Category Archives: Halal

Love is Blind: why I don’t celebrate the Prophet’s birthday

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Love is Blind:  why I don’t celebrate the Prophet’s birthday According to my research, no celebration of Muhammad’s birthday was established in the Qur-aan, his Sunna, or even the lives of the (exemplar) generations of Muslims. (Which is why nobody started celebrating it until after that time.)

What is it that made his life substantial anyway?
Why is it that we have cause to celebrate it?
What makes him the greatest man in history?

It was the REVELATION. And it is that that we do- and in fact must- celebrate.

“The month of Ramadan in which was sent down the Recitation (Qur-aan): a guidance for mankind, clear proofs for the guidance, and a criterion. So whoever amongst you sees the month, then let him fast it…. Allaah wants ease for you- he does not want difficulty for you- and that you complete the number (of days) and that you magnify Allaah for his having guided you so that you will be grateful.” (2.185)

So the only celebration connected with Muhammad’s person and life is the revelation of the Qur-aan to him. What we celebrate about Muhammad’s life is the Nubuwwa (Prophethood), i.e. the guidance, proofs that re-assure us that it is indeed guidance, and knowledge or right and wrong. This is unusual, though: how do you celebrate things like guidance and knowledge? By following them!

What is the correct way to commemorate Muhammad?

1) Ramadaan. As mentioned above, this is the time we commemorate the revelation, and Muhammad’s dutiful conveyance of it, by abstaining from food, drink and sex from dawn to sunset. Stop eating all night and sleeping half the day, with the other half reserved for preparations of feasts and parties. Read the Qur-aan and reflect on it more. Increase your takbeeraat (utterances of “Allaahu akbar!”). Do I’tikaaf (seclusion in the masjid). Pray taraaweeh every night so that you can hear the entire Qur-aan, the only revelation that was ever preserved. Learn Fussha ‘Arabic so that you can understand it.

2) Follow his guidance. He him self said, “Whoever guides [another] to a good deed will get a reward similar to the one who performs it.” [Saheeh Muslim]. So every single good deed you perform according to his guidance will add to his reward with Allaah, and yours, with no decrease in either.

2) Pray over him:
“Verily Allaah and his angels pray over the prophet. O you who have believed!: Pray over him and greet him with a greeting” (Qur-aan 33.59)

So if you love him, celebrate what you love about him- that he was a guide and a mercy-by Allah’s leave- by following the guidance.
Do good deeds and command others to them.
Stop your evil deeds and forbid others from them.
Learn and implement your knowledge.
Be a mercy to the world.
Suppress your anger.
Speak good or keep silent.
Give openly and in secret.
Marry the widows, divorcees and orphans.
Open your hearts, homes, and wealth to the refugees.
Don’t pollute the same mouth with which you recite the Qur-aan with profanity, lies, backbiting, slander, haraam food and smoke.
Leave ribaa (usury, interest, etc.).
Shun establishments and gatherings where alcohol is present, and tell them why.
Stop overeating- save 1/3 for food, 1/3 for water, and 1/3 for air.
Increase the romance in your marriage, for indeed Muhammad and his wives were tender and loving to each other.
Pray more Salaa, wherein you can say the Salaatu-lIbraaheem over Muhammad and his family.
Say your Salaa over him whenever you hear or read his names or titles.
Strive, in every way possible, to establish Allaah’s word as uppermost in every sphere- the internet, the laboratory, the classroom, the workplace, the market, the battlefield, the debates, the magazines, everywhere.

True enough, people sang odes and recited poems of praise in Muhammad’s very presence. But read those ahaadeeth (narrations) again. Look at the context. These were celebrations of military victories, not his birthday. So go and strive to save the Muslims from slaughter, ethnic cleansing, displacement, genocide, marginalization and humiliation and rape and illegal imprisonment. Go and liberate other lands from economic slavery, from the oppression and dehumanization of other ways to the freedom of Islam.

Love Muhammad. Love him with all your heart. Love him more than you love your self. I love him with you.

But know that love is often blind…

“Stop where the people [i.e., the Companions] stopped, for they stopped based on knowledge and restrained themselves due to deep insight. They were better able to uncover it, and if there was virtue in it they were most suitable to gain it. If you say: ‘Somethin…g new happened after them,’ [know that] those who disagreed with their guidance …and preferred another sunnah beside theirs innovated regarding it. They [i.e., the Companions] described what fulfilled the need and what they spoke about was sufficient. No one expended more effort than them and those following them. Some people fell short of [following] them and went astray, while others passed them and became extremists. They were between that onstraight guidance.”
– reported from ‘Umar bin ‘Abdu-l’Azeez, known as the 5th Khaleefa Raashid, whose deeds and merits are beyond question.

Abu Said Alkhudri reported Allah’s messenger (May peace be upon him)
as saying,
“You would tread the same path as was trodden by those before you inch by inch and step by step so much so that if they had entered into the hole of the lizard, you would follow them in this also.”
We said. “Allah’s messenger, do you mean Jews and Christians(by your words)”those before you”?”
He said, “Who else?”
– Saheeh Muslim, Chapter MCXII, # 6448

What is the Meelaadu-nNabi, if not following the Christians, who started to celebrate Jesus’ birth, forgetting that they were not obeying him?

 


بِسمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحمٰنِ الرَّحيمِ UMBS is a registered organization devoted to matters of interest to Muslims in Uganda.Muslims from other countries are welcome to join us too. Follow us on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Uganda-Muslim-Brothers-Sisters/128372957263072. Follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/#!/UMBSFORUM. To donate to UMBS activities, click on: http://um-bs.com/donate/ or just deposit money on UMBS Bank A/C at Bank of Africa:07074320002 . Join UMBS forum on facebook at:https://www.facebook.com/groups/ugandamuslimbrotherssis/.

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How to Deal With Relatives Engaged in Shirk( Obulogo)

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WHAT IS SHIRK?

The biggest sin in Islam is shirk: “associating partners with God.” Shirk may be generally defined as polytheism (worshiping of or believing in more than one deity, especially several deities), but also includes such things as the Christian concept of a triune God(Christian Trinity), or the worshipping of anything other than God, whether it’s a human being, any natural/human creation or phenomenon. This tends to create quite a theological abyss between Muslims and polytheists(people who believe in more than one deity), but also with Christians and certain other religious groups.

Expressions such as “Holy Mother of God!”, and “in the name of the Father,Son and Holy Gost…” or “…Holy Cow” give most observant Muslims the theological willies.

TEN THINGS WHICH NULLIFY ONES ISLAAM

There are ten things which nullify one being a Muslim but I’m going to concentrate on the first three and seventh.All praise is due to Allaah, Lord of the worlds. May peace and salutations be upon the Last Messenger of Allaah, and upon all those who follow him until the Last day.To proceed:Brother and Sister Muslim, you must be aware that there are matters which nullify your Islaam. Please be Mindful of them.

1. Associating partners with Alaah (shirk). Allaah Most High says (in the meaning ):

“Truly, whosoever sets up partners with Allaah, then Allaah has forbidden the Garden for him, and the Fire will be his abode. And for the wrongdoers there are no helpers.” (Soorah Al-Maa’ida 5:72)

Calling upon the dead, asking their help, or offering them gifts or sacrifices are all forms of shirk.

2. Setting up intermediaries between oneself and Allaah, making supplication to them, asking their intercession with Allaah, and placing ones trust in them is unbelief (kufr).

3. Anyone who does not consider the polytheists (mushrikeen) to be unbelievers, or who has doubts concerning their unbelief, or considers their way to be correct, is himself/herself an unbeliever (kafir).

7. The practice of magic. Included in this, for example, is causing a rift between a husband and wife by turning his love for her into hatred, or tempting a person to do things he dislikes using black arts. One who engages in such a thing or is pleased with it is outside the fold of Islaam. Allaah Most High says (in the meaning):

” But neither of these two (angels, Harut and Marut) taught anyone (magic) till they had said, Indeed, we are a trial; then do not disbelieve. (Soorah Al-Baqarah 2:102)

8. Supporting and aiding polytheists against the Muslims. Allaah Most High says (in the meaning):

“Whoever among you who takes them as allies is surely one of them. Truly, Allaah does not guide the wrongdoers.” (Soorah Al-Maaida 5:51)

RIGHTS OF OTHER RELATIVES

Besides parents’ rights, a great emphasis is also laid on the rights of other relatives.  In Islamic terms, ‘Silah-Rahimi’ is used to denote ‘good treatment towards the relatives’.

In the Quraan, where the Muslims are enjoined to show kindness to parents, they are also required to treat the other relatives with love and sympathy and to pay due regard to their rights as well.

the foremost claim on a person is that of his mother, then of his father, and then grade by grade, of the other relatives.  Therefore through relationship, the relatives’ rights come after that of the parents.

Allah has declared, “I am Allah, I am Ar-Rahman (The Merciful), I have created the bond of kinship and named it Rahim,-which I have derived from the root of my name of Rahman.  Thus, whoever, shall join it (ie. Rahim), I shall join him, and whoever will break it, I shall break him.”

The Almighty has designed the system of birth in such a way, that whoever is born, is tied to the bonds of kinship-and these bonds carry certain claims and rights.  Thus, whoever fulfils these claims, by being kind to his relatives and treating them well, Allah will “join him” i.e. He will make him  His own and bestow His favour and mercy on him.  And whosoever will violate these claims, Allah will “break him” i.e. He will have nothing to do with him.

Fulfilling the Rights of Relatives

It is related by Anas (R.A.) that the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said “Whoever wants an increase in his sustenance and that the marks of his feet remain for a long time in the world (i.e. to live long) – he should be kind and helpful to his relatives.”

Basically, there are two ways of being kind and considerate to relatives.   One is by giving them monetary assistance, when needed, and the other is by devoting a part of one’s time and energy at their service.

Family quarrels, which generally arise from the disregard of the relatives’ rights, affect a man’s health and make it difficult for him
to concentrate in his work.  Those who treat their relatives well and are helpful to them, are free from tensions of this kind and they are happier and more peaceful.

Violation of Relatives’ Rights

The Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam has said “Whoever violates the rights of relatives, shall not go to Paradise.”

Commentary:- This hadeeth, alone, should be enough to make us realise the importance of ‘Silah-Rahimi’.  It shows that the violation of the relatives’ rights is so detested by Allah, that with its filthiness, no one can enter Paradise.  It is only when a person (believer) has received his punishment or has been forgiven, that the gates of Paradise will be opened for him.

Showing Kindness to Those Who Severe Relations

Often, there are people who care little for the bonds of relationship and are rude and unjust in this respect.  Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam has enjoined to continue to treat them well and fulfil the obligations, irrespective of what they do and how they behave.

Abdullah ibn Umar(R.A.) relates from the Prophet (S.A.W.), “He does not fulfill the claim of Silah-Rahimi who shows no kindness in return for the kindness shown to him.. The person who really fulfils the claim is he who treats his relatives well even when they are mean and unjust to him’’.

When the violation of the rights of relatives is returned in a similar manner, the evil will spread in the society — while if it is returned with kindness, it may lead to their correction and it will assist in the promotion of Silah-Rahimi, in the life of the community.

Keeping a grudge with a relative shortens some one’s life on earth according to Islam. Allah may prolong or shorten one’s life depending on the relationship one holds with his or her relatives. There are several hadiths or ilimu around this area.

When a relative is engaged in Shirq, we still continue to show kindness and love to them unless if their involvement in Shirq may affect your belief in Islam. If it does, then avoiding your relative is allowed in Islam.

Wassalamu.

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

http://ugandansatheart.org/
http://twitter.com/#!/semuwemba
http://jjanguonkwekule.blogspot.com/
http://semuwemba.wordpress.com/

Building global halal brands

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The race is on to establish powerful international ‘halal brands’. The stakes are high: by some estimates, the global market for halal products is worth $500bn a year.

But it’s a market strewn with confusion, as separate Muslim countries try to establish recognised standards and producers from outside the Muslim world also hurry to enter the market. That leaves many Muslim consumers crying out for reliable brands that will help them guide their choices.

First, for the uninitiated, what is halal? In its broadest sense, it applies to anything that is “permitted” or “lawful”and covers everything from food to finance to logistics. In a narrower sense, it covers anything made from animal products, especially food, personal care products and pharmaceuticals.

Certification in these industries can be especially tricky. That makes it all the more important for marketers to establish credible brands that give Muslim consumers the assurance and confidence they crave. As halal brands proliferate, those that can establish instant recognition and credibility will gain a larger mind share and pocket share among Muslim consumers. As in any industry, brands that establish first mover credentials are likely to win.

For now, the race to establish recognised brands is being conducted at country level. Brunei Darussalam sees the ‘Brunei Halal Brand’ as a means of diversifying its economy away from oil. It focuses primarily on food and offers small and medium sized enterprises an umbrella brand under which they can reach an international audience.

As part of that effort it plans to open a UK facility in Birmingham, a city with a large Muslim population. It also wants to strengthen its Islamic association in the minds of Muslims, with a tourism initiative titled “Brunei Islamic Experience.” The aim is to net a share of the blossoming halal tourism market, which requires halal certified hotels and restaurants.

Singapore is also vying to create value with its Singapore Halal Brand. The minister for Muslim affairs spoke recently about how a quintupling of halal-certified restaurants has boosted tourism. Given that two of Singapore’s biggest markets for tourists are Malaysia and Indonesia, the increase in halal food availability is a clear win.

Similarly, Malaysia’s JAKIM (Department of Islamic Development) wants to establish itself as a global standard, supported by the Halal Industry Development Corporation, set up by the government.

Governments outside the Muslim world are also joining in. New Zealand Trade and Enterprise has identified halal as an emerging global trend that holds promise for the country’s food and beverage and cosmetics industries. The government in the Philippines – a predominantly Roman Catholic country with a Muslim minority – recently issued halal guidelines. Even Carrefour in France has brought a range of halal products to market – though French retailars have been rather coy on the subject.

We must take Muslim nations at their word when they say they are developing Muslim brands with a view to the welfare of their Muslim citizens. But to achieve that aim, internationally-recognised standards will be important, by delivering clarity and ease of deciphering the various halal brands.

None of this means there is not room in the market for many brands. But there are tips to follow and pitfalls to avoid if a brand is to enjoy success.

Even where standards are shared, brands of course will vary. This is where differentiation is important. Brands can exhibit different values and can excel tremendously through communications and engagement with target consumers. For brands that want to win loyalty, standards are the technical backbone, the must-have qualities. But for the brand to engage with consumers, it must be a friend and support the consumer’s Muslim lifestyle.

The most important quality for a consumer halal brand is to offer clear, simple and credible information on what makes the product halal and who has certified it. With modern manufacturing techniques involving a myriad of ingredients and processes, and inputs from multiple sources, it can be hard for a lay customer to know definitively whether a product is halal.

From our own research across Muslim markets, we found that Muslim consumers yearn for brands to help them identify products to support their chosen lifestyles. The halal brand they select becomes a byword for the level of piety that suits them and represents who they are.

Brands must explain their halal credentials, of which one aspect is a clear and credible logo. But a halal brand is much more than a logo. It must stand for values that are important to the Muslim consumer: purity, integrity, transparency and wholesomeness, to name a few. For tech savvy futurists who are the most influential among Muslim consumers, putting clear information on the web is crucial. Equally important is that retail staff should be primed on the halal logo used and the certifier.

For products other than food and beverages, an explanation of what it means to be halal and how the product achieves it is even more important. In the halal cosmetics industry, this means no alcohols and no animal-derivative ingredients. There is also a growing trend towards ethical and organic production, as well as use of traditional, local ingredients.

What national brands must avoid is conveying a sense of competitiveness or bickering. While standards may vary, there is nothing more off-putting for Muslim consumers than what they see as the un-Islamic behaviour of putting another brand down or causing confusion. Above all, brands must exude credibility.

The last point is particularly crucial for halal brands from non-Muslim countries. Muslim consumers will ask: under what authority is this product deemed halal? Our research found that Muslim consumers are not averse to such brands. Whether they are of Muslim origin or not, along with halal credentials, what consumers want is quality, care and clarity.

Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei are mooting unified halal standards. Such moves should be supported – the more products that carry a global halal brand, the more familiar and accepted it will be among consumers.

But unification is not easy. Participants must see the value in going through the process. In Brunei, for example, restaurateurs said the process was too complicated. Certification must be rolled out with positive buy-in, or it risks alienate those providing goods and services. Hotel owners in Malaysia faced exactly this issue.

The takeaway message is that credibility and clarity are the fundamental pillars of any global halal brand. Muslim consumers see halal brands as their allies in building their Islamic lifestyle. Halal brands must keep this trust in mind and ensure that their products and communications express how this trust is valued, and how the brand helps to safeguard its consumers’ well-being.

Shelina is a senior strategist at Ogilvy Noor, the world’s first bespoke consultancy for building brands with Muslim consumers. Ogilvy Noor is part of Ogilvy & Mather.


بِسمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحمٰنِ الرَّحيمِ UMBS is a registered organization devoted to matters of interest to Muslims in Uganda.Muslims from other countries are welcome to join us too. Follow us on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Uganda-Muslim-Brothers-Sisters/128372957263072. Follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/#!/UMBSFORUM. To donate to UMBS activities, click on: http://um-bs.com/donate/ or just deposit money on UMBS Bank A/C at Bank of Africa:07074320002 . Join UMBS forum on facebook at:https://www.facebook.com/groups/ugandamuslimbrotherssis/.