OPEN DAYS NEWSLETTER (CONTINUED)
The Prophet (pbuh) said, "The best house among the Muslims is the house in which orphans are well treated. The worst house among the Muslims is the house in which orphans are ill treated. I and the guardian of the orphan will be in the Garden like that," indicating his two fingers. Al Adab al Mufrad
With regards to neighbours, they also have the right to protection from inconveniences and harm. If the neighbour is poor and hungry, it becomes a duty to help him in whatever way you can. Islam teaches that the neighbour of a Muslim should never go to sleep hungry due to poverty.
The Prophet (pbuh) said, "He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him be kind to his neighbour…” (Related by Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad and others)
Respect for People of the book
The ‘People of the Book’ were given a special place and status in Islam. They were the recipients of previous scriptures through the great spiritual teachers - prophets - such as Jesus, Moses, David, Abraham and many more (pbut).
"...and nearest among them in love to the believers will you find those who say, 'We are Christians,' because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant" (HQ5:82).
They all were united in their worship of the one true God of all Mankind who was known as Allah (or some variation of this name in the Semitic languages).
The ‘People of the Book’ were allowed to follow their religion and their places of worship were protected from all hostile elements of society.
Respect for Parents & Teachers
Parents are given a very high status in Islam and it is considered a major sin if parents are disobeyed by the child, as long as the command does not go against the teachings of Islam.
It’s an act of piety and spiritual blessing if the child looks after his parents in old age just as they had looked after him in his youth.
Even looking at your parents with love merits great reward and leads to the path of piety.
Your Sustainer has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life-time, do not say to them a word of contempt nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour and, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility and say: My Sustainer! Bestow on them Your mercy, even as they cherished me in childhood. (Holy Qur’an17:23-24)
The pursuit of knowledge is an essential part of Islam. In fact, it is the sacred duty incumbent upon every Muslim to seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave. The high regard for seeking knowledge brings a person closer to Allah. This is clear in a statement of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)...
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said that "Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every believer.” [Ibn Majah]
The teacher has the immense honour and responsibility to pass knowledge and is thus given a high status. The student looks at and treats his teachers with utmost respect and humility. Our main teacher was Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Muslims love and respect him greatly.
It is because of this love and respect that Muslims are extremely hurt when nasty lies and mockery is made of this great messenger of Allah. All prophets are held in high esteem and a Muslim will never mock or disrespect these teachers of righteousness.
Respect for Women
This is probably one of the biggest myths that needs to be addressed. Even today, Muslim women are considered oppressed by the non-Muslim onlooker. The headscarf or Hijab has become a symbol of oppression to them whilst it is a symbol of liberation and freedom to Muslim women.
The Hijab is a form of piety which has been practiced by many civilizations including Judaism and Christianity. In Islam, it is also a form of piety and the Muslim women who wish to adopt this are respected by all quarters of Muslim society.
On this open day, there are many leaflets and other literature dedicated to this topic. It’s worth reading through this literature and speaking to the Muslims to get a deeper understanding of this issue.
The Prophet (pbuh) encouraged all Muslims to look after and treat their women folk with the utmost kindness and respect. Islam made it a part of faith for this equality and kindness to be practiced.
The Prophet (pbuh) addressed the believers and said:
'God enjoins you to treat women well for they are your mothers, daughters and aunts. The most perfect Muslim is he whose disposition is best and the best of you are they who behave best with their wives'.
Before the advent of Islam, women were ignored by society; daughters were despised and buried alive after birth; women were not allowed to earn nor own property; women could not inherit and had no say in social and spiritual matters. Islam came and removed all social injustices prevalent in the pre-Islamic society.
Women were raised to a status that even many of today’s cultures are struggling to meet. This liberation took place 1400 years ago.
"He placed woman on the same footing as man in legal processes and in financial independence; she might follow any legitimate profession, keep her earnings, inherit property and dispose of her belongings at will. He abolished the Arab custom of transmitting women as property from father to son. Women were to inherit half as much as the male heirs and were not to be disposed of against their will." (WILL DURANT - THE AGE OF FAITH)
Respect for Children
The family unit is the most fundamental building block of society. The responsibility of providing for the family falls on the shoulders of the father and to provide a loving and supporting environment for the child's upbringing is primarily with the mother.
The child has a right to be treated with fairness, even when there are more than one sibling. The child has a right to a good education which includes social etiquettes and manners. Children are a "trust" from God so have to be cherished, respected, loved and safeguarded by the parents and society as a whole.
The Qur’an provides guidelines and advice for parents. There are also many examples from the life of the Prophet (pbuh).
The Prophet (pbuh) said:”A father gives his child nothing better than good manners". Miskaat
Islam encourages Muslims to embrace other cultures and languages. Muslims were renowned for welcoming others into their communities from all backgrounds and races. Islam naturally produced multi-cultural and multi-ethnic societies throughout the world.
"...It possesses a magnificent tradition of inter-racial understanding and co-operation. No other society has such a record of success in uniting in an equality of status, of opportunity and of endeavours so many and so various races of mankind.... Islam still has the power to reconcile apparently irreconcilable elements of race and tradition." (H.A.R.GIBB. WHITER ISLAM)
Great centres of learning were opened by Muslims all over the world with renowned scholars of all nationalities. These scholars have been studied and respected for generations. For example, Imam Bukhari from Uzbekistan who compiled the greatest collection of Hadith, Sheikh Uthman dan Fodio who made huge efforts against slavery in Africa.
Great institutions were setup such as a welfare system; postal service; judicial and educational systems and hospitals with separate medical, surgical and pediatric service. These were instituted from around 1400 years ago.
Brotherhood and Unity
Allah has created all mankind as equals. Often a person can be misled by considering himself better than another because of social status, wealth, power, race or colour of skin.
All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over a white - except by piety and good action. (The last sermon of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh))
Many times Allah has stressed this equality of mankind. The Prophet (pbuh) taught the Muslims that the whole world is one community—one brotherhood—and there is no superiority by virtue of race; only by virtue of piety (taqwa).
"O Mankind, We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is he who is the most righteous of you" (Qur’an 49:13)
Islam eradicates all forms of racism and discrimination from the life of a believer. ‘Spiritual illnesses’ such as pride and arrogance are also detested in Islam. These are destructive forces which create unrest and unjust behavior within society. It leads that person astray from goodness and piety.
Shaytan (Satan) displayed these qualities when he was commanded by Allah to bow down to Adam. He refused Allah’s command claiming that he was superior than Adam because Adam was made from clay and he was created from smokeless fire.
This caused Shaytan to be expelled from paradise and he become an open enemy to the ‘Children of Adam’. The Qur’an has warned us not to follow the footsteps of Shaytan and instead tread the path of righteousness.
The Prophet said: Whoever has pride in his heart equal to the weight of an atom shall not enter Paradise. A man inquired about a person who likes to wear beautiful clothes and fine shoes, and he answered: God is beautiful and likes beauty. Then he explained pride which means rejecting the truth because of self-esteem and looking down on other people (Sahih Muslim).
Islam is a path of self renewal and rectification. Muslims pray to Allah and strive to replace all ingratitude and imbalance in their lives with grace and harmony. This is how inner and outer peace is achieved. It’s a life long quest for Muslims and is achieved through inner struggle and deep reflection.
This is just a mere glimpse into the world of Islam. This newsletter provides no more than an introduction to some aspects of the Muslim faith.
This is the annual ‘open day’ of the Islamic centre but in reality every day is an open day. The Islamic Centre is run by volunteers for the whole community. Its services are always available and its doors are always open to everyone.