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Israel

Any American who supports Israel but doesn't support the right of Native Americans to violently round up all Americans, bulldoze their homes, throw them into the reservations, massacre those who refuse to leave, and take over the country is a hypocrite.

The Makkah Towers: Are They Against Islam, and What Should Be Our Stance Regarding Them?

Comment received on tumblr:
That tower was built against Ka'ba, if you make researches, you can see
My answer:

Here is the thing, regardless of the intentions of the people behind this building, it is still one of the tallest buildings in the world with a super-massive LCD screen that constantly shows dhikr words, and above it there is one of the biggest pieces of calligraphy of the word "Allah".

It is the hand of God at work. People with questionable intentions creating things that glorify Him SWT. And this, in my opinion, is the proper way of thinking of this building and the famous mosques that contain incredible "waste" of money (for example Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque).

These buildings were made in the name of Allah. The real intentions of the people who made them is incredibly unimportant when you consider the greatness of the One who allowed it to be built, and who allowed it to be built in His name and in His glorification.

The Quran opposes the destruction of churches and monasteries, even though inside a church often Jesus is worshiped as a secondary deity. The reason is that these buildings, even though they have been corrupted, they still retain a relationship to Allah, and they were built in His name.

A beautiful cathedral, regardless of how you think of it and regardless of who built it, is still a sign of Allah's greatness and glorifies His name. So do these towers. You can say they were built by evil people, but these people are just the tools of Allah. Allah makes them tire themselves in holding His name high above the earth for their own selfish reasons, but Allah's goal is accomplished.

If you remove the humans and their intentions from it, what remains is the name of Allah high in the sky looking down on the Ka`ba. It is a beautiful spiritual experience to be by the Ka`ba and see His name up there, it is a reminder of who is King of this place.

So to me when people get hung up on who made this thing or why, they forget Allah's greatness. Allah is the King of the heavens and the earth, and it was He Who put His name there. Look at these buildings through the lens of Allah's greatness, and you will see that humans don't matter, it is almost like they don't exist. It is just Allah from beginning to the end. And then you can appreciate how these buildings are a beautiful sign of Allah's greatness.

UPDATE: Follow up comment received on tumblr:
Thanks a lot for replying me, but you say that building shows the Greatness of Allah, but The New Mecca Plan contains that building also to symbolise the greatness of so-called god of Babil : Sin.. And the crescent OVER the name of Allah symbolises only one part of that so-called god Sin.. Again thanks for replying :)
Are there any official records that say that this is what they meant by those symbols? No. A symbol's meaning depends on your interpretation of it, and if you make a bad interpretation, then the problem may be with you and not the symbol.

It is like people's speech. You can interpret it in good or bad ways. It is really just people who have nothing better to do who try to find bad interpretations for things when a good interpretation would work. The Quran commands against guesswork and thinking badly of others, saying  "some suspicion and guesswork is sin" (49:12).

A crescent is important in Islam because it signifies the beginning of the lunar month, which determines many important Islamic events. And the shape of the building is pretty normal in modern architecture. Why shouldn't we stop here instead of finding a bad interpretation for everything and doing guesswork that might be sinful?

If we find an ancient language in which the symbol ﷲ (Allah in Arabic) means the devil, does this mean we should throw away the symbol and that everyone who uses it is a bad person and devil-worshiper? Google "devil fork" and you will see how closely similar to the Allah symbol the pictures are.

And even assuming that bad things were meant by the symbolism of the buildings, there is nothing to stop Muslims from reclaiming the symbols for their own purposes and benefit. The Muslims were uncertain whether they should do the walk between Safaa and Marwa during Haj since it had become a symbol of idolatry before Islam. But Allah reclaimed it for Himself in the Quran and thus now it is a symbol of Islam.

Rather than looking at the buildings from the lens of evil, idle or misguided ancient people, look at them through the lens of Islam and you will see only beauty.

Stack Overflow

One of the powerful rhetorical techniques in the Quran is what I call the stack overflow. It is to quickly fill the reader's available memory with images and concepts. This causes the reader to surrender their judgment. It opens the mind and removes the person's ego, in this way creating an opening into the person's heart, and once the opening is made to place a message inside it. Thus in the sura below we see the first 13 verses quickly filling the memory with images and heavy concepts, and once the opening is made, the Quran inserts verse 14 into the heart.
Quran - Sura 81 At-Takweer
In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful.
1. When the sun is rolled up.
2. When the stars are dimmed.
3. When the mountains are set in motion.
4. When the relationships are suspended.
5. When the beasts are gathered.
6. When the oceans are set aflame.
7. When the souls are paired.
8. When the girl, buried alive, is asked:
9. For what crime was she killed?
10. When the records are made public.
11. When the sky is peeled away.
12. When the Fire is set ablaze.
13. When Paradise is brought near.
14. Each soul will know what it has readied.
The sura then uses verses 15-18 to maintain the opening. Instead of putting new arguments in, these verses add more images to the brain stack so that it doesn't have a chance to become critical and egotistic, and inserts verse 19 into the heart.
15. I swear by the galaxies.
16. Precisely running their courses.
17. And by the night as it recedes.
18. And by the morn as it breathes.
19. This is the speech of a noble messenger.
The same technique is repeated with 20 and 21, adding new images and concepts to the stack. Knowing that the many stack-filling verses from the beginning of the sura till here have disarmed the reader, the sura is now ready to make a complex argument. Verses 22-25 are arguments:
20. Endowed with power, eminent with the Lord of the Throne.
21. Obeyed and honest.
22. Your friend is not possessed.
23. He saw him on the luminous horizon.
24. And He does not withhold knowledge of the Unseen.
25. And it is not the word of an accursed devil.
 Next, stack filler at 26, argument at 27, another stack filler at 28, and the final argument at 29.
26. So where are you heading?
27. It is only a Reminder to all mankind.
28. To whoever of you wills to go straight.
29. But you cannot will, unless God wills—The Lord of the Worlds.
The most famous Islamic example of this concept at work is Surat at-Najm (Chapter 53 of the Quran). When the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah upon him, read out this chapter to a crowd of disbelievers and hating rivals, they were so disarmed and possessed that they couldn't help but obey the command in the sura's final verse to bow down. This occasion and others like it made the Prophet's enemies start saying he was a wizard, since they felt powerless in front of the powerful language of the Quran. Below is an English translation of the sura, which loses much of the sweetness of the Arabic. In Arabic most of the verses end with the same sound, but from verse 57 the musical sounds end. The sura, confident that the reader's mind is now fully open and disarmed, stops the music to acquire the reader's full attention, then inserts a potentially life-changing message into the heart.
1. By the star as it goes down.
2. Your friend has not gone astray, nor has he erred.
3. Nor does he speak out of desire.
4. It is but a revelation revealed.
5. Taught to him by the Extremely Powerful.
6. The one of vigor. He settled.
7. While he was at the highest horizon.
8. Then he came near, and hovered around.
9. He was within two bows’ length, or closer.
10. Then He revealed to His servant what He revealed.
11. The heart did not lie about what it saw.
12. Will you dispute with him concerning what he saw?
13. He saw him on another descent.
14. At the Lotus Tree of the Extremity.
15. Near which is the Garden of Repose.
16. As there covered the Lotus Tree what covered it.
17. The sight did not waver, nor did it exceed.
18. He saw some of the Great Signs of his Lord.
19. Have you considered al-Lat and al-Uzza?
20. And Manat, the third one, the other?
21. Are you to have the males, and He the females?
22. What a bizarre distribution.
23. These are nothing but names, which you have devised, you and your ancestors, for which God sent down no authority. They follow nothing but assumptions, and what the ego desires, even though guidance has come to them from their Lord.
24. Or is the human being to have whatever he desires?
25. To God belong the Last and the First.
26. How many an angel is there in the heavens whose intercession avails nothing, except after God gives permission to whomever He wills, and approves?
27. Those who do not believe in the Hereafter give the angels the names of females.
28. They have no knowledge of that. They only follow assumptions, and assumptions are no substitute for the truth.
29. So avoid him who has turned away from Our remembrance, and desires nothing but the present life.
30. That is the extent of their knowledge. Your Lord knows best who has strayed from His path, and He knows best who has accepted guidance.
31. To God belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on earth. He will repay those who do evil according to their deeds, and recompense those who do good with the best.
32. Those who avoid gross sins and indecencies—except for minor lapses—your Lord is of Vast Forgiveness. He knows you well, ever since He created you from the earth, and ever since you were embryos in your mothers’ wombs. So do not acclaim your own virtue; He is fully aware of the righteous.
33. Have you considered him who turned away?
34. And gave a little, and held back?
35. Does he possess knowledge of the unseen, and can therefore foresee?
36. Or was he not informed of what is in the Scrolls of Moses?
37. And of Abraham, who fulfilled?
38. That no soul bears the burdens of another soul.
39. And that the human being attains only what he strives for.
40. And that his efforts will be witnessed.
41. Then he will be rewarded for it the fullest reward.
42. And that to your Lord is the finality.
43. And that it is He who causes laughter and weeping.
44. And that it is He who gives death and life.
45. And that it is He who created the two kinds—the male and the female.
46. From a sperm drop, when emitted.
47. And that upon Him is the next existence.
48. And that it is He who enriches and impoverishes.
49. And that it is He who is the Lord of Sirius.
50. And that it is He who destroyed the first Aad.
51. And Thamood, sparing no one.
52. And the people of Noah before that; for they were most unjust and most oppressive.
53. And He toppled the ruined cities.
54. And covered them with whatever covered them.
55. So which of your Lord's marvels can you deny?
56. This is a warning, just like the first warnings.
57. The inevitable is imminent.
58. None besides God can unveil it.
59. Do you marvel at this discourse?
60. And laugh, and do not weep?
61. Lost in your frivolity?
62. So bow down to God, and worship!
[translations from clearquran.com

Islam and Homosexuality, Solutions for Homosexual Muslims

Anonymous question received on tumblr:
what do you think of homosexuality?
My answer, with minor edits:

Thank you for writing and may Allah bless you. I am not a religious scholar or scientist, yet I have seen so many incorrect and un-Islamic opinions given on this topic by Muslims that I feel it would be good to reply to your question. Modern research (read the essay The Role of Hypothalamus and Endocrine System in Sexuality by Swaab) suggests that some people are biologically predisposed to being attracted to their own sex. The same way that a man is biologically predisposed to being attracted to another man’s beautiful wife. In both cases the reaction is or might be biologically valid and natural.

But in both cases God has forbidden acting upon it, so if our goal is to please God then we wouldn’t fulfill desires that God doesn’t want us to fulfill. We trust God’s wisdom in forbidding certain things. This doesn’t mean that we think there is no good in these things, the Quran itself says that alcohol has various benefits, for example, yet it forbids it.

What should homosexual people do then? Every person is different, what works for someone may not work for another. God says “seek help through patience and prayer” (Surat al-Baqarah 2:45), this is the best prescription I can make. Seek knowledge, both religious and scientific, and be patient and sincere with God.

Some people are born without eyes, hands or legs. Some are born with conditions like X/Y gene mosaicism making them unable to identify fully as men or women. These are all part of the tests of life, with which God tests humans, both those with the conditions and those around them.

Not being able to see might be a bigger test than homosexuality. Yet we find blind people who love God and are patient and humble and accept what God has decided for them and who try to make the best of their lives by memorizing Quran and excelling in the fields of knowledge open to them.

A homosexual person too, through patience and sincerity, will be guided to a fulfilling and pious life inshAlllah. The God who created the heavens and the earth and everything in between is perfectly capable of solving a homosexual person's dilemma in a way acceptable to Him.

Clearing Yasir Qadhi's Name, Refuation, Salafis, and Slander

This is a question received on our Islamic Art and Quotes tumblr:
AsalamuAlaykum, I love your blog and all mashaAllah but seriously you gotta stop posting about Yasir Qadi, he's refuted from even his own teacher. You should really look into the sheikhs you put on your blog before posting them this will be held accountable against you if someone was to go and search him up and start taking from him. AllahuaAclim though, Allah knows best, do your own research and come up with a verdict inshaAllah. Forgive me if I have wronged you.
This was my answer, with minor edits:

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I take the good from everyone and leave their judgment to Allah. I haven’t seen anything but good from him. Does he believe in Allah and the Day of Judgment? Yes. That’s 99% of faith.

To me speaking against someone who is obviously a good and striving Muslim, even if he has said or believes many wrong things, is a very serious matter. It is like calling a woman an adulteress without proof, and there is an entire chapter of the Quran dedicated to baseless claims against Muslims and the severe punishments waiting for people who make such claims (Surat an-Nur, 24:23: “Truly, those who accuse chaste, unwary, believing women are cursed in this world and the Hereafter. For them awaits a terrible punishment.”)

The burden of proof is not on me, but on the one who speaks against Yasir Qadhi and any other Muslim.

You said: “he’s refuted from even his own teacher”—this ambiguous accusation, what does it even mean? This is gossip and slander. And what makes us know whether his teacher or himself is the better, more God-fearing, and more knowledgeable person?

InshAllah if you know something I don’t, if he has gone against any of the clear verses in the Quran, then feel free to mention it.

I have followed his MuslimMatters blog and have read all of his twitter feed (when I was looking for Islamic quotes) and have seen only beautiful words and advice from him.

What I’ve seen is some Salafis hating on him for political reasons (he is not for us so he must be against us, this kind of thinking is also why I stay away from all sects and groups) and spreading baseless, very general slander against him without ever mentioning a single clear piece of evidence.

What has stirred the Salafis against him is his recent speeches critiquing Salafism. But what Yasir Qadhi says is perfectly valid. It just makes some people uncomfortable.

Islam is a religion of the heart and the heart is the most important thing. Once a person shows signs that he has a good heart, even if he believes in and does wrong things, all of these are to be forgiven. I am not saying Yasir Qadhi has done anything wrong, but as a general rule. What matters is the heart of the person, not their political or intellectual positions.

From the evidence I have seen, the good things he has said far outweigh any wrong he may have said, and the good in his heart far outweighs any evil that may be there. Even if I disagree with him on a thousand things, we automatically agree on the things that really matter, because both of us are practicing Muslims.

So brother/sister, if you have clear proofs against him, feel free to mention them. But if you are just passing around what you hear others say, without full and certain knowledge, then please remember these verses: “When you were spreading it with your tongues and saying with your mouths things of which you had no knowledge, you considered it to be a trivial matter, but, in God’s sight, it was a mighty thing. When you heard it, why did you not say, ‘It is not right for us to speak of this. God forbid! This is a monstrous slander.’ God warns you never to repeat the like of it again, if you are true believers.” (Quran 24:15-17)

Is There a Difference in Prayer (Salah) of Men and Women? (Answered)

This is a question received on the QuranClub Facebook page (my answer is below)
i have a question for you, please it's an earnest request to you for giving me true explanation according to Qura'an and Hadith.
Question: is there any difference of offering salah between men and woman?
If so or not so, can you provide me any proper link showing and explaining the method of offering ''sunna way salah'' for woman?
NB : i have seen two videos showing method of prophetic (sallalahualihi wasalam) way salah.
1. by Honourable Zakir Naik :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkoGRmdS1HA
2.is the link for sunni or shia'a ?!?!?!? OR THE PROPER WAY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=id7WRNGCxzQ
please, i will be waiting for your reply as it has become very burning situation for me. i, myself, am searching and researching many websites but finding difference. so i am feeling very much confused.
may allah give you best reward for it. jazakallahu khairan

Answer

Assalamu Alaikum,

The main, fundamental rule is that there is no difference between the salah of men and women, for the Prophet, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said "Pray as you saw me pray", and this saying is to both men and women, not just men.

So this is the main rule. Everything besides this are just recommendations that some scholars have made so that women follow somewhat stricter rules of modesty, and many respected scholars are against any difference.

For example some scholars have said that a woman in sujood should lower her chest to touch her legs, so that she does not have their backside raised (which makes the shape of her body stand out more). But this is not a necessary recommendation because a woman should either pray at home or in the women's area at the mosque which is behind the men's. So there would be no stranger (non-mahram) men to see a woman in that position, so that the rule is unnecessary.

So if a woman finds herself praying in a situation where a random male may see her body shape due to some of the salah positions, she could try to make some differences to keep more modest, but this is about the larger, general rule of being modest and not limited to salah.

When it comes to salah, if there are no random males looking, a woman should pray exactly like a man (and like the Prophet), since this is what the Prophet said.

Below are good anwers by Shaykh ibn Baaz and Ibn al-Uthaymeen saying that the rule is that there is no difference (they are in Arabic):
http://islamqa.info/ar/ref/38162
http://www.binbaz.org.sa/mat/877
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