December 27, 2014

  • Merry-Christmas
    Is Christmas Allow In Islam?

    To a Muslim living in the West, the Christmas Holiday period is one of the most stressful times because of the differences in our attitudes towards holidays and celebrations of the status quo. Even in Islamic countries, there can be misunderstandings on these issues with our Christian colleagues. The following essay is my personal attempt at bridging this gap to promote an understanding of the Islamic perspective regarding this topic.  The word Christmas comes from the Old English term Cristes maesse, meaning "Christ's mass." This was the name for the festival service of worship held on December 25th to commemorate the birth of Jesus  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention. There is neither certain information on the date of his birth, nor even on the year. One reason for this uncertainty is that the stories of his birth, recorded in the New Testament books of Matthew and Luke, were written several decades after the event. Those who wrote it gave no specific dates for the events they mentioned.  For several centuries the Christian Church itself paid little attention to the celebration of Jesus' birth. It ranked after Easter, Pentecost, and Epiphany in liturgical importance. The major Christian festival was Easter; the day of Jesus' purported resurrection. Only gradually, as the church developed a calendar to commemorate the major events of the life of Jesus  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention did the celebration of his birth become significant.  Because there was no knowledge about the date of his birth, a day had to be selected. The Eastern Orthodox and the Eastern Rite Churcheswithin the Roman Catholic Church chose January 6th. The day was named Epiphany, meaning "appearance" (i.e. the day of Jesus' manifestation). The Western Church, based in Rome, chose December 25th. It is known from a notice in an ancient Roman almanac that Christmas was celebrated on December 25th in Rome as early as 336 AD.  In the latter half of the 4th century, the Eastern and Western Churchesadopted each other's festival, thus establishing the modern Christian 12-day celebration from Christmas to Epiphany. In some places the 12th day is called the Festival of the Three Kings because it is believed that the three wise men, or magi, visited the baby Jesus on that day, bringing him gifts.  Today Christmas is more than a one-day celebration or a 12-day festival. It is part of a lengthy holiday season embracing at least the whole month of December. In the United States, the holiday season begins on Thanksgiving Day and ends on January 1st, New Year's Day, a period of about five weeks. Actually, it is also an essential part of the business cycle - definitely the month comprising an important retail period of the year.  Gift giving is one of the oldest customs associated with Christmas: It is actually older than the holiday itself. When the date of Christmas was set to fall in December, it was done at least in part to compete with ancient pagan festivals that occurred about the same time. The Romans, for example, celebrated the Satumalia on December 17th. It was a winter feast of merry-making and gift exchanging. Two weeks later, on the Roman New Year - January 1- houses were decorated with greenery and lights, and gifts were given to children and the poor. As the Germanic tribes of Europe accepted Christianity and began to celebrate Christmas, they also gave gifts.  Ancient, pre-Christian winter festivals used greenery, lights and fires to symbolize life and warmth in the midst of cold and darkness. The use of evergreens and wreaths as symbols of life was an ancient custom of the Egyptians, Chinese and Hebrews, among other groups. Tree worship was a common feature of religion among the Tectonic and Scandinavian people of northern Europe before their conversion to Christianity. They decorated houses and barns with evergreens on New Year's Day to scare away demons, and they often set up trees for the birds in winter. For these northern Europeans, this winter celebration was the happiest time of the year because it signified that the shortest day of the year - somewhere around December 21st - had passed. They knew the days would get longer and brighter. The month during which this festival took place was named YOL, from which the word Yule is derived. In fact, Yule has come to mean Christmas in some countries.  Thus, many Christians do not realize that much of the celebration of Christmas is actually of pagan origin. The Romans celebrated the Feast of the Invincible Sun on December 25th. The early church fathers elected to celebrate the birth of Jesus  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention  on this date, although there was no particular reason to choose this one. In fact, many Christian scholars contend that Jesus  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention was actually born in summer. This is consistent with the Quranic account that follows, because there is a specific mention of ripe dates falling to Mary (may Allah be pleased with Her) in the Quran (which means): "And shake towards you the trunk of the palm-tree; It will drop upon you fresh ripe dates." [Quran 19: 25]  A common theme to many Christian holidays is their actual pagan origin. It seems that the early church elders elected to keep many of the celebrations already in practice and redefine them in Christian terms, rationalizing them as a celebration of some aspect of their dogma of the life of Jesus  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention. Nowadays, few may remember the reasons for the various customs that they practice. The fundamental issue for Muslims everywhere is whether or not to celebrate Christmas. Their Christian colleagues may stress the secular aspects of the holiday and need to comply with social customs in order to advance in the society. Many times I have been told to forget Christmas as a religious holiday and just consider it as a social occasion - especially in the United States. In many businesses in theUS, it is customary to have a big party for all employees at this time. Failure to participate makes oneself an object of ostracism. One needs to climb the social ladder to optimize one's chances for promotion, etc., and it is difficult to resist the pressure to conform!  Unfortunately, many Westerners feel that we Muslims should celebrate Christmas. They cite the examples of many other non-Christians doing so, including many Jews, Hindus, etc. who join the merrymaking. They find it frustrating that many Muslims will not comply and yield to the social pressure. It is regretful that they do not apply the same standard to themselves. They don't expect us to pressure them to celebrate our holidays nor do we, Muslims, put such pressure on them. After all, we must follow the Quranic verse 2:256 (which means): "There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion…" Yet, some feel that it is their duty to try to force their celebrations on us. In fact, I recently heard from some who consider it an insult that we do not celebrate. For this reason, I ask them: "Did Jesus  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention  or any of the other prophets celebrate their birthdays?" Then, what authority do they base this on?

    Of course, there is also the problem of the children. They are bombarded with numerous advertisements for toys and are essentially brainwashed so that they should expect something "under the tree" on Christmas Day. One must admit that the brightly lit, multicolored Christmas tree is an attractive sight, made even more tempting when there are numerous wrapped presents underneath it. To Muslims, each and every thing we do is a part of our worship of the One, Supreme God - nothing is excluded. We do not make any distinction between the secular and the religious. Actually, the English term religion does not convey the all-encompassing nature of the Arabic term Deen. We might be branded as "Fundamentalists," but is there anything else more basic (or "fundamental") than applying our absolute moral code too consistently to everything we do? Isn't that the highest standard? The basis of our moral code is the Quran, the only intact Revelation, and the strict authenticated observation of those who observed the Prophet Muhammad  known as the Hadeeth. In other words, we Muslims follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad  upon which we base our daily life practices. Strictly speaking, for Muslims there are two holidays, the two 'Eeds: Namely, 'Eed al-Fitr - the festival of fast-breaking immediately after the end of Ramadan, and 'Eed al-Ad'haa - the festival of sacrifice during the major pilgrimage time. I emphasize that we do not celebrate birthdays (despite all the Western conventions to the contrary) - not even the births of the prophets - including Muhammad, may Allaah exalt their mention. Muslims hold Jesus,   in great respect as one of the greatest prophets. However, they do not celebrate his birth or the birth of any other of the prophets. Although it may seem intolerant to Christians that Muslims do not celebrate or wish them well on their Christmas holiday, it is out of respect to Jesus   that we refuse to participate in its practices. We cannot condone practices that in our view misrepresent Jesus   and help make him the focus of worship as a god figure. In addition, the above evidence has shown that many of these practices have no relationship whatsoever to Jesus   and instead have pagan origins. We ask! Do we need to celebrate the winter solstice? Are we afraid that the sun will not come back to us in this cold, dark wintry period? Are the pagan customs of gift giving or the symbols of renewal (such as the evergreens) a necessary reminder for us that spring will come again? Is the materialism in this season, so evident in the West, something worthy of emulation? The Quran explains the most important things to celebrate. Allaah Says (what means): "So be patient over what they say and exalt [Allaah] with praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting; and during periods of the night [exalt Him] and at the ends of the day, that you may be stisfied. And do not extend your eyes toward that by which We have given enjoyment to [some] categories of them, [its being but] the splendor of worldly life by which We test them. And the provision of your Lord is better and more enduring."  [Quran 20: 130-131] To Muslims, Jesus   is one of a series of prophets [25 of whom are mentioned specifically in the Quran with the final one, or the seal of them, being Muhammad ]. These prophets and messengers were sent to specific groups of people, with the exemption of Muhammad  whose message was the final one sent (in the form of a revelation) for the benefit of all mankind. Jesus   was one such messenger sent to a particular people, the Jews. Unfortunately, with the exception of the Quran, none of these previous messages were preserved intact. More specifically, we do not have the Gospel or Injeel according to Jesus : Rather, we have a series of writings, most of which were fabricated after the passing of Jesus   and principally influenced by Paul. Many Christian scholars, themselves, would concede that these writings are historically of questionable accuracy and do not represent the views of the early adherents of Jesus . In contrast, the Final Revelation, the Quran, is precisely preserved and consists only of the original Arabic text. Unlike the Christian Bibles (and I emphasize the plurality of versions and differences between them), there are no revisions nor are there versions in other languages of the Quran. Simply put, all Muslims have the same original Arabic text as the Quran. When I was the Director of Da'wah (religious propagation) activities at one of the Islamic centers in Chicago, I had the opportunity of meeting with many visitors to our center, including missionary students from the nearby Billy Graham headquarters in Wheaton,Illinois. Once, one of their students asked one of the Muslims who had come to Friday prayer, "Do you accept the true teachings of Jesus?" His reply (as all knowledgeable Muslims must answer) was "definitely." The student then asked, "Then you accepted that he died for your sins?" The Muslim replied, "Of course not!" He was not trying to ridicule or goad the student on. On the contrary, he was showing respect to the prophet Jesus   as we know him from the Quran itself. This can be very frustrating to a Christian, since he may not be aware of the Islamic perspective of the life and role of Jesus . I want to emphasize that Muslims deeply respect Jesus   and his mother, the Virgin Mary (may Allah be pleased with her), and hold them in high esteem. There is nothing disparaging in this Revelation about them. It is indeed unfortunate that a similar degree of respect is often not shown towards Muslims and the final Prophet Muhammad . Since Muslims respect them so highly, they naturally do not want to perform any acts, which misrepresent them or their purpose or past life. The Christian beliefs have distorted their roles, thus, we as Muslims cannot condone nor should we participate in those practices. I emphasize, it is not out of disrespect to our Christian colleagues that this is done, rather, it is out of respect and love to Jesus and Mary and God Himself that we must refuse! In conclusion, I pray that we remember what we are really supposed to celebrate (i.e. the praises of The Supreme God) as stated in the Quran (what means): "Do you not see that Allaah is exalted by whomever is within the heavens and the earth and [by] the birds with wings spread [in flight]? Each [of them] has known his [means of] prayer and exalting [Him], and Allaah is Knowing of what they do. And to Allaah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and to Allaah is the destination." [Quran 24: 41-42]

      By: Dr. Zeyd Ali Merenkov, M.D.

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  • Merry-Christmas
    What Every Muslim Should Know About Christmas?

    Al-Hamdulillah, All praise be to Allah alone, for making us Muslims and bestowing us the Deen of Islam to distinguish right and wrong. The holiday season is upon us again, and the ugly head of Satan is rising again to inspire people to indulge in innovation and shirk.What proceeds is an analytical view of Christmas and appropriate Muslim conduct during the Christmas season.Any belief system or ritual (Christmas or otherwise) in any religion should satisfy each of the following criteria to be labeled as authentic:
    1. It should have its evidence from the scriptures or from the authentic sayings of the Messenger. 2. The Messenger himself and his companions should practice and propagate it. 3. The Scripture or the Messenger's sayings in which this belief system is present should be preserved from alterations or perishment.

    Does Christmas have Biblical Evidence?

    The word 'Christmas' is not even present in the entire Bible. The Bible has closed lips on the entire feast of Christmas with one exception, the decoration of tree. Fortunately, for the Christians, the Bible does has a word or two to say on the decoration of the Christmas tree, but unfortunately for them, their own Bible criticizes the use of decorating tree:  
    "The customs of the people are worthless, they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel, they adore it with silver and gold, they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter" (Jeremiah 10:3,4).
    Pre-Christian pagans superstitiously believed that the evergreen tree has special power of protection. In fact, the use of Christmas tree began in the 17th century, in Strasbourg, France and from there it spread to Germany, Britain and then to the U.S. "Tree worship was a common feature of religion among the Teutonic and Scandinavian peoples of northern Europe before their conversion to Christianity…German settlers brought the Christmas tree custom to the American colonies in the 17th century. By the 19th century its use was quite widespread". (Compton's Encyclopedia, 1998 Edition)

    Was Jesus Born on Dec. 25th?

    Neither the date 25th Dec. nor any other date on Jesus' birth is mentioned in the Bible. Not until the year 530 C.E., that a monk, Dionysus Exigus, fixed the date of the birth of Jesus on Dec. 25th. "He wrongly dated the birth of Christ according to the Roman system (i.e., 754 years after the founding of Rome) as Dec. 25, 753". (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1998 ed.) This date was chosen perhaps in keeping with the holidays already indoctrinated into pagans. Roman pagans celebrated Dec. 25th as the birth of their 'god' of light, Mithra. "In the 2nd century A..D., it (Mithraism) was more general in the Roman Empire than Christianity, to which it bore many similarities" (The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, 1995 ed.)  
    "The reason why Christmas came to be celebrated on December 25 remains uncertain, but most probably the reason is that early Christians wished the date to coincide with the pagan Roman festival marking the "birthday of the unconquered sun" (natalis solis invicti); this festival celebrated the winter solstice, when the days again begin to lengthen and the sun begins to climb higher in the sky". (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1998 Ed.)
    Other pagan 'gods' born on Dec. 25th are: Hercules, the son of Zeus (Greeks) Bacchus, god of wind, (Romans),Adenis god of Greeks Freyr the Greek-Roman god.

    What about Santa Claus?

    Once again the word 'Santa Claus' appears no where in the bible. However Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus) was a real person, bishop, who was born 300 years after Jesus (pbuh). According to legend he was extremely kind and went out at night to distribute presents to the needy. After his death on the 6th of Dec., school boys in Europe celebrated a feast day every year on the anniversary of his death. Queen Victoria later changed the celebration date from Dec. 6th to Dec. 24th eve. Thus Christmas is an innovation (bidah) in their religion, associating it with Santa Claus, and changing the original date of death anniversary of Saint Nicholas are further deviations.

    Did Jesus or his companions celebrated Christmas?

    Of course not. If Jesus meant his 'Ummah' to celebrate Christmas, he would have practiced it himself and enjoined it on his followers. Even the 'supposed pseudo-companions' of Jesus (and not the companions of Jesus mentioned in the Quran who called themselves as Muslims) mentioned in the bible made many innovations in their religion, but celebrating Christmas was not their endeavor.  
    "In fact, the church did not observe a festival for the celebration of the event until the 4th century" (Grolier's Encyclopedia).
    Even if Christianity passed the above two test, they still have to prove that their Bible have remained unaltered since its revelation. A whole separate article could be written on this topic. We'll mention three brief points, insha Allah. (1) Bible, unlike our Quran, was not written down during Jesus' lifetime and no evidence of it ever being memorized. (2) The oldest bible (Codex Siniticas) in possession of Christendom is only from the 4th century C.E. (3) verses are missing or added as to the Bible throughout the centuries. Compare different Bible versions (eg. compare the King James Version with Revised Standard Version. For verse: 1 John 5:7, this verse is missing in Revised Standard Version published in 1952). How unfortunate and pitiful: parts of the original Bible has been lost. Part surviving has been corrupted and the corrupted parts has been misinterpreted.

    How should Muslims React to Christmas?

    Being the custodians of Truth and the 'Best Ummah created for mankind" and "witnesses unto Mankind", we Muslims just can't stay still as the society around us is entrapped by Satan. Enjoining good and forbidding evil should be our theme. The foremost thing to realize is that Christmas is a big innovation which is leading a big part of humanity to shirk (associating partners with God). Christianity has transgressed the limits set by Allah; therefore showing happiness and joy on Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Good Friday is like shaking hands with Satan and telling him to carry on the good work. Remember Allah commandment to us in the Quran:  
    "Help you one another in virtue and righteousness, but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah, verily Allah is severe in punishment". (Quran, 5:2)
    Therefore, a Muslim can't enjoin in any aspect of Christmas in the disguise that Jesus is our Prophet too, we are just honoring him by celebrating Christmas. We should recognize the bidah of Christmas and the Prophet's warning that all bidah should be rejected. Therefore, accepting Christmas invitations, attending Christmas parties, buying small plastic Christmas trees to please the kids (some Muslims actually do) should be avoided. By greeting Christians with 'merry Christmas' we are legitimizing Christmas, by driving out on Christmas eve to witness the decoration of houses, we are appreciating bidah with our eyes, by placing our kids on the laps of Santa in the malls we are handing them in the hands of a fiend, by closing our Islamic Schools or shops during Christmas we are giving it our silent approval, by selling Christmas items in our shops, we are strengthening the pillars of Kufr. By purchasing for children books with Christmas themes ('The Night before Christmas'), by watching Christmas movies and by giving holidays to our regular Islamic schools or weekend schools, we are passing them a misguided message. Indeed Islam came to tear down the pillars of kufr and replace them with the pillars of Islam. Armed with facts on Christmas and eloquent words of Islam, the door of Dawah to the Christians should be wisely open. When the Christians see us restraining from observing Christmas, they will curiously ask us for the reason. This opportunity should be used by each single Muslim to discuss Islam and invite non-Muslims to Islam. It is highly recommended for all Muslims to carry brochures on Islam with them to pass on to non-Muslim classmates, co-workers, neighbors etc. after discussing Islam. Free brochures on various topics on Islam can be obtained by calling 1-718-658-1199 (for U.S. and Canadian residents). Writing articles in campus and local newspapers on 'Jesus (pbuh) in Islam', conducting soup kitchens in impoverished neighborhoods, clothing drives in schools and college campuses for the needy etc. are some proper modes of conduct during the Christmas holiday season. Thus the hearts and minds of non-Muslims should be exposed to the beautiful message of Islam. Truth comes, falsehood disappears; Islam came, now shirk must clear. Sabeel Ahmed October 1997. ----------------------------- [Currently, he is the co-chairman of the Da'wa Committee and Board of Director at the Muslim Community Center, Illinois. A student of Ahmed Deedat and now works for the 1-800-662-islam hotline of ICNA. His main interest is in comparative religion.]

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  • islamic02
    Can Muslims Celebrate Christmas?

    Dear brother in Islam, we are really impressed by your question, which shows how concerned you are about the affairs of your fellow Muslims and your interest to abide by the Shari`ah in all details of your life. May Allah help us all lead a righteous life based on Islam!
    Before answering your question, it is very important to note that Islam is a complete way of life and it suffices Muslims. At the same time, we should be interactive and proactive. We should not forget our role in the society. We should be a good example to others. Islam urges us to be kind with all people without any kind of discrimination due to differences in faith or race.
    Muslims have their own identity. In order to keep this identity, Muslim scholars said that Muslims must not celebrate Christmas or holidays of non-Muslims. By participation in Christmas, it is possible that slowly one may lose his or her consciousness of this basic point of difference between Islam and Christianity. Muslims must be very careful in this matter. The greatest danger is for our next generation, who may slowly lose their Islamic faith in tawhid and may start believing in Jesus as "more than a prophet and servant of Allah".
    We should tell our children that we are Muslims and this is not our holiday. This is the holiday of our Christian neighbors and friends.
    In response to the question you posed, Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former President of the Islamic Society of North America, states:
    The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Every people have their `Eid…" Some celebrations are of a religious nature, and some others are social and cultural. Some celebrations are based on beliefs and practices that are contrary to Islamic teachings, and some celebrations are not of that nature. Some people claim that Christmas is now a secular holiday and it is very much an American national holiday rather than a religious holiday. But it is wrong to assume that because this holiday is national, it has ceased to be Christian. It is true that this holiday is very popular and it is extremely commercialized; nevertheless it is basically a religious holiday. Its very name and all its symbolism is Christian through and through.
    Christians celebrate at Christmas what they believe to be the "day of the birth of God's Son" or what they call "God Incarnate". Thus it is not only a celebration of another religion, it is also a celebration that is based on a belief that is totally against the teachings of Islam. From the Islamic point of view, the belief in the "Son of God" or "God in the flesh" is a blasphemy and kufr (denial of God's Oneness). By participation in Christmas, it is possible that slowly one may lose his or her consciousness of this basic point of difference.Muslims must be very careful in this matter. The greatest danger is for our next generation, who may slowly lose their Islamic faith in tawhid and may start believing in Jesus as "more than a prophet and servant of Allah".The argument that “Christmas is, after all, Prophet Jesus' birthday and so there is no harm in celebrating Christmas” is neither logical nor Islamic. Why should Muslims celebrate Jesus' birthday? Why not the birthdays of the other 24 prophets and messengers who are mentioned in the Qur'an by name?
    For us Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is the final Prophet and Messenger of Allah, not Jesus. Christians believe that Jesus was the last one and they say that "after God spoke through many prophets … in these last days he spoke to us through his son whom he made to inherit every thing" (New Testament, Hebrews 1:1). Thus they celebrate his coming, but for us Muslims, Prophet Muhammad was the last Prophet and Allah appointed him for all people and for all times to come.
    I do agree that our little children are deeply affected with the festivities and glitter of this holiday. We should try to take them to some Islamic camps and conferences at this time and give them some other alternate programs and activities. But Muslim families should not have Christmas trees in their homes, nor should they put up lights inside or outside their homes at this time.
    We should tell our children that we are Muslims and this is not our holiday. This is the holiday of our Christian neighbors and friends.
    I am pleased to know that you celebrate Ramadan and `Eids with lights and decoration of your home and exchange gifts with your children. This is very thoughtful, indeed. It is good to decorate our homes and masjids during Ramadan and for `Eids. It is mentioned in one of the Hadiths that even the heaven is especially decorated during the month of Ramadan. Allah Almighty closes the gates of Hell and opens the gates of Paradise during the month of Ramadan.
    We Muslims should give special attention to our own Islamic holidays. In this way our children will be attracted to our own celebrations rather than looking at others. 
    Unfortunately, there are some Muslims who do not pay any attention to Ramadan and `Eids. Some of them do not even come to `Eid prayers and even if they come, they do not take their day off from work. Thus their children have no idea about Islamic holidays or they think that Islam is a religion without any festivals and celebrations.
    Explaining the reasons why Muslims don’t celebrate and believe in Christmas,Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
    Christmas was a pagan custom which was adopted into Christianity; it has nothing to do with reverence and love of Jesus, the mighty Messenger of Allah that we Muslims hold in the highest regard and respect. If Jesus were to come today, whether or not he would identify himself with those who celebrate Christmas is a question one should ask seriously. 
    If we are celebrating the great teachings of Jesus or other prophets, we must do so everyday. To do so means to practice love, mercy, justice and compassion and to be actively engaged in doing the will of God. 
    Allah Almighty knows best.

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  • islamic02
    Marriage In Islam

    “And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in peace and tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): Verily in that are signs for those who reflect” (Quran 30:21). “O Humans revere your Guardian Lord, Who created you from a single person created of like nature its mate, and from this scattered (like seeds) countless men and women. Reverence Allah through Whom you claim your mutual rights” (Quran 4:1). The above verses of the Quran lay out the framework for the basis and objectives of marriage in Islam. In the ultimate Wisdom of Allah we are first told that both partners, man and woman, are created from the same source and that this should be paid attention to as it is one of His Signs. The fact that we come from the same soul signifies our equality as humans. When the essence of our creation is the same, the argument of who is better or greater is redundant. To stress on this fact, and then to talk about marriage in the same verse, is of great significance for those of us who are in the field of marriage counseling. A shift in this attitude of gender equality as human beings causes an imbalance in marital relationships leading to dysfunctional marriages. Whenever one party considers that they are superior or above the law there is a power shift which may subsequently lead to misuse or abuse of that power. As a result, the less valuable partner is seen as an easy prey. Many marital difficulties are based on, or caused by, control and rule stratagem. By stressing on the equality of all humans, men or women, and making it the basis of marriage, Allah, in His Infinite Wisdom, has laid the ground rules for establishing peace. He has assigned different roles to husband and wife as functional strategy, rather than as a question of competence as humans. Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) has stated that: “men and women are twin halves of each other” (Bukhari). This narration also brings home the fact that men and women are created from a single source. Furthermore, by using the analogy of twin half, the Prophet (pbuh) has underlined the reciprocal and interdependent nature of men and women’s relationships. The objective of marriage, according to the above Quranic verses, is to enable us to dwell in peace and tranquility. It is important for us to reflect on these words and their significance in the Islamic frame of reference. In order to have peace certain condition must be met. These prerequisites to peace are Justice, Fairness, Equity, Equality, and fulfillment of mutual rights. Therefore any injustice whether it is oppression, or persecution, cannot be tolerated if there is to be peace in Muslim homes. In the domestic realm, oppression is manifested when the process of Shura (consultation) is compromised, neglected or ignored. When one partner (in most cases the husband) makes unilateral decisions and applies a dictatorial style of leadership, peace is compromised. Persecution is present when there is any form of domestic abuse being perpetrated. Tranquility on the other hand is a state of being which is achieved when peace has been established. Tranquility is compromised when there is tension, stress and anger. It is a mistake to take tranquility to mean perpetual state of bliss, since being a Muslim does not make one immune to tragedies and catastrophes. In fact God tells us repeatedly in the Quran that a believer will be tried and tested. However, a state of tranquility empowers one to handle difficult moments with their spouses as obedient servants of God. God, in His infinite Mercy, also provides us with the tools by which we can achieve this state of peace and tranquility. The second principle on which Islamic family life is based is Rahma, meaning mercy. As mentioned in the above verse, God tells us that it is He that has placed mercy between the hearts of spouses. We are therefore inclined by our very nature to have mercy for each other. Mercy is manifested through compassion, forgiveness, care and humility. It is obvious that these are all ingredients that make for a successful partnership. Marriage in Islam is above all a partnership based on equality of partners and specification of roles. Lack of mercy in a marriage, or in a family, renders it in Islamic terms dysfunctional. Allah further states that He has also placed in addition to mercy, love between spouses. It should be noted, however, that the Islamic concept of love is different from the more commonly understood romantic love that has become so valued. The basic difference is that love between man and woman in the Islamic context can only be realized and expressed in a legal marriage. In order to develop a healthy avenue for the expression of love between a man and woman, and to provide security so that such a loving relationship can flourish, it is necessary to give it the protection of Shariah (Islamic law). Marital love in Islam inculcates the following: Faith: The love Muslim spouses have for each other should be for the sake of Allah and to gain His pleasure. It is from Allah that we claim our mutual rights (Quran 4:1) and it is to Allah that we are accountable for our behavior as husbands and wives. It sustains: Love is not to consume but to sustain. Allah expresses His love for us by providing sustenance. To love in Islam is to sustain our loved one physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually, to the best of our ability. (Note : To sustain materially is the husband’s duty. However, if the wife wishes she can also contribute) Accepts: To love someone is to accept them for who they are. It is selfishness to try and mould someone as we wish them to be. True love does not attempt to crush individuality or control personal differences, but is magnanimous and secure to accommodate differences. Challenges: Love challenges us to be all we can, it encourages us to tap into our talents and it takes pride in our achievements. To enable our loved one to realize their potential is the most rewarding experience. Merciful: Mercy compels us to love and love compels us to have mercy. In the Islamic context the two are synonymous. The attribute Allah chose to be the supreme for Himself is that He is the most Merciful. This attribute of Rahman (the Merciful) is mentioned 170 times in the Quran, emphasizing the significance for believers to be merciful. Mercy, in practical application, means to have and show compassion and to be charitable. Forgiving: Love is never too proud to seek forgiveness or too stingy to forgive. It is willing to let go of hurt and letdowns. Forgiveness allows us the opportunity to improve and correct ourselves. Islam emphasizes the principle that if we want God to forgive our mistakes, then we should be forgiving of others too. Respect: To love is to respect and value the person, their contributions, and their opinions. Respect does not allow us to take for granted our loved ones or to ignore their input. How we interact with our spouses reflects whether we respect them or not. Confidentiality: Trust is the most essential ingredient of love. When trust is betrayed and confidentiality compromised, love loses its soul. Caring: Love fosters a deep fondness that dictates caring and sharing in all that we do. The needs of our loved ones take precedence over our own. Kindness: The biography of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is rich with examples of acts of kindness he showed towards his family and particularly his wives. Even when his patience was tried, he was never unkind in word or deed. To love is to be kind. Grows: Marital love is not static, for it grows and flourishes with each day of marital life. It requires work and commitment, and is nourished through faith when we are thankful and appreciative of Allah blessings. Enhances: Love enhances our image and beautifies our world. It provides emotional security and physical well being. Selflessness: Love gives unconditionally and protects dutifully. Truthful: Love is honesty without cruelty and loyalty without compromise. Edited from article by: Sahina Siddiqui www.soundvision.com

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