Saturday, 10 December 2011

Why Me?

                                          Why Me?

This book answers a vital need of modern Muslim society.  It also serves to enlighten people of other faiths about the true beliefs that Islam inculcates.

I am grateful to Allah that I was chosen for this task. As I look back on a life of which the major segment is over already, I recall just one qualification that may have opened the road for me. 

From my father, I inherited absolute love and devotion to Syedina Mohammed  Sallallahu Alaihi va Sallam.  There was never an instance when he talked to us about the Last of the Prophets and tears did not fill his eyes.

Two other teachers, the venerable Imam who taught us Islam in school and a highly qualified Shaikh from the Islami University of Medinathul Munawwarah, taught me real Islam. And my own studies and research have complemented this training over half a century. 
As a result, this book steps clear of all the inelegant features that have only discolored the immaculate form and substance of the glorious faith and its practice that our Glorious Leader Syedina Mohammed S.A.W.S. Sallallahu Alaihi va Sallam endowed on us as True Islam.

Allah has praised him as His Blessing to all the human beings, jinns, ‘extra terrestrials’ and other beings who populate the Universe. The real Universe is so vast and ever expanding that we are not sure whether the universe known to us, is even comparable to it.

In my youth, when a dearly beloved child, a nephew, fell ill and was seized with fits, and again, as I was near drowning in a deep irrigation well in the countryside, and once when I woke up to find a burglar breaking into my apartment through an open window, and on hundreds of other occasions when I was within reach of death, Allah’s Mercy came to my aid and I found the miracles that prayer to Allah can bring us even though we are least deserving of such special help.

To a person born with no means to warrant such expense, Allah gave me the opportunities of world travel.  Salaah and dua’yaen, prayers, were my beacon lights as I lived, worked and interacted with people of widely different cultures and discovered the secret of the appeal of Islam. 

As I talked with both Muslims and others, I found some of them misinformed so entirely about us that my explanation of our faith brought them a quick realization of the truth. A smile and an apology were my reward as I gained friends for Islam.

In all these far and away locales, I have been to Masaajid and prayed to Allah under the lead of local Imams. From South Asia to West Africa to Europe and now in the United States, I have marveled at the devotion of men and women filling and overflowing every Masjid and lining up for Salaah on the road and pavements outside.
The heavy downpour deters them not in Liberia, the West African country of “six months’ rain and six months’ shine”. Neither the heat and humidity in Africa nor the inadequate heating in some masaajid in the cold regions holds them back.

The love of Allah energizes people worldwide and they stand before Him, “shoulder to shoulder and ankle to ankle” from one salaah to another, day after day.

And in Abha, that has the highest altitude in Saudi Arabia, I was called upon to lead the congregation for Isha’a prayer one memorable night.  I recited the closing ayaath of Surath al Hash’r, that are among the most lyrical lines of the Holy Qur’an, singing the beautiful names of Allah.

The people were so enthralled that pride welled within me. On the highest peak of the Holiest of Lands, I was the Imam for a Far’d Salaah and I fulfilled the task with elan. Shuk’r Alhamdulillah!

 I cherish also a record in the number of Umrah’s perfomed, a little above 500 maasha Allah. Ten years in Jeddah. And almost every Friday devoted to Umrah, Thwaaf’s, Salaah’s and Dua’yaen in the Haramal Makkah!  From the depth of my heart I record my sincere gratitude to Allah the Almighty for this unique privilege He has conferred on me by His Mercy and Compassion.

As I came to live in the U.S., I looked around for a book that gave the readers proper guidance on Islami prayer and rites, in an English speaking country.  Maybe there are a good many of them, as they need to be. But I was unlucky and did not find them.  The inspiration came. This book took form.

At age 63, Syedina Mohammed S.A.W.S. performed the Haj, his first and last one, on  Friday, the 9th of Zul Haj, 10 Hijri, approximating to March 4th, 632 C.E. This day is celebrated in our history. 

As the sun passed the zenith, Our Glorious Leader S.A.W.S. rode his camel to the nearby Mount Rah’math and delivered the historic Sermon on the Mount. This is recorded in Seerathun Nabi, the earliest and authentic biography of the Prophet S.A.W.S. by historian Ibn Hisham and also by Imams Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmed and others.

In this well documented address, the Holy Prophet S.A.W.S defined to us the only criterion for superiority between human beings.  He said:  “All human beings are from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab; nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab. Likewise a White has no supriority over a Black, nor a Black any superiority over a White, except on the merits of Thaq’wah (piety and righteousness).

“Remember, every Muslim is a brother to every other Muslim and (all) the Muslims constitute one (glorious) brotherhood.  Nothing that belongs to a Muslim can ever (be deemed) lawful or legitimate to another Muslim unless it is freely gifted.

“My people, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women and they also have equal rights over you. Remember you have welcomed them in matrimony as a gift and on trust from Allah.  As they abide by you and respect your rights, theirs is the inviolable right to be fed and clothed by you with grace and with love.

“Do treat your women well and be most kind to them for they are your partners, as dedicated as you are to the family you are setting up. And you have this right over them that they never be unchaste nor admit to your habitat or to their affection anyone whom you do not approve.”
In conclusion, Syedina Mohammed S.A.W.S. asked the assembly if he had indeed conveyed to them the Message that Allahu Sub’hanahu va tha Aalaa had revealed to him as Allah’s Glorious Bequest to All Humanity. The thousands of Hajis assembled before him vouched for him in one voice, “Yes, we bear witness, Ya Rasoolullahu Sallallahu Alaihi va Sallam, you have done this best!”

Alighting from his camel, Syedina Mohammed S.A.W.S. performed the Zuh’r and As’r prayers in succession and completed the Waqoof of Arafat.  He mounted his camel and rode to Sakhararath en route to Muzdalifah.  And the Angel Jibrayeel brought in the last and final revelation, a Citation from Allah to His Prophet S.A.W.S. and to his followers:


This day I have perfected your Faith for you and completed
My favors unto you and  I have chosen for you Islam as your religion.
(The Holy Qur’an, Surah 5th: al Maayidah: 3)

From the depth of every Muslim heart and from the majesty of every Muslim soul, rises the Duaaa (the invocation) and the resolve: May Allah bless us to remain devoted, in life as in death, to Him and to His Messenger, Syedina Mohammed S.A.W.S.  Aameen!

It is with this affirmation of our devotion as Muslims, that I submit to readers worldwide (in this book) the form and substance of our belief, our prayers and our devotion to Allah. And none else is worthy of worship.

The Holy Qur’an says “Allah is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth and He is the Noorun Alaa Noor! (the Light of All Lights, Radiance Ultimate).

 In our present state of existence, therefore, none of us has the eyes that are programmed to see the Noor of Our Glorious Creator.  His “Noor” is trillions of times more dazzling than the Sun’s.

                In this context, we have an important Hadith from Companion Abu Musa (recorded by  Ibn Maja and Imam Ahmed): “The Messenger of Allah informed us: "Indeed, Allah the Exalted and Mighty does not sleep, and it does not behoove of him ever to be asleep.

“He lowers the scale and raises it (He increases the bounties, neymaath, to whom He wills and restricts them, even severely, to whom He wills). His veil is the light." Syedina Abu Bakr R.A.A. defined the veil of Allah as “the (Ultimate Irradiance as deterring as) Fire. If He lifted it, His Splendor and Majesty would burn out all of his creation."

                The Holy Qur’an confirms: "Eyes cannot reach Him, but He can reach everything that the eyes of His creatures can reach and perceive." (Surah 6th: Al An’aam: 103).

Yet, we, as Muslims, feel and realize in every facet of our being, that we are in Allah’s Gracious Presence every moment of our lives.  In our prayers as in our hours of rest, during work as in respite, in victory as in defeat, in illness as in good health, Allah is before us and Allah is with us, sharing our emotions and comforting us:

 Allah Wills.  Miracles happen.  Not a leaf falls nor does anything
    happen without His knowledge.  His is the Absolute Power, His Will
   the engine that drives the Universe.

 Never lose faith in the Rah’math, Compassion of Your Lord. 

 Allah reveals in the Quran "Never give in to fear or dejection that I might ever abandon you.
    When you are in My Protection, no person nor power, howsoever
    mighty or ruthless, can ever cause you any harm anywhere.
    So too, if you turn from me and the whole world rallies to your
    support,  nothing will ever save you from My Wrath! 
    If ever you are confornted with grave danger, fear not.  Stand firm
    and think constantly of Me (Your Lord, Allahu Sub’haanahu va tha
    Aalaa). Both the threat and the danger will be eliminated by
    My Command".

 None can intercede with Allah. At His Will some rise to power.
    At His Will many lose their high positions and fall from grace. Allah
    brings to life the dead. He brings to death the living. Even to pardon
    or punish anyone is His Prerogative. Undoubtedly Allah’s is the
    Magnificence. His indeed is the Dominion over everything.

 Allah loves those who recite the Holy Qur’an and pray to Him with
    devotion and humility at the appointed timings. He loves those who
    help the needy both secretly and openly.

 He wants us to convey the good news to all Believers: “Allah’s Help
    is reaching you and yours will be the triumph soonest”

 These are actual quotes from the Holy Qur’an.

How do we gain Allah’s Grace and remain worthy of His Compassion and His Help? How do we reach to higher echelons of positive achievement in our worldly life and also in the Life Eternal? The answers come to us from Allah, Who endows on us the gift of Islami Knowledge and trains us in Thaq’wah (Practice of Islam to Perfection) and grants us Eimaan ( Magnificence of  Faith).

We feel grateful that Allah helps us to be good Muslims. The Hand of Allah guides us to the two holy books that open the door for us to glory in this life and to enduring happiness in the hereafter: the Holy Qur’an and Hadith.  They light up our minds and hearts with the love of Islam and keep us steadfast on the road of noble thought and righteous action. 
                The joy, the fulfillment and the zest for Islami living that these studies inspire in us, are with me today as I seek to convey them to readers in these lines. 

            May these blessings inspire them  by Allah’s  Grace, to study and practice the teachings of the Holy Qur’an  and the Hadith that are the bedrock of our faith.  The Holy Qur’an, is 100% the Word of Allah.  The Hadith are the commands and the life account of Syedina Mohammed S.A.W.S. (May the Peace and Blesssings of Allah be on him). 

These are essential reading for us. To help us draw the right guidance and inspiration from them, great minds have been at work, upgrading their translation and transliteration into English and other languages of importance worldwide. We may buy these incomparable guides of humanity from Muslim bookstores of our town and train ourselves to rise higher and higher in our stature as Muslims.

The transliteration submitted in this book is unbounded by phonetics as the average reader does not find the time or access to the signs. A person may go on straight to Salaah (Prayer), Duaa’yaen (supplications to Allah), and the fulfillment of duties like Sav’m (Fasting) and Zakaah (the Muslim charity), just by reading from the text.

On these basics, a structure of advanced Islami learning and perfection of its practice can be built over time. However, as we rise higher in our knowledge and practice of Islam, we must aim constantly to improve our pronunciation of the Arabi duayaen and recitation from the Holy Qur’an.

Language skills in Arabi are not hard to acquire in the modern world. The discipline Thajweid is a scientific system of Arabi pronunciation.  It enables everyone to read Arabi texts to perfection.
An easier and practical way is to listen and learn as I did, from audiotapes of Holy Qur’an recitations. The best one to follow and learn from, are the classic renderings by Abdul Basith Abdus Samad (both Egyptians and the Lebanese claim him as of  their ethnicity).

Those who can read Arabic, may have the specific chapter of the Holy Qur’an open before them and follow its recitation from the relative tape. They will soon be able to re cite the Book of Allah in as perfect  a style as a trained Hafiz of good standing.
Every Muslim home has at least one collection of the Holy Quran Tapes. They upgrade our skill in Thajweid, the proper pronunciation of the Holy Texts. The bayaans (sermons and commentary) on the Holy Qur’an and Hadith are also available in audio tapes and DVD’s in most languages.

Islami bookstores of integrity and eminence stock them. They may also be had free of cost from Islami websites for download. Quite a few Muslim organizations and philanthropists would also send us the Islami books, CD’s and DVD’s if we request them.

In all this, however, we must take the utmost care and select only such websites, books, audiocassettes and DVD’s as are authentic and truly dedicated to Islam.  Such vigilance on our part will entitle us to sawaab from Allah as we will be safeguarding and protecting His Word and His Messengers’ counsel to us from alien spams.

Our commitment to acquire Knowledge and Wisdom is the proof of our allegiance to Our Honored Prophet Syedina Mohammed S.A.W.S. From Scholar Baehaquee has come  to us the Hadith: “It is incumbent on  every Muslim  to acquire true knowledge of Islam”.

The course of human destiny is delineated in a significant Ayath of the Holy Qur’an. Allah Commands us through the Prophet S.A.W.S. to declare: “My prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are indeed for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds”. (Surah 6th: Al An’aam: 163).
 May these be of guidance and comfort to you and to the coming generations, my glorious friends!
 May Allah kindly bless all of us and your families with an excellent Islami Life of Peace, Happiness and Prosperity.
 May Allahu Rah’maanir Raheem kindly grant every one of us an abode in Jannathul Firdaus, the best of heavens, in the exalted company of Our Master Syedina Mohammed S.A.W.S.  
We realize there are many communities in other regions of the world, to whom also had Allah chosen to send a Prophet and a  Holy Book by revelation. “There is not a nation but a warner has passed among them.”  (Surah 35th:  The Angels:  24). 

And to friends from other faiths, who read this book, my sincere felicitations and apology for any word or inadvertent expression that is not to their liking.  I will be glad to be informed their views and to furnish any clarification needed.

The Holy Qur’an accords special regard to the Jews as followers of Prophet Moses (May Allah bless him with peace): “Among the People of Moses, there is a community (of the Righteous) who guide (the rest) and establish Justice in the  Light of Truth” (Surah 7th:  Al Aeraaf:  159)

 And in a reference to the Christians, as the followers of Prophet Jesus (May  Allah bless him with peace), the Holy Qur’an says:  “And you will find the nearest among them in affection to the believers (are) those who say: ‘We are Christians.’ Because there are  (learned) people among them: men (and women) who have withdrawn from worldly concerns and they are not too proud (to acknowledge the Truth when it is conveyed to them).”  (Surah 5th:  Al Maayidah: 82-84)

Allah honors us, Jews, Christians and Muslims, as the Ah’le Kithaab, the People of the Book.  The nations so commended, have each been endowed a Holy Book by revelation and assigned a Prophet from Allah to teach and train the people in the True Faith. The injunction is repeated to us in the Holy Qur’an that there should be no discrimination whatever between the Prophets of Allah (whose names find mention in the Holy Book)

We have been asked to exercise caution and never denigrate against any prophet or god revered by other communities. This avoids unneeded arguments and the ill feeling that could otherwise be caused.

Allah has entrusted to the People of the Book the responsibility to bring about interracial understanding. We should avoid disputation and be the harbingers of peace and harmony worldwide. The Muslim manifesto is:  “We believe in the Revelation that has come  to us and (also) in that which came to you:  Our God and Your God is One.  It is to Him that we make the sajdah (in Islami prayer)”.
 We remain devoted, heart and soul,  to Allah and His Rasool Syedina Mohammed S.A.W.S. We are encouraged to lead righteous Muslim lives and acquit ourselves most honorably everywhere as role models and ambassadors of Islam to the world. Our watch words are absolute righteousness, excellence of character and the practice of real elegance in our lifestyles.

Allah  has detailed two of His angels as our constant companions.  One of them records all of our good deeds and our good intentions also. The other records our bad deeds but he is under orders to wait and see if we repent and seek pardon from Allah. Only when we remain unrepentant and regret not our lapse is our sin recorded.

We must take the utmost care never to speak nor believe any word against the Holy Qur’an or the authentic Hadith (even in a momentary lapse of concentration or a slip of the tongue). Reviling any Command of Allah and His Rasool S.A.W.S. is heresy and tantamount to inviting Allah’s Wrath unto ourselves. Na-oozu billahi min zaalik!  Allah save us from such  evil and disastrous utterances!

What we strive to achieve and hold closest to our hearts is the approval, the trust and the love we enjoy from Allah and His Messenger S.A.W.S. The standards we are brought up to uphold in every circumstance, are indeed simple:
       And, as the  Practicing Muslim  does, we conclude with:

 Daavaahum feehaa
Sub'haanaka Allahumma
Vath Thahiyyaa'thu'hum Feehaa Salaamun'v
va Aakhiru Daa'vaahum
Al'Ham’dulillahi Rabbil Aalaameen.

      The prayer (of the righteous dwellers of Heaven) will be:
"Glory to You, Allah!"
Their greeting  of welcome thereto  will be "Peace!"
And their concluding prayer will be:
"Praise be to Allah, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe!"

(The Holy Qur’an:  Surah 10th: al Younus: 10)

Mohammed Abdul Qaiyum