Posts Tagged Islam

Zabihah.com, An Excellent Resource for Eating Islamically

Zabihah.com, www.zabihah.com,  is a great website if you are looking for places to get zabihah food. If you have used yelp, you will find its format very familiar. It gives you tons of useful information about restaurants, groceries and restaurant/groceries. Most importantly, it gives customer reviews written by real Muslim customers. You can find addresses and phone numbers for the locations listed. You can even get an idea of the prices as the site uses a scale with $ being cheap and $$$$ being expensive.

There’s a terrific review for a local favorite of mine, Mediterranean Oasis, http://www.zabihah.com/d/Naperville+7701+Mediterranean-Oasis-Mart/. It has a rating of 4.9 out of 5.0, based on 12 reviews.

Here’s one review I particularly liked:

★★★★★ Arguably the best halal meat store in Chicagoland – big selection of groceries and meats including the widest selection of halal cold cuts and deli meats that I have ever seen: turkey breast, salamis, pastrami, etc. There’s a small restaurant counter that is better than most full-fledged middle eastern restaurants. Single biggest reason to move to Naperville.  (M.A. Hussain, Lincolnwood, IL).

Before you go out to eat, check out zabihah.com. It’s a real timesaver.

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How to Eat in Islam

Read “How to Eat in Islam” by Stylish Muslimah, http://stylishmuslimah.blogspot.com/2011/06/how-to-eat-in-islam.html. (The original author is Pixie of the “I Love Hishma” blog.) There are three points that I would emphasize. First, wash your hands before a meal. This is crucial to prevent disease and to promote good health. Second, if you are unsure of what a food is, you should ask. It does not hurt to ask. Why jeopardize your good deeds and your health? You need to know if the food you are eating is halal. Third, after you finish eating, rinse out your mouth. This is especially beneficial for the health of your teeth. Food particles left behind in your mouth can lead to the growth of bacteria and plaque. Read the whole article, http://stylishmuslimah.blogspot.com/2011/06/how-to-eat-in-islam.html, and put into practice. You’ll be glad that you did.

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What is God?

Different ways of defining God exist. One can define God as “one who does not die.” One can define God as “the Creator.”

But a rock does not die, so does that make a rock into God? A bird can create a nest, does that make it God?

The best way of defining God is as “a being worthy of being worshiped.” This does not mean that anything that is worshiped is God. It is possible that a person could worship something that is not worthy of worship. A person might worship a statue of the Greek deity Hades. But Hades is not worthy of worship. Even those who believed in Hades saw him as the weak, misanthropic brother of Zeus and Poseidon.

Whatever we worship ought to be all-powerful or omnipotent. It does not make sense to worship something if there exists in the universe something more powerful. If something exists that is more powerful than the one we worship, then it could thwart the will of the one we worship.

Whatever we worship ought to be all-knowing or omniscient. If the one we worship is not all-knowing then there might exist someone who knows more than the one we worship. That means it could thwart the one we worship by trickery. Also if the one we worship is not all-knowing then how can we be sure it is even aware of our worship? If the one we worship is limited in knowledge, it is not worthy of our worship.

Finally, the one we worship ought to be morally flawless. It would not be right to worship a being, even a very powerful, very smart being, unless it was also good. How can we worship a sinner?

Allah is The All=Powerful (Al-Qadeer), The All-Knowing (Al-‘Aleem), and As-Salaam (The Perfect). There is nothing worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger.

[Special thanks to Professor James Hall]

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Abraham/Ibraheem

(34) And when Abraham said: My Lord! Make safe this territory, and preserve me and my sons from serving idols. (35) My Lord! Lo! they have led many of mankind astray. But whoso followeth me, he verily is of me. And whoso disobeyeth me – Still Thou art Forgiving, Merciful. (36) Our Lord! Lo! I have settled some of my posterity in an uncultivable valley near unto Thy holy House, our Lord! that they may establish proper worship; so incline some hearts of men that they may yearn toward them, and provide Thou them with fruits in order that they may be thankful. (37) Our Lord! Lo! Thou knowest that which we hide and that which we proclaim. Nothing in the earth or in the heaven is hidden from Allah. (38) Praise be to Allah Who hath given me, in my old age, Ishmael and Isaac! Lo! my Lord is indeed the Hearer of Prayer. (39) My Lord! Make me to establish proper worship, and some of my posterity (also); our Lord! and accept my prayer. (40) Our Lord! Forgive me and my parents and believers on the day when the account is cast.

Prophet Ibraheem (A) also known as Abraham and Abram, was a father. He was the father of Ismail (A) and Ishaq (A).  Ismail was an ancestor of Prophet Muhammad (S). Ishaq (A) was the ancestor of many prophets including Yaqub (A), Yusuf (A), Musa (A), and Isa (A).

This passage of the Quran from a chapter named for Ibraheem (A) is a beautiful prayer expressing the prophet’s hopes and dreams for the future. He asks first for safety, reflecting his role as a caring father. He implores Allah to protect his family from idol worship. Ibraheem (A) was the son of an idol maker, so he knew the dangers of idol worship, which the Quran calls shirk.

He expresses concern about the settling of his family in Arabia, the land of the Kaaba, which he built with his older son, Ismail (A).  He knows that it is rough territory. Yet he believes that Allah (SWT) can provide with no limits.

He thanks Allah (SWT)  for giving him his two sons. He testifies that Allah (SWT) is the “Hearer of Prayer.” Knowing that he has prayed to Allah (SWT) and that He has answered him time and again, he expresses his deep gratitude to his Creator. How many of us remember the prayers Allah has answered when we ask Him for something new?

He closes with a sentence that is succinct yet all-encompassing.  In conclusion, he says, “Our Lord! Forgive me and my parents and believers on the day when the account is cast.” He looks to the present, asking for his own forgiveness. He looks to the past, asking for forgiveness for his parents. His father made idols, but Ibraheem (A) still holds on to the hope that Allah (SWT) will pardon him. Then he looks to the future, asking for forgiveness for the believers that will come after him, a group that, Inshallah, includes us.

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Divorce and Human Decency

“Neither shall a mother be made to suffer harm on account of her child, nor a father on account of his child.” (Quran 2:233)

If you have kids, and especially if you are going through a divorce, remember that no parent should ever have to suffer because of his or her kids. Don’t be unreasonable in seeking child support or visitation. Don’t turn your kids against your spouse. Sometimes a divorce is the best option for everyone involved, but an ugly divorce doesn’t help anyone.

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Beneficent

Muslims use the word “beneficent” frequently. It is a common translation for the Arabic, Rahman. But they often pronounce it incorrectly. Furthermore, both Muslim speakers and Muslim audiences seem unaware of what the word means.

Here is a much needed guide to the word beneficent. First, the pronunciation goes like this: buh-nef-uh-suhnt. The bold print indicates the stressed syllable. If you go here, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/beneficent, and click the speaker icon, you can hear the correct pronunciation.

Now the meaning. The word has three parts: bene, fic, and ent. Bene means good or well as it does in the word benefit. Fic comes from a verb that expresses doing or making. Think of the word fiction – things that are made up. This root can also be spelled fac so you can also relate this to factory – a place where products are made. Oddly enough, fact comes from the same root as fiction, but it means something that has been done, not something made up.

The end of the word, ent, just makes the word an adjective. If you replaced the ent with ence, you would have beneficence, a noun, the quality of doing good.

So putting it together and returning to dictionary.com, beneficent means “doing good or causing good to be done; conferring benefits; kindly in action or purpose. ”

One last note, there is a difference between Rahman and Ar-Rahman. The first is a normal adjective, the second is a superlative adjective. Superlatives refer to “the best,” “the greatest,” or “the most.” Ar-Rahman is The Most Beneficent.

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The Soul According to the Quran

The Quran describes the origin of the soul in the creation of humans. “So when I have made him complete and breathed into him of My spirit (ruh), fall down making obeisance to him” (15:29). Allah describes the “ruh” as coming from His Own Spirit. He commands creation to do obeisance, i.e. show great respect, to humanity.

Allah explains that He controls every soul’s existence. “And no soul can die but with Allah’s permission” (4:144). We pray to Allah to preserve our lives because He has the power to prevent any death.

The soul is not alone but is attached to two entities. “And every soul comes, with it a driver and a witness” (50:21). This may be connected to the idea that there are two angels recording the deeds of each person. Islam also teaches that each person has a shaytan, or devil, that inspires him or her to do evil.

Allah teaches us that He will hold us accountable for our souls. “And whether you manifest what is in your souls or hide it, Allah will call you to account according to it.”
We may try to hide our sins, and this is a good thing, but we cannot hide them from Allah.

The soul often urges people to do wicked things. “Surely (man’s) self is wont to command evil, except those on whom my Lord has mercy” (12:53). If we do good, it is the product of Allah’s mercy upon us and not something we have earned ourselves.

“He has succeeded who purifies [his soul.] And he has failed who has corrupted it.” (91:9-10).

The highest stage of development of the soul brings it lasting peace. “O soul that art at rest, return to thy Lord, well- pleased, well-pleasing, So enter among My servants, And enter My Garden!” (89:27-30).

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