Saturday, January 31, 2009
Convert vs Revert... What Am I?
Labels: the terms convert and revert
How to Make Your Shahada/how to become a Muslim
It should be noted that one cannot be forced to convert to Islam/make the shahada because the Qu'ran states "Let there be no compulsion in religion..."(2:256)
What Is Islam
So who/what is Allah? Allah is simply the Arabic and Islamic word for God, meaning, the One God, the only God, and thus it is a better word to describe God than just plain old "god" which could mean anything. All other gods or attempts at faith are pale imitations of making physical just one wondrous character of the one God, Allah (S.W.T)., or a great devised falsehood with a selfish historical purpose behind it. There are so many "gods" in this world, and the word "God" can be used to decribe any number of them, so it is simply safer to use the Arabic word "Allah" if one is speaking of the True God, the Only God. A great misconception of Islam is that "Allah" is a different God than the God of the Christians and the Jews, when in fact, Allah (S.W.T) is the exact SAME Creator who spoke to Abraham, Issaac, Ishmael, Moses, and Jesus (of the Torah and the Bible), trying to inform mankind about the importance of worshipping and obeying only "One God".
So, if we believe in Allah, do we have to follow Islam? Can we not say, be Christian or practice Judaism, and still believe in "Allah"? Allah (S.W.T) calls Christians and Jews "People of the Book" for to them is was revealed, the Torah, and the Bible. Those who practice Islam follow the Qu'ran. Of the People of the Book Allah (S.W.T) says: "They Declare: 'None shall enter Heaven but Jews and Christians.' Such are their wishful fancies [the same applies to so-called followers of Islam] Say: 'Let us have your proof, if what you say be true.' Indeed, those that submit to God and do good works shall be recompensed by their Lord: they shall have nothing to fear or regret." "Believers, Jews, Sabaeans and Christians- whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does what is right- shall have nothing to fear or regret." -Surah Al Bakara 5:69.
Islam is so beautiful because it is not a religion named after a tribe of people or an individual, as Judaism is named after the tribe of Judah, Christianity after Christ, or Buddhism after Buddha. Islam is a global faith, not of East or West "To Allah belongs the east and west. Whichever way you face there is Allah" -Surah 2:115. It is a complete way of life, with guidance from Allah on every issue one could possibly face. It was not Mohammed (S.A.W) but Adam, who first brought Islam to humanity. Then each prophet and messenger came to exhort peoples to a clear understanding of God`s commandments. The last (and only) perfectly preserved revelation (in its original wording and translation) is the holy Qu`ran. Belief in the Qu`ran, and following the guidance of the Prophet (S.A.W) who the Qu`ran was revealed to is part of belief in, and adhereing to in practice, Islam.
Why do we have to believe in what the Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W) says about Islam? Why can`t one just follow what the Qu`ran says? Following the actions of the Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W) is actually submitting to a commandment within the Qu`ran, which states "And whatsoever the Messenger [Mohammed (S.A.W)] gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain [from it], and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is severe in punishment." -Surah 59:7. And so, it is to the Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W) I look to for a clear understanding of what Islam is, and what it requires of me, a believer in Allah (S.W.T).
"When asked `what is Islam? ` the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W) said: "Islam is based on the following five pillars:
1.) To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Mohammed is Allah`s messenger.
2.) To offer the [five fard] prayers dutifully and perfectly.
3.) To pay zakat [obligatory] charity
4.) To preform Hajj [pilgrimage to Mecca to the Ka`bah] if one can afford it or has the health to make the journey.
5.) To fast during the month of Ramadan." -Sahih Al-Bukhari, [Eng. Trans. vol. 1 /7 ]
Anyone who intentionally strives their outmost to uphold and fulfull these five pillars of Islam due to belief in Allah as the One God is one who practices Islam. One who practices Islam freely and of their own will is called a "Muslim". "Muslimah" is the word for a female muslim, a woman who practices and believes in Islam. "Muslim" is not a religion seperate from Islam, but the person practicing Islam.
Labels: What is Islam
Converticitus and other Islamic Terminology: A Prescription from Dr. Aalia
Do you/or does someone you know suffer from converticitus? If you think you/they might, take a brief look at the symptoms mentioned below, as Dr. Aalia rambles off on her prescription pad:
Sudden loss of friends and family; caused by purposely isolating yourself from the "infidels"?
Treatment: Unless your family are being openly hostile to you and preventing you from doing your religious obligations, do not cause the first rift. Islam gives parents (Muslim or not) high priority, so try to restrain yourself from calling them "kaffirs". As for friends, they probably weren't your friends to begin with if they have started being mean to you now.
Frequent trips to any Middle Eastern market; due to the un-controllable desire to purchase anything that has to do with the Arabic culture?
Treatment: Hey now, save some of those dollars for your zakat! Becoming a Muslim doesn't mean you have to immerse yourself in the Arabic way of life (such as food & clothing), but the Islamic one. Trust me, it's better. The biggest barrier in the way of Islam right now is people confusing culture with the religion. Arab doesn't equal Muslim.
Sensing a heavy or over-heated feeling, especially after getting all dressed to go out?
Treatment: Most likely attributed to the 5 layers of black clothing you have just put on. Remember, just because someone at the mosque told you that all women need to be covered head to toe in black Saudi abayas, doesn't mean you have to! Yes, khimar (the headscarf commonly referred to as hijab) and jilbab (the overgarment) is obligatory and the face-veil is wonderful (and who doesn't love spoiling herself with a beautiful abaya) but take it step by step. You should be able to understand the meaning of your clothing and answer questions about why you wear it before you wear it on a full-time basis.
Experiencing moodswings and a tightening in your chest? Usually brought on by not knowing what you follow or how to handle the new life as a Muslim.
Treatment: Relax, take a deep breath. Becoming Muslim makes life easy, not hard. Read the Book of Allah, learn how to pray & get aquainted with the 5 Pillars of Faith, then find reliable information regarding anything you might be wondering. No need to memorize every single book someone hands you right away, thinking you MUST do it now or be sinned.
As for women who encounter a sudden rush of marriage proposals: Can be easily treated by a declaration of "NO THANK-YOU".
All of the above symptoms can be easily cured by taking it easy, learning at your own pace and making supplications to Allah. Learning how to pray as soon possible guarantees maximum comfort and eases feelings of conflict.
Warning: Failure to follow the prescribed treatment may lead to a dangerous level of Converticitus. Outcomes include depression, major headaches, gut-aches and the worst of all, leaving Islam. Do not mix with alcohal, drugs or any other harmful , haraam & forbidden substances.
***This post is meant to be funny and might not make sense to some (as many things from my brain do not), but if you find you really are suffering from Converticitus, please speak to a trusted source, preferably someone from the Muslim community. Also, I am in no way making fun of the ladies who wear niqab, the illustration is just showing a new Muslimah who suddenly covers everything without getting to know the reason behind it. I'll let Intisar go back to her purple dua-tang of notes I made for her when I heard she first reverted on Islamic Terminology. __________________________________________________
As a newbie/baby Muslimah you probably feel like you're on overload. Islamic Terminology I feel you've gotta understand at this point so you can make sense of what we're saying on A Girl's Guide:
Allah= God (without equal or offspring)
1.) Wajib or Fard= Cumpulsory requirement
2.) Mustahabb= Recommended but not cumpulsory (often a sunnah/sunnan)
3.) Makruh= Disliked but not forbidden
4.) Muharram or more simply, Harram=forbidden
5.) Halal= lawful and allowed
Qu'ran= the literal word of Allah taught to Mohammed His Prophet through the angel Jibreel (Gabriel)
Mohammed= the last Prophet of Allah SWT from a long line of Prophets such as Jesus, Abraham, and Moses.
S.A.W= When writing the name of the Prophet Mohammed, Muslims often follow it with the abbreviation "SAW". These letters stand for the Arabic words "salla Allah alaihi wa sallam", meaning "may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him." It is a standard Muslim expression of love and respect for the Prophet. "May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him" is usually said whenever the name of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) is mentioned or read
Bid'a= an innovation to the practice of Islam, always haraam.
Daleel= Islamic evidence from either the Qu'ran or sahih ahadith.
Sahih= authentic, usually in reference to hadith. It means the hadith has a direct chain of narration to the one who is said to be speaking.
Hadith= a collected saying or action of the Prophet Mohammed S.A.W that has been recorded. If it is Sahih it is a form of daleel.
Ahadith= plural of hadith.
Kuffar= those who practice polyethism and reject the idea of one God.
Friday, January 30, 2009
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem "In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful"
As salaam alaykom ramatullah wa barakto "May the peace of Allah be upon you, and His mercy and blessings"
Don't worry! We've consulted the experts, but this blog is a guide written by a group of crazy cool convert/revert girls [and badly compiled and edited by one of several]- who've been there-done that- for new muslimahs out there facing the same thing. These are things we wish we had known, or that we wish somebody would have told us, or that we know you will WANT to know. Insha'Allah [that's Arabic for "God Willing"] we hope this book will be both a comprehensive and simple guide for the following groups of people:
1.) The new muslimah, the suddenly-practicing-but-always-muslim-muslimah, and the stylish-likes-to-read muslimah. Jazakallakheir girls! [a formal Islamic thank-you], may Allah make it easy on you, Ameen.
2.) The individual who is open to learning more about Islam. If you want a REAL glimpse BEHIND THE VEIL (ya ukti [my sisters] not another one) then this book is for you, and any other who wants an intimate veiw into the lives of muslim women.
3.) A concerned parent who wants to know what his/her crazy daughter has got themselves into. God bless you. I wish more parents were as concerned for the well-being of their children as you are. I hope the following pages will reassure you that we muslim women are:
a. not terrorists
b. not going to be kidnapped to Saudi Arabia (yeah Dad-remember this one?)
c. in control of our own lives (no one makes our decisions for us)
d. not the sex objects of men
e. worship the same God as the Christians and the Jews (Allah means the one God)and last but not least
f. not going to be stoned for writing this book or having opinions of our own
Islam is an easy religion. Every Chapter in the Qu'ran begins:"In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful..." بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم Let us begin that way.