The Unlocking

opening Quran

Photo from William Hamblin and Daniel Peterson: Reciting from the Quran

BenRoyston, 20 May 2017

Below is an explanation of the translation of Surah Al-Fatiha supplemented with a simple verse by verse explanation by Imam Kamil Mufti.  He writes for ‘New Muslims‘, a website that is designed for those who have just assumed Islam. It was last modified on 03 Feb 2015.

Each part of his explanation is interspersed with further commentary added from the writer’s, own understanding on 15 May 2017.

IMAM KAMIL

Surah al-Fatiha is the first surah of the Quran and is recited in each prayer, as the Prophet, may Allah praise him, declared,

“There is no (valid)  salah without the opening chapter of the Book.”  (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)

On accepting Islam, a person should first memorise the Fatiha to be able to perform the prescribed prayers.  Its meaning should be learnt and contemplated every time we offer salah.

INTERSPERSED COMMENTARY

Al Fatiha is the opening verse of the Quran, the verse that unlocks the prayer and establishes the conduit between God and His invokers and supplicants, that is: those who worship Him.

The requirement to recite Al-Fatiha in Prayer is essentially true, as Imam Kamil says. However, there was once a man who had accepted Islam, who came to the Prophet complaining that he had difficulty memorising Al Fatiha, so the Prophet, may Allah praise him, told him,

“Say: (in Arabic) Glory be to Allah, praise be to Allah, there is no god except Allah and Allah is Most great, there is no god except Allah and there is no power and no strength except with Allah.” The man … said, “This is for my Lord, what is there for me?” He said, “Say:  (in Arabic) O Allah, forgive me, have mercy on me, guide me, and grant me provision and good health.” (Sunan An-Nasai and Sunan Abu Dawood)

There is always an easier way allowed by God when what is required is too difficult to do or cannot be met.

IMAM KAMIL

TEXT, TRANSLITERATION, TRANSLATION, AND EXPLANATION

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

  1. Bismillahir rahmaanir raheem

In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.

The Quran begins with the proper, unique, and personal name of God – Allah. ‘I begin with the name of Allah’ means a Muslim begins his recitation seeking the help of Allah.  Allah is the God of mankind who alone deserves worship.  No one else can take the name ‘Allah.’  Allah is the Most Gracious (ar-Rahman) Lord whose mercy extends to all creation.  He is also especially Merciful (ar-Raheem) to the faithful.

INTERSPERSED COMMENTARY

In the name of Allah, the Gracious and Merciful.

Here, the supplicant and invoker calls upon two of the most prominent of God’s qualities encompassed in His name (Allah) – the quality of Grace – God’s ability to provide Mercy – nurture through Forgiveness and Pardon for wrong doing in this life – which results in one’s Provision and further Guidance to a greater or lesser extent and Grace (entry into the levels of Paradise).

IMAM KAMIL

الْحَمْدُ للّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

  1. Alhamdu lillahi rabbil Aalameen

(All) praise is (due) to Allah, Lord of the worlds

Allah deserves to be praised for the perfection of His qualities, material gifts, and spiritual blessings.  Therefore, people should praise Him for everything He has given them.  He alone deserves it.  He is the Lord of the worlds, meaning He made everything that exists, maintaining it at every moment.  He is the Lord who nourishes the believers with faith and good works.

INTERSPERSED COMMENTARY

All praise is to Allah, Lord of the worlds.

Here, the worshippers affirm that their praise is reserved in the first place to the Lord of all the levels of Creation.

Worlds:

The domains of the Seen and Unseen, the Orb we live on and all the other orbs in this Solar System and beyond, and the Pre-life decree, the Worldly life and the Afterlife. Muslims believe that the Worlds also refer to other dimensions or alternate realities that may exist as well as the dimension we live in.

IMAM KAMIL

الرَّحْمـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

  1. Ar rahmaanir raheem

The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful,

‘Most Gracious’ (Al-Rahman) and ‘Merciful’ (ar-Raheem) are two of the many names of Allah.

INTERSPERSED COMMENTARY

The Merciful, The Gracious.

Note that the Imam also translates Al-Rahman as “The Most Gracious” although the text of the Translation of the Quran he is using translates it as “the Entirely Merciful”.

I have left out the superlative inflection as God’s Grace and Mercy incomparable (in its infinity) to that of any of His Creatures. I have also applied the term Gracious to Al-Raheem and Merciful to Al-Rahman for two reasons. In the Christian religion, Grace is what God grants on Judgement Day to those He accepts into His Kingdom.

In the same way, Al-Raheem reserves entry into Paradise for the believers in God (Allah) and the unblameworthy (such as children who died before adolescence, those who died feeble-minded and those who never heard the message. Some say the ones who never heard the message includes those who never heard it delivered in the right context).

Al-Rahman, however, extends even to those in the mundane world who disbelieve and reject God and belief in Him. He exposes them to Guidance and Feeds them and Shelters them and makes them look out for each other. He also tests them so they reflect and warns them of the consequence of turning away from Him.

The root of both words is RaHaMa from which is also derived the word rahim, the womb which nurtures and develops our offspring until they are delivered into the mundane world.

IMAM KAMIL

مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ

  1. Maliki yawmid deen

Sovereign of the Day of Recompense.

Allah alone is the Master of the Day of Judgement, the Day when human beings will be rewarded for their deeds.  Reciting this verse in every rak’ah of payer constantly reminds a Muslim of the coming Judgement, and encourages him to do good and stay away from sins.

INTERSPERSED COMMENTARY

The King, or Owner, of the Promised Day.

Malik or Maalik – the first means King, whilst the second means Owner. Both forms are used in different Qirat (ways of reciting the Quran). Malik reinforces the notion of Ruler-ship: the One with the power to decide and decree, whilst Maalik emphasises that everything belongs to Allah, even His creations, Heaven and Hell. Because He owns them and us, He can dispose of us as He wills in either place.

The Promised Day

Yawm id-deenYawm m means Day; id-deen refers to the Day Allah promised that we would be raised up from death in the hereafter to answer for our deeds in the mundane world. Deen can mean debt – the debt that we owe Allah (which we fulfilled or did not fulfil by our deeds) and the debt fulfilled (fully) by Allah. It can also mean religion – our duty to perform what we were made for (to worship Allah) and believe in what He warned us would happen after death (Resurrection) and Judgement which would leave us in Heaven (if we believed and submitted) or Hell (if we did not believe nor submit).

IMAM KAMIL

إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ

  1. Iyyaka naabudu wa-iyyaka nasta-een

It is You Alone we worship and You Alone we ask for help.

We only submit to You in worship and seek only Your help in everything we do. Everything is in Your hands.  The verse tells us that a Muslim is not allowed to direct any act of worship, like prayer and asking for supernatural, help to anyone other than Allah.

The verse connects the heart with Allah and purifies it of pride and the desire to show-off.

INTERSPERSED COMMENTARY

It is You alone we worship and invoke and supplicate for aid

Iyyaka na’abadu and na’asta’een. TheIyya Kameans that (we are addressing) “nobody or nothing except O You”. It is the vocative case hail – hailing the one we have been extolling and recognising and invoking: Allah, Merciful and Gracious Lord, King, Owner (and Gateway to Good in the Promised Hereafter) “do we (n) Worship (obediently) and Request (‘abad and ‘asta’) (and depend on) for all our needs.

This ends the first part of the opening prayer, dedicated to invoking Allah and  the reason why we are invoking Him or Her  (Allah has no gender). After this invocation, we tell Him what we request – that is – we supplicate whom we have invoked.

IMAM KAMIL

اهدِنَــــا الصِّرَاطَ المُستَقِيمَ

  1. Ih dinassiratal mustaqeem

Guide us to the straight path

Guide us and show us the straight path and make it easy for us. Make us firm on it till we meet You.  The ‘Straight Path’ is Islam, the clear road leading to divine pleasure and Heaven shown by Muhammad, God’s last and final prophet.  A slave of Allah cannot be happy and prosperous except by following it.

INTERSPERSED COMMENTARY

Guide us in the straight path

The request we make is for guidance. Hadi – guide – n -us! What kind of guidance? The next source of material wealth or benefit? Not at all: spiritual guidance to Al-siraat al mustaqiym.

The Straight Path

Imam Kamil rightly said this path is Islam: The path laid down by the Prophets in general and by Muhammed, may Allah praise him, in particular. He drew a straight line in the sand with a stick by way of illustration and said,

This is the straight path of Allah.” Then the Prophet drew lines to the right and left and he said, “These are other paths and there are no other paths but that a devil is upon it calling to its way.” Then the Prophet recited the verse, “Verily, this is the straight path, so follow it and do not follow other paths.” (6:153) (Musnad Ahmad)

The path same path is obliquely referred to as “the way is narrow that leads to life” by Jesus just before he warns the people at the sermon on the mount to “do the Will of the Father.”

“Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

IMAM KAMIL

صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنعَمتَ عَلَيهِمْ غَيرِ المَغضُوبِ عَلَيهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّينَ

  1. Siratal latheena an Amta Alayhim ghayril maghdoobi alayhim walad daalleen

The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favour, not of those who have evoked (Your) anger or of those who are astray.

The path followed by those who were blessed – the prophets, the truthful, the martyrs, and the righteous.  They are the guided.  Do not let us follow the path of two.  First, those who earned divine anger because they knew the truth but did not act on it, and that is the example of the Jews and whoever is like them.  Second, do not let us follow the path of those who lost their way and were not guided, and that is the example of the Christians and their like.  This is a prayer from a Muslim to purify his heart of stubbornness, ignorance, and misguidance.  The verse also shows Islam is God’s greatest blessing.  Those who know the way and walk on it are guided and, after the prophets they were, without doubt, the companions of Prophet Muhammad.  It is recommended to say ‘Ameen’ after reciting Fatiha in the prayer.  ‘Ameen’ means ‘O Allah, please accept.’

INTERSPERSED COMMENTARY

The path of those who have received your favours,

Those who have received the favours (that Allah) bestowed are those who are guided by Him – the ones who follow the straight path and narrow way to life.

Not of those who earned your anger nor of those who went astray.

Indeed, many scholars equate the maghdoub the Jews. Even Christians consider Jews to have lost favour with God due to hypocrisy (Matthew 23), and God portrays Jerusalem, or the people therein, to be a betraying wife in Jeremiah 3.

What it literally means is ghayr, meaning not or (set) apart (from), the people out of favour due to rebellion – thus angering their ruler: those who set themselves up as equals in dialogue with God, or set themselves against God. Agnostics would fall into this category, perhaps.

The dhaleen, however, refers to those who strayed – led astray, perhaps, by those rebellious ones with knowledge. Their hearts may be soft, rather than hard, yet they are misguided. These, perhaps, are the ones who follow their desires rather than the truth. Yet, perhaps, they are also the ones who have the potential to return; to make Tawbah, or to repent.

There are many more Christians than Jews who convert to Islam after they are convinced the Quran is God’s word, but some Jews do as well, so we cannot rigidly adhere to the scholars’ interpretation as to the groups they refer to. A key verse in the Quran that describes the People of the Book who return to guidance is in Surah 28, The Stories.

And We have conveyed to them the Word that they might be reminded. Those to whom We gave the Book before it – they are believers in it. And when it is recited to them, they say, “We have believed in it; indeed, it is the truth from our Lord. Indeed, (even) before (hearing) it, we were Muslims. (28:51-54)

And Allah says of these people:

Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided. (28:56)

When the Imam recites this supplication in the prescribed prayer, the jama’a, or congregation, confirms their participation by saying Amen in the Arabic way, which is Ameen.

Ameen / Amen

In Arabic, Ameen is used to end a prayer heard if one wants to participate in its benefits, so the meaning would be “may Allah accept it for me (for us) as well!” The prayer then becomes as if you said it. Etymologically, it is associated with Truth, Trust (entrusting) and Faith.

The meaning is similar in Judaism and Christianity, a word God ordered the Jews to say at the end of congregational prayer. In the Gospel, Jesus often initiates a sentence with the word while teaching. In such cases, it is often translated as “Verily” or “Truly”. In the Gospel of Mark, the word is amen is reproduced phonetically as αμην, but in the Gospel of Luke the same synoptic verse begins by using the word αληθος Truly“. (Mark 9:1, Luke 9:27). This shows us that the underlying meaning of the word “Amen” is Truth and Verity. It is a solemn affirmation. So, when Christians say, “Amen” they mean, “Yes, before God I agree with that; I believe that to be true; I want that to be so“. That is very similar to the meaning given to “Ameen” in the Arabic of Muslims.

Like the Lord’s Prayer, this prayer is the fundamental basis of salah, the formal prayer performed to a formal pattern, whether the obligatory prayers in the mosque or the extra voluntary prayers performed at home.

 

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The Lord’s Prayer

Lords Prayer

This is an Olive Tree interpretation called interspersed with some comments of my own.

Understanding The Lord’s Prayer

He said to them,

“When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. ‘Give us each day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us [who has offended or wronged us]. And lead us not into temptation [but rescue us from evil].’” Luke 11:2-4 AMP

The Lord’s prayer illustrates the variety of requests that one can and should make to God, as well as displaying the humble attitude that should accompany prayer.

  • In addition, this prayer is the one Jesus commanded us to use “when we pray.” It is addressed to “Our Father”, not to “the Holy Ghost” or to “Our Lord Iesus Kristos”.
  • Is this called “The Lord’s Prayer” because Jesus used it or taught it, or because it is addressed to The true Lord?
  • Jesus said,

    “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23 NIV

  • In this quote, Whose Will is to be done? The Lord Father’s or Lord Jesus’s. If it is the former, what kind of Lord is Jesus? The final King’s, Whose Kingdom comes, or the King of David’s eternal Throne, already established?

The use of the plural pronoun us throughout the prayer shows that it is not just the prayer of one person for his or her own personal needs, but a community prayer.

  • Agreed, here.
  • But also, it implies the reciprocal idea that these requests can be and will be responded to by our Lord Father, not our Lord Jesus or Lord Holy Ghost.

Your Kingdom come: The references here is to God’s program and promise. This is more affirmation than request, highlighting the petitioner’s submission to God’s Will and the desire to see God’s work come to pass.

  • It is not a request in the sense that it Will not come about if not requested. Rather, it is recognition of inevitability of God’s Decree.

For we ourselves also forgive: The petitioner recognizes that if Mercy is to be sought from God, then mercy must be shown to others. We need to adopt the same standard that we expect others to follow.

  • True. However, Mercy of The Father (God) is not dependent on our treating our neighbours well, nor on the slaughter of Jesus, but on our submission to God (The Father).

Lead us not into temptation: This remark is often misunderstood as suggesting that perhaps God can lead us into sin. The point is that if one is to avoid sin, one must follow where God leads. In short, the petitioner asks God for the spiritual protection necessary to avoid falling into sin.

  • Yes indeed. We must seek God’s Guidance lest we stray onto an evil path. Yet the evil path exists by God’s permission in order to test us. Will the temptation to follow the broad way male is miss the straight and narrow path.

Deliver us from Evil:

The Olive Tree explanation of the Lord’s Prayer does not include an explanation of this part. The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary, however, observes:

As the expression “from evil” may be equally well rendered “from the evil one,” a number of superior critics think the devil is intended.

However, they also express the opinion that evil goes well beyond just the evil one. They note that Paul, who was Saul, wrote to Timothy alluding to this very petition in the Lord’s Prayer:

“And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom” (2Ti 4:18).

And conclude that:

The final petition, then, is only rightly grasped when regarded as a prayer for deliverance from all evil of whatever kind–not only from sin, but from all its consequences–fully and finally.

What they do not say, but which may be intimated by all devote Christians, is that full and final deliverance from sin and its consequences is only possible through believing in the final sacrifice of Jesus as redemption, so this petition is for his crucifixion.

  • If it was a petition for his crucifixion, then why to Christians still use it, as it has already happened.
  • If we are praying to The Father as Lord, then asking The Lord to  deliver me from every evil work, and preserve me unto His heavenly (not earthly) Kingdom is what every person wishes. An evil work is not just sin against other human beings, but include sins against God. Those sins include conjoining partners with Him. In the Quran, Allah says:

Indeed, Allah does not forgive conjoining partners with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And he who associates others with Allah has certainly fabricated a tremendous sin. (Quran 4:48)

  • This is the evil we hope God will forgive and pardon that will enter us into heaven, for any other sin God will forgive or pardon out of His Mercy as long as you bow to His Will. The Evil One, Satan, is the one who stands in the straight path beckoning you to the wide way. We should recognise him and despise his blandishments and inveiglement. I concur with, for that reason, the superior critics that Jamieson et al. refer to.

In Islam, there is a similar prayer: a prayer for healing:

A Healing Prayer

 

Our Lord Allah Who is in Heaven. Hallowed is Your name. Your Decree is in the Heavens and the Earth.  As is Your Grace (received) is in the Heavens, So is Your Grace (given) on Earth. Forgive us our faults and our sins; You are Lord of the goodly.

Send down a (part of) Mercy from Your Grace and a (part of) Cure from Your Healing on this, (my/his/her/our/their) pain/ache/illness! (Sunan Abu Dawood)

This prayer bears many similarities to the Lord’s prayer.

Our Lord Allah Who is in Heaven. Hallowed is Your name.

This acknowledges God as our Lord, our only Lord, in Heaven, like the Lord Father is in Heaven. And as He is Hallowed (Holy) as is the Father,

In the Quran and in the Sunnah, Allah is never referred to with the attribute, “The Father.” Yet his parental (Motherly) quality is hinted at in at least one of the Prophet’s sayings that came down to us.  For instance, once a nursing mother was separated from her baby in the aftermath of a battle, and was searching for it. Whenever she found an untended baby, she would look to see if it were hers, nurse it and then carry on looking until she finally found her own. Then she not only nursed it, but scolded it fiercely for going missing. The Prophet, May Allah praise him, drew the attention of his companions to the woman and said,

Do you think that woman could throw her child in the fire?

We said, “No, not if she is able to stop it.”

The Prophet said, “Allah is more merciful to His servants than a mother is to her child.” (Sahih Bukhari)

In another saying, he was talking of himself and the other Prophets of Allah, saying how they were related, at least spiritually, to each other. He said:

“I am the closest of the people to Jesus the son of Mary in this life and in the Hereafter.”

It was said, “How is that, O Messenger of Allah?”

The Prophet, may Allah Praise him, said, “The prophets are brothers from one father with different mothers. They have one religion and there was no other prophet between us.”

The explanation of One Father is that it refers to the religion sent down to the Prophets. This is similar to the idea that Abraham was the father of the religion in that he was a monotheist before Judaism, Christianity or Islam.

Yet another explanation would be that the Father is the author of the religion. The One Who sent it down.

That, however, gets complicated as the revelation was sent down with angels, identified mainly as the angel Gabriel or Holy Spirit. They are, however, like the Prophets, the conduits of Revelation to the Prophets as the Prophets are to ordinary people. This brings me to two definitions of father that can be considered as The Lord Father.

Father (n) (Marion Webster)

5 (SOURCE)
a : one that originates or institutes

Father (v) (American Heritage)

2. To create, found, or originate.
3. To attribute the paternity, creation, or origin of.

Hence, Creator, Originator, Source as well as Carer.

Your Decree is in the Heavens and the Earth.  As is Your Grace (received) is in the Heavens, So is Your Grace (given) on Earth.

This is recognition of Who rules the Heavens and earth, and Whose Will directs it. However, it connects this Rule to Mercy and Grace, invoking both and as a preliminary to asking God to dispense it.

Forgive us our faults and our sins; You are Lord of the goodly.

This prayer leaves out asking for provision and immediately leaps to asking for forgiveness.

A Muslim attributes affliction to three causes. The first cause is that it comes to a person as a test. It need not be a result of sin, but a result of goodliness: a test of that goodliness. It may also be punishment for an evil that God alone is aware of inflicted upon a believer as an expiation for sin so he or she will not have to answer for it on Judgement-Day. Finally, it may also be a result of sin – brought upon oneself as a consequence of doing ill – a reaction, you might say, to what (evil) you put out. If that pain is reserved for the hereafter, one is in deep trouble. One always hopes it is not.

The goodly refers to those who try to be good towards people in society, and those who purify themselves for worship. An example of such a man is someone the Prophet marked for a place in Paradise.

Once we were sitting with the Messenger of God, may Allah praise him. He said: “There will appear before you a man of the rightful dwellers of Paradise.”

A man of Al-Ansar (the helpers of Medina) appeared before us. He was shaking off water from his beard after performing ablution and was carrying his sandals in his left hand. He greeted us.

The following day, the Messenger of God said the same and that man appeared once again. On the third day, the Messenger of God said the same and that man appeared once again.

When the Prophet, may Allah praise him, left, Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Al-Ass followed the man. He said to him; “I have had some words with my father and swore not to stay in my house for three nights. Please let me accompany you for the three nights.”

The man accepted, and Abdullah spent three nights with him. He observed that the man did not perform the voluntary night prayer, but whenever he rolled over from side to side while sleeping, he would glorify Allah. He did not get up except for the Dawn prayer (Fajr). Even so, he said that he did not hear him saying anything but good (from the lips of the man).

After the three nights had passed and he was about to belittle what basic acts of worship the man did, Abdullah said to him; “O servant of Allah! There was nothing between my father and me, but I have heard the Messenger of God saying such and such about you, so, I wanted to see what you do. I did not see you doing much goodness. What has raised you to such a rank?”

The man said; “It was only what you have seen.”

When Abdullah started to leave, the man called him back and said; “It was only what you have seen. But I do not envy a Muslim for what Allah has given him. (And if I suffer a wrong, I forgive the wrongdoer for His sake.)”

Abdullah said to him; “Nothing made you reach that rank except this. And not all of us are able to do so.” (Ar-Riyadh As-Salihiyn)

Send down a (part of) Mercy from Your Grace and a (part of) Cure from Your Healing on this, (my/his/her/our/their) pain/ache/illness!

This is the supplication for a cure to one’s ill. It can be made by the sick person, or by someone on his behalf. Only a tiny splinter of God’s Mercy suffices for a complete cure of any sickness, which is why we beseech Rahmatan from Ar-Rahmatik.

The similarity to the Lord’s Prayer to this Healing Prayer is quite close, maybe because both prayers are from the same source.

Peace Be Upon You.

 

 

Jeremy Corbyn and Modern McCarthyism

Corbyn Question TimeMany people seek to detract from Jeremy Corbyn’s intended Labour Manifesto that re-emphasises Labour roots and its principles and objectives. It is these ideas that propelled him to Leadership in the face of Tory-lite traitors who were trying to paint the Labour movement in the glittering colours of the new functional society being run by ICT oligarchs programming the minds and aspirations of our next generation of consumers/automatons/national citizens.

In order to do so McCarthyism has risen its ugly head reviving intra-sectarian conflicts within the Marxist roots that keep the Red Flag Flying.

I have to admit that intra-sectarian politics doesn’t particularly interest me as once it might have done (when I was at Uni).

When someone accuses a person of Stalinist leanings, the immediate opposition to that idea is Trotskyism (or Leninism). To those who do not espouse either Stalinist contained and institutionalised two-step revolution (and the dictatorship of the vanguard – or first step) or to the Trotskyist state of permanent working class revolution in the face of Capitalism through the will of the masses and its democratic expression, the two terms tend to equate with Left Wing Totalitarianism and Left Wing Democracy.

Mixing into these terms the words ‘Kremlinite’ or ‘Russophile’ simply obfuscates their meaning and their practical expression.

Because Corbyn held certain anti-war stances that called for non-intervention when Putin began his expansionist policies during his second term (after the interregnum) does not mean he supported Russia. It meant he felt that British intervention would not make matters better and may even threaten the security of our nation.

I read Jeremy Corbyn’s statement concerning the Ukraine and Russian intervention. In that statement, he said that only 15% of the Russian population supported Putin in his plans to annex the Crimea and that:

“We should oppose any foreign military intervention in Ukraine, as that would only succeed in that country reliving its traumatic past as a battleground where Russia and Western Europe vie for supremacy.”

Obviously, by the tone of the article, he meant NATO (and therefore our) intervention in particular, but it also includes Russian intervention.

His so-called Anti-NATO stance I actually agree with, since it focusses on NATO’s, or should I say, the US led coalition of force’s, intervention in Iraq (which Tony Blair dragged us into), and the drone attacks on targets in Pakistan. In fact, the intervention of the US led coalition against terrorism in these countries, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere has led to the rise of ISIS, the internationalisation of Al-Qaeda and more terrorism rather than less. And I think Jeremy Corbyn sees that clearly.

Those suggesting Corbyn is a Russophile, like Donald trump, accuse Corbyn of supporting Russian bombing of Syrians as peace.

Nowhere have I seen any such statement by Jeremy Corbyn. Rather, I see the opposite. He is against the UK sending in the RAF and adding to the bombing already taking place by Syrians, Russians, Turks and the USA. He said, and I quote,

“We have condemned all bombing in Syria, including Russian bombing, and continue to do so.”

The nearest statement he made to tacitly refusing to shoot at Russians was in a statement on Syria where he asked,

“Does he (Cameron) believe that more military forces over Syria could increase the risks of dangerous incidents, such as the shooting down of a Russian military aircraft by Turkish forces this week?”

Jeremy Corbyn is accused of denying the genocide of  Muslims in by Serbian Christians in Bosnia:

Actually, I did come across a motion he voted for concerning the killing of  ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, but nothing on Bosnia. He supported a motion based upon a report by John Pilger that decried UN intervention in Kosovo because of the negative impact bombing Kosovo had on its people and infrastructure, not because there was no mass killing of Muslims in Kosova. The report confirmed mass graves of 2,788 people.

I cannot find any evidence that Jeremy Corbyn ever supported the notion of Serbians slaughtering Bosnians.

There is an obscure connection I discovered made between the UN ruling that denied Serbian genocide and John Pilger’s article on Kosovo. This is a connection made by commentators, not an advocacy for the UN ruling by Corbyn after the war crimes of the Serbians became clear.

I am not a blind partisan of Jeremy Corbyn, although I admire him greatly, just as I do Bernie Sanders on the other side of the pond.

Blind partisanship is not the reason I support Jeremy Corbyn and his Manifesto. Rather, it is his earnest intention to de-privatise services, invest in primary and secondary education, strengthen the NHS and increase the say of the working population in how this country is run that has me behind him. The recent review of his policy towards Brexit and the call for bringing the popular vote into the final equation (which may end in reversing the decision) is just the icing on the cake that has dissuaded me from the Lib-Dem anti Brexit campaign (which might have persuaded me to tactically vote against the Tories in its absence).

I admit I am not deeply into Corbyn’s background in intra-sectarian politics, but I think it is largely irrelevant. Shouting “Stalinist” and “Kremlinite” when referring to him smacks of McCarthyism and a desire to derail his ‘back to Labour roots’ movement on behalf of the Tory-lite inheritors of Tony Blair’s era of Labour domination.

Smoking: A Social Poison

mjibalyMuhammad al-Jibaly

Copyright © 1996 by Al-Qur’an was-Sunnah Society of North America

All Rights Reserved.

Editorial Note

This (below) is the essay of Sheikh Muhammad al-Jibaly, and does not originate from me. I have made minor editorial corrections where words have been misspelled or spelled in American English. In the latter case, I have given the British English spelling with British English conventions of punctuation. I have added (ﷻ) in the place of (T) when it was used after Allah’s name and (ﷺ) instead of (P) after mentioning Allah’s Messenger, the Prophet of Islam.

Ben Royston

Contents

  1. Introduction
    1. Discovery of Tobacco
    2. Smoking among Muslims
  2. Definition
  3. Evidence for the Prohibition of Smoking
    1. Harm to the Deen
    2. Harm to the Human Body
    3. Harm to the Mind and Will Power
    4. Harm to the Environment
    5. Harm to Property
    6. Moral Decadence
    7. Evil Substance
    8. Resembling the People of the Fire
    9. Bad Example
    10. Hostility Toward Good People
    11. Low Self-esteem
  4. Scholars’ Verdict
    1. Warnings
  5. Treating the Disease of Smoking
  6. References
    1. Footnotes

Introduction

Discovery of Tobacco

Tobacco was discovered by the Spanish sailors on the American shores at about 1500 CE (900 AH). Since its discovery, the epidemic of smoking has continued to spread all over the world. In our times, one seldom finds a house not afflicted by it.

As early as the Seventeenth Century, the European countries realized the dangers of smoking and fought against it Laws were ordained in England, Russia, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, and other countries, prohibiting smoking and punishing violators.

Nowadays, the Western countries continue their attempts to protect their peoples from the harms of smoking. They employ media means, ordain laws and regulations, and apply other methods to discourage people from smoking. Because of that, the rate of smokers has declined to a certain degree in those countries.

Smoking Among Muslims

Smoking was introduced to the Muslim countries by the Europeans around 1000 AH. Its spread among the Muslims was similar to that in the West. The unfortunate fact, however, is that in the Muslim countries, no similar measures were exerted to protect the people from it. To the contrary, the media continues to adorn smoking and encourage people to do it. This caused the epidemic of smoking to continue to spread in those countries to such an extent that it has become hard to control.

Smoking has become the rule, and abstaining from it the exception. Often, people look with astonishment and disdain at a person who when a cigarette is offered to him, declines to smoke explaining that he does not smoke.

Offering cigarettes to the guests has become among the first rules of hospitality. Anyone who does not offer them to his guests or insist that they smoke would be violating the ethics of hospitality and generosity!

Furthermore, some of those who pretend to represent the Deen are among the worst addicts to smoking. When they are reproached or reminded of their vice, they respond by providing weak excuses to justify it in the name of Islaam. They slyly remark that there is no clear text prohibiting smoking. Therefore, they conclude, smoking is not prohibited, but is only makruh (disliked). By this, they provide a poor excuse for the ignorant, and establish a very bad example for others.

Many Muslims have been influenced by such statements, falling into the snares of addiction to smoking. This is observed all over the world. A striking example is that all American airlines now prohibit smoking, even on most international flights; on the other hand, for Muslim airlines, one travels in a near-suffocation state, even on short trips, because of the high number of smokers.

Thus, it becomes incumbent to write an article which provides evidence concerning the ruling of smoking in Islam. We hope that this will benefit our Muslim brothers and sisters; and we ask Allah (ﷻ) to accept it from us as a sincere deed for His pleasure.

Definition

Smoking refers to the action of lighting a cigarette, a pipe, a cigar, a water pipe, or any other object made from tobacco or materials of similar effects. The object is then sucked on with the lips to extract smoke. This smoke is inhaled into the chest and then exhaled from the nose and mouth as a thick white smoke. “Smoking” is now used to refer to the action of producing this smoke in English, Arabic, and other languages.

Evidence for the Prohibition of Smoking

There are many reasons, any one of which sufficient to rule smoking prohibited. Most importantly, it is harmful in numerous ways. It is harmful to the Deen, health, environment, family, brotherhood and social relations, property, etc. The following sections will briefly outline some of its harms and evils.

Harm to the Deen

Smoking spoils a person’s acts of worship and reduces their rewards. For instance, it spoils the prayer, which is the pillar of Deen. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:

Whoever eats garlic or onion, let him avoid us and our masjid, and stay in his home. The angels are surely hurt by things that hurt the human beings (1)

Those with clean and undefiled fitrah (nature) have no doubt that the smell emanating from the mouth of a smoker is worse and more foul than that from the mouth of one who ate garlic or onion. Thus, a smoker is in between two options, either to harm the praying people and the angels with his foul smell, or miss the prayer in jama’ah (congregation).

Smoking also spoils fasting. Fasting is very hard for the smoker. As soon as the day is over, he hastens to break his fast on an evil cigarette instead of sweet dates or pure water. Even if he fasts through the month Ramadan, a smoker is reluctant to fast on other days. Thus. he loses the great reward of those who fast even one day in Allah’s way.

Harm to the Human Body

No one can deny the harm of smoking to the human body. The medical evidence for this is well established and overwhelming. Because of this, the law in the United States and many other countries requires including a warning on any smoking advertisement.

Smoking contains poisonous materials, such as nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, arsenic, benzopyrene, etc., that the smoker swallows in small proportions. Their harm accumulates with time to result in a gradual killing of the human organs and tissues.

The hazards of smoking to the health are hard to enumerate. Cancer, tuberculosis, heart attacks, asthma, coughing, premature birth, infertility, infections in the digestive system, high blood pressure, nervousness, mouth and teeth diseases, etc., are among the many health hazards that have been strongly linked to smoking.

These diseases may not appear all at once, however, a smoker is most likely to suffer from some of them, and his suffering increases as he grows older. Furthermore, statistics have established that smokers’ age is, on the average, ten years less than other people’s.

This is sufficient to prohibit smoking. Islam prohibits any action that causes harm to oneself or to other people. Allah (ﷻ) says (what means):

﴾Do not kill yourselves, Allah is indeed merciful to you.﴿ (2)

﴾Do not cast yourselves, with your own hands, into destruction.﴿ (3)

And the Messenger (ﷺ) says:

No harm may be inflicted on oneself or others. (4)

The feet of a human being will not depart, on the day of Judgement, from his standing before his Lord, until he is questioned about five things: his lifetime – how did he pass it, his youth – how did he used it, his wealth – where did he earn it and how did he spend it, and how did he follow what he knew. (5)

Whoever consumes poison, killing himself with it, then he will be consuming his poison in the hellfire, and he will abide in it permanently and eternally. (6)

Harm to the Mind and Will Power

Smoking is harmful to the human mind and reason. An obvious demonstration of this is that one who is addicted to it passes through periods of severe craving, making it hard for him to think, concentrate, solve a problem, or do any important matter until he smokes.

When one smokes, his muscles slacken, and he passes through a brief period of delirium that curtains the thought. His digestive system is also affected, causing him frequent nervousness and trembling of the hands. He passes through periods of excitability, inhibition, and insomnia.

Thus, instead of being Allah’s slave, a smoker becomes a slave to his cigarette. He develops a weaker control of his sense and reason. The faculty of reason, clear and unobstructed, is one of Allah’s great bounties on people. He (ﷻ) praised it in numerous places of the Qur’an; and He called on people to use it to see the truth and obey Him in a better way. Allah wants of the believer to be strong and capable of controlling the reigns of his desires. He (ﷻ) said (what means):

﴾AIIah wants to let you into His mercy, whereas those who follow the desires want you to drift far away (from the right path).﴿ (7)

Harm to the Environment

A smoker emits his poisons in the faces of his companions, wife, children, and the environment. It is well established that second-hand smoke is almost as dangerous as first-hand. Thus, whether they like it or not, a smoker’s associates are forced to inhale the smoke and be themselves smokers as well.

In addition to the poisons normally carried in the smoke, if a smoker has a contagious disease, such as tuberculosis or influenza, his exhaled smoke and coughing carry the disease to those around him.

Furthermore, a smoker irritates people by the foul smell and poisonous nature of his smoking. If they suffer from asthma or allergies, they are forced to move away from his vicinity. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

Anyone who believes in Allah and the Last Day should not hurt his neighbour. (8)

Thus, smoking constitutes a definite harm to other people; this is prohibited, as was indicated in the hadith cited earlier.

Also, a smoker is certainly a bad companion to sit with, as is depicted in the following hadith:

Verily, the example of a good companion and a bad one is like that of a perfume merchant and a blacksmith: As for the perfume merchant, he would either grant you (some perfume), or you would buy (some perfume) from him, or (in the least) you would get a good smell from him. And as for the blower of the bellows (ironsmith), you would either get a foul odour from him, or he would burn your clothes. (9)

Harm to Property

A smoker wastes his wealth on that which harms and has no benefit; he will be asked about his wealth and how he spent it, as has been cited in the hadith earlier. His wealth belongs to Allah, so how would he dare to waste it in disobedience to Him? Allah (ﷻ) says (what means):

﴾And do not entrust to the imprudent ones the possessions that Allah has placed in your charge… ﴿ (10)

﴾And do not waste (your resources) extravagantly. Indeed, the squanderers are the brethren of the devils…﴿ (11)

And the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

Allah hates for you three things: gossiping, begging, and wasting money. (12)

Furthermore, there are numerous cases of burnt carpets, furniture, and even complete houses and establishments that have resulted from this disastrous vice.

Moral Decadence

Smoking is a form of moral decadence. It is most spread among the low-class immoral people. It reflects blind imitation of the non-Muslims. It is mostly consumed in bars, discos, casinos, and other: places of sin. A smoker may beg or steal if he does not have the money to buy cigarettes. He is ill-mannered with his friends and family, especially when he misses taking his necessary “dose” at the usual time.

Evil Substance

Smoking involves the consumption of an evil substance (khabeeth). It has a foul smell, foul taste, and is harmful to the body. This is sufficient to: prohibit it, because Allah (ﷻ) says (what means):

﴾ (The Prophet) who will enjoin upon them the doing of what is right, forbid them the doing of what is wrong, make lawful to them the good things of life, prohibit for them the evil things, and lift from them their burdens and the shackles that were (previously) upon them.﴿ (13)

Resembling the People of the Fire

A smoker inhales the smoke that does not give him any nourishment. This is similar to the action of the people of the Hell-Fire who eat harmful thorny plants:

﴾No food will be there for them but a poisonous thorny plant, which will neither nourish them nor still their hunger.﴿ (14)

Bad Example

A smoker, whether he likes it or not, makes of himself an example for his children and others to follow. He leads them to commit this evil. Actions sometimes have a stronger effect than words. Thus, even if he advises them or forbids them from smoking, his partaking of it provides them with a strong excuse to do it.

The problem is worse when the smoker is of known piety or knowledge. In such case, his harm becomes more emphasized, because more people take him as guide and example, and are thus lead astray by him. This multiplies his sins and increases his burden.

Hostility Toward Good People

The majority of good people avoid smoking and stay away from smokers. Therefore, a smoker would be forced to stay away from them – at least while he smokes. He puts himself in a selective exile, creating a spiritual distance and hostility between him and the good people, and a closeness to the evil people. The effects of this become more apparent and acute with time. Note that this applies equally to any sin that a person commits, small or large.

Low Self Esteem.

A smoker despises himself because he feels that a little cigarette is controlling him. Realizing his weakness before desires, this creates in him a feeling of defeat in the face of hardships.

Scholars’ Verdict

Since smoking became known to Muslims, all of the great scholars who have the capability of Ijtihad (deriving verdicts in new situations) agree to its prohibition. Thus, there is no value for baseless opinions, conflicting with this, provided by self-proclaimed lesser scholars.

Warnings

In discussing the subject of the prohibition of smoking, there are some important warnings that need to be mentioned:

  1. As indicated before, the prohibition of smoking is not restricted to cigarettes, but applies as well to other objects that have similar effects such as cigars, pipes, water pipes, chewing tobacco or sniffing tobacco, etc.
  2. The reasons mentioned above for prohibiting smoking apply as well, and more strongly, to various types of drugs and hashish such as marijuana and -tat. These materials have additional problems such as causing drunkenness, death, madness, etc.
  3. The prohibition of smoking is not restricted to consuming it, but applies as well to offering it to people, sitting with those who are smoking, or selling it. All of this involves helping people commit sins, which is prohibited, as Allah (ﷻ) says (what means):

﴾Help one another in righteousness and piety, and do not help one another in sinning and transgression. And fear and revere Allah; verily, Allah is severe in punishment.﴿ (15)

Also, Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:

Indeed, when Allah prohibits something, he prohibits eating its price. (16)

Treating the Disease of Smoking

Only few of those addicted to smoking are able to stop it. The reasons for this are many, among which are the following:

  1. The addictive nature of the poisonous substances contained in it.
  2. The smokers are not totally convinced of its prohibition.
  3. They do not have a strong determination to refrain from it.

The following are some suggestions to help a person stop smoking:

  1. Rely on Allah sincerely, with full determination not to return to smoking, in compliance with Allah’s command:

﴾When you decide on a certain course of action, place your trust in Allah.﴿ (17)

  1. Stop immediately instead of claiming it is best to do it gradually. The gradual approach is the way of one who does not trust his determination and the will power that Allah has granted him. Let the example be taken from the Sahabah who, as soon as Allah’s command reached them regarding alcohols:

﴾Will you not then desist?﴿ (18)

they immediately poured out all the alcohol that they had and said, “We desist our Lord, we desist!”

They did this despite the fact that alcohol has a greater addictive power over those who drink it.

  1. Avoid the bad company of smokers and smoking environments that are full with the smell of smoke.
  2. Change the food diet by abstaining from foods and drinks that would entice the craving to smoke such as spices, meat, tea, and coffee; and eating a lot of vegetables and fruits.
  3. Use medically tested and established procedures to help stop smoking, as directed by physicians, such as nicotine patches, nicotine gum, etc.
  4. Expel the secret whispers of Satan who continuously dictates to the human being that he is weak and incapable of refraining from sinning, as Allah (ﷻ) says (what means)

﴾It is but Satan who instils (into you) fear of his allies; so do not fear them, but fear Me if you are (truly) believers… ﴿ (19)

﴾Fight then against the allies of Satan; indeed, Satan’s guile is weak… ﴿ (20)

References

“The Ruling of Smoking” by Muhammad bin Ibraaheem (r)

“The Ruling of Smoking” by `Abdur-Rahman Bin Naasir as-Sa`di (r).

“The Ruling of Smoking” by `Abdul-`Aziz Bin ‘Abdullaah Bin Baaz.

“The Ruling of Smoking” by Muhammad Bin Salih al-‘Uthaymin.

Hukm ul-lslami fit-Tadkhin by Muhammad Jamil Zinu.

Hukm ud-Dini fil-Lihyati wat-Tadkhin by ‘Ali Hasan al-Halabi.

“Smoking and Its Effects on Health” by Dr. Muhammad ‘Ali al-Barr.

Footnotes

  • (1)    Al-Bukhaari and Muslim from Jabir and other Sahaabah.
  • (2)   An-Nisa’ 4-29.
  • (3)   Al-Baqarah 2:195.
  • (4)   Recorded by Ahmad and Ibn Maajah from Ibn `Abbaas and `Ubaadah; authenticated by al-Albaani and others.
  • (5)   Recorded by at-Tirmithi and others from Ibn Mas`ud and AbO Barzah , authenticated by al-Albaani.
  • (6)   Al-Bukhaari and Muslim from Jaabir
  • (7)   An-Nisa 4:27.
  • (8)   Al-Bukhaari.
  • (9)   Al-Bukhaari and Muslim.
  • (10) An-Nisa 4:5.
  • (11)  Al-lsra’ 17:26-27.
  • (12) Al-Bukhaari and Muslim.
  • (13) Al-A’raf 7:157.
  • (14) Al-Ghaashiyah 88:6-7.
  • (15) Al-Maidah 5:2.
  • (16) Recorded by Ahmad and Abu Dawud from Ibn `Abbas; authenticated by al-Albaani.
  • (17) Al-‘lmran 3:159
  • (18) Al-Maa’idah 5 91
  • (19) Al-`Imraan 3:175.
  • (20) An-Nisaa’ 4:76.

Similarities in the Prayer and Fasting of the Prophets of Christianity and Islam

offering-two-rakahs-of-shukr-ok

Preamble

The final two challenges that Kornelius Kuku Palete Masiku presented to Muslims were to produce a verse in the Quran that proves Muhammed ﷺ fasted like Jesus fasted, and also another that proved he prostrated to Allah. The second challenge was followed by a comment on Jesus and prostration. I think he was inquiring about Jesus prostrating to his Lord in the Bible and/or Quran. I want to deal with both these topics. Let us begin with fasting.

The Fast

In the Quran, there are several verses that order Muslims to fast and specify how long they should fast and when. They also helped to define the daily period of fasting and its relaxation at night. I will allow them to speak for themselves about the fasting of Muhammed ﷺ and those who follow him. These verses lie between verses 183 and 187 in Surat Al-Baqarah (The Cow).

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَاتٍ ۚ  فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۚ  وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ ۖ  فَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّهُ ۚ  وَأَن تَصُومُوا خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous – a limited number of days. So, whoever among you is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. And for those who can afford it, a ransom of feeding the poor. And whoever volunteers better – it is better for him. But to fast is best for you, if you only knew.

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ ۚ  فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ  وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۗ  يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ…

The month of Ramadan in which was sent down the Quran for guidance to mankind and (clear) proofs of the guidance and the criterion (al-furqan). Whoever witnesses from you the month then he must fast it. So, whoever among you is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah wants for you ease and does not want hardship for you, and for you to complete the prescribed period and for you to magnify Allah to what he guided you and for you to be grateful…

أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ لَيْلَةَ الصِّيَامِ الرَّفَثُ إِلَىٰ نِسَائِكُمْ ۚ هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَّهُنَّ ۗ  عَلِمَ اللَّهُ أَنَّكُمْ كُنتُمْ تَخْتَانُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ فَتَابَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَعَفَا عَنكُمْ ۖ  فَالْآنَ بَاشِرُوهُنَّ وَابْتَغُوا مَا كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ ۚ  وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ الْخَيْطُ الْأَبْيَضُ مِنَ الْخَيْطِ الْأَسْوَدِ مِنَ الْفَجْرِ ۖ  ثُمَّ أَتِمُّوا الصِّيَامَ إِلَى اللَّيْلِ ۚ  وَلَا تُبَاشِرُوهُنَّ وَأَنتُمْ عَاكِفُونَ فِي الْمَسَاجِدِ ۗ  تِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّهِ فَلَا تَقْرَبُوهَا ۗ  كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ آيَاتِهِ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ.

It is allowed for you on the nights before fasting to approach your women; they are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He accepted your repentance and forgave you. So, now, have relations with them and seek that which Allah has decreed for you. And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct from the black thread to you. Then complete the fast until the night. But do not have relations with them as long as you are cloistered (in a state of retreat) in the mosques. These are the limits of Allah, so do not approach them. Thus, does Allah clarify His verses to mankind that they may become righteous.

The gospels of Matthew and Luke record that Jesus fasted for 40 days, like Moses, and Mark records that he went out into the desert without mentioning his fasting.

 After he fasted forty days and forty nights he was famished. (Matthew 4:2)

This is not the fast of Muslims in general, though it is possible that the Prophet ﷺ sometimes fasted the night, as well as the day. Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ forbade his Companions from observing fast without interruption (Saum al-Wisal).

One of the Muslims said: “Messenger of Allah, you yourself observe Saum Wisal.”

On hearing this, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ asked: “Who among you is like me? I spend night (in a state) that my Allah feeds me and provides me drink.”

When they did not agree in abandoning the uninterrupted fast, the Holy Prophet ﷺ also observed this fast with them for day after a day. They then saw the new moon and the Holy Prophet ﷺ said: “If the appearance of the new moon were delayed. I would have observed more with you.”

And he did this by way of warning to them as they had not agreed to refrain from observing Saum Wisal. (Sahih Muslim)

Jesus also mentioned, along with praying and charity, how not to fast, in Matthew 6, and spoke a parable comparing the sincere supplication of a tax collector to the prideful fasting and tithing of a Pharisee in Luke 18:12. The Pharisee mentioned that he fasted two days a week, which would customarily have been Tuesday and Thursday. This, of course, does not mean fasting is not recommended. In Matthew 9:15, Jesus says, in reply to a question posed by John ben Zakaria’s disciples,

“How can the attendants of the bridegroom mourn while He is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast.”

Of deeds, the Prophet ﷺ said that every deed is by intention. He also said pride ruins the deed as it is for other men’s eyes to see – a form of seeking reward from men for an act of worship. In Islam, that means polytheism – the unforgivable sin if one dies without repenting it. It is for this reason Jesus speaks critically of the Pharisees whom he sees as hypocritical. Jesus says in Matthew 6:1:

Be careful not to perform your righteous acts before men to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

He also says (Matthew 6:16-18):

When you fast, do not be sombre like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that your fasting will not be obvious to men, but only to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

The reason for fasting, praying and giving in charity (sincerely) is given in Matthew 6:19-21

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The Prayer

Let us now move on to praying, and establish the attitude of Jesus to it, and whether he prostrated to his Lord. In Matthew 6, he said:

“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.

But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6: 5-6)

He also taught the Lord’s prayer, which is prayed to “The Father” (not directed at “the Messiah” or “the Son”), after giving this advice.

The one to whom prayer should be directed is reiterated when Jesus raise Lazarus, the brother of Martha. The relevant verses are in John 11:38-44.

Then Jesus, loudly murmuring to Himself again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it.  “Remove the stone,” Jesus said.

Martha, the dead man’s sister, told Him, “Lord, he’s already stinking. It has been four days.”

Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

So, they removed the stone.

“Jesus loudly murmured.” The word used, here, to describe the kind of utterance means “snorted angrily.” One has to ask why Jesus was angry (deeply moved). Was it out of pity? Vexation? Righteous wrath? Or was he praying, supplicating with emotion? Perhaps his next words give a clue.

Then Jesus raised His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You heard Me. I know that You always hear Me, but because of the crowd standing here I said this, so they may believe You sent Me.”

He prayed to be overheard, asking for a miracle only God could provide as a sign of authority as His messenger.

 After he said this, he shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”

The dead man came out bound hand and foot with linen strips and with his face wrapped in a cloth.

Jesus said to them, “Loose him and let him go.”

He proved his point, but even this miracle did not change the stubborn hypocrisy of the Jewish elders.

The position of prayer mentioned in Matthew 6 is standing, but other positions were adopted by Jesus himself. At the Garden of Gethsemane, Luke says he knelt to pray to God.

And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw and he fell to his knees and he prayed. And he said, “Father, if you are willing, let this cup pass from me; however not my will, but yours be done.”

And an Angel appeared to him from Heaven, who strengthened him. And as he was in fear, he prayed urgently, and his sweat was like drops of blood, and he fell upon the ground. (Luke 22: 4-42)

Matthew says he prostrated,

Matthew26 38-40: Then he said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with me.”

 And he went a little beyond them, and fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”

And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping.

And said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with me for one hour?”

Standing, bowing, kneeling and prostration are all positions used in Salat – the Muslim prayer. This type of prayer was enjoined on the mother of Jesus in the Quran when she was ordered to join the priests of the synagogue in prayer.

وَإِذْ قَالَتِ الْمَلَائِكَةُ يَا مَرْيَمُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَاكِ وَطَهَّرَكِ وَاصْطَفَاكِ عَلَىٰ نِسَاءِ الْعَالَمِينَ يَا مَرْيَمُ اقْنُتِي لِرَبِّكِ وَاسْجُدِي وَارْكَعِي مَعَ الرَّاكِعِينَ.

And when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds. O Mary, be devoutly obedient to your Lord and prostrate and bow with those who bow [in prayer].” (Quran 3:42-43)

Jesus acknowledged he, too, was enjoined to prayer and compulsory charity.

قَالَ إِنِّي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ آتَانِيَ الْكِتَابَ وَجَعَلَنِي نَبِيًّا وَجَعَلَنِي مُبَارَكًا أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُ وَأَوْصَانِي بِالصَّلَاةِ وَالزَّكَاةِ مَا دُمْتُ حَيًّا.

“Indeed, I am a servant (worshiper) of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet. And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer (Salat) and compulsory charity (Zakat) as long as I remain alive.” (Quran 19:20-31)

Prostration is implied by the word Salat, along with the positions we have already mentioned.

لَّن يَسْتَنكِفَ الْمَسِيحُ أَن يَكُونَ عَبْدًا لِّلَّهِ وَلَا الْمَلَائِكَةُ الْمُقَرَّبُونَ ۚ وَمَن يَسْتَنكِفْ عَنْ عِبَادَتِهِ وَيَسْتَكْبِرْ فَسَيَحْشُرُهُمْ إِلَيْهِ جَمِيعًا.

Never would the Messiah disdain to worship Allah, nor would the angels near [to Him]. And whoever disdains His worship and is arrogant – He will gather them to Himself all together [For Punishment]. (Quran 4:172)

As for Muhammed ﷺ, he and his followers are described by Allah as prostrating and bowing.

 مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ اللَّهِ ۚ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْ ۖ تَرَاهُمْ رُكَّعًا سُجَّدًا يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا ۖ سِيمَاهُمْ فِي وُجُوهِهِم مِّنْ أَثَرِ السُّجُودِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ مَثَلُهُمْ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ ۚ وَمَثَلُهُمْ فِي الْإِنجِيلِ كَزَرْعٍ أَخْرَجَ شَطْأَهُ فَآزَرَهُ فَاسْتَغْلَظَ فَاسْتَوَىٰ عَلَىٰ سُوقِهِ يُعْجِبُ الزُّرَّاعَ لِيَغِيظَ بِهِمُ الْكُفَّارَ ۗ وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ مِنْهُم مَّغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيمًا.

Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating, seeking bounty from Allah and [His] pleasure. Their mark is on their faces from the trace of prostration. That is their description in the Torah. And their description in the Gospel is as a plant which produces its offshoots and strengthens them so they grow firm and stand upon their stalks, delighting the sowers – so that Allah may enrage by them the disbelievers. Allah has promised those who believe and do righteous deeds among them forgiveness and a great reward. (Quran 48:29)

He is also ordered to start the established prayer with his family at the beginning of his mission.

وَأَنذِرْ عَشِيرَتَكَ الْأَقْرَبِينَ وَاخْفِضْ جَنَاحَكَ لِمَنِ اتَّبَعَكَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ فَإِنْ عَصَوْكَ فَقُلْ إِنِّي بَرِيءٌ مِّمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ فَإِنْ عَصَوْكَ فَقُلْ إِنِّي بَرِيءٌ مِّمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى الْعَزِيزِ الرَّحِيمِ الَّذِي يَرَاكَ حِينَ تَقُومُ وَتَقَلُّبَكَ فِي السَّاجِدِينَ.

And warn, [O Muhammad], your closest kindred. And lower your wing to those who follow you of the believers. And if they disobey you, then say, “Indeed, I am disassociated from what you are doing.”

And rely upon the Exalted in Might, the Merciful, Who sees you when you arise and how you move with those who prostrate. (Quran 26:214-219)

He is reassured of his status as God’s messenger ﷺ and his nightly duties in Quran 76:23-26:

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْقُرْآنَ تَنزِيلًا فَاصْبِرْ لِحُكْمِ رَبِّكَ وَلَا تُطِعْ مِنْهُمْ آثِمًا أَوْ كَفُورًا وَاذْكُرِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلًا وَمِنَ اللَّيْلِ فَاسْجُدْ لَهُ وَسَبِّحْهُ لَيْلًا طَوِيلًا.

Indeed, it is We who have sent down to you, the Qur’an progressively. So be patient for the decision of your Lord and do not obey from among them a sinner or the ungrateful. And mention the name of your Lord morning and evening and during the night. Prostrate to Him. And exalt Him a long night.

Finally, as a final sample of what he was told to do about prayer, he was commanded to establish a cycle of daily prayer after his night journey and ascent.

أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ إِلَىٰ غَسَقِ اللَّيْلِ وَقُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ ۖ إِنَّ قُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا وَمِنَ اللَّيْلِ فَتَهَجَّدْ بِهِ نَافِلَةً لَّكَ عَسَىٰ أَن يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَامًا مَّحْمُودًا

Establish (stand up in) salat at the decline of the sun [from its meridian] until the darkness of the night and [also] the Qur’an of dawn. Indeed, the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed. And from [part of] the night, pray with it as additional [worship] for you; it is expected that your Lord will resurrect you to a praised station. (Quran 17:79-80)

Conclusion

Did Muhammed ﷺ prostrate like Jesus prostrated? They prostrated the same way, it appears. Did Mohammed ﷺ fast out of pride or for the sake of Allah? He did it for Allah and told the people, like Jesus did, that fasting out of prideful display was useless. Did he fast continuously at any period of his life? Hadith say it was an early practice of his. Did he fast 40 days in a row? It is not mentioned in the Quran that he did, but he was ordered to fast the 30 days of Ramadan. He also suggested fasting six more days after Eid al-Fitr or any time of the month following Ramadan (Shawwal) to gain the reward of fasting the year. So, if the challenger intends that Muhammed ﷺ follow Jesus’s practice in the Gospels, he will have to be disappointed. However, did Jesus pray and fast like Muhammed ﷺ? From the evidence, it shows that he did.