Category Archives: News

Coronavirus: The Death of Religion?

Amidst a global pandemic some sectors of society have found themselves ecstatically celebrating the “death” of religion as many religious institutions find themselves closed or in the process of closing in order to stop the spread of the virus. Masajid, Churches, Synagogues, and Temples are all taking steps to stop the spread of the virus. CNN reports:

First, many religious leaders modified their rituals, hoping to contain the spread of coronavirus. Now, some are taking more drastic measures, canceling worship services, closing religious schools and shuttering holy sites.

Like sports leagues, museums and other cultural institutions, millions of churches and mosques, synagogues and sanghas, temples and gurdwaras are temporarily closing to guard against spreading the virus.

For many spiritual leaders, the decision to shut their doors is difficult. Religious rituals are meant to be enacted, soul and body, traditionally alongside other believers.
But the present dangers of the deadly virus are too great to ignore, many religious groups have decided, leading to a cascade of cancellations worldwide in the last 48 hours.

What these groups (mainly atheists) seem to be misunderstanding is that while some faith-healing Churches are indeed shutting down, this polemic can generally only be applied to a few religious groups that do preach that they perform miracles regularly. This polemic however is highly ineffective against mainstream Sunni Islam where we do not teach that as Muslims we are magically protected against any and all types of disease. In fact, Allah specifically mentions the opposite in the Qur’ān:

Do people think once they say, “We believe,” that they will be left without being put to the test? – 29:2 (translation by Dr. Mustafa Khattab, The Clear Qur’ān).

Indeed, the word ‘test’ (يفتنون) encompasses the additional meanings of harm, trials, and tribulations. One form of these tests are in the form of viral diseases in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) advised us to practise quarantining:

Sa’d reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “If you hear of a plague in a land, then do not go into it. If it happens in land where you are, then do not go out of it.”

This narration is found in both Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī  and Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim. One may even say that this is a form of social distancing. Within Islamic legal jurisprudence there are also two main foundational principles:

  1. المشقة تجلب التيسير – al Mashaqqa Tajlib at-Taysīr (Hardship begets ease).
  2. لا ضرر و لا ضرار في الاسلام – La Ḍarar wa La Ḍirar fī al-Islām (In Islam we do not cause harm to ourselves or others).

It is due to these two considerations (the latter of which is a hadith of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him as recorded by both Imām adh-Dhahabī and by Imām al Hākim) that many Muslim-majority countries and many Muslim communities throughout the world began suspending prayer in congregations, as well as all activities at their Masajid:

  1. Saudi Arabia suspended visiting religious sites, especially with regard to Makkah and Madinah.
  2. Kuwait suspended Friday prayers at Masajid throughout the country.
  3. The UAE prohibited the sick, the elderly and those at risk of infection from attending Friday congregational prayers.
  4. In Egypt they have stated it is permissible to ban the Friday congregational prayers due to viruses like the coronavirus.
  5. In Canada, the Canadian Council of Imams and the Muslim Medical Association of Canada jointly suspended all Masjid activities.

This is therefore an evidence that we are not a people lacking the faculty of reason, or that we have abandoned hope in our faith, or that science has won against religion (this in itself is a false dichotomy), but rather it is an evidence for the truth of Islam that despite such difficult circumstances our faith has a means by which we can accommodate and manage public health issues. In Islam, we do not have this distinction between faith and science, both work in congruence with each other and are not apart from the other. Had that been the case, then we should not find any statement from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) advising us on the plague or on diseases in general.

Indeed, we also find a narration from the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) that cleanliness (purity) is half of faith:

Abu Malik al-Ashari reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Purity is half of faith, and the praise of Allah fills the scale. Glorification and praise fill up what is between the heavens and the earth. Prayer is a light, charity is proof, and patience is illumination. The Quran is a proof for you or against you. All people go out early in the morning and sell themselves, either setting themselves free or ruining themselves.”

Keeping ourselves, our clothing, and our belongings clean in general is a great way at combatting the spread of the virus. Therefore this polemic is only effective against pockets of Muslims who are ignorant of their Islam and of religious groups who do not adhere to the truth of Islam, but it is not a polemic against Islam in and of itself. Therefore, this current crisis does not affect the truth of Islam, but rather demonstrates the perpetual reality and authenticity of the message from Allah and from His messenger.

and Allah knows best.

Debate: “Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?” – Dr. Shabir Ally & John Tors

The debate is at the North York Chinese Baptist Church located at #685 Sheppard Avenue East in Toronto, Canada.

Topic: Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?

Date: Saturday 11th January 2020.

Debaters: Dr. Shabir Ally and Mr. John Tors.

The livestream is available at this link (YouTube) and this link (Church Website).

You can also stream the debate below:


Yours in Islam,
Br. Ijaz.

 

New Podcast Episode with Dr. Bart Ehrman

A new podcast headed by an awesome brother from the Mad Mamluks podcast has finally publicly released an episode I’ve been excited for since the moment it was recorded. Please click this link or the image below to access it:

Facebook Post of Episode

Debates, some elements of historiography, and general information about New Testament Textual Criticism are discussed.

and Allah knows best.

Soccer Stars Banned for Blasphemy

Saudi Arabia? Turkey? Malaysia? Indonesia?

Which Muslim country do you think this headline is from?

The reality is that it’s from Italy, a Western democracy with blasphemy laws still active today that are being used for simply mentioning the word “God”. The law is applied to both Italian and non-Italian players. PEW figures from 2010 put Christianity as the top faith in the country, constituting 83.3% of the population. A more recent figure from WorldAtlas puts this figure for the Christian population at 71.4%. Historically, Roman Catholicism has been the faith of choice for Italians. BBC News put out a lengthy four sentence article detailing the issue, that article can be read here:

Two Italian footballers have been given one-match bans for blasphemy during Serie A matches.

Sassuolo’s Francesco Magnanelli and Parma’s Matteo Scozzarella were shown on television making blasphemous remarks in separate incidents.

There is a strict ban on taking God’s name in vain in Italy, and the nation’s football association has disciplined players heard doing so since 2010.

Udinese midfielder Rolando Mandragora was banned for the offence in 2018.

Well, that was quite exhaustive, wasn’t it? CNN’s article on the subject was much more elaborative, providing lots of details about previous instances of the blasphemy law being used in sports to censor players and coaches. Here are some quotes from the CNN article:

Blasphemy is hugely frowned upon in Italy and the country’s soccer authorities have sought to crack down on it over the past decade.

In August 2018, Rolando Mandragora was banned for one-game in August 2018 after taking God’s name in vain while playing for Udinese against Sampdoria.
Last season, Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini was suspended after making blasphemous remarks during his side’s game with SPAL.

Italy’s soccer authorities have come in for criticism for their disciplinary judgments this season, particularly on racism.

Just last month the Italian Football Federeation (FIGC) said Cagliari would not be punished for the racist monkey chants directed towards Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku by its fans, while no punishment has been handed to Hellas Verona for its fans racially abusing AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has urged the FIGC to take a stronger stance against racism.

Another article from The Guardian provides us with more details from a previous incident, where one player was investigated for potentially having said “Dio” or “God”:

Chievo’s coach was not the only one caught out; one of his players, Michele Marcolini, was deemed to have said “God” as he left the field after a red card. After scrutiny of TV footage, however, the league judge, Gianpaolo Tosel, was convinced Marcolini had deployed “a slang expression used in Lombardy and [the region around Venice] with a crude reference to ‘Diaz’ and not ‘Dio'” – although no one on the pitch was called Diaz.

One wonders where the moral outrage has gone regarding blasphemy laws, it seems as if it only becomes a problem when non-Christians use the same rules as Christians, but not when Christianity majority populations use the same rules. Many xenophobes from the Football Lad’s Alliance, Pediga, Britain First, and the Soldiers of Odin have always argued that by including hijabs in sports, religion is being introduced into sports and in an effort to keep sporting activities secular and outside of the influence of religion, hijabis should remove their religious symbol (the headscarf) before participating in sporting events.

Why then, would they not equally oppose religion in Italy, in a Western democracy, negatively influencing the sport and censoring non-Christians due to Christian laws? This only goes to demonstrate that their problem is not with religion, just with a religion that disagrees with their beliefs. Muslims should highlight this double standard. Do any Christian apologists who have an issue with the hijab (a female’s headscarf) in sport not equally have an issue with the blasphemy law in Italy curtailing their ‘freedoms’? If so, I’ve yet to see David Wood or Sam Shamoun rebuke what they refer to as “Romanism” for oppressing non-Catholics.

and God knows best.

Masjid Expansion Project

On this sacred night in the blessed month of Ramadan, our Imam Dr. Shabir Ally along with our architects revealed our model for our Masjid expansion project.

Do you want to earn the reward of contributing to a Masjid’s development? A reward for every Salaah performed within its halls?

Do not miss out on this opportunity! You can donate via this link:

https://donate.micharity.com/IIDC/4071904780/building-expansion-fund/4/donate

Or you can email Br. Ejaaz: ejaaz@islaminfo.com

Jay Smith Banned in Hong Kong, Debate Cancelled?

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Recently Joseph “Jay” Smith published a video claiming that I had cancelled a debate with him because I wanted a last minute change to the topic. In this brief video, I provide email evidence that not only was the topic agreed to months in advance, but that Mr. Smith himself pulled out of the debate. In addition to this, we also provide an internal Pfander document which lists myself as one of the “Principle Debaters” in the world.

View the video on EFDawah:

or, view the video on SCDawah:

Should Mr. Smith opt to reconsider his reticence to debate a Muslim he considers to be one of the best in the world, I am more than willing to provide him with the opportunity to do so.

Yours in Islam,
Br. Ijaz.

Recent Appearances

As Salaamu ‘Alaykum,

We’ve been busy as of late and have not found much time to post new articles, however, this article serves as a summary of the most recent appearances we have made on the various da’wah platforms.

recent appearances
Check out our new Live Show on the SCDawah YouTube channel, Dawah Live Chat (DLC):

Show with Br. Hijab: Topics include liberalism, secularism, how to study the Islamic faith.
https://youtu.be/qgOpOca4ZMA

Show with Br. Suboor: Topics include secularism, scientism, rational proofs for God and general da’wah advice.
https://youtu.be/R26IfHDkU9E

Show with Br. Mansur: Topics include Hyde Park, methods of learning about Islam and general da’wah advice.
https://youtu.be/WJ0pps5Fbdo

Show with Br. Hashim: Topics include Hyde Park, the methodology of da’wah and general da’wah advice.
https://youtu.be/HiXqwF3L8eg

IPCI Da’wah Training in South Africa (online) –
Topics included the preservation of the Qur’an and the preservation (or lack thereof) of the New Testament.

Part 1 – https://youtu.be/Jn7XfAzrWTw
Part 2 – https://youtu.be/rZSwZ2qSqv4
Part 3- https://youtu.be/96lIrxrxrWE
Part 4 – https://youtu.be/E85GdCao6Y4

Appearance on The Mad Mamluks –
What is the Qur’anic view of the Bible?

Episode 138: Why the Bible is Inauthentic – https://youtu.be/FJuV4A8K8_M

Quran Made Easy – Mutfi Elias Has Passed Away

Yesterday it was made aware to me that Mufti AH Elias, the person behind Quran Made Easy, an English translation of the Qur’an with inline commentary had died. Shaykh Muhammad Yasir al Hanafi posted this notice on Facebook yesterday.

Just before every Ramadan I have posted a link to his translation of the Qur’an on Amazon Kindle. Some years ago when I came across his translation, I found it to be very illuminating and so thought it would be useful for both Muslims and non-Muslims. In that regard, I sent an email asking that he discount the cost of the translation temporarily for Ramadan. Subsequently, I was surprised to see that he had made it permanently free. May Allah reward him for his kindness. You too, can download his translation for your Android, iOS phones, as well as for your PC. The Kindle App is free for all devices and an Amazon account is also free, no credit card needed.

Here’s the link to get the Qur’an translation.

Verily, it is from Allah we come and it is to Him that we return.

and Allah knows best.

The Passing of Shaykh Muhammad Mustafa al ‘Azami

It is with a heavy heart that I convey the sad news of the passing away of my teacher, Sheikh Muhammad Mustafa Al-A’zami (rahimahullah).

The Sheikh was one of the world’s premier scholars of Hadith, and received his education at Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband, India (1952), al-Azhar University, Cairo (M.A., 1955),

mmazami

The Shaykh

and the University of Cambridge (Ph.D., 1966). He was Professor Emeritus at King Sa’ud University (Riyadh) where he also chaired the department of Islamic Studies.

He served as curator of the National Public Library, Qatar; Associate Professor at Umm al-Qura University (Makkah); Visiting Scholar at University of Michigan (Ann Arbor); Visiting Fellow at St. Cross College (University of Oxford); King Faisal Visiting Professor for Islamic Studies at Princeton; and Visiting Scholar at University of Colorado (Boulder). He was also an Honorary Professor at University of Wales (Lampeter).

His publications include Ageless Qur’an: A Timeless Text, The History of the Qur’anic Text, Studies in Early Hadith Literature, Hadith Methodology and Literature, On Schacht’s Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence, Dirasat fi al-Hadith an-Nabawi, Kuttab an-Nabi, Manhaj an-Naqd ‘ind al-Muhaddithin, and al-Muhaddithin min al-Yamamah. He had also edited numerous other works including Kitab at-Tamyiz of Imam Muslim, Muwatta of Imam Malik, Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah and Sunan Ibn Majah to name a few.
In 1980 he was the recipient of the prestigious King Faisal International Award for Islamic Studies.

In the western world, the Sheikh was best known for his critical investigation of the writings of the famous orientalists Ignác Goldziher, David Margoliouth, and Joseph Schacht.

I was fortunate to spend almost 15 years with the Sheikh learning from him and benefiting from his knowledge.

A great loss for the Muslim Ummah!

Source: Imtiyaz Damiel, Facebook.

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