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Q&A: Islam and Muslims
1) Why is Arabic the Language of the Quran?
First off, we'd like to mention that in Islam no one person or kind is better than another. Sometimes people feel that because Arabic is the chosen language of the Quran that perhaps being Arab is a privilidge, but in Allahs eyes, everyone is the same. So this leaves people wondering, why is Arabic the chosen language? well, here are some reasons:

Arabic is a rich and highly developed language, it has perfect grammer and is complete and whole - in fact, it is the only language in the world with perfect grammer. Another fact worthy of pointing out is that the Middle East is located in the crossroads of the world, making it easier to spread in every direction. And because of the Middle East's vast trade business, Arabic, the Quran and Islam has spread all over the world Alhamdullilah.

2) What is Islam's biggest Miracle?
Islams biggest miracle is the Quran.
No other book in the world has been read or memorized more than the Quran...Including the Bible which was sent down way before it. You may be wondering, how is that a miracle? Well..its not, but the following facts are.

The Quran contains scientific statements which no one could have known in the time of the Prophet such as: Salt water and fresh water do not mix easily. There is a "barrier" between them - (27:61;55:19-22) another one would be The moon is reffered to as "Munir" or a light reflector, while the sun is referred to as a "Siraj" or light producer -(25:61;71:15-16; 78:12-13). These are just two of the many scientific facts noted in the Quran, others include information on how pregnancy occurs, the fact that life is made up of water, how clouds work, about the plant bodies and even outer space.

The Quran is a book of healing, power, guidance and direction. No human could have possibly written it, especially 1400 years back. And to prove this fact even more so, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was illiterate. He did not know how to read or how could he have written such a powerful book?

3) Why do Muslim women cover themselves and wear the scarf?
This question is asked so often, but sometimes people are still confused and dont understand even after an explanation.

The "Hijab" or full body covering of a muslim women is fard meaning compulsory because it guards her modesty, protects her dignity and keeps her from becoming an object in the eyes of strange men.

Men dont wear the Hijab because they are known from the begining of time for not always being able to control their animalistic desires while women can..women have been created as more beautiful then men and their beauty is not meant for every eye to see.

When a women wears the hijab her level of class is much higher than a women who wears skimpy clothing.. people take her more seriously, people assume she is smart, professional, has the same capabilites as the man standing next to her, and is not looked at as an object. When a women who is covered is given a compliment for her work she knows it not for any other reason whereas a women who is not covered has to think twice as to what her compliment really was for.

If you still dont understand as to why Muslim women cover themselves think of this:

Two women (friends) are walking down an alley. One of the friends is fully clothed and covered while the other is wearing tight jeans and a tank top. At the end of an alley, there is a pervert. Who do you think the pervert is going to harrass? The women covered? Or the women who has tight jeans and almost nothing for a top?

Heres another scenario to consider:

You walk into a jewelry store. You see a really nice pair of earrings. There are two sets of the same earrings, one is a tester that everyone gets to try on to see if it fits or not, and the other is brand new, cased and behind the shelf. Although they are both the same set, the one behind the shelf is more expensive...which one would you prefer?

The hijab is not oppression done to a women by man..on the contrary, it liberates a woman. It makes her free to be not looked at as an object, free to voice her own opinion, and free from the societies idea of what a women should look like. Its not about hiding your self from the world.. In fact, its about being able to express more without being treated as an object or an un-equal being.

Article #1 Hijab:

The Hijab is one of Islams most controversial and debated topics. Although there is not much to debate about, many Muslims and people from other religions are under the misconception that Hijab is a form of oppresion and Muslim girls are suppressed. Of course, in Islam nothing is ever forced upon a person, but in the Qurann, and Hadiths it is clearly stated that Hijab for a Muslim woman is manditory after the age of puberty.

O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters and believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known as such and not molested. And God is Oft Forgiving and Most Merciful: (Surah 33, Verse 59)

The first reason why a Muslim women covers herself and wears the hijab is because it is a command from Allah (swt). Religious Muslims -like other religious persons from any religion- dont feel comfortable deliberatly disobeying God. Islam has a complete and justified reason for everything said or done, therefore, the second reason for wearing the hjiab, like Allah says in the Quran is for modesty and protection against adultry.

The Hijab is not just a peice of clothing worn on the head. The hijaab is modest covering for a Muslim Woman's entire body. This doesnt mean a black abbaya and a niqaab (face covering). This means a woman should wear long, loose and opaque clothing. She may dress modern and modest together. Doing so will give her dignity and respect among men; she will not be looked at as an object, in fact she will be looked upon as a diginified equal individual. Women who work tirelessly to appear attractive to the opposite sex are looked are treated as objects because they dont have high morals and self esteem to appear out in the public without a mask of makeup and revealing clothing that detracts from their inside and attracts people to their outside. Since hijaabi's are not judged on their physical appearances, people take time to find out what they are like on the inside i.e their intellectual and social abilities.

The hijab was and is not for oppressing women. It is for the protectiong and honor of a Muslim womens dignity. Of course, Islam is not the only religion with coverings ones body being highly respected. Covering ones self was mentioned in the Bible and Torah, well, it was in the once apon a long time ago unadulturated versions. Of course, Islam is a very stable and pure religion Alhamdullilah and hasnt changed from 1400 years back when it was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), unlike other religions which have been changed several times by different leaders and people over hundreds and hundreds of years. Although Islam has never been changed, people have most often been misguided of its true meaning and beauty due to the media and some extremists.

Many muslim women around the world do not wear the hijab; this does not mean that they are bad muslims, vice versa for women who do wear the hijab. There are some women who wear the hijab but give a bad impression of Islam. To wear the Hijaab is a form of Jihad (which means struggle in the way of God - not war). A person who wears the hijab should have correct intentions and not do it for any other reason except Allah. She should wear it because she fears Allah, the day of judgment and has respect for herself and her religion. The hijab is a symbol of Islam, so when you wear it, you must act accordingly. But this doesnt mean that hijab is a tradition; it is part of Shariah. Hijab is fard and cumpulsory on all girls/women after the age of puberty, after knowing these facts, it is solely up to you to decide what you want to do.

Hijabis are beautiful, independant and smart individuals, and Inshallah Allah will reward them for thier patience and sacrifices in this life.

Article #2 Women In Islam:

This week, our theme is going to be Women in Islam. We picked this, because as we start off this new group Inshallah, we want to promote awareness for women in Islam, we want to help clear the facts on what’s true and what’s not, and we want to help get rid of stereotypes and misunderstandings.

The status of women in Islam has always been a topic of much regard. Because of the media and government, people around the world have begun to concoct their own views of how a Muslim women’s life/status/treatment really is.

But putting the media, government and extremist’s aside. Islam has great respect for women, their rights, treatment and equality. And all of this is in the Quran, which had been sent down to the Prophet (pbuh) over 1400 years ago.

O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will . Nor should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the dower you have given them, - except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary, live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them, it may be that you dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good...(4:19) - Surat an Nisaa'

Whoever does right, whether male or female, (all) such will enter the garden. The works of male and female are of equal value and each will receive the due reward for what they do:Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any one of you, male or female...Qur'an 3:195

Along with misconceptions are the many stereo types about Muslim women. This comes from a lack of knowledge and false information. Alhamdulillah though, because Islam is such a controversial religion, people around the world are starting to take the initiative to do research on it. Therefore, some people are getting correct interpretations of the Quran and Hadith. But for many people, the media is their only source of knowledge.. And what the media feeds them is not even close to what Islam is all about.

The media portrays an image of terrorism upon Islam -the men are the terrorists and the women are oppressed slaves- Terrorism has no religion or culture!! And not all the things Muslims do are Islamic. There are extremists in every religion..But that doesn’t make them correct.

Going back to women in Islam; they have been the given freedom and rights, 1400 years ago, for which many European women had to fight, struggle and even die for not many years back; such as freedom and rights to literacy, education, property, careers, wealth etc.

Literacy and education is stressed in Islam for both sexes:

"Acquire knowledge, for he who acquires it in the way of Allah performs an act of piety; he who speaks of it, praises the Lord; he who seeks it, adores Allah; he who dispenses instruction in it, bestows alms; and he who imparts it to others, performs an act of devotion to Allah."

(Bukhari, Muslim)

In Islam a women has rights to her own property and wealth and does not have to give any of it to her husband after marriage unless she wants to:

If you did not make any conditions, then the household expenses are all the responsibility of the husband, and the wife does not have to pay any of the household expenses; he is the one who has to pay them. "but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it, and enjoy it without fear of any harm (as Allah has made it lawful)" [Al- Nissa' (4:4)]

Women in Islam are far from the images portrayed of them on TV. It is surprising how much they blow up the minority to make it seem like the majority. Muslim women now days have reached many great achievements, they work side by side other non Muslims and Muslims in the fields of medicine, law and politics. They are independent, intelligent individuals, and if the world began to get past the false images and stereo types, they would see that too.

Article #3 Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Last Sermon:

This week our theme is the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). So for our weekly article, we have decided to have his last sermon. In this short speech of his, he concludes with proclamations for human rights, values and justice to his followers. People give such great respect to other speeches such as Martin Luther King Jr's, Ghandhi or Castro; but the Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) last sermon is truly greater than any other speech given by previous leaders.

After praising, and thanking Allah he said:

"O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today.

O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your LORD, and that HE will indeed reckon your deeds. ALLAH has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligation shall henceforth be waived. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity. Allah has Judged that there shall be no interest and that all the interest due to Abbas ibn 'Abd'al Muttalib (Prophet's uncle) shall henceforth be waived...

Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.

O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah's trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.

O People, listen to me in earnest, worship ALLAH, say your five daily prayers (Salah), fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in Zakat. Perform Hajj if you can afford to.

All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.

Remember, one day you will appear before ALLAH and answer your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.

O People, NO PROPHET OR APOSTLE WILL COME AFTER ME AND NO NEW FAITH WILL BE BORN. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the QURAN and my example, the SUNNAH and if you follow these you will never go astray.

All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness, O ALLAH, that I have conveyed your message to your people".