Author Archives: hany

Capitals, Borders and States’ Building

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The relationship of countries’ capitals with national borders is that of integration, and not conflict, and it should not be of conflict. Simply, any country cannot do without a capital as heart and center, or borders which represent the wings by means of which the country proceed. However, the center of any country in many of the world countries captures full attention. Precedents and realities confirm that the centers of countries capture the highest levels of attention throughout history. However, the level of this attention differs from developed countries to underdeveloped ones. In fact, the developed countries can in no way neglect a part of its borders; be it land or people, disregard it, leave it liable to loss and attack, or even think of creating chaos or separatism. A poet once entered upon ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abd al- ‘Aziz (may Allah be pleased with him) and said: In case you safeguard the capital of the state where you live, be noted that your governors in the different towns are like wolves. They will not react to what you call for, unless you hit their necks with swords. Yet, the development of border areas of a country is not the responsibility of the government or political leadership alone. The development of these areas is the joint responsibility of all national institutions including the governmental institutions, nongovernmental organizations, businessmen, Ministries of Investment, Education, Health, Housing, Culture, Awqaf, Monuments, and all other ministries and authorities as well as the social service associations and patriotic businessmen. They all should devote special attention to all peripheral areas in general, and the border areas in particular as their first priority and a national security issue and developmental issue. In this regard, we should turn all national borders’ areas into population-attracting areas, and population-losing areas. This is because in case a country did not pay attention to its border areas, the citizens of these areas would be obliged to move to the center and settle therein, the matter which puts tremendous pressure on the center and its suburbs and creates in many cases slums around it. It also contributes to creating a class system that produces by the passage of time social diseases and problems that need unconventional solutions. On the contrary, the country’s keen interest in making investments in its border areas, providing their citizens with the necessary services, including housing, health, education, culture, and all services required for having a stable life in their homeland, as well as providing opportunities for work and production, all of these things would give the people of these areas a sense of belonging to their land and, therefore, they would do their best to protect it motivated by their absolute national loyalty and belonging. If the elements of attraction, work incentives and significant investment are afforded in these areas, as the case of the state’s current interest in the areas of Sinai, Matrouh, New Ismailia, Halayeb and Shalatin, New Valley and desert areas in general, these areas will turn into attractive areas creating an appropriate balance in the geographical and demographical distribution, providing a decent life for the citizens of these areas and alleviating the pressure placed on the center and the services provided to its citizens. In addition, the nature of capitals and political and economic centers in the whole world requires a level of progress which makes them tourist attractions and symbols of the peoples’ civilization, greatness and progress.

The Story of Statues and the Destruction of Civilizations

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To begin with, there is no single Muslim on earth who worships a statue, believes in it, preaches it or thinks about it. Rather, no single person from among the followers of heavenly religions believes in these statues at all. It is true that Islam prohibited the making of statues in the early days of Islam. However, this prohibition was based on two grounds. First, people were recent converts to Islam who were recently worshipping idols thinking that they bring them nearer to Allah, the Almighty. The Holy Quran expressed this belief of theirs in the statement of Allah, the Exalted, “We only worship them that they may bring us nearer to Allah in position.” (The Quran, 39: 3). Second, these statues were made to be worshipped or they were made in order to match the creation of Allah, the Almighty. This is confirmed by the fact that apart from the purification of the Ka’bah from idols that were worshipped, the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) have not demolished a temple, a statue or a monument in anyone of the provinces they opened. This is because they were the best generation who correctly understood the objectives and purposes and were not satisfied with the apparent meanings of texts. On the contrary, they deeply and consciously reflected on their purposes and objectives. This profound understanding of texts is confirmed by the decision of the Second Caliph, Umar Ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), when he denied the new converts whose hearts were to be inclined to Islam their stated share of Zakah even though it was established by an explicit text as Allah, the Exalted, says, “Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed for it and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler.” (The Quran, 9: 60). When he was asked, “How do you stop a share that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used to give?” He replied, “We used to give them when Islam was weak to incline their hearts to faith. Now that Allah has strengthened Islam with His bounty, there is no need to give out this share.” Furthermore, Umar suspended the penalty of theft during the year of famine. He wrote to one of his governors and asked him about what he would do if people brought him a thief. The governor replied that he would cut his hand. Umar said to him, “But, if a hungry person came to me, I would cut your hand.” Unfortunately, our nation has been plagued by some narrow-minded people who began to issue edicts that this is lawful and that is unlawful without knowledge, understanding or study. They have taken themselves, students, followers and elements into the affairs of fatwa for which they are unqualified and thus they went astray and misled other people. Moreover, they opened a wide door before international colonial and imperial powers that work hard to suppress our cultural monuments including the Arab, Islamic, Christian, Pharaohic, Assyrian, Babylonian, Greek, Roman or otherwise in order to blot out the Arab memory and the monuments of the Arab, Islamic and Christian civilizations. This is because they are foolish people who have no morals, religion, values or principles. For them, the end justifies the means regardless of the enormity and seriousness of this means even it led to the destruction of human beings, statues, offspring and the monuments of human civilizations. The worst thing in this regard is that this destruction is perpetrated in the name of Islam and from people who falsely attribute themselves to it. In fact, Islam and its tenets have nothing to do at all with their acts even if they lied to themselves and deceived their victims from among the youth who joined them that they are on the truth. They have been rightfully described by Allah, the Exalted, in His statement, “And a group deserved [to be in] error. Indeed, they had taken the devils as allies instead of Allah while they thought that they were guided.” (The Quran, 7: 30). Allah, the Almighty, says, “Say, [O Muhammad], Shall we inform you of the greatest losers as to [their] deeds? [They are] those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing well in work.” (The Quran, 18: 103-104) and He also says, “And of the people is he whose speech pleases you in worldly life, and he calls Allah to witness as to what is in his heart, yet he is the fiercest of opponents. And when he goes away, he strives throughout the land to cause corruption therein and destroy crops and animals. And Allah does not like corruption.” (The Quran, 2: 204-205). The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Prof. Dr. Ahmad Al-Tayyib, the Ministry of Awqaf and the Egyptian Dar al-Iftaa stressed that it is unconscionable to assail these cultural monuments in any way, either by demolishing, distorting, selling, looting or destroying and that assailing them is tantamount to an act of aggression against civilization and human heritage. The reaction of the western world and international institutions to these crimes and their complete silence concerning them are remarkable and surprising and raise many questions. Had these crimes been committed anywhere else other than our Arab region, the whole world would strongly and differently react. This is a natural reaction from our enemies who are waging unjust wars against us. However, the thing that adds more fuel to the fire is these fatwas that support and nourish this crooked thinking, the matter which stresses what we have repeatedly called for that there is an urgent need to issue a law to regulate the affairs of fatwa and restrict it to qualified scholars alone.

Word’s Trust and Responsibility
Ragab 1, 1437 AH/April 8, 2016 CE

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Sermon Plan

  1. Word’s importance in Islam
  2. Tongue restrain is a sign of one’s faith
  3. Word’s responsibility is a legal and ethical duty
  4. Word’s serious impact on individuals and communities

Sermon Topic

The divine graces on man are great, innumerous and countless. Allah, the Almighty, says, “Should you try to count Allah’s blessings, you could never compute them!” (the Quran, 16: 18). Tongue is one of the best blessings, as Allah, the Almighty, says, “Have We not given him two eyes, and a tongue, and a pair of lips” (the Quran, 90: 8-9).

Allah also beautifully perfects man’s tongue with the ability to speak. Allah, the Almighty, says, “The Most Gracious has imparted the Qur’an [unto man]; He has created man and has distinguished him with the ability to clearly express his feelings and thoughts” (the Quran, 55: 1-4).

One’s word is one’s title and means to approach others and administer life affairs. The kind of concern and significance that Islam pays to the word is unprecedented, even at times of amusement. A word may bring about the success of a nation and the misery of others. A word may protect and preserve lives and honors and may shed blood and dishonor.

The divine command is definite in imposing tongue restrain and prudence to safeguard people’s honors and avoid idle talks. Allah, the Almighty, says, “Not even a word can he utter but there is an ever-vigilant watcher with him” (the Quran, 50: 18). Man’s parts are all subject to tongue. If the tongue is straight, they are straight, but if it is deviated, they are deviated

Abu Sa‘eed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “When a child of Adam wakes up in the morning, all of his body parts bow to the tongue. They say, ‘Fear Allah regarding us; we are only part of you; if you are straight we are straight and if you deviate, we are deviated” (al-Tirmidhi).

The Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) explained to Mu‘adh Ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) that one’s tongue may take one to paradise or hellfire. Mu‘adh said, I accompanied the Prophet on a journey. One day I was near him… the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) asked, Shall I not inform you about what governs all of that?’ I said, ‘Of course, O Messenger of Allah!’ Therefore, he (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) grabbed his tongue and said ‘Restrain this.’ I said: ‘O Prophet of Allah! Will we be taken to account for what we say?’ He said: ‘May your mother grieve your loss O Muadh! Are the people tossed into the Fire upon their faces, or upon their noses, except because of what their tongues have wrought’

A word is a trust; a person must carefully utter his words in due observation and fear of Allah. One’s word may admit you to the highest rank of paradise and can bring you down to the lowest abyss of hell. Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said: “A person may say a word that pleases Allah so much that He will raise high this person’s status in the hereafter, even though the person might have thought the word he said was insignificant. Similarly, a person may say a word that displeases Allah so much that He will send this person to the hellfire, even though the person again might have though the word he said was no issue” (Al-Bukhari).

Since the good word is indicative of one’s faith; the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak good or remain silent.”

Allah orders us to speak the truth with all people without distinction, to tell the right reformative and constructive talks and to avoid all kinds of disruptive and destructive speeches. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: “And speak to people good [words]” (the Quran 2: 83). Another Quranic verse commands the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him): “Tell My servants that they should speak in the most kindly manner [unto those who do not share their beliefs]:” (the Quran 17: 53).

Allah also says, O you who believe, be aware of Allah and speak only the truth; He will direct your works, and forgive your sins. Indeed, whoever obeys Allah and His messenger has triumphed a great triumph (the Quran, 33: 70-71).

Success and forgiveness are made contingent upon the good word and truthful speech. Islam is keenly concerned with verifying information and vindicating the truth of all statements, especially the widely circumnutated ones. Actually, it is absurdity to believe all claims and statements. Allah, the Almighty, says, “O you who believe, if a wicked person comes to you with any news, then you shall investigate it. Lest you harm a people out of ignorance, then you will become regretful over what you have done” (the Quran, 49: 6).

Evidently, restraining one’s tongue is an indication of perfect faith and good Islam. It is also a means to Paradise. Allah describes the believers as “those who abstain from vain talk… Such are the inheritors; they will inherit Paradise, wherein they abide forever” (the Quran, 3, 10-11). Sahl Ibn Sa‘d (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet said, “Whoever can guarantee (the purity of) what is between his two jaw-bones (i.e. tongue) and what is between his two legs (i.e. private parts), I guarantee Paradise for him” (al-Bukhari).

The word is a legal and ethical trust and duty. It can unify the nation and mobilize determination. It can turn enemies into friends and hate into love. It is also capable of thwarting the plots of devils. Allah, the Almighty, says, “Not equal are the good and the bad response. You shall resort to the one which is better. Thus, the one who used to be your enemy, may become your best friend” (the Quran, 41: 34).  Undoubtedly, good words make good friends, refine souls, remove grief and anger and fill hearts with contentment and happiness, especially when backed by truthful smiles. Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “Your smiling in the face of your brother is an act of charity (al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad).

The trust of word ordains the declaration of good and truthful words free from lies, deception, perjury, fraud and misreported and ignorant talks. Allah, the Almighty, says, “And do not say, as to what your tongues falsely describe: “This is lawful and that is forbidden;” that you seek to invent lies about Allah. Those who invent lies about Allah will not succeed” (the Quran, 16: 116).

It is also a trust to prove truthful in advice and consultation. The Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) even declares that perfect religion is extending of advice. Tameem al-Dari narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “Religion is extending of sincere advice. We said: “For whom?” He replied, “For Allah, His Book, His Messenger and for leaders and masses of Muslims” (Imam Muslim in his authentic collection).

Abu Hurayrah also narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, One who is sought for consultation is called accountable for his advice (Abu Dawud).  Extending sincere advice and truthful consultation can reform people and promote security, safety and prosperity.

Word is a double-edged sword; when truthfully and honestly said, it leads to construction and building but when falsely coined, it leads to destruction and corruption. Word is not a slight matter in man’s life. One’s transactions of sales, contracts and treaties are all dependent on truthful statements.

It is unhidden that good words yield great positive effects on people relations. Kindness to one’s neighbors is a bridge to Paradise and hurting them is a means to hellfire. Abu Hurayrah said, “the Prophet was asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, a certain woman prays in the night, fasts in the day, acts and gives in charity but injures her neighbors with her tongue.’ The Messenger of Allah said, ‘There is no good in her. She is one of the people of the Fire.’ They said, ‘Another woman prays the prescribed prayers and gives bits of curd as charity and does not injure anyone.’ The Messenger of Allah said, ‘She is one of the people of Paradise (al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad).

The good word also has a deeply good effect on creating good relations with Muslims and non-Muslims alike, insomuch that Allah commands nice words even with enemies of Allah. Allah, the Almighty, says, “Go, both of you, to Pharaoh, for he has transgressed, and speak to him nicely; so that he might bethink himself or [at least] be filled with apprehension (the Quran, 20: 43-44).

Considerably, the written words also have deep positive and negative effects. Both written and said words are two forms of trust. Each penman shall respect the duty of his/her pen and avoid all possible errors. Indeed, one’s pen reflects his/her ethics and opinions. A writer shall use his/her pen in advocacy of the truth and calling for virtues. Al-Jahez said, “Pen is one of the two tongues [sword and tongue]. Indeed, the pen is longer in life and more surviving in effect!” The pen is sharper and stronger than a sword is. As such, spreading false news, misreporting facts and defaming people as well as other forms of social slanders are all forms of dishonesty and treachery.

Let writers fear Allah and know for sure that their writings will stand as witnesses for or against them before Allah; the poet, may his soul rest in peace, said:

Writings live long after their writers die

Only write a thing therewith you are pleased to see on the last Day

Let each person realize the responsibility s/he bears for his/her words before Allah, conscience and all the creation as well. One shall care for their words, lest they may disunite hearts, create social disruption in the society, cut off kinsfolk’s ties or spoil relations of peoples.

We badly need good and sincere words for the good effect they have on promoting love and friendship and eliminating disunity and grudge.

Success and forgiveness are made contingent upon the good and truthful word. Allah, the Almighty, says, “O you who believe, be aware of Allah and speak only the truth; He will direct your works, and forgive your sins. Indeed, whoever obeys Allah and His messenger has triumphed a great triumph” (the Quran, 33: 70-71).

Beauty, Delight and Common Sense

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Islam is the religion of civilization and progress, perfection and beauty, and delight and happiness. All Islamic texts, directives and ways lead to this end. The Qur’ān and the Sunnah affirm these meanings. For example, Allah, the Almighty, says in His Book:

  • “And the grazing livestock He has created for you; in them is warmth and [numerous] benefits, and from them you eat. And for you in them is [the enjoyment of] beauty when you bring them in [for the evening] and when you send them out [to pasture]” (the Quran, 16: 5-6).
  • He also says, “[It is He] who has made for you the earth as a bed [spread out] and inserted therein for you roadways and sent down from the sky, rain and produced thereby categories of various plants” (the Quran, 20: 53).
  • He also says, “And made grow therein [something] of every beautiful kind” (the Quran, 50: 7)
  • He also says, “And He sent down for you rain from the sky, causing to grow thereby gardens of joyful beauty which you could not [otherwise] have grown the trees thereof? Is there a deity with Allah? [No], but they are a people who ascribe equals [to Him]“ (the Quran, 27: 60)
  • He also says, “Then do they not look at the camels – how they are created? And at the sky – how it is raised? And at the mountains – how they are erected? And at the earth – how it is spread out?” (the Quran, 88: 17-20)
  • He also says, “You do not see in the creation of the Most Merciful any inconsistency” (The Quran, 67: 3).
  • Allah also says about the highest heavens, “And We have beautified it for the observers” (The Quran, 15: 16)
  • He also says, “And We adorned the nearest heaven with lamps [i.e., stars, for beauty].” (The Quran, 41: 12).
  • The Noble Qur’ān commands us to assume the best beautiful appearance and take adornment at every Mosque as He said, “O children of Adam, take your adornment [i.e., wear your clothing] at every mosque and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess. Say, Who has forbidden the adornment of [i.e., from] Allah which He has produced for His servants and the good [lawful] things of provision? Say, They are for those who believe during worldly life [but] exclusively for them on the Day of Resurrection. Thus do We detail the verses for a people who know” (the Quran, 7: 31-32).

Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “He who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride shall not enter Paradise. A man said: Verily a person loves that his dress should be fine, and his shoes should be fine. Prophet Muhammad remarked: Verily, Allah is Beautiful and loves beauty. Pride is disdaining the truth (out of self-conceit) and contempt for the people” (Reported by Muslim). When al-Mughirah Ibn Shu’bah (may Allah be pleased with him) told the Prophet that he proposed to a woman, the Prophet said to him: “Look at her, for indeed that is more likely to create love between you” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi).

Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) used to love perfume and called people to receive other people with cheerful faces and smiles. He said, “Do not consider anything insignificant out of good things even if it is that you meet your brother with a cheerful countenance” (Reported by Muslim). For him, making people happy is one of the best deeds in the sight of Allah, the Almighty. Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “No one brings joy to the heart of a Muslim, except that Allah will please him on the day of Resurrection.”

The Prophet (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) also said, “The most beloved deed to Allah is to make a Muslim happy.” He (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) urged his Companions to wear the best clothes on Fridays, feasts and public occasions. However, the true beauty is not restricted to physical appearance, but it goes beyond it to the beauty of one’s nature, manners and character. Mustafa Sadiq al-Rafi‘i (may Allah rest his soul in peace) said, “The best of women is the one whose manners and mind are as beautiful as her face. If this woman was married to a suitable man, she would make his life much easier and comfortable.” The poet said:

When a man’s honor is not defiled by baseness,

Then every cloak he wears is comely.

She upbraided us that we are few in number,

but I said to her, ‘noble men are few’.

It is of no consequence that we are few, seeing that our kinsman is protected,

whereas the kinsman of the many is abased.

All of us have to beautify ourselves with the beauty of Islam in our nature, appearance, environment, schools, institutes, gardens, parks and public places. We should never distort the beautiful and delightful places with what is repulsive to common sense.

One of the most important signs of common sense, beauty and progress is the choice of good and sweet words. Umar Ibn al-Khattab passed by some people who were kindling a fire. He disliked to say to them, Peace be upon you, O people of the fire, and instead said, Peace be upon you, O people of the light.

Islam encourages us to choose the best names with lofty meanings and to keep away from repulsive names and from everything that is repulsive to nature and common sense. The Holy Qur’ān commands us to do what is best and to say what is good, rather what is best. Allah, the Almighty, says, “And speak to people good [words]” (The Quran, 2: 83). Allah also says, “And tell My servants to say that which is best.” (The Quran, 17: 53). Let our slogan be, “Common sense, progress and beauty” because we need common sense to enjoy this beauty and disseminate it in the society.

When a man’s honor is not defiled by baseness,

Then every cloak he wears is comely.

She upbraided us that we are few in number,

But I said to her, ‘noble men are few’.

It is of no consequence that we are few, seeing that our kinsman is protected,

whereas the kinsman of the many is abased.