Author Archives: engagemn

The Prophet Muhammad’s Beautiful Names

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

“The resemblance between me and the other prophets is like a beautiful house that is complete except for a last brick. All who see this marvel at its beauty, but they are also shocked by the missing brick. With me, that building of prophethood is completed.” –Prophet Muhammad, upon him peace and blessings

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It’s well-known that God has many names, at least 99 of them. We also know that learning God’s names is an important way of getting to know Him. Just so, the prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, also has many different names for us to know.

All these names aren’t known to us, as only God knows the Prophet Muhammad fully and completely. None among us can know Muhammad as God knows him. But we can pray for God’s help in knowing Muhammad as the prophet would like to be known, and for help knowing how God would like us to connect to Muhammad.

Part of this journey is learning the Prophet Muhammad’s names.

‘Seal of the Prophets’

One of Muhammad’s titles is “Seal of the Prophets.”

Muhammad once said: “The resemblance between me and the other prophets is like a beautiful house that is complete except for a last brick. All who see this marvel at its beauty, but they are also shocked by the missing brick. With me, that building of prophethood is completed.”

The lives and experiences of all the prophets who came before Muhammad were used to nurture him, and thus, at last, he became the final brick in the building of faith. This happened at the moment when he summoned the souls of all the prophets, upon them peace, to al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. There, all the other prophets, peace and blessings on them all, prayed behind him.

In this way, the beautiful house was sealed.

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The Resolute Prophets and Dealing with Rejection

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

“The wise man does not argue or seek to overcome with stratagem rather he propagates his wisdom. If it is accepted he praises Allah and if it is rejected he praises Allah.” –Al-Hasan al-Basree

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Rejection can take many forms. It can be directed at a person, a failure to recognize and accept an individual’s being or ideas. Or it can be collective: a rejection of a whole faith, ethnicity, culture, identity, or community.

All of us will experience some rejection in our lives, whether fair or not. How did the prophets deal with it?

The five resolute prophets—Jesus, Muhammad, Abraham, Moses, and Noah; peace upon them—all experienced tremendous rejection.

Noah, for instance, was asked to call people to God solely by talking with them. The Qur’an tells us that, after 950 years of telling people about God, Noah found only 80 people who listened. Yet he persevered in the face of constant rejection, calmly, with only minimal results to show for all his efforts.

Other resolute prophets persevered in the face of humiliation, disgrace, and physical attacks. Throughout this, they continued to believe and to endure with hope.

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What Makes a Good Judge?

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

And the Book (of Deeds) will be placed (before you); and thou wilt see the sinful in great terror because of what is (recorded) therein; they will say, “Ah! woe to us! what a Book is this! It leaves out nothing small or great, but takes account thereof!” They will find all that they did, placed before them: And not one will thy Lord treat with injustice. (Quran 18:49)

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There is a story attributed to Abu Hurairah, a seventh-century narrator of hadith. He told of a cleaner who lived during the time of the Prophet, peace and blessings upon him.

It happened that the Prophet noticed this cleaner was suddenly missing from the mosque. When he was told the cleaner had died, the Prophet asked: “Why didn’t you inform me?” It seemed that the Prophet’s companions had found the matter trivial, but the Prophet went to the cleaner’s grave to offer prayers.

In this story, we learn about the attentions of the truly just—the sort of person who would be a good judge. The Prophet didn’t say: Was this person a high-achiever? Did they go to Yale? This person’s worth, for the Prophet, didn’t rest on having reached a particular station in life, nor having put together a stunning CV.

Although ways of measuring human worth have changed, much has stayed the same. It is important for us to remember that innocence and guilt are not built on a person’s place in the social hierarchy.

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A day, month, and a year of many blessings: Muharram Mubarak

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

A new year of growth inviting us to receive many blessings from God.

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Every day and moment is a blessing of life from God.

We completed the month of Dhul-Hijjah, which contained within it the greatest day of the month and year, ‘Arafah’. This day represents our return to God, a day of return, accountability, and brotherhood.

Yesterday was the Islamic New Year.
The first day of the sacred month of Muharram.

Muharram is the first month of the Islamic Hijri calendar, which follows the revolutions of the moon, hence the year is 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar.

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How do we take God as our Witness during Trials and Tribulations?

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

God! There is no deity but He! To Him belong the most Beautiful Names. (Qur’an 20:8)

fedwa wazwazThere are two names of God, often spoken together, that show the balance of our world. They are An Nafi and Ad Darr.

The name An Nafi means God is the one who helps and confers all advantages, who creates all that produces benefit for us, from our wealth to our charms to our intelligence. It is God who gives us moments of genuine and healthy laughter, and who comforts our souls.

The name Ad Darr means God is also the one who, in His wisdom, also allows adversity or distress. God does not set out to punish us. But He has given us free will, and He allows that things that hurt us to exist.

“He is the One who makes you laugh or cry.” Qur’an 53:44

These two names fit together, and together they show how benefit and harm are part of a cycle, like circling around the Ka’aba. These apparent opposites make us aware that every action is part of a larger balance, even when the whole pattern is not visible to us.

When we receive benefits, we should turn to God. And when harm falls to us, we should also turn to God. We may turn to other people in both cases as well—to be grateful or to seek help. But the prophets show us that the turning to God can give us a sense of empowerment. This way, we will never be humiliated by seeking help that doesn’t come.

We will always have God.

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