Sh. Yasir Qadhi

Sh-Yasir Qadhi

Yasir Qadhi was born in Houston, Texas and completed his primary and secondary education in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He graduated with a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Houston, after which he was accepted as a student at the Islamic University of Madinah. After completing a diploma in Arabic, he graduated with a B.A. from the College of Hadith and Islamic Sciences. Thereafter, he completed a M.A. in Islamic Theology from the College of Dawah.

His published works include Riya’a: The Hidden Shirk, Du’aa: The Weapon of the Believer, and An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’an.
Yasir Qadhi is currently pursuing his doctorate, in Religious Studies, at Yale University in New Haven, CT. At AlMaghrib Instiute he teaches the Light of Guidance and the Light Upon Light seminars, which focus on aqeedah.

Sh. Yaser Birjas

Sh-Yaser-Birjas

Sh. Yaser Birjas is the Head of our Islamic Law and Theory Department. Often described as the fatherly figure by students, Shaykh Yaser exudes a calm, gentle and caring demeanour that welcomes students to ask questions with awe and respect.

Shaykh Yaser started his career in Electronic Engineering in the UAE, then in Madinah where he graduated as class Valedictorian with the highest honors from The Islamic University of Madinah’s College of Shariah (Fiqh and Usool) in 1996. He learned from various highly respected scholars such as Shaikh Ash-Shanqitee and Shaikh Al-Uthaimeen (rahimahu Allah).

Dr. Mokhtar Maghraoui

Dr. Mokhtar Maghraoui

Dr. Mokhtar Maghraoui is one of the most well renowned scholars in North America. Originally from Algeria, he is thoroughly versed in the Islamic sciences and holds a doctorate joined between the fields of physics and engineering from Syracuse University. His expertise includes the disciplines of Tazkiyah and Fiqh, and he is best known for his enlightening retreats and seminars empowering Muslims on their spiritual quest.

Imam Suhaib Webb

Imam Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S. From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah. Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship. Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010 and his website, www.SuhaibWebb.com, was voted the best “Blog of the Year” by the 2009 Brass Crescent awards. Suhaib Webb has lectured extensively around the world including in the Middle East, East Asia, Europe, North Africa and North America. Upon returning from his studies in Egypt, Webb lived in the Bay Area, California, where he worked with the Muslim American Society from Fall 2010 to Winter 2011. He recently accepted a positon as the Imam of the Islamic Society of Boston’s Cultural Center (ISBCC) on December 1st, 2011 and moved to Boston with his family.

Nouman Ali Khan

Nouman-Ali-Khan

Nouman is the founder and CEO of Bayyinah, as well as the lead instructor for a number of Bayyinah courses including the ‘Fundamentals of Classical Arabic’ and ‘Divine Speech’. His first exposure to Arabic study was in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where he completed his elementary education. He continued Arabic grammar study in Pakistan, where he received a scholarship for ranking among the top 10 scores in the national Arabic studies board examinations in 1993. But his serious training in Arabic began in the United States in 1999 under Dr. Abdus-Samie, founder and formal principal of Quran College, Faisalabad, Pakistan who happened to be touring the US for intensive lectures in Tafsir and Arabic studies. Under Dr. Abdus-Samie, Nouman developed a keen methodical understanding of Arabic grammar. He further benefited from Dr. Abdus-Samie by internalizing his unique teaching methods and later translating his work into English for the benefit of his own students. Nouman served as professor of Arabic at Nassau Community College until `06 and has taught Modern Standard and Classical Arabic at various venues for nearly 7 years with over 10,000 students nationwide. Currently he has dedicated himself to a seven-year-long project, of conducting a linguistic & literary focus Qur’anic Tafseer series in English. Recordings of sessions conducted so far can be downloaded at www.bayyinah.com/dream.

Modernity, Secularism and Islam

The modern secular world claims to provide opportunities for all without imposing religion on the society. Yet critics argue that secularism removes the right for individuals to practice their own religion freely. Faith-based governmental systems, although prevalent historically, are now the subject of much criticism in the modern world. This section will analyze the contrasting views of secularism and compare them with the first Islamic state established by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) 1400 years ago.

Islam Explained

877-Why-Islam Brochure.

Islam completes the long chain of guidance from God to humanity. Meticulously preserved and thoroughly documented, Islam’s message has a familiar resonance, owing to its shared history and common values, with Abrahamic religions. Additionally, Islam reiterates a return to basic principles of faith: belief in one God, righteous living, and faith in the afterlife. This brochure introduces the central themes of Islam and its core components – with a special focus on our purpose in life and the all-encompassing nature of Islam.

Islam is a faith and comprehensive way of life that literally means ‘peace through submission to God.’ It provides a clear understanding of a person’s relationship with God, purpose in life, and ultimate destiny. A Muslim is someone who adopts the Islamic way of life by believing in the Oneness of God and the prophethood of Muhammad, peace be upon him (pbuh). Today, Islam is one of the fastest growing religions and is practiced by more than 1.2 billion Muslims across the world.

The most essential principle in Islam is the purely monotheistic belief in one God. God is the Creator of everything in the universe and is unique from His creation. Muslims are encouraged to develop a direct and personal relationship with God without any intermediaries. Muslims often refer to God as Allah, which simply means “God” in the Arabic language. Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians also refer to God as Allah.

God describes Himself in the holy book of Muslims, the Quran (also spelled ‘Koran’), by stating:
“Say, ‘He is God the One, God the eternal. He begot no one nor was He begotten. No one is comparable to Him.’” (112:1-4).
A Universal Faith

Islam is the culmination of the universal message of God taught by all of His prophets. Muslims believe that a prophet was chosen for every nation at some point in their history, enjoining them to worship God alone and delivering guidance on how to live peacefully with others. Some of the prophets of God include Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, peace be upon them all. The prophets all conveyed the consistent divine message of worshiping one God, along with specific societal laws for each nation’s circumstances.

However, after the prophets delivered the divine guidance to their people, their message was lost, abandoned, or changed over time, with only parts of the original message intact. God then sent another prophet to rectify their beliefs.

In order to restore the original call of all prophets, God sentMuhammad (pbuh) as the final prophet to all of humanity in the 7thcentury C.E.

In 610 C.E., Angel Gabriel visited Muhammad (pbuh) with the first divine message. For the next 23 years, he continued to receive revelations until the message was completed. Muhammad (pbuh) called people towards the belief in one God and encouraged them to be just and merciful to one another. He was a living example of God’s guidance for the benefit of the entire humankind.

“Then We revealed to you [Muhammad], ‘Follow the creed of Abraham, a man of pure faith who was not an idolater.’”(Quran, 16:123)

Muslims also believe that God sent revealed books as guidance to humanity through His prophets. These include the Torah given to Moses, the Gospel conferred upon Jesus, and the Quran received by Muhammad (pbuh). The Quran is the last revelation from God, consisting of God’s literal speech. It confirms truths from the previous scriptures and maintains the same core message of worshiping God and living righteously. God has ensured that the Quran is protected from corruption, safeguarding it for all of humanity to benefit from until the end of time. It is the only holy book that has been meticulously preserved in its original text.

Purpose of Life

Islam clearly addresses one of the most central and challenging questions in human history: “What is the purpose of life?” God declares in the Quran, “And I did not create … mankind except to worship Me.” (51:56) For Muslims, the purpose of life is to worship God, the Creator of all things. Worship in Islam is a comprehensive concept that urges people to be conscious of God throughout their daily lives and provides a framework to help people live a balanced and virtuous life.

This way of life promotes strong moral character, good relations with people, and just and harmonious societies. Devoting one’s self to a life of submission to God is the key to attaining a true sense of peace because it produces a balance of spiritual needs with worldly affairs. It also lends special meaning to the concept of living one’s life responsibly, aware of the accountability to come in the hereafter.

Belief in the Day of Judgment is extremely important in Islam. This event will signal the transition between the temporary life of this world to the eternal life in the hereafter. On that day, people will be resurrected and held accountable for their deeds in life, which will determine their eternal destination in Heaven or Hell. Many verses in the Quran describe the events on the Day of Judgment in great detail and give a description of Heaven and Hell.
Worship in Islam

Worship in Islam is woven into the daily life of a Muslim and is not confined to a holy place. The fundamental aspects of worship in Islam are encompassed within five pillars, which enable Muslims to cultivate their relationship with God.

1. Testimony of Faith (Shahadah): The first of the five basic foundations is knowingly and voluntarily asserting that, “There is nothing worthy of worship except God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.” This statement is the basis of faith in Islam, affirming that no partners can be associated with God and Muhammad is His final prophet. As a result of this belief, Muslims seek guidance in life through God’s revelation (the Quran) and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

2. Prayer (Salah): Muslims are required to pray five times a day to maintain a spiritual connection with God and remind themselves of their ultimate purpose in life. Through sincerity, repentance, and direct prayer to God, Muslims strive to establish a personal spiritual relationship with their Creator all throughout the day. This prayer includes physical motions of bowing and prostrating, which were also performed by Jesus, Moses, and the prophets before them.

3. Charity (Zakah): This is an annual charity given to the poor. Muslims must give 2.5% of their yearly savings to help the poor, the needy, and the oppressed. Charity is one of the vital sources of social welfare in Islam, encouraging a just society where everyone’s basic needs are provided for.

4. Fasting (Sawm): Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar, by refraining from eating, drinking, and sexual interaction from dawn to sunset. It is an act of self-restraint and spiritual cleansing that increases one’s empathy for the less fortunate and enables one to consciously control bad habits such as foul language, idle talk, and anger. Fasting also helps people develop strong willpower as they overcome the essential desires of their body and the damaging acts of their tongue.

5. Pilgrimage (Hajj): The pilgrimage (journey) to Mecca is an act that every Muslim must perform once in their life if they are physically and financially able. It symbolizes the unity of humankind as Muslims from every race and nationality assemble together in equality to worship God, following the traditions of Prophet Abraham.

A Holistic Approach

These primary acts of worship urge individuals to fulfill their purpose in life by becoming more conscious of God and serving the practical needs of society. However, worship is not limited to simply completing these acts.

Islam promotes a holistic approach to worship that encompasses spreading justice and compassion in the world through one’s daily interactions with people. Smiling at someone, visiting the sick, and defending an innocent person who is being oppressed are all considered acts of worship as well. These forms of worship exemplify the importance of good manners in Islam. Muhammad (pbuh) once said, “The best among you are those who have the best character.”

Islam has a practical approach to living that positively transforms people’s individual connection to God and fellow humans. Islam offers guidance on all matters of life, including one’s diet, manners, and social relationships. God tells Muslims to eat everything “good and pure” while adhering to simple dietary restrictions such as avoidance of pork, alcohol and anything slaughtered in the name of other than God.

When it comes to dressing and behavior, modesty and humility are ordained for both men and women. Muhammad (pbuh) has stated, “Every religion has an essential character and the essential character of Islam is modesty.”

Parental obedience and dutifulness is integral to Islam. Men and women are to sanctify their relations in a marital contract, taking their spousal roles and family units seriously. Raising children who are morally upright and responsible participants in their communities is also a significant obligation. The preservation of family ties is a fundamental principle of Islam, along with kind treatment of orphans, widows, travelers, and neighbors. Professional and philanthropic contributions to one’s society are encouraged in order to nurture individual and collective success.

God calls on people to remember Him in all of their actions and purify their hearts so that they can live a truly balanced life. Spirituality in Islam is about nurturing tolerance, kindness, control, righteousness, and forgiveness while shunning arrogance, pride, ego, anger and selfishness. This spirituality and God-consciousness should be reflected in a person’s interactions with other people. Therefore, Islam stresses the importance of treating people with respect, mercy, and dignity.

In conclusion, Islam is not a new way of life; rather, it maintains the same message God sent to humanity through all of His messengers. Islam teaches people how to have a meaningful relationship with God, without any intermediaries, and how to reform their souls, beautify their character, and be part of a vibrant, healthy community. Through this message, God encourages individuals to draw closer to Him and fulfill their purpose in life.

Is it not time for believers to humble their hearts to the remembrance of God and the Truth that has been revealed?(Quran, 57:16)

 

We invite you to learn more about Islam on our website: www.whyislam.org or by calling us on our toll-free line (877) WHY-ISLAM.

The Quran & Science – A booklet

INTRODUCTION

On the 9th of November, 1976, an unusual lecture was given at the French Academy of Medicine. Its title was “Physiological and Embryological data in the Qur’an”. I presented the study based on the existence of certain statements concerning physiology and reproduction in the Qur’an. My reason for presenting this lecture was because it is impossible to explain how a text produced in the seventh century could have contained ideas that have only been discovered in modern times.

For the first time, I spoke to members of a learned medical society on subjects whose basic concepts they all knew well, but I could, just as easily, have pointed out statements of a scientific nature contained in the Qur’an and other subjects to specialists from other disciplines. Astronomers, zoologists, geologists and specialists in the history of the earth would all have been struck, just as forcibly as medical doctors, by the presence in the Qur’an of highly accurate reflections on natural phenomena. These reflections are particularly astonishing when we consider the history of science, and can only lead us to the conclusion that they are a challenge to human explanation.

There is no human work in existence that contains statements as far beyond the level of knowledge of its time as the Qur’an. Scientific opinions comparable to those in the Qur’an are the result of modern knowledge. In the commentaries to translations of the Qur’an that have appeared in European languages, I have only been able to find scattered and vague references to them. Nor do commentators writing in Arabic provide a complete study of the aspects of the Qur’an that deal with scientific matters. This is why the idea of a comprehensive study of the problem appealed to me.

In addition to this, a comparative study of similar data contained in the Bible (Old Testament and Gospels) seemed desirable. Thus, a research project was developed from the comparison of certain passages in the Holy Scriptures of each monotheistic religion with modern scientific knowledge. The project resulted in the publication of a book entitled, The Bible, the Qur’an and Science. The first French edition appeared in May 1976. English and Arabic editions have since been published.

RELIGION AND SCIENCE

There is, perhaps, no better illustration of the close links between Islam and science than the Prophet Muhammad’s often-quoted statements:

“Seeking knowledge is compulsory on every Muslim.”

“wisdom is the lost property of the believer.”

“whoever follows a path seeking knowledge, Allah will make his path to paradise easy.”

These statements and many others are veritable invitations to humanity to enrich their knowledge from all sources. It comes as no surprise, therefore, to learn that in Islam religion and science have always been considered as twin sisters and that today, at a time when science has taken such great strides, they still continue to be associated. Nor is it a surprise to learn that certain scientific data are used for the better understanding of the Qur’anic text. What is more, in a century where, for many people, scientific truth has dealt a deathblow to religious belief, it is precisely the discoveries of science that, in an objective examination of the Islamic scripture, have highlighted the supernatural nature of revelation and the authenticity of the religion which it taught.

Read the complete booklet here

The place of the Quran in the Scientific Revolution

We are living in an era of unprecedented scientific and technological developments. The frontiers of science have progressed to the stage that gene therapy, sustainable energy and semiconductor technology are revolutionizing the world in which we live. Humankind has acquired knowledge and insight of deep issues that were previously unimaginable.  These developments have shaped the way one analyzes and responds to sources of evidence. This section will consider the scientific concepts of developing and testing hypotheses and will compare the roles of science and divine revelation in shaping our overall worldviews. The theory of evolution will be discussed and the evidence for and against it reviewed.

The Big Question

Dr. Laurence Brown

At some point in our lives, everybody asks the big questions: “Who made us,” and “Why are we here?”

So who did make us? Most of us have been brought up more on science than religion, and to believe in the Big Bang and evolution more than God. But which makes more sense? And is there any reason why the theories of science and creationism cannot coexist?

The Big Bang may explain the origin of the universe, but it doesn’t explain the origin of the primordial dust cloud. This dust cloud (which, according to the theory, drew together, compacted and then exploded) had to come from somewhere. After all, it contained enough matter to form not just our galaxy, but the billion other galaxies in the known universe. So where did that come form? Who, or what, created the primordial dust cloud?

Similarly, evolution may explain the fossil record, but it falls far short of explaining the quintessential essence of human life—the soul. We all have one. We feel its presence, we speak of its existence and at times pray for its salvation. But only the religious can explain where it came from. The theory of natural selection can explain many of the material aspects of living things, but it fails to explain the human soul.

Furthermore, anyone who studies the complexities of life and the universe cannot help but witness the signature of the Creator. Whether or not people recognize these signs is another matter—as the old saying goes, denial isn’t just a river inEgypt. (Get it? Denial, spelled “de Nile” … the river Ni … oh, never mind.) The point is that if we see a painting, we know there is a painter. If we see a sculpture, we know there’s a sculptor; a pot, a potter. So when we view creation, shouldn’t we know there’s a Creator?

The concept that the universe exploded and then developed in balanced perfection through random events and natural selection is little different from the proposal that, by dropping bombs into a junkyard, sooner or later one of them will blow everything together into a perfect Mercedes.

If there is one thing we know for certain, it is that without a controlling influence, all systems degenerate into chaos. The theories of the Big Bang and evolution propose the exact opposite, however—that chaos fostered perfection. Would it not be more reasonable to conclude that the Big Bang and evolution were controlled events? Controlled, that is, by the Creator?

The Bedouin of Arabia tell the tale of a nomad finding an exquisite palace at an oasis in the middle of an otherwise barren desert. When he asks how it was built, the owner tells him it was formed by the forces of nature. The wind shaped the rocks and blew them to the edge of this oasis, and then tumbled them together into the shape of the palace. Then it blew sand and rain into the cracks to cement them together. Next, it blew strands of sheep’s wool together into rugs and tapestries, stray wood together into furniture, doors, windowsills and trim, and positioned them in the palace at just the right locations. Lightning strikes melted sand into sheets of glass and blasted them into the window-frames, and smelted black sand into steel and shaped it into the fence and gate with perfect alignment and symmetry. The process took billions of years and only happened at this one place on earth—purely through coincidence.

When we finish rolling our eyes, we get the point. Obviously, the palace was built by design, not by happenstance. To what (or more to the point, to Whom), then, should we attribute the origin of items of infinitely greater complexity, such as our universe and ourselves?

Another argument to dismiss the concept of Creationism focuses upon what people perceive to be the imperfections of creation. These are the “How can there be a God if such-and-such happened?” arguments. The issue under discussion could be anything from a natural disaster to birth defects, from genocide to grandma’s cancer. That’s not the point. The point is that denying God based upon what we perceive to be injustices of life presumes that a divine being would not have designed our lives to be anything other than perfect, and would have established justice on Earth.

Hmm … is there no other option?

We can just as easily propose that God did not design life on Earth to be paradise, but rather a test, the punishment or rewards of which are to be had in the next life, which is where God establishes His ultimate justice. In support of this concept we can well ask who suffered more injustices in their worldly lives than God’s favorites, which is to say the prophets? And who do we expect to occupy the highest stations in paradise, if not those who maintain true faith in the face of worldly adversity? So suffering in this worldly life does not necessarily translate into God’s disfavor, and a blissful worldly life does not necessarily translate into beatitude in the hereafter.

I would hope that, by this line of reasoning, we can agree upon the answer to the first “big question.”  Who made us? Can we agree that if we are creation, God is the Creator?

If we can’t agree on this point, there probably isn’t much point in continuing. However, for those who do agree, let’s move on to “big question” number two—why are we here? What, in other words, is the purpose of life?

 

Copyright © 2007 Laurence B. Brown

Permission granted for free and unrestricted reproduction if reproduced in entirety without omissions, additions or alterations.

A graduate ofCornellUniversity,BrownUniversityMedicalSchoolandGeorgeWashingtonUniversityHospitalresidency program, Laurence B. Brown is an ophthalmic surgeon, a retired Air Force officer, and the medical director and chief ophthalmologist of a major eye center. He is also an ordained interfaith minister with a doctorate in divinity and a PhD in religion, and the author of a number of books of comparative religion and reality-based fiction. His works can be found on his website, www.LevelTruth.com.