Tag Archives: Heresy

Christmas is just like al-Mawlid: A Bid`ah!!!

Standard

Author’s-Note:
The following article is based primarily, but, not exclusively, upon two previous articles that I’ve already written, one about Non-Islamic holidays, generally (http://www.garethbryant.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/thereasonsmuslimsdonotcelebratenonislamicholidays), and the other specifically about the celebration of the Psuedo-Islamic holiday, known as al-Mawlid (http://www.garethbryant.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/mythoughtsonthemawlid).

It’s so very ironic, how Muslims condemn Christians for celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him), when many Muslims, themselves, celebrate the birth of a Prophet as well: Muhammad ibn-`Abdillah, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). So, in light of this, I intend to highlight some of the very ironic similarities, between both Christmas & al-Mawlid, respectively.

Brief history of Christmas-

Christmas pic

Christmas, literally meaning, “Christ’s Mass”(Dictionary.com), has been designated to be on December 25th. It is on this day that basically all Christians believe that Jesus was born, even tough there is absolutely no religious nor historical records proving  that Jesus was born on the 25th of December, or even during the Winter, for that matter. Anyway, this particular holiday emerged as the power of Christiandom began to spread & grow within Europe, Africa & the Middle-East. This holiday, “Christmas” was originally a Pagan-Roman holiday, called the Saturnalia, literally, meaning the festival of Saturn.(Encyclopedia Britannica) The Catholic-Church, at the time, was trying to strengthen it’s congregant-base, and realized that the masses of the people, especially in Europe were deeply invested into celebrating the ancient holiday, Saturnalia. So, what began to happen was, in order to keep these newly-converted Christians from turning away from Christiandom, they allowed the common-people to keep their former pagan-holidays, even though, ironically, these holidays represented everything contrary to classic Christian-Doctrine. And, this is how the Saturnalia evolved from celebrating Saturn, to celebrating Jesus, during the 4th-century, which is the closest known time-period when Christmas was officially celebrated.

Brief history of al-Mawlid-

Mawlid pic

The Mawlid, literally, meaning “birthday”, in the Arabic-Language(Lisan-ul-`Arab/The Arabic-Language: Lexicon of the Arabic-Language, Muhammad ibn-Manzhur), was something that Muslims began to celebrate about 3-centuries after the death of Muhammad, commemorating the month & day of his birth, even though: one, he, himself, personally, neither told, nor encouraged, anyone to celebrate his birthday, during his own lifetime; two, none of his Companions (May Allah be please with them all-together) ever celebrated al-Mawlid, neither during nor after the lifetime of Muhammad; three, none of the members of either generation of the Tabi`in (the followers of the Companions of Muhammad [May Allah mercify them all-together]) ever celebrated al-Mawlid; also, ironically, there’s even scholarly debate as to when the actual date of the birth of Muhammad was. Since the Pagan-Arabs were mostly an illiterate people & relied mostly on memory, it’s not definitive to say exactly when the birth of Muhammad truly was, without any credible, historical, tangible record. Moving right along: the formation & origin of the Mawlid, based upon surviving record, begins during the reign of the Khilafah (Islamic-Rulership) of Harun ar-Rashid, the 5th & most well-known of all the Khulafa’ (Islamic-Rulers), from the `Abbasi-period.(Encyclopedia Britannica)

Now…let’s see what’s ironically-similar between these two holidays-

1. They are both celebrations, which are not sanctioned by any revelation from Allah, via textual-scriptures, nor examples of any Prophets/Recipients-of-Revelation.

2. These holidays were never celebrated in the presence of either Jesus or Muhammad; so, there’s no basis of justification to celebrate the births of any of these two Prophets, when even they, themselves, had never celebrated their own birthdays, during their own respective times.

3. Both of these holidays emerged at least 3-centuries after the times of these two respective Prophets (after the ascension of Jesus [Islamically, Muslims don’t believe that Jesus even died in the 1st-place, which is one of the reasons why he has to return] & death of Muhammad).

4. Both of these holidays involve commencement of specific acts of worship, almost exclusively during the celebratory times of the year for these holidays.

5. Both of these holidays have resulted in full-fledged personality-worship of these respective Prophets, like calling upon them for salvation, when salvation is only from Allah, directly, and when worship, in it’s intrinsic/inherent totality, is solely for Allah, and not for anything or anyone created.

Let’s examine the word that I used to describe both Christmas & al-Mawlid: Bid`ah-

There is a purposeful reason why I’ve chosen this word, “Bid`ah”, to describe both Christmas, as well as al-Mawlid, respectively. This term Bid`ah, literally, meaning “Innovation”, is from the Arabic-verb, “Bada`a”, to change/evolve-Both of these holidays, just like any other holidays which had evolved out of the celebrations of dead-persons, or presumed to be dead-persons (as in the case of Jesus, whom, according to Islamic-texts, has not died as of yet[Noble Qur’an: Chpt.4, V.157], making it one of the reasons why he must return to Earth: to live out the remainder of his life and to die), are not based upon any credible revealed-texts, from Allah. And, the actual religious, Islamic, definition of the term Bid`ah is the following: any action of worship, adopted by Muslims, which is in opposition to the Shari`ah/Islamic-Law.

One of the signature-proofs of this is simple: the story of the 5-righteous individuals who lived before the birth of Noah (Peace be upon him), the names of these persons were: Yaghuth, Ya`uq, Suwa`, Wadd, and Nasir.(Qasas-ul-Anbiya’/Stories of the Prophets, Abul-Fida’ Isma`il ibn-Kathir ad-Dimashqi) His people allowed themselves to be deceived by ash-Shaytan/the Devil, building monuments on their graves; but when the initial generation of people, who did this, died-off, their descendants weren’t informed as to why this was done. Therefore, ash-Shaytan had then encouraged them to take the commemoration of their reverence further, by celebrating firstly, the days of the births of these people, then, the deaths of these people, then, it went further & further, until these people were fully worship, aside from Allah, all together.(Qasas-ul-Anbiya’) And, this is why, Islamically, any & all acts of worship (particularly, in lieu of our discussion, to/for a dead-person) are automatically classified as Mahrum/Prohibited, unless there exists non-abrogated, textual, evidence, from either the Qur’an or the Sunnah/Prophetic-Tradition, which warrants the lawfulness of any & all acts.

Why do Muslims condemn Christmas but not al-Mawlid?

Considering the fact that both Christmas & al-Mawlid are meant to celebrate & commemorate the religious status of two Prophets, both dearly regarded, by both Muslims & Christians, this would actually mean that, if anything, the Muslims would have more of a right to celebrate Christmas than any other Christian…why? I’ll sure tell you why: one day, Muhammad had encountered Jews in al-Madinah (the 1st Islamic-State/Capitol of the Islamic-State, during the lifetime of Muhammad) & he was informed that they were fasting on the 10th-day of Muharram (the 1st-month of the Islamic-Calendar), popularly known as Yawmu-`Ashura’, or simply `Ashura’, literally meaning tenth, in Arabic.(Lisan-ul-`Arab) So, when he learned of this, naturally, Muhammad wanted to know why the Jews were doing this. And, they had explained to him that this fasting, on this day, is meant to commemorate the day that Allah had rescued the Children of Israel from the tyranny in Egypt, by the Reigning-Pharaoh of that time, and Moses (Peace be upon him) had fasted, to show gratitude to Allah. Upon being told this, Muhammad had mentioned that he has more of a right to fast on this day, than any of them.(al-Bukhari)

The reason why he said this is because of the fact that although the Jews religiously claim Moses, it is the Muslims whom are truly more adherent to the revelation that Allah had given Moses than any Jew. Likewise, if the Christians want to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, then, by nature, by default, the Muslims would be more justified, religiously, to celebrate Christmas, by virtue of the fact that Muslims are more in-line to the true teachings of Jesus than any Christian. However, most Muslims will not accept this, because, they’ll be quick to say, “Well Jesus is not our Prophet, Muhammad is.”. Yet, this is not the point: it doesn’t even matter whether or not Jesus was sent to us, as a Prophet or not. I mean, let’s go back to the `Ashura’-Issue: The Muslims were actually commanded to fast during `Ashura’, until Allah had revealed that the obligatory fasting-period for Muslims is during the month of Ramadhan.(Muslim)

So, in conclusion, I know that a lot of people (both Muslim & Non-Muslim alike) will have an opinion/opinions about this particular article. But, that’s okay…it’s just what I expect & this comes with the territory…it’s all in a day’s work. So, please, share your thoughts, concerns, criticisms (as I’m pretty sure that there will be many), and let’s get a discussion going about this entire issue.

Gareth Bryant/2012

Advertisements

The Reality of the Nature of Allah:

Standard

Author’s note:
What I have to present is a very simple, concise, treatise on the nature of Allah’s existence, the splendor of His exclusivity, and the magnitude of His dominance over all things. I have taken upon myself to write something such as this, as a result of sitting in a class on `Aqidah/Islamic-Theology, in which the instructor, teaching this class, mentioned some things about Allah that didn’t sit right with me at all, in spite of this person mentioning evidence from various sources. The premise of this class was centered upon literal & allegorical/figurative aspects of revealed texts (the Qur’an in particular), which highlight some qualities & characteristics of Allah, in which persons, both classically, as well as contemporarily, have expressed various opinions about. But, with me being me, the position & justification that he gave for his stances weren’t good enough for me. So, of course, I had decided to take pen-to-paper, and here we are, with this treatise, concerning the nature of Allah.

My objective, however, is not to call people out, or declare heresy/blasphemy upon any Muslim. Rather, it is only an honest, unbiased, simple, attempt to clarify some aspects of Allah’s nature, especially for those Muslims who may be reverts/Non-Arabic speaking Muslims, and/or persons (both Muslim & Non-Muslim alike) who may legitimately be oblivious & ignorant to this millenium old issue, concerning Allah’s nature-To make it plain: everyone has opinions, about who Allah is, how does He manifest His divine qualities, what is the extent, if any, of His qualities , etc. This treatise is not about this. It’s simply a platform, to display specific things which Allah establishes for Himself, in both the Qur’an & Prophetic-Tradition, about Himself & His divine nature.

It is my sincere hope that anyone & everyone may be able to benefit, in some way, from whatever I’ve written in this treatise. I’m hopeful that this could inspire/empower others to, in fact, seriously study this subject matter, more extensively, for their own selves, in order to theologically empower & liberate one’s self, from the theological dominance of others, who may or may not have your best interests at heart. As Muslims, we owe it to Allah,then, to ourselves, to be theologically safe & free from theological flaws, mistakes, personal opinions of others & just stick to authentic stances, based upon authentic texts, from both the Qur’an & Prophetic-Tradition.

By the way, just for enforced personal clarification: I am a Non-Sectarian Muslim, which means that I am not partial, nor biased, towards or against any particular theological group, school, or scholarly standing, in regards to this issue, and various other Islamic, religious issues, which have been the source of many a debate, between Muslims, for the last 1,000 years.

The Nature of Allah:

His Existence-
Allah is uncreated, Eternal, Divine, Perfect, and completely unlike anything which has ever been, or ever will be, created. When describing Allah, firstly, it is of the utmost importance to stay within the authentic parameters of the Qur’an & Sunnah/Prophetic-Tradition, in regards to what Allah attributes to Himself, as well as to what extent Allah goes to elaborate on certain, and/or specific, attributions about Himself. When it comes to how He exist, He in fact exist in an eternal context. Meaning, He exists without having a beginning or an end-This is the absolute basis of His dominance over all else which exists, aside from Himself.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.112, V.2; 42, V.11)

His Oneness/Uniqueness-
Allah is one & absolute, completely & exclusively unique, as one who exists. This highlights His divinity, His exclusive right to be worshipped, at all times & in all places. This is important, because, when people take on acts of worship, they must be sure that it is Allah who is the object of their worship, and no one else who exists. The best example of this is the Shahadah, itself. The Shahadah is the religious testimony of faith for Muslims; it confirms two things: One, our recognition & acceptance that there is no one who is worshipworthy, except Allah. Two, that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah, to be followed in all things, regarding the proper way to be obedient to Allah.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.47, V.19; Chpt.33, V.21)

His Names & Characteristics-
Any & all of Allah’s names & characteristics serve as direct indicators of His qualities, which are: uncreated, eternal, divine, absolute, unlimited, complete, perfect & positive, just like He is.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.7, V.180)

Allah’s Divine-Impossibilities:
There are very detailed things which are impossible for Allah, and before people get crazy, let me explain them-

a. It’s impossible for Allah to be created, age, or die-
Allah explains in detail, how this is an impossibility.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.112, V.2)

b. It’s impossible for Allah to be more than one-
Allah is one, without being divided. He is perfectly individual.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.112, V.1; Chpt.2, V.163)

c. It’s impossible for to Allah to have parents or children-
Allah makes it crystal-clear that it is not from His divine-integrity to have parents or children.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.112, V.3)

d. It is impossible for Allah to be dependant upon anyone or anything-
Allah needs nothing from anyone or anything, and, everyone & everything needs Allah.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.2, V.255; Chpt.31, V.26)

e. It is impossible for Allah to be a Tyrant-
This is based upon what Allah says about himself.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.18, V.49; an-Nawawi)

f. It is impossible for Allah to be selfish or cheap-
Allah gives of what he wills, how He wills, to whom He wills.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.5, V.64)

g. It is impossible for Allah to be defeated/subdued-
Allah can never be defeated or conquered by anyone or anything.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.6, V.28; Chpt.38, V.65)

h. It is impossible for Allah to have any negative names, characteristics, or qualities-
Allah is in eternal possession of the best names, characteristics, and qualities-His names, characteristics, and qualities are eternal, positive, and perfect, just as He is.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.2, V.286; Chpt.20, V.8; Chpt.7, V.180)

Allah’s features:

a. Allah has a Nafs/Persona-
This is solely based upon the fact that Allah does in fact describe Himself, in the Qur’an, as well as Muhammad (Peace be upon him), in the Sunnah, as having an actual Nafs/persona, not to be compared, or confused with the similitude of the Nafs/persona of any created thing.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.5, V.116; Tafsir-ul-Jalalayn)

b. Allah has a Face/Eyes-
This is solely based upon the fact that Allah does in fact describe Himself, in the Qur’an, as well as Muhammad (Peace be upon him), in the Sunnah, as having an actual face, not to be compared, or confused with the similitude of the face of any created thing.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.52, V.48; 55, V.26 & 27; Tafsir-ul-Jalalayn)

c. Allah has a Voice/Speech-
This is solely based upon the fact that Allah does in fact describe Himself, in the Qur’an, as well as Muhammad (Peace be upon him), in the Sunnah, as having actual speech, along with an actual voice, not to be compared, or confused with the similitude of the speech or voice of any created thing.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.4, V.164; Tafsir-ul-Jalalayn)

d. Allah has Hands/Fingers-
This is solely based upon the fact that Allah does in fact describe Himself, in the Qur’an, as well as Muhammad (Peace be upon him), in the Sunnah, as having actual hands, not to be compared, or confused with the similitude of the hands of any created thing.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.38, V.75; Tafsir-ul-Jalalayn; Bukhari; Muslim)

e. Allah has Shins-
This is solely based upon the fact that Allah does in fact describe Himself, in the Qur’an, as well as Muhammad (Peace be upon him), in the Sunnah, as having actual shins, not to be compared, or confused with the similitude of the shins of any created thing.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.68, V.42; Tafsir-ul-Jalalayn)

f. Allah has Feet-
This is solely based upon the fact that Allah does in fact describe Himself, in the Qur’an, as well as Muhammad (Peace be upon him), in the Sunnah, as having actual feet, not to be compared, or confused with the similitude of the feet of any created thing.(Bukhari & Muslim)

Now, at this point, I will have to explain why some Muslims would have a serious problem with what I’ve just mentioned:

There have been, classically & contemporaneously, (various persons, groups, schools, etc.) those whom have taken a theological position that the features which Allah has described Himself with are only allegorical, and not literal. This is based solely upon interpretations of linguistic nuances of the Arabic-Language, as opposed to what Allah has actually mentioned about Himself, what Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has mentioned about Him, what his Companions (May Allah be pleased with them all-together), and what the general consensus of Muslim scholars of the Salaf (the first three generations of Muslims, relative to the revelation of the Qur’an) have commented on concerning the features of Allah. In fact, classically, the vast majority of the Salaf have always taken a neutral stance, regarding the features of Allah, that they are what they are, as mentioned, in both the Qur’an & Sunnah, without attempting to explain them, nor denying the reality that these features actually exists.(Kitab Sharh-is-Sunnah [Explanation of the Creed], by Muhammad al-Barbahari) However, persons have deemed it necessary to do one of two things: One, two either negate the reality that Allah has described Himself with these features, giving them a figurative definition. Two, attempting to give the features of Allah form & structure. In all reality, both are equally, theologically, dangerous.

This particular debate, over the extent of the reality, or lack-there-of, of the features of Allah, has been a recurring, theological/scholarly, debate, for the past 1,000+ years, among Muslims. But, that’s not my concern, to get caught-up with the differing opinions of others. My point here is very simple at this point-There are so many things about Allah’s nature, which we, as created things will probably never know, and, it doesn’t even matter, for the following reasons: One, if it were really that important for us, as created things, to know in detail, regarding the features of Allah, then, Allah would’ve most definitely extended the definition of what His features are, or are not, either in the Qur’an, personally, or impersonally, via the Prophetic-Tradition of His Messenger, Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Two, debating over whether Allah has these features or not will not get you any further in one’s development as a Muslim-Personally, I view this as a waste of time, for people to go back-and-forth, debating, arguing, attacking one another, verbally, sometimes, even physically, over this issue.

There should be no doubt, to any Muslim, that when Allah mentions something in the Qur’an, or through the Prophetic-Tradition of His Messenger (Peace be upon him), that He is not at all attempting to be deceptive. I mean, really…do you really think that Allah would just mention that He possesses all of these previously mentioned features, for Himself, just to throw us off & confuse us, to have us at one another’s throats (figuratively & literally), while we still at the end of the day don’t have a clue whether these features are real or not?!!!

What type of god do you think you’re worshipping?!!! Allah never plays practical-jokes upon people, nor does He deceive people, nor does He insult anyone’s intelligence. He makes things crystal-clear, all of the time, even when we deem things unclear, and, that’s solely the result of the fact that Allah has chosen to not disclose understanding to some of us, regarding things which may seem unclear.

So, never assume that Allah uses the “boogie-man” approach, in regards to defining Himself, either in His Book, or in the Prophetic-Tradition of Muhammad (Peace be upon him). He doesn’t want any of His creation, whom have been honored with being recipients of guidance, to ever fall into doubt or disbelief, about Him, via confusion about what is established in both the Qur’an & Sunnah. However, because we may possess some deficiencies of our own, due to diseases within our own hearts, lack of intellectual foresight, and just plain ignorance of the knowledge of sacred-texts, we have a tendency to overcompensate for the fact that we don’t comprehend something about Allah, by attempting to define it by ourselves, which in turns leads us astray.

Gareth Bryant/2012

 

My thoughts on the Mawlid (Celebration of the birthday of Muhammad [Peace be upon him]):

Standard

Author’s note:
I know people are gonna be kinda pissed with me on this one, but, like I always say, “Sometimes, you just gotta say somethin'”.So, here it goes:
During the month of Rabi`-ul-Awwal, the fourth month on the Islamic-Calendar, Muslims, from all over the Muslim-World, are celebrating the birth of Muhammad (Peace be upon him). This celebration of his date of birth has been an annual, staple celebration for centuries. However, for Muslims, there’s a very crucial question that they must seriously ask themselves: What justification do they have in celebrating the birthday of a dead person, regardless of whether they’re a Prophet or not?Now, as I’ve said in the author’s note, I know that there are gonna be some people whom will not necessarily take very kindly to my reservations against the celebration of the birthday of Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

But, let it be…
…I’m more than willing & able to deal with any & all backlash that can/will come with this article.

Anyway, there’s yet additional question that Muslims, who commit themselves to the celebration of the birthday of a dead person, must ask themselves: Where did this practice originate from? Whom from among the Muslims originated this practice? Did they adopt this practice from peoples of a foreign religion, that celebrates the birthdays of the dead, “holy-men”, righteous people, etc.?
Now, Islamically, based upon principle, which is based upon classic text, any & all actions to & for a dead person are automatically considered acts of worship, and Islamically, any & all acts of worship are automatically prohibited, unless there is specific, non-abrogated evidence, directly from either the book of Allah (the Qur’an), or the Prophetic-Tradition (the Sunnah), which warrants the Islamic lawfulness of such an action.

And, I can say, very confidently in fact, that there is no such evidence, from neither the Qur’an nor the Prophetic-Tradition, which gives credence for Muslims to celebrate the birthdays of either prophetic or non-prophetic individuals whom are dead. And, I simply say this, because there is direct evidence in both the Qur’an & Sunnah which give detail as to how Human beings began to deviate from the purity of Islamic-Monotheism.

This historical path to Shirk (Ascribing false qualities to Allah/Polytheism) actually begins with the deaths of 5 righteous persons from among the people of Noah (Peace be upon him), their names are the following: Wadd, Suwa`, Yaghuth, Yau`q, and Nasr. (Qur’an: Chpt.71, V.23) After their deaths, the Devil came to the people of Noah, in an evil attempt, which unfortunately, worked, to lure them away from worshipping Allah, and to begin worshipping idols. The people of Noah had begun to build monuments in honor of the righteousness of these 5 individuAls. But, as time went on, they were inspired by the Devil, to deviate further & even further from the path of Allah, until they had eventually began to commit full-throttle polytheism.(Qasas-ul-Anbiya’ [Stories of the Prophets], Ibn-Kathir)

So, it was because of the people of Noah, that we as Muslims are in no position to do anything to or for the dead, unless it is Islamically legislated, for fear that it may very well lead to Shirk. However, unfortunately, most Muslims are not concerned with the danger in celebrating the birthday of a dead person, in spite of the fact that there are no Islamic justifications for it to occur. Even Muhammad (Peace be upon him) himself, once said, “And do not exaggerate in praising me, like the Christians exaggerate in the praise of Jesus the Son of Mary.”.(al-Bukhari)

Now, in knowing the general character of Muhammad, and his eagerness to prevent anyone from his nation, especially during his respective lifetime, would he even tolerate the celebration of his own birthday. I can confidently say that he would never tolerate such a thing. So, in closing, my final statement is the following: People claim to celebrate the birthday of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) out of some type of respect or that they have for him. But, check this out: How can a person celebrate the birthday of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), claiming to respect him & love him, when they don’t live their lives according to the standards that he lived his life?

First & foremost, he worshipped Allah, exclusively, he was respectful to all of creation, even towards those who oppressed him, even when it came to fight in battle, he protected the innocent & never abused his authority over anyone, he was a loving father, husband, leader, teacher, man, and Human.
If we truly claim to respect & love Muhammad (Peace be upon him) we had better live our lives according to how he lived his, as opposed to celebrating something that is not Islamically sanctioned, which can potentially be the cause for being placed in the Fire, if Allah so chooses to not forgive us for doing something that is a Bid`ah (an unsanctioned religious action).

Gareth Bryant/2012