Islamic Law ( Fiqh ) Lesson by Umm Ahmad / Amirah (8th of January)

 In the name of Allah
Assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

Join the class every Tuesday 9:00pm Egypt time.
Islamic Jurisprudence: Wisdom and Purposes

Question 44: What is the meaning of Islam?

Answer 44: Islam is total surrendering to almighty God’s command and obeying Him in all of His legislation and rules whose basis is the well-known five pillars: The two words, prayer, zakat, fasting and pilgrimage.

The perfect form of Islam is achieved when the Muslim’s life is completely involved in Islam. almighty God said: “[Our sibghah (religion) is] the Sibghah (religion) of God (Islam) and which Sibghah (religion) can be better than God’s? And he is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower. (Holy Qur’an: 2: 138) and ‘Say (O Muhammad) Verily, my prayer, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for God, the Lord of all that exists’.”) (Holy Qur’an: 6:162).

Question 45: What does faith mean?

Answer 45: Faith is the absolute belief whose location is the heart.  It is associated with the saying of the tongue and the observation of the senses.  The basis of this faith is the belief in God, His angels, books, messengers, the doom’s day, fate (both good and evil) are all from almighty God.  Therefore, the saying of the tongue indicates this absolute belief in those fundamentals and rules.  The perfect action can best be testified by the implementation of Islam in the private and public life.

Question 46: What is the meaning of “perfect worship”?

Answer 46: This means “to worship God as if you were seeing Him; as you cannot see Him, He sees you”, as Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu aleihi wa salam) related.  It is a high degree of emotional feeling to the Muslim when dealing with God as if he were seeing Him before his own eyes in terms of ability, greatness, authority and power, mercy, assistance and generosity.  One who feels these divine qualities and other ones in all his conditions, will be whole-heartedly sincere and good in all his acts, behavior, manners, and will not be affected by his materialistic and personal interests and benefits. When Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu aleihi wa salam) was asked by `Uqbah bin Nafi’ about the perfect manners, he said, “O `Uqbah, visit those who refrained from visiting you, be kind to whoever deprived you, and do not harm those who have harmed you.” This kind of honesty makes the self of the Muslim pure, immaculate privately and publicly, whether one is alone or with others, in times of prevention and bounty, in loyalty, and in integrity—indeed, in all matters, small and big, it is a self that believes in God and attached to Him while looking at him all the time.  If man’s eye may sleep sometimes, it believes, nevertheless that God’s eye does not sleep and continues to see him, that is perfect worship (ihsan).

Question 47: When did man known faith for the first time?  Did people in ancient times believe in almighty God, or were they unbelievers, as anthropologists claim?

Answer 47: Belief in God is deeply rooted in the human nature.  It is intrinsic in people.  Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu aleihi wa salam) said: “Every child is born intrinsically believing in God, but his parents make him a Jew, a Christian or a Magician,”[1] i.e. every newborn is born with spontaneous belief in almighty God and surrendering to him.  Islam has its own concept about the beginning of creation and human evolution. The gist is that almighty God created Adam from earth and soul was then blown into him.  Next Eve was created from Adam.  Then marriage began and people multiplied and populated the earth.

Adam was the first believer.  He recognized God’s power and greatness.  Therefore, when he sinned, he soon regretted and asked God to pardon him: he prostrated before Him implored for reconciliation and forgiveness.  Almighty God said; “They said ‘Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If you forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers”(Holy Qur’an: 7: 23).  Almighty God has already said to them: “And We said; ‘O Adam!  Dwell you and your wife in paradise, and eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight, of things therein as wherever you will, but come not near this tree or you both will be of the wrong-doers.’  Then Satan made them slip therefrom (paradise), and got them out from that in which they were. We said: O get you down, all, with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment for a time.” Then Adam received from his Lord Words. And his Lord pardoned him (accepted his repentance). Verily, he is the One Who forgives, the Most Merciful.”

It is clear from the holy verses that Adam was a true believer in God.  He lived in Paradise with his spouse, then he sinned because of the insinuations of Satan.  But Adam soon repented, and God accepted his repentance.  This incident indicates that faith occurred before disobedience, unbelieving and polytheism took place.  Prophet Muhammad sallallahu aleihi wa salam confirmed this fact by saying: “God created people to be intrinsically believing, but they were deceived by the devils.”[2]  This means that devils ornamented polytheism for people and they deviated from the right path.

Question 48: Since no one has able to see God, and since no dead person was resurrected to tell us what happened to him after death, how could we believe in any religion?

Answer 48: This Question is based on the material world, where sense becomes the reference to determine the facts of the universe.  Fundamentally, this basis is a void one.  In this life we believe in many things without being able to see them or feel them tangibly.  We do not know for example the essence of the soul, its secrets, and where does it inhabit our bodies?  So far this field has been immune to scientists and scientific laboratories, fine radiology and microscopes, which biologists and doctors use.  We absolutely believe in the presence of the soul although we do not see it.  We also believe in the existence of many other things like magnetism, electric current, air and many other things, which we do not touch physically.

All religions are based on miracles, which God performs on the hands of the prophets.  Ordinary human beings cannot perform these miracles.  Only prophets could carry out these actions in order to confirm the fact that they are true emissaries of God.  All prophets were sent to people and performed miracles in front of them, so that they believed them.  These are well-known historical facts.

Prophet Moses (aleihi salam) performed miracles: his club was transformed into a snake, the sea was split into two parts through a hit with his club, and the bursting of the water from the rock in the form of twelve springs good for drinking. 

Prophet Jesus (aleihi salam) healed the blind and the leprous, and gave life to the dead through God’s will.

Prophet Muhammad sallallahu aleihi wa salam also had many miracles including the splitting apart of the moon, the gushing of water from his hands and the night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and his ascension though the heaven.  But the most enduring and challenging miracle revealed through him is the Qur’an.

Belief in almighty God and in the unseen is therefore an intuitive matter, without which life cannot be right; without which the human self does not feel fully contented.  People’s lives, both today and land in the past, testify this if only they are truthful about their thoughts, feelings, and ideas.

Question 49: Do people inherit the religion of Islam from their parents?

Answer 49: It has already been stated above that people are born to be intrinsically God believing, i.e. Muslims.  Islam regards a child before puberty to be subordinate to his father in terms of religion and belief.  Coming of age, he/she becomes responsible and will be held accountable for his/her deeds.  This requires him/her to embrace the religion of Islam as a result of conviction, thinking and choice.  However, if the child dies before puberty age (15 years) he/she will be considered as one of the escapees from Hell even though his parents are non-believers.  This is a prerequisite of the justice of God who says: “… and no burdens shall bear the burden of another” (Holy Qur’an: 6: 164).

Question 50: Is Islam to be imposed on people or do people have to embrace it willingly?

Answer 50: Islam is the religion of God, He knows human self better than human beings themselves.  He also knows what is good and what is bad for them.  It is to the best interest and righteousness to man of mankind if they follow the right path revealed by God out of conviction, choice, love and desire, so that they could be salvaged.  Almighty God made this clear in the holy book: “There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the right Path has become distinct from the wrong path.  Whoever disbelieves in Taghut (false deities) and believes in God, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break.  And God is All-Hearer, All-Knower” (Holy Qur’an: 2: 256).  It has never occurred in history that Muslims compelled anyone to embrace Islam even when they were at the height of their power. 

Question 51: Is it possible that the whole system of this universe has occurred by coincidence?

Answer 51: This can never be the case at all. In fact, no rational person could ever envisage that this world has come into existence without a wise capable and knowing creator.  With the least contemplation, a rational person can recognize the invalidity of coincidence in this case.  When a person looks at a beautiful building that is architecturally organized, wonderful and firm, foe example, he intuitively believes that someone must have built, organized and planned its plan and designed its foundations, lounges and balconies.  When we look at the watch on our wrists, we cannot believe that its first maker found it by coincidence in that shape.  So how could we believe that the creation of man to have come by coincidence?  And how could this universe which runs according to an absolute accurate system (in terms of night and day, stars, planets and galaxies) how could it have come by pure coincidence?  The idea of coincidence is something obsolete and has become outside the rational circle in the world of science and knowledge, and the world of reason and cause.

Question 52: If a person embraces Islam for mere secular benefits, like marriage, can he/she be still be regarded as true Muslim?

Answer 52: Islam is the religion of almighty God.  It should be embraced exclusively for His sake.  God says: “Surely the religion is for God only” (Holy Qur’an: 39:3).  Almighty God does not accept anyone who converts for a particular interest while implying infidelity, his Islam.  Prophet Muhammad reported that deeds will be judged by God according to people’s intentions:

“Deeds are rated according to the intentions of the people who carry them out.  Each person is to be rewarded according to his/her intention. Anyone who migrates for the sake of God and His prophet, his migration will be to them then, and anyone who migrates for worldly interests, or a woman he wants to marry, his migration will be to what he has migrated to.”[3]

There are, however, some people who embrace Islam for mere personal interests; but after a while, they become committed and truthful in their intention of faith.  God will forgive this group of people and grant them salvation.

Muslims are required to deal with anyone who proclaims Islam publicly according to his/her actions and/or deeds.  Only God can tell about people’s hearts and motivations.  The word Muslims scholars most use in such likely contexts is: “We have to judge the apparent and only God judges the actual.”  If this fake Muslim continues to be elusive, then he/she is deceiving the community and God will count him/her among the hypocrites.  If the true character of this “hypocrite” is revealed to the community, then he/she will be held responsible and the divine rules of apostasy will apply upon him/her.

Question 53: Is person’s intention sufficient for him/her to be a Muslim or does he/she have to say the two testimonies: that there is no deity but God and that Muhammad is His messenger?

Answer 53: Intention is not sufficient.  The two testimonies must be proclaimed, as announcing them is what distinguishes a Muslim from a non-Muslim.  It is the proof of honesty and of being convinced of Islam, because it is difficult to know that person is a Muslim if he/she does not claim so?  How could a Muslim perform his duties towards other Muslims if he does not know them and they do not know him?  However, there are cases when intention becomes sufficient, especially if this person is afraid of being killed in case he/she announces Islam in a fanatic non-Muslim environment.  In this case, he/she may practice Islam secretly and say the two testimonies privately until he/she could move to a safer environment and could perform their rituals in public.

Question 54: Is it possible for a convert to say the two testimonies in a language other than Arabic if he/she does not know this language?

Answer 54: Yes, it is possible to say the two testimonies in any language.  Arabic is not required at this stage.   However, once the convert is able to say the two testimonies in Arabic, it is advisable that he/she does so, in which case other Muslims could be more acquainted with him/her.  If he cannot do that, it is not obligatory.

Question 55: Is it obligatory for a sister wanting to embrace Islam to be dictated the two testimonies by a Muslim female or should only a Muslim male achieve this?

Answer 55: Islam is the religion of God, it is an open invitation for everybody to join in.  Anyone who says the two testimonies out of truthful intention has entered the gate of Islam.  A convert does not have to be dictated how to become a Muslim if he/she knows how to.  But in the likely case he/she does not know what to do, instructions become indispensable for mere educational purposes.

A convert is never required to have witnesses testifying his/her Islam.  Embracing Islam starts with saying the two testimonies, which are followed by manner and conduct: all rites, like prayer, and fasting must be performed.  These acts of worship when are performed well become enough witness for someone’s faith.


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