|Wednesday, November 14, 2007|
|Fears for daughters’ rights lead some Sunnis to adopt Shiism|
|Vast difference in inheritance formulas causes many couples to convert – and not everyone approves|
| By Agence France Presse (AFP)
Ines Bel Aiba
Agence France Press
BEIRUT: Nada had no choice. The Sunni Lebanese woman decided to become a Shiite because that branch of Islam guarantees that her daughters will one day be her sole heiresses.
“If I became a Shiite it was not out of conviction,” Nada told AFP. Had she not converted, the girls’ uncle would receive the bulk of her inheritance when she died, in line with Sunni laws.
Shiites, a minority community in Islam, have sometimes been at odds with the Sunnis in the Arab world, but in Lebanon conversions between the two branches are easy and mostly done for practical purposes.
In Lebanon, religious tribunals rule on marriage, divorce and inheritance. For both Sunnis and Shiites, women receive one-third and men two-thirds of an inheritance.
Problems arise when a Sunni couple only has girls. They would inherit just a small part of the assets, while the larger part of the inheritance would go to the closest male relatives – grandfathers, uncles or cousins.
One solution for Sunni couples in such a situation is to become Shiites, as the sect’s religious regulations allow daughters to be the sole heiresses in the absence of male offspring.
Sunni couple Hassan and Sana Tawil became Shiite about 30 years ago because they had two daughters.
“We saw atrocious things happening in the family, such as an uncle who wanted to take everything from a cousin. It made an impression on us when we were children,” Hassan said.
They may be Shiites on paper but the Tawils remain deeply Sunni in practice.
“I stayed profoundly Sunni,” said Sana, confirming that she raised her daughters “in line with Sunni values.”
“Even famous Sunni politicians became Shiites for the same reason,” she explains, citing Riad Solh, who was prime minister at the time of Lebanon’s independence in 1943 and who had five daughters.
In line with Lebanon’s confessional political system, the country’s prime ministers are Sunni – although at least four of them became Shiites because they did not have sons.
Like other couples in the same situation, the Tawils went to a Shiite court, where they converted before a sheikh who, they said, seemed to be very aware of the real motives behind their conversion.
“The sheikh looked at me and asked: ‘Do you have children?’ I said yes,” recalled Sana.
“He said: ‘How many?’ I said two. He asked: ‘Boys?’ I said no.
“Then he just looked at me and nodded. And I became a Shiite,” the 63-year-old woman said with a smile.
Sheikh Mohammad Noqari, director general of Dar al-Fatwa, the highest Sunni religious authority in Lebanon, confirmed that some Sunnis were becoming Shiites – but expressed disapproval.
“It is true that some Sunnis are doing this,” he said. “But if someone converts from one Muslim confession to another for material reasons, it is not really correct.”
But for Sheikh Jaafar Fadlallah, from the Shiite Sharia Islamic Institute, converting is “an issue of personal choice.”
“Nothing should prevent a Muslim from converting to the branch that suits him best,” Fadlallah said.
Shiite authorities say that about 350 Sunnis become Shiites every year.
According to sociologist Marlene Nasr, the ramifications of such decisions are not always pleasant. “There are sometimes cases where people are ostracized” after converting, she said, “but not by the religious authorities – rather by their own families.”
Talal Khodari, a lawyer specializing in family legal affairs, said such conversions were “common,” although often “not accepted and not taken very well” in Lebanese society.
He also said that the issue sometimes causes additional family problems because male relatives feel that they are being accused, by implication, of being willing to take what rightfully belongs to their female relatives.
Copyright (c) 2007 The Daily Star
WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF Tazkiyyah?
Tazkiyah means The purification of one’s heart and the soul.
“Allah conferred indeed a great favor on the believers when He sent among them a Messenger (i.e., Muhammad-sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) from among themselves reciting unto them His Verses (i.e., the Qur’an ) and purifying them (from sins by their following him) and instructing them in the Book (i.e., the Qur’an ) and Wisdom (i.e., the Sunnah), while before that they had been in manifest error.” – The Qur’an 3:164.
The Qur’an and Sunnah are the only sources for tazkiyah. The Prophet Muhammad- sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam-is the purest of mankind in soul and his character was that of Qur’an. There is none who approaches him in this. For this reason he is the model for tazkiyah. Allah says: “Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow…” – The Qur’an 33:21.
The Prophet’s Companions and the rest of Salaf-us-Saliheen are also, as a whole, a fine model to follow in tazkiyah. There is no way of drawing closer to Allah except by adhering to what the Prophet Muhammad-sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam-came with.
The Prophet-sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam-has said: “If anyone introduces into this affair of ours anything which does not belong to it, it is rejected.” – Al-Bukhari and Muslim. Continue reading “WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF Tazkiyyah?”
IN DEFIANCE OF THE QUR’AN AND SUNNAH
The following are excerpts and quotations from well-known Sufi works presented along with corresponding beliefs from outside the fold of Islam. Relevant texts from the Qur’ân and the Sunnah are also quoted for the sake of comparison, so that Muslims may judge for themselves whether Sufi beliefs are Islamic or not. Each quotation is footnoted with the reference from which it is taken.
The Sufis claim: “The ways unto God are as numerous as the number of creatures in the world”. Ibn Mas’ood, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s) made a straight line on the ground with his hand, then he said, ‘This is the straight way of Allah.’ Then he made (short) line on each side of the straight line; then he said, ‘These (short) lines, each one has a Shaytaan inviting people to it.’ Then he recited the verse: meaning, ‘And this is My path straight. So follow it, and do not follow (other) ways, lest they lead you away from My path.’ Continue reading “IN DEFIANCE OF THE QUR’AN AND The SUNNAH”
AL- Kaba’ir Major Sins
1. Associating partners with Allaah (Shirk)
Great Shirk: worshipping beings other than Allaah (proof all over Qur’ân)
Small Shirk: Riya
The Prophet (saw), “Should I not inform you of that which I fear for you even more than the dangers of dajjaal? It is the hidden shirk: A person stands to pray and he beautifies his prayer because he sees the people looking at him”. (Sahih; Sunan ibn Majah)
2. Committing murder: (Furqan; 68)
3. Performing Sorcery (2: 102)
4. Not performing the Prayers (Maryam: 59)
5. With holding the Zakah (Charity) (3: 180)
6. Breaking the fast of Ramadhan or not fasting in that month without a valid excuse.
Prophet (saw) said, “Islaam is built upon five pillars: testifying that there is no true god except Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, performing the prayers, paying the Zakah, making the pilgrimage to the house, and fasting the month of Ramadhan” (Sahih al-Jami # 2837)
7. Not performing the pilgrimage when one has the ability to do so (above hadith)
8. Disobeying one’s parents (al-Isra: 23)
9. Cutting off the ties of relationships (Muhammad: 22)
10. Committing adultery or fornication (al-Isra: 30)
Rabbi: Muslims would agree to Third Temple
Sanhedrin buys flock to sacrifice at Temple site
|This link from Cheryl and Jennifer…
Iraqi PM fires senior Sunni Arab official
Wed 21 Feb 2007 9:30 AM ET
(Adds statement from Sunni Endowment)
BAGHDAD, Feb 21 (Reuters) – The head of a state body that runs Iraq’s Sunni Muslim religious sites said on Wednesday he was fired for criticising the government, including its handling of charges by a Sunni woman that she was raped by police.
The government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shi’ite Islamist, said Ahmed Abdul Ghafour al-Samarrai would be replaced as the head of the Sunni Endowment, a public institution similar to a ministry which manages Sunni mosques and other sites.
Samarrai said by telephone from Jordan that he believed he was fired because of his frequent criticism of the government.
“I think it is because I’m always rejecting most of the decisions made by this government,” he said. Continue reading “Sunni Shi’te Divide Grows”
Published: Jan 10, 2007
Text of report in English by Iranian news agency IRNA website
Tehran, 10 January: Head of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization (ICRO), Mahmud Mohammadi Araqi, said here Wednesday [10 January] that the US is currently pushing the strategy of sowing discord among Muslims to reach its ominous goals in the Middle East.
Mohammadi Araqi made the statement while speaking to IRNA in an exclusive interview.
“Following failure of the US policies in the Middle East region and victory of the Islamic Resistance Movement in Lebanon against Israeli invasion (July-August, 2006), the US has currently pressed ahead with strategy of causing discord among Muslims,” he said. Continue reading “US pushes strategy of sowing discord among Muslims – Iranian official”
Osama bin Laden may go down in history not only as the murderous criminal who declared holy war on the United States, but also as a radical figure in what has come to be called the Islamic Reformation–the epic struggle to define the faith of over a billion people
Osama bin Laden (left). At right, Cairo’s revered Al-Azhar mosque, the traditional center of Islamic scholarship. (AFP File Photo at left)
ON JULY 6TH, 2005, in an unprecedented display of intersectarian collaboration, 170 of the world’s leading Muslim clerics and scholars gathered in Amman, Jordan, to issue a joint fatwa, or legal ruling, denouncing all acts of terrorism committed in the name of Islam.
This belated attempt by the traditional clerical institutions to assert some measure of influence and authority over the world’s Muslims was surely one of the most interesting developments in what has become an epic battle to define the faith and practice of over a billion people. Never before in the history of Islam had representatives of every major sect and school of law assembled as a single body, much less come to terms on issues of mutual concern.
Yet what made the Amman declaration so remarkable was not its condemnation of terrorism-since Sept. 11, 2001, similar statements have been issued by countless Muslim organizations throughout the world, despite perceptions to the contrary in the West. Rather, it was the inclusion of an all-encompassing fatwa reminding Muslims that only those who have dedicated a lifetime of study to the traditional Islamic sciences-in other words, the clerics themselves-could issue a fatwa in the first place.
This statement was a deliberate attempt to strip Islamic militants like Osama bin Laden of their self-proclaimed authority to speak for the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims. Continue reading “The war for Islam”
Islam and the Left
by Tariq Ali
April 02, 2006
The following interview with Tariq Ali was conducted by Alex De Jong and Paul Mepschen of the SAP (Dutch section of the Fourth International) at the Ernest Mandel symposium held in Brussels in November 2005. It was published in the March-April 2006 issue of the SAP’s journal, Grenzeloos.
Grenzeloos: It is of course the assassination of the film-maker Theo van Gogh and the threats made against the liberal member of parliament Ayaan Hirsi Ali which have particularly drawn attention to Islam in the Netherlands. Like her, you are an unbeliever who comes from the Muslim world. Have you already felt threatened?
Tariq Ali: No, never. I travel a lot both in the Muslim world and in the rest of the world, but I have never yet felt threatened. Why is that? It is no doubt because people who don’t agree with me about religion know that I am an enemy of imperialism. I unceasingly criticize imperialism and all its works, more than the believers do. Whereas Hirsi Ali and people like her in the United States and in Europe make a profession out of attacking Islam. There are other important questions in the world.
Why do these people concentrate endlessly on Islam? In the way that they attack Islam, they go along with existing prejudices. And for that they are hated. There is no excuse or justification for acts of violence against these people. It is necessary to discuss with them. But these acts are a sign of despair: people are so much at the end of their tether that they have recourse to violence.
Don’t you think that the violence and threats against these people also represent a threat to all those of Muslim origin who do not correspond to the norm? To the unbelievers, the feminists, the homosexuals?
Certainly. But you have to understand that the Muslim community is very diversified. People are very uninformed about the Muslim world. The image that they have of it comes to a large extent through the immigrant communities in Europe, who are, besides, very different from each other. Life in the Muslim world is not monolithic: there are believers, unbelievers, atheists. Continue reading “Islam and the Left”
The war against Islam
AMONG THE factors leading to the French and Dutch rejections of the European constitution last week, none looms more ominously than the nightmare of antagonism between ”the West” and Islam. Many Europeans fear a rising tide of green, both within the continent and from outside it. Where once communists threatened, now Muslims do. A new wall is being built.
Muslims, meanwhile, see a flood of contempt in pressures on immigrant communities in European cities, in restrictions on Islamic expression, and in openly expressed reservations about Turkey’s admission to the EU precisely because of its Islamic character. Given escalations of the war in Iraq together with widely reported instances of Koran-denigration by US interrogators, such trends in Europe make the global war on terror seem expressly a war against Islam. The ”clash of civilizations” seems closer at hand than ever.
To make sense of this dangerous condition, it can help to recall some of the forgotten or misremembered history that prepared for it, from the remote origins of the conflict to its manifestations in the not so distant past. As the story is usually told in Europe and America, the problem began when a jihad-driven army of ”infidel” Saracens, having brutalized Christians in the ”Holy Land,” threatened ”Christendom” itself with conquests right into the heart of present-day France. Charles Martel is the hero of primal European romances because he defeated the Muslim army near Tours in 733. But for Martel, Edward Gibbon wrote, ”the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford.” Continue reading “The war against Islam”
1. Druids: their Functions and Powers
No trustworthy information regarding the religion of the pagan Irish comes to us from outside : whatever knowledge of it we possess is derived exclusively from the native literature. There were many gods, but no supreme god, like Zeus or Jupiter among the Greeks and Romans. There was little of prayer, and no settled general form of worship. There were no temples: but there were altars of some kind erected to idols or to the gods of the elements (the sun, fire, water, &c.), which must have been in the open air. The religion of the pagan Irish is commonly designated as Druidism: and in the oldest Irish traditions the druids figure conspicuously.
All the early colonists had their druids, who are mentioned as holding high rank among kings and chiefs. There were druids also in Gaul and Britain; but the Gaels of Ireland and Scotland were separated and isolated for many centuries from the Celtic races of Gaul; and thus their religious system, like their language, naturally diverged, so that the druidism of Ireland, as pictured forth in the native record differed in many respects from that of Gaul.
In pagan times the druids were the exclusive possessors of whatever learning was then known. They combined in themselves all the learned professions: they were not only druids, but judges prophets, historians, poets, and even physicians, There were druids in every part of Ireland, but, as we might expect, Tara, the residence of the over-kings of Ireland, was, as we are told in the Life of St. Patrick, “the chief seat of the idolatry and druidism of Erin.” The druids had the reputation of being great magicians; and in this character they figure more frequently and conspicuously than in any other. In some of the old historical romances we find the issues of battles sometimes determined not so much by the valour of the combatants as by the magical powers of the druids attached to the armies. Continue reading “PAGANISM-Druids:-Functions and Powers”
The Thinning Veil by Copperlion
To the ancient Celts, the year had two “hinges”. These were Beltaine (the first of May) and Samhain, (the first of November), which is also the traditional Celtic New Year. And these two days were the most magical, and often frightening times of the whole year.
The Celtic people were in superstitious awe of times and places “in between”. Holy sites were any border places – the shore between land and water (seas, lakes, and rivers), bridges, boundaries between territories (especially when marked by bodies of water), crossroads, thresholds, etc. Holy times were also border times – twilight and dawn marking the transitions of night and day; Beltaine and Samhain marking the transitions of summer and winter. Read your myths and fairytales – many of the stories occur in such places, and at such times.
At Samhain (which corresponds to modern Halloween), time lost all meaning and the past, present, and future were one. The dead, and the denizens of the Other World, walked among the living. It was a time of fairies, ghosts, demons, and witches. Winter itself was the Season of Ghosts, and Samhain is the night of their release from the Underworld. Many people lit bonfires to keep the evil spirits at bay. Often a torch was lit and carried around the boundaries of the home and farm, to protect the property and residents against the spirits throughout the winter.
Many Irish and Scottish Celts appeased their dead with a traditional Dumb Supper. On Samhain Eve, supper was served in absolute silence, and one place was set at the head of the table “for the ancestors”. This place was served food and drink without looking directly at the seat, for to see the dead would bring misfortune. Afterwards, the untouched plate and cup were taken outside “for the pookas”, and left in the woods. In other traditions, this is the night to remember, honor, and toast our beloved departed, for the veil between the living and the dead is thin, and communication is possible on Samhain Eve
Continue reading “The Thinning Veil- Samhain”
One of the most striking characteristics of Druidism is the degree to which it is free of dogma and any fixed set of beliefs or practices. In this way it manages to offer a spiritual path, and a way of being in the world that avoids many of the problems of intolerance and sectarianism that the established religions have encountered.
There is no ‘sacred text’ or the equivalent of a bible in Druidism and there is no universally agreed set of beliefs amongst Druids. Despite this, there are a number of ideas and beliefs that most Druids hold in common, and that help to define the nature of Druidism today:
Since Druidry is a spiritual path – a religion to some, a way of life to others – Druids share a belief in the fundamentally spiritual nature of life. Some will favour a particular way of understanding the source of this spiritual nature, and may feel themselves to be animists, pantheists, polytheists, monotheists or duotheists. Others will avoid choosing any one conception of Deity, believing that by its very nature this is unknowable by the mind.
Monotheistic druids believe there is one Deity: either a Goddess or God, or a Being who is better named Spirit or Great Spirit, to remove misleading associations to gender. But other druids are duotheists, believing that Deity exists as a pair of forces or beings, which they often characterise as the God and Goddess.
Polytheistic Druids believe that many gods and goddesses exist, while animists and pantheists believe that Deity does not exist as one or more personal gods, but is instead present in all things, and is everything.
Whether they have chosen to adopt a particular viewpoint or not, the greatest characteristic of most modern-day Druids lies in their tolerance of diversity: a Druid gathering can bring together people who have widely varying views about deity, or none, and they will happily participate in ceremonies together, celebrate the seasons, and enjoy each others’ company – realising that none of us has the monopoly on truth, and that diversity is both healthy and natural.
Nature forms such an important focus of their reverence, that whatever beliefs they hold about Deity, all Druids sense Nature as divine or sacred. Every part of nature is sensed as part of the great web of life, with no one creature or aspect of it having supremacy over any other. Unlike religions that are anthropocentric, believing humanity occupies a central role in the scheme of life, this conception is systemic and holistic, and sees humankind as just one part of the wider family of life.
Although Druids love Nature, and draw inspiration and spiritual nourishment from it, they also believe that the world we see is not the only one that exists. A cornerstone of Druid belief is in the existence of the Otherworld – a realm or realms which exist beyond the reach of the physical senses, but which are nevertheless real.
This Otherworld is seen as the place we travel to when we die. But we can also visit it during our lifetime in dreams, in meditation, under hypnosis, or in ‘journeying’, when in a shamanic trance.
Different Druids will have different views on the nature of this Otherworld, but it is a universally held belief for three reasons. Firstly, all religions or spiritualities hold the view that another reality exists beyond the physical world, rather than agreeing with Materialism, that holds that only matter exists and is real. Secondly, Celtic mythology, which inspires so much of Druidism, is replete with descriptions of this Otherworld. Thirdly, the existence of the Otherworld is implicit in ‘the greatest belief’ of the ancient Druids, since classical writers stated that the Druids believed in a process that has been described as reincarnation or metempsychosis (in which a soul lives in a succession of forms, including both human and animal). In between each life in human or animal form the soul rests in the Otherworld.
Continue reading “BELIEFS of Druidism”
White House Postponing Loss of Iraq, Biden Says
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 5, 2007; Page A06
Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said yesterday that he believes top officials in the Bush administration have privately concluded they have lost Iraq and are simply trying to postpone disaster so the next president will “be the guy landing helicopters inside the Green Zone, taking people off the roof,” in a chaotic withdrawal reminiscent of Vietnam.
“I have reached the tentative conclusion that a significant portion of this administration, maybe even including the vice president, believes Iraq is lost,” Biden said. “They have no answer to deal with how badly they have screwed it up. I am not being facetious now. Therefore, the best thing to do is keep it from totally collapsing on your watch and hand it off to the next guy — literally, not figuratively.”
Biden gave the comments in an interview as he outlined an ambitious agenda for the committee, including holding four weeks of hearings focused on every aspect of U.S. policy in Iraq. The hearings will call top political, economic and intelligence experts; foreign diplomats; and former and current senior U.S. officials to examine the situation in Iraq and possible plans for dealing with it. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will probably testify next Thursday to defend the president’s new plan, but at least eight other plans will be examined over several sessions of the committee.
Other witnesses invited for at least 10 days of hearings include former national security advisers and secretaries of state, including Brent Scowcroft, Samuel R. “Sandy” Berger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Henry A. Kissinger, Madeleine K. Albright and George P. Shultz.
Biden expressed opposition to the president’s plan for a “surge” of additional U.S. troops and said he has grave doubts about whether the Iraqi government has the will or the capacity to help implement a new approach. He said he hopes to use the hearings to “illuminate the alternatives available to this president” and to provide a platform for influencing Americans, especially Republican lawmakers.
“There is nothing a United States Senate can do to stop a president from conducting his war,” Biden said. “The only thing that is going to change the president’s mind, if he continues on a course that is counterproductive, is having his party walk away from his position.”
Biden said that Vice President Cheney and former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld “are really smart guys who made a very, very, very, very bad bet, and it blew up in their faces. Now, what do they do with it? I think they have concluded they can’t fix it, so how do you keep it stitched together without it completely unraveling?”
Battle lines are drawn as Israeli allies with Arab regimes
Bethlehem – Ma’an It has been revealed to Ma’an News Agency that a secret meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, the political advisor to the Egyptian president, Osama El Baz and the head of Saudi national security, Prince Bandar, was held two months ago, during the Eid feast following Ramadan, in Sharm el Sheikh.
The source, a specialist in Israeli affairs, added that the meeting, which was held in the residence of the Egyptian president, lasted for five hours in which the participants discussed mutual coordination and cooperation between Egypt, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Israel and its allied forces in Lebanon, to jointly face the Tehran-Damascus axis and the coalition of militant groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.
The Israeli Prime Minister allegedly told the Lebanese Prime Minister that the international presence in southern Lebanon, and the American support given to their friends, “has created a path, along which lies an unprecedented opportunity to get rid of the Iranian and Syrian allies in Lebanon”, the source added.
The source also confirmed that Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora told his Israeli counterpart that his government insists on the spread of law and order throughout the country, and to dismiss and disarm any militia, including the arms of Hezbollah, and to end the presence of any groups or people who are pro-Iran or pro-Syria.
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Friends of Al Aqsa is a voluntary organisation concerned with the defence of
Al Aqsa Haram Sharif and the protection of Palestinian Human Rights.
P.O. Box 5127, Leicester. LE2 0WU. England.
Tel 077 11 823 524
Fax ++ 44  253 7575
By FAISAL KUTTY
Fifty-eight years after the universal declaration of human rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, the debate continues as to whether the document is truly universal.
Upon its adoption on Dec. 10, 1948, former U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, chair of the commission on human rights, expressed her hope it would become “the Magna Carta of all mankind.” Ironically, as was the fate with the “great charter” of 1215, the declaration has not fully lived up to its name.
The declaration was challenged from its very inception. The commission’s first draft attracted 168 amendments from various countries. However, the final document was almost unchanged from the initial draft tabled by the commission. Forty-eight countries voted in favour, while eight countries — Poland, Byelorussia, Czechoslovakia, the Ukraine, Yugoslavia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and the Soviet Union — abstained and expressed reservations.
The conflicting views on the declaration have become more pronounced recently as human rights take a more central role in international and domestic forums. The critics of the current international human rights standards range from cultural relativists and Islamists to proponents of Asian values. They contend the existing international human rights regime is deeply influenced by the western experience. The spotlight on the individual, the focus on rights divorced from duties, the emphasis on legalism to secure these rights and the greater priority given to civil and political rights are all hallmarks of the western bias. In contrast, the Asian (including Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian, Hindu, etc.) and Islamic conceptions would emphasize community, duties to one another and society and some even place greater emphasis on economic, social and cultural rights.
The philosophical and ideological underpinnings defining human relationship with each other and society in many non-western societies are at variance with our fixation with individualism or what some would call radical individualism.
The focus on individual rights — in some cases to the detriment of the family and community — is not consistent with many non-western outlooks on human rights.
Confucian scholar Tu Weiming writes: “Confucian humanism offers an account of the reasons for supporting basic human rights that does not depend on a liberal conception of persons.”
However, this in no way implies that such views are totally devoid of consideration for the individual. The substructures of human rights in some non-western conceptions attempt to establish equilibrium between individualism and collectivism in ways that are different from ours. Far from being a contradiction, as documented by collectivists theorists such as Harry Triandis, individualism and collectivism can coexist and in fact can thrive together.
From the Confucian perspective, for instance, Weiming notes: “Human rights are inseparable from human responsibilities.”
Although in the Confucian tradition, duty-consciousness is more pronounced than rights-consciousness — to the extent that the Confucian tradition underscores self-cultivation, family cohesiveness, economic well-being, social order, political justice and cultural flourishing — it is a valuable spring of wisdom for an understanding of human rights broadly conceived.”
The natural law origin of the declaration also conflicts with the religious view that rights are derived from divine authority. Brazil’s suggestion the declaration ought to have referred to a transcendent entity was rejected outright during the debate leading to the declaration’s adoption. One argument says the denial of divine authority is essential to make the philosophy underlying rights protection universal. How can something be universal when it rejects the view of a significant component of the world’s population — not only eastern religions but also adherents of Christianity and Judaism — who believe in some form of divine authority? Why should the assumption of secular elite be imposed on everyone?
The extensive list of fundamental human rights is subject to certain general limitations, set out in articles 29 and 30 of the declaration. Article 29 (2), for instance, provides for “limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.” The different philosophies and views undoubtedly will produce equally valid interpretations of such restrictive articles and human rights standards in general.
A strong argument can be made that the current formulation of international human rights constitutes a cultural structure in which western society finds itself easily at home. This has led some western human-rights scholars to arrogantly conclude that most non-western societies lack not only the practice of human rights but also the very concept. This clearly overlooks the fact that we can only claim to be better than others because we use our own values and standards to measure them.
Dominance cannot be equated with the truth, though it is easy to get caught up in the old confusion between might and right.
It is important to acknowledge and appreciate that other societies may have equally valid alternative conceptions of human rights. Exiled Tunisian Islamist leader Rachid Ghannouchi once told a reporter: “I think a universal concept of human rights must come from the philosophical vision of all peoples.”
The call for a more inclusive conception is laudable, particularly given that even proponents of the other views acknowledge that there are certain universal values. For instance, the jailed former deputy prime minister of Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim, a proponent of both Asian values and Islam, writes in his book, The Asian Renaissance, “To say that freedom is western . . . is to offend our own traditions as well as our forefathers, who gave their lives in the struggle against tyranny and injustice.”
Claims of universality do not ensure universal acceptance. Accommodating the various conceptions within the international framework may or may not be plausible. The difficulty of the task should not prevent us from grappling with this issue. At least from this exercise we may in fact learn that there are indeed certain truly universal ideals and principles shared by us all.
Indeed, the belief that the current international human rights regime is derived exclusively from the ideological framework of the west is a major obstacle in its acceptance as a truly universal vision. As suggested by a number of human rights scholars, the United Nations must initiate a project to rethink and reformulate the conception of human rights, taking into account the different philosophies that share this planet.
The only way to ensure universal acceptance of and compliance with international human rights law is by removing the crutch used for so long by human rights violators — that human rights as we know it today is a western construct.
Faisal Kutty is a Toronto lawyer, writer and doctoral candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University. His articles are archived at http://www.faisalkutty.com and he can be reached at email@example.com.
WEAK, FABRICATED, REJECTED & FALSE AHAADEETH
Analysis of the narrators and chains of narration of some commonly Quoted Da’eef (Weak), Munkar (Rejected), False (Baatil), fabricated (Mawdoo) and Laa Asla Lahu (Baseless) ahaadeeth. It is important to note that there are numerous unfounded narrations that are declared Da’eef, Munkar, Baatil, Mawdoo or Baseless ahaadeeth. They are popular and are commonly circulated among all levels of society – the elite as well as the commoners. As such, it is our obligation to discuss them and indicate their erroneousness
The Path of Ahl As-Sunnah Wal-Jama’ah and Brotherhood Among Muslims
[Excerpt from the book ‘Aqeedatu Waasitiyah’ (Creed of the Middle Path) by Ibn Taymiyyah]
The path of the people of the Sunnah and the Jama’ah is following the Prophet’s Tradition both inwardly and outwardly, and following the foot- steps of the early Muslims, both the Muhajirun (Emigrants) and the Ansar (Helpers), and following the Prophet’s recommendation: “Hold on to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs after me. Hold on to it firmly. And beware of heretical innovations (Bid’ah) because each heretical innovation (Bid’ah) is a falsehood and each false- hood is a deviation from the right path.” (Reported by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi who said it is a good and sound hadith, and Ibn Majah)
The people of the Sunnah know that the most truthful words are Allah’s Words over the words of all people, and they put the guidance of Muhammad (peace be upon him) ahead of the guidance of all people. Because of all this they are called the People of the Book and the Sunnah. They are called the People of the Community because community means unity and its opposite is disunity.
The term Jama’ah became a name for the unified people themselves and al-Ijma’ (consensus) is the third pillar on which people depend for ‘ilm (knowledge) and din (faith).
By these three pillars (Qur’an, Sunnah, and Ijma’) is measured all that people follow of inward or outward words and acts which have any relation to din (faith) and to the controlled ijma’ of the righteous ancestors since after them the disagreement increased, and the ‘Ummah dispersed.
Brotherhood Among Muslims Continue reading “The Path of Ahl As-Sunnah Wal-Jama’ah and Brotherhood Among Muslims”
Literally Tawheed means “unification” (making something one) or “asserting oneness”, and it comes from the Arabic verb (wahhada) which itself means to unite, unify or consolidate.1 However, when the term Tawheed is used in reference to Allaah (i.e. Tawheedullaah2), it means the realizing and maintaining of Allaah’s unity in all of man’s actions which directly or indirectly relate to Him. It is the belief that Allaah is One, without partner in His dominion and His actions (Ruboobeeyah), One without similitude in His essence and attributes (Asmaa wa Sifaat), and One without rival in His divinity and in worship (Ulooheeyah ‘Ebaadah). These three aspects form the basis for the categories into which the science of Tawheed has been traditionally divided. The three overlap and are inseparable to such a degree that whoever omits any one aspect has failed to complete the requirements of Tawheed. The omission of any of the above mentioned aspects of Tawheed is referred to as “Shirk” (lit. sharing); the association of partners with Allaah, which, in Islamic terms, is in fact idolatry.
The three categories of Tawheed are commonly referred to by the following titles:
1. Tawheed ar-Ruboobeeyah (lit. “Maintaining the Unity of Lordship”)
2. Tawheed al-Asmaa was-Sifaat (lit. “Maintaining the Unity of Allaah’s Names and Attributes”)
3. Tawheed al-‘Ebaadah (lit. “Maintaining the Unity of Allaah’s Worship”)3
The division of Tawheed into its components was not done by the Prophet (saws) nor by his companions, as there was no necessity to analyze such a basic principle of faith in this fashion. However, the foundations of the components are all implied in the verses of the Qur’aan and in the explanatory statements of the Prophet (saws) and his companions, as will became evident to the reader when each category is dealt with in more detail later in this Page.
The necessity for this analytical approach to the principle of Tawheed arose after Islaam spread into Egypt, Byzantium, Persia and India and absorbed the cultures of these regions. It is only natural to expect that when the peoples of these lands entered the fold of Islaam, they would carry with them some of the remnants of their former beliefs. When some of these new converts began to express in writings and discussions, their various philosophical concepts of God, confusion arose in which the pure and simple Unitarian belief of Islaam became threatened. There were also others who had outwardly accepted Islaam but secretly worked to destroy the religion from within, due to their inability to oppose it militarily. This group began to actively propagate distorted ideas about Allaah among the masses in order to tear down the first pillar of Eemaan (faith) and with it Islaam itself.
According to Muslim historians, the first Muslim to express the position of man’s free-will and the absence of destiny (Qadar) was an Iraqi convert from Christianity by the name of Sausan. Sausan later reverted to Christianity but not before infecting his student, Ma’bad ibn Khaalid al-Juhanee from Basrah. Ma’bad spread the teachings of his master until he was caught and executed by the Umayyad Caliph, ‘Abdul-Malik ibn Marwaan (685-705), in the year 700 CE.4
The younger Sahaabah (companions of the Prophet (saws)) who were alive during this period, like ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar (d. 694 CE) and ‘Abdullaah in Abee Awfaa (d. 705CE), advised the people not to greet those who denied destiny nor make funeral prayers for those of them who died. That is, they considered them to be disbelievers.5 However, Christian philosophical arguments for free-will continued to find new supporters. Ghailaan ibn Muslim from Damascus studied under Ma’bad and championed the cause of free-will until he was brought before Caliph ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-‘Azeez (717-720CE). He recanted his beliefs publicly, however, [and] on the caliph’s death, he resumed teaching free-will. The following caliph, Hishaam ibn ‘Abdul-Malik (724-743CE), had him arrested, tried and executed.6 Another prominent figure in this controversy was al-Ja’d ibn Dirham, who not only supported the philosophy of free-will, but also attempted to re-interpret the Qur’ânic verses containing descriptions of Allaah’s qualities according to neo-platonic philosophy. Al-Ja’d was at one point a tutor for the Umayyad prince, Marwaan ibn Muhammad, who later became the fourteenth caliph (744-750CE). During his lectures in Damascus, he openly denied some of Allaah’s attributes, like seeing, hearing etc., until the Umayyad governor expelled him.7 He then fled to Kufah, where he continued to propound his ideas and gather followers until his heretical opinions became widely publicized and the Umayyad governor, Khaalid ibn Abdillaah, had him publicly executed in 736 CE. However, his main disciple, Jahm ibn Safwaan, continued to defend his master’s doctrines in philosophical circles in Tirmiz and Balakh, when his heresies became widespread, he was executed by the Umayyad governor, Nasr ibn Sayyaar, in 743CE.8
The early caliphs and their governors were closer to Islamic principles and the consciousness of the masses was higher due to the presence of the Prophet’s companions and their students. Hence, the demand for the elimination of open heretics received immediate response from the rulers. In contrast, the later Umayyad caliphs were more corrupt and as such cared little about such religious issues. The masses were also less Islamically conscious and thus were more susceptible to deviant ideas. As greater numbers of people entered Islaam, and the learning of an increasing number of conquered nations was absorbed, the execution of apostates was no longer used to stem the rising tide of heresy. The task of opposing the tide of heresy fell on the shoulders of the Muslim scholars of this period who rose to meet the challenge intellectually. They systematically opposed the various alien philosophies and creeds by categorizing them and countering them with principles deduced from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. It was out of this defense that the Science of Tawheed emerged with its precisely defined categories and components. This process of specialization occurred simultaneously in all of the other areas of Islamic knowledge as it has done in the various secular sciences of today. Therefore, as the categories of Tawheed are studied separately and in more depth, it must not be forgotten that they are all a part of an organic whole which is itself the foundation of a greater whole, Islaam itself.
Tawheed ar-Ruboobeeyah (Maintaining the Unity of Lordship)
This category is based on the fundamental concept that Allaah alone caused all things to exist when there was nothing; He sustains and maintains creation without any need from it or for it; and He is the sole Lord of the universe and its inhabitants without any real challenge to His sovereignty. In Arabic the word used to describe this creator-sustainer quality is Ruboobeeyah which is derived from the root “Rabb” (Lord). According to this category, since God is the only real power in existence, it is He who gave all things the power to move and to change. Nothing happens in creation except what He allows to happen. In recognition of this reality, Prophet Muhammad (saws) used to often repeat the exclamatory phrase “La hawla wa laa quwwata illaa billaah” (There is no movement nor power except by Allaah’s will).
The basis for the Ruboobeeyah concept can be found in many Qur’ânic verses. For example, Allaah says:
“Allaah created all things and He Is the agent on which all things depend.”9
“And Allaah created you all and whatever you do.”10
“It was not you who threw, when you threw, but it was Allaah who threw.”11
“And no calamity strikes except by Allaah’s permission.”12
The Prophet (saws) further elaborated on this concept saying, “Be aware that if the whole of mankind gathered together in order to do something to help you, they would only be able to do something for you which Allaah had already written for you. Likewise, if the whole of mankind gathered together to harm you, they would only be able to do something to harm you which Allaah had already written to happen to you”13
Thus, what man conceives as good fortune and misfortune are merely events predestined by Allaah as part of the tests of this life. The incidents follow patterns set only by Allaah. Allaah has said in the Qur’aan,
“O Believers! Surely there Is In your wives and children an enemy for you, so beware of them.”14
That is, within the good things of this life there are severe tests of one’s faith in God. Likewise, in the terrible events of life there lies test as is mentioned in the verse,
“Surely We will test you with fear, hunger, loss of wealth and life and the fruits of your work, so give glad tidings to those who are patient.”15
Sometimes the patterns are recognizable, as in the case of cause and effect relationships, and sometimes they are not, as in the case when apparently good results come from evil means or bad results from good means. God has explained that the wisdom behind these apparent irregularities is often beyond man’s immediate comprehension due to his limited scope of knowledge.
“Perhaps you may dislike something which is really good for you or like something bad for you, but Allaah knows (what is best for you), and you do not.”16
Apparently evil events in human lives sometimes turn out to be for the best and apparently good things which people desire turn out to be harmful. Consequently, man’s realm of influence in the course of events which make up his life is limited to the mental choice between options presented to him and not the actual results of his choice. In other words “man proposes and God disposes”. Apparent “good fortune” and “misfortune” are both from Allaah and can not be caused by good-luck charms such as rabbit’s feet, four-leaf clovers, wishbones, lucky numbers, zodiacal signs, etc., or by omens of bad luck like Friday the thirteenth, breaking mirrors, black cats, etc.
In fact, the belief in charms and omens is a manifestation of the grave sin of Shirk (association) in this form of Tawheed. ‘Uqbah, one of the companions of the Prophet (saws), reported that once a group of men approached Allaah’s messenger to give their allegiance to him, and he accepted the oath from nine of them but refused to accept it from one. When they asked him why he refused their companion’s oath, he replied, “Verily, he is wearing an amulet”17 The man who was wearing the amulet put his hand in his cloak, pulled the amulet off and broke it then made the oath. The Prophet (saws) then said, “Whoever wears an amulet has committed Shirk.”18
As for using the Qur’aan like a charm or amulet by wearing or carrying Qur’ânic verses on chains or in pouches to ward off evil or to bring good fortune, there is little difference between such practices and those of the pagans. Neither the Prophet (saws) nor his Companions used the Qur’aan in this fashion, and the Prophet (saws) said, “Whoever innovates in Islaam something which does not belong to it will have it rejected.” 19
It is true that the Qur’ânic chapters, an-Naas and al-Falaq, were revealed specifically for exorcism (that is, for removing evil spells), but the Prophet (saws) demonstrated the proper method by which they should be used. On an occasion when a spell had been cast on him, he told ‘Alee ibn Abee Taalib to recite the two chapters verse by verse and when he became ill he used to recite them on himself.20 He did not write them down and hang them around his neck, tie them on his arm or around his waist, nor did he tell others to do so.
Tawheed al-Asmaa was-Sifaat (Maintaining the Unity of Allaah’s Names and Attributes).
This category of Tawheed has five main aspects:
1. For the unity of Allaah’s names and attributes to be maintained in the first aspect, Allaah must be referred to according to how He and His Prophet (saws) have described Him without explaining away His names and attributes by giving them meanings other than their obvious meanings. For example, Allaah in the Qur’aan says He gets angry with the disbelievers and the hypocrites. He says:
“That He may punish the hypocrites, men and women, and the pagans men and women, who have an evil opinion of Allaah. A circle of evil is around them; Allaah is
angrywith them, curses them and has prepared for them an evil end.”21
Thus, anger is one of God’s attributes. It is incorrect to say that His anger must mean His punishment since anger is a sign of weakness in man and, as such, not befitting of Allaah. What Allaah has stated should be accepted with the qualification that His anger is not like human anger, based on Allaah’s statement, “There is nothing like him”.22 The process of so-called “rational” interpretation when taken to its logical conclusion results in the denial of God’s very existence. For, Allaah describes Himself as living and man lives, therefore, according to the rationalist argument, God is neither living nor existing. The fact is that the similarity between God’s attributes and those of mankind is only in name and not in degree. When attributes are used in reference to God, they are to be taken in the absolute sense, free from human deficiencies.
2. The second aspect of Tawheed al-Asmaa was-Sifaat involves referring to Allaah as He has referred to Himself without giving Him any new names or attributes. For example, Allaah may not be given the name al-Ghaadib (the Angry one), in spite of the fact that He has said that He gets angry, because neither Allaah nor His messenger has used this name. This may seem to be a very fine point, but it must be maintained in order to prevent the false description of God. That is, finite man is in no position to define the infinite Lord of creation.
3. In the third aspect of Tawheed al-Asmaa was-Sifaat Allaah is referred to without giving Him the attributes of His creation. For example, it is claimed in the Bible and Torah that Allaah spent the first six days creating the universe then slept on the seventh.23 For this reason, Jews and Christians take either Saturday or Sunday as a day of rest in which work is looked at as a sin. Such a claim assigns to God the attributes of His creation. It is man who tires after heavy work and needs sleep to recuperate.24 Elsewhere in the Bible and Torah, God is portrayed as repenting for His bad thoughts in the same way that humans do when they realize their errors.25 Similarly the claim that God is a spirit or has a spirit completely ruins this area of Tawheed. Allaah does not refer to Himself as a spirit anywhere in the Qur’aan nor does His Prophet (saws) express anything of that nature in Hadeeth. In fact, Allaah refers to the spirit as part of His creation.26
The key principle which should be followed when dealing with Allaah’s attributes is the Qur’ânic formula,
“There is nothing like Him and He is hearer and seer of all.”27
The attributes of hearing and seeing are among human attributes, but when they are attributed to The Divine Being they are without comparison in their perfection. However, when these attributes are associated with men they necessitate ear and eye apparatuses which can not be attributed to God. What man knows about the Creator is only what little He has revealed to him through His prophets. Therefore, man is obliged to stay within these narrow limits. When man gives free rein to his intellect in describing God, he is liable to fall into errors by assigning to Allaah the attributes of His creation.
In their love of pictorial representations, Christians have painted, carved and molded innumerable human likenesses and called them images of God. These have served to pave the way for the acceptance of Jesus’ divinity among the masses. Once they accepted the conception of the Creator as being like a human being, accepting Jesus as God presented no real problem.
4. The fourth aspect of Tawheed al-Asmaa was-Sifaat requires that man not be given the attributes of Allaah. For example, in the New Testament Paul takes the figure of Melchizedek, king of Salem, from the Torah (Genesis 14:18-20) and gives both him and Jesus the divine attribute of having no beginning or end,
“1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,2 and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace.3 He is without father or mother or genealogy, and has neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the son of God he continues a priest forever.“28
“5 So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, ‘Thou art my son, today I have begotten thee’; 6 as he says also in another place, ‘Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek’.29
Most Shi’ite sects (with the exception of the Zaidites of Yemen) have given their “Imaams” divine attributes of absolute infallibility,30 knowledge of the past, the future and the unseen, the ability to change destiny31 and control over the atoms of creation.32 In so doing they set up rivals who share God’s unique attributes and who, in fact, become gods besides Allaah.
5. Maintaining the unity of Allaah’s names also means that Allaah’s names in the definite form cannot be given to His creation unless preceded by the prefix ‘Abd meaning “slave of” or “servant of’. Many of the Divine names in their indefinite form like Ra’oof and Raheem are allowable names for men because Allaah has used some of them in their indefinite forms to refer to the Prophet (saws):
“A messenger has come to you from among yourselves to whom anything which burdens you is grievous. He is full of concern for you and is full of pity (
Ra'oof) and full of mercy (
But Ar-Ra’oof (the One Most Full of Pity) and Ar-Raheem (the Most Merciful) can only be used to refer to men if they are preceded by ‘Abd as in ‘Abdur-Ra’oof or ‘Abdur-Raheem, since in the definite form they represent a level of perfection which only belongs to God. Similarly, names like ‘Abdur-Rasool (slave of the messenger), ‘Abdun-Nabee (slave of the Prophet), ‘Abdul-Husayn (slave of Husayn), etc., where people name themselves slaves to other than Allaah are also forbidden. Based on this principle, the Prophet (saws) forbade Muslims from referring to those put under their charge as ‘Abdee (my slave) or Amatee (my slave girl).34
Tawheed al-‘Ebaadah (Maintaining The Unity of Worship)
In spite of the wide implications of the first two categories of Tawheed, firm belief in them alone is not sufficient to fulfill the Islamic requirements of Tawheed. Tawheed ar-Ruboobeeyah and Tawheed al-Asmaa was-Sifaat must be accompanied by their complement, Tawheed al-‘Ebaadah, in order for Tawheed to be considered complete according to Islaam. This point is substantiated by the fact that Allaah Himself has related in clear terms that the Mushrikoon (idolators) of the Prophet’s time confirmed many aspects of the first two forms of Tawheed. In the Qur’aan Allaah tells the Prophet (saws) to say to the pagans:
“Say: ‘Who is it that gives you all sustenance from the sky and earth, governs sight and hearing, brings forth life from dead (matter) and death from the living, and plans the affairs of man?’ They will all say ‘Allaah’.”35
“If you asked them who created them, they would surely say, ‘Allaah’ “36
“If you asked them who brings down water from the sky and with it brings the earth to life after its death? They will most certainly say, ‘Allaah’.” 37
The pagan Makkans all knew that Allaah was their creator, sustainer, their Lord and Master yet that knowledge did not make them Muslims according to God. In fact, Allaah said:
“Most of them do not believe in Allaah except while joining partners to Him.”38
Mujaahid’s39 commentary on this verse was as follows: “Their belief in Allaah represented by their statement, ‘Allaah created us, provides for us and takes our lives’, did not stop them from worshipping other gods along with Allaah.”40 From the previously mentioned verses, it is clear that the Kuffaar (disbelievers) knew of Allaah’s sovereignty, dominion and power. In fact, they used to faithfully devote various types of worship to Him like Hajj, charity, animal sacrifices, vows and even prayers in times of dire necessity and calamity. They even used to claim that they were following the religion of Abraham. Because of that claim, Allaah revealed the verse:
“Abraham was not a Jew nor was he a Christian, but (he) was a true Muslim and not among those who joined partners with Allaah.”41
Some pagan Makkans even believed in the Resurrection and the Judgement and others in predestination (Qadar). Ample evidence of their belief can be found in pre-Islamic poetry. For example, the poet Zuhayr was reported to have said:
“It is either delayed, placed in a book and saved for the Day of Judgement or hastened and avenged.”
‘Antarah was quoted as saying:
“O ‘Ebil to where will you run from death, if my Lord in the sky has destined it?”42
In spite of the Makkans’ confessions of Tawheed and their knowledge of Allaah, Allaah classified them as disbelievers (Kuffaar) and pagans (Mushrikoon) simply because they worshipped other gods along with their worship of Allaah.
Consequently, the most important aspect of Tawheed is that of Tawheed al-‘Ebaadah, maintaining the unity of Allaah’s worship. All forms of worship must be directed only to Allaah because He alone deserves worship, and it is He alone who can grant benefit to man as a result of His worship. Furthermore, there is no need for any form of intercessor or intermediary between man and God. Allaah emphasized the importance of directing worship to Him alone by pointing out that this was the main purpose of man’s creation and the essence of the message brought by all the prophets. Allaah says:
“I did not create the Jinn and Mankind except for My worship.”43
“Verily, We have sent to every nation a messenger (saying), ‘Worship Allaah and avoid false gods’.”44
Understanding the purpose of creation in a complete sense is beyond man’s innate abilities. Man is a finite created being and can not reasonably hope to fully comprehend the actions of the infinite Creator. Hence, God made it a part of man’s nature to worship Him, and He sent prophets and books of divine revelation to clarify the aspect of the purpose of creation which was within man’s mental ability to grasp. That purpose is, as was previously mentioned: the worship of God (‘Ebaadah) and the main message of the prophets was to worship God alone, Tawheed al-‘Ebaadah. Consequently, the gravest sin is Shirk, the worship of others instead of Allaah or along with Allaah. In Soorah al-Faatihah, which every Muslim is required to recite in his or her prayers at least seventeen times daily, verse four reads, “You alone do we worship and from You alone do we seek help”. A clear statement that all forms of worship should only be directed to the One who can respond, Allaah. The Prophet Muhammad (saws) confirmed the concept of unity of worship saying, “If you ask in prayer ask only Allaah, and if you seek help, seek it only from Allaah.”45 The absence of any need for intercession is further emphasized by the many verses indicating His closeness to man. For example:
“When My servants ask you (O Muhammad) about Me (tell them), ‘Verily I am close (to them), I listen to the prayer of every one who calls on Me. So let them respond to Me and believe In Me in order that they may he guided aright.”46
“It is We who created man and We know what his soul whispers to him, for We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.”47
The confirmation of Tawheed al-‘Ebaadah conversely necessitates the denial of all forms of intercession or association of partners with Allaah. If someone prays to the dead seeking their influence on the lives of the living or the souls of those who have passed away, they have associated a partner with Allaah, because worship is being shared between Allaah and His creation. The Prophet Muhammad (saws) said, in no uncertain terms, “Prayer (du’aa) is worship.”48 And, Allaah, Most Great and Glorious, said:
‘Do not worship besides Allaah that which can not help or harm you.”49
“Those on whom you call besides Allaah are only slaves like yourselves.”50
If someone prays to the Prophet (saws), to so-called saints, Jinns or angels asking for help or asking them to request help from Allaah for them, they have also committed Shirk. The concept of “Ghaus-i-Azam” (al-Ghawth al-A’dHam), a title given by the ignorant to ‘Abdul-Qaadir al-Jeelaanee,51 is also an expression of Shirk in this form of Tawheed. The title literally means “the greatest source of rescue; the one most able to save someone from danger” and such a description only belongs to Allaah. When misfortune occurs, some people call on ‘Abdul-Qaadir by this title seeking his aid and protection even though Allaah has already said:
“If Allaah allows harm to befall you none can. remove it except Him.” 52
According to the Qur’aan, when the Makkans were questioned about directing their prayers to their idols, they answered,
“We only worship them so that they may bring us closer to Allaah.”53
The idols were only used as intermediaries yet Allaah called them pagans for their practice. Those among Muslims who insist on praying to other than Allaah would do well to reflect on this fact.
Christians, influenced by the teachings of Saul from Tarsus (later called Paul), deified Prophet Jesus and directed their prayer to him and his mother. The Catholics among Christians have saints for every occasion to whom they direct their prayers in the belief that these saints can directly influence the affairs of this world. The Catholics also use their priests as intercessors between themselves and Allaah in the mistaken belief that the priests are closer to Allaah due to their celibacy and piety, and thus more likely to be listened to by Allaah. Most Shi’ite sects have devoted certain days of the week and hours of the day for prayer to ‘Alee, Faatimah, Hasan and Husayn54 due to their distorted belief in intercession.
Worship (‘Ebaadah) in the Islamic view, includes more than just fasting, paying Zakaah, Hajj and animal sacrifices. It includes emotions like love, trust, and fear, all of which have degrees which should only be directed to God. Allaah has addressed these emotions and warned against excesses in them as follows:
“There are among men those who take (for worship) others besides Allaah as equals to Him. They
lovethem as they should only
loveAllaah. But those who believe have a much greater love of Allaah…”55
“Will you not fight people who broke their oaths, plotted to expel the messenger and were the first to (attack) you? Do you
fearthem? Allaah has more right to be
fearedif you are truly believers.”56
trustin Allaah if you are truly believers.”57
Since the term ‘Ebaadah means total obedience and Allaah is considered the ultimate Lawgiver, the implementation of secular legal systems not based on divine law (Sharee’ah) is an act of disbelief in the divine law and belief in the correctness of such systems, such a belief constitutes a form of worshipping other than Allaah (Shirk). Allaah said in the Qur’aan:
“Those who do not rule by what Allaah has revealed are disbelievers (Kaafiroon). “58
On one occasion, the Prophet’s companion ‘Adee ibn Haatim, who was a convert from Christianity, heard the Prophet (saws) recite the Qur’ânic verse, “They have taken their rabbis and monks as lords besides Allaah,”59 so he said: ‘Surely we did not worship them,’ The Prophet (saws) turned to him and said ‘Did they not make forbidden (
Haraam) what Allaah had made allowable (
Halaal)60, and you all made it
Haraam, and did they not make
Halaal what Allaah made
Haraam61 and you all made it
Halaal?’ He replied, ‘We certainly did.’ The Prophet (saws) then said, ‘That was how you worshipped them’.”62
Hence, a significant part of Tawheed al-‘Ebaadah involves the implementation of Sharee’ah, especially in lands where Muslims form the majority of the population. Divine law has to be re-introduced in the many so-called Muslim countries where governments now rule according to imported capitalist or communist constitutions, and Islamic law is either totally extinct or relegated to a few areas of minor importance. Likewise, Muslim countries, where Islamic law is on the books but secular laws are in force, have also to be brought in line with the Sharee’ah as it pertains to all aspects of life. The acceptance of non-Islamic rule in place of Sharee’ah in Muslim lands is Shirk and an act of Kufr. Those in a position to change it must do so, while those unable to do so must speak out against the rule of Kufr and call for the implementation of Sharee’ah. If even this becomes impossible, un-Islamic government must be sincerely hated and despised for the pleasure of God and the upholding of Tawheed.
2 The word Tawheed does not actually occur the Qur’aan However, when the Prophet (saws) sent Mu’aadh ibn Jabal as governor of Yemen in 9AH, he told him, “You will be going to Christians and Jews (ahl al-Kitaab), so the first thing you should invite them to is the assertion of the oneness of Allaah (Yuwahhidoo Allaah).” (Narrated by Ibn ‘Abbaas and collected by al-Bukhaaree (Muhammad Muhsin Khan, Sahih Al-Bukhari, (Arabic-English), (Riyadh: Maktabah ar-Riyaad al-Hadeethah, 1981), vol.9, pp. 348-9, no.469) and Muslim (Abdul Hamid Siddiq, Sahih Muslim (English Trans.), (Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf Publishers, 1987), vol.1, pp.14-5, no.27). In this Hadeeth the present tense of the verb from which the verbal noun Tawheed is derived was used by the Prophet (saws).
11 Soorah al-Anfaal 8:17. This was in reference to a miraculous incident which took place when the Prophet (saws) gathered some dust in his hand and threw it at the enemy (at the beginning of the Battle of Badr). Allaah caused the dust to reach the faces of the enemy in spite of their great distance.
13 Reported by Ibn ‘Abbaas and collected by at-Tirmidhee. See Ezzeddin Ibrahim and Denys Johnson – Davies, An-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith, (English Trans.), (Damascus, Syria: The Holy Koran Publishing House, 1976), p.68, no.19.
19 Reported by ‘Aaeshah and collected by al-Bukhaaree (Sahih Al-Bukhari, (Arabic – English) vol.3, p.535, no.861), Muslim (Sahih Muslim, (English Trans.) vol.3, i,. 931, no.4266 and no.4267) and Abu Daawood (Ahmad Hasan, Sunan Abu Dawud (English Trans.), (Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf Publishers, 1st. ed., 1984), vol.3, p. 1294).
23 Genesis 2:2, “And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done.” (Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version (Nelson, 1951), p.2).
30 Muhammad Rida al-Muzaffar states in his book Faith of Shi’a Islam, (U.S.A.: Muhammadi Trust of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2nd ed. 1983): “We believe that, like the prophet, an Imam must be Infallible, that is to say incapable of making errors or doing wrong, either Inwardly or outwardly, from his birth to his death, either intentionally or unintentionally, because the Imams are the preservers of Islam and it is under their protection.” (p.32). See also Islam, (Teheran: A Group of Muslim Brothers, 1973), p.35, by Sayed Saeed Akhtar Rizvi.
31 AI-Muzaffar further states: “We maintain that the powers of the Imams to receive inspiration has reached the highest degree of excellence, and we say that it is a Divinely – given power. By this means the Imam is able to understand information about anything, anywhere, and at any time, and he understands by means of this Divinely – given power at once, without recourse to methodological reasoning or guidance from a teacher.
32 Al-Khomeini states: “Certainly the Imam has a dignified station, a lofty rank, a creational caliphate, and sovereignty and mastery over all atoms of creation.” (Aayatullah Musavi al-Khomeini, al-Hukoomah al-Islaameeyah, (Beirut: at-Talee’ah Press; Arabic ed., 1979), p.52).
39 Mujaahid ibn Jubayr al-Makkee (642-722) was Ibn ‘Abbaas’ most outstanding student. The narrations of his Tafseer (commentary) of the Qur’aan has been compiled by ‘Abdur-Rahmaan at-Taahir and published in two volumes under the title, Tafseer Mujaahid, (Islamabad: Majma’ al-Buhooth).
51 Abdul-Qaadir (1077-1166) was a principal of a school of Hanbalite Law and a Ribaat (monastery) in Baghdad. His Sermons (collected in al-Fat-h ar-Rabbaane, Cairo 1302) were strictly orthodox with some, mystic interpretations of the Qur’aan. Ibn ‘Arabee (born 1165) declared him the Qutb of his time and stated that he had a rank which placed him above all beings except God. ‘Alee ibn Yousuf ash-Shattanawfee (d. 1314 CE) wrote a book called Bahjat al-Asraar (Cairo, 1304) in which he attributed many miracles to ‘Abdul-Qaadir. The Qaadireeyah Sufi order is named after him and its spiritual exercises and regulations traced back to him. (Shorter Encyclopedia of Islam, pp.5-7 and 202-205).