheism those who believe the Verses of Allah), the Oneness of Allah, and the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad), etc.]

They wish that you should compromise (in religion out of courtesy) with them so they (too) would compromise with you. And obey not everyone who swears much, and is considered worthless, a slanderer, going about with calumnies. Hinderer of the good, transgressor, sinful, Cruel, after all that base-born (of illegitimate birth), (He was so) because he had wealth and children. When Our Verses (of the Qur'an) are recited to him, he says: "Tales of the men of old!” "We shall brand him over the nose!” Verily, We have tried them as We tried the people of the garden when they swore to pluck the fruits of the (garden) in the morning, Without saying: Insha' Allah (If Allah wills).

Then there passed by on the (garden) something (fire) from your Lord at night and burnt it while they were asleep. So the (garden) became black by the morning, like a pitch dark night (in complete ruins). Then they called out one to another as soon as the morning broke, Saying: "Go to your tilth in the morning if you would pluck the fruits." So they departed, conversing in secret low tones (saying), No Miskin (poor man) shall enter upon you into it today. And they went in the morning with strong intention, thinking that they have power (to prevent the poor taking anything of the fruits therefrom). But when they saw the (garden), they said: "Verily, we have gone astray," (Then they said): "Nay! Indeed we are deprived of (the fruits)!" The best among them said: "Did I not tell you: why do you not say: Insha' Allah (If Allah wills). They said: "Glory to Our Lord! Verily, we have been Zalimun (wrong-doers, etc.). Then they turned one against another, in blaming. They said: "Woe to us! Verily, we were Taghun (transgressors and disobedient, etc.) We hope that our Lord will give us in exchange a better (garden) than this. Truly, we turn to our Lord (wishing for good that He may forgive our sins, and reward us in the Hereafter)." Such is the punishment (in this life), but truly, the punishment of the Hereafter is greater, if they but knew.

Verily, for the Muttaqun (pious and righteous persons -
see V.2:2) are Gardens of delight (Paradise) with their Lord. Shall We then treat the (submitting) Muslims like the Mujrimun (criminals, polytheists, and disbelievers, etc.)? What is the matter with you? How judge you or have you a Book through which you learn. That you shall have all that you choose? Or you have oaths from Us, reaching to the Day of Resurrection that yours will be what you judge. Ask them, which of them will stand surety for that! Or have they "partners"? Then let them bring their "partners" if they are truthful! (Remember) the Day when the Shin shall be laid bare (i.e. the Day of Resurrection) and they shall be called to prostrate (to Allah), but they (hypocrites) shall not be able to do so, Their eyes will be cast down, ignominy will cover them; they used to be called to prostrate (offer prayers), while they were healthy and good (in the life of the world, but they did not). Then leave Me Alone with such as believe this Qur'an. We shall punish them gradually from directions they perceive not. And I will grant them a respite. Verily, My Plan is strong. Or is it that you (O Muhammad) ask them a wage so that they are heavily burdened with debt? Or that the Ghaib (unseen here in this Verse it means Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz) is in their hands so that they can write it down?

So wait with patience for the Decision of your Lord, and be not like the Companion of the Fish, when he cried out (to Us) while he was in deep sorrow.
(See the Qur'an, Verse 21:87). Had not a Grace from his Lord reached him, he would indeed have been (left in the stomach of the fish, but We forgave him), so he was cast off on the naked shore, while he was to be blamed. But his Lord chose him and made him of the righteous. And verily, those who disbelieve would almost make you slip with their eyes through hatredness when they hear the Reminder (the Qur'an), and they say: "Verily, he (Muhammad) is a madman!" But it is nothing else than a Reminder to all the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists). Surah Al-Qalam.68

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

“Attributes of the Creator”

Just before Moses reiterated the Ten Commandments as a new generation of Israelites prepared to enter the Holy Land, he emphasized: “And the LORD spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of the words, but saw no form; you only heard a voice” God did not desire images of Himself, nor did He want His image seared into people’s minds through their eyes. Rather, He wanted His words to remain ringing in their ears and their hearts. Much religious art and imagery have supported false concepts that have held people captive to teachings and dogmas far removed from the religion of Moses and Christ and the Last Prophet after Jesus. If we would view God’s will and purpose through His words rather than through the candle-smoke haze of centuries of clichéd religious imagery, we might indeed begin to truly see God—in His image, not our own. The attempt to quantify God so that humanity can grasp the vastness of His nature is indeed a formidable undertaking. Oftentimes, theologians speak of the attributes of God as those qualities of God’s nature that He has chosen to reveal of Himself to humanity, either through natural revelation or through specific revelation. “When we speak of the attributes of God, we are referring to those qualities of God which constitute what he is. They are the very characteristics of his nature.”
]] Typically, God’s attributes are grouped into two classifications. “In an effort to explain God according to Scripture, theologians have distinguished between the unshared attributes that belong to him alone, and God’s shared attributes, which he bestows upon us to a lesser degree than he possesses them.”
]] First are those attributes of God which are true of Him alone. This set of attributes is known as the incommunicable attributes, which refers simply to those characteristics of God that cannot be shared by anyone other than God; by virtue of His divine nature, He alone exemplifies these qualities. The second set is known as God’s communicable attributes. These characteristics are those that God shares in some capacity with His creation; specifically with humanity as a part of His creation. God’s holiness falls into both classifications; first as an incommunicable attribute, holiness is elemental to God’s nature, and second, as a communicable attribute, holiness is fundamental to a right understanding of, and interaction with, God as Creator on the part of the created. This work will demonstrate the importance of holiness in both manners of qualification, in such a way as to highlight its fundamental characteristics to the nature of God, and to the nature of His interaction with His creation, as well as the reciprocal relationship between the creature and Creator.
]] Regarding holiness in particular, as divine attributes are permanent and intrinsic qualities, which cannot be gained or lost. Thus, holiness is not in this sense an attribute (a permanent, inseparable characteristic) of Adam, but it is of God. God’s attributes are essential and inherent dimensions of his very nature.
]] This distinction between Adam on the one hand, and God on the other, in relation to holiness, is shared by other communicable attributes, but perhaps no greater gulf exists between man’s ability to share in God’s attributes anywhere than at this point. For example, mankind may demonstrate some limited measure of love, or mercy on his own, since unbelieving men may display these characteristics under the right circumstances; albeit in pitiful fashion. However, under no circumstance imaginable is mankind capable of demonstrating even the most minuscule amount of holiness, aside from God imparting it to him as a shared attribute.

There are two basic aspects to God’s holiness. The first is his uniqueness. He is totally separate from all of creation. . . . The other aspect of God’s holiness is his absolute purity or goodness. This means that he is untouched and unstained by the evil in the world. He does not in any sense participate in it.
With respect to any of the attributes of God, it must be stated that we know all that we know of God by virtue; those things that He has chosen to tell us about Himself. We learn much of what we know about God, from the multiplicity of references within Scripture. God’s revelation to Moses at Mt. Sinai is indicative of God’s desire to make Himself known. Holiness it seems, as a part of God’s being, is the driving force behind the perfection of all the other attributes of God:  expresses his conviction that ‘holiness is the foundation on which the whole conception of God rests.  It is seen as the basic or fundamental attribute because “there is no standard for God; He Himself is the standard of holiness. God is under no law of holiness; He Himself is the law of holiness. God’s nature is supremely perfect; a perfection-driven by His holiness, as to be without comparison. God absolutely could not be God if it were not for this supreme perfection, which is His alone. Anything less than absolute perfection, and undeniable holiness in Him would denote some fundamental flaw, which, even on the smallest scale, would preclude His being God. The underlying thought of holiness is being separate from all that’s impure. This is the divine perfection by which God is absolutely distinct from all creatures and exalted above them in infinite majesty. God is distinct from His creation in that He is set apart from creation by virtue of His purity. Holiness is fundamental because in a sense all of God’s other attributes rest on this one attribute of perfection. God’s level of perfection in all His attributes must have their basis in the level of perfection that stems from His holiness. From this point, we see that His holiness is fundamental to all of his attributes. Equally as important, humanity’s right understanding of God is predicated upon the absolute perfection of His holy nature. God’s holiness – His very essence, as communicated to His creatures, is a derivative of absolute perfection. “There is an emphasis given to this attribute above all the other attributes. There are certain attributes we prefer, because of personal benefit derived from them. We esteem God’s love, mercy, and grace before His justice, wrath, and anger. But in the Bible, the holiness of God has preeminence over all the others.” It is from this standpoint that we describe the holiness of God as being transcendent or above all the other attributes. This transcendence establishes holiness as a foundational attribute.
When the Creator’s holiness has been physically manifested to His creation, it has a brilliant effect. Holiness is also seen as communicable, in that God does share His holiness with humanity in some senses. The idea that God shares His attributes with humanity in any sense is an indication of His desire to have an interactive relationship with His creation; mankind in particular. It is a reflection of His character that He desires such an interaction; in no sense does God need this interaction, but Scripture is clear that He desires it and goes to great lengths to make it possible. As a result of God’s activity in making His being known, and providing a means of interaction, it is right that He alone is the object of man’s worship. God is seen in His holiness as a Law-giver. A holy God gave a law that was just and holy and good.” Holiness is an essential quality of God, both in a metaphysical sense, and in a moral, or ethical sense. This realization brings to bear another aspect of God’s holiness as it is imparted to man. There is a moral or ethical component of God’s holiness that bears upon man as he strives to come into the image of God. It is this conjunction of morality with holiness that defines the ethical component of God’s nature. He is God because He is ethically (morally) superior to all else, and this is made known through His holiness. In fact, “The holiness of God in Scripture is never depicted apart from its moral and rational dimensions. A holy God is always moral, and he communicates in rational language. In conclusion, one must deduce that God’s holiness is perhaps His greatest gift to mankind, other than salvation and paradise. All His other gifts are predicated upon His holiness. God’s Holiness is foundational and all other actions emanate from His holiness. His righteousness, justice, love, grace, mercy, and truth are what they are because He is holy. God is transcendent because of His holiness, yet even the desire to have a relationship with humanity is predicated upon God’s holiness.
“Adam was created in His image” means that Allah created Adam in His image, for He HAS A FACE, AN EYE, A HAND, AND A FOOT, and Adam had a face, an eye, a hand, and a foot… but that does not mean that these things are exactly the same. There is some similarity, but it is not exactly the same. Similarly, the first group to enter Paradise are likened to the moon, but they are not exactly the same. This confirms the view of Ahl al-Sunnah Wa’l-Jamaa’ah, who say that none of the attributes of Allah can be likened to the attributes of created beings, without distorting or misinterpreting, or discussing how or likening Him to His creation.
No human, including prophets, could see Allah. Here are two Quranic verses.
(Quran Chapter 7. Al A’raaf ayat 143)
And when Moosa (Moses) came at the time and place appointed by us, and his Lord spoke to him, He said: “O My Lord! Show me (Yourself), that I may look upon You.” Allaah said: “You cannot see Me, but look upon the mountain if it stands still In its place Then You shall see me.” so when his Lord appeared to the mountain, He made it collapse to dust, and Mûsa (Moses) fell down unconscious. Then when He recovered his senses He said: “Glory be to you, I turn to You In repentance and I am the first of the believers.” (Quran Al An’am Chapter 6 ayat 103)
No vision can grasp Him, but his grasp is over all vision.
Narrated Abu Huraira: The people said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Shall we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?” He replied, “Do you have any doubt in seeing the full moon on a clear (not cloudy) night?” They replied, “No, O Allah’s Apostle!” He said, “Do you have any doubt in seeing the sun when there are no clouds?” They replied in the negative. He said, “You will see Allah (your Lord) in the same way[Sahih Bukharee 9/532].
Note: Prophet is referring only to the ability to see Moon, not comparing Allah to Moon. Also, Allah’s veil is light, not Him. Some crooked minds will twist these things and say Allah is like the moon (or Sun).
Here is a final proof: Ibn ‘Umar narrates the Prophet said: “The Day Of Resurrection is the first day any eye will look at Allah, the All-Great and All-Glorious”
Any image we create is a reflection of creation, even if it’s a mixed image. e.g.: Unicorn doesn’t exist, but all of its parts exist. Images of Gods are distorted: In Sri Lanka, Buddha looks like a Sinhalese, in Cambodia – a Cambodian, in Japan – Japanese. So, who is he? Hindu Gods look Indian. People create God in their image. Jews didn’t make images of God, because of clear commands against image making. Synagogues have no images, but their texts refer God with human weakness. Islam rejects all these.
Muslims believe that one can know/understand Allah thru His attributes. This understanding of attributes is enough for a Muslim. We don’t need pictures.
(Quran Chapter 42 ayat 11)
… There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer