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The Contradictions In Western Idea Of Freedom Of Speech And The Islamic Perspective


The primary source of #information that the #people of West have for gaining information about Islam is Western media. Both the print and electronic media of West is what provides information to the people about Islam and it is the #biasness of this media that the people of the West have a negative perception of Islam and they see it as a religion of oppression and #aggression.

One of the major things that Islam is accused of in the Western world is the oppression of freedom of speech. West proclaims to be the proponent and the emblem bearer of freedom of speech, whereas it regards Islam as a religion where the followers have no say whatsoever and they cannot raise their voice against anything.

Islamic-prespective-and-freedom-of-speech copy

 

The Islamic opinion about the freedom of speech will be discussed in later part of the writing however, the thing that needs to be addressed first is the Western view of freedom of speech and how it contradicts with it.

Western View:

The West is the proponent of freedom of speech where the individuals in a society are free to express their opinion in any way they want against or for anyone they want. Although this type of freedom cannot exist in world because such a freedom would result in nothing but people defaming each other, spreading slanders and falsely accusing each other. Therefore, in the Western law, despite all the freedom, the limit of it is set that it does not result in hurting the feeling of anyone or that harms the image of some other person.

Contradiction:

The West speaks of freedom of speech without any boundaries, however, it shows biasness towards certain matters and for them it has made laws, whereas, when it comes to other social systems in the world like Islam, they judge it and defame it for the limits it has put on its followers. Some major contradiction of the West pertaining to the freedom of speech it so claims are as follows:

  1. Firstly, in the European countries there is a law as per which no one is allowed to speak about ant-Semitic movement in the Nazi regime. People are not allowed to favor the haulocast or give any opinion that does not oppose it. This shows the biasness of the Western media and the demolishing of the notion of freedom of speech. On the other hand, when it comes to Western media publishing the caricature of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Muslims protesting against it, it is simply remarked as a #freedom of expression. Thus, duality and contradiction exist in the Western notion of freedom of speech.
  2. Secondly, in CIA all the employees are bound to sign a document as per which they are never to share or to publish their experience that involves information related to country. This law was passed when CIA officials started writing memoirs regarding their experience during service. Although that was their expression however, it did not fit the US objective therefore, it was taken away from the officials. Thus, another contradiction in Western saying and doing.
  3. Thirdly, in UK as well the officials of the secret agency are not allowed to discuss or publish any information pertaining to national security. Hence, their freedom of speech is also made limited.

The above arguments show that the West speaks of freedom of speech without any constraints, however, when it comes to certain matters and issue, there is no freedom of speech whatsoever and there are strict limitations.

Islamic Perspective:

#Islam is a #religion of moderation and human connection. It does not allow anything that is extreme or that tarnishes the human connection. Islam allows its followers to speak freely and in some cases it stresses upon them to speak without any fear, however, when it comes to speech hurting the feelings or beliefs of someone, Islam tells it followers to refrain from it and adopt a way that is more subtle.  Some examples of how Islam views freedom of speech and to what extent does it allows Muslims to proclaim their opinion are as follows:

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said in a hadith:

“The master of martyrs is Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib and a man who stood up to an oppressive ruler, ordered him (to do good) and forbade him (from doing evil) and was killed by him.”

The #hadith shows that when it comes to #speaking freely, the allowed speech is that which encourages or promotes goodness and that forbids evil. Therefore, Muslims are to raise their voices without any fear if they see anything bad happening and they should also encourage or support goodness with their voice.

Harun-ul-Rashid was one of the #Muslim caliphs who rewarded scholars who would go out and spread the message of Islam and give people an understanding of deen. Therefore, speech for the sake of spreading of knowledge is also allowed and encouraged in Islam.

Thirdly, on contrary to the Western world where freedom of speech is allowed when it comes to hurting the feelings of the Muslims, Islam forbids any act that hurts the feeling of the non-Muslims living in the Muslims reign. Regarding this, #Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said in one of His hadiths:

“Whoever hurts a non-Muslim citizen of an Islamic state hurts me, and he who hurts me annoys Allah.” (Bukhari )

From the hadith it is clear that in Islam any proclamation of speech that is against any religion or that hurts the feeling of a non-Muslim is not allowed in Islam. Therefore, the notion that Islam or Muslims somehow are in opposition of non-Muslims or they go to any measures to defame other religions is wrong, rather Islam wants Muslims to accept that other people have their religion and there is no need of turning towards hurtful speech as a means of spreading Islam.

Conclusion:

Ina  nutshell, there is no such thing as an ideal freedom of speech in the world and if West does preach any it is limited and wherever it conflicts with the great scheme the right of speech is taken back from the respective people. Islam encourages a speech that is in favor of good and that detests bad, however, even then the speech is supposed to be free from any hate and resentfulness.

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Islamic & Quranic Moral Values Muslims Must Follow


Morality or the propagation of moral values is a major aspect of Islam. People of today think of Quran as only a Book that contains guidelines that are pertinent to performing of religious rituals only and there is nothing else in it. The fact of the matter is that in #Quran Allah Almighty has given the complete guidelines and told humanity about whatever they want to know about this universe in general and the way of living life in particular.

Islamic-Moral-Values copy

 

Islam puts great emphasis on the height of characters and for this purpose it encourages the followers to adopt good moral qualities in their lives. In this regard, the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stands as an evident and clear example for Muslims and from him they can learn what the height of moral is like. In Quran, there are mentions of numerous moral values that a Muslim should incorporate in his or her character. The lines below discuss a few of such major moral values.

Quranic Moral values

“(They are) those who are patient, those who are true, and obedient with sincere devotion in worship to Allah and those who spend (their wealth as Zakat and alms) and those who pray and beg Allah’s Pardon in the last hours of night.” (3:17)

This ayah highlights the multiple characteristics of a believer. These characteristics are:

  1. First comes patient. A believer is to have the quality of patience in his character because it is the quality that comes in handy in almost every aspect of life. When one is patient, only then he endures the hardships of life without losing faith, it is with patience that he develops good relations with others and it is with patience that he bears the ease and comfort of others before himself.
  2. Second comes the moral value of sincere and obedient worship of Allah. Being a Muslim a person ought to worship Allah Almighty and the five times a day prayers are an obligationas well, however, people consider prayers or any form of worship as a duty and perform it mechanically. Whereas, the ayah focuses on worshiping Allah with sincerity and obedience, therefore, one needs to incorporate this spirit of devotion in the worshiping of Allah.
  3. Third is the moral value of spending from the wealth in the name of Allah. Zakat is an obligation upon Muslims who are wealthy, however, charity or alms giving is something which everyone can do, especially the ones who have enough to give but not enough to offer in Zakat. Therefore, being charitable is a moral value that Muslims need to merge in their character.
  4. Fourth comes the praying to Allah in the late hours of night. It is called the Tahajud prayer. The reason why it is one of the moral values that a Muslim should adopt is the fact that firstly, this prayer is in addition to the obligatory prayer, therefore, it shows the additional love of a Muslim to Allah. secondly, this prayer is done in the later part of night in isolation, which takes away all the aspect boastfulness or showiness that can be present in offering of obligatory prayers.

In the same Surah at another place, Allah Almighty mentions a few other moral qualities in the following way:

Muslim Follow moral values

Islamic and moral values

quranic moral values must follow muslims

“And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and for Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for the pious. Those who spend (in the cause of Allah) in prosperity and adversity, who restrain anger and who pardon the people, and Allah loves doers of good. And those who, when they commit any sexual immorality or wrong themselves (by transgression) remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins and who can forgive sins except Allah? And (those who) do not persist in what they have done while they know.”(3:133-135)

Multiple moral attributes are highlighted in these ayahs as well. The moral values that can be inferred from these ayahs are as follows:

  1. Spending in the name of Allah in the condition of adversity as well as in the condition of prosperity is something that a Muslim should develop in his character. There are people who spend in the name of Allah when they are experiencing prosperity, but they cease to do so as soon as they face even the slightest of adverse situations. Therefore, a Muslim must try to be charitable in every situation.
  2. Rage or anger is something that eats up a person as well as his character. Anger is a great vice because it clouds the judgment of a person making him unable to differentiate between right and wrong. Therefore, a Muslim must try to control his temper and rage is a quality that should not be a part of the character of a Muslim.
  3. Forgiving people is another personality attribute that a Muslim must possess. Islam gives the message of being good and kind towards people – forgiving them is one of such acts of kindness. Therefore, keeping grudges and not forgiving people for their mistakes is not something which a Muslim should breed in his character, rather he should be forgiving towards the people.
  4. Besides the other moral qualities, a Muslim needs to be a good-doer on a generic level. The constituent of a good-doer could be numerous, but in simple terms it is the inclination towards doing good things. Therefore, the believer needs to have a mindset that is inclined towards goodness, which produces thoughts of goodness that then trigger acts of goodness.
  5. All humans are fallable and among the different mistakes we commit, the mistakes or sins of sexual nature are more common. The ayah shows that if a person commits some act of sexual nature, then he or she should immediately repent upon it in front of Allah Almighty. Therefore, repentance upon sins is another moral value that a Muslim needs to ensure in his character.

Lastly, the realization that what one has done is wrong is another moral value that should be appreciated in a Muslim. Usually, if people commit some sin, they start to justify it or remain persistent in doing it instead of realizing that they have committed something wrong. A Muslim needs to have a character in which he acknowledges whenever he commits any mistake.

In short, a Muslim has to work upon his moral character. The better values a Muslim incorporates in his character, a better and practicing Muslim he becomes and it is on the basis of this moralist practice of Islam that he will be among the blessed ones, both in this world and in the world Hereafter.

The History And Great Importance of Islamic Months


Monthly calendars play a vital role in scheduling of time and important events in lives of their respective followers. There are many kinds of almanacs made from people of different religions and regions for sake of knowing about specific traditions, occasions and holidays etc. like Gregorian (Christian), Chinese and Hijri (Islamic) calendars. All of such charts are based on the shifting of the Moon and contains approximately 30 days in each month because of the Moon`s shape and movements. Islam also shares the same concept of timetable as the Almighty Lord says in the Holy Quran:

Islamic months

“It is He who made the sun a shining light and the moon a derived light and determined for it phases – that you may know the number of years and account [of time]. Allah has not created this except in truth. He details the signs for a people who know.” [Quran, 10: 5]

In this verse, Allah SWT has not only told us about the fact that Moon`s light is not its own, but actually resulting from the Sun, but also has made us aware of significance of both in determining years and time. All of the information that was revealed 1400 years ago has been proved right through science today.

Now coming towards the Islamic Calendar, unlike charts of other religions, it has been made only by God, the Exalted.

history and importance

“Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them. And fight against the disbelievers collectively as they fight against you collectively. And know that Allah is with the righteous (who fear Him).” [Quran, 9: 36]

It means that since the beginning of time on earth and the arrival of Adam (A.S), the cycle of time period which Muslims follow today, had always been in effect. It consists of 12 months, and 4 of them are the sacred ones, about which the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have once said:

“O People! Time has gone back to how it was at the time Allah created the Heavens and the Earth. A year has twelve months, four of which are sacred, three consecutive, Thul-Qi’dah, Thul-Hijjah, Muharram, and Rajab, which comes between Jumaadaa and Sha’baan.” (Al-Bukhaari)

So, the Apostle (PBUH) of Allah has made it clear to us about those 4 sacred months which are Dhu al-Q`adah, Dhu al-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab.

Islamic-Months-History copy

 

Now let us briefly take a look at the history and importance of Islamic Months one by one:

  1. Muharram

It is the very first month in Islamic time schedule. The literal meaning of Muharram is“Forbidden”. It has always been well thought-out as a holy period in which Arabs used to avoid fighting with each other. It consists of a particular date, i.e. 10th on which many historical happenings occurs including paving way between the Red Sea for Bani Israel by Allah Almighty and destruction of Firaon (Pharaoh), which is why the Apostle (PBUH) of God started fasting and directed other Muslims to do so and showed Jews that Musa (A.S) is dearer to us Muslims than others.

The Holy Prophet (PBUH) used to fast in this month, and is reported to have said:

“The best of fasts besides the month of Ramadhan is the fasting of Allah’s month of Muharram.” (Muslim)

Besides fasting on this day, it also landmarks the greatest Sacrifice by the Grandson of Rasulullah (PBUH), Hazrat Hussain (R.A) for sake of uplifting the Religion of Peace against unjust leader, Yazid.

  1. Safar

The second month, which is named so because of the word “Sifir” meaning zero or empty, as the Arabs used to empty their houses and would return back to fighting after the holy month of Muharram. It was believed in pre Islamic period that this time of the year brings mishaps and other disasters. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) was quoted by Hazrat Jabir (R.A) to have said about this fallacy:

“I have heard the Prophet saying, the descending of illness and evil superstition befalling in the month of Safar is untrue.” (Muslim)

Moreover, this is the month in which the beloved Daughter of Rasulullah (PBUH) got married with Hazrat Ali (R.A). Two battles of Abwaa and Khaibar took place on 2 A.H and 7 A.H in Safar respectively.

  1. Rabi ul Awwal

Third constituent of Islamic Calendar, which means the first month of spring, derived from growing of grass in it. For Muslims, it is the best time of the year because the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was born in it. He (PBUH) also migrated from Makkah to Madina in this period.

  1. Rabi ul Aakhir

Fourth part of Muslim year, and is named so as being the second month of spring.

  1. Jumad al Awwal

It was called so because of freezing of water in this phase. It is also very significant month because the Holy Prophet (PBUH) married His first Wife, Hazrat Khatija (R.A) in it. The Grandfather of Rasulullah (PBUH), Abdul Muttalib, who took his great care, also died at this time of the year.

  1. Jumad al Thani

It is the sixth month of Islamic Calendar named by Arabs because of winter time.

  1. Rajab

It is the seventh and sacred month of Muslim year whose name was derived from the Arabic word “Rajaba”, which means “to respect”, as it was always considered as a sacred time.Moreover, the Messenger (PBUH) of Allah went on the journey of M`iraj (Ascension to Heavens) and brought back the gift of Salah for Muslims with Himself.

  1. Sha`ban

It is the eighth month of the Islamic Calendar, whose name originated from a word “tash`aba”, which means to spread in different ways. It was called Sha`ban because the Arabs used to go in diverse directions to fight their enemies after the sacred month of Rajab. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) used to fast throughout this phase besides in Ramadan according to Hazrat A`ishah (R.A). The 15th night of Sha`ban is considered to a very blessed one, also called “Shab e Baraat”, which means “to attain Allah`s Salvation” through His remembrance, reciting the Holy Quran and praying.

  1. Ramadan

The derivation of the name of ninth month of Muslims came from a word “Ar-ramda” referring to tremendous heat as it used to come in such hot climate in the Arabian Peninsula at that time. The great importance of this month is that it is the period in which Muslims have to keep away from all kinds of daily needs of hunger, thirst etc. for sake of Allah SWT.

2_183 fasting

O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous. [Quran, 2: 183]

Apart from fasting, it also contains a night, 27th of Ramadan in which the Holy Quran (A great source of enlightenment) was first revealed on the Last Prophet, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH). Besides, the very first battle in Islamic history against the disbelievers, “Ghazwa e Badr” took place during this time. The eventual victory of Makkah also occurred in this month.

10.  Shawwal

It is tenth month of the Islamic Calendar, whose name gets originated fromthe Arabic word“tashawwala”, referring to scarcity of milk in female camels and this time was associated by the ancient Arabs as a bad time of the year. But Allah SWT removed all these superstitions by awarding Muslims with the gift of Eid ul Fitr after month long fasting period of Ramadan. Fasting after celebrations in this phase is also deemed very highly by Rasulullah (PBUH).

“Whoever fasts Ramadan and follows it with six days of Shawwal, it will be as if he fasted for a lifetime.” (Muslim)

Hazrat A`ishah (R.A) also got married to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) during this period. Hazrat Hussain (R.A) also got born in it. The beloved uncle of the Apostle (PBUH) of Allah, Abu Taalib (R.A), who always helped Him and other Muslims in strict times of Makkan oppressions, died in this month.

11.  Dhu al-Qa’dah

It is the eleventh month, which was always a sacred time of the year and was the first one in which the Arabs avoided fighting. The battle of Khandaq took place in it. Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) returned to Makkah foroffering Pilgrimage in 7 A.H.

12.   Dhu al-Hijjah

It is the last and one of the most auspicious months of the Islamic Calendar, which is named so because the grand Pilgrimage (Hajj), which is the 5th Pillar of the Islam is performed in it. Abu Hurrairah (R.A) narrated the Holy Prophet (PBUH) once talking about Hajj as:

“Whoever performs Hajj and does not commit any obscenity or transgression shall return [free from sins] as he was on the day his mother gave birth to him.” (Al-Bukhari)

So, this month contains a holy act of Pilgrimage which results in forgiveness of all sins of a true believer.

Hence, nearly all the Islamic months have some kind of specialty engraved in them. But some of them including the four sacred months as discussed in the Holy Quran are more promising as well as other which later became prominent due to rich Muslim Rituals, obligations and traditions.

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