- Our Faith
`Umar ibn Khattab (Allah be well pleased with him) said:
“As we were sitting one day before the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), a man suddenly appeared. He wore pure white clothes and his hair was dark black—yet there were no signs of travel on him, and none of us knew him.
He came and sat down in front of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), placing his knees against his, and his hands on his thighs. He said, “O Muhammad! Tell me about Islam.”
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “Islam is to bear witness that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God; and to perform the prayer; pay zakat; fast Ramadan; and to perform Hajj to the House if you are able.”
The man said, “You have spoken the truth,” and we were surprised that he asked and then confirmed the answer.
Then, he asked, “Tell me about belief (iman).”
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “It is to believe in Allah; His Angels; His Books; His Messengers; the Last Day; and in destiny—its good and bad.”
The man said, “You have spoken the truth. Now, tell me about spiritual excellence (ihsan).”
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “It is to serve Allah as though you behold Him; and if you don’t behold him, (know that) He surely sees you.”
“Now, tell me of the Last Hour,” asked the man.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “The one asked knows no more of it than the one asking.”
“Then tell me about its signs,” said the man.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “That slave women give birth to their mistresses; and that you see barefoot, unclothed, beginning shepherds competing in the construction of tall buildings.”
Then the visitor left, and I waited a long time. Then the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked me, “Do you know, Umar, who the questioner was?”
I replied, “Allah and His Messenger know best.”He said (Allah bless him and give him peace), “It was Jibril. He came to you to teach you your religion.” [Sahih Muslim]
The key to the Kaaba - the ancient cube-shaped shrine in Mecca - went to an anonymous bidder at Sotheby's.
The auction house said the price set a record for the sale of an Islamic work of art.
This book was the only source of knowledge on the basics of the Islamic faith in the English Language for English speaking Muslims in the Caribbean and elsewhere well into the 1990s. In many places it is still use as a primary text. Here is the author in his own words:
"The necessity of the presentation of the elementary teachings of Islam, explaining its Cardinal Articles of Faith and the Fundamental Principles in the simplest possible English language is there- fore, obvious; for such a publication would not only serve to acquaint the English-knowing new Muslims with the essentials of Faith and the directions fort engaging in devotion to Allah, but also supply the long-felt need of a handy book for imparting the rudiments of Islam to the Muslim children of those countries where the English Language rules supreme? and children are sent away to school using English as medium, of instruction, without having any knowledge, whatsoever, of their religion.
Realising the urgency of publishing such a volume, I, during my itinerary of Ceylon, Singapore, Penang, Java, etc., drafted out a skeleton according to the Shafi'i School in spite of numerous pre-occupations. My learned friend, Mr. M.I.M. Haniffa, B.A. (London), Advocate of Colombo, very kindly undertook to revise and touch it up, and it was due to his invaluable assistance that "A Short Catechism of the First Teachings of Islam" was published a few years ago, and has proved very beneficial.
About the same time an incomplete and imperfect draft, according to the Hanafi School, was re- leased for publication in "The Real Islam" of Singapore on account of pressing demands. The present volume is a thoroughly revised and enlarged edition of that draft. While sending it to the press' I feel, I must acknowledge the co-operation, in this humble work, of Mr. K. S. Anwari, my Secretary, during the South and East African tour, and of my son-in- law Hafiz Muhammad Fazlur Rahman Ansari, B.A. (Alig.).
While expressing the hope that this little volume will serve the purpose in view and will meet the approval of all those concerned, I desire to record my sincere thanks to AI-Haj Mohammad Ibrahim of Trinidad for liberally undertaking the cost of printing and thus rendering a signal service to Islam and to the public.
If it pleases Allah, a second volume, in which commonsense arguments in support of the Cardinal articles of Faith and a much more detailed treatment of the Principles of Islam and the laws governing society will be incorporated, will soon follow this modest attempt.
May it please Allah to accept this humble service. Amen! "
MOHAMMED ABDUL ALEEM SIDDIQUI.
Tradition can mean many things to many people, but to the mainstream community of believers its meaning is both understood and agreed upon
When Muslims in the West describe themselves as traditional, it might seem as if they are adding yet another label to a dizzying array of social and religious typologies that already exist in their communities. The concern with defining tradition is not a vain attempt to reframe the Enlightenment debate of reason versus revelation, or tradition versus modernity. Rather, tradition, albeit the Islamic Tradition, is the gladiator's arena where the most bitter conflict for the hearts and minds of ordinary Muslims is taking place.
The word tradition comes from the Latin traditio, meaning to hand down or to pass on knowledge or truths embodied in ritual practices, culture and beliefs from a past authority to subsequent generations within a religious community. The central purpose of a tradition is to act as a bridge between then and now, between a sacred moment in history and the profane present. Tradition is much more than just a word or a concept; it is a paradigm.
In the Islamic context, Tradition is the Sunna of the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings. It is the way of the Prophet when he walked on Earth.