A guide for the new Muslim.pdf - A guide for the new Muslim...

This preview shows page 1 out of 250 pages.

Unformatted text preview: A guide for the new Muslim ﴾ ‫﴿ د ﻞ ا ﺴﻠﻢ ا ﺪﻳﺪ‬ { English -‫} ﺇﳒﻠﻴﺰﻱ‬ Jammaal al-Din M. Zarabozo 2009-1430 ‫‪1430 2009‬‬ ‫‪A GUIDE FOR THE NEW MUSLIM‬‬ ‫﴿د ﻞ ا ﺴﻠﻢ ا ﺪﻳﺪ﴾‬ ‫}ﺑﺎ ﻠﻐﺔ اﻹ ﻠ ﺔ{‬ ‫ﺎل ا ﻳﻦ زاراﺑﻮزو‬ ‫‪2009-1430‬‬ ‫‪2‬‬ 1430 2009 A GUIDE FOR THE NEW MUSLIM Preface In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. All praises are due to Allah; we praise Him; we seek His help; we seek His forgiveness; and we seek His guidance. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil in our souls and the badness of our deeds. For whomever Allah guides, there is none to lead him astray. And for whomever He allows to go astray, there is none to guide him. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, for whom there is no partner. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger. I would like to take this opportunity to express praise and to thank Allah for giving me the opportunity to write an important work of this nature. May Allah forgive me for my shortcomings in presenting His religion. As with What is Islam, this book’s “sister,” I must express my thanks to the noble Shaikh Muhammad al-Turki of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Da’wah and Guidance for his support. I would also like to express my thanks to Ahmad Ba-Rasheed for his continual efforts as well. These two have been the driving force behind this project. There are many people that I would like to thank for their help in this particular work. First, I must express my thanks to my beloved wife who is always a source of assistance and help. Special thanks must also go to Dr. Abdulkarim al-Saeed, Br. Nahar al-Rashid, Dr. Mohammad al-Osimi, Dr. Ahmad alTeraiqi and Br. Jalaal Abdullah. I can only pray that Allah rewards them and blesses them in both this life and the Hereafter. I must point out that I have previously written about many of the topics included in this work. I borrowed or adapted liberally from my earlier works “He Came to Teach You Your Religion” and Purification of the Soul: Concept, Process and Means. To a much lesser extent, I also adapted material from What Is Islam and Commentary on the Forty Hadith of al-Nawawi. 3 1430 2009 A GUIDE FOR THE NEW MUSLIM I pray that Allah accepts this work from me as being solely for His sake. As with all such work, the responsibility for any mistakes lies with the author. I ask Allah to forgive me for my shortcomings and to guide me to the Straight Path. Jamaal Zarabozo Boulder, CO Jan. 17, 2007 4 1430 2009 A GUIDE FOR THE NEW MUSLIM Congratulations to the New Muslim Especially in these times with so many barriers placed in front of Islam and so many negative untruths spread about it, it is a great blessing from Allah that He gives specific individuals the ability to see the truth and light of Islam. A new Muslim—and, in fact, every Muslim—should always be thankful to Allah that Allah has blessed him with this ever-important knowledge and understanding of His religion. By converting to Islam, the new Muslim has entered into a new realm that is most likely very different from his previous outlook on life. Perhaps most importantly though is that via Islam the individual has found the means by which the Lord will be pleased with him and he becomes pleased with his Lord. As one grows more in Islam and as one’s knowledge and faith increases, the individual is able to appreciate more and more of its beauty. In turn, one’s love for Allah, Islam and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) shall continue to increase. The result is a spiritual life on a very special plane that only those who know this faith are able to experience and enjoy. There is a lot to look forward to. The embracing of Islam is the significant first step and the rest, Allah willing, shall come by increasing one’s knowledge, faith and attachment to Islam. 5 1430 2009 A GUIDE FOR THE NEW MUSLIM Introduction The Goal and Motivation for Writing this Book The goal of this work is to present the new Muslim with a basic guide that will help him understand and implement Islam. As already noted, the newly converted Muslim has set himself upon a new path that, most likely, is very different from the path that he was on before. The convert understands enough about Islam to recognize that it is the truth but he usually does not have enough detailed information about Allah’s religion to guide him in his everyday affairs. The author sincerely hopes that the individual will have the best experience in Islam by understanding it properly from the beginning and by applying it correctly in his life. Many are the converts to Islam who are bewildered and confused once they convert. Unfortunately, not every Muslim today is a good ambassador of Islam and not every Muslim today understands all of the basics of Islam. This can lead to a great deal of confusion, as some Muslim converts cannot even recognize the Islam that they see when compared to the Islam that they read about. This work is a modest attempt at assisting the new Muslim to set out along the correct path based on the Quran and Sunnah. What Distinguishes This Work Many introductory works on Islam are currently available. However, it is hoped that this work is distinct from the others due to a number of characteristics. First, this is one of the few books currently available that specifically targets newly converted Muslims. In other words, it is directed toward those who have already been convinced of the truth of Islam and, hence, no arguments are presented herein to attempt to convince the reader of the truth of Islam. On the other hand, once a person embraces Islam there is still a wealth of information that the new convert needs. First, he needs to understand properly the foundations of his new faith. He also needs guidance concerning the most important practices of his new faith, including a good awareness of what deeds he must avoid as a Muslim. 6 1430 2009 A GUIDE FOR THE NEW MUSLIM Second, the writer himself is a convert to Islam. Thus, the author is able to draw upon his own experience as a convert and, by reflecting back upon that after so many years, can provide insight into what a convert needs to know and what are some of the pratfalls that he must avoid. This book can be looked upon as the book that the author wishes he had received when he first became Muslim. Furthermore, the author has dealt with many converts throughout the years and is aware of many of the conceptual and practical issues that other converts have had to deal with as well. Third, the author has done his utmost to ensure that all of the information contained herein is verified and authentic. This is particularly true for any of the words attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Unfortunately, not everyone who writes about Islam gives this issue the attention it deserves, thereby including false information in their introductory works. In reality, one of the main reasons why this author embraced Islam is because its original teachings were kept pure: One can actually claim that the Quran is the word of God and the hadith are the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). This religion has come down to this generation in preserved form and it is a must that it not be distorted in any way. It is, therefore, incumbent upon those who write or speak about Islam to continue to make sure that what they are saying is the confirmed truth from Allah and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The Sources and Approach of This Book The most important source for any work about Islam must be the Quran itself. The Quran lays the foundation for the entirety of Islamic teachings.2 Hence, due emphasis will be placed on Quranic evidence for the views expressed in this book. 1 However, the Quran was not simply revealed upon a mountainside for anyone to read and understand on his own. Allah chose to reveal the Quran to 1 The reader should note how the verses of the Quran are referred to: soorah or “chapter” number followed by verse number, e.g., 2:16 would mean the sixteenth verse of the second chapter. 2 If a book is supposed to be about Islam while it is void of Quranic verses and proofs for its view, the reader should be immediately and rightfully suspicious of such a book and the positions propagated in it. 7 1430 2009 A GUIDE FOR THE NEW MUSLIM the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and within the Quran itself ordered the Muslims to follow his example and to obey his commands.3 His way of life is known as the Sunnah and has been captured in what is known as the hadith literature. Therefore, the guidance of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as contained in the authentic hadith4 literature will also be heavily relied upon. The Quran and Sunnah, therefore, form the ultimate sources of one’s understanding of Islam. Any other source must be secondary to these sources and subject to their overall approval. In other words, if something is contrary to the Quran and Sunnah, it cannot justifiably be considered part of Islam. Furthermore, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) raised up a generation under this guidance and direction. Although his Companions were simply humans—and as such had, to some extent, human faults—their overall understanding and application of Islam was approved by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) himself. Thus, their overall way will be treated here as the proper and correct way of understanding Islam. Finally, the author has benefited from the works of many who have written about Islam, including the leading scholars throughout the history of Islam as well as many others who have also written introductory works. Reference to such authors or works will be made throughout this book. 3 The authority and status of the Sunnah—the example and teachings of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)—has been affirmed in more than forty places in the Quran. For more on this point, see this author’s The Authority and Importance of the Sunnah (Denver, CO: AlBasheer Company for Publica ons and Transla ons, 2000) 4 The hadith are the reports of the Prophet’s actions and statements. The evaluation of hadith is very precise and scientific, allowing the scholars throughout the ages to sift the authentic reports from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) from the inauthentic reports. 8 1430 2009 A GUIDE FOR THE NEW MUSLIM The Religion of Islam The Meaning of the Word “Islam” The word “Islam” is the verbal noun of the verb aslama. This verb is defined as, “He resigned or submitted himself.” When used with respect to God, it means, “He became submissive to God.”5 Thus, Islam is about an individual recognizing who his Lord is and recognizing that his attitude toward his Lord and Creator should be one of submission and worship. In other words, Islam is not simply about the recognition of the Oneness of God or the fact that the Creator exists, for example. Islam is about something much greater than that. It is about the conscious decision made by the individual to worship and submit to the one and only God. Thus, as Nomani wrote, Literally, Islam denotes self-surrender or to give oneself up to someone and accept his overlordship in the fullest sense of the term. The religion sent down by God and brought into the world by His Apostles has been called Islam for the simple reason that, in it, the bondsman yields completely to the power and control of the Lord and makes the rendering of whole-hearted obedience to Him the cardinal principle of his life. This is the sum and substance of the Islamic creed.6 Perhaps it should be noted that the word “Islam” does not mean “peace.” It is true that the Arabic word for “peace” (salaam) comes from the same root as the word Islam. It is also very true that true peace—both internally and externally—can only be the result of the correct implementation of Islam. At the same time, though, it should be very clear in the minds of every Muslim that his religion being Islam represents his commitment and devotion to worshipping and submitting to Allah alone. This should become the essence of what the individual Muslim is all about. 5 E. W. Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon (Cambridge, England: The Islamic Texts Society, 1984), vol.1, p. 1413. 6 Mohammad Manzoor Nomani, Meaning and Message of the Traditions (Lucknow, India: Academy of Islamic Research and Publica ons, 1975), vol. 1, p. 54. 9 1430 2009 A GUIDE FOR THE NEW MUSLIM Before discussing the relationship between Islam and the other religions, it is important to recognize a more specific usage for the word “Islam” as a religion. Islam, as stated above, implies the complete submission to the one and only true God. Thus, anyone who is truly submitting himself to God—according to what has been revealed from God and not simply according to his own whims or imagination—is a Muslim. In this sense, the religion of all of the prophets of God was Islam and they were all Muslims. Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, for example, were all Muslims and their religion was Islam, the true and sincere submission to God. Thus, Allah says in the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), “The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah - that which We have sent by inspiration to you - and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus” (42:13). The following important passage from the Quran highlights the fact that Abraham, for example, was a true servant and worshipper of Allah alone. In other words, he was a Muslim. He was not a Jew or a Christian. His true followers were Muslims. The true followers of Moses and Jesus were also Muslims. Allah says, And (remember) when Abraham and (his son) Ishmael were raising the foundations of the House [in Makkah], (saying), “Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily! You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knower. Our Lord! And make us submissive [Muslims] unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive [Muslims] unto You, and show us our ceremonies of pilgrimage, and accept our repentance. Truly, You are the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful. Our Lord! Send amongst them7 a Messenger of their own, who shall recite unto them Your Verses and instruct them in the Book and Wisdom, and purify them. Verily! You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. And who turns away from the religion of Abraham except him who befools himself? Truly, We chose him in this world and verily, in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous. When his Lord said to him, “Submit (i.e. be a Muslim)!” He said, “I have submitted myself (as a Muslim) to the Lord of the 7 The descendants of Ishmael. Ishmael was the son of Abraham and Muhammad was a descendant of Ishmael. 10 1430 2009 A GUIDE FOR THE NEW MUSLIM worlds.” And this (submission to Allah, Islam) was enjoined by Abraham upon his sons and by Jacob, (saying), “O my sons! Allah has chosen for you the (true) religion, then die not except as Muslims.” Or were you witnesses when death approached Jacob? When he said unto his sons, “What will you worship after me?” They said, “We shall worship your God, the God of your fathers, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, One God, and to Him we submit (in Islam). That was a nation who has passed away. They shall receive the reward of what they earned and you of what you earn. And you will not be asked of what they used to do. And they say, “Be Jews or Christians, then you will be guided.” Say (to them, O Muhammad), “Nay, (we follow) only the religion of Abraham, of pure monotheism, and he was not of those who worshipped others along with Allah.” Proclaim (O Muslims), “We believe in Allah and that which has been sent down to us and that which has been sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and to the twelve sons of Jacob, and that which has been given to Moses and Jesus, and that which has been given to the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we have submitted (in Islam).” So if they believe in the like of that which you believe, then they are rightly guided, but if they turn away, then they are only in opposition. So Allah will suffice you against them. And He is the All- Hearer, the AllKnower. [Our religion is] the Religion of Allah and which religion can be better than Allah’s? And we are His worshippers. Say [O Muhammad to the Jews and Christians], “Dispute you with us about Allah while He is our Lord and your Lord? And we are to be rewarded for our deeds and you for your deeds. And we are sincere to Him in worship and obedience. Or do you say that Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the twelve sons of Jacob were Jews or Christians? Say, “Do you know better or does Allah [know better that they all were Muslims]? And who is more unjust than he who conceals the testimony he has from Allah? And Allah is not unaware of what you do.” That was a nation who has passed away. They shall receive the reward of what they earned, and you of what you earn. And you will not be asked of what they used to do. (2:127-141). 11 1430 2009 A GUIDE FOR THE NEW MUSLIM In fact, as this passage demonstrates, Islam was the religion of all of their followers as well. In other words, every true believer from the time of Adam to the last believer on earth practices Islam and is a Muslim. Furthermore, it is the only religion that Allah ever commanded humankind to follow. Islam, therefore, is the only religion that has ever been acceptable to Allah. Allah says, “Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam (submission to Him)” (3:19). Allah also says, “And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers” (3:85). Thus, the brotherhood of Islam and the bond of true faith stretches all the way from Adam until the end of time, spanning all localities and peoples. The true believers love one another and support one another. It is truly a blessed and unique brotherhood. In particular, the true Muslims throughout all the ages believe in all of the prophets. They support all of them and defend their honor as well. One would never hear a pious Muslim ever speak badly about Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Jesus or any of the prophets. Instead, the Muslim respects, honors and loves them all in the manner they deserve. Islam: The Religion of the Prophet Muhammad After the coming of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), there is a further distinction that needs to be made concerning the religion of “Islam.” Before the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), one could say that there were many “Islams.” That is, each people had their prophets, followed their teachings and were on the path of Islam. At the same time, if a new prophet in the same line of prophets came to them, they had no choice but to follow that new prophet. The one who would refuse to accept Allah’s later prophet is not truly submitting to Allah. If he is not truly submitting to Allah, then he is not a “Muslim.” 12 1430 2009 A GUIDE FOR THE NEW MUSLIM There are two very important points that demonstrate the relationship between the way of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the way of the true prophets before him. First, the way of the Prophet Muhammad abrogates the previous laws. Second, by the wisdom of Allah, Allah did not allow the teachings of the previous prophets to remain preserved in a completely undistorted manner. Allah says, “And We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) the Book in truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it and a witness over it (old Scriptures). So judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging away from the truth that has come to you” (5:48). This verse demonstrates that the Quran has been revealed i...
View Full Document

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture