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From The Editor’s Desk – February 2016

Greetings of Peace to You All! What is Sharia Law? ................................................... 06,07 Should Muslims be Banned? .......................................... 09 Raising Righteous Children ......................................11, 12 Working in Saudi Made Me a Caller ....................... 14,15 Mary, Mother of Jesus ................................................ 16,17

As we go through each day, our senses are bombarded with things that demand our attention. From the talking heads on news channels to random posts on social media; the world has become filled with static.

January -2016, Volume 2, Issue 2 ISSN 2377 - 9624 Publisher & Editor-in-Chief: Mohamed Haroon Sait Editor: Duston Barto Design & Layout: Mubin M.K.

The only place that I can find complete solace from the day is in prayer. These moments in communication with the divine are an oasis of calm in the day.

All content Copyright ©2016 Muslim American, Inc. except where otherwise noted. Please contact the editor or publisher directly to obtain reprint permission and guidelines.

In the Holy Qur’an, we are reminded as the Eternal and Absolute God tells us “I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Qur’an 51:56).

Opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the advertisers or individual contributing writers and not necessarily those of the editor or publisher of this magazine. This magazine is published monthly. Contact us: Article Submission: Editor@MuslimAmerican.com

Advertising inquiries: Ads@MuslimAmerican.com Muslim American Phone: (704) 597-5424 400 Arrowhead Dr East FAX: (704) 597-9310 Charlotte, NC 28213 Email: info@MuslimAmerican.com

Islam is presented by the Divine Creator as a complete way of life for the perfection of mankind’s soul and existence on this planet. It is no accident that submitting to His will and worshiping in the way He has demanded brings peace. As children, we have rules imposed upon us by our parents and teachers. As adults, we have rules imposed on us by society. Whether as kids or adults, it causes problems for us when we break those rules. As Muslims, we have voluntarily embraced a code of personal conduct, laws and rules that we agree God has given us. However, many times we ignore them and want to do our own thing. To me, the lesson is clear. There is peace in submission and embracing the perfection of God’s plan. Don’t forget to pray and have your peace.

May God’s peace, mercy and blessings be upon you all,

Duston Barto

Editor, Muslim American magazine

Please visit MuslimAmerican.com to sign up for our weekly newsletters for exclusive information and discounts!

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What is Sharia Law?

Adapted from a Khutbah (sermon) by Imam Atif of ISGC

“And then We set you, (O Prophet), on a clear high road in religious matters. So follow that and do not follow the desires of those who do not know.” Qur’an 45:18 In this verse, God (The Eternal and Absolute, may he be glorified) is commanding the Prophet Muhammad (prayers of blessings and peace be upon him) to take the righteous path, the Arabic word used here is “sharia.” In the current climate, the word “sharia” has become buzz word for Islamophobes who use this term as a weapon against Muslims. They claim that sharia law is a barbaric system that Muslims use against others. They claim that “creeping sharia” is a threat to Non-Muslims in America and that Muslims will force others to live under sharia law. This is an absolute failure of mutual respect and understanding of other religions which results in a rhetoric that teaches people something harsh and negative about a word that is so spiritual for Muslims. Sharia was meant to be a source of mercy, and guidance from God for all Muslims. 6

What exactly is the sharia law, this path that God has put Prophet Muhammad on? Dr. Sherman Jackson, a Muslim American scholar, describes sharia in very easy terms, “At the most basic level, sharia is the Muslim universe of ideals. It is the result of their collective effort to understand and apply the Quran and supplementary teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (called Sunnah) in order to earn God’s pleasure and secure human welfare in this life and attain human salvation in the life to come.” Therefore sharia means morals, ethics, ideals; a way that we’re supposed to follow in our day to day life. The literal meaning of sharia is, “the path that goes down towards the water,” water being the source of life. Sharia is providing a pathway of success, something that the Muslim needs to survive. It is providing what is essential for the Muslim’s well-being in both a physical and religious sense. We embrace that by following the Quran and the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad. Without following the Sunnah (the teachings

and life example of the Prophet Muhammad) there is no way we can find success or even understand the Quran properly. Some Muslims think they can follow sharia without following the Sunnah and this idea is a dangerous form of misguidance that would lead a person astray from the path that God has prescribed. God has said about Prophet Muhammad, “And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds” (Qur’an 21:107). When people ignore the Sunnah, they implement the verses and the commandments of the Qur’an in a harsh and strict way. Certainly the implementation may be literal; but it violates the spirit of the Qur’an and what God has intended from the verse. This is all because they don’t understand the mercy of Prophet Muhammad and the Sunnah and they do not look at context and character of the Prophet. This is what it means for God to tell us that the Prophet Muhammad was sent as a mercy to all the worlds. www.MuslimAmerican.com


Much of the modern justice system is founded upon the classical methodology that the Muslims have used in the implementation of sharia regarding criminal matters. The function of justice in sharia is to preserve the sanctity of the individual and ensure that rights are maintained for all in society. For example; a person cannot be found guilty of a crime if poverty has driven him to steal. It is seen as a failure of the Muslims in an Islamic society that a person has fallen to such a level of hardship. This attitude is the soul of Islam and is an aspect that Islamophobes have failed to see. We are not talking about what’s happening in Muslim majority countries. Due to influence from colonial powers and the imposition of modern structures of state, many Muslim countries have failed to implement Sharia law in a proper format. They have become secular governments that call their governance sharia when it is not the method revealed by the Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad. This is why injustice can be found in these countries just as it is found in other countries all over the world. Many people are under the misconception that sharia is only the penal system, the laws for punishment or crimes. The reality is that sharia is much bigger than that, much more vast. It includes many things such as how we worship. Sharia includes our business transactions and social contracts such as marriage and divorce. There are issues of inheritance and methods of finance that are addressed. These are personal laws that Muslims choose to follow because this is something that will bring them closer to God and bring them closer to success as it is defined in Islam. Sharia is an indivisible and integral part of our religion. 704-597-5424

Imagine if you were to say to Christians and Jews that they are forbidden to live according to the Ten Commandments! We cannot do these things because this country does not base laws on bigotry. It is against all the principles that this country was supposedly based upon. The foundation of this country will shake if Muslims are denied their right of freedom of religion. That exercise of religion includes the right to follow the sharia. One of the greatest misconceptions is that Muslims want to enforce sharia law in America upon nonMuslims. How is it remotely possible for a minority of less than 5% to force anything on the other 95%? Not only that, but if we look at the example of the Prophet Muhammad and his peaceful dealings with Jews, Christians and Pagans in Madinah while Muslims were the ruling body, we can see that sharia law was only for the Muslims. When these groups would have disputes, each group was allowed to handle matters according to the laws of their own faith and custom. The Constitution of Medina is a model of interfaith society and coexistence because it recognized the rights of each group in equity with one another.

Muslims cannot force someone into Islam. This is because God says in the Quran “There shall be no Coercion in matters of faith” (Qur’an 2:256). That’s a fundamental law of Islam! Yes, Muslims are directed by God to speak the truth to tell the world about Islam as a complete way of life, but there can never be a use of force. There is not even permission to deceive others. The concept of deception and force is not taught by Prophet Muhammad nor can it be found in the long history Islamic scholars or of Muslim rulers and Islamic states. Unfortunately in the present day, there are people that are doing this in the name of Islam. Since this is not what Islam preaches, it is more important than ever for Muslims to take extra effort to practice every aspect of sharia in our lives to express the reality to the world. All people, Muslim and nonMuslim alike, need to understand what this religion is truly about; and what sharia truly means.

ISCG is located at 7025 The Plaza, Charlotte, NC 28215. Friday services are at 1:30pm Listen to or watch this lecture online at MuslimAmerican.com/Multimedia

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Should Muslims be Banned? Tammy Little

Candidate Donald Trump has insinuated that Muslims should be prohibited from the USA. Image from Al Jazeera News

Absolutely not! Muslims should not be banned from the USA! This use of fear to control the minds of people for political agendas is oppression. Nothing triggers that fear like the memory of 9/11. On that fateful day, when news emerged that the hijackers were Arab extremists, many Arab Americans were subjected to prejudice and violence. Meanwhile, Muslims were quick to argue that the terrorists had betrayed the tenets of Islam. In the ensuing years, ‘’9/11’’ became synonymous with fear, anger, and determination as Americans sought to understand the catastrophe. While some reasserted the familiar ‘’America first’’ bravado, others began to consider America’s place in a world of diverse cultures. These people recognized that if Americans meant to live peaceably with the rest of the world, they had better learn to understand their neighbors; their customs, traditions, and forms of worship. We Americans, whatever our differences may be, have the ability to rise to our better selves and 704-597-5424

embrace the values enshrined in our charter documents. Those values of freedom, equality, respect for the rights of minorities, and free exercise of religion. Unfortunately at times we have recognized these values too late in our history. For example, in the case of women’s rights, and the rights of minorities. The greatness of America throughout its history has been measured not in flagwaving or patriotic displays but in our willingness to extend liberty to others. Immigrants who were once reviled as outsiders, are now part of the fabric of America.

skating for her birthday. The skating rink was packed with children out of school for winter break, but we finally found a bench. I helped my little one into her skates and off she went, holding hands with her big sister. As I stood at the edge of the rink, watching my children skate, a woman approached me.

Part of being an American is living with your neighbors in mutual respect and tolerance. Do we want to teach our children that we would prefer to live in fear rooted in ignorance? Or is it preferable to be educated about those who are different from us in culture or religion? When we are tolerant of others, we accept that others have different feelings, behaviors or beliefs. Being tolerant doesn’t mean you have to agree with everyone. It means you respect them even if they are different from you.

“Yes.” I answered.

‘’Are those your daughters?” she asked. “Yes,’’ I replied, turning toward her. “They’re beautiful,’’ she said. ‘’And are you Muslim?”

She said, ‘’I just want you to know that I support you and I’m sorry for the way America is treating Muslims right now.” I got a lump the size of Texas in my throat and right there in that crowded ice skating rink, I had no words. Tears welled up in my eyes and all I could whisper was a meek, “Thank you.” We smiled at each other and then she walked away.

Imagine how open-minded she has taught her children to be. Imagine In today’s globalized society, children what it took for her to approach will eventually be exposed to ideas a stranger and say that. Imagine that may be radically different from what she tells her friends about those they were raised with. It is Muslims. Imagine if her children essential that these children be given and her friends tell their friends, the tools of tolerance in order to and those people in turn tell other foster an atmosphere of peaceful people. Imagine soon a country that coexistence. wouldn’t live in fear of “the Muslims next door.’’ Imagine our country not The lesson of acceptance and afraid to open the doors wide open tolerance was reinforced in a very to them. personal way just a few weeks ago. My youngest child asked to go ice Imagine. 9


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Raising righteous youth in a secular society

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An interview with ICC’s Youth Director, Shaikh Muhammad Khan

riginally from Guyana, in South America, Muhammad Khan is a relative newcomer to the Charlotte area. He moved to Chicago in childhood and was inspired by his father, Shaikh Abdur Rahman Khan, to pursue Islamic education. Over time, Muhammad was able to attend the Islamic University of Medina where he received a diploma in the Arabic language and in Sharia with a focus in Fiqh (understanding of Islamic law) and Usool al Fiqh (principles and application of Islamic law). His experience in both high school and college sports such as basketball, tennis and football give him a well-rounded background that youth directors need. Why are youth directors important in our mosques? Shaikh Muhammad clearly states that it is a requirement in order for the community to function properly. “Many times our young brothers and sisters have trouble or feel uncomfortable dealing with an older person. Providing them with someone their own age and mentality helps them better express themselves in order to get the correct help that they may need,” expressed the Shaikh. We asked Shaikh Muhammad to express what he felt was the greatest moral threat to the youth, Muhammad replied that it was the “...justification of open-ended understanding that morality is a free and open concept decided and understood by individuals as opposed to something set by society, faith or someone greater.” Muhammad Khan feels that this lack of a moral compass in society creates confusion and misdirection. He continued, “The purpose of faith, regardless of the religion, is to follow 704-597-5424

in order to better society and protect it from harm.” How can believing parents prevent this conflict from arising in their children? Shaikh Muhammad says, “Rather than just preventing them from forbidden things, establish principles and values. So when they are faced with certain problems and put in a situation, those principles and values will come to stand as a scale or measuring tool to know what is right from what is wrong. Simply prohibiting certain actions would only result in pushing our children and youths to other actions of similar results.” For parents of preteens and teens, the secular society throws people of faith constant curve-balls with issues such as drugs, open access to alcohol, casual approaches to sex and sexuality. Shaikh Muhammad says that in order to combat media influence on these fronts that parents have to maintain an open relationship with their children. “Accountability is important so the closer you are to your child the better you will understand them and easier it would be to confront them about any topic. In that way you will assist them and you will be together in this world and together you will enter paradise with the mercy of God (The Eternal and Absolute).” He also reinforced that when youth are provided with peer group environments in the masjid or youth halaqah, they are surrounded by positive peers to help them in this journey. Speaking of peers and peer pressure, many Muslims have to send their children to public school, for teenagers this can be a breeding ground of morality that is against

the principles of Islam. Shaikh Muhammad’s advice to parents is to understand your individual child. “Every child is different and it is the responsibility of the parents to understand their children from the time they are born and not wait for something to go wrong before they start trying to know them. … Don’t sleep when your child is young and wake up when you think they are in trouble. We need to be aware of our children from the very start.” Shaikh Muhammad says that this sort of awareness of the child’s psyche and establishment of good relations directly helps us to provide good examples and correction throughout their lives. “Simply addressing the issue to them as early as possible would be extremely beneficial for them in the long run. A final advice for parents is to be on the same page as with each other in order to benefit your child,” Shaikh Muhammad concludes. In an authentic Hadith, The Prophet Muhammad (prayers of blessings and peace be upon him) said, “Teach your children to pray when they are seven years old, and smack them (lightly) if they do not do so when they are ten, and separate them in their beds.” 11


Many of us have been told that once a child reaches puberty that he or she is an adult under Islamic rules and therefore religion becomes a personal matter. This issue of accountability and when a parent’s responsibilities end has been asked many times in many ways; we addressed this issue to Shaikh Muhammad who responded, “It is true that at puberty, accountability starts. That’s when a child would be held responsible for their actions and would be questioned accordingly with regards to his obligations to Allah, and the other commandments and prohibitions.” “With this said;” Muhammad continued, “a huge responsibility is on the parents to give their children adequate training in preparation for these days and stage of life.” Shaikh Muhammad went on to explain that there are many instances in the Qur’an and Sunnah where we are instructed to give our children the proper training in Islam before they reach puberty, “so by the time they are matured and are accountable that they would have already been doing what is expect of them with regards to their responsibility to God.” Shaikh Muhammad clarified. He continued, “The responsibility doesn’t automatically stop when they reach puberty but continues, as the parent should always be giving guidance continuously.” While situations will always vary from one parent and child to another, there is a constant.

Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.” - Qur’an 16:125 Shaikh Muhammad continues, “Remember that ultimate guidance is in the hands of Allah, and that it 12

is only required from us to make the • Family: For immigrant families, efforts and strivings. Always make Shaikh Muhammad says “The dua and supplication to Allah for your family unit is at odds with the kids, never give up and do not allow fact that they come from a your love for them be that which different society with different prevents you from standing up firm experiences and there is a great for what is right and pleasing to God.” fear in dealing with issues straight on. Parents who take some time We live in a chaotic society that seems to understand this society instead at odds with morality and principles of being insular do a far better of faith, however, Shaikh Muhammad job in communicating with the says, “Remember that Allah has children who are being raised in created children with pure innate this society.” nature called Fitrah.” In a well-known Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad has • Community: Shaikh Muhammad said, “Every new-born child is born in a shares that “Overall our state of Fitrah. Then his parents make him community life in America is a Jew, a Christian or a fire worshiper, just as sporadic at best; most times we an animal is born intact. Do you observe any are an island in our own homes.” among them that are maimed (cutting off or Therefore, more effort must be removal of an essential part at birth)?” made to integrate and share the task of growth and development Shaikh Khan talked about the issues of the youth with others in our that face immigrant households and neighborhood, town or city. how the issue of colonization affects us all far more than we know. “For • Mosques: “Our Mosques are many families, we have to be conscious constantly dealing with power of the effect that colonization has struggles and conflicts.” Shaikh had on the culture. In this way, the Muhammad states grimly. The lack breakdown of family and morality of vision for good governance is a planned event.” This is because at the masjid creates a structure when countries were colonized; where the youth are often left their cultures, faith and social beliefs out. Too many mosques have were colonized as well. Muhammad little to no program for youth to continues, “The occupiers made the gain spiritual development. This people believe that children had to creates negative, non-inclusive behave, dress and interact in the way environment that children will of the culture that had been forced find toxic and abandon as they upon them.” We can see that this has reach adulthood. not changed in America wherein the secular society is trying to enforce a As parents, and as a society, we have colonization of the mind through much to do for the improvement of our youth. Shaikh Muhammad Khan’s media and political language. presence at ICC will be a strong help, Shaikh Muhammad expressed but it will take all of us. After all, it that positive reinforcement of a takes a village to raise a child. child’s behavior comes from the family, community and the Mosque. However, these three have flaws which must be recognized and corrected so ICC is located at 1700 Progress Ln, Charlotte, that positive reinforcement for our NC 28205. Friday services are at 12:30pm children is consistently metered out: and 1:45pm www.MuslimAmerican.com


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How Working in Saudi Made Me a Caller Part 2 of Why You Should Call People to Islam Mohamed Haroon Sait (Co-Founder of American Islamic Outreach Foundation)

As I mentioned last month, my training as a caller to the way of Islam really evolved while I worked in Saudi Arabia. This month, God willing, I will explain why my time in Saudi Arabia helped me to become a Caller for Islam in the United States. For someone like me, coming from Kerala in India; getting work in Saudi Arabia is a difficult but an achievable task. Once you’ve arrived on a work visa, is not easy to switch jobs. You are tied to an employer who is your Sponsor and he has a “leash” around your neck. Depending on the nature of the Sponsor, the length of the leash can vary; but there is no escape from it. He has the veto on many of your work related decisions. During my tenure in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from 1990 to 1999, I had three different sponsors. The last one was Saudi Building Systems, owned by Juffali, a prominent family enterprise with more than a dozen different businesses under their name including kingdom-wide Mercedes dealerships. My company was a joint venture of Juffali and Butler Building Systems, a Kansas based steel building manufacturer. I worked in the computer department. My boss, Said-Sadain was a Filipino Muslim. I had two friendly peers both from the Philippines, Roni and Arthuro, who were both Catholic. During our free time, we always talked about Islam and Christianity. This was a much larger company compared to my previous two employer/sponsors. Most of the people in the chain of command were US citizens who imported the 14

work ethics from America. This was a new and awesome experience for me. This American work ethic was visible in the friendly department managers and chiefs who would smile and say ‘Salaam’ to you, shake hands, and discuss things in polite and civil manners. I could raise my concerns with instructions and present my own reasoning and expect genuine attentive ears. This is not the case with many other businesses where the rule is “Listen and Obey!” I savored many other work place norms which we all love and enjoy today in the US. This environment enabled me to discuss and debate faith matters with even the managers. Of course, they had the freedom to shoot me down as well; it was a fair game. There were hundreds of computers and printers installed for engineers, accountants, sales teams, and other support staff. My job involved taking care of new computer installations, troubleshooting existing ones, training and little bit of computer programming. Every day when I got to my office at 8:30 am, after switching on my pc and a little bit of housekeeping, I usually grabbed my cup and took a brisk walk to the kitchen/pantry where we had a variety of coffee and tea. Sometimes I met managers and other staff and we shared few moments of discussing the headline news of the day. It was a three minute walk to the kitchen, half-way there was a glass cabin with a window which was the office of Arnold, a passionate Catholic from Philippines. “Kumustaka?” I always

asked him in Tagalog. He was a friendly guy and I debated the most with him. I often stood outside his glass cabin and he would debate through the window. Occasionally the debate would be about why the Trinity does not make sense and He would counter with his problems with Islam and why Trinity makes perfect sense. Neither I nor he would give up. When it would go nowhere, I would just say “OK, talk to you later” and then got back to work. The purchase manager, Mr. Akhtar Ali from Islamabad, Pakistan was like an elder brother for me. We do a lot of “Gub-Shub” as he calls it, the familiar expression in his Punjabi tongue for Chit-Chat. His office was upstairs on one side of a huge hall filled with engineers and technicians working on AutoCAD and other engineering and designing tasks. As there were various types of equip-

Mr. Akhtar Ali

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ment upstairs, that is where I went the most. When I would be upstairs, usually I stopped by Mr.Ali’s office. Our discussions had no boundaries, religion, politics, bureaucracy in the office, and investment back home were all discussed. Our discussion at times spills in to family and personal matters such as the education of our children and also seeking better jobs. I constantly dreamed of working in the US. He agreed that the US would be a better working environment for my degree in computer engineering. I worked in SBS for almost two years. I knew most people and they knew me for the character of talking about Islam. I never passed by an opportunity to talk with any nonMuslim friends without initiating some kind of a discussion on Islam. If the guy was receptive, I would make a second trip and give him one of the brochures or books I picked from the Call and Guidance office. As many of you may know, throughout Saudi Arabia there are many offices which have been established by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs to provide Islamic literature to the many non-Muslims who travel for business and leisure in Saudi Arabia as well as the millions of non-Muslim workers that live in Saudi Arabia on a temporary basis. My office was situated in a corner towards the “dead end” area of the building. Beyond my office were the prayer room and then the rest rooms. During office hours we prayed at least twice for Dhuhr and Asr. People would regularly stop by my office to say Hello and Salaam. One of the managers, Raghu, was also from Kerala. He headed the Mechanical Engineering department and he was a Hindu. Since He spoke my native language, Malayalam, we both were like friends. That is, until I would initiate a discussion on Islam. I would bring up the fact that in the 704-597-5424

This roundabout in Jeddah features the largest bicycle sculpture in the world.

Hindu Vedas and puranas you can see verses that indicate the coming of Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) and commandments that prohibit people from worshipping anyone other than the one true God Almighty. He would listen patiently and then He would strongly refute all what I said. His argument was, “You cannot quote me from my books and then tell me that my books are obsolete.” He and I continued discussing throughout my two years and the same refuting arguments would pop up.

A few days later the application package was completed and mailed to Dubai. After about two weeks I got a letter from them asking me to appear for a programming test at the Jeddah Marriott hotel which was not far from where I lived. By the grace of Allah, the test was done well and I became hopeful that I would get this position in the USA. A few weeks passed and I heard nothing from them, after about a month I called their Dubai office to check on the status. I was told that I have to attend an interview and we set a date. I started preparing for the interview, I bought a new suit and a briefcase so I could appear in style, which I did. The interviewer was pleased with the way I handled his queries. He gave me a decent offer and I readily accepted and was told to expect the visa to USA in about a month. My goal of reaching the USA was becoming a reality! I started the resignation procedures at SBS. Finally that day came when I was formally being relived from my duties. My boss Said-Sadain, SBS Chief Hassan Bassoun, and Mr.Akhtar Ali were present at my send-off. They all spoke a few words of gratitude and wished me good luck. I also spoke a few words thanking every one especially my boss Said-Sadain, who was a gentleman. I drove back home that day with my mind occupied with the USA, the next country I am going to work. Within a few days I packed my belongings and left Saudi Arabia with my wife, Thafseera, and our two kids, Nabeel and Nadeem, to my home in Kerala, India where I started the countdown of waiting for the US Visa.

One day in May 1999 as I reached office a few minutes late, I got a call from Mr. Akhtar Ali. He told me that he had something important for me and asked me to get my cup of tea and see him in his office upstairs. He greeted me with a big smile and as I was sitting down in the visitor’s chair opposite to him, he pulled out a copy of the Arab News English Daily newspaper from his drawer. The newspaper had been folded to show me an advertisement seeking applicants for a computer analyst position in USA which was placed by a company based in Dubai. As ...To Be Continued I was reading it, I thought “I am fit for these requirements!” I handed the newspaper back to him. He got up with it, made a photocopy and Next Month: Arriving in the USA and gave it to me. “You should apply” he Learning a new Culture for Sharing Islam encouraged and I nodded agreeably. With the World 15


MARY, MOTHER OF JESUS Blessed Above All Other Women (Peace upon all the prophets)

“Remember when angels said, ‘O Mary, truly God has chosen you and purified you and preferred you over all other women of the world. O Mary, remain faithful to your Lord. Prostrate in worship. Bow with those who bow’” - Qur’an 3: 42-43 Mary (‘Maryam’ in Arabic), mother of Jesus (‘Isa’ in Arabic), is one of the most honored figures in religious history. Muslims view her as one of the most righteous women to have ever lived. Muslim women look to her as an example of modesty and dignity. Mary is granted such a high level of respect among Muslims because she is the only woman mentioned by name in the Qur’an. In fact, there is an entire section (Surah) of the Qur’an that is named for her. The extracanonical texts of Mary and Protevangelion (among what is called the Lost Books of the Bible) offer some information we may consider. According to these, Mary’s parents were Joachim (‘Imran’ in Arabic) and Anna (‘Hannah’ in Arabic). Joachim of Nazareth was of the royal race and family of David. The Judaic prophecies show that the Messiah would be a descendant of David. The prophecies also claim that Jesus would be from the priesthood, the progeny of Aaron, son of Imran. Mary’s mother Anna was of the family of priests, so, in this way, both prophecies were fulfilled.

Mary’s shelter under a date palm with a stream may have looked like this.

female.” God knows best of what should be born. ‘“The male is not like the female. I have named her Mary. I seek Your protection for her and her children against Satan the reject” Qur’an 3:35-36

Indeed, Allah provides for whom He wills without account.” - Qur’an 3:37

Her reply moved and inspired Zackariah who immediately cried out to God in secret lamenting and seeking a child who can continue his Mary grew under the care of Prophet progeny and the mission of calling Zackariah in the temple. She spent people to God. her young age serving the needs of the temple while being devoted At that, Zechariah called upon his Lord, saying, “My Lord, grant me in worship of God Almighty and gaining spiritual education. God had from Yourself a good offspring. Indeed, already began showing favor to Mary You are the Hearer of supplication.” Qur’an 3:38 as her piety of devotion increased at such a young age. The Qur’an His prayer was instantly accepted and recalls a moment in her youth where Zackariah was gifted with a son whom The Qur’an narrates us the vow Zackariah was surprised to find that God named John (Yahya in Arabic) Mary’s mother (wife of Imran) made God had provided her with food. who would be known as “John the to God. So her Lord accepted her with good Baptist.” Recall that a woman of Imran prayed, acceptance and caused her to grow in So the angels called him while he was “My Lord, I truly dedicate to You a good manner and put her in the care standing in prayer in the chamber, what is in my womb, as a devotion. of Zechariah. Every time Zechariah “Indeed, Allah gives you good tidings Accept this from me. Truly, You are entered upon her in the prayer chamber, of John, confirming a word from Allah All-hearing, the Superior Intellect.” he found with her provision. He said, and [who will be] honorable, abstaining When she had given birth, she said, “O Mary, from where is this [coming] [from women], and a prophet from “My Lord, I have given birth to a to you?” She said, “It is from Allah. among the righteous.” - Qur’an 3:39 16 www.MuslimAmerican.com


As Mary grew closer to maturity, she he called her from below her, “Do not grieve; your Lord has provided beneath continued her services to the temple. you a stream. And shake toward you Suddenly one day an angel appeared the trunk of the palm tree; it will to her in the form of a man which drop upon you ripe, fresh dates. So eat shocked and frightened Mary. She and drink and be contented. And if immediately sought protection from God and ordered the “man” to stay you see from among humanity anyone, away. The Angel Gabriel assured say, ‘Indeed, I have vowed to the Most Merciful abstention, so I will not speak her of good intent and delivered the today to anyone.’” - Qur’an 19:23-26 message from Almighty God that exalted her rank above the women of all nations. Then came the heavy Eventually, Mary returned to her news that God has sent Gabriel to people in Jerusalem, carrying the tell her of a Son whose name is Jesus infant. that God has ordained Mary to bear. They said, ‘O Mary, truly you have Not only has God ordained this brought an astonishing thing! O young woman to be a mother, but sister of Aaron, your father was not that her son will be one of the mighty an evil man, and your mother was not prophets who will work miracles. unchaste!’ She pointed to (the baby) [as if to say, ‘Ask him’]. They said, ‘How [And mention] when the angels said, can we talk with an infant from the “O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good cradle?’ (The baby Jesus) said, ‘I am tidings of a word from Him, whose indeed a servant of God. He has given name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the me scriptures and made me a prophet. son of Mary - distinguished in this He has made me blessed wherever I world and the Hereafter and among am and has instilled in me prayer and those brought near [to Allah ]. He will charity as long as I live. He has made speak to the people in the cradle and in me kind to my mother and not arrogant maturity and will be of the righteous.” or rebellious. Peace was upon me the - Qur’an 3:45-46 day I was born, and will be upon me Mary was a young woman at this time the day that I die and the day I shall be resurrected.’ - Qur’an 19:27-33 (most likely between 12 and 14) and was a pure, chaste virgin. News that she would have a child was confusing This scene of Jesus speaking from the cradle to defend his mother is also for her. found in the extracanonical text of She said, “My Lord, how will I have Infancy I. a child when no man has touched me?” [The angel] said, “Such is Allah ; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is. - Qur’an 3:47 After Mary conceived and had carried the baby for a while, she became distraught as the pains of pregnancy struck her. And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree. She said, “Oh, I wish I had died before this and was in oblivion, forgotten.” But 704-597-5424

Reported to be the tomb of Mary.

After the birth of Jesus, most of scriptural narrative shifts the focus away from Mary and onto Jesus. Therefore, not much is known about the rest of Mary’s life. Mary’s grave is believed to be at the Tomb of the Virgin Mary in the Kidron Valley, at the foot of the Mount of Olives, in Jerusalem. A mihrab (denoting the direction of prayer) is located at the site for Muslims. While teaching us about Mary and Jesus, the Qur’an makes two unequivocal statements that Muslims take as aspects of true faith. 1. Mary was a virgin; therefore the birth of Jesus Christ was due to a miraculous conception. Mary’s conception was miraculous by our standards and our understanding of the laws of nature. However, God reminds us in the Qur’an that He is All-Powerful and capable of all things. Indeed, the example of Jesus to Allah is like that of Adam. He created Him from dust; then He said to him, “Be,” and he was. The truth is from your Lord, so do not be among the doubters. Qur’an 3:59-60 2. Jesus Christ is the Word of God, a Prophet, he was neither God made into flesh nor the Son of God. [Jesus] said, “Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet.” Qur’an 19:30 Since the Qur’an is the absolute word of God, these articles of faith are part and parcel of every Muslim. Every Muslim has an unconditional reverence to Prophet Jesus and his mother Mary. On hearing their name, a Muslim prays “peace be upon them.” Failure to respect and honor the positions of Jesus and Mary is considered an act of disbelief for a Muslim. 17


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Muslim American Magazine February 2016  

All content Copyright © 2015 Muslim American, Inc. except where otherwise noted. Please contact the editor or publisher directly to obtain r...

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