Monday, 24 October 2011

One perspective on the 'advance' development of the west and Islam


In this entry, comparison will be made on the prohibition of alcohol in Islam and the west.

Most muslims understand the word 'jahilliyah' as the period of ignorance in Arabia before the coming of the Prophet salallahualaihiwassalam. During this period, the arabs of Makkah are involved in a lot of activities where we would say are backwards, disgusting and immoral.

In this period of ignorance (jahilliyah) also refers to individual education. Most of them were illiterate, barely have any understanding of science and basically no system in life. One thing for sure is that, the arabs during jahilliyah heavily rely on alcohol as part of their lives. They had about 250 names for alcohol which shows their obsession for alcohol. Having 250 names for a type of drink is exceptional for any culture.

The came of Islam brought changes to this jahilliyah or backward culture. The changes are in the sequence manner. First they asked Prophet Muhammad salallahualaihiwasalam for guidance on liquor. "They ask you about strong drinks and games of chance. Say :"in both is great evil, even though there is some benefit for people, but their evil is greater than their benefit." They ask: "What shall we spend in the Way of Allah?" Say :"Whatever you can spare." In this way Allah clearly expounds His injunctions to you that you may reflect upon them." (Surah albaqarah verse 219) Then, as they were difficult to part with alcohol, some offer their solah while intoxicated hence making errors in Qur'anic recitation. Then the verse was revealed "O you who believe! Do not draw near to the prayer while you are intoxicated until you know what you are saying; nor when you are defiled..." (Surah nisa verse 43) Liquor still showed its harm as people fight with each other and etc hence the following verse was revealed. "O you who believe! Strong drink and game of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan's handiwork. Leave it aside in order that you may succeed." (Surah al maidah verse 90)

After receiving this clear instruction from Allah, the arabs of jahilliyah who were so attached to alcohol part their ways with alcohol. Until today, muslims still stay away from alcohol. Of course there are some of those black sheeps, but generally muslims avoid alcohol. The punishment for a muslim to be caught drinking alcohol was 80 lashes. Even without the practise of this punishment, muslims generally manage to keep a distance from alcohol.

In the U.S around 1930's they tried to banned liquor. They spend about 600 million dollars for campaign and all the expenses to prohibit alcohol. Even with most of its population who are literate and generally have good knowledge of science, the prohibition of alcohol didn't last long. In the end, the community caused the prohibition to be taken off. The law of prohibition of alcohol in this context was created by human. The rationale of the law comes from the will of the people. Therefore if people do not will such prohibition, it will then be lifted or taken off. This shows the weakness of the so called "democracy" - the voice of majority. The voice of majority doesn't necessarily proves that it is the correct guidance/path. Hence if the voice of majority is being followed, the minority will then suffer. The rationale of the law also comes from the feelings and influence of what the majority receive. Creating a law following instinct or feelings can cause a great error in our lives. Hence we actually need a law that does not originate from human.

Islam managed to prohibit alcohol without even spending one penny/cent for campaigns and etc. It is done through iman and fear of Allah. This is the strength and benefits of Islam that victory can be obtained through iman. Usually the west is being labelled more advance compared to the muslim countries. Despite their "advance" they could not achieve what the muslims did and it lasted for more than 1400 years. I'm of the opinion that Islam is more advance because it takes into consideration of the next life or the life in hereafter. The west only 'advances' in this life in the world and do not have a clue or preparation for the life of the hereafter.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

"No hudud please, we're Malaysian" ???

Narrated Anas bin Malik radiallahuanhu: The Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam said, "None will have the sweetness(delight) of Faith

(a) till he loves a person and loves him only for Allah's sake,

(b) till it becomes dearer to him to be thrown in the fire than to revert to disbelief (Heathenism) after Allah has brought him out (saved him) from it,
(c) till Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad salallahualaihiwasalam) become dearer to him than anything else."

Narrated Tariq: 'Abdullah said, "The best talk is Allah's Book (the Qur'an), and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad salallahualaihiwasalam.

They started the "article by saying are our politicians bad, crazy or stupid?" Does this not show you that they lack of good manners and respect to those who are seeking ways to improve the country (i.e politicans, governers)? They can argue with the politicians but calling them bad, crazy or stupid are not from the teaching of Islam. Narrated Abu Hurairah radiallahuanhu: The Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam said, "A good, pleasent, friendly word is a Sadaqa." [Sahih Bukhari]

The continued by saying "if I were the opposition, I would jump and present my party". This already shows that they are trying to divide the community. Show link. Also the title 'No hudud please, we're Malaysian' stresses on nationalism/tribalism. "And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them. It is they for  whom there is an awful torment." (surah al-an'am verse 35) Nationalism is HARAM because the Prophet Mohammad (saw) said in the following Hadeeths:
"Leave it. It is Rotten " [Bukhari & Muslim] refers to all forms of Asabiyah, nationalism, racism, and patriotism. 
Grouping the Muslims on tribalistic lines is clearly forbidden. It is narrated by Abu Daud that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "He is not one us who calls for `Asabiyah, (nationalism/tribalism) or who fights for `Asabiyah or who dies for `Asabiyah."
" ...People should give up their pride in nations because this is a coal from the coals of hell-fire. If they do not give this up Allah (swt) will consider them lower than a lowly worm which pushes itself through khur (feces)." [abu Dawd and Tirmidhi].

"An offer of the hudud law and its grim serving of chopped-off Muslim hands and feet, and stoning to death! What kind of future is that?" This clearly indicates that their definition of future is only in the lifetime of this world. They are entirely worried of what is going to happen to "Malaysia" in the future but not considering about the Muslims in the hereafter. Muslims should believe that future also means in the hereafter.

"So it's okay for Muslims to be brutalised?" There should be no police or jail if they put it in that sense if they are scared to be brutalised. Nobody should go to jail because that person is being brutalised and deprived from the main society. The idea of jail is to make people fear of it so that nobody would dare to make any evil. If anyone decides to do evil, they would be punished to prison, life sentence and etc. Similarly with hudud law, it is to create the fear and reminder that there is even a worse punishment in the hereafter. I can point out that by doing hudud, the taxpayers money will be saved to pay the food and accommodation of the prisoners. Plus, those who committed evil acts are not likely to commit again.

"What if the thief was a Chinese or Indian ...while the Malay is now disabled.." The issue here is about Muslims and their law, why write Chinese, Indian and Malay? This MAY BE because they are trying to strike racial issues. Clearly we have chinese muslims, malay christians and etc. There is no need to include race in this issue/article. This article is either trying to provoke or just simply bad composition. Hence, clearly there is no conspiracy to make the MALAYS permanently disabled. The hudud law is made to encourage MUSLIMS to do good and avoid commiting evil.

"But they are Malaysian citizens who have every rights to speak up on laws that allow for brutal and inhumane punishments against their fellow citizens, the majority population boot." This clearly shows that we do not have personal rights to practise our religion! Clearly they do not receive the knowledge in the Qur'an or the pious Muslims about Prophet Noah. If it was clearly up to the majority, they would be afflicted by destruction. Muslims believes in the law that was prescribed, by following the majority will not let us practice it!

"Who wants to live in such society when your neighbour, ... are subject to a cruel legal system?" Another question can be raised from this is that who wants a neighbour who is a criminal and is not afraid to commit evil? Narrated Ibn Umar radiallahuanhu Allah's Mesengger salallahu alaihiwasalam said, "Jibril kept on recommending me about treating the neighbours kindly and politely, so much so I thought that he would order me to make them as my heirs." [Sahih Bukhari]

Narrated Abu Shuraih: The Prophet salallahualaiwasalam said, "By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe! It was said, "Who is that, O Allah's Messenger?" He said, "That person whose neighbour does not feel safe from evil." [Sahih bukhari]

They have mistaken rape for zina. Clearly rape is different from zina. Zina is consensual but was witnessed/caught by some. Rape is non-consensual.
During the time of the Prophet (saw) punishment was inflicted on the rapist on the solitary evidence of the woman who was raped by him. Wa'il ibn Hujr reports of an incident when a woman was raped. Later, when some people came by, she identified and accused the man of raping her. They seized him and brought him to Allah's messenger, who said to the woman, "Go away, for Allâh has forgiven you," but of the man who had raped her, he said, "Stone him to death." (Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)

During the time when Umar (raa) was the Khalifah, a woman accused his son Abu Shahmah of raping her; she brought the infant borne of this incident with her to the mosque and publicly spoke about what had happened. Umar (raa) asked his son who acknowledged committing the crime and was duly punished right there and then. There was no punishment given to the woman. (Rauf)
Islamic legal scholars interpret rape as a crime in the category of Hiraba. In ‘Fiqh-us-Sunnah’, hiraba is described as: ‘a single person or group of people causing public disruption, killing, forcibly taking property or money, attacking or raping women (hatk al ‘arad), killing cattle, or disrupting agriculture.’ [Can be found at]

Clearly this Hudud law have caused fear in their hearts. Hence it shows how effective the Hudud law because it managed to cause fear and may Allah make us righteous muslims so that we are avoided from the punishment in this world and the hereafter.
may we always be guided to the right path. Insha'Allah.

Thursday, 29 September 2011


Bismillahirohmanirohim ( In the name of Allah the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate)

Nowadays, there are a lot of convenience store that operates 24 hours a day. This culture  originated from the West but it is not impossible to find this culture in the East too. The idea is not only appealing to the capitalist entrepreneur but also to provide convenience to consumers to make any purchase at any time of the day. Therefore it looks like a win-win situation for both parties. Since Eastern countries (/Malaysia) do not have 4 seasons, having 24 hours shops/stores seem to be a trend. One of the reason people in Malaysia like to go out at night is because of its cool breeze and hence they avoid the blazing sun during the day.

We usually claim that we follow a religion as a source of guide to life but sometimes we are not men of our words. We find it difficult to practise what we preach even though we know it is the right way. As we understand, in Islam, the night is for us to rest and also to devote our time for prayer privately as it was practised by the Prophet Muhammad salallahualaihiwasalam. Evidently when Khalid al-walid was leading the army, their night was devoted for worshipping. Qubuqlar, the Roman deputy commander sent a Christian arab to enter the Muslim camp to be a spy. So he spent a day and night in the Muslim camp as a spy and when he returned to Qubuqlar, he said "By night they are like monks, by day like warriors.."

As we know from the lifetime of the Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam, after isha' prayers it is the time to go straight home. The Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam do get occasional visits after Isha' from Abu Bakr as Siddiq due to their friendship (even before Prophethood) and also because of being the father to Prophet's salallahualaihiwasalam wife (Aisha radiallahuanha). Other than these visits, after Isha was not a time to gather/meeting/discuss. Usually the gathering/meetings are held after Fajr prayers when sometimes the Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam turns after leading the prayer and ask if anyone had any question or any dreams to be interpreted. So, according to the Prophet's lifetime, night time is for rest and worshipping.

Why is it important for the night to be quiet/spent indoor?

i) In Islam we don't just observe others' rights such as parents rights, neighbours rights and etc. Islam also observes the right of the body from the individual. We have to eat what is Halal (permitted), the right amount and etc. Similarly, our body have the right to rest.

ii)The community needs to rest. By doing this, pollution may be reduced because less people travel at night, and also less electricity/power usage.

iii) Crimes may be reduced. If the culture instill in our mind that night time is for resting, most people would stay home. Therefore, those few people left roaming at night must have certain agendas in their mind. Crimes are easier to be conducted in the dark and ideal to the criminals due to its low risk. It is easier then for the authority to monitor. Therefore staying out at night will create a higher percentage to be a victim.

iv) The night should be spent with family. Ensuring their safety of the family members from the intense of the darkness. Also the time to be intimate and appreciate each other as the day has been spent on business, learning and etc.

In Surah Al-Falaq verse 3 we are being advised :"And from the evil of night's darkness when it spreads around;" It is a clear advise and prayer for us to avoid evil in the night. The issue has been discussed from the perception of the general community or "the consumers". What about the benefits on operating business 24 hours? Some may argue that 24 hours generates more income but are we looking for more income or more barakah in the income? Sometimes it shows how materialistic we are because of wanting to generate more income without considering anything else. This is the attitude of the capitalist.

"And to (the people of) Midian We sent their brother Shu'ayb. He said: "My people! Serve Allah; you have no god but He. And do not diminish the measure and weight. Indeed I see that you are prospering now, but I fear for you the chastisement of an encompassing day in the future. (85) My people! Give full measure and weight with justice, do not diminish the goods of others, and do not go about creating corruption in the land. (86) The gains that Allah let's you retain are better for you, if you indeed believe." [Surah hud verse 84-86]

These verses show that we should always beware of our economic dealings. Even if one gains a lot of income from doing business at night, does it have barakah? Clearly I have shown that there are more cons than pros in doing business in the night. The people of Midian weren't fair in their economic dealings and mainly because of this and rejecting Prophet Shu'ayb "So a mighty earthquake overtook them, and by morning they lay overturned in their houses." [Surah al-ankabut verse 36]. Let us not be obsessed in generating income without considering anything and disobey the instructions of Allah, insha'allah.

Although this verse refers to people who rushed away without listening to the khutbah of the Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam in order to do business with the caravan that was arriving, we should ponder on it. "But when they see a chance of trade or entertainment they scatter off to it and leave you standing there. Say: "What is with Allah is better than trade or entertainment. Allah is the best of providers." [surah jumu'ah verse 11]

The night in the current trend is usually being spent by operating business(trading) or entertainment (lepaq, karoake and etc) yet, Allah has mentioned that what is with Allah is better and Allah is the best of providers. So, we should limit the business operating hours as the night is better left for rest and worshipping and not be obsessed in generating income without considering anything and disobey the instructions of Allah, insha'allah.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Criticism on sunnah and hadith


Lately, I have come across a few people who don't believe in the Hadith or Sunnah. Some argue that Hadith is just a "word of mouth" and how can one be sure it is the Prophet's saying as it is all "hearsays". So, question is, is it impossible for a person to memorise the Hadith?

Firstly, Hadith is preserved in the same way of the Holy Quran which is through memorisation (although the Qur'an were written down by the scribes, it is memorised before recorded). Memorisation was the way of the uneducated/ poor arabs learn things. Most Arabs were not literate during the period of Jahiliyah (ignorance), and those who were not literate had no choice but to memorise what they have learnt. The literate Arabs were then the scribes which documented what have been said and done.

Qur'an was revealed by the Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam about 1400 years ago. It was revealed to him in fragments and not all at once. It was compiled as a Qur'an during the reign of the first caliph (Abu Bakr) by the initiation of  Umar al Khattab. The duty was given to Zaid bin Thabit. So it was compiled after the Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam passed away. What happened during this gap of time? If one were to accept Qur'an as the word of the truth, why can't one accept the sunna and hadith?

Umar al Khattab initiated it because the hafidh (protector) of Qur'an were the frontliners in the Jihad fisabilillah helping to expand the Islam empire. They were hafidh (protector) of the Qur'an not only from the memorisation part but they were also hafidh of the moral values in the Qur'an. This is the reason that they are the frontliners, because they understand and do not want to contradict themselves with the teachings of the Qur'an.

Anyway, Umar al Khattab was worried that all the hafidh being killed therefore suggested to Abu Bakr to compile the Qur'an in writing. Clearly, they relied heavily on people who had memorised the word of Allah subahanawata'ala (it is also undeniable that they needed the written verses as well to compile the Qur'an). Since all Muslims have no doubts in the Quran, why are there people who wouldn't accept the Sunnah and Hadith when in actual fact it is being preserved through memorisation until the time of Imam Malik, Bukhari and etc.

Arabs at the beginning of Islam were of the ignorance. Their level of ignorance were drastic which they do not learn how to read or write. Due to the ignorance of the people, those who are poor and no authority were oppressed. The oppression also caused them not being able to educate themselves on how to read/write. Therefore they relied heavily on memorising. In the early years of spreading Islam, the oppressed people were more keen towards embracing Islam. Hence, they were keen to learn more about Islam without knowing how to read and write which left them with no choice but to memorise. This is another point that make the Sunnah and Hadith reliable as it is relied heavily on memorisation.

Abu Hurayrah (Abdurrahman) radiallahuanhu is an example of a person who travelled to Madinah and wanted to study the ways of Islam with Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam himself. He dedicated himself to studying by living in the Prophet's mosque in Madinah. Even though he was so dedicated, he did not know how to read or write. Therefore relied heavily on memorisation. Perhaps when one do not know how to read/write they will master the art of memorising.

Does the Sunnah and Hadith rely only on sanad (chain of narrators)? No, it does not! Most of the Hadith do refer to the revelation of the verses. Hadith are mostly explanation of the verses. Without the Sunnah and Hadith it is difficult for muslim to pray, make hajj and etc. The bible states how the Prophets prayed, even so it is not being practised by Christians. Therefore, without the Sunna and Hadith, muslims would not even know how to pray and will end up with empty mosques! Most importantly, these Sunna and Hadith are in spirit with the Qur'an. For example, the verses on the prohibition of riba from the Qur'an (baqarah verse 275), then there came hadith on explaining riba and the way to prevent it. There are no contradictions between the verse of the Quran and the Hadith. The Hadith are there just to explain the grey areas. So, what is the purpose/excuse of rejecting these Hadith? Why would then people go to an extent of saying the Hadith as being fabricated?? Some have criticised that Bukhari is not reliable because verification on the reliability of the hadith is only/solely by checking the isnad (chain of narrators). This is not true! Bukhari mastered a few techniques other than verifying the isnad. He mastered the art of ascertaining the veracity of the Hadith's texts through its chain of narration (isnad), the background of the hadith narrator (al-asma al-rijal), as well as a sound knowledge and understanding of the Qur'an in order to determine whether the Hadith was in compliance with the Divine revelation. This is what made his work famous in the first place! Yet, there are common people in the ummah who dares to criticise his work!

Then, there are those verse on obey Allah and His Messenger. How do we obey the Messenger if it's not from the Hadith? It's almost impossible to follow the Qur'an without the sunna and hadiths. I don't really mind if there are people out there who doesn't want to practise the sunna & hadith, but to go all the way to abolish it and abolish shari'ah law without any justification is just out of hand. Its ironic that these type of people would like to talk about the "Islamisation of education".

Another thing to ponder before ending this entry is the azan (calling to prayer). It has been practised for centuries and there are no difference in its text, be it in the past or present,  or even on the geographical location. From Japan to the U.S the wordings for the azan are exactly the same and it relied on memorisation and not in writings. Do not rule out something just because it is being memorised. These are the few points that I have and I'm sure there are many other facts to support the authenticity of the sunna and hadith. Allah knows best!

Thursday, 11 August 2011


Bismillahirohmanirohim (In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate)
This entry is based on the various hadith that you could find in this website The right way of dealing with rulers

What are the cause of riots? Firstly, it is because that people are not steadfast to the religion. They do not have any rope to hold on to give a good principle and concious towards themselves.

These riot are supposed to be a revolt towards the injustice behaviour of those who are in authority. The teachings of Islam has always been parallel with peace. Do riots symbolise peace? From my point of view riot is definitely nothing close to peace. How about the unjust ruler? Should they go unpunished? This has been explained in the hadith. "Prophet’s saying reported on the authority of Hudhayfa Ibn Al-Yamân رضي الله عنه: “There will be rulers who will not be led by my guidance and will not adopt my tradition. There will be among them men who will have the hearts of devils in the bodies ofhuman beings”. I said: “What should I do O Messenger of Allah, if such timeovertook me? He said: “You will listen to the commander and carry out his orders, and even if your back is lashed and your wealth is seized (by force),you should listen and obey”"
What are the role of the community? The community should always be helping, and advising the unjust ruler. Then, there is the question, why should opposition exists? This is usually because the 'oppositions' think that they are more capable in ruling the country. It is also normal that the 'oppositions' way of opposing is by pointing the injustices done by the ruler. They do this not necessarily to help, assist and advise the government, but they do this to gain the support of the community to oppose the ruler. After establishing this they will continue with movements with the support of the community by doing protests and riots.

Food for thought, if the opposition managed to over throw the government what will happen next? If the opposition becomes the ruling authority, they cannot afford to do any mistakes. If there are mistakes and injustice, the community will spark a new protest and new opposition will be established. This will then be a consistent cycle. It will go on continuously and will affect the community and its education as the government is always changing and there is no long term vision. When it affects the education, there will be a less brighter future. The perception of the community will now be too obsessed to monitor those who are in authority. Most of their time will be occupied eyeing every single action by the authority, hence peace will be a distant thing in our hearts.
If everyone can have their own say, who will be the one to listen? In my opinion these are the cause and effect of secularism. Secularism has caused the mass to be confused. It has created a barrier between the religion and the administration of the country. "Give Caesar what belongs to him, and give Jesus what belongs to him." This has been the method adopted today and have separated the morale teachings that a religion can contribute to the development and administration of the country. With this separation, it portrays that governments are greater than religion which will create a perception towards the community that religion means backwards. Therefore people will adopt this method/perception and may do what ever one wishes (I.e criminal acts). Anyway according to the teachings of Islam, everything belongs to Allah (not Caesar, not Jesus, not Muhammad salallahualaihiwasalam) therefore religion should always be observed in every aspect of our lives. We should firstly rely on religion and then rely on our intellect (this is part of the method that is adopted by the shari'ah). We should not just rely on our intellect (secular method) alone because this will cause the destruction of the community. "Nay but humanity transgresses all bounds when it looks upon itself as self-sufficient". (Surah al-Alaq verse 7). When we think we are self-sufficient and not use Allah's laws and words, Allah says "Those who turn from remembering Me shall live lives of misery; We shall raise him blind on the Day of Resurrection,". (Surah Ta Ha verse 124)

This link shows how one should react towards an unjust muslim ruler. Why are these hadith being neglected? Are the scholars not well versed enough? Scholars are actually well versed in this issue. This hadith is probably being neglected because of the weakness in the human hearts. We as the community could not be patient anymore and would like to see changes being made. We would rather follow our hearts than following the hadith so that we could see the unjust authority getting punished. Why are we too obsessed on seeing the unjust ruler getting punished now and putting matters in our own hands? Do we not believe in the punishment of the hereafter? Isn't patience considered as good deeds which will be beneficial in our hereafter? Why are we throwing away the opportunity in doing good deeds and good rewards? Sometimes, some of us muslims (including myself) would prefer to "follow" a hadith only when there are scientific proof! This should not be the method and we should change the attitude to have faith in Qur'an and hadith. We also need to educate ourselves on the authenticity and fabricated hadith. I will touch on this issue "attacks on the authenticity of hadith" in the near future, insha'allah.

Personally I have never liked the ways of the current government (Malaysia) but sometimes we have to try and put aside our feelings and hold fast onto the rope (Islam, refer to Surah al Imran verse 103). Opposing (by protest and riots) in my opinion is not a productive solution. I may not have the slightest idea for the solution, but from what I understand the teachings of Islam, things should be done or implemented in the roots. "Verily Allah does not change a people's condition unless they change their inner selves." (Surah ar-ra'd verse 11)

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Islam to suit our ways?

Bismillahirohmanirohim (In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate)
As I have mentioned in the previous entry about discussing in depth on the issue of naming and branding 'Islamic banks'.

In this era, we are always looking for Islam to suit our way of life. 'Islamic banking' is one of the perfect and popular example nowadays. Personally I do not have any objection on most of the legality transaction, but I could not see how Islamic banking contributes to Islam in general.

Is 'Islamic banking' contributing to the development of the Muslim society? No doubt that Islamic banking do provide a way to create Halal transactions but do they have any other impact to the Muslim community? In my opinion 'Islamic banking' should be named as 'Shari'ah banking' like in certain places. This will make more sense because shari'ah is a place where a Muslim seeks its legislation ruling. (I.e nikah, divorce, business & etc).

Islam on the other hand is a whole package. When one says 'Islamic banking', it cannot neglect any muslim, be it rich, poor, healthy, disabled and etc. This is not what 'Islamic banking' is at the moment. They only interact with those who are doing business transaction with them. In the Holy Qur'an, it mentions about rich, poor, those in authority, loyal followers, orphans and etc. Therefore 'Islamic banks' should not neglect any of them. However, we often see them contributing or providing to those who are capable and in transaction with them.

"O you who believe! Enter silm (Islam) perfectly and follow not the footsteps of shaytan. Verily he is to you a plain enemy." (Surah al Baqarah verse 208) The highlight of this ayah is "Enter silm(Islam) perfectly". This shows that Islam is not restricted to just one section (I.e business) but are wide open and involves a lot of things.

People may agree that they call themselves Islamic banks because they handle only banking transaction. So, what is a definition of a bank? Does it only restrict to a certain methods of transactions? Even the Financial Services Authority UK could not define a bank. This is because banking are always enhancing and new methods are being innovated so a banking transaction can never be restricted because if it was restricted, many banks will loose their license.

Coming back to 'Islamic banks', should their transaction be restricted to those who are their clients/customers? Again, what have they contribute to Islam as a whole? So the next time you step in those so called 'Islamic bank' ask them what have they contribute to Islam as a whole.

The whole point of my entry is not to go against the 'Islamic banks' but to expose how often we neglect on certain things to create a better Islam. One may say 'Islamic banks' are doing false advertising. Things that are false should have nothing to do with Islam because Islam is the truth. We as a Muslim community should help these Islamic banks to fulfil Islam whole fully and not partly.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Are we trying to achieve the ideal Muslim community (ummah)?

Bismillahirohmaneerohim (In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate)

"Whosoever acquires unlawful wealth and then gives it away as sadaqah will have no reward, and he will bear the burden (of his wrongdoing)." From Abu Hurayrah (As cited in Kanz al-ummal)"- from a book I read.

Who would have thought that a good intention (sadaqah) could easily be nullified when one receives their wealth in an illegal way. Even though the intention is good, one should make sure that it is good as a whole and not only bits and pieces of it. Therefore it is vital to know where our wealth is coming from and to make sure that the sources are legal so that not only what we give is Halal but in fact what we eat, drink, wear and etc is Halal too.

When we try to understand the Divine injunctions and the further explanations given by the Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam, it becomes clear that the Divine law strikes at its very root. This ayat further shows that any law/changes should happen at its root rather than patching its root: "Verily Allah does not change a people's condition unless they change their inner selves." (surah ar-ra'd verse 11)

The ayat above could be looked at the 'Islamic banking' industry point of view. which then comes to a question on whether they (islamic banks) are helping to change the roots of human development or just making an alternative banking for Halal transactions?

Today we could see some 'Islamic banks' taking steps to safe guard themselves from unwanted risks. Example, if a person gets into a transaction with a bank requiring him to pay monthly instalments, they would be expected to pay the monthly instalments as per their contract. However, if they don't pay, these banks are giving them another chance to pay but including late payment fees on top of the instalments. No doubt it (the late payment fees) is permissible, but is it really helping to change the root itself? Is the 'Islamic bank' playing any role to help these individual to become better Muslims who will always fulfil their contract truthfully and honestly?

The reason of the late payment fees is to safeguard the banks so that they are not being taken advantage by the people who might end up not paying for their instalments. Late payment fees does make sense but is the bank helping to develop a better Muslim community as this in my opinion is more important. Do they put any effort to invest in human development? Therefore, should these banks be named 'Islamic banks'? Naming and branding some banks as 'Islamic banks' is an issue on its own which I will Insha'Allah write more in the near future.

Getting back to the topic, with this kind of mentality, 'Islamic banks' are actually design to suit the current Muslim way of life which may bring advantages and disadvantages. In my opinion, it is hindering from achieving the bigger goal, which is to improve and get the ideal muslim community/ummah. In a way, this is not changing the root/inner selves. Instead, the 'Islamic banks' are just patching up any likely holes. This has been the trend for some 'Islamic banks'. They are trying to find ways to patch new holes such as trying to make 'derivatives' permissible and etc. Again, no doubt they are able to justify the permissibility of their transaction, but their effort has never been aimed to change the roots. We should find ways to get/become the ideal Muslim community/ummah who do not lie, cheat, and fulfil their contracts and so on, rather than patching up all these holes to justify its permissibility.

Going slightly off track, I am mentioning this because I've heard this idea from a friend which does not make any sense to myself. Anyway, the idea is that a group of 'gangsters' were created to protect the Muslim community. 'Gangsters' in itself is wrong but they try to make it sound OK by saying they are protecting the Muslims community. Referring back to the Hadith above, this is just like acquiring unlawful wealth and giving it away for charity. This is not striking or changing the root/inner selves. With this mentality, again there can only be less hope in achieving the ideal Muslim community. The muslims do not need such protection from a group of gangsters because "Allah is the Best Protector and is the Most Merciful." (Surah Yusuf verse 64) No doubt we should work hard to get some protection and not just 'tawakkal' but this should be done in a more harmonious way rather than using brutality.

So with the current mentality, are we actually pushing further or getting closer in achieving the ideal ummah? May Allah guide us to change and achieving the ideal Ummah!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The way we eat today


Usually Islam is associated with the sunnah. Without the sunnah, there is not much difference between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The sunnah usally emphasises on the manner of doing things.

Generally Muslims do not really practise most of the sunnah because of being in a different age of time and influence from other cultures. This is one example of the sunnah that I find from Ibn Qayyim's book Al-Tibb al-Nabawiya (Healing with the medicine of the Prophet salallahua'laihiwasalam).

The Prophet salallahua'laihiwasalam said: "I do not eat while leaning on my side." He also said, "I only sit like the slave sits and eat like slave eats."

Leaning on the side harms the stomach because it prevents the food from going down the proper channel and reaching the stomach quickly, as it pressures the stomach and does not allow it to be open properly for the food to pass through.

Eating while leaning on something is the practice of the arrogant people and this is why the Prophet salallahua'laihiwasalam said that "I only eat like the slave eats."

The Prophet salallahua'laihiwasalam used to sit on his feet while eating. He used to place his knees on the ground and would place the bottom of his left foot on the upper part of his right foot in humility for the Lord and in respect for the food and for those present. This is the best way to sit for eating, because the organs of the body will all be in their proper position, along observing good manners.

The sunnah that is being mentioned is about the guidance on the proper way to sit while eating, is not really being practised in recent times. Most of us have furniture (dining tables, chairs and etc) and it will be awkward and weird if we do not have those. Hence, because of having furnitures, we do not really get the chance to practise the sunnah unless in a function where furniture consume too much space.

I would find a house without dining tables and chairs very weird myself if I did not know this sunnah. Anyway, the value of the sunnah is not really being appreciated. From my limited knowledge and research, There are a few reasons why we would find it awkward and weird not having dining tables and chairs..

1)The perception of being a backward and traditional family.
2)The perception of not having the capability to buy furnitures (not posh enough)
3)The influence and mentatlity of western culture is better/advance than the east.

All these factors have caused an important sunnah not to be practised. This is because being too conscious of the perception from the wider community of "not being fit/posh enough". Dining tables and chairs are a luxury and in the age we live in today, it has somehow turned to a neccessity. Can you imagine what is the neccessity of the future? Is it important for us to be living in luxury? Why are we so conscious about the perception of the community when we should be afraid from Allah?

If we were to practise the sunnah, it would be considered as a good deed which will be benificial in the hereafter (akhirah) and will also be beneficial to our health in this world (dunya). In a way I respect the Japanese for their ability to preserve some of their lifestyle which commonly associates with humility.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The difficulty on giving advices?

Bismillahirohmanirohim (In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate)

It is not a surprise that we are concerned about the problem that are faced by other Muslims. Sometimes these concern turns into hatred. One of the common concern is intoxication. Due to this concern, one will try to advise the other to stay away from intoxication. Usually these advices will turn to a form of hatred due to frustration of the message not getting across to the one who is involved in intoxication. Usually the concerned Muslim will be gentle for the first few advices. After sometime this concerned Muslim is frustrated and may start cursing or hating the other muslim brother. This is an example of a frustrated adviser, "You said you are a muslim but you are doing things that are prohibited! Use your brain!", "I hate hypocrites, claiming to be a muslim!" Is this the right way to advise?

There is another situation where, a Muslim who is not well versed in the knowledge of Islam, but are trying their best to be in the path of Islam. Sometimes the Muslim who are not well versed may misinterpret somethings. I've seen some knowledgeable Muslim who mocks other Muslims (which apparently are "less knowledgeable"). For example, "Only muslim idiots think that it is right to wear silk" or "stupid muslims may think that interest(riba) is good for the economy"  Is it right for them to be called idiots or stupid?

No matter which is the case whether being a concerned Muslim or a more knowledgeable Muslim, cursing or name calling should be avoided. Doing these (cursing or name calling) will have its consequences.

In the first example, a Muslim will either follow the advise or, push away themselves from Islam. The second case will be that, the less knowledgeable Muslim will thrive themselves to be more knowledgeable or will also push themselves away from Islam. But usually with cursing and name calling, ppl will farther or push themselves away from Islam. Is this the way of Islam?

If we examine closely, its not right to associate with this kind of practises with Islam. Islam, is derived from the root word salam which means Peace. One is not creating any peace with cursing and name calling.

Next, have a look at the hadith quoted below.
Narrated Abu Musa: The Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam said, "A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts enforce each other." The Prophet then clasped his hands with the fingers interlaced.

Narrated Abu Dhar that he heard the Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam saying, "If somebody accuses another of Fusuq(by calling him 'Fasiq' i.e., wicked person) or accuses him of Kufr(disbelief), such an accusation will revert to him (i.e., the accuser) if his companion (the accused) is innocent."

Narrated Ma'rur: I saw Abu Dhar wearing a Burda (garment) and his slave too was wearing a Burda, so I said (to Abu Dhar), "If you take this (Burda of your slave) and wear it (along with yours), you will have a nice suit (costume) and you may give him another garment." Abu Dhar said, "There was a quarrel between me and another man whose mother was a non-arab and I called her bad names. The man mentioned (complained about) me to the Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam. The Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam said, "Did you abuse so-and-so?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Did you call his mother bad names?" I said, "Yes." He said, "You still have the traits of (the Pre-Islamic Period of) Ignorance." I said, "(Do I still have ignorance) even now in my old age?" He said, "Yes they (slaves or servants) are your brothers, and Allah has put them under your command. So the one under whose hand Allah has put his brother, should feed him of what he eats, and dress him of what he himself dresses, and should not ask him to do a thing beyond his capacity. And if at all he asks him to do a hard task, he should help therin."

Narrated Anas bin Malik: The Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam said, "Make things easy for the people, and do not make it difficult for them, and make them calm(with glad tidings) and do not repel(them) (i.e. to make them hate good deeds and to run away from Islam)

[Sahih Bukhari]

The one who has knowledge of Islam should never call another muslim an idiot because there are hadiths that saying we shouldn't push people away from Islam. If a knowledgeable muslim does so, it means that the person is quite selective in the choosing of Qur'anic verses and hadith which I have demonstrated in my other entry that this is the practise of "the people of the book". This shouldn't be in the practises of Islam.

From another perspective, there are muslims who are always concerned with other muslims behaviour (I.e gambling, drinking and etc). They are too concerned with other muslims that they neglect their own self development. Despite of having knowledge in Islam, they think that it is sufficient because there are worse muslims out there. Self development in the knowledge of Islam is well important (I.e arabic, fiqh, usul ul fiqh, maqasid sha'riah and etc). But often we see that they stop learning when they think it is sufficient and there are muslims who are less knowledgeable.

In conclusion, even when our intention is pure and would like to strive for Islam, we should always beware of the way on advising. Not an easy task, but one can only try. This area "adab" is always being overlooked and not bothered because we usually think that it is not complicated and easy to give an advise. Those who give advice should not be too obsessed with the outcome (whether the other party change for the good/not). This is where patience is important and relying on Allah by asking Him to guide whom He wills. Knowing how to advise in my opinion is well important in the human development and especially in Islam where it is centred onto human development so that the path is easy for us to worship Him. Therefore, before we start to learn any knowledge, this should be the first step before it.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The guidance of God (continued)

Bismillahirohmanirohim (In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate)

Surah al Yunus verse 94: "If you are in DOUBT concerning what We have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Book before you. It is the TRUTH that has come to you from your Lord, so never become one of those who DOUBT.
The "TRUTH/haq" refers to the current book/Qur'an. Hence, the focus of the verse, do not be in DOUBT in the Qur'an.
We are told to ask "those who have been reading the Book before you" and not specifically refer to the scriptures/book ourselves. Why? Because i) Arabs were commonly illeterate and ii) not conversant with scriptures.

The pamphlet goes on quoting Genesis 22:18 about "The seed" which according to them is Prophet Jesus(Isa). To our understanding Prophet Muhammad is also "the seed" of Prophet Abraham(Ibrahim) under his son Prophet Ishmael(Ismail). Prophet Jesus did prophecies the coming of a Messenger/prophet in John 16:12-13. Refer to Ahmad Deddat clip (Muhammad in the Bible).

It quotes about "original sin" from Romans 5:12 which contradicts with Ezekiel 18:4 and 18:20. Reference can be made to Ahmad Deedat clip at the side.  It goes on saying Prophet Noah was a righteous man (Genesis 6:9). But they did not reveal that the Bible mentioned that he was an alcoholic. Refer Yushua Evans clip. The Qur'an have responded surah al furqan verse 36 "... People who have given the lie to our sign" (37) "They gave the lie to the Messengers." One of the lie might be about Noah being an alcoholic. Allah knows best!

Muslim takes the Prophets as a role models hence Allah will choose the best of people and not someone who is an alcoholic or commits adultery/incest.

It then says Abraham was a righteous servant of god (Isaiah 41:8). Prophet Abraham created the Ka'abah to remind us that God has no image by human intellectual and only serve One God the Almighty.

In the pamphlet "As for prayer, Christ taught :"When you pray, go into your private room and, after shutting your door, pray to your Father who is secret; then your Father who looks on in secret will repay you. But when praying, do not say the same things over and over again, just as the people of the nations do... God your Father knows what things you are needing before ever you ask him." (Matthew 6:5-8) But they forgot to mention about this verse in the bible : "And he (Jesus) went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." - New Testament (Matthew 26:39) (Refer Yusha Evans min 1:30)

"And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped." - Old Testament (Exodus 34:8)

And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with [their] faces to the ground. - Old Testament (Nehemiah 8:6)

Muslims are taught by Prophet Muhammad salallahualaihiwasalam on how to pray. Prostrating to the ground is one of the actions of our prayer. I'm not an expert in the bible but according to this pamphlet, this sect of Christianity are quite selective in choosing the verses to follow.

Surah al kahf verse 57 : "Who is more wicked than the man who, when he is reminded by the revelations of his Lord, turns away from them and forgets (the consequence of) the deeds wrought by his own hands? We have laid veils over their hearts lest they understand the message of the Qur'an and We have caused heaviness in their ears. Call them as you may to the Right Path, they will not be ever right guided aright."

"(1)"Say : "O unbelievers!" (2) I do not worship those that you worship (3) neither do you worship Him Whom I worship; (4) nor will I worship those whom you have worshipped; (5) not are  you going to worship Him who I worship. (6) To you is your religion, and to me, my religion." (Surah al kafirun verse 1-6)

The main conclusion of this entry is that  "O you who believe! Believe WHOLLY IN ALL THAT HAS REVEALED TO YOU, and do not follow the footsteps of Satan, surely he is to you an avowed enemy" (surah al baqarah verse 208) Therefore we should not be selective in following the teachings of the Qur'an.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Reforming Islam


There are a lot of opinions about Islam from the orientalists, non-muslims and even amongst muslims themselves. Especially after 'terrorist attacks', September 11th and so on, a lot of muslims and non-muslims are conscious about Islam. Some non-muslims were really curious towards Islam and therefore did a lot of questioning, embracing Islam as their religion. Where else some non-muslims grew their hatred towards Islam and spreading their hatred to the people. These hatred have caused a lot of speculation about what is true and what is not in Islam. The clip below clarifies about the word Allah(god) and what some non-muslims has to say about HIS name.

Some muslims are proud of the 'claimed' muslim terrorist attacks, some are ashamed and some just do not care about it. Those muslims who are ashamed of these 'claimed' muslim terrorist attacks, they prefer not to be associated with these 'terrorist'. They would say that these 'terrorist' does not represent Islam and its teachings. They would go up to the extent where they want to abolish the shari'ah. Let us understand 'Shari'ah', see if it is important with Islam and should it be abolish to 'Reform Islam'.

Islamic Shari'ah outlines a way of life based on faith and good actions. Living according to the laws of Shari'ah means that one should do good and refrain from whatever is forbidden by Allah and His Prophet. Why would one want to abolish something that is good? "Shari'ah" implies a connection to the divine, a set of unchanging belief and principles that order in life accordance with God's will. Shari'ah is understood as a kind of higher law that includes some specific and wordly commands. It means that the law or rules are not created by the human intellectuals, but it comes from the One and Only God and the scholars interpretes the law from the divine revelation of the Holy Qur'an. No one is above the law, but everyone is subject to it. There are specific methodology used by the scholars to interpret the Qur'an and the hadiths. If the Shari'ah were to be eliminated, these specific methodology will be eliminated as well and it will expose to more untrue stories by the orientalist and others as I have mentioned in my previous entry.

In MY opinion, 'Muslims' who wants Shari'ah to be abolished are not any different than the 'Muslim' terrorist. They have not grasp the important teachings of Islam. Islam is not just in spiritual, but also in our daily actions. The 'Muslim' terrorist claims that they are doing the right thing by involving or killing innocent people and the 'reformed muslim' also claims that they are doing the right thing by disassociating themselves with Shari'ah and wanting to abolish them. We have seen in recent times for example in Malaysia in trying to create "Islam hadhari" or "reformed or modern muslims". There are some websites that are suppose to be a place for reformed muslims and to go against the Shari'ah. Are we actually doing any justice to the beloved religion of Islam? The word "Islam" is derived from the word "salam" in arabic which means peace and "Islam" more or less means achieving peace from submitting to the will of Allah.

I'm not a scholar, I am just like anyone else who is concerned about the religion of Islam. So if I have said something that is not right, do pardon me and do advise me.
Let this entry be a reminder to myself and to everyone.
Here's a few verses from the Qur'an and Hadith

"(51) Messengers! Partake of the things that are clean, and act righteously. I know well all that you do. (52)This community of yours is one community, and I am your Lord; so hold Me alone in fear. (53) But people later cut up the religion into bits, each group rejoicing in what they have. (54)So leave them immersed in their heedlessness till an appointed time. (55)Do they fancy that Our continuing to give them wealth and children (means) that (56)We are busy lavishing on them all kinds of good? Nay, they do not perceive the reality of the matter. (57) Surely those who stand in awe for fear of their Lord, (58) who have full faith in the Signs of their Lord; (59)who associate none with their Lord in His Divinity, (60)who give, whatever they give in charity, with their hearts trembling at the thought that they are destined to return to their Lord; (61) it is these who hasten to do good works and vie in so doing with one another. "
From surah Al-Mu'minun verse 51-61

"(3) ...... This day I have perfected for you your religion, and have bestowed upon you My Bounty in full measure, and have been pleased to assign for you Islam as your religion. ....."
Part of verse 3 of surah al-Maidah

Hadith: al-Nawawis forty traditions, Hadith 7
"From Abu Ruqayya Tamim bin Aus al-Dari said:" The Prophet salallahu Alaihi Wasallam said: "Religion is good advice". We said:"Whose (advice)? and he answered: "That of Allah and His Book, and His Messenger, and the leaders of the Muslims, and the generality of them."  "

Hadith: al-Nawawi's forty traditions, Hadith 19
"From Abul Abbas Abd-Allah bin Abbas-may Allah be pleased with both of them- who said: I was behind the Prophet salallahu Alaihi Wasallam when he said: " O young man, I will teach you words(of wisdom): Keep fast hold on Allah, and you will find him in front of you. Introduce yourself with Allah in days of ease and He will recognise you in the days of distress. And know that what missed you could not have hit you, and what hit you could not have missed you. And know that victory comes with forbearance, and relief comes with anxiety and ease come with hardship."  "

Hadith: Bukhari 2
"Anas reported on the authority of the Prophet salallahu Alaihi wasallam. He said: "None of you has good faith unless he loves for his brother what he loves for himself."  "

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The guidance of God

Bismillahirohmanirohim (In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate)

Firstly, I would like to be clear that I'm not a scholar. I might be wrong about certain things and if I am, please correct me.

The pamphlet to identify similarities between our religion
This time, my entry will be slightly different than usual. Recently, there were people who came to my house to preach their religion. They handed me a pamphlet and mentioned that they were followers of the bible but did not like to associate themselves with Christendom. Knowing that I am a muslim, they handed me a special pamphlet to identify the similarities between our religion. This pamphlet was however designed for a Muslim to read because there were a lot of quotes from the Qur'an to make Muslims understand.

In summary of the pamphlet there are some verses mentioned which was out of context with what the Qur'an says about the Holy scriptures. Examples:-

"(Like that book) this too is a Book which We have revealed before, one full of blessing, confirming what was revealed before it so that you might warn the people of the Mother of Cities (Makkah) and those around it. Those who believe in the Hereafter believe in it, and are ever-mindful of their Prayers." (surah al-an'am verse 92) 
This verse is "suppose" to make us think that the current torah & injil are the truth. It is taken out of context because verse 91 says "... Ask them: "The Book which Moses brought as light and guidance for people which you keep in bits and scraps - some of which you disclose while the rest you conceal, even though through it you were taught that which neither you nor your forefathers knew - who was it who revealed it?" Say: "Allah!" and then leave them to sport their argumentation."

It is somehow weird that some do not understand that, the book Prophet Musa (Moses) possess was confirmed (to be the truth) by Prophet Isa (Jesus), hence the book Jesus (Isa) possess should also definitely be confirmed by Prophet Muhammad salallahualaihiwasalam.

The pamphlet goes on to mention that no corruption could possibly have occured before the writing of the Qur'an because many Qur'anic verses call for faith in the Torah & the Injil. Examples of the verses:-

(surah al Baqarah verse 136) " We believe in Allah, and in what has been revealed to us and to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the descendants and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and in what the other Prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are those who submit to Allah".
Refer (surah al baqarah verse 120) "Never will the Jews be pleased with you nor the Christians until you follow their way. Say: " Surely Allah's guidance, is the true guidance." Should you follow their desires disregarding the knowledge which has come to you, you shall have no protector or helper against Allah."
   (Surah al baqarah verse 135) "They say : "Be Jews," or "Be Christians". "Then you will be rightly guarded." Say to them: "No, follow exclusively the way of Abraham who was not one of those who associate others with Allah in His Divinity."
This means that something is not right with the current Judaism and Christianity from the Qur'anic viewpoint. Even though the Torah & Injil used to be the Book of the Truth, Muslims are not supposed to trust the current Torah and Injil because Muslims shouldn't follow their way.

(Surah al Nahl verse 43) "(O Muhammad), whenever We raised any Messengers before you, they were no other human beings; (except that) to them We sent revelation. So ask those who possess knowledge if you do not know"
Refer  (surah al Nahl verse 44) "We raised the Messengers earlier with Clear Signs and Divine Books, and We have now sent down this Reminder upon you that you may elucidate(/explain) to people the teaching that has been sent down for them, and that the people may themselves reflect."

I do not wish to reveal which sect of Christianity they belong because my intention is not to criticise them. The purpose of this entry is for my Muslim brothers and sisters that we should read and understand the Qur'an wholly. If we were to read certain verses without understanding the story/teachings wholly, then it might be misinterpreted. This is when Satan may take his advantage on a person.

To Be Continued...

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Idea of investing

Bismillahirohmanirohim (In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate)

When we use the word investment, it usually projects a succesful way for the future. Investment are usually associated with business investor, corporate people. How often we see that business investments assure the return on the profit of investments with certain amount of interest. In Islam interest are prohibited and through the development of Islamic banking, investments without interest are made possible. Sometimes these return on investment (without interest) have fixed percentage of rate which might look like interest. As a muslim we should always be aware on the differences between these two because of the similiarity we (muslims) might be doing the prohibited.

When should one start to invest? As I mentioned earlier, investments are always associate themselves with successful or high profit return. Therefore we usually think that it is safe to venture into these investments with having minimal funds. We have this mentality whereby to secure our financial future or after retirement, we need to invest. I am not trying to imply that investing is a dangerous thing to do. Investments will be beneficial if it is done in a proper manner. By investing, it also benefits the economy because of the circulation of wealth.

These business are usually run by a person or a group that have the idea and managing capabilities but do not have suffucuent funds to run the business. Therefore investor helps in initiating a business which consequently help the economy. (Surah al-Imran verse 180) "And let not those who hoard up that which Allah has bestowed upon them of His bounty think that it is better for them. Nay, it is worse for them. That which they hoard will be their collar on the Day of Resurrection. To Allah belongs the inheritance of the heavens and the earth. Allah is well aware of what you do."

As a middle income earners, the income are usually just enough to pay the bills. Some people starve themselves to fork out money (take a loan) to invest in order to secure the financial future. This, in my opinion is a very dangerous thing to do because the reality of investing failing. Hence, financial future are not secured and also ending up with debts. These debts will then force people to work outside their own field (ordinary way/qualification) and will be a forced labour just to cover their bills. This will effect on the productivity as people with certain expertise working with a non-related expertise.  It will also effect on the morality of workers as people are often not happy with their job. Their unhappiness will gradually make them feel morally down and will make them turn to any sort of way to gain more money without considering if it is halal (permissible) or haram (prohibited). This will then cause further damage to the economy.

Back to the question of when should a person invest? It is best for a person who are wealthy to invest and not the middle earners. Those who are wealthy should invest appropriately (within the laws of Islam) to avoid negative effect to the economy. Those wealthy should also not demand their return on investments if the business aquire loss for they are responsible for their own investment. If the wealthy investor have the right to get an amount of profit, it is only fair for them also to acquire the loss. Their loss will not have any burden as it is not based on debts. This is what spending wisely means and not spendthrift.

We should only invest when we have EXTRA MONEY and not do any loan for investments. We have witnessed that Portugal, United Kingdom and etc have debts worth billions due to investment/bad investments which have a chain reaction to one another causing debts everywhere around europe/world. Therefore it is only wise to invest when there are often resources and not invest when there are limited resources which causes for them to seek loan for investing.

It is wise to do trading when investment is not possible. But trading will only be possible when there are capable investor. This is what circulation of wealth means in Islam. HELPING EACH OTHER! Rather than spending lavishly on luxury cars,handbags or golds, ir should be invested appropriately. We need to understand our individual role in order to improve the economy. Spend wisely and not spendthrift. This refers to a previous entry which include the verses of the Holy Qur'an on circulation of wealth. It does not always mean that we just need to sadaqah (give charity) to circulate wealth, investing appropriately in the laws of Islam is also another way to circulate wealth.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Spendthrift or spend wisely

Bismillahirohmanirohim (In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate)

Surah Al-Jumu'ah verse 11 "Yet no sooner than they saw some trading or amusement, they flocked to it and left you standing by yourself. Tell them: "That which is with Allah is far better than amusement and trading. Allah is the Best Provider of sustenance." "
Although this incident refers to a trading caravan which had arrived in Madinah from Syria exactly at the time of Friday Prayer, it indicates a kind of weakness of faith or their wilful preference for worldly benefits over the Hereafter. Even though we are encouraged to earn an income, we should not be obsessed with it (or be materialistic) and should live according to Islamic principles of circulating the wealth.

Ferrari 430 in my neighbourhood in Malaysia
It is evident that we see today some of us live luxurious life. Some who are wear handbags that might worth millions, some who upgrades their luxury cars just to make it look "nice" or to showoff.  The wealth is then not being circulated but is being stucked to the rich. Although the money is being transferred from one to another in the transaction (of buying the handbag/spending on the car), the asset/entity is stucked to that particular rich person. This will be a sort of symbol where "I" (the rich person) can afford and "you" can't! Gradually this will come to a stage where it is provoking the poor. Therefore it is advisable for a muslim not to spend extravagantly according to the verse of the Holy Qur'an "(The true servants of the Merciful One are) those who are neither extravagant nor niggardly in their spending but keep the golden mean between the two;" (Surah al-Furqan verse 67). "Do not keep your hand fastened to your neck nor outspread it, altogether outspread, for you will be left sitting rebuked, destitute. (30) Certainly Your Lord makes plentiful the provision of whomsoever He wills and straitens it for whomsoever He wills. He is well-aware and is fully observant of all that relates to His servants." (Surah Bani Israil verse 29). The Arabic idiom 'to keep one's hand fastened to one's neck denotes' miserliness and 'to outspread it, altogether outspread' denotes extravagance according to Sayyid Abul A'la Mawdudi.

Pininfarina near my neighbourhood in the UK
"Allah has favoured some of you with more worldly provisions than others. Then those who are more favoured do not give away their provisions to their slaves lest they become equal shares in it. Do they, then deny the favour of Allah?" (Surah Al-Nahl verse 71) In this verse, people are reminded of an actual fact of life where they do not share their wealth even if it is not theirs (which has been bestowed upon them by God). This verse supports the the symbol of "I" (the rich person) can afford and "you"(the poor) can't because of their fear of being equalled to the poor. This also leads to these certain group of people who believe that they deserve more to be protected (i.e gated community, bodyguards and etc) because they consider themselves better or richer.

We need to remind ourselves that the economy revolves around everyone, not only leaders even though leaders are given the authority/power. By spending appropriately it does not only benefit individuals but the performance of the country will be improved. Ibn Khaldun explains that over indulgence of materialism causes people to abandon religion resulting in the disintegration of a nation and government.

Let us remind ourselves that we have obligations to fulfil and should always look at the bigger picture (the whole community) rather from a narrower persepective (individual).

Surah Bani Israil verse 26 "Give to the near of kin his due, and also to the needy and wayfarer. Do not squander your wealth wastefully"

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Applying Ibn Khaldun's theory on the consequence of PTPTN

Bismillahirohmanirohim (In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate)

From my perspective, there are a few problems on the implementation of PTPTN (tertiary student loan). First, they try to portray themselves as Islamic by posting this hadith on their website: Narrated Abu Huraira : The Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam said, "Whoever takes the money of the people with the intention of repaying it, Allah will repay it on his behalf, and whoever takes it in order to spoil it, then Allah will spoil him." If I am not mistaken (if I am wrong I do apologise) they also have quoted verses from the Qur'an in their letters to 'scare' those who loaned from them so that they would get the repayments back. They (PTPTN) quoted verses like, "Believers! Fulfil (all) obligations. ..." (Surah al mai'dah verse 1) "Believers, why do you not profess that which you do not practise?" (Surah al-saff verse 2) "... And fulfil your covenant, for you will be called to account regarding the covenant." (Surah bani isra'il verse 34) or " And fulfil the covenant which you have made with oaths after having firmly made them, and after having firmly Allah your witness. Surely Allah knows all that you do." (Surah al-nahl verse 91) How often do we get contracts today with the sentence Bismillah?

Islam do not only revolve on these certain verses and the teachings are not one verse doctrine. The Qur'an has many verses and these other verses cannot be neglected as it is part of Islam. Here are some other verses that opposes the conduct of PTPTN. "As for those who devour interest, they behave as the one whom Satan has confounded with his touch. Seized in this state that they say: "Buying and selling is but a kind of interest," even though Allah has made buying and selling lawful, and interest unlawful.". (surah Al-Baqarah verse 275) Even though PTPTN quotes the hadith above, they have avoided this particular verses of the Holy Qur'an by charging interest of 3% and now apparently 1%. They have deceived the people by claiming or portraying themselves as Islamic by quoting the said hadith.

Furthermore, there is another verse which says "But if the debtor is in straitened circumstance, let him have respite until time of ease; and whatever you remit by way of charity is better for you, if only you know." (Surah Al-baqarah verse 280). As soon as completing the studies, student often receive letter from PTPTN stating the amount needed to be repaid without even taking consideration if the student is employed or not. For those who have loaned for years will also be blacklisted from going out of the country until they have repayed their loan. If they plan to travel out of the country, they would then have to pay back ALL of the loan INCLUDING INTERESTS/USURY.

Another verse that should be taken into consideration, "Believers! Do not devour one another's possessions wrongfully; rather, let there be trading by trading by mutual consent; and do not kill yourselves. Surely Allah is ever Compassionate to you." (Surah al-nisa verse 29) The expression "wrongfully" embraces all transactions which are opposed to righteousness and which are neither legally or morally reprehensible. "Mutual consent" means that the exchange should be free of undue pressure, fraud and deception. All this is not my own interpretation of the verse. It is the interpretation of a scholar Maulana Sayyid Abul A'la Mawdudi. Therefore, a contract with interest is definitely devouring another's possession "wrongfully"!

PTPTN should not portray themselves as Islamic or use hadith because they are only contradicting themselves, preying on students who are lack exposure on business or contractual knowledge.

In the UK, there are student loans. The loan does consist of interest due to no prohibition from their "religion" or due to secularism, they are more considerate on certain things. Having said that, the way the repayments are being 'collected' are determined by certain circumstances. Such as below:
1. After completing studies, repayment of the loan is applicable only AFTER the student is being employed and their annual income has to be above certain amount (ie £15,000 per annum). Therefore, if the student is working part-time or working with an income below the amount, the student IS NOT required to pay anything unless they chose to do so themselves.
2. After 10-15 years, if the loan has not been repaid, the loan will be cancelled off. It means that loaners do not need to repay anything due to not having/getting the appropriate job.

Number 1 is vital and is in line with surah al-baqarah verse 280. Number 2 is not really important to be implemented in the contract from an Islamic point of view because there are possibilities of student having the 'niyah'/intention of not repaying the loan even before signing the loan contract. However, if PTPTN is willingly to implement it (number 2) onto their contract, then there should not be any problem.

With the current situation, PTPTN is not being Islamic in their implementation and it lures students/former students into 'forced labour'. This is because 'loaners' feel the need to get any job just to pay their loan. The job opportunity is not really helping the student to get their ideal job and therefore have no choice but to accept any jobs available to pay the bill. Ibn Khaldun has his own theory on the consequence of forced labour. "If they are obliged to work outside their own field and are used for forced labour unrelated to their (ordinary way/profession/qualification/desire) making a living, they no longer have any profits and are thus deprived of the price of their labour, which is their capital (asset). They suffer, and a good deal of their livelihood is gone, or even all of it. If this occurs repeatedly, all incentive to cultural entreprise is destroyed, and they cease utterly to make an effort. This LEADS TO THE DESTRUCTION AND RUIN OF CIVILISATION."

The point of bringing this matter up is not to say that PTPTN has no rights in claiming back their loans. But in fact, the way they are using Islamic quotes make it sound as if Islam only revolves around the particular Qur'anic verses/Hadith when in actual fact, there are other ways on how PTPTN can do to reclaim their loans back (for instance to not charge any interest etc). So, it is not a great step to use Islamic quotes when they themselves aren't Islamic about the loan contract. If PTPTN drags on with their actions, it does not benefit Malaysia with more intellectuals but in fact creating more intellectuals not working in their field which will have an negative impact on the economy. When there is an impact on the economy, gap between rich and poor will be great, the poor will be enslaved and will then rebel. This is when there are protests, riots and we will see everything start from scratch again.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Political heirachy


Politic is always a hot topic in Malaysia and there are always arguments on how the governance of the country should be implemented. Most of these arguments or discussions are usually based on logic and human intellectual. Rarely do we turn to our religion for guidance on this matter.

It is obvious that the political system that is currently being implemented are borrowed from the West, consequently we find ourselves partially at lost in East meets West. What benefit has the borrowed system contribute to the country? Does the system that seperates religion from its administration fruitful towards the community? This is one of the example why there are misunderstanding and conflict between the communities, the failure on the economy and business transactions. The purpose of a religion is to give guidance to mankind and most of us are taken back that religion is only for spiritual needs and not the way of life.

Is there a political system of Islam? Through my limited knowledge and research there is an ideal political hierachy in Islam. I beg for Allah's mercy and forgiveness if I have interpreted wrongly, Allah knows best!
  1. Firstly, Tawhid, the absolute Oneness of Allah subahanawata'ala as Divine Entity and Lord (rabb). The absolute sovereignity of Allah and exclusiveness of revelation (wahy) as the source of legislation.
  2. The importance of the unity in Ummah and the uniqueness in its character and meaning.  
  3. The concept of vicegerency (khilafah), the dignity of humanity and that which distinguishes humanity from the rest of creation
  4. Shari'ah scholars who are represented by a group of knowledgeable scholars to help and monitor the community that all the actions are within the permissible boundaries of Islam.
Although this model might be common, other models often projects that there is a leader who has absolute power to run the country and take the Almighty Allah out of the equation.  Though implementing this model, there are other issues that need to be addressed which is mainly on electing the khilafah. In a way there is no need for an opposition party because of the importance on realising the function of mankind (which is to serve Allah). Through this belief, individuals will not be selfish or prioritise themselves ahead of Allah. We have witnessed that having different parties often becomes chaotic and creates division within the community. When it comes to electing a leader, major campaigns are needed and riots are always thrown against each other. Surah al hujurat verse 9: " If two parties of the believers happen to fight, make peace between them. But then, if one of them transgresses against the other, fight the one that transgresses until it reverts to Allah's command. and if it does revert, make peace between them with justice, and be equitable for Allah loves the equitable." By doing campaigns, it requires a lot of money and energy which often needed very fast. This is where the corruption and oppression comes in order to gain more money fast and man are being used as forced labour. According to Ibn Khaldun when forced labour reaches its optimum level a dynasty or empire will crumble and fall. During campaigns a leader will usually tell what he could offer to the people and insults and mock at the opposition. This will break down the moral values and respect that we have for each other and will often spark a fight and division within the community. Does all this reflects the moral values and teachings of Islam?

Surah al-nisa' verse 135: "Believers! Be upholders of justice, and bearers of witness to Truth for the sake of Allah, even though it may be against yourselves or against your parents and kinsmen, or the rich or the poor, for Allah is more cconcerned with their well-being than you are."

The reason to put Allah at the top of the heirachy is because He is the absolute superior to us and also because of this verse "Nay surely man transgresses (7) for he believes himself to be self-sufficient." (surah al alaq verse 6-7) "Those who turn from remembering Me shall live lives of misery" (surah ta ha verse 124)

Since Malaysia is borrowing a system that belongs to the west, I would like to compare the religion of the west(which are commonly associated with Christianity) and the ruling of their country. This is however not an attack towards Christianity rather a criticism on secularism. The Malaysian system have been obstructing the nature of the religion Islam. The borrowed system views on religion treats Islam as any other religion, and therefore it shoud not differ in any significant way from the Christianity in Europe, in the sense that the church was duty-bound to stand in the way of progress. From this perspective, human development and progress only became possible after the split between church and state. Thus, it is inconceivable that a Westerner (western system) could imagine a link between knowledge and religion, to say nothing of accepting the concept of basing the humanities and social sciences on religion or giving them a religion perspective.

Surah al nisa verse 59: " Believers! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and those invested with authority among you; and then if you were to dispute among yourselves about anything refer it to Allah and the Messenger if you indeed believe in Allah and the Last Day; that is better and more commendable in the end"

A verse that explains on the current topic/entry : "Have you not seen those who claim to believe in the Book which has been revealed to you and in the Books revealed before you, and yet desire to submit their disputes to the judgement of taghut (authorities who decide independently of the law of Allah), whereas they had been asked to reject it. Satan seeks to make them drift far away from the Right Path." (surah al nisa verse 60)

The main intention of this entry is to make it clear that Malaysia currently are not even close in representing themselves as a Muslim country. Therefore when a political person/leader makes a statement, it rarely seeks/consults the opinion of the Shari'ah scholars which consequently makes their statements contradicts and go against the teachings of Islam. When such statements are made, it gives a bad reputation to Islam which is against the hadith narrated Abu Musa that when Allah's Messenger salallahualaihiwasalam sent him and Mu'adh bin Jabal to Yemen, he said to them, "Make things easy for the people (treat the people in the most agreeable easy way), and do not make things difficult for them, and give them glad tidings, and do not repel them (i.e TO MAKE THE PEOPLE HATE GOOD DEEDS AND TO RUN AWAY FROM ISLAM), and you should both work in cooperation and mutual understanding, obey each other." [Sahih Bukhari]. Even though it is difficult to entirely change the system, there should at least be an effort to achieve the system that Islam prescribes us. My previous entry on how Islam derives its laws. Last but not least a hadith concerning leaders "All of you are leaders, and all leader will be questioned on their leadership." [Sahih Bukhari] Allah knows best!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Why full fledged Islamic Banks?

Bismillahirohmanirohim (In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate)

Recently I have applied for a position in al-Rajhi bank. They got back to me saying that the position was unavailable and they asked me if I were interested to apply for Graduate Management Trainee Program. I see that I have got nothing to lose, I proceed with the application. There were 2500++ applicants but they(al-Rajhi bank) were only looking for 2-3 candidates and I was the one who were successful through my CV but not through my interview. After being unsuccessful with my application, I am always posed with questions like why don't you go on and apply to HSBC Amanah / CIMB Islamic and etc?

Before I answer those questions, I would like to explain why I chose Islamic banks to be the place for my career. I may not be the best muslim (role model muslim), and I am not the most knowledgeable in Islamic banking but I would love to contribute my best work to Islam. Some feel that they can contribute to Islam with their IT knowledge, some with their science knowledge but as for myself, I feel that I can contribute to Islam with my knowledge and effort in Islamic banking.

The reason why I chose al-Rajhi bank as my first choice is because from my personal understanding, it is the most shari'ah compliant bank. It means that, al-Rajhi bank will do its best to follow the principles of Islam benevolently. What is the difference between HSBC Amanah and al-Rajhi? Firstly, HSBC Amanah is an Islamic window for shari'ah compliant products. The name signifies HSBC, which we all know is not an Islamic bank. Even though HSBC and HSBC Amanah are different (one is Islamic/shari'ah compliant and the other is conventional banking) , from my perception the Islamic bank of HSBC Amanah are giving advertising freely the name HSBC (a bank which deals with great amount of interest). This means that Islamic bank is wearing a jersey of the prohibited product.

I'll explain this in another way. We know that there are such products which are halal beer (beer which doesn't have alcohol). Lets just say that Hieneken produces both halal and a non halal beer, would you buy such halal beer? Personally, I would not because even though it is halal, it is also promoting the non halal beer! The same way my perception towards HSBC Amanah. I wouldn't want to be working with a bank which also promotes the products that are prohibited in my religion. It is against my personal principals to be working in such banks. Unless HSBC Amanah changes its name to something that doesn't promote the name HSBC, I see no reason why I should not apply for it.

The position that I initially applied for was in risk management. Someone told me that there is no such role for entry level or junior level for risk management. I was mentioned that I had to get myself in the treasury or other department to qualify myself in risk management. Is this true? If this is indeed true, in my opinion going through other departments will be a waste of time. I believe that entry/junior level would be beneficial as the entry/junior will be trained to become a specialist in handling risk and as we know we are always facing with risk which is an important aspect of banking hence will be beneficial to the banks. The junior will always be assisted/supervised by a senior because that is what each other is for. Rather than the junior needs to seek experience through other departments which consumes a lot of time and is ridiculous. If this is indeed true, the system here is not systematic at all!

I have no grudges of not being successful in my application and I hope that al-Rajhi bank will be beneficial to Islam. I believe that Allah has other plans for me as He is the Greatest Planner of all. Allah knows best!