Blog Archives

Praise is for God Alone

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

Their call therein will be, “Exalted are You, O God,” and their greeting therein will be, “Peace.” And the last of their call will be, “Praise to God, Lord of the worlds!” (Qur’an 10:10)

fatiha

Gratitude is important. But hamd, or praise, is a state that’s even higher than gratitude. Indeed, when God breathed life into Adam, upon him peace, Adam’s first words were:

 

“Alhamdulillah,” or Praise and Glory to Allah.

As a species, our first word was hamd.

Many scholars note that the name Allah combines all “The Beautiful Divine Names.” It is also referred to as the Greatest Name of our Lord.

Hence, when you are seeking refuge with God, you are also saying:

I seek refuge with Allah The Most Gracious.
I seek refuge with Allah The All Wise.
I seek refuge with Allah the All-Knowing.
I seek refuge with Allah The All Kind.
I seek refuge with Allah The Most Powerful.
I seek refuge with Allah The Bestower.
I seek refuge with Allah The All Just.
I seek refuge with Allah Ever Present.
I seek refuge with Allah The All Loving…

…and so on.

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Hijab is Not About Oppression or Seduction, It’s About Trust

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

Living Islam vs. Using Islam Against Others

Living Islam means living, modeling, guiding, teaching, and counseling with loving care and concern. It is a life of trust, struggle, and noble effort. Using Islam often takes the form of holier-than-thou judgmentalism that is used to oppress and keep others in line. It often shows its ugly side through allegations that others are not “Islamic” or “obedient” enough. In actuality, the obedience that is demanded is not obedience as a result of taqwa, that is obedience to Allah, but rather obedience to the tyrant and his own fear-based self. When Islam becomes objectified in such a manner, the state of inner unity (that leads to outer unity, i.e. peace and where ‘it’, i.e. Islam, is ‘used’ to achieve an objective other than its divinely inherent goal of bringing peace and goodness to people’s lives.”

–Steven Krauss

Hijab, which in its essence means “to conceal,” is usually associated with Muslim women. Although other faith traditions promote modest dress, and Muslim men are also asked to dress modestly, most of the noise around this world is directed at Muslim women.

There are two unhealthy views around women wearing hijab. First, that a woman who wears hijab is always oppressed. Second, that women must wear hijab because they are necessarily seductresses, and men cannot follow their own consciences unless women are covered.

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The importance of listening

By Fedwa WazwazEngage Minnesota

The first duty of love is to listen.
–Paul Tillich

fedwa wazwazMuhammad, upon him peace and blessings, is the seal of the prophets and the universal messenger.

He was born in Mecca, in what’s now the modern-day Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in 670 AD.  Muslims believe that he was the last in a series of prophets chosen by God, and the teachings revealed to the Prophet Muhammad form the basis of Islam.  

Muhammad isn’t just one among the prophets: He connects the stories of all the other prophets together. As part of his journey, we’re told that Muhammad traveled to Jerusalem, where all the prophets were briefly resurrected and joined him in prayer.

All the prophets’ stories help guide us in our lives, but Muhammad’s story is the thread that brings all the others together. He brings together the stories of Moses, David, Jesus, and all the others who shone out to help us steer our own lives.

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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

fedwa wazwaz

 

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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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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