Part of the Do'a Iftitah

"Verily my solats, my ibadah, my life and my death I surrender to Almighty Allah, Creator and Lord of all the worlds. Never will I associate anything with Him. So am I commanded and I am of those who are Muslims."

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Monday, September 06, 2010

Questions from an American Christian lady learning about Islam

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I have received emails from an American Christian lady who is learning about Islam. 


Since what I answer her might be of use to those with similar questions, I have asked her permission to share with you our exchanges here for the benefit of all.


Here are the contents of our online dialog:


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Hello Zainol,

I am, like Johan learning about Islam and i stumbled upon your post in reply to him as i was looking for someone who could help me in my search for answers.


I am relieved to find someone who speaks English and can help me out too.

I have been studying Islamic religious books and i find that some things need further explanation and what more better than to refer to the right person ie you!

I had the same questions and they are all answered in your reply to that chap in your blog link below. Thank you for that.

http://mahaguru58.blogspot.com/2009/08/allah-what-you-need-to-know-about-our.html

If it's ok with you to accept another curious learner, do let me know if you could look in to my questions and hopefully provide me the answers so i can learn more about Islam.


Looking forward to learn from you.

Thank you.
A.A



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May peace be with u Amy.

No worries. Will help u out wherever I can?

Going out now. Update me on whatever u need to know?

God Willing, we can discuss. No holds barred. :)

All my best to u.

Wassalamualaikum. Peace be upon u.

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Thank you for your warm reply.

I start with simple things i observe daily or that i have come across.

1) What does s.a.w mean? I see it everytime at the back of the prophet's name. When translated from Arabic to English what does it actually say?

2) A friend mentioned Assalamualaikum is only meant among Muslims. the greeting cannot be said to non Muslims. Is this true?

3) I had a conversation with a Muslim Bangladeshi who works at an Indian Muslim restaurant. He says he as a Muslim can not be friends with non Muslims as taught by the Quran and insisted it is stated in the book. I decided to look for it and found this online. Is this what he was referring to and if so, Muslims are actually encouraged to do what is explained by the scholars in this link? i find it rather disturbing of a message to be said by God.

http://www.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=73&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=29&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2

4) Why do females not attend Friday prayers?
5) What does the star and moon on every mosque represent?

These are the very basic questions i have been looking for answers. I will go more detailed as we go along. I have always tried asking Muslim friends but they always say the same answer " i don't know but there's always an explanation".

Thank you for your time and patience, looking forward to learn.

A.A

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1. S.A.W. is the acronym for the Arabic salutation ~ 'Sallallahu Alaihi Wassallam!'. It is an Arabic phrase which means 'May Peace be upon him!'. This salutation is reserved for only the Final Messenger of Almighty Allah, the Blessed Prophet Muhammad bin Abdullah. 

For all others of the 124,000 prophets and messengers of Allah, the salutation is 'Alaihis Salam' which means 'upon him be peace'. In general, we respect and honor each and every one of God's prophets and messengers. 

The level of respect and love for Muhammad, the Greatest Messenger of Allah is highest as he is the Chief of all the prophets and messengers numbering 124,000 from the creation of our Father the Prophet Adam over time immemorial right to the Final Messenger.

2. Not trueAssalamualaikum is the best form of greeting that we can give to one another as human beings. The prophets of Allah used to greet others with this greeting which means 'Peace be upon you!'. This is called the standard 'Salam'. 

Thus if a Non Muslim is to wish a Muslim with the Salam and says it with sincerity, the Muslim receiving the Salam is obliged to answer 'Wa alaika' which means ' and Upon you (as well)'. Depending upon the individual muslim, he or she is at liberty to answer in full 'Wa'alaikumsalam' ~ 'and (Upon you be peace) too!'

The Salam in actuality is a prayer. We wish the one whom we meet to be blessed with peace. Thus Islam is also known as the religion of peace because we wish well upon others. 

The Muslim is encouraged to greet fellow Muslims with the longer version of the Salam which carries more prayers.

This form of greeting is added with 'Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh! Means 'Peace be upon you and the Mercy and Blessings of Allah. 

The one who receives such a Salam is enjoined to answer with 'Wa'alaikumsalam Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh'.This is the best form of greeting and carries the meaning 'And upon you be Peace with the Mercy and Blessings of Allah!'

9:29
Transliteration
Qatiloo allatheena layu/minoona billahi wala bilyawmial-akhiri wala yuharrimoona ma harramaAllahu warasooluhu wala yadeenoona deena alhaqqimina allatheena ootoo alkitaba hattayuAAtoo aljizyata AAan yadin wahum saghiroon
Sahih International
Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture - [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.
Muhsin Khan
Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

We need to take into account the varying circumstances with regards to the relations between those of us who areMuslims (Believers in Almighty Allah and carry out His Commandments and Way of Life Enjoined in the teachings of Al Islam) and the ones who are Kaffirs (Disbelievers in Allah the True God and live a life devoid of faith in Him and engage in idol worship, polytheism and commit such acts and practices which have been forbidden by the Almighty and goes against what He has decreed).

A Muslim is commanded by Allah not to take as his friends and companions those amongst the Disbelievers who mean him or her harm and wage wars against the Muslim whether declared or not with designs or plans to undermine the Muslim's position or to usurp his or her property and endanger his or her life or those of his or her family and other close relatives.

A clear example is the way Palestinian Arab Muslims have lost their lands and suffer prosecution at the hands of the Zionist Jews supported by the American and British governments.

Such is also the same situation all over the world where Muslims have been killed, assaulted, attacked, devastated and made to suffer by those who aren't Muslims just because they believe in Allah and observe the teachings of Islam. Examples of these are the sufferings experienced by the Muslims of Bosnia Herzegovina, Chechnyans, Georgians, Uighur Muslims in China, Tibetan Muslims, Nepalese Muslims, Kashmiri Muslims, Gujerati Muslims in India, Bombay Muslims of India, South of Thailand, Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar, Iraq and other localities of the world.

The Muslims are cautioned by Allah the Almighty to be aware of the dangers of them seeking the help and protection of those who choose to be enemies of Allah and the Muslims themselves in the true sense. Not to say that we are to  shun those Non Muslims who let us be and mean us no harm.

There are many amongst the Non Muslims in this world who seek peace with us and mean us well. Examples are the Orthodox Jews in Palestine. Many of them are also in the United States of America. A particular group of such peaceloving Jews are those in the Neturei Karta.

God is our Creator. He knows us best. We may all be the Children of Adam our Father and borne by our Mother Eve yet we all differ in our own individual characteristics, likes and dislikes or levels of knowledge and beliefs. Even amongst siblings, our temperaments and leanings aren't the same. We are all different from one another and only our efforts to either submit ourselves to our Lord or go against Him determines our situations and positions here on Earth and in the Hereafter.

Thus we need to contemplate upon the realities of this life here on Earth where mankind are always and often in strife and constant turmoil against one another.

That's what God is warning us about?

To be careful not to blindly trust those who might endanger and harm us when we least expect it. Fair warning, don't you agree?

4. It is certainly permissible for women to pray the Friday Prayer; it is therefore totally absurd to say that they are not allowed to do so. Since there is nothing whatsoever either in the Qur'an, or in the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to indicate otherwise, no human being possesses the right to say so. 
It is a well known fact that women used to attend prayers including that of Friday at the Prophet's Mosque during his time. As a matter of fact, many of those women from among the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did so consistently that they memorized entire surahs of the Qur'an from the Prophet's mouth as he was in the habit of reciting them during sermons and prayer. The practice of women attending the prayers continues to this day in the Prophet's Mosque; the same has been the consistent practice in the Sacred Mosque in Makkah. This can be verified by anyone going for Hajj or `Umrah, for it is a common sight of women praying all over the Haram sanctuary in Makkah just as men do. 

This being the case, how can anyone dare to say that women are not allowed to attend prayers in the mosque? Are we then implying that it is OK for them to go to the Prophet's Mosque or the Haram in Makkah but not to other mosques? Are our mosques holier? 

Furthermore, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also clearly forbade men from banning women from mosques. He said,"Don’t stop the maid servants of Allah (that is, women) from coming to mosques of Allah"(Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Ahmad, Malik, and others). 

Having said this, I must rush to add that women in Islam are not obligated to pray at the mosque if they are burdened by their duties of nurturing and caring for their little ones. Women are thus absolved of this obligation solely because of the compassion of Islam. But, in such a case, according to the laws of the Shari`ah, they are duly compensated for their absence from mosques because of the nobler task they are engaged in at home. 

This exception, however, must never be used by men against women to prevent them from coming to mosques, especially if they are not in the above situation. 

Based on these, women are definitely allowed to attend mosques and participate in mosque-related activities. As scholars such as Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi and others have stated that in this day and age when chances for proper spiritual and moral education are becoming ever scarce, it would be highly recommended for women to come to mosques and derive the spiritual and educational benefits just as men do. 

May Allah grant us the wisdom to recognize truth as truth and follow it; may He grant us the wisdom to recognize error as error and shun it.Ameen.

Source : http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar/FatwaE/FatwaE&cid=1141277534839#ixzz0ykDF13SK

5. You can find the answers to Question 5 here.

Hope I have helped.

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By the way, would it be alright if I share our exchanges here in my blog so as to help those who might be having the same questions as yours but have yet to get the right answers?

May Allah bless and guide us all.

Ameen.

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definitely. knowledge sharing is most encouraged!

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That sums up the first part of our exchanges today.

I hope that those who have had the same questions that this lady had will now know the answers to that which they wanted to know too.

May Allah bless and guide us all.

Ameen.
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