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RESPECT AND FAVOUR THE ELDERLY
Recognize the status of the elderly and give them due respect. When walking with them, walk slightly behind, to their right. Let them enter and exit first. If you meet them, greet them properly and respectfully. If you discuss something with them, let them speak first, and listen to them attentively and graciously. If the conversation involves debate, you should remain polite, calm, and kind-hearted and you should lower your voice. Never forget to remain respectful.

Let me review with you some of the Prophet’s sayings and traditions that uphold these polite manners. Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that Abdullah bin Sahl made a trip with Mahisa bin Masoud in Zayed to Khaibar. When they were to about to return, Mahisa found Abdullah had been murdered. He went to the Prophet ??? ???? ???? ???? with his older brother, Howaisa and the victim’s brother, Abdul Rahman bin Sahl. Mahisa who witnessed the incident started to talk, but the Prophet ??? ???? ???? ???? said, ‘the elder, the elder.’ At that, Howaisa spoke and then Mahisa.

Another story emphasizes this behaviour further. When he was young, Abdullah bin Omar was at a gathering of the Prophet ??? ???? ???? ???? and his senior companions like Abu Bakr and his father. The Prophet ??? ???? ???? ???? asked his companions, ‘Tell what is the tree that does not shed its leaves and which is like the Muslim.’ The companions started suggesting names of desert trees. Abdullah bin Omar thought it was the date-palm. Since he was the youngest, and seeing Abu Bakr and Omar silent, he shied away and said nothing. The Prophet ??? ???? ???? ???? told his companions: ‘It is the palm tree’. Later, Abdullah told his father that he knew the right answer but shied away. Omar said to his son ‘For you to have said it right then, would have been worth a lot to me.’

Imam Ahmad, Al-Hakim and Al-Tabarani reported that ‘Ubada bin Al-Samit stated that the Messenger of Allah (??? ???? ???? ????) said: ‘Whoever does not respect our elders is not one of us.’ Another version reported: ‘Whoever does not respect our elders, is not compassionate to our youth, and does not give our scholars due honour, he is not one of us.’

This should not be taken to belittle the youth or look down on them. Imam Bukhari reported that Ibn Abbas narrated that Omar was allowing him to attend his court with seniors who attended Badr. Some of them felt uneasy and asked, ‘Why are you permitting him to attend when he is as young as our children?’ Omar replied, ‘He is [knowledgeable] as you well know.’ Another version elaborates that Omar asked the seniors to explain Sura Al-Fatiha and only Abdullah in Abbas explained it correctly. Ibn Abbas said, ‘I thought he asked the question just to demonstrate my knowledge to them.’

THE ELDERLY ARE TO LEAD PRAYERS
The Messenger of Allah (??? ???? ???? ????) taught the youth the manners of companionship and the custom of giving precedence to elders. Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported that the honoured companion Malik bin Al-Hwaireth (RA) said: ‘I was with a youth group that visited the Messenger of Allah ??? ???? ???? ???? inMadina for twenty nights. The Messenger of Allah ??? ???? ???? ???? was very kind and compassionate. He sensed that we might have missed our families back home and he asked us about whom we had left behind. When we informed him, he said: ‘Go back to your families, live with them, teach them Islam and tell them of the good deeds. At the times of prayer, let one of you call the Azan, and have your eldest lead the prayer.’ ‘

The Prophet (??? ???? ???? ????) specified in this particular case that the eldest should lead the prayers since they were equal in their knowledge and learning. Being older in such a case merits leading the prayers. If a person is more knowledgeable, then he should lead the prayer since knowledge is an honor higher than age as could be seen in the Hadiths on this subject.

If the prayers were offered at a house, the host is entitled to lead it. Out of respect, he may request a person who is more knowledgeable, older or more prominent. If the guest declines, the host should not hesitate to lead the prayers. Imam Ahmad reported in his Musnad that Abdullah ibn Masoud visited Abu Musa Al-Ashari. When it was time to pray, Abu Musa asked Ibn Masoud, ‘Please lead the prayers since you are older and have more knowledge.’ Ibn Masoud said, ‘ No, you lead the prayer. This is your house and praying area. You should lead the prayer.’ Abu Musa did lead the prayer then.

WALKING WITH THE ELDERLY
To illustrate this point, I will cite jurist ‘Ali bin Mubarak Al-Karkhi ( -487H), who studied under Imam, Abi Y’ala Al-Hanbali, himself a jurist and judge and the chief Shaikh of the Hanbali School of Law: ‘One day, Judge Abu ‘Yala said to me, while walking with him: ‘If you walked with someone you honour, where would you walk?’ I said: ‘I do not know.’ He said, ‘Walk to his right. Place him at the position of Imam in the prayer. Leave his left side clear in case he needs to spit or to get rid of dirt.’

An interesting story in this regard happened among three Muslim scholars. They were Judge Ahmad bin Omar bin Suriah (249-306 A.H.), Faqih Mohammad bin Dawood Al-Zaheri (255 – 297 A.H. ), and Linguist Naftawih (244-323 A.H.). They were walking along together when they came to a very narrow passageway, and each wanted the other to go ahead. Ibn Suraih said, ‘A narrow street brings ill manners.’ Ibn Dawood responded, ‘Though it points out status.’ Naftawih said, ‘When friendship prevails, formalities disappear.’

The story does not tell who went ahead of the others, but it is likely that it was Ahmad bin Suriah since he was a judge and a prominent Imam at the time and ranked above his two companions. He may have said ‘A narrow street rings ill manners’ apologizing out of politeness for going ahead. He could not have said it if any of the two moved ahead since that would have been impolite. There is a possibility that Naftawih went ahead since his words could be an apology for doing that since he is the least ranked. It is just wonderful to see such perfect behaviour and nice apologies.

THE ELDERLY ARE TO BE SERVED FIRST
Give precedence to the elderly or to dignitaries, ahead of anyone else. After that, you may proceed with those on their right if you want to follow the practice of the Prophet (??? ???? ???? ????). The evidence supporting this manner in addition to the two Hadiths mentioned above, is illustrated in many Hadiths, some of which are cited below:

Imam Muslim reported in his Sahih in the Chapter on the Manners and Rules of Eating and Drinking, that Huzaifa bin Al-Yaman (RA) said: ‘Whenever we were invited to a meal with the Messenger of Allah (??? ???? ???? ????), we would not reach the food with our hands before he reached for it.’

To emphasize the importance of these manners, Imam Al-Nawawi, in his book Riyad Al-Salihîn, cited a large collection of Hadith and devoted a whole chapter to the subject of ‘Respecting Scholars, the Elderly and the Dignitaries. Giving them Precedence and the Best Seat. Acknowledging their Preeminence.’ In the following paragraphs, I will reiterate some of these.

Allah said in the Quran: ‘Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know? It is those who possess understanding that receive admonition.’

Imam Muslim reported that ‘Uqba bin ‘Amr Al-Badri Al-Ansari (RA) stated that the Prophet (??? ???? ???? ????) said: ‘Those who are best at reciting the Quran should lead a group’s prayer. If they are equal, then those most versed in the Sunna should lead; if they are equal, then a person who migrated first [from Makka to Madina] should lead; if they had migrated at the same time, then an elder should lead.’

Imam Muslim reported that Ibn Mas’od said that the Prophet (??? ???? ???? ????) said: ‘Let your wise and mature pray immediately behind me, then those who trail behind them, and then those who trail behind them.’

Imam Al-Bukhari reported that Jabir bin Abdullah (RA) said: ‘After the battle of Uhud, the Prophet (??? ???? ???? ????) buried two martyrs in one grave. He asked, ‘which one memorized more of the Quran? ‘Upon being told which it was, he laid him first facing Qibla.’

In addition, Muslim reported that Abduallah bin Omar (RA) stated that the Prophet (??? ???? ???? ????) said: ‘I dreamt I was brushing my teeth with Sewak when two men approached me. I handed the Sewak to the younger but was instructed to hand it to the older. Accordingly, I handed it to the older.’

Imam Abu Dawood reported as a fair Hadith that Abu Müsa Al-Ash’ari (RA) stated that the Prophet (??? ???? ???? ????) said: ‘Part of paying homage to Allah is to respect an elder whose hair has turned gray, or a [regular] reader of the Quran, or a just ruler.’

This desired behaviour towards elders is so important that the Prophet ??? ???? ???? ???? made it a part of respecting and venerating Allah. To ignore it is a gross misbehaviour. At its forefront comes respect and reverence of the just ruler. A revered poet enumerated a group of rules and stipulated that whoever broke these rules should be slapped on the neck. The eight rules are:

Disrespecting a grand ruler
Entering a house without being invited to do so.
Giving orders/directions at another’s house.
Taking an undeserved seat of honour.
Insisting on discussing a topic with others.
Interrupting two others.
Asking charity from a person of low character.
Seeking a favour from an enemy.

Abu Dawood and Al-Hakim reported as an authentic Hadith that Maimün bin Abi Shabîb recounted that a beggar stopped the Prophet’s wife Aisha (RA) and she gave him a piece
of dry bread. At another time, a properly-dressed, well-groomed man asked her for food. She let him sit and offered him a meal. When asked about that, she replied that the Prophet (??? ???? ???? ????) said: ‘Treat people according to their status.’

Imam Al-Nawawi concluded this chapter by citing a Hadith as reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim in which Samura bin Jundub (RA) said: ‘Though I was a young child at the time of the Prophet, I used to listen to what he said and memorize it. Nothing prevents me from narrating my knowledge except the presence of men older than me.’

In conclusion, the Sunnah is to start according to the following order of merits: age, knowledge, social status, lineage, veterans of Jihad, generosity or similar virtues. Further, the Sunnah of hospitality, is to start with the most prominent, then to move to those on the right in order to harmonize the custom of starting on the right with the custom of starting with people of virtue.

Some people who misunderstand the real meaning of some texts of the Sunnah claim that the Sunnah is to start with those on your right whoever they are. They base this on Hadiths that stress starting from the right. But this is only true when the group is in all ways equal in character, status or age. However, if one of them is distinguished with a merit such as old age, then the Sunnah is to start with this person.

In his book Al-Bayan wa Tahsîl Imam Ibn Rushd said: ‘As a rule, if the status of those present is equal, one should start on the right, as with every desirable act. However, if a scholar, an honourable person or an elder is present, the Sunnah is to start with such a person and then move to his or her right in a counter clockwise fashion. The Messenger of Allah was offered milk mixed with water while a Bedouin was sitting on his right, and to his left, was sitting Abu Bakr. The Prophet drank some and handed it over to the Bedouin saying, ‘From the right, then to the right.’

Do not proceed to the left in an anti-clockwise fashion, even if the person to the left is of a higher status, unless those on the right agree to pass their turn. The Messenger (??? ???? ???? ????) was sitting with elders on his left and a young man on his right. He was brought a drink. After drinking, he asked the young man: ‘Would you give me the permission to pass it to those? The boy answered: ‘By Allah no. I would not favour anyone with my share of your drink.’ The Prophet willingly put the drink in the child hand indicating that it is his right.

The Indian scholar, Al-Mubarkfuri, in his treatise on explaining Jami` Al-Tirmizielaborated on this. When commenting on the Hadith, ‘the server should be the last one to drink,’ Al-Mubarkfuri said, ‘This indicates that the server should delay his drink until all the guests are served. The same applies when fruits are being served. The most notable should be served first, and then those of the right until everyone is served.’

Al-Minawi in his explanation of Sharh Al-Shamail commented on the previous Hadith of Ibn Abbas: ‘This implies that the Sunna is to continue serving drinks and food with those on the right of the most noble person even if that person happened to be less important than the person on the left.’

A Hadith in Sahih Muslim reinforces this rule of serving the elder or the most noble first, and then those on his right. Abdullah bin Bosur said, ‘The Prophet visited my father and we served him with food made of dates and butter. Then he was brought dates, and he ate it and threw the pit using his middle and forefingers. Then he was brought a drink from which he drank and passed it to his right.’

The words ‘he was brought a drink’ clearly indicates that he was served first before those on his right since he was the noblest person present, and that then he passed it to those on his right. It indicates that they started with the Prophet out of respect and not because he asked for a drink. The preceding words ‘he was brought dates’ reinforces this understanding. It is very unlikely that the Prophet, while a guest, will ask his host for food and then for drink. It could be argued that this is a possibility. Indeed, it is a hypothetical possibility that lacks evidence or probability.

An important aspect of proper manners is that some people extend help and hospitality to strangers out of faith and pure humanity. If it becomes known that the person needing help has additional virtues such as being a scholar or notable person, they will go an extra step in their generosity and providing help. This is undoubtedly evidence of right instinct and faith which motivated such gestures.

Therefore, the general rule is to start from the right if those present are equal in merit. However, if there is a person who is well-known for a respectable trait, then start with that person.

If we were to follow the alleged rule that hosts ought to start with the person who happened to be on their right, then we could start with a young child, a servant, a driver, or a guard, at the expense of more prominent guests such as a dignitary, a revered scholar, a notable, a parent, a grandparent, or an uncle. Would it be acceptable by the Shari’a and its refined manners to forsake honouring and starting with persons of character, in favour of starting with a child, a servant, a driver and then proceed to persons of higher status? Also, it is possible that the ten persons or more are sitting on the right side before the most honourable person. To reach them at the end does not befit their status and may offend them. Islamic manners definitely do not accept this irregular conduct.

However, if someone asks for a drink, they have the right to the request before anybody else regardless of age or status, and the round should proceed with those on their right. If this person notices someone older or of higher status showing desire for the drink, he, or she may willingly give up his, or her right in favour of that person. When preferring others to yourself, you have practiced the Islamic manner of unselfishness, and you will achieve great virtue, and honour and gain great rewards.

To respect, obey and give precedence to the elderly is an old and established Arab custom. Here I would like to quote in full the advice of Qais bin Asem AL-Tamimi, a great companion. On his death bed, Qais advised his children to make their elders/seniors their leaders from whom they will also receive valuable advice and wisdom all revolving around Islamic behaviour.

Qais bin Asem Al-Minqeri Al-Tamimi was one of the leaders of Tamim. Famous for his eloquent speeches, the Prophet gave him the title ‘Master of the desert dwellers.’ He was a wise and mild-mannered person. On the 9th year of Al-Hijra, he came to visit the
Prophet ??? ???? ???? ???? in Medina with a delegation of his tribe Bani Tamim. When the Prophet ??? ???? ???? ???? saw him he said ‘This is the master of the desert dwellers.’ He spent his last years in Basra where he died in the 20th year of Al-Hijra.

He was very patient and lenient. Ahnaf bin Qais, a famous Arab sage, was asked, ‘Who taught you patience and leniency?’ He answered, ‘Qais bin Asem Al-Minqeri. Once I saw him sitting in his courtyard talking to his guests and his tribe. A man tied-up in ropes and a deadbody were brought to him. He was told, ‘This is your nephew. He killed your son.’ Qais bin Asem remained calm and continued his conversation until he was finished. Then turning to his nephew, he said to him: ‘You have done the worst. You have sinned toward your Lord, you harmed your relative, and murdered your cousin. You killed yourself and weakened your tribe.’ He called another son and said to him, ‘My son, go to your cousin and untie him, go to your brother and bury him, and go to his mother and give her a hundred camels to compensate her for the loss of her son.’

Al-Hasan Al-Basri who met him and studied at his hand said that when Qais bin Asem was dying, he called his thirty-three children, and advised them as follows:

‘Oh my sons, fear Allah and remember what I will say, for no one will give you more sincere advice. When I die, make your seniors your leaders. Do not make your juniors your leaders for if you promote your seniors you will maintain your father’s memory. Do not make your juniors your leaders for if you do so people will not only disrespect your seniors, but will look down at you. Do not wail on my death for I heard the Prophet forbidding wailing. Look after your wealth for it enlightens the generous and obviates the need to be mean. Do not beg people for that is the worst of wealth. Avoid bad traits which may please you once, but displease you many times.”

Qais then called for his quiver, and asked his eldest son, Ali, to take out an arrow. He then asked him to break it which he did. He then asked him to break two arrows and this he did. He then asked his son to bundle thirty arrows with a tie and break them all, but his son could not. He said, ‘My sons, you will be strong if united and weak if separated.’ Then he composed the following poem:

Glory is what the truthful father built and which was maintained by the children.
Glory, bravery and leniency are best adorned with chastity and generosity
Thirty you are, my sons, in face of calamities and trouble
You are like thirty arrows bundled in a strong tie
It will not be broken, but once separated will be easily broken
Your elders, your best mannered, should be your leaders
Your young should be protected and nurtured until your youngest matures.

from the book ISLAMIC MANNERS
By Shaykh Abdul-Fattaah Abu Ghuddah (RA)

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Distinct Muslim Personality

Islam advocates this etiquette and stresses it so as to perfect the Muslimpersonality and to bring about harmony among people. There is no doubt that embodying such manners and virtues enhances personal style and qualities, refines personality and brings us closer to the hearts and minds of others. The forthcoming manners and etiquette are central to Islam, its purposes and its aims. Calling it ‘etiquette’ by no means implies that it is marginal to life and social behaviour. It does not mean Muslims have the option of ignoring this code of behaviour, or that it is merely preferable to adhere to it.

In pointing out that manners rank higher than deeds, Imam Al-Qar'fi in his book Al-Furw’q said, ‘Learn that a little etiquette is better than a lot of good actions.’ Rw’aim, the righteous scholar, told his son, ‘Oh my son, make your deeds salt, and your manners flour.’ Many good manners with few good deeds are better than many good
deeds with few good manners. Even if some of these rules appear to be simple common courtesy, it is important to highlight their significance. Many Muslims commit errors which blemish the Islamic personality, whose purpose is meant to be unique in its beauty, perfection and traits. Our master, the Messenger of Allah (??? ???? ???? ????) directed the blessed companions by saying: ‘You are on your way to meet your brothers, put on a nice dress and fix your riding so you appear distinct among people as a fleck [on a beautiful face]. Allah does not like roughness nor rough manners.’

When the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: ‘No one will enter Paradise if they have at heart a grain of arrogance.’ A man asked: ‘A man may like his dress to be nice and his shoes nice.’ The Prophet answered ‘Allah is beautiful and likes beauty. Arrogance is to deny rights and look down at people.’

Shaikh Ibn Taimia said that the beauty that Allah likes include nice clothes. Hence it could be said that Allah likes all nice things. Therefore, a Muslim ought to be recognized by neat dress, cleanliness and graceful appearance.

CLEANLINESS AND WASHING

The Sunna is to keep perfume and to use it regularly on oneself. Al-Bukhari narrated that Salman Al-Farsi said: the Prophet, peace be upon him, said ‘Allah will forgive the sins of the past week for he who on Friday will take a bath, cleanse himself, put on his [regular] perfume or any perfume available in house. Then, he goes out [to Jumu'ah prayer] and does not try to separate two friends. Then he prays wherever he could and listens to the Imam.’ If the body became odorous a day or two before Friday, one should not wait till Friday to cleanse the body. We should wash our bodies as soon as it require washing to keep ourselves clean and fresh.

To take a bath on Friday is specifically required since a large number of people will be gathering at mosques. However, if our body became dirty or we sweat on a particular day, then, we should take a bath at the end of day or the next morning. This is indicated by a Hadith narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim that Abu Huraira said, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: ‘It is the duty of every Muslim to have a bath once every week to wash his head and body.’ Another Hadith

ARRIVING FROM A JOURNEY

If you are traveling to visit someone or if you are about to receive guests, whether those in question are your parents, relatives, peers, or friends of a different age, make sure that your hands, feet, and socks are clean, and your appearance and clothing is neat. Never neglect or underestimate the importance of your look, for that would certainly mar the pleasure of the meeting, while dulling the enjoyment of those you meet. In this regard, the Prophet directed his companions upon returning from a journey: ‘You are returning to your brethren, dress nicely, and sort out your rides so that you may become a beauty mark among people, for Allah does not like sloppiness or acting in a sloppy way.’

Try to bring some gifts to those receiving you, and likewise present your guests with a present. Always be prepared to reciprocate with a suitable gift. The subtle joy of seeing your beloved ones will be vividly remembered for many years. A gift, however symbolic, will greatly enhance the pleasure of such a meeting. The Prophet (??? ???? ???? ????), as reported by Bukhary, said: ‘Exchange gifts; exchange love.’ Our Muslim predecessors used to leave their host with a present which could be as symbolic as an Arak stick.

DRESS PROPERLY WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS

Dress properly, even among friends and relatives. Dress properly when visiting your parents, a pious person, an elder, or even a relative or a friend. Your attire should be clean and elegant, not ugly or unsightly. We are attracted or repulsed by what we see. If you look good in clean clothes, smelling nice, you will be pleasant to look at and people will be attracted to you and enjoy your presence. If you were the opposite, people will look down on you even if you were a relative or friend. To look good while visiting or being visited is an instinctive trait in addition to being an Islamic manner. Do not ignore this aspect because you consider yourself to be close to your hosts or guests.

Imam Bukhari in his book, ‘Al-Adab Al-Mufrad’ reported that the great follower Abi Al-Alia Al-Riahi Al-Basri said, ‘Muslims were at their best when visiting each other.’ Al-Hafez Al-Haithami in ‘Majma Al-Zawaed’ (1:169) reported that Thabet Al-Banani, the student of Imam Anas bin Malik said, ‘When I used to visit Anas, he would call for a perfume and run it along his cheeks.’ Accordingly, if you were visited at home while dressed very casually, as it sometimes happens, you should change for your visitor. This will enhance his respect for you and will complement your hospitality. It is, after all, the manners of the early Muslims.

from the book ISLAMIC MANNERS
By Shaykh Abdul-Fattaah Abu Ghuddah (RA)

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MANNERS WITH PARENTS:

Observe complete respect and reverence to your father and mother, for they are the most worthy of your consideration. Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported that a man asked the Prophet (PBUH): Oh Messenger of Allah, who is the most worthy of my best conduct?’ He answered: ‘Your mother! Your mother! Your mother! Then your father, then the next, and the next.’

Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad and Abdul Razzaq in his Musanaf (the wording is his) reported that Hisham bin ‘Urwa recounted that his father told him that Abu Hurairah (RA) saw a man walking ahead of another. He asked him: ‘How is this man related to you?’ ‘He is my Father,’ the man answered. Abu Hurairah told him: ‘Do not walk ahead of him, do not sit until he sits, and do not call him by his name.’

According to Ibn Wahab, a student of Imam Malik bin Anas named Imam ‘Abdul Rahman bin Al-Qasim Al-’Utaqi Al-Masri (132-191 AH), said: ‘While Imam Malik was reading Al-Muwata^ to me he suddenly stood up for a long while, then he sat again. He was asked why, and he answered: ‘My mother came down asking me something. Since she was standing I stood up respectfully, when she went, I sat back down.’

The revered follower Tawoos bin Kisan said: ‘It is part of the Sunnah to respect four persons: a scholar, an elder, a leader, and a father. It is considered rude that a man call his father by his name.’ At the end of his book of Malkite Fiqh Al-Kafi, Imam Bin ‘Abdul Al-Barr said:

‘Kindness to the parents is an obligatory, duty and by the grace of Allah it is an easy matter. Kindness means to be humble with them, to speak to them nicely, to look at them with love and respect, to speak in a mild tone that does not surpass theirs unless they are hard of hearing, to give them complete access to your own wealth, and to offer them the best of your food and drink.

Children should not walk ahead of their parents, nor speak ahead of them in matters that they know are their father’s. Children should wholeheartedly avoid upsetting their parents and should seek their pleasure as much as possible. Making your parent’s life enjoyable is one of the most virtuous acts.

Children must hasten to respond to their parents’ call. If a child is praying voluntarily, he/she should shorten the prayer and respond promptly. Children should express only good words.

In return, it is the parents’ duty to make it easier for their children to be kind to them by being kind and generous to their children, but without Allah’s help people cannot become obedient, nor can they perform his commands.’

You may encounter various difficulties while serving your mother and father, but do not forget that their rights are multiples of these difficulties. For this Aallah said in the Qur’an ‘Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to the parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in the life, say not 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 Lord bestow mercy on them as they cherished me in childhood.” The Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘No child will compensate a parent unless he finds him or her a slave and he frees them.’

Keep in mind that everyone likes to be the best in status, prestige and popularity, and hates to see someone better than himself or herself. Only your parents would wish that you become better than what they are. How should you treat those who prefer you to themselves and wish you better.

Tell Your Family your Whereabouts
If you leave home to go to a place other than your usual work, it is advisable to inform your family where you are going. This information is very useful to have their mind at ease knowing where you are. The great follower, Qatada bin Di’ama Al-Sadousi disapproved of someone going somewhere without telling their family their whereabouts. Imam Ahmad reported that Qatada narrated that he went with Abo Ma’shar to visit Al-Sha’bi. His family said he was not home. Qatada asked, ‘Where did he go?’ His family said, ‘We do not know.’ Qatada then said, ‘You mean he does not tell you where he goes?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ Telling your family where you are lessens their worries besides putting you and them at ease if you were late since they know where you are.

RESPECT THE POOR
If you come across a poor person at a gathering or you were visited by a poor person at home or at work, do not look down upon him or her because you consider them poor. Poverty is not a defect or a fault to be ashamed of, while lack of kindness and generosity is.

Treat poor companions or guests with honour and respect. Be pleasant while talking to them, using the best of language. Again, poverty is not a vice. Many of the poor are more honourable than the wealthy, and many who are penniless are preferred to the rich.

DEALING WITH NON-MUSLIMS
If your neighbours happen to be non-Muslim you must not forget Islamic manners in dealing with neighbours. The recommendation of Islam for good relationship with neighbours is for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

You as a Muslim should demonstrate to all people the goodness of Islam with your gentle manners and kind behaviour. Bukhary and Muslim reported the Hadith of Anas ‘No one is a believer if he do not like for his brother what he likes for himself.’ The report of Muslim said ‘ till he loves for his brother, or neighbour, as he likes for himself’. The scholars said that the word ‘brother’ here is said in the most common context and thus the means brothers in humanity including Muslims and non-Muslims. A Muslim would love for his non-Muslim brother, as he loves for himself, to become a Muslim to enjoy the benefits of Islam and the rewards of Allah.

A Muslim would do very well when he prays for the guidance of his non-Muslim brothers as he likes for his Muslim brothers to remain Muslim and to continue their devotion and adherence to Islam. In Sura Al-Mumtahana, Allah said ‘Allah forbid you not, with regard to those who did not fight you for your faith nor drive you out of your homes, to deal kindly and justly with them: For Allah loves those who are just. Allah only forbids you with regard to those who fought you for your faith and drove you out of your homes and support others in driving you out, for turning to them for friendship and alliance. Those of you who do that are doing wrong.’

There is nothing to prevent us from being kind, generous and helpful to non-Muslims as long as they do not demonstrate verbal or tangible animosity towards Islam. Hopefully, this will remove barriers to introduce them to join Islam and Muslims.

This positive attitude does not mean going along with non-Muslims and abandoning our distinct personality. It means we must fair, kind and moderate with ourselves and our neighbours in all matters. In interpreting this, Imam Qortubi said: ‘This constitute a consent by Allah to maintain amicable relationship with those who did not antagonize Muslim or attack them. Imam Qortubi cited the opinion of Abdul Rahman bin Zayed who said that this rule was in the beginning of Islam when fighting was not required, but later it was annulled. Imam Qortubi also cited Qatada who said this verse had been annulled by another verse in Sura Al-Tawba (9:5) ‘But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and the slay the pagans wherever you find them..’

After citing these two opinions and other similar ones, Imam Qortubi concluded by saying: The majority of interpreter are said that it is a valid verse that has not been annulled. They cited the story reported by Bukhary and Muslim of Asma’ bint Abi Bakr when she asked the Prophet if could entertain and be kind to her non-Muslim mother who visited her in Madina and the Prophet said ‘Yes.’

It was said that this verse was revealed in this incident. Al-Mauardi and Abo Dawud reported that Amer bin Abdullah bin Al-Zubair narrated that his father told him that before Islam Abu Bakr divorced his wife Qutaila who was the mother of Asma. When the truce was held between the Prophet and the pagans of Quraish, the mother visited her daughter in Madina and brought her an ear-ring and other gifts. Asma was reluctant to accept the gifts before asking the Prophet. In answer to her question Allah revealed this verse. When Allah says ‘to deal kindly and justly with them’ Al-Faraa said that Allah meant those who did not fight you alluding to Khoza tribe who made an agreement with Muslims not to fight them or assist those fighting them. Allah ordered Muslims to be kind and faithful to them as per the terms of the agreement.

Al-Kadi Abu Bakr ibn Al-Arabi said that the expression of qist is not derived from justice but from share, meaning you may give them a portion of your money to maintain cordial relationship. For justice is a duty toward all whether they were friends or foes. Imam Bukhari and Imam Ahmad reported that Anas bin Malik that a Jewish boy used to serve the Prophet, preparing his ablution and to hand him his shoes. The boy became ill. The Prophet went to visit the boy and he was gravely ill with his father sitting at his head. The Prophet invited him to Islam by telling him to say: There is no God but Allah. The boy looked at his father who kept silent. The Prophet repeated his request and the boy looked at his father again who told him ‘Obey Abo Al-Kasim.’ The boy, just before dying, said ‘I bear witness that no God but Allah and that you are His Messenger.’ The Prophet said ‘Thank Allah for enabling me to save him.’

Hafiz Ibn Hajar said that this Hadith indicates many rules; that Muslims are allowed to employ non-Muslims, to visit them while sick. It also directs us to maintain cordiality. It allows the employment of the youth, to offer them Islam if they were mature to make a choice, and to accept their conversion if they embraced Islam.

Hafiz Al-Badr Al-Aini said this Hadith indicted the consent to visit ill non-Muslims especially if they were neighbours since it demonstrated the kindness of Islam and may encourage them to embrace it. The Hadith also allows the employment of non-Muslims and the coridality to them. It also consent employing the youth.

You may console non-Muslims on mourning using appropriate expressions. Imam Al-Kadi Abo Yosuf said, in the end of his book Al-Kharaj, that he asked Abo Hanifa about how to console a Jew or a Christian who lost a child or relative. Abo Hanifa said to say ‘Allah decreed death for all His creations. We ask Allah to make death the best fate to wait for. We all belong to Allah and to Him we all shall return. Be patient and endure this calamity.

Abo Yosuf said we learned that a Christian who used to attend the lectures of Al-Hasan Al-Basri died. Al-Hasan went to console his brother. He said: May Allah reward you for this calamity as He reward your fellows. May Allah bless our death and make it the best fate to wait for. Be patient against the misfortunes. You may say these kind words and remind them of death as the inescapable fate with which we can do nothing about but acceptance and patience.

Imam Ibn A’bdin in his book Rad Al-Muhtar that the Shaf’ee said: You may console Muslims when at the death of a non-Muslim relative. On such occasion you may say: May Allah increase your rewards and patience. You may console non-Muslims on the loss of a Muslim relative. On such occasions you may say: May Allah forgive your deceased and give best condolence.

from the book ISLAMIC MANNERS
By Shaykh Abdul-Fattaah Abu Ghuddah (RA)

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Baihaqi reported on the authority of Salman Al-Farsi (Radhi Allah ‘Anh) that Prophet (‘Alaihi Salat was-Salam) delivered a sermon on the last day of the month of Sha’ban. In it he (‘Alaihi Salat was-Salam) said,

“O People! The month of Allah (Ramadan) has come with its mercies, blessings and forgivenesses. Allah has decreed this month the best of all months. The days of this month are the best among the days and the nights are the best among the nights and the hours during Ramadan are the best among the hours. This is a month in which you have been invited by Him (to fast and pray). Allah has honoured you in it. In every breath you take is a reward of Allah, your sleep is worship, your good deeds are accepted and your invocations are answered.

Therefore, you must invoke your Lord in all earnestness with hearts free from sin and evil, and pray that Allah may help you to keep fast, and to recite the Holy Qur’an. Indeed!, miserable is the o­ne who is deprived of Allah’s forgiveness in this great month. While fasting remember the hunger and thirst o­n the Day of Judgement. Give alms to the poor and needy. Pay respect to your elders, have sympathy for your youngsters and be kind towards your relatives and kinsmen. Guard your tongue against unworthy words, and your eyes from scenes that are not worth seeing (forbidden) and your ears from sounds that should not be heard.

Be kind to orphans so that if your children may become orphans they will also be treated with kindness. Do repent to Allah for your sins and supplicate with raised hands at the times of prayer as these are the best times, during which Allah Almighty looks at His servants with mercy. Allah Answers if they supplicate, Responds if they call, Grants if He is asked, and Accepts if they entreat. O people! you have made your conscience the slave of your desires.

Make it free by invoking Allah for forgiveness. Your back may break from the heavy load of your sins, so prostrate yourself before Allah for long intervals, and make this load lighter. Understand fully that Allah has promised in His Honour and Majesty that, people who perform salat and sajda (prostration) will be guarded from Hell-fire o­n the Day of Judgement.

O people!, if anyone amongst you arranges for iftar (meal at sunset) for any believer, Allah will reward him as if he had freed a slave, and Allah will forgive him his sins. A companion asked: “but not all of us have the means to do so” The Prophet (SAAWS) replied: Keep yourself away from Hell-fire though it may consist of half a date or even some water if you have nothing else.

O people!, anyone who during this month cultivates good manners, will walk over the Sirat (bridge to Paradise) o­n the day when feet will tend to slip. For anyone who during this month eases the workload of his servants, Allah will make easy his accounting, and for anyone who doesn’t hurt others during this month, Allah will safeguard him from His Wrath o­n the Day of Judgement. Anyone who respects and treats an orphan with kindness during this month, Allah shall look at him with kindness o­n that Day. Anyone who treats his kinsmen well during this month, Allah will bestow His Mercy o­n him o­n that Day, while anyone who mistreats his kinsmen during this month, Allah will keep away from His Mercy.

Whomever offers the recommended prayers during this month, Allah will save him from Hell, and whomever observes his obligations during this month, his reward will be seventy times the reward during other months. Whomever repeatedly invokes Allah’s blessings o­n me, Allah will keep his scale of good deeds heavy, while the scales of others will be tending to lightness. Whomever recites during this month an ayat (verse) of the Holy Qur’an, will get the reward of reciting the whole Qur’an in other months.

O people!, the gates of Paradise remain open during this month. Pray to your Lord that they may not be closed for you. While the gates of Hell are closed, pray to your Lord that they never open for you. Satan has been chained, invoke your Lord not to let him dominate you.”

Ali ibn Talib (RAA) said: “I asked, ‘O messenger of Allah, what are the best deeds during this month’?” ‘He replied: ‘O Abu-Hassan, the best of deeds during this month is to be far from what Allah has forbidden’.”

Source: http://www.haqislam.org/prophets-sermon-on-ramadhan/

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By Shaikh M. Ibrahim Memon

The Holy month of Ramadan is a great opportunity for all believers to reestablish their relationship with Almighty Allah . During this month, Allah opens the doors of guidance, mercy, and forgiveness and showers His blessings on mankind. Blessed are those who avail this opportunity and work hard to obtain the pleasure of Allah .

Following are some points to remember that may help us have a better Ramadan:

Sahoor: Rasulullah said, “Allah sends blessings on those who eat Sahoor (meal before Fajr) and the angels pray for them.” (Ibn Habban) We should never miss Sahoor as it is blessed food and a Sunnah of the Prophet .

Salat Al-Taraweeh: Perform twenty raka’ah of Taraweeh every night.

Salat Al-Tahajud: Other than Taraweeh, perform some raka’ah of Tahajud prayer.

Dua: After Tahajud, spend some time making Dua for yourself, your family, the community, and the whole Muslim Ummah. This is extremely needed and very few do it. Every person in the family should engage in Dua and prayers in the darkness of the night and in isolation. Cry before Allah for forgiveness and for all of your needs.

Also wake up your children and teach them how to make Dua to Allah . Teach them how to cry before Allah , for those who do not cry before Allah will have to cry before people like themselves.

Crying and begging to Allah attracts His Mercy. Rasulullah encouraged his followers to cry when making Dua.

Salah in the Masjid: Try your best to perform every Salah in the Masjid with congregation (jama’ah)

Perform the additional following ibadah:

1. Recite Istighfaar 100 times a day (i.e. Astaghfirallah)
2. Send blessing on Rasulullah 100 times a day
3. Tasbeehaat 100 times a day (i.e. Subhanallah Wal-Hamdulillah wala Illaha Illallah Wallahu Akbar)
4. Recite at least one Juz of the Qur’an every day

Avoid all kinds of sins: Rasulullah said, “Many of those who fast get nothing out of it except hunger” (Nasa’ee) Advising his wife, once Rasulullah said, “O Aishah, refrain from even the minor sins because Allah will question you about them also.” (Ibn Majah)

Do not become angry: Avoid all quarrels, fights, and arguments which may lead you to anger.

Use only Halal food bought by Halal earnings. Avoid all doubtful items.
Reduce the amount of:

1. Eating
2. Sleeping
3. Talking

Unfortunately, it is very common in many Masajid to sit and chat after iftaar. This time should be used for Nawafil prayers, recitation of the Holy Qur’an, Tasbeeh, and Dua. Masjid is the House of Allah . It must be given its due respect. Disrespecting the house of Allah is disrespect to Allah .

Raising the voice or talking of worldly matters in the Masjid is forbidden. It is the responsibility of every Muslim to maintain the order, silence, respect, and cleanliness in the Masjid.

May Allah bless and guide all of us.

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As the blessed month of Ramadhan approaches, we need to prepare for it in such a way that we can gain the maximum benefit of this month. For many, Ramadhan comes and goes. However, very few people actually benefit from this great month. Our teachers advise us to live the whole year as if we are in the month of Ramadhan. This magnanimous achievement can only be attained when the actual month of Ramadhan is spent properly. In order to acquire a droplet of the reality mentioned above, Insha Allah, I hope to mention ten points that were given as form of advice to me and many others.

  1. Discipline: Most people already know to abstain from eating, drinking, and sexual relations from one’s spouse during the daytime of Ramadhan. However, a level of discipline must be developed to do righteous acts and abstain from those acts which would earn the displeasure of Allah. That was a basic form of discipline that needs to be developed but along with that, one needs to have discipline in following a particular routine or schedule for Ramadhan. This will be the real life changing factor for an individual. They wake up for suhoor but also pray Tahajjud at that time. Recite some Qur’an. They eat. Make dua’ while waiting for Salah. They pray Fajr. Recite Qur’an and make zikr. Rest if they need to.
    The idea is to make a schedule and act accordingly the whole month without sacrificing their schedule. This is the desired discipline that is required.One may ask, “Why did he not just put the first point as a ‘making a schedule’?” Well, the answer is very simple. Anyone can come up with a schedule, but it takes real discipline to abide by it.
  2. Devotional life (‘Ibadah): Ramadhan is the month where Allah allows us to really fulfill the purpose of our being, and the purpose of our creation. Allah created us all to worship Him, and Him alone. Here, I will not mention virtues of various acts or worship because those can be found in the many books on the merits of certain deeds. However, since Ramadhan and Qur’an are closely connected, I will say that much of our devotional life should be focused on the Qur’an.
    Reciting at least the entire Qur’an once in this month. Understanding it from erudite scholarship of our community or from accepted commentaries and Tafaaseer. I am not asking that a person recites the entire Qur’an and completes one entire commentary of it in one month. Perhaps it may be feasible to recite the entire Qur’an and start off a regimen of a Tafseer and try to finish it on an annual basis.
  3. Identifying with the Ummah: It is important that we feel our fast, i.e. feel hunger and thirst. Apart from that, we can use this to our benefit by making other people’s fast count for us as well. This means that if we feed or give to drink something to someone who fasts, we can get the reward of their fast as well.
    Another aspect of identifying with the Ummah is to be grateful for whatever Allah has given us and realize that a little of that we need to give to others so that they may have a decent Ramadhan and wonderful ‘Eid. See what the Ummah is going through and see how we can actively participate to help the Ummah in any way possible.
  4. Contact with the Qur’an: Ramadhan is the month wherein the Qur’an was revealed. This is the month of the Qur’an. It is extremely essential to establish a relationship with the Qur’an. Without going into much detail, I will just mention something practical with regards to the Qur’an and Ramadhan.
    For the average person, i.e. one who is not scholar or is not a Hafiz, they should read at least one juz per day so that they finish at a minimum one entire Qur’an for the month of Ramadhan. If one can do more, than Alhamdulillah, no one is stopping anyone. The next thing is to understand the Qur’an. So take the first volume of Ma’ariful Qur’an (for example) and read one section of the Arabic part (if one can) and then read the translation, then read the commentary. Do this every day without fail. Obviously the whole commentary will not be completed in one month, but at least a schedule to read a portion regularly will be developed and hopefully within a year it could be completed.
    Also, one should try to memorize those chapters/surahs which are read often like Mulk, Kahf, Ya Seen, Waqi’ah, and Sajdah. Also memorize Surahs from the last juz at least and more if possible.
  5. Mujahadah: Ramadhan is a month of sacrifice and struggle. It is a month where Allah wants our time, our health, our wealth, and our whole being. We literally live the whole year for everything and anything. It is just one month…can we not live one month solely for our Creator?! So what if we have to sacrifice our sleep, and random other luxuries that we can do without anyway. As the saying goes, “No pain, no gain.” The amount of sacrifice and struggle we put into this month, Allah will reward us in this world and the next accordingly.
    Give yourself to Allah, and see what Allah has in store for you.
  6. Dua’: The essence of worship is supplication to Allah. This whole month, Allah is willing and readily open to accept all that we ask of Him. It is only to our own loss and detriment that we lack in begging Allah for the things we need. Prioritize your supplications. Ask firstly for yourself, then your family, community, then the Ummah at large. Within that, prioritize and ask for things pertaining to the hereafter, then ask for things pertaining to this world. Just remember one thing when it comes to dua’, the point of dua’ is not that we need something or we need protection or refuge from some other thing, the point is that Allah told us to supplicate to Him, and that is why one should make dua’ abundantly. There are certain things Allah loves to do, and one of them is to answer the supplications of His servants who call unto Him.
    One final aspect regarding dua’ is crying or pretending to cry. Tears are something foreign to Allah and therefore He has immense value for tears. The whole year we become filthy and impure spiritually by sinning, Ramadhan is the month where we purify our spirits by bathing our spirits in our tears.
  7. Good Company: Ramadhan is a month to maximize on good deeds and keep bad deeds at zero. Being in the company of the righteous will allow one to attain this goal. I will keep this point short. The minimum benefit one gets by being in good company is that one will not sin which in turn will cause one to become the greatest worshiper based off the hadith of Tirmidhiwherein Nabi (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) took Abu Hurayrah (Radhiyallahu ‘anhu)’s hand and said, “O Abu Hurayrah, abstain from all prohibitions and you will become the best worshiper.”
    The maximum benefit is that being with the people of Allah, Insha Allah; a person may just Attain Allah. What can be greater?!
  8. Gratitude: The secret to an increase in anything is to be thankful for it. To make sure that we see this month the next year, appreciate it this year. Be thankful for all that we have in every aspect, even the basic things we neglect and take for granted. We have Iman, we have Islam. Alhamdulillah, we are the best Ummah. We have been given the best book, i.e. the Qur’an. The best way to appreciate a bounty is to use it for its purpose.
    Allah has blessed with infinite blessing and bounties. Ramadhan is one of those bounties, so to fully appreciate Ramadhan, we must spend it the way Allah would like us to spend it and attain out goal which is Taqwa.
  9. Following the Sunnah: Anything of the beloved is also beloved. That is a principle of love. Allah has proclaimed the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) as His beloved. If we follow the Sunnah and show a resemblance, then we can also gain the focus of Allah. Particularly follow the Sunnah acts which the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) performed in Ramadhan.
    If we have to do something, might as well do it the best way possible. The best way for anything to be done is the way of the Sunnah. If by any chance it was some other way, Allah would have had His Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) do it that way then.
  10. Istiqamah: Imam Junayd Al-Baghdadi (RA) said, “Steadfastness is greater than a thousand miracles.” Please do not tire one’s self out in the initial stages of Ramadhan, rather figure out a routine that works and stick to it regularly. The most beloved of actions to Allah are those that are done consistently even though they may seem minor. We all need to be thankful for the good that we have done and also for the evil we are able to abstain from. We also need to be thankful for whatever level of steadfastness that we have. We want to make Ramadhan last beyond Ramadhan as well. I’ll end with a quote from one of our mashaaikh, Shaykh In’aam-ul-Hasan Kandehlawi (RA) said, “Whoever lives their life as they do in Ramadhan, then death will come to that person just as the moon of ‘Eid comes for the fasting person.”

To conclude, we pray to Allah that He accepts all of our efforts and overlooks and forgives all of our shortcomings. Aameen.

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A few years ago, I served as a pastor of a Methodist Church in a sub-urban neighbourhood in Portland Oregon, in the United States. I was young and just graduated from seminary. I was then the first black pastor of what was then an all-white church. The church had historical significance in the region for it was said to be the first church built by the pioneers as they moved west in what was then called the Oregon territory. It was the beginning of fall season and the women were getting ready for the annual church bazaar. I had settled in that fall morning and was going over the day’s expectations with my secretary when the chair of the women fellowship came in. She did not look happy and it was apparent that something was wrong. I told Estelle, the secretary, to leave us for a moment and closed the door behind her.

“Pastor”, Mrs. Smith began, “someone is bringing filth into the church and you must do something to stop this”. I was at a loss with what she was referring to and after calming her down I asked what the matter was.

“Come, let me show you”, she said and stood up and stomped towards the door. I stood up and followed her and stopped briefly at Estelle’s office to ask her to hold all my telephone calls. As we made our way to the storage area where the women were sorting out the donations for the bazaar, Mrs. Smith rushed to the area where books were stored and held out a book with the title: The Gift of Sex. I was familiar with this text having studied sex and sexuality as part of my graduate training in family social work.

“This is what I’m talking about”, she exclaimed with all the righteousness of someone whose faith has been wounded. “Someone brought this filth into the church, what is this world coming to?”, she asked with an air of begging me to join in the condescension. “I want all this bad books thrown out of here for we will not accept books like this” she concluded.

I told her that there was nothing wrong with the book as it was written for Christian couples. Looking back at this incident now with the benefit of time, I must have shocked Mrs. Smith because I told her that if we were to throw out all the books that mention sex from the church building and church library, then we also would throw away the Bible because it has stories with sex in it.

As I read the reactions of Nigerians and the outrage following the bombing of the church on Christmas Day by the radical Islamic sect, Boko Haram, I am reminded of the encounter I had with my parishioner. We tend to want everyone to believe the way we do and when others see the world differently, we fume. My fellow Christians have tended to see the bombing as an act of Muslim conspiracy against Christians rather than an action of a radical murderous sect that is not speaking for all Muslims. One writer on the Internet even went as far as quoting the Quran pointing out that Islam sanctions the killing of Christians. This murderous group, it should be recalled also unleashed its mayhem during the Muslim celebration of Eid el Kabir a month earlier in Jos. Religious fundamentalism is found in all religions and is not peculiar to Islam alone.

Are you ready for stories of violence in the Bible? The fact is that all revealed religions are just that “revealed” and therefore, open to interpretations by the adherents. It is the reason we have so many denominations in Christianity because we do not all agree on the meaning of a particular passage of our scripture. Yes, Islam has a history of violence and so does Christianity. Do the crusades come to mind? How about wars and killings in Ireland and Uganda? I am not defending Islam nor do I advocate for Christianity to be seen as the religion of the “civilised”. The fact remains that religion remains a source of conflict in the modern world because of ethnocentrism. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu eloquently stated in his new book, “God is not a Christian”, we belong and practise a particular religion because of the accident of our birth.

If our parents were born in Saudi Arabia instead of southern Nigeria, chances are that you and I will be Muslims today and how we practise that religion would depend on our level of education and socio-economic status. We have this tendency to evangelise and see our culture and religion as “the way” and all others as savages. No one religion has a monopoly on fundamentalism; it is a function of how we see the world. To many, religion may be the only way of making sense of the world and so everything else is filtered through such lenses. The French sociologist, Emile Durkheim, had taught the world that the primitive form of the religious life forces those who know nothing else to see the world exclusively through the workings of the supernatural. It is when we defy the gods and ask questions that we can escape the grip of the primitive as the British writer, Salman Rushdie, noted. Rather than blame Islam as a religion, religious fundamentalism should be seen as a symptom of what is wrong in the society and our educational system. As a social scientist, I do not like simple answers because the world is too complex for finger pointing. The Boko Haram menace and religious fundamentalism in Nigeria depend on the ability to recruit the poor and those who are not educated. Religious violence depends on the ability to convince those who cannot read and write that one interpretation of an ancient text holds the key to liberation from poverty and suffering. Ability to convince people to look past human emotions and the sacredness of human life depends on that ancient and primitive reasoning that the individual is serving a higher purpose by being non-human. In the end, it is the human being who thinks that he or she is serving the divine by killing others that is evil. Religion in itself is not bad, it is we who are bad; it is what we make of it that is bad.

I condemn inflammatory essays that are lining up neighbour against neighbour. Islam is not bad. Fundamentalism is found in all religions. We who call ourselves Christians have had our fair share of religious fundamentalism and there are entire libraries of stories of atrocities committed in the name of the Bible. To pick verses in isolation and out of context in order to vilify one religion is to make oneself look good and return to the old civilisation debate. We human beings are complex beings and the world is a complicated place, let us try to see problems beyond black and white.

The National Assembly has not taken the security and unity of the country seriously and different administrations in Nigeria have stubbornly clanged to the post 1966 unitary police system despite the high level of insecurity in the country. The police system in the country is a joke and groups like Boko Haram are able to plan and execute murderous mayhem with impunity because our antiquated police system is powerless. If states could police their territories and the federal police simply lend their expertise, perhaps we could have been able to deal effectively with these criminals. There is no law against hate on the basis of religion or origin in the country despite sectarian killings and violence. States still have their Sabongari sections for “strangers” who ironically are fellow Nigerians. Rather than deal with the immediate problems that are confronting the nation, the Senate has chosen to pursue illusions like making law against same-sex marriages as if that is the most important problem confronting Nigerians.

Until the National Assembly takes its responsibility seriously, the benefits of democracy will remain an illusion.

•Prof. Ette is a professor of social work and community development at the Northwest Nazarane University, Nampa Idaho, USA.

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Q: Does Islam really teach peace? I am a Christian and I do not hate Muslims, but I read in the Qur’an verses like, “And slay them wherever ye catch them..” (2:191) and “…But if they turn away, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks.” (4:89). How can a peaceful religion teach these things? How do you explain these verses. These quotations from your Holy Book do really make us very uneasy with your faith. I would appreciate your reply.

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The “Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam” (called by Muslims everywhere as “Qadianism”) was established, in 1889, by Mirza Ghulam Qadiani (1835 – 1908) in a small Punjabi village of India. Mirza Ghulam Qadiani’s family were in the service of the British colonial powers and, to his dying days, Mirza Ghulam openly declared his allegiance to the British imperialism. In fact, the culmination of his service to foreign power was his declaration that resistance to oppressors (Jihad) — as ordained in the Holy Quran by God — had become unIslamic!

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Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets and Chief of the Messengers, and upon all his family and companions.

Allah’s sacred month of Muharram is a blessed and important month. It is the first month of the Hijri calendar and is one of the four sacred months concerning which Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

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Quran Verse of the day

Verse of the day:
Nay more, it is for Us to explain it (and make it clear): 75:19

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THE COMPANION NATIONAL DISCOURSE

Topic: Corruption And The Challenge of Good Governance in Nigeria

Date:
Sunday, June 22, 2014

Venue:
University of Lagos Main Auditorium at 10 .00 am.

Guset Speaker:
Malam Nasir el-Rufai, (former Minister of Federal capital Territory.)  

All members of the public are invited.
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