Saturday, May 26, 2007

What is Jihad??

AL-JIHAD=or Holly fighting in the Cause of Allahor any other kind of
effort to make Allah's Word ( i.e. Islam our religion) superior. This
Jihad is also one of the regarded fundamental of Islam.

Jihad also means to struggle against the true enemy of Islam who
fights against the religion of Islam... Jihad is not for kiiling an
innocent people... Jihad is only for fighting against those who are Al-
Mushrikun, (disbeleivers, killers, and those who dont follow or
disobeys the words of Allah i.e. the Qur'an). Jihad is also to fights
agagainst the wrong belief. We cannot do Jihad without Allah's
permission because we will transgress the lismits of Allah which He
have given to the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaho Alayhi wa' Sallam).

As what Allah (SWA) said in Qur'an: " And fight in the Way of Allah
those who fight against you, but transgress not the limits.Truly,
Allah likes not the transgressors. " (Surah Al-Baqarah V.2:190)

Al-JIHAD or Holy fighting in Allah Cause with full force or numbers
and weapon is given the utmost importance in Islam because it is the
one of the pillars of Islam( which its stands). By the Jihad, Islam
is established, Allah's Word is made superior, His Word being "La
ilaha illa Allah which means none has the right to be worshipped but
Allah. And His religion is Islam. But those who propagted and who
abandoning Jihad ( may Allah protect us from that), Islam will
destroyed and the Muslim will fall into an inferior position; thier
honour will lost, thier hands was stolen, thier rules and authority
will be vanished. So we must not abandoned Jihad or we will be fall
into deep Fitnah (i.e disbelief, trials, affliction, earthquakes,
killing, over powered by the tyrant). So Jihad is an obligatory duty
of every Muslim, and those who tries to escape from this duty, or does
not in his innermost heart wish to fulfil this duty, dies with one of
the qualities of hypocrite ( Nifaq).

Allah (SWA) said in the Qur'an:" And fight them until there is no more
Fitnah( disbelief and worshipping others along with Allah)and ( all
and every kind of worship is for Allah (Alone). But if they cease it,
let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun ( the
polytheist, and wrong doers). ( Surah Al-Baqarah V.2:193)

This words" But if they cease. let there be no transgressions except
against Az-Zalimun". ... means that if those diebeleivers whom you
fight agree to your opinion and they embrace Islam with full
submissiveness and do as what Allah have ordained and abstain of what
Allah has forbiden, let them live and dont fight aaagainst them,
because Allah is Most Merciful to whom who do repent. But if they (
the disbelievers) dont accept your opinion and they still follow thier
own lust, they kill and fight against you (Islam) then let them be on
what they want... And leave it to Allah let Allah punished them all (
those who are disbelievers) .. Surely Allah Alone who do punished.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Smoking in Islam

"And do not kill yourselves; indeed, Allah is ever Merciful to you". an Nisa 4:29

A general rule of the Islamic Shar'iah (law) is that to ingest anything that may cause injury, illness or death, either quickly or gradually, is forbidden (haram). Any form of self-injury is discouraged, nor is one permitted to harm another.

This understanding is based on the premise that a person is not entirely his own master; his life, health, wealth, and all that Allah has bestowed upon him belong to Allah, and he is on this earth to fulfill a trust with Him, hence he is not permitted to destroy or diminish any of it. This also extends to the earth, everything in and on it, and the environment.

Smoking is known to damage the smoker's health, those around him as well as the environment. Even the packet displays a health warning that smoking KILLS.

"And do not be cast into ruin by your own hands". al Baqarah 2:195

In Islamic communities there is a major guaranteed method of seeking advantage and combating corruption, which is the promotion of good (maarouf) and the censure of abominations (munkar). This is an obligation that goes beyond mere education and information availability and involves checking that the information is actually put to practical use.

Every Muslim who knows, for example, that smoking kills and knows the harmful effects it produces regards it as his duty to inform others about it and make every other member of his community aware of the dangers of smoking. But things do not stop at that. He even considers it his duty when he sees someone smoking to ask him, in a gentle manner, to stop because smoking is harmful to the smoker. He also points out to him that if it is permissible for a person to harm himself, which it is not, it is a greater sin to cause harm to others.

The Prophet (saw - may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade causing harm to individuals and to the community, as he said: "There shall be no infliction of harm on oneself or others".

He also forbade any injury to one's neighbor, any neighbor, whether in residence, public transport, public places, or offices. He said: "Whoever believes in God and the Day of Judgment should not hurt his neighbor".

The same attitude is adopted by every responsible Muslim towards a person who pours the waste of his factory into waters that are for common use or into other areas of the common environment, or indeed towards any person who contributes in any way to the pollution of the environment. Enjoining what is right and good and forbidding what is wrong and evil, which is a fundamental principle of Islam, ensures the vigilance of every member of an Islamic community to make sure that the law is enforced, the common interest is guarded, and every source of corruption is blocked. Islam makes the protection of the environment and censure of its corruption a duty of the righteous society.

"Do not waste life or property." reported by al Bukhari

Health promotion is the basic stage in protecting human health, or let us say, it is primary prevention. It is the first and the most important thing to do. To protect people from falling victim to a disease is to spare them much suffering, and to spare their tissues and organs much damage and undesirable consequences. Furthermore it saves society a heavy bill.

"Do not harm yourself or others.'' reported by Ahmad and Ibn Majah

All measures that aim to ensure the early detection of any ailment and the immediate intervention to check it fall under secondary prevention. There is also tertiary prevention, which includes the procedures followed to minimize the consequences of handicaps and disabilities should they occur, to reduce the suffering resulting from any incurable ailment, and to improve a patient's ability to adjust to living with such incurable impairment. All this is classified as rehabilitation. What is mentioned concerning health is applicable to the environment to a great extent.

http://www.visualdh aqsa_pano. htm (al aqsa - panoramic view)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

When Ants Sense Danger

WADEA Omrany notes a new scientific miracle in Surah Al-Naml ("Ants"), Verse number 18. This new miracle is about the scientific discovery that ants communicate with each other, especially when informing of impending danger.

God says what means in Surah Al-Naml: "At length, when they came to a (lowly) valley of ants, one of the ants said: 'O ye ants, get into your habitations, lest Solomon and his hosts should crush you (under foot without knowing it)." (27:18)

The ant reported the imminent danger facing them in four successive stages as follow:
"O ye ants" - this is the first alarm given by the ant to draw the attention of the other ants quickly. On receiving this alarm, the other ants stand alert to receive the other signals given by the same speaker ant.
"Get into your habitations" - here the speaker ant follows up with another signal, ordering the ants to take the next step.
"Lest Solomon and his hosts should crush you" - in these words, the speaker ant shows the reason for this danger to her fellow ants.
"Without knowing it" - the ants, as a reaction to the previous alarms, will make a certain kind of defense, with these last few words. The ant shows its fellow ants that they don't have to attack the source of danger because it is not from a real enemy; the danger doesn't aim to attack the kingdom of ants since Solomon and his soldiers don't know of the ants in their way.

Here's what science says in this context.

Ants use chemical communication in situations of alarm and defence, when fast exchange of information is necessary, and when they face expected danger. This alarm is generally expressed by the emission of chemical signals. The protective glands are responsible for the roles of alarm and defence.

The Australian ant is a case in point. When these ants face danger, they secrete some droplets from their protective gland - so that their fellow ants run and make a vibration with their antennas showing that they are in state of alert.

The first substance detected by the ants is analdehyde hexanal. This draws their attention. As a result, they agitate and raise their antennae to search for other odors.

When they detect hexanol (the first message was in the form of alcohol), the ants go into a state of alert and run in all directions in search of the source of problem. When undécanone is emitted, it attracts the ants toward the source of danger and makes them bite all foreign objects in the anthill. Finally, when they come closer to the target, they discern the butyloctenal , which increases their aggression and their readiness to sacrifice themselves .

Chemical communication is the most important method of communication for ants. They give out different kinds of substances, each having a different code denoting a certain message.

These messages are the same as those of the ant in Surah Al-Naml Verse 18.

The substances that an ant gives out of its body in a situation like this are divided into four, with each substance having a certain language and code.

The successive scientific stages of the reaction of the ants are as follows:
aldéhyde hexanal is the first chemical substance that an ant emits if it senses danger. It is like a siren. On receiving this substance, ants begin to gather at one point where they remain alert and ready to receive the rest of signals. This identifies with the first phrase uttered by the ant in the holy verse "O ye ants."
Then the ant emits the second chemical substance, hexanol. On receiving this substance, the ants begin to run in all directions to determine the source of this substance. The ant that emits the chemical substance should determine the way lest the rest of the ants stray elsewhere. And this is what the ant of Prophet Solomon did when it asked the other ants to enter their habitations by saying " get into your habitations." This is an instruction from the speaker ant to its fellows to go in the direction of the habitations. So, it must have determined the way and this is the same as directing the movement of ants in general.
Undécanone is the third substance that the ant emits.

This substance shows the cause of the danger, and that was what the ant did when it said in the third phrase "lest Solomon and his hosts should crush you (under foot)." In this stage, the ants that receive this substance get ready to face the impending danger.
In the fourth stage, the speaker ant emits butylocténal. This substance gives an order of defence and determines the kind of defence. And so it was said in the last phrase "without knowing it." By doing so, the ant prevented the other ants from entering the stage of attack that would lead to death.

So Prophet Solomon smiled tenderly and mercifully as if saying they needn't worry as he had seen them and would not allow any harm to befall them.

These scientific facts were mentioned in the Holy Qur'an more than 1,400 years ago.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Prohibited Names for Muslim Children

Most read story about new Mothers. The prohibited names are of two categories: those which are forbidden in the Sharee'ah and those which are either disapproved of due to the Sharee'ah, or due to manners and good taste.
Firstly : Forbidden Names :

(1) Names indicating servitude to other than Allah - the Most High such as: 'Abdun-Nabee (slave of the Prophet), 'Abdur-Rasool (slave of the Messenger) and 'Abdul - Muttalib - and whatever is like these names.

(2) Using these names which are particular names of Allah - the One far removed from all deficiencies - like: al-Ahad.

(3) From the names forbidden for our sons and daughters particular to other religions, i.e.: Jews and the Christians, like: George, David, Michael, Joseph, Diana, Jaclyn etc., since we - the Muslims - have been forbidden to imitate them.

(4) From the names which should also be avoided are the names of tyrants and despots like: Fir'awn (Pharaoh), Qaaroon, Aboo Jahl and their like, also the names of the leaders of Kufr and the heads of atheism such as Marx, Lenin and so on.
Secondly: Names disapproved of in the Sharee'ah or disliked due to bad manners or bad taste :

(1) Giving names which are meant to show servitude to Allah but using names not known to be from Allah's perfect names - like 'Abdul-Mawjood, 'Abdul-Maqsood and 'Abdus-Sattaar. This is because nothing can be affirmed as one of Allah's names without an authentic text.

(2) From these names are those which carry meanings of pessimism, or blameworthy characteristics which will be disliked or cause aversion or cause the possessor of the name to feel degraded, humiliated and such as will kill his personality - like Harb (war), Himaar (donkey), and Kalb (dog).

(3) From good manners is to avoid naming children with names which are suggestive or offend one's meaning of shame - such as: Huyaam (one passionately in love), Nuhaad (A young woman with full and raised breasts), Sahaam (summer heat)!, Wisaal (sexual union), Ghaadah (delicate young woman), Faatin (temptress), Fitnah (temptation) , Shaadiyah (female singer) and names with similar meanings.

(4) It is also disliked to give names which amount to a declaration of a person's being pious like: Barrah (pious / piety) and the like - due to this meaning the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) changed the name of one of his wives from Barrah to Zaynab, as he used to hate that it be said: "He left/went out from 'Barrah' (piety)."

(5) From these names which it is disliked to use for naming are the names of the Angels- Particularly if they are used for females - such as Malaak since it is to be feared that this involves imitation of the pagans who gave feminine names to the angels.

(6) Just as it is disliked to name with the names of soorahs of the Qur'an such as: TaaHaa, Yaaseen and other names of soorahs. This is the saying of Imaam Maalik- rahimahullaah- Ibnul- Qayyim also said: "The saying of the common people that Yaaseen and TaaHaa are from the names of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is not correct, there is no 'saheeh' hadeeth about it or any 'hasan' hadeeth, nor anything 'mursal', nor any narration from any Companion, but rather they are letters like 'Alif Laam Meem', 'HaaMeem', 'Alif Laam Raa' and the like".

Ref: http://sisters. islamway. com/modules. php?name= News&file=article&sid=17

Islam WITHOUT Muslims; Muslims WITHOUT Islam

“Islam DOES NOT Need REFORM. The Muslims NEED Reform – To Get Them Back to the Quran & the Sunnah of the Prophet (saws). The SICKularists, the MUTTerates, the FROGressives, the FOOLarists & the DEFORMists (SMUFFED) & the Hadith REJECTORS in the Muslim Community Are NOT the People to Bring in the REFORMATION.”

Islam Without Muslims; Muslims Without Islam

Lubna Hussain
Lubna Hussain is a Saudi Writer. She is based in Riyadh.
http://www.arabview .com/articles. asp?article= 808

“What happens if a woman goes to court here?” asked my father.

“What do you mean?” I counterquestioned.

“What I mean is that if a woman goes to court is she treated as an individual or are her rights based on her gender?”

“Depends on the case, I guess,” I said.

“Come on,” he interjected sarcastically. “Don’t start telling me that women are treated in the manner that has been commanded by God. According to His Law they should be treated as equals. You know that that’s not the case here.”

“You just have to look around at the horrific miscarriages of justice to know that that’s definitely not the case,” he emphasized. “My point is that as much as we try to find fault with the West, one thing is for sure: I would feel far more secure with their system of justice if I were a woman than I would with the one we have here.”

“Yes, in a way you’re right,” I began, “but Islam did give women rights over 1,400 years ago that the so-called civilized world has only started to recognize recently.”

“You’re intelligent enough to know that having rights and not being entitled to them is just as good as not having them at all. In the Qur’an, when a man decides to divorce his wife, God Orders him to leave his wife on an equitable basis and is required to support her. Am I right?” he asked, quoting the verse and chapter.

“Of course,” I agreed.

“So if we are really honest with ourselves, does the law here enforce that or even recognize it in part?”

“Not that I know of,” I admitted.

“Alright. This means that a woman can quite literally be booted out of her house on to the street with nowhere to go; and if she tries to extract any right or entitlement from her husband, will the court support her in this? Have you ever heard of a Saudi man who is scared of the consequences of not paying his wife alimony or stealing her dowry because he might be taken to court?”

“No,” I conceded thinking of all the women I knew who had had this scenario forced upon them without any hope of recourse.

“Exactly,” he said, having won the argument. “It’s disgusting to think that the courts can overlook the word of God when it comes to preserving and upholding the whole concept of male domination. Judges relish sentences that chastise women for petty matters. You see the way the outwardly pious love to stop women in the street to point out strands of hair that may have escaped their veils or question the identity of the men around them; but when it comes to guaranteeing them their God-given rights they miraculously disappear!”

“Yes,” I said, reflecting upon what he said. “You’re right.”

“A woman cannot even gain custody of her children in a court of law. What sort of a mandate gives the automatic guardianship of little girls over to the hands of a father and stepmother even when a mother is perfectly capable of looking after them? You of all people should know what that feels like. What’s more, the status and importance of a mother in Islam is such that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself said that paradise lies beneath the feet of one’s mother and that a mother’s value is three times greater than that of any other individual.”

“Yes,” I agreed.

It was this very conversation that played in my head when I read two articles printed side by side in the paper this week. One of them highlighted the fact that there are many single mothers and divorcees in society who are denied welfare due to trivial bureaucratic matters and thus forced to live below the poverty line. Imagine that. In Saudi Arabia, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, women are reduced to begging on the streets because the law does not recognize their needs. What kind of an interpretation of Islam is that when our faith is based on a spirit of egalitarianism? When verses upon verses of the Qur’an command us to look after the wretched of our society?

As if that was not bad enough, the adjacent piece highlighted the obstacles that Saudi women married to foreigners have to endure. Whereas a Saudi man may obtain citizenship for his wife and his children, a Saudi woman is not entitled to the same privilege if she marries a non-Saudi. Upon what spurious logic this decision is based upon I do not profess to know, but what I do know for sure is that it has nothing to do with religion.

The great Islamic scholar of the 19th century, Muhammad Abdo wrote that when he visited the West he found Islam but no Muslims and upon his return to the Arab world he countenanced many Muslims but no Islam.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Secret behind Dates

PROPHET Muhammad (pbuh) gave special attention to dates as part of the believer's diet, especially during the holy month of Ramadan. Allah Almighty mentioned palm trees many times in the Qur'an, and made its fruit the food of the dwellers of paradise.

So what are the secrets of this great nutriment? Is it possible to think of using dates as remedy for some diseases? What do scientists of today say about dates?

Dates are one of the most nourishing fruits and it is sometimes called the "bread of desert." More than two third of dates' weight is natural sugar.

This fruit was highly esteemed by the ancient civilizations more than 5,000 years ago. Ancient Egyptians considered dates as a symbol of fertility, while the Romans and the Greeks used it to ornament their stately triumph pageants. Today, dates are widely grown in the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Spain, Italy and the United States. There are more than 600 varieties of dates.

Dates and the pre-birth period
Dates stimulate the uterus by regulating and hastening its contractions to facilitate delivery. The uterus is a relatively large muscular organ and it urgently requires an adequate supply of natural sugar during labor and delivery.
Being a laxative, dates are essential for pregnant women before delivery in order to purge the colon and intestine and to facilitate delivery. The Qura'nic verse explains this, as Allah tells Mary: And shake the trunk of the palm tree towards thee - thou wilt cause ripe dates to fall upon thee [Mariam - 25]

Nutriment and medicine for children
Dates contain natural sugar which is easily absorbed and digested. Thus, it is safe and comforting for children's stomach and intestine. And date juice is useful especially if we mix it with milk - it becomes a very nourishing and restorative drink for children and adults. Dates and honey paste, taken three times a day, is used for the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery in children,
This paste also comforts and hardens the gums during teething and it facilitates the process.

Treatment for obesity
The wide variety of nutritious elements in dates makes it hunger resistive. The cause behind obesity is a persisting feeling of hunger and an appetite for food which drives a person to consume larger amounts of fats and sugar when he eat his meal.
So, treatment by eating a few dates when feeling hungry helps reduce hunger and be filled. These dates provide the body with the necessary sugar and stimulate the intestine, which reduce hunger greatly, and eventually, reduce food consumption. The Prophet's saying shows this: A household that has dates doesn't feel hunger. [Narrated by Muslim].

Remedy for liver and other inflammations
Dates remedy the liver and purge it from toxins. Breaking the fast with dates is one of the most magnificent of natural remedies for the maintenance and purging the liver from accumulated toxins. Also, drinking dates' juice the treatment of sore throat, various types of fever, rhinorrhis and common cold.

Having high medicinal and nutritious value, dates are expected to be the best food for the future. Dates contain as high a percentage as 88 percent of carbohydrate (starch), 2.5-5 percent) of fat, (2.3-5.6 percent) of Protein and (6.4-11.5 percent) of vitamins and dietary fiber. The flesh contains (0.2-5 percent) of oil, whereas the seed's weight is (7.7 -9.7 percent) oil. The weight of the seed is ( 6.6 - 14.2 percent) of the date's weight.

Dates contain Vitamins A, B1 and B2, and fluorine which prevents teeth decay. Other minerals found in various proportions in dates include boron, calcium, cobalt, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, sodium and zinc.

Additionally, the seeds contain aluminum, cadmium, chloride, lead and sulfur in various proportions. Selenium, element believed to help prevent cancer and important in immune function, is also found in dates.

If you are feeling weak, don't hesitate to take seven dates (70 gm) in the morning as the Prophet (pbuh) recommended. You will actually be taking 70 milligrams of calcium, which is very useful for the bones, joints and nerves; 35 milligrams of phosphorus, which is nutritious for the brain; and 7 milligrams of iron, which strengthens the body in general and the heart in particular.

It's also suitable for reducing weight as it contains only 0.25 gm of fat. This prophetic meal also regulates and stimulates the bowels with the 10 gm of dietary fiber it contains.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Acts that Benefit the Dead

Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
"A man's status will be raised in Paradise and he will ask,
'How did I get here?'
He will be told,
'By your son's du`a's (prayers) for forgiveness for you."
(Reported by Ibn Majah)

Elaborating on the acts that can benefit the dead, Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim lecturer and author, states:

"Islam has explained what actions on the part of the living may benefit the dead, and what may reach them in their graves. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "When a person dies, all his deeds come to an end except three: ongoing charity, beneficial knowledge (which he has left behind), or a righteous child who will pray for him." (Reported by at-Tirmidhi with a good chain of transmission)

The most important thing that will benefit the deceased is to strive to pray for him/her and ask for forgiveness and mercy for him, and for Paradise and salvation from the Fire, and other good and beautiful du`a's (supplications) . Prayers for forgiveness offered by both sons and daughters of the deceased bring great benefits, as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
"A man's status will be raised in Paradise and he will ask, 'How did I get here?' He will be told, 'By your son's du`a's (prayers) for forgiveness for you." (Reported by Ibn Majah)

Another thing that may reach the deceased is sadaqah (charity) given on his behalf, because 'Aa'ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) reported that a man said to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him): "My mother has passed away, and if she could have spoken, she would have given something in charity. Will she receive a reward if I give something on her behalf?" He said, "Yes." (Reported by al-Bukhari)

Other deeds that may also benefit the deceased are Hajj and `Umrah on their behalf, after the living person has first performed Hajj and `Umrah on his or her own behalf. 'Abdullah ibn Buraydah reported that his father (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "While I was sitting with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), a woman came to him and said: 'I gave my mother a slave-woman in charity, and now my mother has died.' He said: 'You have got your reward, and your right of inheritance has brought your gift back to you.' She said, 'O Messenger of Allah, she still had one month to fast – can I fast it on her behalf?' He said, 'Fast it on her behalf.' She said, 'She never went to Hajj – can I perform Hajj on her behalf?' He said, 'Perform Hajj on her behalf.' " (Reported by Muslim)

This shows that it is also permissible to fast on behalf of the deceased.

Another thing that may benefit the deceased is to fulfil their nadhr (vow), because Ibn 'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) reported that a woman came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and said: "My mother made a vow to perform Hajj but she died before she could do it. Can I perform Hajj on her behalf?" He said, "Yes, perform Hajj on her behalf. Don't you think that if your mother owed a debt you would pay it off?" She said, "Yes." He said, "Then pay off what is owed to Allah, for Allah is more deserving of having vows fulfilled." (Reported by al-Bukhari)

Another thing that may benefit the deceased is if his relative devotes a share to him of a sacrifice he offers. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) offered a sacrifice, he said: "In the name of Allah, O Allah, on behalf of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad." (Reported by Muslim) - The family of Muhammad included both the living and the dead."
Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islam-qa. com

Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, adds:
"We read in a number of traditions that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told the children whose parents had passed away to give charities or perform pilgrimages, etc. on their behalf. Based on such traditions, most of the scholars are of the opinion that children may do all kinds of charitable or good deeds on behalf of their parents; once they are performed with the intention of sending their rewards to them, Allah, out of His sheer mercy, will convey rewards to them.

Many scholars include reading of the Qur'an in this category of permissible good works that one may do on behalf of one's deceased parents or relatives. They have done so based on their reasoning that there is no reason to exclude such an act from the above general permissions granted by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Thus it has become an almost a widely accepted practice in the Muslim community; the Muslims throughout the centuries have been practising the same; so one should never object to it. But having said this I must add a word of caution: One must not do this by setting a fixed date such as the seventh day, the fortieth day or the death anniversaries, etc. for by setting aside such dates for specific rituals we incur the sin of making innovations in religion."
Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.muslims. ca
Question: Is it okay to read the Qur'an and send the rewards to one's deceased parents or relatives?
In his response to the question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
"The Sunnah of the Prophet and his companions, as reported in the sources, is to offer supplications and pray for the deceased. The Qur'an reminds us that we should pray for all the believers who have passed on before us. Besides offering supplications, there is no record in the sources that the Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) and his Companions were in the habit of reading the Qur'an and sending rewards to their loved ones who had passed away.

However, the Prophet was asked on a number of occasions by individuals whether they were allowed to perform Hajj and give charity on behalf of their deceased parents. His answer to such questions always was in the affirmative. In other words, he did not stop people from making Hajj or giving charity on behalf of their deceased parents or relatives.
Scholars who reflected on the above traditions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) posed the question: Does this apply only to Hajj and charity? Or does it extend beyond these to include all acts of devotion and worship such as reading the Qur'an and performing nafl (supererogatory) prayers, etc.?

One group of scholars said it was only limited to Hajj and charity and could not be extended to acts of worship such as prayers and reading of the Qur'an. This view is held by a number of scholars from various accepted schools of jurisprudence. However, another group of scholars, belonging to all of the major schools, said: There is no reason to exclude reading of the Qur'an and prayers from the above permission granted by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Accordingly, they are of the opinion that a person is allowed to read the Qur'an and pray to Allah to send the rewards to their deceased parents and relatives. However, this group explicitly prohibits the practice of hiring people to read the Qur'an, or making a ritual of gathering to read the Qur'an on a set date after death. Such a practice would amount to introducing a bid`ah (innovation) .

Circumcision: New Weapon Against AIDS?

NarratedbyAbuHuraira I heard the Prophet (saws) saying. "Five practices are characteristics of the Fitra: Circumcision, Shaving the Pubic Hair, Cutting the Moustaches Short, Clipping the Nails & Depilating the Hair of the Armpits."(Sahih Bukhari - Volume 7, Book 72, Number 779)

Circumcision: New Weapon Against AIDS?

Circumcision Gives Men up to 60% HIV Protection; WHO, UNAIDS Urge Adult Surgery

By Daniel J. DeNoon
WebMD Medical News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
http://www.webmd. com/hiv-aids/ news/20070329/ circumcision- new-weapon- against-AIDS

March 29, 2007 --
Circumcised men are up to 60% less likely to get HIV, and now the World Health Organization and the UNAIDS program recommend adult surgery to slow the AIDS pandemic.
The recommendation comes only weeks after the WHO and UNAIDS officials asked an expert panel for advice. The advice is based on three clinical trials suggesting that circumcised men are 50% to 60% less likely than uncircumcised men to get HIV during heterosexual sex.
Circumcised men can and do get infected with the AIDS virus. There is, yet, no evidence that male circumcision protects women. But widespread circumcision would have a major impact on the AIDS pandemic, says Catherine Hankins, MD, chief scientific officer for the UNAIDS.
"This is an exciting development. It is only partial protection for men -- still, it is not to be scoffed at. We have not had good news like this in quite a long time," Hankins said at a WHO/UNAIDS news conference.
Ronald Gray, MD, professor of reproductive epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, led a clinical trial of male circumcision in Uganda. He was also a member of the WHO/UNAIDS expert panel.
"This is unique. We have never before used surgery for prevention of infectious disease," Gray tells WebMD. "We are going to have a steep learning curve. But all the evidence is it will have a substantial impact on the AIDS epidemic over the next 10 to 20 years."

Male Circumcision Does Not Replace Safe Sex

Circumcision will have a major impact only if properly implemented, warns Kevin De Cock, MD, director of HIV/AIDS for the WHO.
"Male circumcision should now be considered as an additional strategy for HIV prevention in the context of comprehensive prevention programs," De Cock said at the news conference. "This is important protection but incomplete protection. It is an additional rather than a replacement strategy."

The key WHO/UNAIDS recommendations:
1.Countries should implement free or low-cost male circumcision programs if a high percentage of their population is uncircumcised, if HIV is widespread, and if HIV spread is predominantly heterosexual. Most such nations are in southern Africa and, to a lesser extent, in eastern Africa.

2.Circumcision programs initially should target sexually active men -- that is, young men and adolescents.

3.Circumcision should be part of a comprehensive AIDS risk-reduction program. "It does not replace promotion of safer sex, delay of onset of sexual relations, abstinence, reduction of penetrative sex, reduction in number of partners, and provision of male and female condoms with education on their use," Hankins said.

4.Medical ethics and human rights must be respected. This included informed consent, confidentiality, and lack of coercion.

5.Circumcision must be provided by trained personnel in a hygienic manner, with medical follow-up to prevent and treat complications.

6.After circumcision, men must abstain from sexual relations for at least six weeks after surgery, to ensure that their wounds have healed.

7.Circumcision must be offered in ways that do not offend cultural norms.

8.Circumcision is not advised for men already infected with HIV, but circumcision
should not be denied to HIV-positive men who want the procedure.

Who Will Pay?
The recommendations have one major drawback: money. Although WHO and UNAIDS say they will provide technical support to any nation that wishes to start a circumcision program, details on funding such programs remain vague. The WHO and UNAIDS say only that funding must not come at the expense of funding for other health care programs or HIV prevention programs.
"Money is going to be the key. If additional resources brought to bear, we can have very substantial effects on the AIDS epidemic in East and Central Africa," Gray says. "These are not cheap resources. There are the costs of training, the costs of equipment and supplies, the costs of all the complexities of providing surgeries and providing postsurgical care and managing any problems that arise."
If money is not forthcoming, the recommendations may do more harm than good. Men in areas with high HIV prevalence are very much aware of the news that circumcision lowers HIV risk. "There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that men already are lining up asking for circumcision, " Gray says. "And if we do not provide safe services, they will seek unsafe services."
The same message comes from Kim Dickson, MD, medical officer at the WHO department of HIV/AIDS.
"In certain countries we have reports of interest by men for male circumcision services," Dickson said at the news conference. "Yes, if safe services are not in place, then there will be practitioners who will provide unsafe services. The thing that must be done is to set up safe circumcision services with trained practitioners. "
Despite this major obstacle, Gray is highly optimistic. "It is doable," he says. "This one-time procedure is likely to confer very long -- perhaps lifelong -- reduction in HIV risk."
Meanwhile, studies are under way to determine whether male circumcision reduces women's HIV risk and whether circumcision offers protection to homosexual men.

SOURCES: World Health Organization and Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, "New Data on Male Circumcision and HIV Prevention," March 28, 2007. Ronald Gray, MD, professor of reproductive epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore. News conference with Kevin De Cock, MD, director of HIV/AIDS, WHO; Catherine Hankins, MD, chief scientific officer, UNAIDS; and Kim Dickson, MD, medical officer, department of HIV/AIDS, WHO.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Vaccine Against Cancer - By Tijn Touber- Using Patients' Own "Killer" Cells To Battle Cancer

Six months. That was how long 59-year-old Joe Pacini was expected to live—at least according to the doctors who were treating him for pancreatic cancer. Pacini, who could barely walk, wrote his will and waited for the inevitable end. Then he got a call from his son, who had attended a lecture by Robert Gorter, a Dutch cancer specialist working in Cologne , Germany . Gorter, who studied at the University of Amsterdam and University of California medical school in San Francisco , had developed a new treatment for cancer that raised hopes for the family.
So Joe Pacini flew from the U.S. to Germany . After a single treatment, he was able to walk a little. Two days later, he no longer needed any pain medication. On the third day, Gorter suggested they might be celebrating his 80th birthday together.

Gorter’s breakthrough came in 1999 when he developed a procedure to cultivate so-called dendritic cells, which play a key role in fighting off cancer cells. The method attracted international attention, causing quite a positive stir among his colleagues at the conference of the American Society for Clinical Oncology—the international symposium for cancer specialists.
He tested his findings in a study involving 171 women with metastasized breast cancer who had undergone many forms of chemotherapy and radiation treatment and were considered hopeless cases. Following Gorter’s treatment, about 10 percent of the patients were in remission—a surprising result in patients considered terminal. In 60 percent of the women, the treatment greatly extended and enhanced the quality of their lives although they did not recover. According to Gorter, no other treatment offers similar results.

But he isn’t one to rest on his laurels. For 35 years he has been working seven days a week, 14 hours a day, to develop new therapies and refine current treatment methods. His patients can call him any time. Whether he’s in San Francisco, where he is a professor at the University of California, or one of the clinics he heads in Cape Town, Istanbul, Cologne or (shortly) Dubai and Shanghai—he is always on hand to help.

Gorter developed the cancer treatment using dendritic cells in co-operation with Professor Wolfgang Köstler of the University of Vienna in Austria and Professor Hinrich Peters of the University of Göttingen in Germany . These cells are vital to fighting cancer because they systematically scan all the body’s cells searching for aberrations. Gorter explains, “When they discover an abnormal cell, they move at lightning speed to the nearest lymph node, where hundreds of thousands of ‘killer’ cells are stored like soldiers in a barracks. These cells go out on the attack if they are so instructed by the dendritic cells, like generals commanding an army.”
One dendritic cell can simultaneously inform 5,000 “killer” cells of the characteristics of a cancer cell that must be destroyed. The dendritic cells, which look like little octopi, do this by spreading their tentacles. Gorter adds, “The ‘killer’ cells then swarm out and kill every cell with cancerous characteristics. As a result of this process, all the cancer cells that patients produce every day are dead within 24 to 36 hours.”

According to Gorter, cancer often takes root when dendritic cells are malfunctioning. “We’re all a bit cancerous” is his way of explaining that everyone has cancer cells in his or her body. “But things really start to go wrong when the body no longer recognizes or can kill these cells.”
That insight inspired Gorter and his colleagues to develop a method of producing large numbers of healthy, dendritic cells, which are reintroduced into the patient’s system. It works like this: “We take five tablespoons of blood and isolate the monocytes [undifferentiated or immature white blood cells produced in the bone marrow] that can be developed into dendritic cells. One week later we have 15 to 20 million extremely vital cells that are given back to the patient. These are well tolerated. Many people—even when their cancer has metastasized— do much better or recover completely. The therapy works on all types of tumours: both solid tumours—as is the case with colon, breast and lung cancer—as well as non-solid tumours such as lymphomas and leukemia.”
The treatment (which costs 2,600 euros or $3,300 U.S. ) is repeated six times with one-month breaks in between. This is why Gorter refers to it as a vaccine: “When the immune system has to learn something new, or change a particular function, the lesson must be repeated a number of times. The same thing is true with childhood illnesses. You have to repeat the vaccine several times. The patient often shows real signs of recovery after the third or fourth vaccination.”
And indeed, sometimes even after the first treatment, as was the case with Joe Pacini.

When Pacini arrived in Cologne via special transport, he was on his deathbed. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive and difficult types to treat. His Californian doctors had given up hope because 80 percent of his liver had been destroyed. Pacini underwent three days of getting vaccinations containing dendritic cells along with hyperthermia treatments (a method which artificially raises the patient’s body temperature) . After that, he says, “I was even able to walk up to the third floor of my hotel without help. After the second day here I didn’t take any more pain medication because I was feeling so good.” Now, three months later, as Pacini returns to Cologne for his second treatment, he feels wonderful: “I feel so fit I’m walking three to four hours a day.” A smile lights up his face. “Yesterday I walked back and forth to Cologne ’s cathedral.”
After the first series of treatments, Pacini’s oncologist in the United States measured his tumour markers—abnormal proteins made only by cancer cells that demonstrate the presence of cancer and its degree of aggressiveness. The doctor was surprised to see a sharp drop in the markers when he had expected a rise. Pacini notes, “My oncologist said: ‘I don’t know what they’re doing, but it’s working.’”

Despite promising results like this, research into treatments with dendritic cells is barely getting off the ground. “There’s not a lot of money to be earned from the research,” Gorter states. “You can’t get a patent on it because dendritic cells are autologous [drawn from and reintroduced to a patient’s own body]. Which is why pharmaceutical companies aren’t interested. Classic, random studies have never been done because this type of research is very expensive.” Gorter worries that his treatment, like other alternative methods, will not be approved by influential authorities like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because these treatments run counter to the pharmaceutical- based philosophy of the medical establishment. He worries that legal charges may even be brought against doctors applying the therapy.

That’s the reason Gorter ended up working in Germany . The flamboyant professor feels more at home in a climate of professional freedom. All of his life he has lived by his own rules: “I used to wear jeans and shirts with flower prints. But when everyone started wearing them, it was time for a change.” In Germany he can wear his dicky bow ties and experiment with new therapies without any problem. Gorter: “In Germany , doctors enjoy a unique, constitutionally protected freedom to practise.” Recently, in fact, Germany ’s High Court in Karlsruhe ruled unanimously that qualified physicians have complete freedom to treat seriously ill patients as they see fit and that insurers must pay for the prescribed treatments.
this therapeutic freedom means that German doctors are not limited to the standard cancer protocols imposed in other Western countries: operations, radiation or chemotherapy. New treatments can be used alongside conventional ones, and even some traditional healing methods are employed. Gorter, for instance, makes frequent use of hyperthermia or fever therapy, which has been used since ancient times. Hippocrates said: “Give me a fever and I’ll heal every illness.”

This therapy was rediscovered around 1880 by the American doctor William Coley. While researching the relationship between fever and tumour growth, Coley chanced to find a man who’d had several unsuccessful operations to remove tumours on his face and neck. His condition become further complicated by a serious skin infection that went hand in hand with a high fever. Yet the patient survived the high fever and, even more amazingly, discovered his tumours had disappeared.
Coley looked at the medical literature and discovered this was not an isolated case: As soon as patients developed a high fever, their tumours sometimes vanished. Coley started successfully experimenting with artificial fevers among cancer patients. He did this by giving them bacilli. Sometimes these bacilli even erupted into the worst inoperable tumours, only to disappear within hours.
“Fever therapy works amazingly well—alone and in combination with other therapies,” Gorter states. “When you combine chemotherapy with fever therapy you’ll have fewer side effects from the chemo.
“Cancer is a so-called ‘cold illness’ and often disappears when the body’s temperature rises,” he continues. “The immune system also works optimally when a fever strikes. The only down side of Coley’s therapy was that he couldn’t precisely determine the level of the fever. We can now, thanks to special beds in which patients are wrapped to their necks and the temperature is controlled using infrared lamps, rising to around 40 degrees Celsius [104 degrees Fahrenheit].”
When Gorter calls cancer a “cold” illness, he’s not simply referring to the temperature. “The characteristic of many modern illnesses is that they are cooling, debilitating, hardening and chronic. Until recently, nearly all epidemics—such as tuberculosis, malaria and the flu—were caused by parasites or bacteria. But particularly after World War II, bacteria slipped increasingly into the background. They’re still there, but nowadays no one dies of pneumonia. But what has taken its place are the debilitating, degenerative diseases that are mainly caused by viruses like hepatitis B and C. The distinguishing characteristics of these illnesses are hardening or sclerosis. When viruses are isolated, they take on the form of a crystal; it looks like fine table salt.”

Ninety-nine percent of all cancers also show hardening properties, according to Gorter. “If you’ve got a little lump in your breast but you can press into it—if it’s a little spongy—doctors say: ‘We’ll wait a month and see.’ But when a lump is hard and you regularly see calcification in the mammogram, there is cause for concern and usually a malignancy.”
Gorter says this hardening is not only seen in modern diseases like cancer, hardening of the arteries, multiple sclerosis and chronic fatigue syndrome, but also in our values, norms and language use. Gorter observes, “In our society, you’re not well paid for having a warm heart but for being smart. We have to be cool and efficient and above all we must not show too much warmth and enthusiasm. Those who do are quickly considered a little nuts or over the top. It’s a sign of our times.”
But these are the reasons why softness—or love—and warmth are particularly healing when it comes to cancer. Gorter nearly always asks his patients if there’s something that excites them; if they still have ideals. “I ask them: ‘Do you ever do anything for other people?’ Many look at me and say they’ve been busy working for decades and haven’t done anything all those years to help others.”

Gorter knows from experience the healing power of enthusiasm, love and optimism. When, at the age of 26, he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that had spread to his stomach and lungs, he decided to heal himself. He took very hot baths—something he doesn’t necessarily advise for older patients as the heat can cause strong heart palpitations and low blood pressure as well as severe dizziness. He also started to live life with even more joy and optimism. Now he says he has learned this: “If something makes you enthusiastic you have a reason to live. Ultimately that is the way to break the vicious circle of hardening and cooling.”

http://www.odemagaz php?aID=4350
Robert Gorter can be reached via Medical Center Cologne, Hohenstaufenring 30-32, 50674 Keulen, Germany. Phone: +49 (0)221 7886301.
Email: r.gorter@cologne- and www.anthroposophica l-medicine. info

Why Does Satan Mislead Humans?

First and foremost, we would like to stress the fact that humans should know their enemy well so that they can protect themselves against his plans and plots.
As Muslims, we believe that Satan is an avowed enemy who spares no effort to mislead and divert humans from the right path of salvation and eternal bliss. Therefore, it is our duty to be aware of this fact and always resort to Allah and to take refuge in Him from Satan and his whispers.
Iblis (Satan) and other jinn, and humans, have free will and freedom of choice, to obey Allah or to disobey Him, as Allah says: "... Then whosoever wills, let him believe; and whosoever wills, let him disbelieve ..." (18: 29)
"Verily, We showed him the way, whether he be grateful or ungrateful." (76: 3)

Allah commanded Iblis to prostrate before Adam, but he refused and was arrogant, and was one of the unbelievers. So Allah expelled him from His mercy and cursed him until the Day of Judgment. In this regard, Almighty Allah says: "And (remember) when We said to the angels: 'Prostrate yourselves before Adam.' And they prostrated except Iblis (Satan), he refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers (disobedient to Allah)." (2: 34)

"So the angels prostrated themselves, all of them together. Except Iblis (Satan) — he refused to be among the prostrators. (Allah) said: 'O Iblis! What is your reason for not being among the prostrators?' (Iblis) said: 'I am not the one to prostrate myself to a human being, whom You created from dried (sounding) clay of altered mud.' (Allah) said: 'Then, get out from here, for verily, you are Rajim (an outcast or a cursed one).

And verily, the curse shall be upon you till the Day of Recompense ( i.e. the Day of Resurrection) ." (15: 30-35)

Then Iblis asked for a respite until the Day of Resurrection, and Allah granted him that. Regarding this the Qur'an relates : "(Satan) said: 'O my Lord! Give me then respite till the Day they (the dead) will be resurrected.' Allah said: 'Then verily, you are of those reprieved, till the Day of the time appointed.'" (15: 36-38)

When Iblis was certain that he is one of those who are doomed, as well as his being arrogant and being ungrateful to his Lord, he resolved to mislead whomever he could of the slaves of Allah so that they would be with him in Hell. Allah says : "(Satan) said: 'O my Lord! Because You misled me, I shall indeed adorn the path of error for them (mankind) on the earth, and I shall mislead them all. Except Your chosen, (guided) slaves among them.'" (15: 39-40)

Therefore, he is eager to mislead and corrupt, so as to increase the numbers of his followers and worshippers among the doomed who will share his fate. Iblis knows that his destination is the Fire, and he hopes to take everyone else with him to Hell, out of envy, hatred, disbelief and stubbornness.

He hates mankind, who are the children of Adam (peace be upon him), and he is hostile towards them because he is cursed and has been banished from the mercy of Allah because of his refusal to prostrate to their father Adam. Hence Allah has warned His servants against him and has said:

"Surely, Shaytan (Satan) is an enemy to you, so take (treat) him as an enemy. He only invites his Hizb (followers) that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire." (35: 6)

Iblis does not need anyone to whisper to him because he is the source of all evil. The believer can be saved from his plots and traps by obeying his Lord and adhering to His religion, for Satan has no power over those who believe, as Allah says: "So when you want to recite the Qur'an, seek refuge with Allah from Shaytan (Satan), the outcast (the cursed one).

Verily, he has no power over those who believe and put their trust only in their Lord (Allah). His power is only over those who obey and follow him (Satan), and those who join partners with Him (Allah)…" (16: 98-100)"

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