Islam · Religion

The Five Pillars of Islam V2.0

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The five pillars of Islam are not specifically mentioned in Qur’an. They were derived by the scholars of Islam after studying Qur’an, Sunnah and the Hadith. The three original sources of Islam. The five pillars are

  1. Declaration of Faith
  2. Prayer
  3. Charity
  4. Fasting
  5. Pilgrimage

With time, Muslims have evolved, their thinking has changed, and the way they practice Islam has changed drastically. If a Non-Muslim who is analyzing Muslims, without being in touch with the original sources, will he be able to come up with the same five pillars? or will they differ?

The hypothesis I’m presenting is that the principles will differ. That too drastically. I am very well aware that there is a debate among the academic circle about the need to reconstruct the religion, there are many scholars who are for it, and they are many who speak against it. My thesis is that the religion has been reconstructed already.

So, without further adieu, let me present to you, the New five pillars of Islam, as understood by our current Muslim community. The five pillars of Islam, version 2.0

1- Halaal Food

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Muslims–especially from Indo-Pak subcontinent–are out and out obsessed with this. Is it Halaal, is it Zabiha Halaal, and a new one going around, is it Javed Zabiha halal. Is it a Muslim guy reciting takbeer Halaal or is it a takbeer on Radio Halal. The obsession is to such an extent that it won’t be wrong that Muslims consider that the following teaching of Qur’an Chapter 49 Verse 12 has been abrogated.

Believers, avoid being excessively suspicious, for some suspicion is a sin. Do not spy, nor backbite one another.

Muslim probably now think that as per the teaching of Qur’an one shouldn’t speculate about someone but there is a condition applied to this ruling and that is until and unless that person starts a slaughter house or a restaurant. To put it in simple words, every Muslims is considered truthful by default, till he opens a restaurant, from that point, he is a liar by default, till proven otherwise.

2- Hijaab

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This is the other obsession with Muslim women. Be it Hijaab or Burqa or Niqab. It doesn’t matter that there is hardly any reputed who scholar agrees that Naqab is a part of Islam, nor does it matter that Naqaab defeats the entire purpose of Naqaab if worn in the West, as it attracts more attention than deviates, but still, The delusion of grandeur continues.

Muslims Demonstrate Against Ministers Comments On Veiling

One very interesting thing is that the verse usually quoted as mandating Hijaab–chapter 24 verse 31–doesn’t mandate Hijaab in clear terms. It’s derived from it.

..and must wrap their bosoms with their shawls…

I’ve consciously taken the translation of shawl for the word Khimaar instead of the now popularized veil, to point out that there is no such universal agreement that Khimaar means Viel. Secondly, even if it did, for a book, which makes it very clear, repeatedly, that it lays out everything in clear terms, it’s a bit of a stretch to start inferring such heavy rulings from Qur’an verses, assuming words to mean certain things without the presence of strong proof that it means that particular thing. Furthermore, what I find very interesting is that the same very verse lists down all the relatives in front of who there won’t be need for such a covering

..and must not expose their adornment, except to their husbands or their fathers or the fathers of their husbands, or to their sons or the sons of their husbands, or to their brothers or the sons of their brothers or the sons of their sisters, or to their women, or to those owned by their right hands, or male attendants having no (sexual) urge, or to the children who are not yet conscious of the shames of women.

Over here, as you can see, instead of just saying close relatives, Qur’an goes in details–some may argue, even more than necessary–and that’s how the book claims it is. Mentioning this clearly, with no confusion.

I understand why women like wearing Hijab, it’s considered modest, and I see their point, it’s a good modest thing, no doubt. But, that is not enough to start passing it out as religiously mandatory, that will be playing God, and Qur’an strictly–without inference–forbids us from doing that.

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One Idea which I simply loathe is this comparison of Hijab with a lollipop cover. Implying that woman is some sort of lollipop. Just as in uncovered lollipop thrown in the dust, covered with flies and insects is a disgusting sight and no one would want to do anything with it, similarly a woman who is not covered will be inflicted with flies and insects–which I guess are men. Such teachings are extremely misogynist, coming from men who are very insecure and should be unacceptable when done in the name of Islam.

3- Iftaar

Fast is obligated on Muslims as per Qur’an chapter 2 verse 183

O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become pious

Whether a Muslim at an Individual level becomes pious or not is impossible to comment. But we can look at the state of Muslims as a community and derive that the reason why their fast is only so that they have a Grand Iftaari, where there is a big get together, friends and family unite, chit chat, talk and have a gala time.

Various dishes are introduced, no more fasting with just dates, there is samosa, there is haleem, there is dahi vada, there is fruit salad, there is chaat, and there are various drinks ranging from Mango Lassi to Soft drinks to Chai and Coffee. It will be very surprising if Muslims community ends up becoming pious because of fasting.

4- Signs of Judgement Day

Another great grand obsession among Muslims is to figure out the date of coming of Qiyamah, the Judgement Day. When I was growing up it was said Y2k will be the end of the world, many even claimed that there is a Hadith pointing out, very clearly, that too. I’m still to come across such a Hadith.

Almost, every Muslim WhatsApp group will have one member who has forwarded something related to coming of Qiyamah. You have major signs, minor signs, mahdi signs, 77 minor signs, 48 signs, signs on one page.

The most popular Hadith regarding this is the hadith of Gabriel, which lists only two signs that are awfully clear, first, the slavery will end, and second, the Bedouins of the Arab land will start building tall buildings. Source.

But, Muslims love Drama and they don’t mind spicing things up with extra signs borrowed from other religions to nanny bedtime stories.

5- Global Caliphate

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Global Caliphate has been a Muslim rage for some time now. This was discussed by Ibn Tahmiyya, Mawdudi, Qutub and many other great scholars of Islam. Calling a Classical Scholar wrong, and accepting that even he is capable of a mistake is something which Muslims never do, no matter the cost. And this did cost the Muslim society dearly.

The very basic message of religion which was of humility and empathy, in no time changed to establishing the rule of God across the Globe. The religion of no compulsion became the religion of giving takfir ( declaring people as Apostates ) to anyone who disagrees with the majority.

Jihad, a war against self, and a war against opression to save the oppressed became the holy war to establish a caliphate on each and every non-muslim country.

Will these concepts every be corrected in the Muslim community? I honestly doubt that. Rather, what will happen, is what has happened before, a new community will be raised, who will carry out the ACTUAL message of Islam. This happened when Turks accepted Islam and the message spread through them, this happened when Romans accepted Christianity and the message spread through them.

But, if someone is interested in understanding the error in this concept and correcting his perspective then he can do this here, the article by Javed Ahmed Ghamidi on Counter Narrative for Global Caliphate does a good Job in pointing out the mistakes and the correct teachings of Islam.

Religion

Ticket to Heaven – Masjid Fundraising

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With the surge of Muslim Population in the US, the need to create Masjid(Mosque) is increasing as well. It’s understood by the wide variety of Muslims that being part of the Masjid construction is a good deed and increases their chances of entering Paradise. This understanding is based on the hadith narrated in Jami at-Tirmidhi by Uthman b Affan, source

Whoever builds a Masjid for (the sake of) Allah, then Allah will build a similar house for him in Paradise.

With the rise of Muslims Economic condition, with many Muslims taking lucrative Jobs of Doctors, Lawyers and Engineers there is an outburst of Masjid construction in many parts of the country.

Building a place of worship is a good thing, no doubt about that. But, if not done properly, then this can become disastrous. I’m afraid this is what is happening currently. I’m going to point out five things which need to be changed ASAP. They are going to hurt us more in the long run, then they profit us in the short run.

The first thing is the way the fundraising is marketed. There are three parts

to this

1- Hiring a speaker with a celebrity status in the Muslim Community. Some examples are below

This has resulted in a field where you have professionals who are using this as a source of income. They charge you either a fixed amount or a percentage of entire fund generation.

The problem with this is such professionals will twist and turn the original sources until and unless they are able to meet the funding requirement. There will be a sort of competition where they will be divided into tiers based on the amount of funding that can be done. The Masjid becomes a marketplace of competition instead of a place of worship.

PS: I’m not implying that the individuals mentioned in the above example charge any money. I’ve no such information.

2- Choosing a good time for the fundraising. This has resulted in choosing that month where people do most of their charity. The month of Ramadan. Since fundraising is a one-night event the night which is generally chosen is Lailat ul Qadr.

The way the fundraising program is usually set up is that it’s inserted between the Maghrib prayer and the Isha Prayer. In some cases it’s divided into two parts, the first part is before Isha prayer and the second part is in between the Taraweeh prayer. People who come specifically for praying Taraweeh–especially on Lailatul-Qadr get very disturbed because of this.

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3- A very strong, mind washing, misleading punchline is used in the marketing emails and the pamphlets to attract people to fundraising.

4- The way fundraising is done is akin to how an auction is done. Since the goal of the Masjid is to maximize the funds in one night, people are pressurized into donation. Slogans like “how many brothers for 1k”, “how many sisters for 5k” are very common. An emotional and social pressure is put on people to donate money.

5- Lastly, and probably the most important point. Currently, the number of Masjids in a city or county are not regularized in any way. If you have enough money or can generate enough money, and if you have enough space to construct a building you are good to go. The problem with this is, a decent masjid takes about 500k USD for construction. During Fundraising events, people from all over the country are invited. It’s not a huge struggle to construct a Masjid. The problem emerges while maintaining it. Paying bills, paying for the Imaam, paying for repairs isn’t easy and the community may not be rich enough to support this cost. This amount is not always calculated. This leads to a very badly maintained masjid, run by an underpaid Imaam, monitored by a usually frustrated committee.

Giving charity for the construction of Masjid is very good. But, what is more important, is to give charity for people who are in need, firstly from within one’s family. As said in Qur’an Chapter 2 Verse 215

They ask you about what they should spend(in Charity). Tell them: ‘Whatever you spend is for your parents and kinsfolk and for the orphan and the destitute and the wayfarer [of your society]. And [rest assured] whatever good you do [will never go waste] because God is fully aware of it’.

This is a very hard task. You have to first be in touch with your family members, many may not tell you that they are in need and you will be faced with the hard task of deciphering it. A trait of such people is also mentioned in Qur’an in Chapter 2 Verse 273 while describing the state of people who had done Hijrah(Migration). Such trait is very common in people from our family as well.

…The ignorant take them for men of wealth on account of their modest behavior. You can recognize them by their faces – they are NOT annoyingly insistent in begging. [Help them] and [be aware that] whatever you spend [for this objective will necessarily earn a reward for you] because it is known to God.

You will have to ignore many things which you may not like about them, come up with a way to give the money without they feeling humiliated, and in the end swallow up any taunts which come from them, if any. This very point is stressed in Qur’an Chapter 3 Verse 134

Those who give charity in all circumstances whether they are in ease or in hardship and [even if they encounter any wrongdoing from those upon whom they spend] they curb their anger and forgive them [These are righteous] and God loves such righteous people.

When Masjid provides an alternate option for this hard task in the form of a ticket to heaven, people generally will go for it. In my opinion, this is against the teaching of Qur’an and a Masjid should be a place which should get people close to the teachings of Qur’an and not away from it. As of now, we don’t see this.

I really hope that such type of fundraising decreases and scholars teach people how truly to get into Jannah.

News

Killing of a 17 year old Nabra Hassanen

A teenager from Loudoun County, Virginia was reported missing a few days back and after a long search, she was found dead. This article goes into more detail about the incident.

Many Muslim Scholars and Celebrities posted their condolences online in support of the victim’s family.

Plus, there was an online protest because this murder/killing and probably even sexual assault were being passed as a Road Rage, whereas many Muslims are of the opinion that it’s a hate crime.

This article talks about how the father is rejecting the theory put forward by the detectives and mentions in detail his reasoning to do so.

What happened was very sad, I pray that God gives strength to her family and I pray that she is admitted in the eternal kingdom of God and God forgives all her sins. I am of the opinion that this is a hate crime. I hope the detectives consider this as one and it’s taken seriously so that such things don’t repeat itself.

One thing which I didn’t notice on the web was what Muslims as a society were doing to curb such a thing occurring in the future. I strongly feel that Mosques in Central and East Coast should avoid Taraweeh prayers in the Masjid. This is because I’m of the opinion that Taraweeh prayer is best prayed at home, in solitude. This was also the opinion of Umar and Abu Bakr. Arguably, the two closest companions of the Prophet. As understood by the following Hadith Narrated by Abu Qatadah in Jami-at-Tirmidhi

The Prophet (S) said to Abu Bakr: “I passed by you while you were reciting and your voice was low.” He said: “I let He who, I was consulting hear.” He said: “Raise your voice.” Then he said to Umar: “I passed by while you were reciting and your voice was loud.” So he said: “I repel drowsiness and keep Ash-Shaitan away.” So he said: “Lower your voice.”

Plus, Taraweeh in this time zone easily goes beyond midnight and it is not very safe for people. So, till things get better it’s best if we can not pray Taraweeh in Masjid. I’m well aware that Taraweeh is a choice, and no one is mandated to pray, but there is always an emotional and social pressure, hence it’s best if the Masjid management takes this matter in their own hand and solve it.