Dawah (Outreach)

Religion and Relevance

Asalamu alaykum,

Sh. Jamal Diwan recommened this to me. I found this show interesting for a number of reasons.

1. The inability of religously trained scholars to provide answers to the common people

2. The assumption that their questions require overly complicated answers

3. What role can our faith play in helping our societies?

The Challenge:

If you were to answer these people’s questions and problems, what would you say? How would Islam answer their questions? You’re the Imam, start answering!

About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship. Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010.

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  • My answer would revolve around the “practice” concept. You can give me all the theoretical answers you want but if you don't practice it or don't show me how to practice it then I will never benefit from it.
    When I moved to North America I did not like going to the Masjid because everything was Haram. For the young person this is very deterring and it raises the question that if everything is haram then How can I live here and more recently how can I live in this world that has become saturated with the “haram” practices. I feel that our sheikhs are somewhat out of touch with what happens in the day to day life and hence cannot give a contemporary answer.
    Faith is a way of life not a thing we do while in the masjid. Show me how you can live according to Islam while living in this world and let's stop singing the glory of past days without learning from them how to live the life we have now.
    I am not sure if this answers the question but in general that is my answer.

  • One thing (among many) I love about Imam Suhaib Webb is that he acknowledges that people struggle. Sometimes you get so down after hearing how righteous the people of the past were vis-a-vis how bad we are, you just want to sit in the masjid and do nothing but make dhikr. That seems to be the only way to avoid all the haram out there. So, when Learned People acknowledge our struggles, it boosts your belief that InshaAllah you might have a chance at Jannah.

  • In the talk where the pastor talks to the girl Trisha, you can see…she came for spiritual advice..and instead got argumentative, domatic rhetoric. The religious pastor seems more desperate and confused and lacking faith in his religion…than a pastor should. Islamically: We need saints and Sufis…people who are Ahlul Qalb (people of the heart) and not people of books. I remember the hadith where the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam would read the hearts of people…like in the one where he says, “Astafti Kalbik- Ask your heart” to one Sahaba.

    I think it has largely to do with the fact, Muslims are still growing in their faith. So, they don't have what it takes and yet at the same time are trying to guide others. And combined with this information age– you hear a simple Quranic ayah…you can use that OR you can use this cool argument your heard Sh. Abdur Raheem Green use or Ahmed Deedat use. Most people opt for the later over the Quran, because its more flashy.

    You got to speak to what people are saying and what they need. Not what you feel people need. I actually, like the fact you posted this because I have a project regarding this, “realism” we have omitted in our tarbiya. I think we need to uncover the psychological realism inherent in the Book of Allah and Hadith. There is a type of *interaction* that happens between the deen and our hearts…which we need to tap into more.

  • I wrote a big response…but my computer screwed up and now, I gotta get off the computer…but a lot of it is similar to what I wrote here on being a murtud: http://muslimology.wordpress.com/2008/12/04/lea

    I would only add the following:

    “Allah has no intention of oppressing the universe” (Surah Ale Imran) (which means islam has little room for pessimism)

    Abu Hurairah related that the Holy Prophet (salla Allahu `alayhi wa salam) said:
    “Allah the Exalted says: I have no reward other than Paradise for a Believing servant of mine who is patient when I take away a beloved from among his companions of the world.” (I think this applies to a lot of things, especially lost love stories)

    Ya ayuhal insanu ma gharaka bi rabbikal kareem- Oh mankind, what has deceived you concerning your Lord, the Most Generous? (hard question)

    ana inda dhani abdihi
    I am to My Servant as he thinks of Me. (having husnudh-dhan of Allah SWT)

    See the link above for elaboration on this…jazaka Allahu khayran, ameen.

  • Salam

    As Dawud Israel says, all the answers are in the Quran. I am involved in dawah, and get a lot of questions about various things from non muslims. Amazingly, almost every single question I get can be answered from the Quran, if one knows where to look.

    This is a question I was once asked:

    I have some questions to ask about finding advice in the Quran for providing comfort and solace to some ailing people I know. A woman I knew in high school who was beautiful and a talented track and field sprinter/long jumper/hurdler is in the hospital getting treated for cervical cancer. She competed at the collegiate level in track and field, and the pressure of performing well influenced her in using steroids which caused her to be in the health state she is today. I've called her and visited her trying to comfort her, but sometimes I feel I may not be doing enough or might say the wrong thing (at this time I don't know if she will survive or not). I'd like to give her more spiritual support.

    Here is how I replied. Notice that I include a link to this website :-).

    This is a difficult topic, as I'm sure you are aware, to deal with in any religion – comfort during suffering. I'm going to try and answer your questions by talking about a number of topics in the Quran

    Now let's try and talk about suffering, particularly as to WHY it happens. There is a beautiful story in the Quran, one of my favorite stories in the whole Quran. It is about prophet Moses, who goes to a man and accompanies him. For no apparent reason, the man proceeds to start doing some very irrational things. However, at the end of the story, the man explains to Moses exactly why he did the things he did. I am pasting the story here for you:

    18:60. Behold, Moses said to his attendant, “I will not give up until I reach the junction of the two seas or (until) I spend years and years in travel.”
    18:61. But when they reached the Junction, they forgot (about) their Fish, which took its course through the sea (straight) as in a tunnel.
    18:62. When they had passed on (some distance), Moses said to his attendant: “Bring us our early meal; truly we have suffered much fatigue at this (stage of) our journey.”
    18:63. He replied: “Did you see (what happened) when we betook ourselves to the rock? I did indeed forget (about) the Fish: none but Satan made me forget to tell (you) about it: it took its course through the sea in a marvellous way!”
    18:64. Moses said: “That was what we were seeking after:” So they went back on their footsteps, following (the path they had come).
    18:65. So they found one of Our servants, on whom We had bestowed Mercy from Ourselves and whom We had taught knowledge from Our own Presence.
    18:66. Moses said to him: “May I follow you, on the footing that you teach me something of the (Higher) Truth which you have been taught?”
    18:67. (The other) said: “Verily you will not be able to have patience with me!”
    18:68. “And how can you have patience about things about which your understanding is not complete?”
    18:69. Moses said: “You will find me, if Allah so will, (truly) patient: nor will I disobey you in anything.”
    18:70. The other said: “If then you would follow me, ask me no questions about anything until I myself speak to you concerning it.”
    18:71. So they both proceeded: until, when they were in the boat, he scuttled it. Said Moses: “Have you scuttled it in order to drown those in it? Truly a strange thing have you done!”
    18:72. He answered: “Did I not tell you that you can have no patience with me?”
    18:73. Moses said: “Rebuke me not for forgetting, nor grieve me by raising difficulties in my case.”
    18:74. Then they proceeded: until, when they met a young man, he slew him. Moses said: “Have you slain an innocent person who had slain none? Truly a foul (unheard of) thing have you done!”
    18:75. He answered: “Did I not tell you that you can have no patience with me?”
    18:76. (Moses) said: “If ever I ask you about anything after this, keep me not in your company: then you would have received (full) excuse from my side.”
    18:77. Then they proceeded: until, when they came to the inhabitants of a town, they asked them for food, but they refused them hospitality. They found there a wall on the point of falling down, but he set it up straight. (Moses) said: “If you had wished, surely you could have exacted some recompense for it!”
    18:78. He answered: “This is the parting between me and you: now will I tell you the interpretation of (those things) over which you were unable to hold patience.
    18:79. “As for the boat, it belonged to certain men in dire want: they plied on the water: I but wished to render it unserviceable, for there was after them a certain king who seized on every boat by force.
    18:80. “As for the youth, his parents were people of Faith, and we feared that he would grieve them by obstinate rebellion and ingratitude (to Allah and man).
    18:81. “So we desired that their Lord would give them in exchange (a son) better in purity (of conduct) and closer in affection.
    18:82. “As for the wall, it belonged to two youths, orphans, in the Town; there was, beneath it, a buried treasure, to which they were entitled: their father had been a righteous man: So your Lord desired that they should attain their age of full strength and get out their treasure – a mercy (and favour) from your Lord. I did it not of my own accord. Such is the interpretation of (those things) over which you were unable to hold patience.”

    This story helps us understand why suffering happens. With his limited knowledge, Moses is unable to see the wisdom behind the apparent bad things that the other man is doing. You can find a short, scholarly, explaination of this story at http://www.virtualmosque.com/blog/general/why-does….

    The next thing I'm going to talk about is patience. Patience is a virtue which is mentioned time and time again in the Quran, and also in the hadith/sunnah. Patience is shown in the Quran thru the stories of the Prophets. There is a whole chapter devoted to the story of Joseph (it is Chapter 12), about the trials and tribualtion he went thru, and how he endured them with great patience. The story of Job, how he was afflicted with suffering and showe dpatience thru it, is also mentioned in many places in the Quran. One of the most powerful passages in the Quran, for me personally, is this one:

    2:155. Be sure we will test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere,
    2:156. Who say, when afflicted with calamity: “To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return”:-
    2:157. They are those on whom (Descend) blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance.

    This refrain, “To Allah we belong, and to Him us our return”, is a recommended prayer when death, or any other calamity, happens.

    There are many hadith about pateince, and the reward associated with it. You can find a very good article about patience, which includes some of these hadith, here: http://www.islamonline.net/english/introducingi….

    I would like to end with the following chapter of the Quran which, when read, can bring a lot of comfort and solace to the reader.

    Surah 94. Solace, Consolation, Relief
    In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
    94:1. Have We not expanded you your breast?-
    94:2. And removed from you your burden
    94:3. The which did gall your back?-
    94:4. And raised high the esteem (in which) you (are held)?
    94:5. So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief:
    94:6. Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.
    94:7. Therefore, when you are free (from your immediate task
    ), still labour hard,
    94:8. And to your Lord turn (all) your attention.

    I have italicized the key verses in this chapter: “Verily, with every difficulty, there is relief”. This verse is repeated for emphasis in this chapter. At the end of the day, there is always some sort of relief from any difficulty. We may now know when it comes, or how it will come, but as muslims we are asked to put our full trust in God, and try and be patient until the relief arrives.

  • Salam

    This is rather long, but my 10th grade daughther had to do as assignment about death (she goes to Islamic school). I would like to paste it here as a comment to this topic.

    Death. The mere word is enough to send shivers down the spine of most people. No one likes to think about it: the reasoning behind it, how they will die, what will happen afterwards, and so on. But what exactly is death, from an Islamic point of view? Why is it an important matter, not something to be looked down upon? These points, as well as my own view of death, others' view of it, and how it should be viewed will all be discussed. Death, after all, is a significant subject in Islam, and you just never know which breath will be your last.

    Death is somewhat of a mysterious word: something that is only half-uncovered, with the other half hidden in shadows. It is a sad fact that many people do not know the importance behind death, and this brings me to my first point: what exactly is death? Everyone knows the dictionary definition of death: the end of life, the state of dying, the act of passing away, the ultimate end. This is true, but there is more to death than this. Death is the return to Allah. It is a stage of everyone's life, the bridge between this world and the afterlife. Death is inevitable in everyone's life. No one can mess with destiny and escape it. In the Qur'an, Allah explains this by saying, “…At length, when death approaches one of you, Our angels take his soul, and they never fail in their duty.” (The Qur'an, 6:61) Another ayah that bolsters this is, “Wherever you are, death will find you out, even if you are in towers built up strong and high.” (The Qur'an, 4:78) These engrave the fact that death will happen for sure, no matter what you do. You cannot outrun it. A story further strengthens this fact: a young man was once set to go on an airplane. The night before his flight, the man's mother was watching the news and a story was reported that a plane of the airline that her son was to fly on crashed. Not wanting her son to die, she set his alarm an hour later than when he had to wake up, so he would miss his flight. The next morning she found out that the plane her son was to go on indeed had crashed, and went triumphantly to his room, explaining she had saved his life, only to find that he had died in his sleep, at exactly the same time that the plane has crashed. From this we can see that if one thing in life is certain, it is death.

    How hard or easy one's death is corresponds to how good a person they were in this world. A good person who followed Allah's will properly will see the Angel of Death as a beautiful creature and will have his soul taken gently from his body. As the last breath escapes from his lips, he will catch a glimpse of the gardens of Paradise. A person who did not follow the right way will see the Angel of Death is a terrifying, ugly creature. His soul will be ripped out from his body painfully. This is seen in Surah Al-Nazi'at: “By the angels who tear out the souls of the wicked with violence. By those who gently draw out the souls of the blessed.” (The Qur'an, 79: 1 – 2) This is further explained in a hadith by Bukhari: “when the coffin is ready and people lift it above their shoulders, if the body is that a virtuous person, it urges, 'take me ahead, take me ahead!' But if it is the body of a wrongdoer, it says, 'curses! Where are you taking me?' Its screams are heard by everything except humans, and if they could hear it, they would faint.” (Emerick, Yahya. What Islam is All About, pg. 96) Just imagine how terrible these screams must be if they would make us faint. Just imagine yourself screaming like so, Allah forbid. Do you want to go through this? This hadith itself is enough of a reminder of death, the grave, and the afterlife, and a great impelling force to do good in this world.

    The grave is also an important part of death. As explained in the hadith: “The Messenger of Allaah (S) said, 'When the dead person is buried two black-blue angels come to him, one called al-Munkar and the other called an-Nakeer, and they say to him: 'What had you used to say about this man?' So he says what he used to say: 'Allah's slave and His Messenger, I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.' So they say: 'Verily we knew that you say that.' Then his grave is widened for him to the extent of seventy cubits by seventy, then it is made light for him, then it is said: ' Sleep.' So he says: 'I should go to my family and inform them.' So they say: 'Sleep as the newly married sleeps whom no-one awakes except his favorite wife.' Until Allah raises him up from that place of sleep. And if he is a hypocrite, he says: 'I heard the people saying something so I said it too, I don't know.' So they say: 'We knew that you say that.' So it is said to the earth: 'Crush him', so he is crushed until his cross over and he remains in the state of torture until Allah raises him up from that resting place.” (http://survivorsareus.com/index.cfm/Punishment_…) Again, imagine yourself, Allah forbid, in this situation. Imagine not being able to answer the three questions the angels will ask you (who is your Lord? What is your religion? Who is your Prophet?). The grave will become cramped and uncomfortable, and this will only be part of the punishment, for the punishment of Hell is much worse. Should this not be enough of a coercion to succeed in death by working hard for it in life?

    So, now we have discussed death and the grave, but what about after that? Death can be seen as the bridge between this world and the afterlife. If one's grave is spacious, the life afterwards will be even better; if the grave was cramped and small, the afterlife will be even worse. The rewards or punishments of Heaven and Hell are amazingly strong, as described in a hadith: “Allah's messanger said that one amongst the denizens of hell who had led a life of ease and plenty amongst the people of the world would be made to dip in Fire only once on the Day of Resurrection and then it would be said to him: 'O, son of Adam, did you find any comfort, did you happen to get any material blessing?' He would say: 'By Allah, no, my Lord.' And then that person …. be brought who had led the most miserable life from amongst the inmates of Paradise and he would be made to dip once in Paradise and it would be said to him: 'O, son of Adam, did you face any hardship? Or had any distress fallen to your lot?' And he would say: 'By Allah, no, my Lord, never did I face any hardship or experience any distress.'” (Siddiqui, Hamid Abdul. Sahih Bukhari, Volume IV, pg. 469) The rewards of Heaven described in detail in the Qur'an: “In the Gardens of Bliss: …. they will be on Thrones encrusted with gold … round about them will serve youths of perpetual freshness, with goblets … and with fruits … and with the flesh of fowls … and there will be Companions, with big, beautiful, and lustrous eyes … in shade long-extended, by water flowing constantly, and fruit in abundance … for the Companions of the Right Hand.” (The Qur'an, 56: 12 – 38.) The punishments of Hell are further detailed also: “They will be in the midst of a fierce Blast of Fire and in Boiling Water, and in the shades of Black Smoke. Nothing will be there to refresh, nor to please ….. ye will surely taste the Tree of Zaqqum. Then ye will fill your insides therewith, and drink Boiling Water on top of it … such will be their entertainment on the Day of Requital!” (The Qur'an, 56: 42 – 56.) So, from all this, we can see that it is death that eventually leads us to Heaven or Hell. From these descriptions, what is it that we want? The indescribable beauty and magnif
    icence of Heaven, or the unimaginable tortures and agonies of Hell? Shouldn't these ayats and hadith be more than enough for people to try and do their best in life to succeed for death? And yet, after all this, people do not prepare themselves in life for death. They fear it, they refuse to talk about it, but they do not see that death is not necessarily a bad thing; in fact, for Muslims, it is welcomed because it will lead us to our everlasting home: Jannah.

    Personally, I did not see death like this until recently. My views of death have definitely changed over the years. When I was younger, and in fact up until I was in sixth grade, I always thought of death as something far away that wouldn't happen for at least another hundred years to come, if it would come at all. I thought of myself as immune to death. I thought of death as something that wouldn't really happen. However, the turning point came in sixth grade. One of my teachers told us a story about a man who had a dream that he was being chased by a lion. Out of fear, the man began to run until he saw a tree, which he climbed. However when he looked down, he saw not only the lion waiting for him, but a black rat, a white rat, who were both chewing the limbs of the tree, and a snake with it's mouth open. The man looked up, trying to find another branch to climb, but instead saw a honeycomb. Eager for some, he stuck out his tongue to taste it, and soon became so lost in it that he forgot about the lion, the snake, and the rats. The next day the man went to a scholar to ask the meaning of the dream. The scholar told him that it was symbolic: the lion was death, forever chasing you, always waiting for you. The tree was life: long, but not everlasting. The black rat was nighttime and the white rat was the day: the time, eating away life. The open-mouthed snake was the grave, always waiting for the person to fall. And the honey was the desires of the world, so easy to get lost in and forget what was really important in life. This story hit me with a new realization: that death was always following me, and that I would definitely die, whether after years or after minutes.

    Over the years my belief in death strengthened even more. I began to pay more attention to the hadiths and ayats described in the previous paragraph. I began to pay more heed towards religion, and I realized that it would be factors such as Salah, reading Qur'an, doing dhikr, fasting, making du'aa, and worshipping Allah would be what would really make a difference in my life. Reading, watching T.V., enjoying my free time in general, and even schoolwork, I came to realize, were important to me in life, but nowhere near as important as religion. Maybe they would help me in my future, but my favorite books, what I watched on T.V, my e-mail, and how well I did in school wouldn't be plus points for my afterlife. In fact, frittering away my time was taking away from time that I could spend doing good things; it was a negative point for me to succeed in death. Ever since, I have been trying my best not to waste time. Honestly it doesn't always work, and I still procrastinate a lot, especially when it comes to schoolwork, but I always know in my heart that death is following me everywhere, and I only have a limited time left. This always helps me to push myself to do the best I can when it comes to points like Salah and Qur'an, Alhumdulilah. Now, when I think of death, I think of it as something scary, but I am more familiar with it than before, and I know how I can make it less frightening: by simply following Islam positively and worshipping Allah. I don't have to give up all my time that I normally spend reading, writing, or talking to my friends and cousins, but if I give up even a little bit of time, even an hour or so to read Qur'an or make dhikr, if I fast occasionally outside of Ramadan, it will, Inshallah, do me a world of good when I die.

    Many people, including Muslims, view death in an incredibly negative way. They greatly dislike being reminded that one day, they and their loved ones will die. This is easy enough to understand. I think that many people do not want to be reminded of death because, not only do they fear it, but because they are just too attached with this world. They don't want to leave what they like to do and the people they love, even though they know that they will get their materialistic desires magnified by thousands in Jannah. Or perhaps they feel that they are too young to worry about death, because (at least in my opinion,) most people start taking death seriously as they age. This, of course, is not the way it should be. Death should be taken seriously from a young age. By the time they are twelve or so, people should start looking more towards their deeds than what movie is on T.V. on Friday night. For reasons given in the second paragraph, death is not a light matter or something to be taken as a joke. It is something that everyone, young and old, Muslim or not, American or Arab, should take into serious consideration. Sadly, not everyone sees things the same way. Many Muslims do realize the importance of death, but at the same time there are many who don't, because they don't pay much heed on the subject, which brings me to my final reason that people don't like to hear about death: they are not greatly educated on the subject and therefore are unprepared for it.

    This brings me to my final point. Despite the fact that I try my best, and that I know many people who are better than me when it comes to the preparation for the ultimate end, I know that we all pale in comparison to the Prophet Muhammad (S) and his companions. However, there are also people that do not know much at all about death and are not ready for their return to Allah. For this, the best advice I would give is to be eternally reminded of death. Being constantly reminded is always helpful because it gives you the feeling that death is certain. It reminds you that one day, no matter what you are doing and where you are, you will die.

    Also, reciting du'aas is a good way to stay on the right track. There are, of course, many du'aas that are good to say to protect one from death. It is narrated by Aisha that the Prophet (S) used to recite: “Allaahumma inni aoodhu bika min al-kasali wal-haram wal-maghram wal-matham.

    Allaahumma inni aoodhu 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 wal-baradi wa naqqi qalbi min al-khataaya kama yunaqqa al-thawb al-abyad min al-danas, wa baai bayni wa bayna khataayaaya kama baaadta bayna al-mashriqi wal-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. 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.) (…)

    For a Muslim, death is not a bad thing. For a true believer, death is not only the ultimate end, but also the true, the real, beginning. Death opens the door for life in the grave, and eventually for life in, Inshallah for all of us, Jannah. For a true believer, death is not something to fear, but something to give us hope that the impurities of this world are temporary, and soon we will be Inshallah rewarded for our patience and good de
    eds, and the oppressors of this life will be given their due punishments. For a true believer, death is something to look forward to, because while we are leaving behind our loved ones, we are being returned to our Lord, Allah. There is a beautiful hadith that speaks about this; about finding contentment after the death of a loved one. “Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Said that al-Qasim ibn Muhammad said, 'One of my wives died and Muhammad ibn Kab al Quradhi came to console me about her. He told me of one among the Bani Israil who was a diligent, worshipping, knowing and understanding man who had a wife that he admired and loved, and she died. He grieved over her intensely and lamented her until he withdrew into a house and locked himself in, hidden from everyone, and no-one visited him.'

    A woman heard about him and went to him, saying, 'I need him to give me an opinion. Nothing will satisfy me except what he says about it.' Everyone went away, but she stuck to his door and said, 'I must see him.' Someone said to him, 'There is a woman who wishes to ask your opinion about something,' and she insisted, 'I will only talk to him about it.' When everyone had gone away, and she still had not left his door, he said, 'Let her in.' So she went in and saw him and said, 'I have come to ask your opinion about something.' He said, 'What is it?'

    She said, 'I borrowed a piece of jewelry from a neighbor of mine, and I have worn it and used it for a long time. Then they sent to me for it. Should I let them have it back?' He said, 'Yes, by Allah.' She said, 'I have had it for a long time.' He said, 'It is more correct for you to return it to them, since they have lent it to you for such a long time.'

    She said, 'Yes. May Allah have mercy on you. Do you then grieve over what Allah has lent you and then taken from you, when He has a greater right to it than you?' Then he saw the situation he was in, and Allah helped him by her words.'” (http://muttaqun.com/death.html) This is a truly beautiful hadith. It shows not only that death in inevitable and can strike at any time, but also that we all, in the end, belong to Allah. He is the One the created us and He decides when our time is over. He is whom we will return to in the end, whether we are ready or not. And so I ask Allah to grant us all long, healthy lives that we put to proper use.

    In conclusion, death is a major part of Islam. It is something to be taken seriously, not as a joke or as something that may or not happen in the future. Death is the one certain thing in life, and is our return to our Lord. It is always behind you, always waiting for Allah's order to take you away. So as I close this discussion, I ask one question: are you ready for the ultimate end? Or rather, are you ready for the real and true beginning?

  • Ma sha Allah. Mawt is ignored in our times…I started this blog a while back and this “This is what I believe” story compilation reminded me of it. It's simply a blog, where people contribute stories of their death and what they imagine their funerals to be like or any sort of narrative related to it.

    Its a simple exercise to see what is really important in life and what really matter… but its difficult for some people, they can't finish it. If anyone wants to give it a try, it would be nice…


  • I think this problem is across the board in all intellectual fields…scholars of every field seem to be out of touch with society.

    I think scholars need to simply be in touch by reading pop culture magazines, checking out the latest movies, and socializing with community members so that they can relate to the community.

    eg. If a scholar is giving a khutba in the summer and they know there will be tons of youth in attendance, he should speak about relevant issues to the youth…addressing problems such as dating, temptation, music…and using real examples such as the Pussycat Dolls being listed as the most popular video on YouTube recently, etc. There are so much negativity in society that can be addressed, but the scholars must know about it and speak in a coloqial manner.

    My 2 Cents,
    Abu Fatima

  • Dear Imam Suhaib,

    I recently read in Tariq Ramadan's book “Radical Reform” on the role of the scholars in today's time. He says that the topics today are so wide, vast, and deep, that religious leaders cannot keep up. There is so much specialized knowledge in different fields that there is no way they can know it all, and it is important to communicate and use those that are specialized in certain fields.

    For example, an Imam in a mosque, when dealing with youth issues, should consult with a youth counselor for help in their response. If they are dealing with somebody who is dying in the hospital on life-support and the Imam doesn't know what to do, he should defer to the 'scholars' of medicine in what is ethically correct.

    Unfortunately, when our Muslim community appoints an Imam, they expect him to be the be all end all, whereas there is no clear definition of Imam or Community Leader. If he knows Qur'an, then he is qualified to lead prayer. But not qualified to lead the entire community in all their issues. He may truly be lacking in so many things, that others can supplement according to their specialities.

    Especially for those studying overseas, it needs a real good amount of time to get back here and understand what is going on before being able to make judgments. It is not enough to be religiously trained.


  • AS

    In the Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful, Lord of the Worlds

    As we proceed in the 21 th century it is apparent that Muslims the world across are “content” with being deficient in knowledge of self as communicated through the sources of Islam. Hence, we are witnessing an identity realignment among Muslims, wherein Muslims are not clear as how to be Muslims in today's world.

    Poverty is some senses has transformed education in the Muslim community rather its value. So that the value of education is in proportion to its economic benefit that which has no direct great economic benefit is set aside. The fact is we are not Imams in knowledge but rather use it for its practical economic benefit. This attitude is causing major problems in the study of Islamic sources since there is no great economic benefit in studying Islam and their is an assumption that Islam is understood we are even more ignorant of Islam than we are in other fields of study and even in these (the hard and social sciences) we are deficient.

    Education that addresses the whole person is not cultivated except rarely in the Muslim community and the interest in this path in education is limited. Consequently, Muslims have been consumed by pop culture in its varying forms from East to West and this new custom is creating a fissure between the people and Islam. So much so that the have dumb things down for a so-called educated public that holds it has the right to an opinion on everything but is ill prepared to address matters in a proper way. We can say then even the educated are illiterate but have a hard time in admitting this. Popular culture is what dominates and cultural alienation is the norm. Until when will the Muslims be content with giving knowledge a proper place is a question that remains to be answered as for now it is each person for himself in trying to understand how best to be Muslim in a radically and rapidly changing world.

    If only we started to look to see how to change our character and how to make the Qur'an central in our daily lives…

  • as salamu alaikum,

    Although I understand, agree with, and accept the absolute need for Imams and their communities to benefit from all types of specialists as needed, there is also a need for these specialists to supplement their knowledge with Islamic knowledge so that they can apply it in the best way possible.

    I also think that the concept of those studying overseas needing 'a real good amount of time to get back here and understand what is going on before being able to make judgments' needs to be more nuanced. There are some students who, because of their life experiences, can easily come back and within a few days understand what's going on on the streets better than others who have been on the ground for years. At the same time there are other students who will need a lot of time to adjust but mostly because of their life experiences, not there having been overseas for a period.

    I think this point also will vary depending on where the person studied and how long they were there without any break.

    Allahu Alam. may Allah guide us all to what pleases Him.

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