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Anne View Drop Down

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    Posted: 15 April 2005 at 9:32am


my name is Ana (but I am called "Anne" in the West).

I am very interested in learning more about Islam (NOT because I want to convert) so I would like to ask two questions regarding Islam or rather application of this religion.

I am a Bahai whose parents had to run away from Iran in order to save their lives. Unfortunately, since then my family has felt deep antipathy for Islam. I am more open-minded and would like to know if it's true that Islam restricts rights of adherents of other religions and even permits persecution of them.

I know that you may have answered questions akin to mine millions of times but the real problem is that Bahais were blamed for distorting the image of Islam and Mohammed and even betraying the latter. Many Muslims actually thought it was their duty to discriminate against Bahais because we presumably misinterpreted the Quran (as a matter of fact, the Quran is not our holy book at all). Many thought were "cultists" and "pagans". Are their any fatwahs on Bahaism?

Also, what's more important to me is that my mother was forced to veil herself at times (and after the revolution all the time), although Baha'i Faith is totally against the veil. Under the Shariah, are non-Muslim women forced to wear the veil? This experience was very degrading, since she never wanted to veil herself and felt very miserable wearing this attire. I admit it's a strange question.

Of course, I'd appreciate your own feelings about Baha'i Faith (if you have ever heard of it).

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AhmadJoyia View Drop Down
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Dear Sis Anne,

Though I am not an expert of Islam neither I claim to know anything about Bhai, however, I am a so called "self learned" muslim, and would try to reply to some of your questions. I don't know about any fatwas on any other religion from Islam's point of view (other than what is found in Quran and sunnah) what to talk of a sect of Islam "Bhaism". Since I don't anything about Bhaism, so I can't comment as to what they believe is contrary to Islam and what no contrary to Islam.

Islam or for that matter any relegion, has to be judged from its scriptural teachings rather than their adharent's actions or doings. Only those who are illerate has an excuse to blindly follow others but that too, till the time they don't know how to read or understand the literature. They are advised by our beloved Prophet Mohammad to get knowlegde as soon as possible even if they have to travel a long distances to do it. So, it would be real mistake if someone simply perform religious rituals as a daily chores without understanding their meaning. True guidance about Islam comes through two main sources, i.e. Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Mohammad. Its not difficult to understand Quran espially if someone is sincere in its motives to take guidance out of it. However, if Quran is the "law" then how to obey the law, comes from the practices (Sunnah) of Prophet Mohammad. This makes it all the more easy to understand Islam in its right perspective.

There is no coerce in Islam. Islam can't be imposed on people to follow it. But those who do it, they only profess their political motives and nothing else. It is for this very reason that the Muslim world is at the top of list of third world countries.

 There is no arguments in support of forcing anyone to observe any particular right or ritual in Islam. Allah has very clearly mentioned in Quran that He has provided the knowledge (Quran) for people to take guidance for their own benefit. If they please Allah by obeying His commands, it is for their own benefit and if they don't, their actions they can't frustrate Allah. Allah has no need for our actions, good or bad. It is only for our own benefit to recognise Him and obey Him. This is the core message of Islam that I thought to share it with you. Similarly, in specific to veiling or not veiling, or for that matter how much veiling, are all upto an individual how he/she deem fit to apply them. No compulsion. But if someone obeys Him, he definitely get rewarded for what he has done it and no action shall go wasted. Every action of human being shall be accounted for and the individual has to be responsible for himself alone. Hope this shall give you a breif picture of Islam, but ofcourse need more details. May other fellow brothers and sister put their cents (two or two hundred) into it. Rest Allah knows the best. May Allah's blessing for all. Amen.

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Suleyman View Drop Down
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II embraced




My discovery of Holy Quran was tortuous and led me through strange by-ways
but since the end of the road was supremely worthwhile, I have never
regretted my experiences.
As a small child I possessed a keen ear for music and was particularly fond of
the classical operas and symphonies considered the high culture in the West.
Music was my favorite subject in school in which I always earned the highest
grades. By sheer chance, when I was about eleven years old, I happened to
hear Arabic music over the radio which so much pleased me that I was
determined to hear more. As soon as I heard Arabic music, Western music at
once lost of all its appeal for me. I would not leave my parents in peace until
my father finally took me to the Syrian section in New York City where I
brought a stack of Arabic recordings for my gramophone. The one I liked best
was a rendition of the Surah Maryam of the Holy Quran chanted by Um
Kulthum. Then in 1946, I could not foresee what an evil woman she was to
become in her later years; I admired her for her beautiful voice which rendered
those passages of Holy Quran with such intense feeling and devotion. It was by
listening to these recordings by the hour that I came to love the sound of
Arabic even though I could not understand it. Without this basic appreciation of
the Arabic musical idiom, which sounds so utterly strange to the Westerner, I
could not possibly have grown to love Tilawat (Recitation). My parents,
relatives and neighbors thought Arabic and its music dreadfully weird and so
distressing to their ears that whenever I put on my recordings, they demanded
that I close all the doors and windows of my room lest they be disturbed! After
I embraced Islam in 1961, I used to sit enthralled by the hour at the mosque in
New York, listening to tape-recordings of Tilawat (Recitation) chanted by the
celebrated Egyptian Qari, Abdul Basit. But one Fuma Salat, the Imam did not
play the tapes. We had a special guest ---- a short, very thin and poorly-dressed
black youth who introduced himself to us as a student from Zanzibar; buy when
he opened his mouth to recite Surah ar-Rahman, I never heard such glorious
Tilawat (Recitation) even from Abdul Basit! This obscure African adolescent
possessed such a voice of gold; surely Hazrat Bilal must have sounded much
like him!
From the age of ten I had developed a passion for reading all the books about
the Arabs I could lay my hands on at school or at the public libraries in my
community, especially those dealing with the historical relationship between
the Jews and Arabs, but it was not until more than nine years later that it ever
occurred to me to satisfy my curiosity about the Holy Quran. Gradually,
however, as I neared the end of the Arabs who had made Islam great but Islam which had raised the Arabs from wild desert tribes to the masters of the world.
It was not until I wanted to find out just how and why this had happened that I
ever thought to read the Holy Quran for myself;
In the summer of 1953 I overstrained myself at college by taking an accelerated
course of too many subjects. That August I fell ill and had to discontinue all
work for the remainder of the season. One evening when my mother was about
to go to the public library, she asked me if there was any book I wanted. I
asked her for a copy of Holy Quran. An hour later she returned with one-a
translation by the eighteenth century Christian missionary and scholar-
George Sale. Because of the extremely archaic language and the copious
footnotes quoting from al-Baidawi and Zamakhshari out of context in order to
refute them from the Christian viewpoint, I understood very little. At that
time, my immature mind regarded Quran as nothing more than distorted and
garbled versions of the familiar stories from the Bible! Although my first
impression of Holy Quran was unfavorable, I could not tear myself away from
it. I read it almost continuously for three days and nights and when I had
finished, all my strength had been drained away! Although I was only nineteen,
I felt as weak as a woman of eighty. I never recovered my fully strength or
energy afterwards.
I continued to nurse this poor opinion of Holy Quran until one day I found in a
bookshop a cheap paper-back edition of Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall’s
translation. As soon as I opened that book, it proved a revelation! The powerful
eloquence literally swept me off my feet. In the first paragraph of his preface,
Pickthall wrote :
The aim of this work is to present to English readers what Muslims the world
over hold to be the meaning of the words of the Quran and the nature of that
Book in not unworthy language and concisely with a view to the requirements
of English – speaking Muslims. It may reasonably be claimed that no Holy
Scripture can be fairly presented by one who disbelievers its inspiration and its
message and this is the first English at once recognize as unworthy. The Quran
cannot be translated. That is the conviction of the old-fashioned Shaikhs and
the view of the present writer. The Book here is rendered almost literally and
every effort is made to choose befitting language, but the result it not the
Glorious Quran, that inimitable symphony, the very sounds of which move men
to tears and ecstasy. It is only an attempt to present the meaning of the
Quran—and, peradventure, something of the charm-in English. It can never
take the place of the Quran in Arabic nor is it meant to do so.
I then realized why George Sale’s translation was most unfair. From then
on, I refused to read his or any other renderings of Holy Quran by non-
Muslims. After reading Pickthall’s rendition, I discovered other English
translations by Yusuf Ali, Muhammad Ali Lahori and Maulana Abdul Majid
Daryabadi. I found the commentation by Yusuf Ali and Muhammad Ali Lahori offensive because of their apologetic tone and far-fetched and unconvincing
attempts to explain away those passages conflicting with modern philosophies
or scientific concepts. Their translation of the Text was also weak. Although
Maulana Daryabadi’s attempts to pattern his translation of the Holy Quran on
the archaic style of the King Jame’s version of the Bible most annoyed me, I
found his commentary excellent, particularly those parts dealing with
comparative religion and learned much from it. However, Pickthall’s rendition
remained my favorite and to this day, I have never found any other English
translation that can equal it. The sweep of eloquence, the virility and dignity
of the language is unsurpassed in any other translation. Most other translations
commit the mistake of using the word “God” but Pickthall retains “Allah”
throughout. This makes the message of Islam strike the Western reader as more
authentic and effective. Throughout the darkest days during my years of
hospitalization, I kept a paper-back edition of Pickthall’s translation with me as
my constant companion which I read over so many times, I must have worn to
pieces of half dozen copies. May Allah abundantly reward Pickthall with the
choicest blessings for making the knowledge about the Quran so easily and
cheaply available to England and America! Were it not for him, I would not
have been able to know and appreciate it.
After my discharge in 1959, I spent much of my leisure time reading books
about Islam in the Oriental Division of the New York Public Library. It was there
I discovered four bulky volumes of an English translation of Mishkat ul Masabih
by Al-Haj Maulana Fazlur Rahman of Calcutta. It was then I learned that a
proper and detailed understanding of Holy Quran is not possible without some
knowledge of the relevant Hadith, for how can the Holy Text correctly be
interpreted except by the Prophet to whom it was revealed? Those who
disbelieve the Hadith also disbelieve the Quran for its revelation explicity tells
us that one cannot follow what God wants us to do without an unquestioning
acceptance of the authority of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and
blessings of Allah be upon him).
Once I had studied the Mishkat, I began to accept the Holy Quran as Divine
revelation. What persuaded me that the Quran must be from God and not
composed by Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was its
satisfying and convincing answers to all the most important questions of life
which I could not find elsewhere.
As a child, I was so mortally afraid of death, particularly the thought of my own
death, that after nightmare about it, sometimes I would awaken my parents
crying in the middle of the night. When I asked them why I had to die and what
would happen to me after death, all they could say was that I had to accept
the inevitable but that was a long way off and because medical science was
constantly advancing, perhaps I would live to be a hundred years old! My
parents, the remainder of my family and all our friends contemptuously
rejected as superstition any thought of Hereafter, regarding Judgment Day,reward in Paradise or punishment in Hell as outmoded concepts of by-gone
ages. In vain I searched all the verbose chapters of the Old Testament for any
clear and unambiguous concept of Hereafter. The prophets, patriarchs and
sages of the Bible all receive their rewards or punishments in this world.
Typical is the story of Job (Hazrat Ayub). God destroyed all his loved-ones, his
possessions and afflicted him with loathsome disease in order to test his faith.
Job plaintively laments to God why He should make a righteous man suffer. At
the end of the story, God restores all his earthly losses but nothing is even
mentioned about any possible consequences in the Hereafter. Although I did
find the Hereafter mentioned in the New Testament, compared with that of
Holy Quran, it is vague and ambiguous. I found no answer to the question of
death in Orthodox Judaism, for the Talmud preaches that even the worst life is
better than the best death. My parents’ philosophy was that one must avoid
contemplating the thought of death and just enjoy as best one can, the
pleasures life has to offer at the moment. According to them, the purpose of
life is enjoyment and pleasure achieved through self-expression of one’s
talents, the love of family, the congenial company of friends combined with
the comfortable living and indulgence in the variety of amusements that
affluent America makes available in such abundance. They deliberately
cultivated this superficial approach to life as if it were the guarantee for their
continued happiness and good-fortune. Through bitter experience I discovered
that self-indulgence leads only to misery and that nothing great or even
worthwhile is ever accomplished without struggle through adversity and selfsacrifice.
From earliest childhood I have always wanted to accomplish
important and significant things. Above all else, before my death I want the
assurance that I have not wasted my life in sinful deeds or worthless pursuits.
All my life I have been intensely serious-minded. I have always detested the
frivolity which is the dominant characteristic of contemporary culture. My
father once disturbed me with his unsettling conviction that there is no hing of
permanent value and because everything in this modern age continually
changes all the time, the best we can do is accept the present trends as
inevitable and adjust ourselves to them. I, however, was thirsty to attain
something that would endure forever. It was from the Holy Quran where I
learned that this aspiration was possible. No good deed for the sake of seeking
the pleasure of God is ever wasted or lost. Even if the person concerned never
achieves any worldly recognition, his reward is certain in the Hereafter.
Conversely, Quran tells us that those who are guided by no moral
considerations other that expediency or social conformity and crave the
freedom to do as they please, no matter how much worldly success and
prosperity they attain or how keenly they are able to relish the short span of
their earthly life, will be doomed as the losers on Judgment Day. Islam teaches
us that in order to devote our exclusive attention to fulfilling our duties to God
and to our fellow-beings; we must abandon all vain and useless activities which
distract us from this end. These teachings of Holy Quran, made even more
explicit by Hadith, were thoroughly compatible with my temperament. When I
embraced Islam, my parents, relatives and their friends regarded me almost as a fanatic, because I could think and talk of nothing else. To them, religion is a
purely private concern which at the most perhaps could be cultivated like an
amateur hobby among other hobbies. But as soon as I read Holy Quran, I knew
that Islam was no hobby but life itself!
From the onset of my adolescence until my migration to Pakistan at the age
of twenty-eight, I was a hopeless misfit. A young girl as serious minded as I
was, always with a pile of books at the library, who abhorred the cinema,
dancing and “pop” music, who did not enjoy “dating” and mixed parties
and who took no interest in romance, glamour, cosmetics, jewelry or
fashionable clothes, had to pay the full penalty of social ostracism for being
From a bleak future in America, which had no place for a person like me, I
escaped when migrated to Pakistan. Although Pakistan, like every other Muslim
country, is being increasingly contaminated by the most noxious dirt from
Europe and America, still a sufficient number of Pakistanis remain good
Muslims to provide an environment which makes it possible for the individual
to lead a life in conformity to what Islam teaches. At times, I must admit, I fail
to apply to my own life what Islam demands that we practice, but I never
indulge in far-fetched interpretations of Quran or Sunnah to justify my
weaknesses and shortcomings. Whenever I do wrong, I readily admit it and try
my best to rectify my mistake. The happiness I have found in my new life is
entirely due to the fact that just those qualities of character and
temperament, Western society ridicules and scorns, in Islam are most keenly
appreciated and esteemed.
Ever since the days of my early childhood, my life has been dominated by a
religious outlook. This does not even exclude my adolescence and early youth
when, due to my disillusionment with the established Jewish synagogue and
Christian churches, I professed atheism for even then, my life was religious in
the sense that I was always in search for the absolute Truth which alone gives
human life its meanings, direction and purpose. I was not, however, raised in a
religious atmosphere. My family and their friends, having been thoroughly
integrated into American life, were Jews only nominally. They were thoroughly
decent, respectable, intelligent, broad-minded, cultured people who firmly
believed in and observed all the basic moral laws yet they denied that ethical
behavior was dependent upon theology; in fact, they could not even
understand the relevance between the two. All of them regarded any
conception of Divine reward and punishment in life after death as an outmoded
superstitious belief of by-gone ages. Any concept of a personal Diety Who directly intervenes into human affairs and would listen to the supplications of
His devotees, Divine revelation and Prophethood was also scorned for the same
reasons. As soon as I was repelled by the dominant values of my society, the
purpose of which is happiness, pleasure and enjoyment while I longed above all
else to achieve something eternally worth while. Since, according to this
outlook, there are no answers to the ultimate, one must avoid thinking about
them and just enjoy as best one can, the transitory pleasures life has to offer
at the moment --- good health, tasty food, comfortable living, the love of
family, the companionship of congenial friends and the variety of
entertainments and amusements which modern America makes available in
such abundance. Never ask oneself, why we were born, who created us, what is
the purpose of our life, why we must die and what will happen to us after
death, lest one be afflicted with depression, pessimism and despondency.
Americans are often praised by outsiders because they are not “static” and
love, nay, worship---Change. According to these “progressives,” America is
synonymous with Progress because it is supposedly the only country unimpeded
by “rigid, archaic philosophies, social and religious, and therefore able to
nourish creative Change.” I never shared this worship of Change for its own
sake. To me, the absence of permanence and stability in anything means the
outright denial of its value and makes life frivolous and superficial. My quest
was always for absolutes.
Neither Judaism nor Christianity could satisfy me. I was repelled by the narrow,
parochial-mindedness of the synagogue and horrified by the atrocities of
Zionism against the indigenous Arabs of Palestine. I could never reconcile
myself to the complicated, incomprehensible theology of the Christians and the
endless compromises of the Church with moral, social, political and economic
evils. Both the synagogue and the Church, as I encountered them, were filled
with corruption and hypocrisy. In the course of what Jewish training I received,
it was but natural for me to be curious about the faith historically most closely
akin to Judaism. I found that I could not learn about the Arabs without also
learning about Islam and its civilization and as soon as I discovered that it was
not the Arabs who had made Islam great but the other way around, I wanted to
know as much about this faith as I could. The superiority of the Quran over the
Bible to me lay in its all-embracing universality in contrast to the narrow, rigid
nationalism of the Jewish scriptures. As this universality makes for the superior
morality, it has exerted a drastic effect on the historical development of these
religions and civilizations shaped by them.
In Islam, my quest for absolute values was satisfied. In Islam I found all that
was true, good and beautiful and which gives meaning and direction to human
life (and death) while in other religions, the Truth is deformed, distorted,
restricted and fragmentary. If anyone chooses to ask me how I came to know
this, I can only reply that my personal life experience was sufficient to
convince me. My adherence to the Islamic faith is thus a calm, cool but very
intense conviction. Unlike some other converts, I never saw the Holy Prophet in my dreams during sleep at night; I never experienced any mystical vision and
nothing dramatic at the time of my conversion ever happened. Since I have, I
believe, always been a Muslim at heart and by temperament, even before I
even knew there was such a thing as Islam, my conversion was mainly a
formality, inv olving no radical change in my heart at all but rather only making
official what I had been thinking and yearning for many years.
Soon after I began the study of the Quran, I discovered that a proper
understanding of it is impossible without some knowledge of the relevant
Hadith, for who is better qualified to interpret the Quran than the man to
whom it was revealed? The Quran provides us with the general outline of the
life ordained by Islam but only the Hadith fill in all the necessary details. To
those who deny the validity of this only authoritative interpretation of Quran:
When the Prophet’s wife, Ayesha, was asked to described the mode of his life
and conduct, she replied; “His morals are the Quran.” In other words, his
daily life was a true picture of the Quranic teachings. He was an embodiment
of all the virtues which have been enunciated by the Quran. The record of his
life which sheds light on his conduct as a child, as a father, as a neighbor, as a
merchant, as a preacher, as a persecuted fugitive, as a friend, as a warrior, as
an army commander, as a conqueror, as a judge, as a law-giver, as a ruler and
above all, as a devotee of Allah, was all an exemplification of the Book of
The sincerity and purity of his pious living was clearly revealed in his daily
The daily routine of his life was extremely rigorous. After the dawn Salat, he
received people so as to educate them. He even settled disputes and
administered justice, received envoys and dictated dispatches and then the
assembly was adjourned. The public function now over, he used to go to one of
his wives and do any work she wanted. He even went to the market for
shopping. Then another short prayer was performed after which he visited the
sick and the poor and called at the houses of his friends and then he went to
the mosque for Zuhr Salat. After returning from the mosque, he took his meal,
if it was available, and then returned to his private apartment for some rest
and then went again to the mosque for the Asr Salat. Afterwards the Holy
Prophet would go to his wives and sit with them until children claimed his
time. He led the Maghrib Salat and then took his evening meal and then
returned to his home for prayers in solitude and rest. He slept for a few hours
only and then rose and prayed and meditated and again retired to bed only for
a brief time, rising again for the dawn Salat when the day’s work began once
more. His energy was extraordinary. He seldom complained of fatigue.
Now let us see how this pious life affected the activities of his womenfolk:Hazrat Ali once asked one of his pupils: Shall I tell you the story of Fatima, the
dearest and most loved daughter of Prophet? When the pupil replied in the
affirmative, he said: “Fatima used to grind the grain herself which caused
calluses on her hands. She carried water for the house in a leather bag which
caused scars on her breast. She cleaned the house herself which made her
clothes dirty. Once when some war-captives were brought to Medina, I said to
her: “Go to the Prophet and request him for a servant to help you in your
housework.” She went to him but found many people round him. As she was
very modest, she could not be bold enough to request the Prophet in the
presence of other people. Next day the Prophet came to our house and said:
“Fatima, what made you come to me yesterday?” She felt shy and kept quiet. I
said: “O Prophet of Allah, Fatima has developed calluses on her hands and
breasts on account of grinding grain and carrying water. She is constantly busy
in cleaning the house and in other domestic work, causing her clothes to
remain dirty. I informed her about the captives and advised her to go to you
and request a servant.” The Prophet replied: “Fatima! Fear Allah! Acquire
Taqwa (piety) and when you go to bed, recite, Subhanallah 33 times,
Alhamdulillah 33 times and Allahu Akbar 34 times. This you will find more
helpful than a servant.” Fatima said: “I am content with Allah and His
And how did the Prophet’s wives spend their time?
Ayesha said: Maymuna was the most pious and most faithful of her kin
among all the Prophet’s wives. She was seen either engaged in Salat or in
domestic duties. When she was doing neither, she was busy cleaning her teeth
with the miswaq.
This will not appeal to the advocates of the so-called “Women’s Liberation.”
The immediate reaction of the modern-minded woman to this is dismay. She
will certainly ask me how I as a twentieth-century woman, born and reared in
modern America could possibly endorse such an apparently poor and limited
life? The answer is that to the Holy Prophet, depth of experience was more
important than breadth. The fast pace of modern, mechanized living where to
be active and “always on the run” are in themselves regarded as supreme
virtues, the experiences of modern men and women may be broad and varied,
yet their minds remain superficial, fickle and shallow. I would point out to her
the fact that many modern American women are unhappy even though they can
do virtually anything they please. They enjoy the highest standard of living in
history; they are the best-dressed, best-groomed, best-fed, best-housed
women anywhere with the least drudgery; they have the most freedom, the
greatest variety of interesting social contacts, are unexcelled in the extent of
their secular education and have the widest possible opportunity to enrich their
self-indulgence and can do whatever they want, yet despite all these material
advantages, too many American women are restless, dissatisfied and even
For the Holy Prophet, the purpose of life was achievement---not
enjoyment. Pleasure and happiness in Islam are but the natural by-products of emotional satisfaction in one’s duties being conscientiously performed for the
pleasure of God to gain salvation in the life to come. In the materialistic world,
achievement is equated with the capturing of political or economic power,
fulfillment in the arts and sciences and acquiring fame, if one is exceptionally
gifted, or enjoying an ample income from business and commerce. In Islam,
achievement is rated on accomplishing what is enduring and worth while
through useful, benevolent and productive work and to refrain from wasting
one’s time in empty self-gratification disgraced by sinful deeds. The Supreme
Achievement is to attain, through implicit obedience to Quran and Sunnah,
eternal salvation in the world to come.
This was the dominant theme of all the teachings of the Holy Prophet as shown
in the following oration which he delivered at the mosque in Medina in the first
year of the Hijra :
O people! Make provision for yourselves in advance. You should know by Allah
everyone of you will indeed faint; then he will leave his cattle without a
shepherd. Then his Lord will say to him---while there will be neither any guide
at hand nor any shelter to hide him---“Did My Messenger not approach you and
deliver My revelation to you? I bestowed wealth and favor upon you. What
provision did you make for yourself?” He will certainly look to the right and to
the left but he will find nothing to help him. Then he will cast his glance to his
front but will see only Hell-fire! So he who is able to save his face from the
Fire, though by means only of a bit of date, should certainly do that and he
who cannot afford it, then do it by means of a kind word. For the good action
will be rewarded and increased from ten to seven hundred times.
And at Tabuk in Syria in 9 A.H. the Holy Prophet proclaimed :
Verily the most veracious discourse is the Book of Allah. The most trustworthy
handhold is the word of piety. The best of the religions is the faith of Ibrahim.
The best of precedents is the precedent of Muhammad. The noblest speech is
the invocation of Allah. The finest narratives is this Quran; the best affairs is
that which has been already firmly resolved upon and the worst thing in
religion are innovations. The best of the ways is the path of the prophets. The
noblest death is the death of martyrdom. The greatest blindness is going astray
after guidance. The best of actions is that which benefits. The best guidance is
that which is followed in practice. The worst blindness is the blindness of the
The little but sufficient is better than the abundant but alluring. The worst
apology is that which is made at the point of death. The worst regret is that
which will be felt on the Day of Resurrection.
Thus the Holy Prophet has revealed to me personally and to all mankind for all
times in all places the purpose of human life and what is important and what is not. Unlike Hinduism, Buddhism and classical Christianity, the Holy Prophet
repudiated monasticism and self-mortification as the path to the spiritual life.
With his perfect emotional balance, he did not shun the legitimate pleasures of
this life. The Holy Prophet was endowed with a fine sense of humor and
occasionally even joined children in their games but nevertheless he never
ceased to emphasize that the interests of this world must always be
subordinated by the Believer to that of the next world. He often told his
Companions that “If you had seen what I have seen (of the Life Hereafter), you
certainly would have laughed little and wept much.”
The prayers and supplications of the Holy Prophet prove his unmatched
devotion to Allah as the supreme end of life above all worldly considerations.
Before going to sleep each night he never failed to plea:
O Allah! Save me from the pangs of the Day of Resurrection!
O Allah! In Thy Name do I die and live.
Maryam Jameelah
An Introduction
Maryam Jameelah was born in 1934 in New York at the height of the Great
Depression a fourth-generation American of German Jewish origin.
She was reared in Westchester, one of the most prosperous and populated
suburbs of New York and received a thoroughly secular American education at
the local public schools. Always an above-average student, she soon became a
passionate intellectual and insatiable bibliophile, hardly ever without a book
in hand, her readings extending far beyond the requirements of the school
curriculum. As she entered adolescence, she became intensely seriousminded,
scorning all frivolities, which is very rare for an otherwise attractive
young girl. Her main interests were religion, philosophy, history,
anthropology, sociology, psychology and biology. The school and local
community public libraries and later, the New York Public Library, became
"her second home."
After her graduation from secondary school in the summer of 1952, she was
admitted to New York University where she studied a general liberal arts
program. While at the university, she became severely ill in 1953, grew steadily worse and had to discontinue college two years later without earning
any diploma. She was confined to private and public hospitals for two years
(1957-1959) and only after her discharge did she discover her facility for
writing. Allama Muhammad Asad's two book: -his autobiographical The Road
to Mecca and Islam at the Crossroads ignited her interest in Islam and after
correspondence with some prominent Muslims in Muslim lands and making
intimate friends with some Muslim converts in New York, she embraced Islam at
the Islamic Mission in Brooklyn; New York at the hand of Shaikh Daoud Ahmad
Faisal, who then changed her name from Margaret Marcus to Maryam Jameelah.
During extensive correspondence with Muslims throughout the world and reading
and making literary contributions to whatever Muslim periodicals were available
in English, Maryam Jameelah became acquainted with the writings of Maulana
Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi and so, beginning in December 1960 they exchanged
letters regularly In the spring of 1962, Maulana Maududi invited Maryam
Jameelah to migrate to Pakistan and live as a member of his family in Lahore.
Maryam Jameelah accepted the offer and a year later, married Mohammad Yusuf
Khan, a whole-time worker for the Jama'at-e-Islami who later became the
publisher of all her books. She subsequently became the mother of four
children, living with her co-wife and her children in a large extended household
of in-laws. Most unusual for a woman after marriage, she continued all her
intellectual interests and literary activities; in fact, her most important writings
were done during and in between pregnancies. She observes Purdah/Hijab
Her hatred of atheism and materialism in all its varied manifestations-past and
present-is intense and in her restless quest for absolute, transcendental ideals,
she upholds Islam as the most emotionally arid intellectually satisfying
explanation to the Ultimate Truth which alone gives life (and death) meaning,
direction, purpose and value.

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Anne View Drop Down

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Anne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 April 2005 at 3:13am

Thanks of course for the story of that convert but I believe I've pointed out that I am not interested in converting to Islam. I found my peace of mind in Bahai Faith. I don't want to appear overly aggressive but I could post scores of testimonies of converts to Bahaism - but what's the point?

As for this very story, I can't say I am dreaming of being a co-wife or a mother of four.

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Anne View Drop Down

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Anne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 April 2005 at 3:23am

Dear AhmadJoyia,

thank you very much for your post. In fact, I don't think Bahaism is a sect of Islam any longer because my religion is very different from Islam. However, the greatest similarity between our religions is our abiding faith in God and acknowledgment of the prophet Mohammed - and it's extremely important. But Bahais also think that, for example, Lord Buddha was the prophet of God; he was sent to upgrade Hinduism.

Well, I am happy that Islam is different from what some people practise. One more question - should unveiled women be treated as veiled? Or can unveiled women be considered somewhat inferior to Muslimahs? Often I hear my Muslim friends saying that women who don't wear veils are sluts but it's not true!


Edited by Anne
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semar View Drop Down
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Senior Member
Male Islam
Joined: 11 March 2005
Location: United States
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote semar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 April 2005 at 11:55pm
Originally posted by Anne Anne wrote:

One more question - should unveiled women be treated as veiled? Or can unveiled women be considered somewhat inferior to Muslimahs? Often I hear my Muslim friends saying that women who don't wear veils are sluts but it's not true!

Islam has many aspects, not only dressing code. Regardless veils is mandatory or not, dressing is only one aspect, maybe one muslimah is good in one aspect let say dressing but probably she is not quite good other things let say shalat or charity or attitude or etc. So in my opinion the answer of first your question is YES and NO for the second one.

Edited by semar


The Prophet said: "Do not eat before you are hungry, and stop eating before you are full"

"1/3 of your stomach for food, 1/3 for water, 1/3 for air"
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AhmadJoyia View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AhmadJoyia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 April 2005 at 5:03pm
Originally posted by Anne Anne wrote:

Dear AhmadJoyia,

thank you very much for your post. In fact, I don't think Bahaism is a sect of Islam any longer because my religion is very different from Islam. However, the greatest similarity between our religions is our abiding faith in God and acknowledgment of the prophet Mohammed - and it's extremely important. But Bahais also think that, for example, Lord Buddha was the prophet of God; he was sent to upgrade Hinduism.

Well, I am happy that Islam is different from what some people practise. One more question - should unveiled women be treated as veiled? Or can unveiled women be considered somewhat inferior to Muslimahs? Often I hear my Muslim friends saying that women who don't wear veils are sluts but it's not true!


Sis Anne,

In my opinion, anyone among the people of the book, who believes in the oneness of Allah has a reward for his faith in the life hereafter. Coming to those who also believe in Prophet Mohammad (hence the Quran), one gets more closer to the right path and needless to say what would be there reward in the life hereafter. So it is in this sense that I consider Bhai's as a sect of Islam, probably differing on the books of hadiths as to what to admit in their daily life and what not to admit from the sunnah of our beloved Prophet Mohammad.

As to your question of differencing between the two, I would say that since Allah has sent numerous (almost hundred and twenty four thousand) prophets to earth for the guidance of mankind and only few are known either through Quran or through Sunnah of Prophet Mohammad, there is a large list of those that we don't know about them. There is all the possibility that Lord Buddha could be one of them. Not only he, I believe, behind all relegions there must be Prophet who might have brought Allah's message to recognize just One God and don't make Shirk in His entity. But by the passage of time, the people got diverted from the right path. The teachings of these prophets got tempered with their own people of later generations till that they don't appear anymore to be monolithic in their doctrines. There is a very good aritcle about Hinduism on this forum, that may help you look at it from an islamic scholars perspective.

Now coming to your question regarding veil, in my humble understanding of Islam, such acts of a muslim only he/she is  answerable to Allah, therefore the issue of veil for an individaul is only his/her private matter. I am using word 'his' because literally, it is the duty of male also who has to take care of his veil as well. Here the veil is not the customary veil of head gear or any similar thing, but he has to protect his gaze from wandering here and there.  There are minimum guidelines that are provided in the Quran and anyone believing in Quran is expected to follow them through letter and spirit. But those who don't follow it, their actions are only answerable to Allah only. I don't think that those who don't veil are necessarily sluts. This is a big misconception in the minds of those who have very little vision of life. No one can judge the others on the matter of faith. So it is really beyond my comprehension to consider other person inferior to others just on the basis of veil. May be he/she has more other faith based actions which Allah loves more than merely a veil and no one knows about it. However, those who love Allah and obeys Him in all His commands, only they are the ones who have more reward from Allah. But of course its not for people to judge others. Another thing to note is the level of veiling is quite a cultural issue and varies drastically from one culture to another even within the same country. So people usually have preconcieved ideas about "Islamic veil" based on their cultural backgrounds. The Quran is very clear in its requirements about veil and I think its upon everyone who accepts Quran as the true word of God, should follow them without hesitation. Here are few that I found it on the website. Quran 24:30-31 

[30] Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.

[31] And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss

I think, with this I have tried my best to answer your questions according to own understanding. BTW, the question of veil is quite frequently discussed in my home as well. Without saying anything, I refer to my wife these verses of Quran and leave the decision to her to adopt whatever she considers best for her; after all its her decision what to do about her obedience to Allah. My job is to simply guide her what I know about the issue from Quran. Rest Allah knows the best. May Allah bless us all for the right guidance. Amen.


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