Ten things that bring about the love of Allah.


 Ten things that bring about the love of Allah.

Ibn Qayyim said that there are ten things that bring about the love of Allah.

1) Recitation of the Qur’ an with reflection and with understanding of its meanings.

2) Seeking closeness to Allah by performing voluntary deeds after having performed obligatory ones, for that leads one to the highest levels of love.

3) Remembering Allah during every situation – with one’s time, heart and deeds, one’s share of that love is to the degree of one’s share in that remembrance.

4) Preferring what He loves to what you love when your desires are strong.

5) Allowing your heart to reflect on His Names and Attributes.

6) Reflecting on His many favors and blessings, both the apparent ones and hidden ones, for that leads to His love.

7) Having your heart softened as it is worshiping Allah.

8) Being alone with Him in worship when He descends during the last third of the night. And this means to invoke Him, to recite His Speech, to stand with all sincerity and with good manners and with good submission, and then to end that with repentance and with seeking His forgiveness.

9) Sitting with those who are truthful in their love of Allah.

10) Staying away from all that creates barriers between the heart and Allah.

 

 
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Rights Due to Parents, No Old age Home in Islam!


None can deny the parents‘ favor upon their children. The parents are the underlying reason for the existence of the child. They have reared him in his babyhood and experienced painstaking efforts to provide full comfort and sound well-being. Your mother had you in her womb while you were a parasite there sharing her food and whole being for nine months. In this context, Allah says:

“And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship…” (31:14)

It is a preliminary stage followed by incubation and breast feeding for two years marked by peculiar fatigue and hardships. The father, on his part, is meanwhile also fully engaged catering for his child and bringing him up, not sparing any sort of instructions or guidance he could provide his child with; the child, meanwhile, a helpless creature is neither harmful nor useful to himself.

Allah has always enjoined that children should be good and thankful to their parents

Allah has always enjoined that children should be good and thankful to their parents and He says:

“And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years – give thanks to Me and to your parents, – unto Me is the final destination.” (31:14)

“… And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honor. And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: “My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small.” (17:23, 24)

Lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy.

The right of parents upon you is to do good with them. You should be good to them physically as well as monetarily, and also with your words and your actions. You should be obedient to them unless in it there is disobedience to your Lord or there is some harm to you. Be kindhearted to them and serve them as they need your help. In their old age, in case of any ailment or weakness, never consider them a burden on you, neither speak to them harshly, because one day you will also become as old as they are. You will be a father as they are your parents and, if life permits, soon you will be an old man before your children just like your parents became old before you. So you need the help of your children as your parents need you today. If you are doing good to your parents then you must have the good news of a great reward and a better showing from your children, because whoever remained good to his parents, his children will also be good to him; and whoever annoyed his parents, will also be annoyed by his children. It is the process of recompense that deeds provide the results accordingly “as you sow, so will you reap. Allah has ranked the rights due to the parents high next only to His and the Prophet’s, Allah says:

“Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents…” (4:36)

And Allah also says:

“…give thanks to Me and to your parents… (31:14)

Being dutiful to one’s parents assumes priority even over Jihad (fight in the cause of Allah) as is narrated in the tradition of Ibn Mas’ood when he asked the Prophet (p.b.u.h.):

“Which deed is most beloved by Allah?” He said, ‘Observing prayer in time.’ “And next to that?” He said: ‘Being dutiful to one’s parents.’ “And next to that?” He answered: ‘Jihad (fight in the cause of Allah).'”

This Hadith (Prophetic saying) reported by Bukhari and Muslim points directly to the significance of the rights due to one’s parents.

Unfortunately, most people have forgotten these rights, instead disobedience and severance of ties have risen to harden the hearts, and even they contempt and detest their parents. Some people have even deemed themselves superior to those two old good creatures. A recompense is sure in store for those disobedient children, sooner or later.

Good Character

This includes suppressing one’s anger, and being gentle and humble. Allah Most High has said: Surely, you are of tremendous nature, (The Holy Quran: 68/4) and: Those who suppress their anger, and forgive other people – assuredly, Allah loves those who do good. (Quran: 3/134)

Bukhari and Muslim relate that Abdullah Ibn Amr (May Allah be pleased with you) said, “The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) was never immoderate or obscene. He used to say, ‘Among those who are most beloved to me are those who have the finest character.'”

They also narrate that Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) said, “Never was the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) given the choice between two things without choosing the easier of them, as long as it entailed no sin. If it did entail sin, he was of all people the most remote from it. Never did he seek revenge for something done against himself; but when the sanctity of Allah was challenged, he would take vengeance for His sake alone.”

The meaning of good character is the inclination of the soul towards gentle and praiseworthy acts. This may take place in one’s personal actions for Allah Most High, or in actions which involve other people. In the former case, the slave of Allah has an open and welcoming heart for His commandments and prohibitions, and does what He has imposed on him happily and easily, and abstains from the things which He has forbidden him with full contentment, and without the least dissatisfaction.

He likes to perform optional good acts, and abstains from many permitted things for the sake of Allah Most High whenever he decides that to abstain in that way would be closer to perfect slavehood to Him. This he does with a contented heart, and without feeling any resentment or hardship. When he deals with other people, he is tolerant when claiming what is his right, and does not ask for anything which is not; but he discharges all the duties which he has towards others. When he falls ill or returns from a trip, and no-one visits him, or when he gives a greeting which is not returned, or when he is a guest but is not honored, or intercedes but is not responded to, or does a good turn for which he is not thanked, or joins a group of people who do not make room for him to sit, or speaks and is not listened to, or asks permission of a friend to enter, and is not granted it, or proposes to a woman, and is not allowed to marry her, or ask for more time to repay a debt, but is not given more time, or asks for it to be reduced, but is not permitted this, and all similar cases, he does not grow angry, or seek to punish people, or feel within himself that he has been snubbed, or ignored; neither does he try to retaliate with the same treatment when able to do so, but instead tells himself that he does not mind any of these things, and responds to each one of them with something which is better, and closer to goodness and piety, and is more praiseworthy and pleasing.

He remembers to carry out his duties to others just as he remembers their duties towards himself, so that when one of his Muslim brethren falls ill he visits him, if he is asked to intercede, he does so, if he is asked for a respite in repaying a debt he agrees, and if someone needs assistance he gives it, and if someone asks for favorable terms in a sale, he consents, all without looking to see how the other person had dealt with him in the past, and to find out how other people behave. Instead, he makes “what is better” the imam of his soul, and obeys it completely.

Good character may be something which a man is born with, or it may be acquired. However, it may only be acquired from someone who has it more firmly rooted in his nature than his own.

Among those who are most beloved to me are those who have the finest character. – Prophet Muhammad(pbuh)

It is well known that a man of sensible opinion can become even more sensible by keeping the company of intelligent and sensible people, and that a learned or a righteous man can learn even more by sitting with other people of learning or righteousness; therefore it cannot be denied that a man of beautiful character may acquire an even more beautiful character by being with people whose characters are superior to his own.

And Allah gives success!

History of Islam during the Lifetime of the Prophet and the Rightly Guided Caliphs (1of 2)


In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful

Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)- A Brief Description

He was by far the most remarkable man that ever set foot on this earth. He preached a religion, founded a state, built a nation, laid down a moral code, initiated numerous social and political reforms, established a powerful and dynamic society to practice and represent his teachings and completely revolutionized the worlds of human thought and behavior for all times to come.

“HIS NAME IS MUHAMMAD” ,May Peace of God Be Upon Him

He was born in Arabia in the year 570 C.E., started his mission of preaching the religion of Truth, Islam (submission to One God ) at the age of forty and departed from this world at the age of sixty-three.

During this short period of 23 years of his prophet hood, he changed the complete Arabian Peninsula from paganism and idolatry to worship of One God, from tribal quarrels and wars to national solidarity and cohesion, from drunkenness and debauchery to sobriety and piety, from lawlessness and anarchy to disciplined living, from utter bankruptcy to the highest standards of moral excellence.

Human history has never known such a complete transformation of a people or a place before or since – and all these unbelievable wonders in JUST OVER TWO DECADES.

Human history has never known such a complete transformation of a people or a place before or since – and IMAGINE all these unbelievable wonders in JUST OVER TWO DECADES.

Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was a religious teacher, a social reformer, a moral guide, an administrative colossus, a faithful friend, a wonderful companion, a devoted husband, a loving father – all in one.

No other man in history ever excelled or equaled him in any of these different aspects of life – but it was only for the selfless personality of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) to achieve such incredible perfection.

Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was nothing more or less than a human being but he was a man with a noble mission, which was to unite humanity on the worship of ONE and ONLY ONE GOD and to teach them the way to honest and upright living based on the commands of God.

He always described himself as, ‘A Servant and Messenger of God’ and so indeed every action of his proclaimed to be.

No other man in history ever excelled or equaled him in any of these different aspects of life – but it was only for the selfless personality of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)

Caliph: An Introduction

Meaning of the Word ‘Caliph’

The word ‘Caliph’ is the English form of the Arabic word ‘Khalifa,’ which is short for Khalifatu Rasulil-lah. The latter expression means Successor to the Messenger of God, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him). The title ‘Khalifatu Rasulil-lah’ was first used for Abu Bakr, who was elected head of the Muslim community after the death of the Prophet.

The Significance of the Caliphate

The mission of Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him), like that of the earlier messengers of God, was to call people to the worship of and submission to the One True God. In practice, submission to God means to obey His injunctions as given in the Holy Qur’an and as exemplified by Sunnah (the practice of the Prophet). As successor to the Prophet, the Caliph was the head of the Muslim community and his primary responsibility was to continue in the path of the Prophet.

Since religion was perfected and the door of Divine revelation was closed at the death of the Prophet, the Caliph was to make all laws in accordance with the Qur’an and the Sunnah. He was a ruler over Muslims but not their sovereign since sovereignty belongs to God alone. He was to be obeyed as long as he obeyed God.

He was responsible for creating and maintaining conditions under which it would be easy for Muslims to live according to Islamic principles, and to see that justice was done to all. Abu Bakr, at the time he accepted the Caliphate, stated his position thus:

“The weak among you shall be strong with me until their rights have been vindicated; and the strong among you shall he weak with me until, if the Lord wills, I have taken what is due from them… Obey me as long as I obey God and His Messenger. When I disobey Him and His Prophet, then obey me not.”

 The Rightly-Guided Caliphs (Al-Khulafa-ur-Rashidun)

Those Caliphs who truly followed in the Prophet’s foot steps are called ‘The Rightly-Guided Caliphs’ (Al-Khulafa-ur Rashidun in Arabic). They are the first four Caliphs: Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, Uthmân and Ali. All four were among the earliest and closest Companions of the Prophet (peace be on him).

They lived simple and righteous lives and strove hard for the religion of God. Their justice was impartial, their treatment of others was kind and merciful, and they were one with the people – the first among equals. After these four, the later Caliphs assumed the manners of kings and emperors and the true spirit of equality of ruler and ruled diminished to a considerable extent in the political life of Muslims.

It should be clearly understood that the mission of Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him), and hence that of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, was not political, social or economic reform, although such reforms were a logical consequence of the success of this mission, nor the unity of a nation and the establishment of an empire, although the nation did unite and vast areas came under one administration, nor the spread of a civilization or culture, although many civilizations and cultures developed, but only to deliver the true message of God to all the peoples of the world and to invite them to submit to Him, while being the foremost among those who submitted.

 

AUTHORITY, CONSULTATION and OBEDIENCE


 

In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

AUTHORITY, CONSULTATION and OBEDIENCE

The family is a group of people closely related by blood or marriage who usually live together. In every human group there is a leader and a hierarchy of authority so that the members act in co-operation for the common good.

Husband and wife - relation of coordination

The head of the family in an Islamic marriage is the husband, by virtue of his role as the maintainer of the family:

﴿الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَآءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ وَبِمَآ أَنفَقُواْ مِنْ أَمْوَلِهِمْ فَالصَّـلِحَـتُ قَـنِتَـتٌ حَـفِظَـتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللَّهُ وَاللَّـتِى تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِى الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلاَ تَبْغُواْ عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلاً إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيّاً كَبِيراً ﴾

 “Men shall take full care of women with the bounties which Allah has bestowed more abundantly on the former than on the latter, and with what they may spend out of their possessions. And the righteous women are the truly devout ones, who guard the intimacy which Allah has (ordained to be) guarded … ” (Qur’an 4:34)

(وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِى عَلَيْهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَلِلرِّجَالِ عَلَيْهِنَّ دَرَجَةٌ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكُيمٌ)

“And women have rights equal to the rights incumbent on them according to what is equitable; and men have a degree above them.” (Qur’an 2:228)

This “degree” of difference in legal rights in marriage and divorce is a reflection of the husband’s leadership role, and in no way implies that the woman is inferior as a moral and spiritual being. This point is stated in several Qur’an verses and Hadith.

(فَاسْتَجَابَ لَهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ أَنِّى لاَ أُضِيعُ عَمَلَ عَامِلٍ مِّنْكُمْ مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَى بَعْضُكُم)

“And their Lord answered them: Verily I will never cause to be lost the labour of any of you. Be you a male or a female the one of you is as the other.“(Qur’an 3:195)

﴿إِنَّ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَالْمُسْلِمَـتِ وَالْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَـتِ وَالْقَـنِتِينَ وَالْقَـنِتَـتِ وَالصَّـدِقِينَ وَالصَّـدِقَـتِ وَالصَّـبِرِينَ وَالصَّـبِرَتِ وَالْخَـشِعِينَ وَالْخَـشِعَـتِ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقِينَ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقَـتِوالصَّـئِمِينَ والصَّـئِمَـتِ وَالْحَـفِظِينَ فُرُوجَهُمْ وَالْحَـفِـظَـتِ وَالذَكِـرِينَ اللَّهَ كَثِيراً وَالذَكِرَتِ أَعَدَّ اللَّهُ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةً وَأَجْراً عَظِيماً﴾

(Verily, the Muslims: men and women, the believers: men and women, the Qanit: men and the women, the men and women who are truthful, the men and the women who are patient, the Khashi`: men and the women, the men and the women who give Sadaqat, the men and the women who fast, the men and the women who guard their chastity and the men and the women who remember Allah much with their hearts and tongues, Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward.) (Qur’an 33:35)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“All people are equal, as equal as the teeth of a comb. There is no claim of merit of an Arab over a non-Arab or of a white over a black person or of a male over a female. Only God-fearing people merit a preference with Allah.” (Ahmad)

A wife should therefore acknowledge her husband’s administrative leadership and not dispute it or set herself up as a rival in taking ultimate decisions that affect the whole family. A ship with two captains will never reach its destination.

However, leadership in Islam also has its obligations. The leader at all levels is to be motivated by love and concern for those under his care, who will naturally respond by loving their leader.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said:

“The best of your leaders are those whom you love and who love you, for whom you pray and who pray for you, and the worst of your leaders are those whom you hate, and who hate you, whom you curse and who curse you. “(Muslim)

All forms of tyranny, oppression and exploitation of the weak are condemned, and the tyrant is warned:

“Fear the prayer of the wronged, for truly there is no veil between him and Allah.” (Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i, Abu Dawud,)

“The tyrant shall not enter into Paradise.” (Abu Dawud and Ahmad)

The leader is moreover obliged to consult his followers. A chapter of the Qur’an is entitled “Shura” (meaning Consultation) and it contains a description of the believers as those

(وَالَّذِينَ اسْتَجَابُواْ لِرَبِّهِمْ وَأَقَامُواْ الصَّلوةَ وَأَمْرُهُمْ شُورَى بَيْنَهُمْ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَـهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ)

“Whose rule (in all matters of common concern) is consultation among themselves…” (Qur’an 42:38)

Leadership in Islam is identified as a responsibility. It exists at various levels both in pub1ic affairs and in the family.

According to a saying of the Prophet:

“Take care: each of you is a shepherd and each of you shall be asked concerning his flock. A leader is shepherd over (his) people, and he shall be asked concerning his flock; and a man is a shepherd over the people of his house, and he shall be asked concerning his flock; and a woman is a shepherd over the house of her husband and over his children, and she shall be asked concerning them; and the servant of a man is a shepherd over the property of his master, and he shall be asked concerning it. Take care, then, each of you is a shepherd and each of you shall be asked concerning his flock.” (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi.)

As can be seen from this Hadith the wife is given responsibility within the family for the smooth day-to­day running of the household and the upbringing of the young. We shall return to this aspect of her role in another section. Here we are concerned only with the aspect of leadership and authority in the home.

This brings us to the use of the words “ordering” and “obeying” which are used in translating some Qur’an verses or Hadith about husband/wife relationship, for example “when he orders her, she obeys”. The Arabic word “amr” used in the original text certainly has the general meaning of “to order” or “to ordain”. However, in the context of family life it obviously does not have the same connotation as it would have in, for example, the army! The family is not a military unit, and for a husband to give out orders to his wife like a sergeant-major on the parade would be most out of place, and indeed probably counter-productive. The relationship of husband and wife is quite different. They are not described as matter and servant in the Qur’an but as “garments to each other” -loving, sympathetic and protective. The records of the Prophet’s relationship with his wives are an example of this.

"Husband and wife are garments to each other" -loving, sympathetic and protective

Basically women (even strong-willed ones) still feel that it is natural for a husband to lead, provided he does so in the manner mentioned above, with wisdom. It is one of the comforts of marriage for a woman that she does not have to take sole responsibility for all major decisions in the family.

Allah has created men and women as complementary to one another in co-operation and not in competition.

Source:  The Ideal Muslim Wife by Aisha Lemu,Islamic Education Trust

Best Oral care device can preserve nature!


SIWAK-AS AN ORAL HEALTH DEVICE (PRELIMINARY CHEMICAL AND CLINICAL EVALUATION)

Research Paper By: Dr. M. Ragaii El-Mostehy, Dr. A.A.Al-Jassem, Dr. I.A.Al-Yassin, Dr.A.R; El-Gindy and Dr. E. Shoukry

-A variety of oral hygiene measures have been performed since the dawn of time. This has been verified by various excavations done all over the world, in which toothpicks, chew sticks, tree twigs, linen strips, birds’ feathers, animal bones and porcupine quills were recovered 1.

Early-Chinese-Toothbrushes

Those that originated from plants are tasty twigs and although primitive they represented a transitional step towards the modern toothbrush. It has been stated that about seventeen plants could be enumerated as natural sources for several of these oral hygiene devices 2.

The most widely used tree twigs since early times is the ..Siwak” or ..Miswak” 3 .The stick is obtained from a plant called Salvadore Persica that grows around Mecca and the Middle East area in general. It is widely used among Muslims after Prophet Mohammed ( pbuh ) realised its value as a device which should be used by Muslims to clean their teeth. In this respect our Prophet ( pbuh ) is considered the first dental educator in proper oral hygiene.

Salvadore Persica plant

Although there is no reference to the use of Siwak in Al-Quran, yet several quotations could be read in the compendium of the sayings of Mohammed ( pbuh ) as to the benefits of Siwak in mouth cleanliness. One saying reads as follows:

“IF IT WERE NOT TOO MUCH A BURDEN ON THE BELIEVERS, I WOULD PRESCRIBE THAT THEY USE THE SIWAK BEFORE EACH PRAYER”.

Miswak - The natural toothbrush

Several anecdotes6, incidents, and rules of ethics in using Siwak were mentioned in various references talking on the subject of cleanliness of the mouth.

Salvadora Persica is in fact a small tree or shrub with a crooked trunk, seldom more than one foot in diameter, bark scabrous and cracked, whitish with pendulous extremities. The root bark is light brown and the inner surfaces are white, odour like cress and taste is warm and pungent. Chemically the air dried stem bark os S. Persica is extracted with 80% alcohol and then extracted with ether and run through exhaustive chemical procedures. This showed that it is composed of:

1. Trim ethyl amine

2. An alkaloid which may be salvadorine

3. Chlorides

4. High amounts of fluoride and silica

5. Sulphur

6. Vitamin C

7. Small amounts of Tannins, saponins, flavonoids & sterols

PURPOSE OF THE PRESENT INVESTIGATION:

The best device for oral hygiene

Because of the great quality of oral cleanliness noticed in individuals who use Siwak as the sole device to brush their teeth and because of the low incidence of dental decay of those individuals this work was undertaken.
It is intended to study the following:
1 .The mechanical ability of Siwak as a cleaning device to the mouth and its ability to rid the mouth of bacterial plaque (aggregates harmful to the gum)
2. If Siwak is powdered and used with a toothbrush, could it act as an efficient mouth cleaner?
3. As compared to other strongly abrasive toothpowder’s, could Siwak rank as highly efficient as to the used material?

Discussion

Oral hygiene and patient motivation towards a clean mouth owe their birth to the teachings of Mohammed (pbuh). Due to the repeated use of Siwak during the day, the users showed an unusually high level of oral cleanliness. It is a well known fact that plaque formed immediately after meticulous tooth brushing. By the end of 24 hours the plaque is well on its way towards maturation and hence starts its deleterious effects on the gingiva 8.

Proper oral hygiene should be maintained through intensive instructions by the periodontist as well as by a great expenditure of time and dexterity on part of the patient. This item is self corrected in Muslims because Siwak users take Siwak as a device that should be used as part of their religious ritual regimen.

The results obtained in this investigation have proved that Siwak and other tree twigs 9 could act as an effective tool in removing soft oral deposits. It could be even used as an effective device in preventive dental programme’s in mass populations. The indices used in this investigations were simple and adequate as they discriminated between experimental stages as well as between experimental groups.

Using starch is not quite accurate but it was meant to evaluate the degree by which Siwak and powdered Siwak could rid teeth of deposits as compared to the best abrasive viz. commercial powder.

It is noticed that the difference between first and fifth week of the mean score of plaque percentage for powdered Siwak is the highest (-11.2%) of all readings. This indicates that powdered Siwak is used with t mechanically proper device i.e. tooth brush will give a great deal of oral cleanliness.

It has been reported that Salvadora Persica contains substances that possess antibacterial properties Some other components are astringents, detergents and abrasives 8. Those properties encourage some toothpaste laboratories to incorporate powdered stems and/or root material of Salvadora persica in their products (Beckenham U.K. Sarakan Ltd.).

Although the commercial powder gave a high degree of efficiency in plaque removal yet its use over the experimental period gave a high score of gingivitis percentage within the group using the powder. It is time that plaque eradication is essential but this should not be on the expense of deleterious side effect on other tissues.

It could be concluded that Siwak and powdered Siwak are excellent tools for oral cleanliness. Because of its availability in this part of the world, being inexpensive and readily adopted by Muslims as part of their religious regimen, it is highly recommended in implementing a preventive dental health program Islamic countries. Also recommendations should be directed to manufacturers of toothpastes to include the powdered form of Siwak in a highly debriding sophisticated toothpaste.

Forget about your Toothbrush! Try Miswak

Forget about your Toothbrush! Try Miswak

A Miswak or Siwak is probably an alien thing to the western world. But, it’s a twig which a majority of people from Muslim countries use daily to brush their teeth. Although it might sound outdated to use twigs from trees for cleaning your teeth, studies conducted on the Miswak prove otherwise. Studies have inferred that Miswak is better than toothpaste for preventing gum disease. It is being known as chewing stick in the western world and is being looked upon as a form of alternative medicine. So, let’s analyze this “wonder twig” keeping documented scientific studies as proofs.

Miswak

But first of all, why would anyone think of using a tree twig to clean their teeth? The fact is ancient man did not have the facility of a toothbrush and many cultures have used Miswak for oral hygiene. The use of Miswak is well spread in the Muslim population of the world, and is a common entity in Muslim countries. The reason for common use of Miswak by Muslims can be attributed to religious beliefs. The last messenger of Islam used it frequently and also instructed his followers to do the same and hence the practice continues widely in Muslim countries. There are 70 benefits of Miswak as suggested by Islamic Literature and many of these have been scientifically proven and the rest haven’t been studied yet.

Miswak - many benefits

You might be wondering what exactly a Miswak is in the first place. The Miswak is obtained from the twigs of the Arak tree (Peelu tree) although a few other trees can also be used to obtain it such as walnut and olive.

A few important benefits of Miswak

* Kills Gum disease causing bacteria.

* Fights plaque effectively.

* Fights against caries.

* Removes Bad breath and odor from mouth.

* Creates a fragrance in the mouth.

* Effectively clean between teeth due to its parallel bristles.

* Increases salivation and hence inhibits dry mouth (Xerostomia)

Scientific Studies on Miswak

Although the 70 supposed benefits of Miswak range widely, the main one we are examining is its effect on oral health. So, let’s throw some light on scientific studies conducted on Miswak.

The Wrigley Company made a study on Miswak which was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The study found that mints laced with Miswak extract were 20 times more effective in killing bacteria than ordinary mints. A small testimony to this fact is that after half an hour, the mints laced with Miswak extract killed about 60% of the bacteria where as the ordinary mints managed only 3.6%

In the August issue of Journal of Periodontology (2008) appeared a study conducted by Swedish researchers on Miswak. The study apparently found that suspended Miswak pieces in a petridish (medium for culturing bacteria) were able to kill bacteria that cause periodontal disease with out being in physical contact with the bacteria. The researchers suggested that Miswak might be giving antibiotics as gases trying to explain this phenomenon.

A study which compares toothbrushing and using Miswak (Miswak ing!) can be seen on Pubmed (U.S National Library for Medicine Service). The study concluded that Miswak was more effective than toothbrushing in reducing plaque and gingivitis provided it was used correctly. Similar studies found on the same website and elsewhere vouch for the effectiveness of Miswak over toothbrush.

A study conducted by a group of dentists at King Saud University concluded that using Miswak was at least as good as tooth brushing, if not better. There have been plenty of published studies on Miswak and infact entire books published which study its oral and systemic benefits.

'Miswak-ing' better than 'tooth brushing' (plastic tooth brush)

Now, with all those studies chucked at you, you couldn’t help but wonder why it is so effective. This can be attributed to its strong antibacterial properties. Another important aspect to consider is that its bristles are parallel to the handle rather than perpendicular which means effective cleaning between the teeth. Now, that’s one natural toothbrush cum toothpaste cum floss.

Other Scholars and Scientists:

Encouragement to use the siwaak as part of the Sunnah is mentioned in many hadeeths, and the effect of using the siwaak is described as purifying the mouth, cleansing it of dirt, making it smell good, and preventing disease. It is a general word which affirms that siwaak possesses all powers of purification and protection.

Dr. ‘Abd-Allaah ‘Abd al-Razzaaq al-Sa’eed says:

It is indeed a miracle of the trustworthy and unlettered Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), who said: it was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Siwaak is purifying for the mouth and pleasing to the Lord.” Narrated by al-Nasaa’i (hadeeth no. 5). Al-Bukhaari narrated it as a mu’allaq majzoom report in Kitaab al-Sawm, Bab Siwaak al-Ratab wa’l-Yaabis li’l-Saa’im. It was classed as saheeh by al-Mundhiri in al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb (1/133) and classed as hasan by al-Nawawi in al-Majmoo’ (1/267).  See al-Silsilah al-Da’eefah by al-Albaani (no. 5276).

How can the siwaak not be purifying to the mouth when the unlettered Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) did not speak on the basis of his own whims and desires, who was taught (the Qur’aan) by one mighty in power [Jibreel (Gabriel)] (cf. al-Najm 53:5), enjoined us to use the siwaak, thus giving us basic guidelines to protect our teeth and mouths from disease by cleaning them, which is what preventive dentistry tells us now. As it is said, prevention is better than cure because it gives us a life that is filled with happiness.

All the means that may be followed to keep the mouth and teeth clean are very valuable in preventive medicine. One of these means is the stick from the araak tree, which is mentioned in many hadeeths from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). This stick is called siwaak.

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Sa’eed al-Jareedli – head of the Mouth Disease department at Cairo University – said:

The siwaak is many times better than the toothbrush and toothpaste in chemical and mechanical terms.

After carrying out research he found that the substance which is in the siwaak kills germs and heals our mouths from disease. By itself it can take the place of the toothbrush and toothpaste because of the numerous substances it contains which are superior to those contained in toothpaste. Similarly, strong, gentle natural fibres work better than the fibres of the toothbrush and do not damage the gums. They also effectively remove what is left in our mouths and clings to our teeth of leftover food, which can cause disease and damage to the mouth and teeth. Up until today, in our civilised world, there is no toothpaste that contains the substances contained in the siwaak. Similarly, it says in the weekly magazine American Dentist that most of the toothpastes used in the United States of America are not good or healthy.

For example, we see that most of the toothpastes on the market are commercial and cheap, aimed at nothing other than making a profit, and the mouth and gums do not benefit from them at all. But in the case of siwaak, it was found — after scientific research — that it contains a lot of effective substances carried in its fibres, including cleansers such as sinigrin, astringents which strengthen the gums, such as gallic acid, volatile oils which give the mouth a good smell, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, potassium chloride, calcium oxalate and a number of substances which clean the teeth. Some substances in the siwaak also kill germs, so it has an effect similar to that of penicillin.

So the siwaak is indeed the purifier for the mouth and teeth. Blessings and peace of Allah be upon you, O Beloved of Allah, O intercessor for creation, O Trustworthy Messenger, until the Day of Judgement; you brought us the Qur’aan from the Lord of the worlds, the most wise of judges, and you spoke the truth when you said: “Siwaak is purifying for the mouth and pleasing to the Lord.”

Al-Siwaak wa’l-‘Inaayah bi’l-Asnaan (p. 9-14)

In the research of Dr. James Turner, of the Faculty of Medicine in the American University of Tennessee, which is published in the journal Oral Medicine and Dentistry, it says: The miswaak of the araak tree contains substances which purify and kill microbes, the most important of which are sulphur and sitosterol B (or β-sitosterol), as well as sodium.

Research and experiments indicate that the siwaak contains a substance which stops bleeding, purifies the gums and sterilises wounds in the gums. It also contains in its fibres large amounts of mineral salts and ions such as calcium, iron, phosphates and sodium.

Siwaak contains vitamin C, and it is well known to scientists that the interaction between this vitamin and antibiotics is regarded as one of the most effective of remedies. It also contains tannin which helps to strengthen the gums.

Use of natural tooth brush preserves the environment.

Who is Allah?


Allah

Allah the personal name of God

Concept of God 

It is a known fact that every language has one or more terms that are used in reference to God and sometimes to lesser deities. This is not the case with Allah. Allah is the personal name of the One true God. Nothing else can be called Allah. The term has no plural or gender. This shows its uniqueness when compared with the word “god,” which can be made plural, as in “gods,” or made feminine, as in “goddess.” It is interesting to notice that Allah is the personal name of God in Aramaic, the language of Jesus and a sister language of Arabic.

The One true God is a reflection of the unique concept that Islam associates with God. To a Muslim, Allah is the Almighty Creator and Sustainer of the universe, Who is similar to nothing, and nothing is comparable to Him. The Prophet Muhammad was asked by his contemporaries about Allah; the answer came directly from God Himself in the form of a short chapter of the Qur’an, which is considered to be the essence of the unity or the motto of monotheism. This is chapter 112, which reads:“ In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Say (O Muhammad), He is God, the One God, the Everlasting Refuge, who has not begotten, nor has been begotten, and equal to Him is not anyone”.

Some non-Muslims allege that God in Islam is a stern and cruel God who demands to be obeyed fully and is not loving and kind. Nothing could be farther from the truth than this allegation. It is enough to know that, with the exception of one, each of the 114 chapters of the Qur’an begins with the verse ” In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate”. In one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), we are told that “ God is more loving and kind than a mother to her dear child”.

On the other hand, God is also Just. Hence, evildoers and sinners must have their share of punishment, and the virtuous must have God’s bounties and favors. Actually, God’s attribute of Mercy has full manifestation in His attribute of Justice. People suffering throughout their lives for His sake should not receive similar treatment from their Lord as people who oppress and exploit others their whole lives. Expecting similar treatment for them would amount to negating the very belief in the accountability of man in the Hereafter and thereby negate all the incentives for a moral and virtuous life in this world. The following Qur’anic verses are very clear and straightforward in this respect.

Verily, for the Righteous are gardens of Delight, in the Presence of their Lord. Shall We then treat the people of Faith like the people of Sin? What is the matter with you? How judge you?

Islam rejects characterizing God in any human form or depicting Him as favoring certain individuals or nations on the basis of wealth, power or race. He created the human-beings as equals. They may distinguish themselves and get His favor through virtue and piety only.

The concepts that God rested on the seventh day of creation, that God wrestled with one of His soldiers, that God is an envious plotter against mankind, and that God is incarnate in any human being are considered blasphemy from the Islamic point of view.

The unique usage of Allah as a personal name of God is a reflection of Islam’s emphasis on the purity of the belief in God that is the essence of the message of all God’s messengers. Because of this, Islam considers associating any deity or personality with God as a deadly sin that God will never forgive, despite the fact that He may forgive all other sins.

The Creator must be of a different nature from the things created because if He is of the same nature as they are, He will be temporal and will therefore need a maker. It follows that nothing is like Him. If the maker is not temporal, then he must be eternal. But if he is eternal, he cannot be caused, and if nothing caused Him to come into existence, nothing outside Him causes Him to continue to exist, which means that he must be self-sufficient. And if He does not depend on anything for the continuance of His own existence, then this existence can have no end. The Creator is therefore eternal and everlasting: “He is the First and the Last”.

He is Self-sufficient or Self-subsistent, or, to use a Qur’anic term, Al-Qayyum The Creator does not create only in the sense of bringing things into being, He. also preserves them and takes them out of existence and is the ultimate cause of whatever happens to them.

“ God is the Creator of everything. He is the guardian over everything. Unto Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth” (39:62-63).

“ No creature is there crawling on the earth, but its provision rests on God. He knows its lodging place and its repository” (11:16).

God’s Attributes

            If the Creator is Eternal and Everlasting, then His attributes must also be eternal and everlasting. He should not lose any of His attributes nor acquire new ones. If this is so, then his attributes are absolute. Can there be more than one Creator with such absolute attributes? Can there be, for example, two absolutely powerful Creators? A moment’s thought shows that this is not feasible.

The Qur’an summarizes this argument in the following verses:“ God has not taken to Himself any son, nor is there any god with Him: for then each god would have taken of that which he created and some of them would have risen up over others” (23:91).

“ And why, were there gods in earth and heaven other than God, they (heaven and earth) would surely go to ruin” (21:22).


The Oneness of God

            The Qur’an reminds us of the falsity of all alleged gods. To the worshippers of man-made objects it asks:“ Do you worship what you have carved yourself” (37:95). “ Or have you taken unto yourself others beside Him to be your protectors, even such as have no power either for good or for harm to themselves” (13:16).

To the worshippers of heavenly bodies it cites the story of Abraham:“ When night outspread over him, he saw a star and said: This is my Lord. But when it set, he said: I love not the setters. When he saw the moon rising, he said: This is my Lord. But when it set, he said: If my Lord does not guide me, I shall surely be of the people gone astray. When he saw the sun rising, he said: This is my Lord; this is greater. But when it set, he said: O my people, surely I quit that which you associate, I have turned my face to Him who originated the heavens and the earth; a man of pure faith, I am not one of the idolators” (6:76-79).

Source: WAMY

What is Prophethood?


PROPHETHOOD IN ISLAM

The concept of prophethood is found in the three great monotheistic religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. In Islam, however, it has a special status and significance.

According to Islam, Allah created man to worship Him and to lead a virtuous life based on His teachings and guidance. But how can man know and fulfill his role and the purpose of his existence if he does not receive clear and practical instructions of what Allah wants him to do?

The existence of prophethood, by which Allah sent a prophet to every nation to reveal His message in terms that the people could understand, has answered this question most effectively.

One might ask: How were the prophets chosen and which individuals were so honored?

Prophethood is Allah’s blessing and a favor that is bestowed on an individual chosen by Him to convey His message. From studying the lives of the prophets that have appeared, we notice several characteristics:

1. He is the best person in his community as regards morality and intellectual ability. This is necessary, for a prophets life serves as a model for his followers. His personality should not drive people away from his message, but rather inspire them to accept it and to

transform their own lives. After receiving the message, he is infallible on all matters dealing with the revelation. Although he might commit some small mistakes, but not in any matter that concerns the revelation, he cannot commit a sin.

2. He is supported by miracles, which derive from the power and permission of Allah and not of the prophet himself, to prove that he is not an impostor. Such miracles are direct challenges to the powers that be, for they do not follow the rules laid down by the

Experts in the affected field or activity By way of illustration, let us review some of the miracles recorded in the Old Testament, the New testament, and the Qur’an.

Moses’ Egyptian contemporaries excelled in magic. Thus his major miracle was to defeat the best magicians that the society could offer.

Jesus’ contemporaries were skilled physicians, and so he raised the dead and cured those suffering from incurable diseases.

Muhammad’s contemporaries were known for their eloquence and magnificent poetry. Therefore Muhammad’s major miracle was the Qur’an, which no poet could imitate or surpass, despite their repeated and vigorous efforts to do so.

All previous miracles were limited to a specific people living at a specific time.

This is not the case with the Qur’an, however, for this miracle is universal and everlasting. Although previous generations actually witnessed it, all future generations will continue to witness its miraculous nature in term of its style, content, and spiritual impact and message.

This ability of the Qur’an to rise above the limits imposed by time and space on all other miracles proves its divine origin.

3. Every prophet states clearly that what he receives comes from Allah and that it is for the well-being of humanity. He confirms what was revealed previously and what may be revealed by a future prophet, for his task is to convey the message entrusted to him by

Allah. Thus the revealed message is always the same in essence and purpose-it cannot deviate from prior or future revelations.

Prophets are necessary for conveying God’s instructions and guidance to mankind. Without this knowledge, we would be unable to answer the fundamental questions of our existence:

Why were we created? What happens after death? Is there an afterlife? Are we accountable for our actions? Is there any future reward or punishment for what we do? What about Allah, His angels, heaven, and hell?

Each of these questions, and all others, are answered in the revelation brought by the prophet. But in order for his community to believe and accept them, the prophet must be brought by individuals who have attained a position of trust and respect among their people. This is why he must be morally and intellectual superior to his contemporaries.

Based on this understanding, Muslims reject some of the stories found in the Old Testament concerning the prophets.

For example: The prophet Lot engaging in fornication-with his own daughters when

drunk, or the prophet David sending one of his military leaders to his death so that he could marry his wife. it is inconceivable to Muslims that a prophet of Allah could do such things.

Prophets are also miraculously supported by God and instructed by Him to affirm the continuity of His message. In brief, the divine revelation consists of the following information:

a) A clear concept of God, His attributes and creation, and what should and should not be ascribed to Him.

b) A clear idea about the unseen world, angels and jinn (spirits), paradise and hell.

c) Why has God created us? What does He want from us? Will we be rewarded (or punished) for obeying (or disobeying) Him?

d) A clear explanation of how to order our societies according to His will. This involves the implementation of a law that, when applied correctly and honestly, will bring about a happy and ideal society.

As we have seen in the above discussion, there is no substitute for prophets. Despite the tremendous and impressive advancements of modern science, even it cannot provide authentic information about the supernatural world or provide guidance. Its very nature, which is too materialistic and limited, precludes it from serving this purpose. Mystic experience is also unsuitable, for it is too subjective and, frequently, too misleading.

Now one might ask: How many prophets has Allah sent to humanity?

Although we cannot answer this question definitively, some Muslim scholars place the number at two hundred forty thousand. We are only sure of what is clearly mentioned in the Qur’an: God has sent one or more messengers to each nation, for He would not be just if he were to hold a nation to account for its actions w shout first informing its people of what is allowed and what is not.

The Qur’an mentions twenty-five prophets by name (i.e., Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, who are considered the greatest of all the prophets) and indicates that there were others not known to Muhammad. Muslims are required to believe in and to respect all of the messengers of Allah without exception.

Since all the prophets come from the same God and for the same purpose-to lead   humanity to Allah-belief in them all is essential and logical. If some are accepted and others are rejected, it is due to the individual’s misunderstanding of the prophet’s role or of racial (or other) bias.

The Muslims are unique in considering belief in all of the prophets of God to be an article of faith. The Jews reject Jesus Christ and Muhammad; the Christians reject Muhammad and, in reality, reject Moses because they do not abide by his laws.

The Muslims accept them all as messengers of God who brought guidance to mankind.

However, this acceptance is characterized with a degree of caution, for the Qur’an and the Prophet states the revelation conveyed by those prophets has been distorted and corrupted by those who received it.

We read in the Qur’an:

Say (O Muslims), we believe in Allah and that which is revealed to us and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael, and Isaac and Jacob, and their children, and that which Moses and Jesus received and that the prophets received from their Lord. We maize no distinction between any of them and unto Him we have surrendered. (2:136)

The Qur’an tells the Muslims that this is the true and impartial belief. If other nations share this belief, it means that they are on the right track. If they do not share this belief, it means that they are following their own whims and biases.

The Qur’an says:

So if they believe in the same as you believe in, then they have been [rightly] guided; but if they turn away, they are only in dissension, and Allah will be sufficient for you against them. And He is the Hearing, the Knowing. [And say, “Ours is] the religion of Allah. And who is better than Allah in [ordaining] religion? And we are worshippers of Him.” (2:137-38)

There are two important points that need to be clarified about the roles of Jesus and Muhammad, as they are usually misunderstood and distorted. In the case of Jesus, the Qur’an rejects completely the Christian assertion of his divinity and his status of the “son” of God.

It also states that the unusual circumstances of his birth-without a father-does not make him a “son” of God, for if this logic were followed to its logical conclusion, Adam, who had no father and no mother, would be greater than Jesus, for: Truly the likeness of Jesus, in God’s sight, is as Adam’s likeness; He created him of dust, then said unto him, “Be,” and he was (3:59).

Like other prophets, Jesus performed miracles: he raised the dead and cured the blind and the lepers. He also made it perfectly clear that these miracles were done by God, not by him. But his message was distorted, because it was not recorded in his presence and under his direction, but only about one hundred years after his death.

According to the Qur’an, Jesus was sent to the children of Israel to confirm the Torah of Moses and to bring glad tidings of a final messenger who would come after him:

 

And when Jesus son of Mary said, Children of Israel, I am indeed the Messenger to you, confirming the Torah that is before me, and giving good tidings of a Messenger who shall

come after me, whose name shall be the praised one. (61:6)

(the underlined portion is the translation of Ahmad, which is also a name of the Prophet Muhammad).

 

However, the majority of the Jews rejected his ministry and plotted against his life. The Qur’anic account of his death differs from the one found in the New Testament: he was not killed or crucified, but rather was raised to heaven by God. It is also implied that Jesus will return one day and that all of the Christians and Jews will believe in

him before he dies. This is also supported by authentic sayings of the

Prophet Muhammad.

Muhammad (peace be upon him), the last prophet of God, was born in Makkah in the sixth century CE. Until the age of forty, he was known as a man of excellent character and cultured manners. These characteristics earned for him the nickname of al-Amin (The Trustworthy). There

were no prior indications that Allah had chosen him to be His last messenger. Once he was entrusted with this task, however, he began calling his idol-worshipping people to Islam. The revelation was recorded during his lifetime in writing and in the memory of his followers. The care taken to preserve each revelation as it was transmitted by the Prophet ensured that it would reach future generations in an uncorrupted form. As Allah has stated that the Qur’an would be preserved accurately, it is the source of divine guidance for all time, and the Prophet Muhammad is His final prophet.

Source: WAMY Series on Islam No. 7