Monday, November 28, 2011

New Year: We Are Better


Assalamualaikum wbt.

1. We are not Christians. Neither do we celebrate Christmas.

2. And this entry has nothing to do with either of the above.  

3. But our new year, like many other aspects and elements in Islam, is very different from those of others.

4. One of the differences is certainly the way we celebrate it. The Western culture, which refers to free mixing between two opposite genders, in occasions where limits seem irrelevant, has somehow become the norm of our young modern Easterners, so to speak.

5. The sign is very clear. About 9 months after new year, we begin to have many new unmarried mothers, and therefore also their 'baby martyrs' who fought for life in either dustbins, dumping sites, drains or even in places like mosques.

6. It all started during the night of new year and you knew what happened.

7. This is merely something to reflect upon. The point I want to make is this. Do we do things because we just follow others and forced by current trend or are we really knowledgeable in things we practise and celebrate? Therefore, to grab this lesson (of the importance of knowledge) and strive to become a Muslim by choice instead of by chance, let us go through one of the major differences between Islam and other faiths and beliefs.

8. Islam, unlike most other major religions, is a name that is not derived from the names of people, places or even titles of individuals.

9. Let's go through some good examples for this.

10. Christianity, is derived from the word Christ, an English version of the Greek word, Khristos, which means the anointed one. In the original language of bible, Hebrew, this word is translated as Masiah and pronounced as Messiah in English. In Arabic (thus also in Quran), it is pronounced as Al-Masih.

11. Christ refers to prophet Isa AS whom is regarded as God or Son of God in Christianity.

12. One valid question therefore arises, that if Christianity is a true religion where Jesus is God, then what happened to people before Jesus Christ was born? If a religion is a true religion, it should be the one that exists since the lifetime of the first man in history, Adam AS.

13. Similarly, Buddhism is derived from Buddha, a Sanskrit word that means the awakened one, and is a title for its founder, Siddharta Gautama. Considering that Siddharta Gautama was also not the first person living on earth, then the question above is valid.

14. Thirdly, Hinduism is derived from a Sanskrit word, Sindhu, which is a title given to Indus River, located somewhere in Indian Subcontinent. In other words, this name is derived from a name of a place.

15. Often, Hinduism is regarded as the oldest religion in this world and for that matter, may be the closest to be a true religion, but we will refute this fact after understanding what Islam means.

16. First, our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW who was also our final messenger was not the founder of Islam.

17. Secondly, Mecca was not a place where Islam was found or originated from. Neither is Islam only for the Arabs, just because Muhammad SAW was an Arab.

18. Rather, Islam is a beautiful name, which is an Arabic word that is derived from 3 Arabic letters i.e sin, lam and mim. In a simplified way, sin, lam and mim can be properly understood as counterparts to the letter S, L and M respectively.

19. So, with this sin, lam and mim, the word Islam can come in many other forms (in Arabic) that carry other complementary meanings. One of examples is salam, which means peace.

20. Other than that, Islam also refers to submission, and authentic or original. So, one of the good complete meanings of Islam is to be submissive (by total surrender and loyalty) to Allah SWT through authentic ways (according to Quran and Sunnah) to attain peace (salam) in life now and in Hereafter.

21. Putting that definition into context, whomsoever that submits to Allah's will and act according to what He wants in authentic ways and to achieve peace, is indeed a Muslim!

22. So, when we say that Muhammad SAW was not the founder of Islam, it simply means that it was the same teaching of Islam that was revealed to all earlier messengers since Adam AS, the father of mankind. And this teaching refers to the fact that our God is One and Only, He is Allah SWT and we worship none but Him. All messengers brought this same message (21:25) to their people or ummah.

23. The difference is only basically in the language the teaching was revealed and the syariah (rulings) which suited the people of that particular messenger during their time. Muhammad SAW, however was sent to all mankind till the end of time.

24. Many proofs about the Muslim identity of other messengers can be found in the Quran. Please read the following:

"Abraham (Ibrahim) AS was not a Jew nor yet a Christian; but he was true in Faith, and bowed his will to Allah SWT (which is Islam) and he joined not gods with Allah."
Surah Ali-'Imran (3:67)

25. Prophet Noah said to his people this:

"But if ye turn back, (consider): no reward have I asked for you: my reward is only due from Allah, and I have been commanded to be of those who submit to Allah SWT's will (in Islam)."
Surah Yunus (10:72)

26. And 3 more here:

Prophet Abraham and Ishmael AS recited this prayer:

"Our Lord! Make of us Muslims, bowing to Thy (will), and of our progeny a people Muslim, bowing to Thy (will); and show us our place for the celebration of (due) rites; and turn unto us (in mercy); for Thou art the Oft-Returning, Most Merciful."
Surah Al-Baqarah (2:128)

Prophet Joseph (Yusuf) AS declared in his prayer:

"O my Lord! Thou hast indeed bestowed on me some power, and taught me something of the interpretation of dreams and events, O Thou Creator of the heavens and the earth! Thou art my Protector in this world and in the Hereafter. Take Thou my soul (at death) as one submitting to Thy will (as a Muslim), and unite me with the righteous."
Surah Yusuf (12:101)

Prophet Moses AS:

"Moses said: "O my people! If ye do (really) believe in Allah, then in Him put your trust if ye submit (your will to His).""
Surah Yunus (10:84)

27. Simply put, our most beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW was the final messenger (33:40) whom was sent for the whole humanity (21:107) and Allah has perfected this religion (5:3) which was revealed since Adam AS to Muhammad SAW because there will be no more messenger after him.

28. This perfect religion is also guaranteed to be preserved until the end of time (15:9) through the miracles (mukjizat) of Quran, our main reference in Islam, subhanallah!

29. Just shortly before we end, let me throw this question to you. I always wonder, and I believe many of us too, about why do we need to remember the names of other prophets though emphasis has somehow be put to Muhammad SAW and few other prophets only?

30. But the answer is simple. By understanding Islam more, everything we have in our mind starts to make more sense, because actually all other prophets were Muslims too, and we are just one of the many people whom submit themselves to Allah SWT.

31. That is precisely the reason why we do not make any unjust distinction between all prophets of Allah SWT but love and believe in them all. This is stated in the Quran, in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:285).

32.  I really hope that this writing will add more to our knowledge about Islam, and more importantly increase our faith in Him SWT and eventually make us better Muslims insya Allah.

33. Below is a video of the launching of our new logo last year. For some of us may have not yet known, you may want to watch this. May Allah bless us and place us together with the righteous and sincerest.

Take care. Wassalam.

Ibnu Hanaffi
In support of MSOC Committee 2011/12


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