Tuesday 9 December 2008

The Mission of Abraham


Part of the mission of the Prophet (pboh) is to purify the body and soul of the followers. This purification is called in the Qur'an tazkiyah.

Abraham had specially prayed to Allah regarding this mission. His prayer is recorded in the Qur'an as follows:
            
Our Lord, send from among them a messenger of their own, who shall rehearse Your Signs to them and instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom, and purify them. (2:129)

In response to this prayer Allah says:
             
He it is Who raised from among the illiterate Arabs a Messenger from among themselves, who recites to them His Messages, and purifies them and teaches them the Book and Wisdom. (62:2)

The word tazkiyah entails the removal of undesirable growths and impurities from the personality. It involves the self-imposition of efforts for eradicating those tendencies that are obstacles in the path of moral development. In this way it puts an end to the conflict of good and evil that rages in the human breast.

Tazkiyah is one of the most important ingredients for success in both the worlds physically and spiritually. When practiced it brings spiritual health, morality, love for Allah, love for the Prophet (pboh), engaging in Zikr and becoming a model of Compassion, piety and truthfulness.

This is one of the reasons why Allah says:
         
(Ash-Shams 009-010)

Truly, he succeeds who purifies it, and fails who corrupts it (the heart).( 91:9-10)

Tazkiyah e nafs is the purification of the nafs by subduing the evil desires that may be plaguing a person which comes from the whispering of Satan in the breast of men; and because it is from Satan it is evil. In this connection Allah says, the nafs orders one to commit sins.

The result of Tazkiyah is love. The person cultivates love for Allah, for the Prophet (pboh). Allah says:
           •        
All who obey Allah and the Messenger are in the Company of those on whom is the Grace of Allah; of the Prophets; the sincere, the witnesses and the righteous. Ah, what a beautiful fellowship. (4:69)

Tazkiyah is a comprehensive program as, in addition to the purification of the body, one also has to focus on the purification of the heart. Allah says:
         

He is indeed successful who purifies himself, and remembers the name of his Lord and prays. (87:14-15)

Self purification is an individual matter, and every person will benefit based on his effort. Allah says:
      
And whoever purifies himself does so for the benefit of his own nafs. (35:18)

Prophet Muhammad (pboh) used to pray to Allah as follows:

O Allah, grant my inner soul piety and purify it, for You are the Best Purifier; You are the Guardian and Master.

One of the best ways of developing tazkiyah both physically and spiritually is to keep fast, as in fasting one has to restrain himself from all the negative things, and during fasting in Ramadan he engages himself in extra acts of worship, charity, patience and reading of the Holy Qur'an.

It is now left for the individual to continue practicing tazkiyah in the daily life and also as special acts of worship in order to be a successful person. And Allah will bless him. Allah says:
•             

Those devoted to Allah shall be removed far from it (i.e. the blazing fire), who spend their wealth for the increase in self purification, and have in their minds, no favour from any one for which a reward is expected in return. (92:17-19)
Remember that, it is because the purification of the personality, both physical and spiritual is very important that Allah swore seven times to emphasize the culminating promise that it is tazkiyah that plays a significant role in success. Here is the English translation of Verses 1 through 10 of Surah al Shams (91).
       •                                 
"By the Sun and his (glorious) splendour; By the Moon as she follows him; By the day as it reveals (the Sun's) glory; By the Night as it conceals it; By the Firmament and its (wonderful) structure; By the Earth and its (wide) expanse; By the Nafs (Soul), and the proportion and order given to it and its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right: - truly he succeeds who purifies it, and he fails who corrupts it!"
Let us all strive with our wealth, health, education, etc. to purify ourselves, because it should never be forgotten that Allah says: Whoever purifies himself does so for his own benefit.

May Allah forgive and bless all believers.

Light upon Light

Thursday 4th December 2008

Zikr Lesson for the week


A true believer is a physically very lonely person, as he suffers from the trials of Allah, deep down inside for the sake of Allah (swt). We have been given a lot of examples of this in history. For example, after many years in this world Hazrat Abraham (pbuh) was blessed with a son who he loved tremendously and, on the insistence of his wife Sarah, he took Hajar and her son, Isma'il and left them at an uncultivated valley.

How would he have felt? The same can be seen with Prophet Jacob (pbuh). He was all alone and when in this situation he said “I put my complaints and sorrows to Allah”.

Physically you will have friends and acquaintances however each person has his/her individual trials and it’s only when you are in the situation you will know what it’s all about.

One thing a true believer knows is that Allah (swt) is his wali and He (Allah) will never let him down, as Prophet Jacob (pbuh) demonstrated. Allah (swt) says in Surah Taghabun;

O ye who believe! Truly, among your wives and your children are (some that are) enemies to yourselves: so beware of them!
(Chapter 64, verse 14)

An example of this can be seen in the actions of Sarah. Was she contributing to the mission of Prophet Abraham (pbuh)? Maybe indirectly but not physically. Another example can be taken from the home life of Prophet Muhammad (saw). He was very attached to Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) and she passed away. He then married an elderly woman and thereafter he married Hazrat Aisha, who was young. He also had big girls in the house, such as Fatimah. At times Aisha and Fatimah could not get along. Imagine what type of environment that was.

If Allah (swt) wants to try you why should you complain? Throughout your life people would come and go, just as the sun raises and sets everyday. If you can understand this you will at times feel lonely no matter how strong you are in faith. But you will know that Allah (swt) is with you. What we have to do is to try and strengthen our bound with Him.

Allah (swt) is Light, and He says in His Holy Words that Prophet Muhammad (saw) was a real reflection of light. Proof of this can be found in the Qur`an in Surah Ma'ida and Surah Nur. In Surah Nur there contains a verse known as Ayat an-Nur. This ayat is renowned for its remarkable beauty;

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The Parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche and within it a Lamp: the Lamp enclosed in Glass: the glass as it were a brilliant star: Lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! Allah doth guide whom He will to His Light: Allah doth set forth Parables for men: and Allah doth know all things.
(Chapter 24, verse 35)

Allah (swt) says in Surah Ma'ida;

O people of the Book! There hath come to you our Messenger, revealing to you much that ye used to hide in the Book, and passing over much (that is now unnecessary). There hath come to you from Allah a (new) light and a perspicuous Book,
(Chapter 5, verse 15)

When Prophet (saw) was around 4 ½ years and was still under the care of Halima, he went missing. Halima and her family became frantic because they were not finding him. After a while they came across a tree and saw a big bright light on one of its branches. When they investigated they realized it was Prophet Muhammad (saw). Hazrat Aisha narrated that once she saw Prophet Muhammad (saw) sitting in a room and she swore by Allah (swt) that he looked brighter than the full moon.

What we have to do is to try and connect our light to the light of Prophet (saw) and insha Allah we would thereafter be able to connect to Allah (swt). Allah (swt) makes mention of this. He says in Surah Hadid;

that He may lead you from the depths of Darkness into the Light and verily Allah is to you most kind and Merciful.
(Chapter 57, verse 9)

When you are feeling alone do not think it is a bad thing. Use this as an opportunity to purify your light. This is what spirituality is all about. We are helpless in the hands of Allah (swt) and when you realize this you will submit humbly to Him and let Him take care of your affairs. We don’t know the wisdom in the trials and difficulties we experience; only Allah (swt) knows, as He says in His Holy Words; ‘Allah knoweth, and ye know not’, (chapter 16, verse 74).

Wednesday 12 November 2008


Islamic Banking
Confidence in Compliance

Caribbean Regional Compliance Association Conference
Tuesday November 11th, 2008 at 3.00 – 3.45 p.m.
Dr. Waffie Mohammed
Chairman – Shariah Supervisory Board
Islamic Banking Service
Clico Investment Bank Limited

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

Distinguished Members of the Head Table, Specially Invited Guests, Members of the Media, Ladies and Gentlemen all,

I greet you with salutations of peace and guidance of Almighty Allah on each and every one of us.

Our focus this afternoon is on the Islamic financial model of governance and compliance, and I must say that we were very pleased to accept the invitation to participate in this event, more so, given the recent financial turmoil and relatively stable position of Islamic financial intermediaries in this harrowing environment.

But before we delve into the meat of the matter, it is necessary to firstly examine the underlying philosophy of governance within the religion of Islam, since this underpins all activities across financial and other dimensions in the life of every Muslim.

Within Islam, human beings are responsible for their every thought, word and deed in this world, and they would have to account for these on the Day of Judgment – a day on which each individual alone would shoulder responsibility for his/her life on this earth.

As such, Islamic frameworks and guidelines that emanate from this philosophy recognize, and indeed strike a finely-tuned balance between individual human rights and social justice – between freedom and equality – to offer a system based on Justice.

But being a universal message to mankind, Islam also recognises the diversity of individual perspectives which can lead to ethical and even legislative dilemmas, and mitigates this through the imposition of divinely-revealed rules and regulations that serve to guide human behaviour and conduct.

Islamic Economic Principles

What are those divinely revealed regulations that guide any attempt at an Islamic Economic System?

Halaal vs. Haraam
As the Code of Guidance, Islam allows all that is morally and ethically permissible and beneficial to man. These are called in the Qur'an (halaalan taiyibah). It prohibits what is deemed detrimental, physically as well as spiritually, Called haraam, in pursuing economic gain (e.g. alcohol, gambling, pork, pornography are all haraam

Obligation to spend wealth judiciously – cannot be hoarded, kept idle or squandered. Allah says:

Woe to those who deal in fraud. (83:1)

Islam discourages hoarding. Allah says:

Woe be unto those who pileth up wealth and keep counting it. (104:2)

A Muslim has to go out and seek from the bounties of Allah. He says:

Do not neglect your portion of this world. (28:77)

Let there be among you, traffic and trade, by mutual goodwill. (4:29)

Give of surplus margins to alleviate poverty (Zakaat). Understand that wealth is a gift from Allah, and must be used for ones benefit, and for the benefit of others.

Prevention of monopolistic tendencies: Islam seeks to prevent the circulation of wealth in the hands of a few. Allah says:
Wealth should not only circulate among the wealthy. (59:7)

Aim is social justice without inhibiting individual enterprise. Allah says to the believers:

O you who believe, Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from Justice. (5:8)

Islamic Banking

Some of these principles serve to set the stage for the Islamic banking framework, and these include

Prohibition of Riba (accepted as meaning rate of interest). Allah says:

Allah has permitted trade and forbidden usury, (i.e. the taking and giving of interest. (2:275)

No participation in Haraam (unlawful) businesses or industries. Allah warns believers about this. He says:

And you will see many of them (human beings) hastening toward sin and transgression and their devouring of ill-gotten wealth. (5:62)

Avoidance of Gharaar, (excessive uncertainty or speculation). Allah says:

O you who believe, intoxicants, gambling, (dedication of) stones and divination by arrows are an abomination of Satan's handiwork, avoid them in order that you may prosper. (5:90)

Agreements in writing. Allah says:

O you who believe, when you deal with each other, in transactions involving future obligations in a fixed period of time, reduce them to writing. Let a scribe write down faithfully as between the parties. (2:282)

Avoid committing fraud: Allah says:

Woe to those who deal in fraud, those who, when they have to receive by measure from men, exact full measure, but when they have to give by measure or weight to men, give less than is due. (83:1-3)

Mutual goodwill. Allah says:

Let there be among you traffic and trade, by mutual goodwill. (4:29)

Shariah Standards

Given these differences that underpin the Islamic financial model, the industry determined that the existing international standards did not fully accommodate its needs, and following from this recognition there first emerged the Accounting and Auditing Standards for Islamic Financial Organisations, adhered to and accepted globally in countries such as Bahrain, Sudan, Jordan, Malaysia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and more recently the United Arab Emirates. These standards which number well over 50 in all, benchmark conventionally recognised best practices in financial reporting, and cover such areas as accounting, auditing, governance, ethical and Shariah (Islamic Law).

The foremost emphasis on quality standards of reporting has resulted in the World Bank singling out this effort as an example of successful self-regulation by an industry.

Further, as the industry developed, there was the recognition of the need for prudential standards and guiding principles that promoted and enhanced the soundness and stability of Islamic financial services – broadly defined to include banking, capital markets and insurance sectors.

These standards include such areas as Corporate Governance, Risk Management, Capital Adequacy as well as Supervisory Review Processes, amongst others. In a similar spirit to the approach adopted for development of the financial reporting standards, development of these standards included consideration of accepted international best practices, and working with all related stakeholders within the global financial industry.

Supervisory Board

We also recognise that for standards to be effective, they need to be adhered to, and as such a second key ingredient in ensuring compliance within Islamic finance is the institution of the Shariah Supervisory Board.

The Shariah Board member is typically a scholar of Islam in particular and typically with an emphasis on Fiqh Mu’amalaat, (Islamic rules on transactions). They are charged with the dual role of guiding / supporting the development of the Islamic financial institution – helping to shape its processes and products as required by Shariah, and reviewing the operations to ensure that all documentation, practices and transactions comply with Islamic Law.

The synergy that is realised from this is one that hopefully is preserved as the Islamic finance model matures, and is also an approach that conventional finance practitioners and regulators can consider as they continue to ensure that the end-users of financial intermediaries continue to benefit, while confidence in the system is preserved.

Some Islamic banks have in fact appointed internal Shariah personnel to fully develop and oversee the internal operations, and retain the external Shariah board to audit the operations and ensure compliance with Islamic principles.

Shariah Review

Key elements in the supervisory review process:

Regulatory capital requirements / capital adequacy
Risk management & corporate governance
Transparency and Market Discipline

The Practitioner’s Perspective

Compliance with both financial / sovereign laws, and a second layer of Shariah compliance

Need for legislative recommendation for Islamic finance, until that time the key success factor for progression within governance rests with the synergy of compliance personnel and teams – from both a legislative as well as a religious perspective, so as to ensure the perpetuation of justice – for as the Qur’an says, “be just, for that is closest to piety”


In order to have the investments properly managed the person selected for doing so must be competent. The Qur'an advises Muslims as follows:

To those weak of understanding, do not hand over your property (to manage) which Allah has made as a means of support for you. (9:5)

One of the easiest ways to invest surplus wealth is through the Islamic Banks, as in this way one is sure that the monies invested:
• will maintain the religious prescription as well as the ideological orientation of an Islamic Society.
• It will assist in achieving the Islamic socioeconomic objectives, i.e. promotion of a pattern of growth best suited for eradication of poverty, equitable distribution of income and wealth and sufficient opportunities for gainful employment.
Some people believe that because Islamic Banking is different from conventional banking there can be the following misgivings, viz.

• As the Islamic banks are committed to share in losses, (since it is based on profit/loss sharing) it can be exposed to huge losses.
• There can be frequent loss and defaults if the clients conceal their correct income.
• Islamic banks cannot perform all the banking functions on non-interest basis.

While it is a fact that Islamic Banks are committed to share in losses recognition of this is translated to a greater emphasis on risk management, and because the banks invest in diversified portfolios the losses in some isolated cases will be outweighed by the profits in others, thereby resulting in an overall profitability. Losses in Islamic Banks may not necessarily be as great as in other banks due to the fact that:

• through screening of the party to whom fund is made available
• the purpose for which the fund is provided
• supervision exercised by the banks to the fund users
• supervision exercised by the SSB to the IBS

Because both parties work together to ensure success the losses are minimised in Islamic Banks as compared to that of other banks.

Islamic banking is based on moral and religious principles, and while it is possible to cheat regarding the declaration of profits, the risk potential should not be exaggerated. There are some measures that the banks can put in place to minimise such instances. These are:

• evidence of under-reporting of profits can be challenged in court.
• Users of funds guilty of such breach of confidence can be black listed.
• Contracts can be developed to elicit optimal behaviour even in the presence of moral hazards
• Tax laws can be adjusted to avoid attempts to conceal profits.

Regulatory Issues:

From its nature, a bank conducting Islamic finance is subject to those forms of regulation which apply to conventional banks, with due regards to the characteristics of Islamic banks, and also to the review of its compliance with Islamic principles and rules by its own Sharia supervisory board. This constitutes a key organ of governance in an Islamic bank.

Further structures used to deal with investors' funds, normally a profit-sharing mudaraba contract imply a high degree of fiduciary duty on the part of an Islamic bank, which should be reflected on its corporate governance.

All these regulations work for the benefit of the bank's investment account holders, and all others who may have some form of benefit from the assets deposited with the banks. The regulations help to minimise or avoid systematic risk which can lead to the bank collapse.

The regulation of Islamic banks also faces issues relating to liquidity management. Obligations are placed on banks by some regulators to maintain a certain percentage of their assets in securities or deposits in other banks with high credit ratings. To solve this problem some of the Islamic banks issue non-tradable, three-month salam bonds (sukuk) and tradable five year ijara sukuk; some issued tradable mudaraba certificates and the Bank Negara Malaysia issued tradable Islamic bonds.

Each Islamic bank will have a Sharia board (SSB) which reviews both proposed new products of that bank, and the types of transactions into which that bank has entered, to ensure that they are Sharia-compliant. New products will not be introduced until they are in a form acceptable to the SSB.


Accounting is one of the professions that is required by Sharia as fard e kifaayah (a collective religious duty which, if performed by some, would exempt others from performing it. However, if it is not performed by any, the entire community is sinful). In addition to its technical definition, accounting is a means to fulfil a Sharia requirement, namely to record, measure and allocate rights fairly among claimants.

The concept of fairness is mentioned in the Qur'an. Allah says:

Allah doth command you to render back your trusts to those to whom they are due; and when you judge between people that you judge with justice. (4:58)

The concept of fairness has a counterpart in accounting thought known as "freedom from bias". As fairness has ethical values there is need for a code of ethics that guides professional accountants in the performance of their professional duties and services.

From an Islamic perspective, the ethics of accountants depend primarily on the principles and rules of Islamic faith and Sharia. Furthermore, Sharia principles and rules confer on these ethics potential enforceability which stems from the permanent and constant religious incentives that surpass in their purposes all other incentives. Even the accountants are supposed to be people conforming to certain standards recognised by Sharia. Some of these are: integrity, sincerity, piety, trustworthiness, etc.


Working for Islamic financial institutions is one of the professions which, according to Islamic Sharia should be established and given due consideration. Furthermore, it imposes the duty of implementing the rules and principles of Islamic Sharia in managing the funds and investing them in a lawful manner.

Compliance by employees of the institutions will lead to the fulfilment of the objectives of Islamic banking and will contribute to establishment of a saying of Prophet Muhammad (pboh) that: Allah loves it when a person carries out a deed and seeks to perfect it.

Thursday 16 October 2008

Why Study the Qur'an

The Unadulterated Text:

God Almighty has been giving guidance to mankind at large all through the ages. Wherever there were people, even in the remotest part of the earth, Divinely appointed Messengers were sent to guide them in believing in the Oneness of God, (Allah), doing good and refraining from evil. Some of the messengers were given written messages. However, their messages were not properly preserved. We find indications of improper perseveration, even in the lifetime of the messengers themselves, e.g. the Tablet given to Moses was broken and the Gospel given to Jesus was not duly written in his life time. Later on four versions of the Gospel were produced.

In the year 571 after Jesus, Allah sent the Final Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (pboh), an Arab by birth. He also received a divinely revealed message, over a period of 23 years. The complete and perfect code of life was given to man through him, never to be destroyed, mutilated, adulterated, challenged or doubted. His followers, called Muslims, are fortunate upholders of this perfect and complete code, called the Qur'an.

The Qur'an was revealed to Muhammad (pboh) message after message. The mode of revelation selected by the Almighty is one that leaves no room for doubt. The Angel Gabriel brought the verses upon the Divine command to the Prophet (pboh). Firstly, the angel read it and the Prophet (pboh) repeated after him, then the Prophet (pboh) recited and the Angel listened, then the Prophet (pboh) dictated to the available scribe when the angel left. After copying, the scribe read what he had written while the Prophet (pboh) listened to make sure that there were no errors from the dictation. When this was completed the Prophet (pboh) instructed as to where the verse or verses were to be placed in the different chapters, and the companions memorised them accordingly. The companions also made their own personal copies.

In this way the Qur'an was copied, as well as memorised by most of the followers of Prophet Muhammad (pboh). Each companion took pride in teaching the Qur'an to others due to the fact that the Prophet (pboh) is reported to have said that the best person is he who learns the Qur`an and teaches it to others. In this way the message was transmitted throughout the ages in its original form.

God Almighty communicated with His messengers in different ways, viz.

(a) Through inspiration
(b) By speaking to them directly
(c) By sending Angel Gabriel with the Divine message.

Although He used the three different methods to communicate with Muhammad (pboh) it is only (c) He used to reveal the Qur'an. And some of the messages, which were given to him through speech in the same way as He (Allah) spoke to Moses, were again brought down by Gabriel as revelation to be put in the appropriate places as Gabriel would have directed, if those words were to be recorded as part of the Qur`anic text.

With the exception of a few specially appointed messengers, all the divinely appointed guides were just for their people, and their messages were orally transmitted. Due to this the difficulty of perseveration the laws and principles taught, resulted in, either distortion or destruction later on.

The text of the Holy Qur'an has “no human element” in it. Every word that we now read is the same as in the reading at the time it was revealed to the Prophet of Islam (pboh).

Allah did not reveal the Qur'an in the same way as He caused to descend the Scriptures before it. In many cases the completed text was revealed at one time, e.g. the Books of Moses and Jesus. The Qur'an came down over a period of 23 years. One reason for this is, that Allah created situations before revealing the text in order that the people may use it as guidance. So that people found the revelation appropriate and applicable. In this way the text became more meaningful and easier to preserve.

The Qur’an explains itself:

No one is authorized to give a personal opinion on any portion of the Qur’an; or to take a verse out of context and use it for selfish purposes. The reading, the meaning and explanation of the Book have all been revealed by Allah. In this connection He says:

Move not thy tongue concerning the (Qur’an) to make haste therewith. It is for Us to collect and promulgate it. But when We have promulgated it follow thou its recital. Nay, more, it is for Us to explain it. (75:16-19).

In this process of getting the Message, one has to be familiar with references to the same matter at different places in the Qur’an.

An example of how the Qur'an Explains Itself.

Allah says:

He (Allah) has created man. (55:3).
It is He (Allah) Who has created man from water. (25:54).

But people became confused as to the origin of man, since we believe that Adam was made form clay. In order to clarify this Allah says:

He (Allah) began the creation of man with (nothing more than) clay and made his progeny from a quintessence of the nature of a fluid despised. (32:7-8).

So while Adam was originated form clay, his progeny originated from a fluid. This the Lord states in the following verse:

He has created man from a sperm drop (16:4)

He elaborated upon this as follows:

Man did We create from a quintessence (of clay). Then We placed him (as a drop) of sperm in a place of rest, firmly fixed. Then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then of that clot We made a lump; then We made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then We developed out of it another creature; So blessed be Allah, the Best to Create. (23:12-14).

After narrating the process of creation, Allah reminds us of resurrection, etc. For example He says:

Does man think that he will be left without a purpose (as a goal)? Was he not a drop of sperm emitted? Then did he become a leech-like clot; then did Allah make and fashioned (him) in due proportion. And of him He made two sexes male and female. Has He (Allah) not the (same) Power to give life to the dead? (75: 36 – 40).

There are those with ulterior motives who try to justify their own “invention of sect” in Islam with verses from the Qur`an. These people, however, cannot change the original text, but ascribe meanings and in some instances translations to the text, in order to justify their own beliefs. Because the original text remains unadulterated, it is easy to recognise the mistakes of the translator or commentator.

According to the records found in the Holy Qur'an the original language of man was Arabic. Adam and Eve begged for forgiveness in Arabic. Their prayer which is recited by many Muslims numerous times for the day is as follows:

Our Lord, We have wronged ourselves, and if Thou dost not forgive us, we will surely be of the losers. (7:23)

All communications between the Prophets and Allah seem to have been in Arabic. It is the communication between the Prophets and their respective peoples that was in the language that they spoke.

Allah says to us in His Holy words,

We sent not a messenger except (to teach) in the language of his (own) people, in order to make (things) clear to them. (14:4)

And among the Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors. Verily! in that are signs for those who know. (30:22).

The Arabic Qur’an:

Allah, in His Wisdom, created mankind in different tribes and nations, with different colors, speaking different languages, observing different customs, yet having similar beliefs and worshipping the same one God.

To every tribe and nation He sent guidance and a messenger to teach the people in their own language. Each messenger who came to a particular people spoke the language of the people and taught them belief, the ways of worship and the Hereafter in their own language in order that they were able to understand and act upon the lessons given.

This could mean that all the Messengers received appropriate portions of the Qur'an or the translation of the Message of the Qur'an to give to their people.
Allah says:

The fact that Allah says:

The Word of Allah does not change (10:64), means that it is the same Word or portion of it He gave to all the Messengers that came before Muhammad (pboh). And when Jibraeel was directed to bring commands or narrations from the Qur'an, it was translated by the respective Messenger.

How the Qur'an was revealed:

The term al Qur'an is used for the complete code revealed by Allah to Muhammad (upon whom be peace). Literally, it means, ‘the revelation, which is read, recited, or written in volume.’

The Qur’an is comprised of Surahs (Chapters), 114 in number. Each Surah is composed of Ayats (Verses), and the length of the Surah varies, so too are the lengths of the verses.

The longest is Surah al Baqarah (the Cow) with 286 ayats, and the shortest is al Kauthar, with only 3 ayats. The entire Qur’an is divided into 30 sections, for the sake of convenience and this forms the basis for recitation in optional Worship during the nights of Ramadan by those who know the whole book by memory. In all the form of worship in Islam, a certain portion of the Qur’an must be recited, and as such, it is the most widely read book in the world.

Even the first reference is to reading of the Holy Words, and the first command was to read. At the age of forty years, while Muhammad (pboh) was in the cave of Hira, the angel Gabriel came to him bringing the following revelation:

Read in the name of thy Lord, Who creates,
Created man from a clot,
Read, and thy Lord is most honourable,
Who taught with the Pen,
Taught man what he knew not. (96:l-5).

From then onwards, for twenty three years there was to be a continuous process of receipt of revelations, committing them to memory, writing them down and regular rehearsals of what was received previously, either in worship or in congregation with the Prophet (pboh) listening.

The revelations comprise among other things, description of the Attributes of Allah. It discusses rewards and punishments, (i.e. heaven and hell). It contains a complete moral code for life, using historical facts to show the strong and weak points of past nations. It is the source of legislation and as such enumerates a whole list of do’s and don’ts. It contains some regulations for worship; it mentions scientific as well as philosophical problems; and students of the Holy Qur’an can also find verses in reference to cosmological and astronomical facts.

Non-Muslims and polemic writers are very fond of trying to establish, that the Messenger (pboh) incorporated into Islam the available knowledge of Christianity and Judaism, in Arabia. They also claim that Prophet Muhammad (pboh) copied from their Books while compiling the Qur'an. All such accusations are false.

The Qur’an records even in the time of the Prophet, (pboh) such accusations. So if such are the sayings of present day critics, it is nothing new to us.

Commenting on such people Allah says:

And when there comes to them a Book from Allah, confirming what is with them, although from old they had prayed for victory against those without faith, when there comes to them that which they (should) have recognized, they refused to believe in it. (2:89)

Apart from Khadija and Abu Bakr, the first two members of the tribe of the Quraish who embraced Islam, the other early converts were Jabr, Yasir, A’ish, Qays and Addas, the Syrian Christian slaves of non-Muslim Quraish of Makkah.

If the earliest and the latest enemies of Islam insist that the messenger came to know of the Christian teachings from these slaves, it would mean that at a later stage, while embracing Islam at the hands of Muhammad(pboh) they fell victims to their own forgery. This contention is not only untenable, but absolutely ridiculous. The Qur’an itself is very clear about this same argument. It says:

And indeed We know that they say: Only a mortal teaches him. The tongue of him whom they hint at is foreign, and this is clear Arabic language. (16:l03)

That the Qur’an is a revealed Book of Allah is a fact that cannot be denied. It is being recognized by the world today, that even if Muhammad (pboh) was a genius, he could not have produced a book of this sort, containing so many facts, scientific and otherwise, which were unknown during his time, and he himself being unlettered. Only recently, were some of these facts discovered and many more discoveries will be made as advancement in the Scientific and technological fields continue.

The Qur`an: the Word of Allah:

Allah communicated with all His creatures in different ways either by inspiration, through instinct and intuition or through speech. In the case of communication to man it was through speech. He spoke to individuals, and to messengers on behalf of their followers. His universal communication to mankind at large is the Holy Qur’an. This He calls His Word. For example He says:

If one of the Pagans asks you for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the ‘Word of Allah’. (9:6)

And recite (and teach) what has been revealed to thee of the Book of thy Lord; none can change His Words. (18:27).

The Qur’an - the Word of Allah - has been properly protected and guarded from the time it came into existence. In the beginning it was secured in Lauhi Mahfuz, (i.e. the Divine Tablet). Allah says:

Nay, this is a Glorious Qur’an (inscribed) in a Tablet preserved. (85: 21-22)

This is indeed a Qur`an most honourable in a Book well guarded, which none shall touch but those who are clean; a revelation from the Lord of the Worlds. (56: 77-80)

One important difference between the revelations to the previous messengers and that of Muhammad (peace be on him) is constancy of language in the case of Prophet Muhammad (pboh) with regards to what was spoken and that of the revealed text. The Message was revealed in the language of the Prophet (pboh). The Qur’an says:

Had We sent this as a Qur’an (in a language) other then Arabic, they (i.e. the critics and non believers) would have said: “Why are not its verses explained in detail? What (a Book) not in Arabic and (a messenger) an Arab? (41:44)

Being the Word of Allah, the Qur’an is perfect in grammar, and construction of sentences, there are no contradictions, imperfections or inconsistencies. Allah says:

(This is) a Qur’an in Arabic free from imperfections defects or crookedness, in order that they may guard against evil. (39:28)

So efficient is the message from every point of view, that the All Wise Lord has issued a challenge to the world for all times to come, i.e.

Say; If the whole of mankind and Jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support. (17:88).

Even the messenger, Muhammad (peace be on him) who was recipient of this Divine Code has been the most perfect model mankind ever had. And before his Divine Mission had started he was known as “the trusted one”.

This Holy Book will never become adulterated as Allah gave an undertaking the He will protect and preserve it. He says:

We have, without doubt sent down the Message, and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption) (15:9)

Sunday 5 October 2008


Part of the mission of the Prophet (pboh) is to purify the body and soul of the followers. This purification is called in the Qur'an tazkiyah.

Abraham had specially prayed to Allah regarding this mission. His prayer is recorded in the Qur'an as follows:
            
Our Lord, send from among them a messenger of their own, who shall rehearse Your Signs to them and instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom, and purify them. (2:129)

In response to this prayer Allah says:
             
He it is Who raised from among the illiterate Arabs a Messenger from among themselves, who recites to them His Messages, and purifies them and teaches them the Book and Wisdom. (62:2)

The word tazkiyah entails the removal of undesirable growths and impurities from the personality. It involves the self-imposition of efforts for eradicating those tendencies that are obstacles in the path of moral development. In this way it puts an end to the conflict of good and evil that rages in the human breast.

Tazkiyah is one of the most important ingredients for success in both the worlds physically and spiritually. When practiced it brings spiritual health, morality, love for Allah, love for the Prophet (pboh), engaging in Zikr and becoming a model of Compassion, piety and truthfulness.

This is one of the reasons why Allah says:
         
(Ash-Shams 009-010)

Truly, he succeeds who purifies it, and fails who corrupts it (the heart).( 91:9-10)

Tazkiyah e nafs is the purification of the nafs by subduing the evil desires that may be plaguing a person which comes from the whispering of Satan in the breast of men; and because it is from Satan it is evil. In this connection Allah says, the nafs orders one to commit sins.

The result of Tazkiyah is love. The person cultivates love for Allah, for the Prophet (pboh). Allah says:
           •        
All who obey Allah and the Messenger are in the Company of those on whom is the Grace of Allah; of the Prophets; the sincere, the witnesses and the righteous. Ah, what a beautiful fellowship. (4:69)

Tazkiyah is a comprehensive program as, in addition to the purification of the body, one also has to focus on the purification of the heart. Allah says:
         

He is indeed successful who purifies himself, and remembers the name of his Lord and prays. (87:14-15)

Self purification is an individual matter, and every person will benefit based on his effort. Allah says:
      
And whoever purifies himself does so for the benefit of his own nafs. (35:18)

Prophet Muhammad (pboh) used to pray to Allah as follows:

O Allah, grant my inner soul piety and purify it, for You are the Best Purifier; You are the Guardian and Master.

One of the best ways of developing tazkiyah both physically and spiritually is to keep fast, as in fasting one has to restrain himself from all the negative things, and during fasting in Ramadan he engages himself in extra acts of worship, charity, patience and reading of the Holy Qur'an.

It is now left for the individual to continue practicing tazkiyah in the daily life and also as special acts of worship in order to be a successful person. And Allah will bless him. Allah says:
•             

Those devoted to Allah shall be removed far from it (i.e. the blazing fire), who spend their wealth for the increase in self purification, and have in their minds, no favour from any one for which a reward is expected in return. (92:17-19)
Remember that, it is because the purification of the personality, both physical and spiritual is very important that Allah swore seven times to emphasize the culminating promise that it is tazkiyah that plays a significant role in success. Here is the English translation of Verses 1 through 10 of Surah al Shams (91).
       •                                 
"By the Sun and his (glorious) splendour; By the Moon as she follows him; By the day as it reveals (the Sun's) glory; By the Night as it conceals it; By the Firmament and its (wonderful) structure; By the Earth and its (wide) expanse; By the Nafs (Soul), and the proportion and order given to it and its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right: - truly he succeeds who purifies it, and he fails who corrupts it!"
Let us all strive with our wealth, health, education, etc. to purify ourselves, because it should never be forgotten that Allah says: Whoever purifies himself does so for his own benefit.

May Allah forgive and bless all believers.

Wednesday 17 September 2008

Islam and Justice

Dr. Waffie Mohammed
Tuesday 16th September, 2008
Feature Speech at the Opening of the Law Term 2008 / 2009

His Excellency the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Honorable Prime Minister, Ministers, The Honorable Chief Justice, Judges of the High Court, Magistrates, Honorable Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We begin in the Name of Allah, the Creator and Sustainer of the worlds, and we invoke peace and salutations on His Final Messenger, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pboh) the Seal of the Prophets and Mercy to the worlds.

It is my honor and privilege to address you this morning, especially, since we both represent ideologies that commit to the perpetuation, nay, the infusion of justice for the benefit of all.

Before I elaborate, let me share with you the context in which I make this admittedly bold pronouncement. It is almost cliché to say that Islam is not a religion, but rather a way of life. We say this because Islam goes beyond the relationship of man with his Maker, and beyond man’s nurturing of his spiritual self, toward the attainment of peace or any other particular goal. It offers in addition guidelines on man’s interaction with his fellow man, as well as his recognition and value of the physical environment. And of course, for the sake of justice, my reference to man is not gender-biased, but includes our women-folk as well.

Islam is based on submission to the will of Allah through which peace is attained. This can only be achieved when it is done in the universal context. As a result, real justice will only be manifested when everyone submits fully to the source of all that is just and well ordered.

According to Islamic teachings, Allah demands justice, and although He has not prescribed a specific route, has provided general guidelines on how to achieve it. He has neither prescribed a fixed means by which it can be obtained, nor has He declared invalid any particular means or methods that can lead to justice. Therefore, all means, procedures, and methods that facilitate, refine, and advance the cause of justice, and do no violate the Islamic Law are valid.

The Qur'an views itself as a scripture devoted mainly to laying down the principles of faith and justice. It demands that justice be met for all, and that it is an inherent right of all human beings under Islamic Law.

The institution of administering justice began when Allah placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They were given instructions to uphold what was permitted and stay away from the prohibited. When they violated the Command they were taken to task and the appropriate penalty was given, i.e. they were sent down to earth.

Being the last of the Revealed religions Islam teaches that to render justice is a trust conferred on human beings. It expects that, like all other trusts, fulfillment of justice must be guided by a sense of responsibility beyond mere conformity to set rules. A follower of Islam is guided by the Command of Allah contained in the following verse of the Holy Qur'an; Allah says:

O you who believe; be maintainers of your pact with Allah as witnesses to fair dealings, and let not hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just, that is nearest to righteousness. (5:8)

Islam also constitutes codes of conduct – rights, and responsibilities, that guide man’s relationship with his fellow man, and adds to this his relationship with the physical environment, ensuring all the time that every one is given due care and attention. Allah says:

O you who believe; Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even it be against yourselves, your parents, and your relatives, or whether it is against the rich or the poor. (4:135)

It is in this context that we say Islam is a way of life, and more so, after consideration of those rights and responsibilities imposed on man by Islam, we maintain that is without doubt a way of life that is dedicated to ensuring justice permeates every level of society. This advocacy we find infused throughout the Holy Qur'an; traditions of the Holy Prophet (pboh) as well as is ordained practices and codes of conduct.

Muslims guide themselves with the saying of Prophet Muhammad (pboh). He is reported to have said that Allah said to him:

O my slave; I have forbidden injustice for Myself and forbade it also for you, so avoid being unjust to one another. (Muslim)

As an example, of how important it is for every person to uphold this noble principle, every Friday in almost every Mosque throughout the world, the Imam concludes his Sermon with the reminder to the congregation as follows:

Verily, Allah commands justice, the doing of good to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds and injustice and rebellion. He instructs you, that you may receive admonition. (16:90)

We interpret the term ‘Justice’ to represent that finely tuned balance between individual rights and freedoms on one part, and individual responsibility to the social good – even beyond that – to enforcing the categorical imperative that we each do onto others as we would have them do unto us.

This manifestation of the dedication to justice became refined with the coming of Muhammad (pboh) the Final Messenger, to whom Allah said:

And the Word of your lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice. None can change His Words. (6:115)

Emphasis of a principle is not enough – the real challenge is to establish its practice with religious fervor, in one’s daily life, both from the moral and ethical point of view, and also as a system with the dos and don't clearly defined. Every individual has a moral duty to himself and others as well as a social responsibility to all with whom he shall come into contact.

Every individual is honorable in the sight of God, and is entitled to be treated equally in the eyes of the Law. However it happens at time that some people, because of their particular circumstances, may behave as if they are special and superior to others. Those persons may even want to use their ‘gifts’ as a means of expressing some form of superiority over others. Allah warns against such practices and says in the Holy Qur'an:

And do not eat up your property among yourselves out of vanity, nor use it as bait for judges, with intent that you may eat up wrongfully and knowingly a little of other people's property. (2:188)

The Holy Qur'an views Justice as an absolute, that is, as an imperative which is unconditionally, universally and absolutely binding—binding on everyone, under all circumstances, and in all situations; binding without considerations of socio-economic position, gender or ethnicity; binding without regard to the distinction of religion, or of power within society, or of income; binding even if it is antagonistic to one personal interest.

Islam accepts this position because Allah says that it is nearest to the virtue of Piety. (5:9)

In the process of upholding what is just, there is the dual need for prevention on one part, and correction on the other – both being goals that must be imposed across the ranges of degrees of formality from codified law, through social standards and expectations to individual choice.

But the question arises as to how these are accomplished within such a cultural diversity of Islam:

Firstly there is the fundamental belief in One God – Allah, who is both All Knowing and Ever Present – His Word is law and He alone can judge us, individually. Amongst His Names some stand out that relate specifically to justice, viz. Al Aadil, the All-Just and Muqsitu, the Dispenser of Justice.

He says: When you judge, do so with justice. (4:58)

Secondly, there is the belief in the Last Day – the day of Judgment – a day in which every single individual who ever walked the face of the earth would be held accountable for his actions as he shall be tried by Almighty Allah. So that we can run from justice and maybe even hide in this life but never shall we ultimately escape.

In the widest sense the pursuit of justice relates to two levels, viz. individual and collective.

The individual level has two dimensions, viz. justice to ones self and justice to other individuals. Then there are two aspects of the pursuit in each case, viz. positive and negative. Thus, at the individual level, four basic rules of justice emerge in the Qur'anic ethics. These are:
· Establish positive devotion to the harmonious development of your personality.
· Remain constantly on guard against all negative factors in respect of every aspect of your personality,
· Give without hesitation to others what is due to them, and
· Refrain absolutely from defrauding others in what belongs to them.

At the collective level, justice takes the following four forms, which have been projected by the Holy Qur'an:
· Justice in social relations
· Justice in respect of the process and enforcement of Law
· Economic justice
· Political justice.

The healthy growth of the society, which influences the growth of the individual, demands the enforcement of all these forms of justice. Accordingly, the Qur'anic motto emerges as follows: Always adhere to justice in respect of self as well as in the interest of others with absolute sincerity and in all comprehensiveness. As a point of note, this builds on the categorical imperative – that single common theme that unites all religions the world over.

Sometimes the administering of justice can be very challenging, as there can be attempts at interference or influence over the decisions to be taken. The repercussions can reverberate to impact on one’s social spheres, or even family life.

But when one understands that the rendering of justice is a trust that God has conferred on the human being and that it ranks as the most noble of acts of devotion next to belief in God; when we are convinced that it is one of the greatest duties entrusted to the Prophets and specially appointed individuals; and when we realize that it is one of the strongest justification for man's stewardship on earth, we shoulder our responsibilities with dignity and honor and let the Merciful Lord take care of our personal matters.

With the intention to serve Him as the basis, we would all ensure that our actions, thoughts, behaviors and very existence emulates justice as we continue on our journey to return to Him, and hopefully we would all arrive at our destination inspired and with peace.

Distinguished guests, it is indeed a great honor to be entrusted with the sacred responsibility of administering justice. As we move into this new law term I pray to the Merciful Lord to make the task easy for everyone connected to it.

I beg Him to bless all of us with wisdom and understanding, so that we shall identify truth and uphold it, and that we may recognize evil and abhor it.

May He enable us all to be just in all our dealings and our interaction, and help us to bear in mind that one day we shall be called upon to give account for all that we did in this life.

May Allah bless us all,
Thank you.

Friday 1 August 2008


Thursday 24th July 2008

The Importance of Giving Charity

If there is a natural disaster, it is logical that a person will try to save as much of his belongings as possible, because whatever is left behind will be destroyed. The Angel of death can be compared to a "natural disaster that is on its way to attack, and can arrive at any time. Supposed the Angel of Death comes to a person, without any warning, and he has a lot of material wealth, knowledge or influence, and is living a very carefree life and did not pay attention to what is to follow after death, i.e. the hereafter, he’ll realise two things, viz;

§ All his assets, which he worked so hard to acquire, will be left behind. In this connection Allah says in the Holy Qur'an: What is with you will vanish and what is with Allah will endure. (16:96)
§ He sent nothing that will be of benefit to him in the hereafter. Allah says about such people: There are men who say: Our Lord! Give us (from Your bounties) in this world; but they will have no portion in the Hereafter. (2:200)

Upon seeing the Angel of death, this person will beg for a little more time in this world to do good. Allah (swt) says about such people in Surah Munafiqoon,

أَخَّرْتَنِي إِلَى أَجَلٍ قَرِيبٍ فَأَصَّدَّقَ وَأَكُنْ مِنْ الصَّالِحِينَ وَلَنْ يُؤَخِّرَ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِذَا جَاءَ أَجَلُهَا وَاللَّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

"O my Lord! why didst Thou not give me respite for a little while? I should then have given (largely) in charity, and I should have been one of the doers of good". But to no soul will Allah grant respite when the time appointed (for it) has come; and Allah is well acquainted with (all) that ye do. (Chapter 63, verse 10-11)

Remember that this moment can be your last, and as believers we shouldn’t be scared, as Allah (swt) says in Surah Fussilat,

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَلاَئِكَةُ أَلاَّ تَخَافُوا وَلاَ تَحْزَنُوا وَأَبْشِرُوا بِالْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي كُنْتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ

In the case of those who say, "Our Lord is Allah., and, further, stand straight and steadfast, the angels descend on them (from time to time): "Fear ye not!" (they suggest), "Nor grieve! But received the Glad Tidings of the Garden (of Bliss), which ye were promised! (Chapter 41, verse 30)

Do not wait until death approaches to regret. Abu Sa'id al-Khudri narrated that Prophet Muhammad (saw) is reported to have said,

A man giving a dirham as sadaqah (charity) during his life is better than giving one hundred dirhams as sadaqah (charity) at the moment of his death. (Abu Dawood)

Shaddad ibn Aws narrated that Prophet Muhammad (saw) said;

"The prudent man is he who subdues himself and works for what comes after death, but the incapable man is he who lets himself follow his passion and puts his hope in Allah." (Tirmidhi)

Death for a believer is a beautiful thing. You cannot get close to Allah (swt) while you’re in this world, you have to leave. It is even reported that the angels’ give you glad tidings. They say;

We are your friends in this world and in the next, and over there you will get whatever your heart desires. (41:31)

When one Sheikh was dying, angels descended in the room and he requested everyone present to stand because of his special visitors.

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri and Abu Hurayrah narrated that Prophet Muhammad (saw) is reported to have said,

There would be an announcer (in Paradise) who would make this announcement: Verily! there is in store for you (everlasting) health and that you should never fall ill and that you live (for ever) and do not die at all. And that you would remain young and never grow old. And that you would always live in affluent circumstances and never become destitute, as words of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, are: "And it would be announced to them: This is the Paradise. You have been made to inherit it for what you used to do." (Sahih Muslim)

Work hard and strive to cultivate humility, submission, patience and sincerity, and Allah (swt) will take care of the rest.



The essence of life and the core of all of ones activities are based on a person's intention. Prophet Muhammad (saw) is reported to have said,

On the Day of Judgement, the deeds of man will be divided into two groups; that which was done for the world, and that which was done for the hereafter.

This Tradition of the Prophet (pboh) confirms what the Merciful Lord tells us in His Holy Words. He says:

What is with you must vanish and what is with Allah will endure. (16:96)

As you go through life the one question that you must always ask yourself is what is my purpose for doing this? It is only the deeds that have been done for the hereafter will be of benefit to you. Allah (swt) says in Surah Baqara,

وَمَا تُقَدِّمُوا ِلأَنفُسِكُمْ مِنْ خَيْرٍ تَجِدُوهُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ

And whatever good ye send forth for your souls before you, ye shall find it with Allah. for Allah sees Well all that ye do. (Chapter 2, verse 110)

Hazrat Umar reported that Prophet Muhammad (saw) said,

"The reward of deeds depends upon the intention and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for Allah and His Apostle, then his emigration was for Allah and His Apostle. And whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for."

Prophet Abraham (pbuh) was a wealthy man. This was evident when he slaughtered 300 camels in the space of three nights. In spite of his material wealth he remained humble and obedient. He is reported to have said,

قُلْ إِنَّ صَلاَتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَاي وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

Say: "Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds: (Chapter 6, verse 162)

This is one of the best expressions that sums up our intention of doing things in this world. There is no problem in going about your worldly affairs, however you must always remember that Allah (swt) is watching and all you actions are being recorded.

Allah (swt) says about Prophet Muhammad (saw),
وَمَا يَنْطِقُ عَنْ الْهَوَى

Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) Desire. (Chapter 53, verse 3)

Whatever Prophet Muhammad (saw) said was on the basis of revelations/inspiration. Look at how he lived. During the early phase of his mission the Quraish offered him wealth, power, women (whatever he desired) and in return he would have to stop preaching about there being One God. Prophet Muhammad (saw) firmly replied,

If they placed the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand to cause me to renounce my task, verily I would not desist there from until Allah made manifest His cause or I perished in the attempt."

Prophet Muhammad (saw) gave us an indication of how beneficial a person’s intention can be. He narrated the story of a sinful woman who gave water to a thirsty dog and saved his life. Prophet (saw) told his companions that the woman's past sins had been forgiven because of this one sincere deed and she was granted Paradise.

One day, the Sahaba, Hanzalah al-Usaydî met Hazrat Abû Bakr and confessed to him that he was convinced he was a hypocrite because he felt divided between contradictory feelings. In the Prophet’s presence, he almost saw paradise and hell, but when he was away from him, his wife and children and his affairs caused him to forget. Hazrat Abû Bakr in turn admitted that he experienced similar tensions. They both went to the Prophet to question him about the seemingly dismal state of their spirituality. Hanzalah explained the nature of his doubts and Prophet Muhammad (saw) answered,

“By He who holds my soul in His hands, if you were able to remain in the [spiritual] state in which you are when in my company, and remember God permanently, the angels would shake your hands in your beds and along your paths. But it is not so, Hanzalah: there is a time for this [devotion, remembrance] and a time for that [rest, amusement].”

Their situation therefore had nothing to do with hypocrisy: it was merely the reality of human nature. Angels are commanded to glorify Allah (swt) at all times.

Your intention is a scared thing that is deep down inside of you. Only Allah (swt), the angels and shaitan can see your intention, and shaitan will try his utmost best to divert you.

We have to be honest to ourselves because only you will know when you’re doing something for the sake of Allah (swt) or if you have another motive. Remember that we are in the presence of Allah (swt), so try to earn His pleasure by doing good.

Monday 21 July 2008


Ishmael or Isaac

The following is the text of a TV program presented by Maulana Dr. Waffie Mohammed

Summary of what was said, in previous program

We have been presenting Abraham as a model of the Upright Way of Life, we know that he is the Father of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and is regarded as being righteous. Can you give a summary of what was presented so far?

Abraham was over eighty and did not yet have any children.

His wife Sarah, give him her handmaid as a wife, with the hope that from her there will be a child or children. (It means that Abraham did not commit adultery)

Hagar became pregnant for Abraham.

God recognized her pregnancy as Abraham’s son. (Gen.21:13)

God ordained that the boy be named Ishmael meaning “God hears”.

Sarah became jealous and decided to cast both mother and son away.

Sarah did not want Ishmael to be inheritor of Abraham’s wealth.

Hagar and Ishmael were exiled and Abraham prayed for them.

God helped them survived and promised Abraham great things for his son Ishmael.

Even though they were not living in the same place as Sarah, Abraham had contact with them and loved his only son very dearly.

Both the father and son were circumcised on the same day as part of the fulfillment of God’s covenant with Abraham. (Gen.17:26)

Ishmael was about fourteen years old when Isaac was born

Abraham was tried by Allah in many ways. Did he get any other trial?

The next important event in the life of the family of Abraham is the command to sacrifice his only son. As the reference was to his only son, it means that this incident took place before the birth of Isaac, as, up to the birth of Isaac, Abraham had only one son i.e. Ishmael.

But this is not the view of our Christian brethren, why is there another point of view?

Some commentators of the Bible try to justify a misrepresented picture that it had to be Isaac and not Ishmael, for, as they say, Ishmael was born of the flesh and whereas Isaac came from God, as the fulfilment of a promise.

Isaac was in no way similar to Jesus, as it was only Jesus who had a virgin birth. Abraham was the biological father of both Ishmael and Isaac. As a matter of fact Ishmael enjoys the status of being the first biological son of Abraham. Isaac came much later. And Ishmael was part of God’s original covenant with Abraham, as both father and son were circumcised on the same day in fulfillment of that covenant.

The important point is that even though Hagar the mother of Ishmael was the servant of Sarah; that does not lower the esteem of her son in the sight of God, as it was God who was guiding her and taking care of her and her son all along, and, like Isaac, promised Abraham great things for Ishmael.

Paul is also deceiving the people by saying that the Ishmaelites are persecutors. This philosophy came all the way down to Prophet Muhammad (pboh) as they continue to deceive the people by saying that Islam was spread by the sword.

Why has the Church adopted a different position regarding Ishmael?

The Church has a different view about him. It bases its authority for not recognizing him as a legitimate son of Abraham from the writing of Paul. He wrote as follows:

Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children. They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. (Rom.9:7-8)

Now, we, brethren, as Isaac was are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit. (Gal.428-29)

What Paul is saying is that although the two boys are Abraham’s son, one is not human or not considered to be Godly, and as a result is not qualified to be associated with Abraham and Isaac nor is he entitled to inherit from his father.

When you look at the history of both Sarah and Hagar, you cannot help but ask, Who persecuted who? Was it not Sarah who persecuted Hagar? Then Paul cannot justify the elevation of Isaac over Ishmael on the basis of one being of the flesh and the other being of Promise. It is true that Hagar was Sarah’s servant, but she was honorably given to Abraham to be his wife, and the son born out of the union had the blessing of even Sarah.

If according to Paul, the children of the flesh are not children of God, then is it true to say that when the word became flesh it was no longer Godly of part of God?

According to Christianity, the Word became flesh (Jn.1:14). And according to Paul, the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. (Gal.5:17)

But Jesus was flesh and yet he was pious, just as how Abraham was flesh and was still righteous. So too, Ishmael could have been considered to be flesh and still could have been righteous like his father and mother.

As a matter of fact, Hagar was more righteous than Sarah, as she never questioned God’s decision. But when Sarah was told that she was to have a son she laughed and questioned the message.

Is it really true that Ishmael is lower in status than Isaac?

The attempt to lower the status of Ishmael because of birth cannot stand, as no one doubts the righteousness of Abraham, and as a result, after sincere prayers, if Allah granted him a son willing to forebear, then how can anyone deny that he is from the children of Abraham, when the Bible confirms that Ishmael was Abraham’s son.

Besides, in the eyes of God all human beings are equal. He says:

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered. (Joel 2:32)
In the Qur’an Allah tells us as follows:

For Muslim men and Muslim women, for believing men and believing women, for devout men and devout women, for truthful men and truthful women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise, for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward. (33:35)

We see that Sarah persecuted Hagar terribly, and never took her back in the home. Was there a reason for this?

· Abraham and Sarah belonged to one family tree, while Hagar was an outsider.
· Both were fair skin, while Hagar was a colored woman
· Hagar’s beauty was a cause of concern of Sarah
· Hagar had a son while Sarah was barren
· According to the laws of inheritance Ishmael was entitled to inherit from Abraham’s wealth, this was bitterly opposed by Sarah.
· Hagar was considered to be a Gentile

The persecution started by Sarah against Hagar and Ishmael continues even today with the Israelites persecuting the Palestinians mercilessly. Nothing has changed, and all the evil committed are being justified by misrepresentations found in the Bible. The purpose of Sarah's persecution of Hagar and her son was that the boy should not inherit any part of the Land promised to Abraham. That is the reason why they were sent away. Abraham did not write a will, and as a result, even though Ishmael is his first son, Hagar made sure that nothing from the father should be given to him. So that her priority was to ensure that the land around Palestine remains with the inheritors of Isaac. This was not from a Divine revelation but was her own doing. The Zionist movement is still fighting the Palestines for the lands that were promised to Abraham.

What does the Qur’an and the Bible say about the sacrifice?

The Holy Qur’an gives a very clear picture of what actually took place. It narrates it in the following verses:

Abraham prayed to his Lord as follows:
O my Lord, grant me a righteous son, So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear. Then when the son reached (the age of serious) work with him, he said, O my son, I see in a vision that I offer you in sacrifice, What is your view about it? (The son) replied, O my father, do as you are commanded, you will find me, if Allah wills, one practicing patience and constancy. (37:100-102)

If the Biblical words are carefully examined, one will find that according to the Bible, Abraham was not commanded by God to sacrifice Isaac. The verse reads as follows:

Offer him there for a burnt offering. (Gen.22:2)

The Hebrew word (ala) literally means “lift him up” indicating that the victim must be offered whole. No reference is made of slaying the boy.

The other confusing issue from the Biblical point of view is the location where the burnt offering had to be made. The Bible says that is was in the land of Moriah. No exact place was specified. This is what one commentator had to say about this matter:

The place of the sacrifice cannot be positively identified. 11 Chronicles 3:1 seem to locate it on the side of Solomon’s Temple. Tradition has held to this view, and would be difficult to find a more easily acceptable spot. (Wycliffe Bible Commentary, p.27)

The sacrifice of Abraham, has a special place in Muslim belief and practice, can you comment about it?

In Islam the sacrifice is very clearly presented. It can be summarized as follows:

Abraham prayed for a son
Allah granted his prayer
He was given a son named Ishmael
When the boy was beginning to become mature, Allah gave Abraham a vision that he is to sacrifice Ishmael.
Abraham and the son with the knowledge of the mother submitted to the Divine Will
The attempt to sacrifice the boy was actually carried out
Allah substituted a ram in place of the boy, and it was slaughtered
Allah leaves the lesson of submission and sacrifice for future generation
It is rehearsed by Muslims every year at the actual place where Abraham was ordered to carry it out, during the Haj, and by Believers all over the world, during that time.
Allah records about the event as follows:

And We left this blessing for him among generations (to come) in later times. Peace and salutations on Abraham. (37:108-109)

What was the purpose of the sacrifice?

The purpose of the order to sacrifice was to demonstrate willing submission to Allah.

The projection of the sacrifice according to Christianity is completely different for the following reasons:

· It was inaccurately recorded and confusing. If it was Abraham’s only son, it could not have been Isaac, as he was born almost fourteen years after Ishmael.
· The actual command to sacrifice is not in the Biblical words
· The place where the sacrifice took place cannot be located
· The lessons for the sacrifice are lost.
· The momentous sacrifice of Abraham and his son has been replaced by alluding to the alleged crucifixion of Jesus on the cross.
· Abraham took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering.
· The alleged crucifixion of Jesus is different from the sacrifice of the ram as the whole animal was burnt, which would have meant that the sacrifice was accepted.
· Jesus was taken down from the cross and hid in a private tomb
· Abraham is known for his righteousness because he submitted to the Will of God without any complaints
· We see where Jesus kept complaining and pleading with God before the alleged crucifixion.

Why was Abraham recognized as a righteous person?

Because he had uncompromising faith in Allah, and he knew Allah to be a friend and helper. Nothing was too much for him to give to his Lord, and he knew that his lord was sufficient for him in this life and in the next.

Paul says:

For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. (Rom.4:13)

What Paul did not elaborate upon was that Abraham had faith in God and not in any one else. Nowadays the leaders of Christianity project the importance of faith, but not in God. They preach faith in Jesus. Even though Jesus preached faith in Allah he said:

Not everyone who says unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of my Father, which is in heaven. (Mt.7:21)

What must be the Muslims’ attitude towards Abraham?

Allah has preserved the historic event of the sacrifice of Abraham as a lesson for Muslims. Every year millions of Muslims go to the places where Abraham and his family, i.e. Hagar and Ishmael traversed and recount some of what they did as part of the Haj rituals. They stand before their Lord, with the least of the worldly attractions chanting, “Here I come, O Lord, Here I come.” In addition Muslims look up to Abraham as a model.

The Qur’an confirms this in the following verse:

Abraham was indeed a model devoutly obedient to Allah, and true in Faith, and he joined not gods with Allah. (16:120)

Muslims are taught to follow the ways of Abraham, as he was true in faith. Christians do not follow him as they prefer to live by Grace.

Saturday 19 July 2008


The following is the text of a TV program. The answers were given by Dr. Waffie

All true believers will like to perform the Hajj at least once in a life time; what does the term Hajj mean?

The term "Hajj" means:
· To set out for a place
· To go on a pilgrimage
· In Islam, it refers to the annual Pilgrimage to Makkah. It is performed in the last month of the Islamic year, called Zil Hajj. It is performed on the prescribed days.

When Hajj was first performed?

It started with Abraham, upon the completion of the rebuilding of the Holy Kaba. Allah ordained that this rite should be observed every year. He says:

And proclaim the pilgrimage among men; they will come to thee on foot and on every kind of camel (transport) lean on account of journeys through steep and distant mountain highways. (22:27)

Allah told Prophet Abraham to perform the Hajj; but how did he know what to do?

Allah guided him as to what he should do during the days of Hajj. He records it in the Holy Qur'an as follows:

Behold, We gave the site to Abraham of the Sacred House, saying; do not associate anything with Me, and sanctify My House for those who go around it, or stand up or bow down or prostrate themselves (22:26)

Then let them complete the rites prescribed. (22:29)

But Abraham built the Kaba in the wilderness where there was a very small human population; how did the Hajj become a universal institution, attracting pilgrims from all over the world?

Firstly, Abraham used to go every year to perform the Hajj, even though he was living in the Promised Land with Sarah. After him the people used to gather there every year as a festival. When they stopped following the way of Abraham, they used to go around the Kaba naked and make their sacrifices just like in his time; however they used to dedicate the meat and the blood to their idol gods that they had placed in the Kaba.

They used to keep up the occasion as a great time of festivity with competitions such as poetry, etc.

With the advent of Prophet Muhammad (pboh) the Hajj was again re-established, but this time as a fundamental principle of Islam.

Do you think that Abraham was aware that the people would have done other than what he taught them?

Abraham wanted that Allah's religion be practiced in the Holy Land. From the very beginning when he was leaving Hagar and Ishmael there he prayed as follows:

Our Lord, I have settled part of my offspring in a valley unproductive of fruits; near Your Sacred House. Our Lord, that they may keep up prayer; so make the hearts of some people yearn towards them, and provide them with fruits, so that they may be grateful. (14:37)

Later on he prayed as follows:

Our Lord, send amongst them a Messenger from among themselves, who shall recite unto them Your verses and instruct them in the Book and Wisdom and sanctify them (2:129)

So Abraham wanted the Lord to guide the people to the "upright way". He was aware that the nations and tribes from all over the place were misguided people as wherever he travelled he met the same inclination of the people worshipping idols.

Perhaps that is why he prayed to Allah to raise up from among a person who would preach to them. In other words he would be sure that they would not have inherited some kind of contaminated form of worship etc.

You mentioned that Allah guided the Prophet (pboh) as to the method of performing the Hajj, can you tell us a little more about it?

Allah gave the Prophet (pboh) details of the performance of the Hajj in Chapter 2 of the Holy Qur'an from verse 196 to verse 203. He also specified the purpose of the sacrifice etc. in Surah Hajj, i.e. Chapter 22.

Some very outstanding eye openers are that:
· Hajj and Umrah should be done solely for the sake of Allah. He says:
And complete the Hajj and Umrah for Allah. (2:196)

Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is reported to have said:

Pilgrimage to the House is a duty man owes to Allah, those who can afford it.

· Also it should be treated as Sacred. In this connection Allah says:

Let there be no obscenity, or wickedness nor wrangling in the Hajj. (2:197)

Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is reported to have said:
Pilgrimage wipes out the previous misdeeds.

Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is reported to have said:

Those who perform Hajj and Umrah are people who have come to visit Allah. If they make supplications to Him He will respond and if they ask for forgiveness He will forgive them.

It is normally said that Hajj is an experience of a lifetime; can you give some reasons why people say like this?

There is no doubt about the fact that Hajj is a unique experience. Some of the reasons are:

· We read about the Kaba in the Holy Qur'an and Traditions, and when the intended pilgrim reaches Makkah and sees the Kaba for the first time; and that moment he or she becomes overwhelmed. The person forgets everything about world and looks in wonder at the grandeur of the Sacred House, shocked to know that he or she was blessed with this opportunity. In nearly every case it is difficult to prevent the tears from flowing, especially when the "talbiyah" is sounded in the ear from the thousands that are around.

· Especially during the performance of Hajj or Umrah, the person loses his identity, as he has to wear two pieces of unstitched cloth and mingle among the millions that have come from all over the world.

· The person is exposed to the culture, custom, dress, language and even some type of dishes from numerous countries and they all find it most interesting that they met some nice Muslims from unknown countries, and they were able to interact lovingly.

· They are happy to be in the place toward which they turn five times every day to worship.

· The person realises that material things have limitations, and at some point it is only Allah that is important as it is only He that can really help.

· The pilgrim is forced to join will others from all over the world to sleep one night under the open sky, to camp for three days in tents in another place, to look towards the direction of the setting sun and like the millions around to pour out his or her heart to the Lord, humbly.

· To admire the courage and faith of Father Abraham and his family.

· To realise the true lesson of submission, both because of his or own experience and also by seeing how the thousands of animals are submitting to the slaughterer.

· To cast out the devil from inside of him or her by symbolically pelting the Satan and was done by Abraham and Ishmael.

· To praise and glorify the Lord of the universe and His Holy House, thereby connecting himself spiritually with Adam downwards as they all did the same thing from the very beginning.
· To experience the mystery of the Zam Zam well.

· To be able to communicated with Allah in a special environment with no distraction.

The Hajj is indeed a sacrifice, what does the pilgrim hope to achieve by its performance?

Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is reported to have said:

An accepted pilgrimage has no reward except Paradise.

The Pilgrim realises that:

· Material things can take you up to a point in life, just like how because of some material blessings that prospective pilgrim was able to proceed to the Holy Land, but after that it is you and your Lord alone.
· It gives an insight as to how the Day of Assembly will be upon resurrection.
· It shows the pilgrim the benefits of reliance on Allah and the ways of submission.It teaches patience


Allah is All Knowing, and He created man's emotions and desires. Allah has also bestowed upon man the power to choose. Everything else is in His control. An example of the human being's ability to choose is Adam. Adam had the power to listen to Satan or choose otherwise.

Allah tells us about this in the following verse of the Qur'an:

Then We said: O Adam! Verily, this is an enemy to thee and thy wife, so do no let him (Satan) get you both out of the Garden; so that you will land in misery. (20:117)

Allah has placed the resources of the earth at the disposal of human beings. He says:

Do you not see that Allah has subjected to your use all the things that are in the skies and earth? 31:20)

Thus, the accumulation of wealth (which comes from the bounties of the skies and the earth) is made possible. There is no doubt that all of us would like to gain wealth, however there are some who place a lot more emphasis on it than on anything else. Alalh says in the Qur`an:

وَإِنَّهُ لِحُبِّ الْخَيْرِ لَشَدِيدٌ

And violent is he in his love of wealth.
(Chapter 100, verse 8)

Some people will do anything to acquire wealth; and this is indeed an unfortunate thing. Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is reported to have said;

Two hungry wolves, if let loose among a flock of sheep, will not do more damage than that which is caused by a man's avarice for wealth and status to his religion, (Tirmidhi).

A majority of the people only work for this duniya, i.e. material things. They will do whatever it takes to gain more, be it moral or immoral. Allah says in Qur`an;

And violent is he in his love for wealth. (100:8)

Some people spend their whole life acquiring wealth and soon after they die and leave behind everything they worked so hard to achieve. Others reach a stage of understanding where too much wealth doesn’t bring benefit, e.g. you can have all the wealth in the world but it cannot compensate you for poor health. The danger is that some people believe that because they are wealthy they can do anything and they fail to realize that it is out of the Graciousness of Allah that they have and can benefit from it.

Prophet Muhammad (saw) said

A servant says: My wealth, my wealth, but out of his wealth three things are only his: whatever he eats and makes use of, or by means of which he dresses himself and it wears out or he gives as charity, and this is what he stored for himself (as a reward for the Hereafter), and what is beyond this (it is of no use to you) because you are to depart and leave it for other people. (Sahih Muslim).

Never forget that this moment can be your last and everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve will be left behind. That is why as Muslims we must do things that will be of benefit to us in the hereafter. Look at how wealthy and powerful Pharaoh was, so much so that he declared in the famous meeting his historic line:

وَقَالَ فِرْعَوْنُ يَاأَيُّهَا الْمَلَأُ مَا عَلِمْتُ لَكُمْ مِنْ إِلَهٍ غَيْرِي فَأَوْقِدْ
"O Chiefs! no god do I know for you but myself”
(Chapter 28, verse 38)

Allah says in Qur`an,

وَقَالَ مُوسَى رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ آتَيْتَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلَأَهُ زِينَةً وَأَمْوَالاً فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا رَبَّنَا لِيُضِلُّوا عَنْ سَبِيلِكَ رَبَّنَا اطْمِسْ عَلَى أَمْوَالِهِمْ وَاشْدُدْ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ فَلاَ يُؤْمِنُوا حَتَّى يَرَوْا الْعَذَابَ الأَلِيمَ

Moses prayed: "Our Lord! Thou hast indeed bestowed on Pharaoh and his chiefs splendour and wealth in the life of the present, and so, Our Lord, they mislead (men) from Thy Path. Deface, our Lord, the features of their wealth, and send hardness to their hearts, so they will not believe until they see the grievous penalty."
(Chapter 10, verse 88)

Why didn’t Pharaoh stop the sea from closing in on him? Your wealth can help you up to a certain point in this world and depending on how you utilize it; it can help you a great deal in the hereafter. Because wealth can provide all the physical comforts of life a lot of people spend all their time acquiring it. About this Allah says,

وَتُحِبُّونَ الْمَالَ حُبًّا جَمًّا

And ye love wealth with inordinate love!
(Chapter 89, verse 20)

Prophet Muhammad (saw) said;

Every ummah (nation) has a test to undergo, my Ummah (nation) will be tried through wealth, (Tirmidhi).

To acquire wealth in a halaal way is a jihad, and to spend it in the cause of ALLAH (swt) is a jihad. Allah says in Qur`an:

تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَتُجَاهِدُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِأَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنفُسِكُمْ ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

That ye believe in Allah and His Messenger, and that ye strive (your utmost) in the Cause of Allah, with your property and your persons: That will be best for you, if ye but knew!
(Chapter 61, verse 11)

Work hard and use all your resources to propagate Allah's Deen. Prophet Muhammad (saw) is reported to have said,

When we were sitting together, Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) appeared with a trace of water on his head, and when we told him that he appeared to us to be in a happy frame of mind, he agreed. The people then began to discuss wealth and Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "There is no harm in wealth for him who fears Allah, Who is Great and Glorious, but for him who fears Allah, health is better than wealth, and a happy frame of mind is one of Allah's favours." (Tirmidhi)

Thank your Lord everyday for His blessings and mercy, and let everyone of us understand our true mission and goal in this life. Use the blessings that Allah has bestowed upon you to achieve it.

Friday 13 June 2008


Halaal is an Islamic term used to indicate things that are lawful, permitted, allowed and are legal. In the general sense it means anything that is permissible according to Islamic law. This includes human behaviour, speech, clothing, conduct, manners and dietary laws. When the term is used to categorise lawful food, it specifically refers to what food and drink is lawful as against what is prohibited (Haraam).

When the term Halaal is used to specify the types of meat permissible for Muslims to eat, it implies what is in accordance with the Qur'anic injunction. Allah says:

(O you who believe)! Eat of the things which Allah has provided for you, lawful and good. (5:88)

For a food (meat) to be considered lawful and good it must be:

Not from the categories of those prohibited in the Qur'an
The animal must be slaughtered in accordance with Islamic law, i.e. a person has to slaughter it. In this connection Allah says: Do not eat of (meats) on which Allah's name was not mentioned; that would be impiety. (6:121)
The name of Allah must be mentioned at the time of slaughtering.
The instrument (knife) used for slaughtering must be sharp.
The blood must flow out; the best way to do so is to cut the jugular veins, the food tract and windpipe.
The alimentary cord must not be damaged and the neck must not be severed.

About proper slaughtering of animals, Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is reported to have said:

Verily, Allah has prescribed proficiency in all things. Thus, if you slaughter, slaughter well and if you kill, kill well. Let each one of you sharpen his blade, and let him spare suffering to the animal he slaughters. (Muslim).

Use whatever causes blood to flow, and eat the animal if the name of Allah has been mentioned on slaughtering them. (Bukhari)
Slaughtering of animals for commercial purposes is now engaging the attention of researchers as well as theologians. This is due to the fact that many animals are slaughtered at a time; some may be dangerous, powerful or may cause loss to the producer due to damage caused at the time of slaughtering. In order to minimise loss or to be able to control the animal a process called stunning has been developed. The scholars are concerned as to whether the process conforms to Islamic requirements or not.
Stunning is the process of rendering the animal immobile or unconscious prior to it being slaughtered for food. It should not be killed before it is slaughtered as Islam prohibits eating the flesh of animals that were not slaughtered in accordance with Shariah (Islamic law). Stunning ensures a humane end with no pain. It also results in decreased stress of the animal and superior meat quality. In poultry the birds are calmed and do not flap their wings, as these can get broken at the time of slaughtering if the bird is not quiet.
Before modern methods of calming the animal were introduced pigs, sheep, cattle and other animals were simply struck while fully conscious; some with knives or pistols at the back of the head and others on their heads. This process was painful and was considered to be a cruel way of handling the animal. In order to avoid causing pain and to satisfy some governmental requirements modern methods of stunning was developed. These include:
Electrical stunning,
Gas stunning;
Percussive stunning.
In the case of electrical stunning the power supply must remain constant, the current must not fluctuate but should increase or decrease, depending on the size of the animal (in poultry, on the size of the bird) and it must be able to stun the animal (bird) without causing pain.
Stunning is a controversial issue due to the fact that some of the animals can die from the shock they may get from the stunner. However, in the case of poultry, if the chicken should die before being slaughtered, the blood will not flow out and the bird will retain a red colour in the meat. Such a bird cannot be sold as it will not be wholesome.
In the past a lot of chicken used to die from stunning, due to the fact that the equipment used was not properly developed. According to the HMA (Halaal Monitoring Authority) of CCMT (Canadian Council of Muslim Theologians), "a research done by FWAC in Britain showed that more than 33% of chickens die prior to slaughter due to stunning". (jucanada.org/hma/Industury/Issue_of_stunning.htm)
This problem has been greatly reduced, by modern stunners adjusting the current automatically to suit the size of the bird. This has reduced the considerable loss experienced by producers of poultry for food. This is one reason why some Muslim Organisations approved the use of some types of stunners in the process of slaughtering chickens for food.
The joint Muslim World League/World Health Organisation in a meeting held in Jeddah during Rabia al Awwal 1406 A.H. (December 1985) agreed that "if it could be shown that stunning with electric shock enabled the animal to die peacefully, then it would be Islamically lawful.
In a document prepared by the Department of Standards Malaysia, entitled "Malaysian Standard" the following requirements were allowed for stunning of chickens.
A1.2. The animal shall be alive or deemed to be alive at the time of slaughter.
A1.4. The stunning shall not kill or cause permanent physical injury to the
A2.3. Electrical stunning of poultry is allowed using water-bath stunners only.
Those scholars who are against stunning uphold that:
Stunning causes pain to the animal that is to be slaughtered.
The instrument may cause paralysis to the animal, and this is not proper.
Stunning may affect the flow of blood from the body; in that case it is not permitted.
Those that adopt the method of stunning might consider it to be more preferred than what is prescribed by Shariah (i.e. the animal is not made unconscious)
(Fatwa regarding stunning by Mufti Shabir Ahmad, Darul Uloom Bury. Fatwa Number 145, dated 6-2-84)
Are the chickens processed by Nutrina Farms Halaal?
In February 2007, a delegation from ASJA, including Maulana Zaid Allaham and Imam Rasheed Karim visited the Nutrimix Processing Plant at Harmony Hall, and made the following observations:
Birds are placed in "holding" bay before they are placed on the conveyor line.
Cold water is sprayed on the birds to reduce stress level. When placed on the conveyor, they are washed clean with cold water.
The stunning trough is kept at a constant temperature and current. The systems monitoring these are fully automated.
The reason for stunning is that research done by his (Chairman) company has proven that stunning helps to get most of the blood out.
If a bird "dies" during the stunning process and is slaughtered, this bird will not bleed and so those personnel working on the processing line, and who are hired for inspection of the birds just as they leave the scalding and "plucking" areas will identify such birds since they will have a reddish colour.
Birds that have not bled enough are immediately removed from the conveyor and placed in the discarded bin to be "rendered". This is to ensure that they do not contaminate healthy birds.
The Findings of the ASJA delegation were as follows:
The slaughterers, who were on the slaughtering line, were Muslims.
The birds were alive before "dipping" in the stunning bath.
All the birds showed signs of struggle after being stunned.
Sanitation at the plant was higher than some of our expectations.
At the Nutrina processing plant the current remains constant, as the machine used for stunning uses "a high frequency current to render the chicken unconscious without damaging effects or severe muscular contraction and low frequency current to give an irreversible stun. " (Simmons SF-7001, Step-up Stunner for Chickens).
With this stunner "a saline solution is used to wet feathers and skin and thereby aid in conductivity"
Birds electrocuted by stunning and those that are not properly slaughtered are not processed for marketing. In March 2008, a total of 245 birds i.e. .04% of those processed were removed from the processing line and were sent to the rendering plant.
I visit the Processing Plant to ensure that the Islamic requirements are maintained at all times by the Company in order that the chickens processed are certified Halaal.
After reviewing all the facts required for determining whether a chicken is Halaal or not, one can safely conclude that the chickens processed at the Nutrimix Processing Plant are Halaal.
Allah knows best.