Adam’s visits Part 2: Adam in Singapore

 

Adam’s visits

Part 2:  Adam in Singapore

In Charlotte, North Carolina: Lib Dula (Adam’s grandmother), Fred Dula (Adam’s grandfather) and Alson Dula (Adam’s aunt) having some fun time with Adam.

Yes, Adam is here in Singapore, the Lion City. He and his parents came here last Tuesday morning, and, after a week, the family is now all-ready to return to Sydney – late tonight, Tuesday, 13 February – for her mother to get prepared for her PhD graduation which would be held soon.

Four-year-old Adam Rayan Dula is the grandson of American Lib Gray Dula and Fred Dula and Singaporean Khairon Mastan and Shaik Kadir, writer of this article. In mid-December last year, Adam went with his parents Munirah Shaik Kadir and Allen Dula to meet his American relatives after stopping over in Singapore for two weeks.

Adam’s photos in Charlotte, North Carolina, are shown in an article at: https://readnreap.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/adams-visit-part-1-adam-in-north-carolina/ )

Adam had a great time in Singapore, the place of his birth. The following photos show Adam’s fun days in the Lion City.

Playing at “Atuk’s” home with Iffah’s toys…

At the nearby playground…

Exploring the neighbourhood…

Neighbourhood walk: Stopping to buy drinks…

Enjoying! Enjoying! Enjoying! And showing off his skills…

“Woh! What’s Adam doing!”, wondered Iffah:  He’s peeping into Iffah’s classroom and found her not in, and looking out of a “hole” and looking at the road scene from the balcony…

Water, waterfalls, leaves and flowers:  A visit to the famous Gardens by the Bay with Aunt Faz and Nani Mah.

“Aunty Suriani (seated in the massage chair) and Uncle Hamid visited me, and then Uncle Hamid gave me a good massage. Wooh! Shioklah! And I almost fell asleep. Service cost $300 but free for me.”

With Uncle Hamid and Aunty Su and Aunty Suhaila Ghaffar at Atuk’s home; and with  Nani Jai and Dadu Norman at Nani Jai’s home.

A train ride from the Tanah Merah MRT Station to the Raffles’ Place MRT Station: “It’s nice to look outside. There are many things to see. The train  even crossed over the Kallang River. Then, the train went underground and I saw nothing.”

Middle photo was taken at the Singapore River. The other two, one was in the lounge of the Clifford Pier Hotel and the other near the Raffles’ MRT Station with Adam posing with a Clementine tree (tree bearing small oranges) which serves as Chinese New Year decoration.

At the scenic Marina Bay: Posing with the Merlion.

Exploring Marina Bay with Daddy…

Exploring the Singapore River with Atuk…

Adam helping to water the plants in “Iffah’s Garden” with a photo showing Iffah spraying her plants before Adam’s visit. The other photos show Adam playing with a stray cat. The top square photo shows Adam playing with the same cat in December last year.

“With my Nani, and with Aunty Shamira and Nani Nab.”

“With Uncle Imran and Aunty Shu and my cousin, Iffah.”

Both Adam and his cousin, Nur Iffah Muhammad Imran, met and played together during their December 2017 meeting and were anxiously waiting to meet again during his visit now.  But, very unfortunately, Iffah, who lives about 5 minutes’ drive away, is not well the whole week; and the cousins were not able to meet at all. The photos above showing the cousins together were taken last December.

Adam: “I love everyone in the SK Family. I love Atuk, Nani, Daddy, Mamma, Uncle Imran, Aunty Shu and my cousin, Iffah. I love them all. I also love my other relatives.”

Well, Adam leaves for Sydney tonight, and “Atuk” (as he calls his Singapore grandfather) and “Nani” (Singapore grandmother) as well as “Uncle Imran”, “Aunty Shu” and Iffah would certainly miss him.

Shaik Kadir

13 February 2018

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Beauty and Rationality of Islam – The Spirit of Islam – Part 3: Prophet Abraham, Patriarch of Revealed Religions

Beauty and Rationality of Islam

( The “Beauty and Rationality of Islam” series aim at showing the foundation of Islam, especially its concept – that Islam was not introduced or founded by Prophet Muhammad but it started with the first pair of human beings – Adam and Eve and that Prophet Muhammad was sent only to confirm and complete the “Religion of Truth” whose teachings were taught by numerous prophets before Islam, including Prophet Jesus (Jesus Christ), Peace be on them all.

Islam is the name given to the “Religion of Truth” when the time came for it to be further expanded and completed. For example, in the past, people learned to pray for request and praise at any time in a simple way and what to say briefly during the prayer; but at the time of the completion of “The Religion of Truth”, in Islam, prayer is established as obligatory and non-obligatory. The non-obligatory prayers can be done at any time of the day or night or whenever required or urgent while the obligatory prayer is regulated, thus:
The Islamic prayer is called solat, and there are five prayers performed daily, each performed at different times of the day, at home, at any suitable place or in the mosque. The prayers are Suboh or Fajar (before sunrise), Zohor (early afternoon), Asar (late afternoon), Maghrib (after sundown) and Ishak, also spelt Isyak (early night). No footwear is worn during the prayer, and before starting each prayer, the main parts of the body – head area, hand and arms and legs – are cleaned using sparing running water. The prayer can be performed alone or in congregation of any size as small as two persons or in thousands as in huge mosques or at the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Each prayer is performed by silently reading Quranic verses and executing a set of postures like standing, bowing and sitting on the floor. In a congregation, people, male and female separately, position themselves close to each other in straight rows, showing unity, respect and no distinction of race, colour or wealth – all face towards the Ka’aba in Mecca for unity in prayers of the One God (Allah).

It is hoped that with the proper understanding of Islam, people of other faiths would appreciate Islam and thus live with Muslims as fellow brothers and sisters. There is no place for suspicion, hatred of races and faiths or terrorism. What we need in this world is peace, happiness, togetherness and harmony.

The first article in the series, “The Spirit of Islam – Part 1: Prophets and their missions”, appeared last Saturday, 27 January, in this blog. Part 2: Human nature and Prophet Adam” was posted on Saturday, 3 February, and the third and final part of “The Spirit of Islam”, “Prophet Abraham, Patriarch of Revealed Religions”, appears today, below. )

Beauty and Rationality of Islam

– The Spirit of Islam –
Part 3: Prophet Abraham,
Patriarch of Revealed Religions

Prophet Abraham is known to the believers of the three well-known religions of today – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. As the patriarch of the Jews, Christians and Muslims, Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim) is closely connected to Muslims in many ways.
The life-story of Prophet Abraham is one characterised by tremendous trials, great sacrifices and complete submission to Allah. And when he had gone through the trials successfully, Allah made him a great leader. Allah says: “And when His Lord tried Abraham with (His) Commands, and he fulfilled them, He said: “Lo! I have appointed thee a Leader for mankind.'” (2:124)

Prophet Abraham spoke out strongly against the worship of idols which his people were practising. He even physically destroyed their idols to prove his point – that things made by man could be destroyed by man. His preaching of the One God, Allah, earned him the wrath of his idol-worshipping people and, one day, he was subjected to torture by fire, from which he escaped. He travelled to Egypt and Palestine and then to Arabia to spread his teaching of the One God.

My article, “The acquisition of knowledge in Islam”, published in a quarterly magazine, “Al-Islam” in the January-March 1976. (Photos show the front page of Al-Islam and the first page of the article.)

The second and third pages of my article in Al-Islam.

Prophet Abraham’s wife, Sarah, was unable to bear children. So, with his wife’s consent, he married Hagar (Hajar) for the purpose of begetting a son. His wish was fulfilled and he was blessed with a son, Ishmael (Ismail). However, from the time Hagar gave birth to Ishmael, Sarah, out of jealousy, used every opportunity to make Hagar’s life miserable. This troubled Prophet Abraham and he prayed for Allah’s Guidance. Prophet Abraham, upon receiving Allah’s Guidance, and obeying it, took Hagar and their child, Ishmael, out of Palestine and travelled to the Arabian peninsular. He arrived at a desolate area, the Valley of Bakkah, later to be called Makkah (Mecca).

When Hagar asked her husband if that was the place commanded by Allah for them to live, Prophet Abraham replied: “Yes. It is Allah’s Command.” And Hagar said, “If that is so, then Allah will not abandon us.”

This event led to many significant events over the years. The following main ones were associated with the family of Prophet Abraham:

• Settlement developed
Though this valley (Valley of Bakkah) was a parched desert, water (today known as the Zamzam water) appeared before Hagar, and it gave sustenance to the family and others who passed by. The water attracted people, known as “bedouin”, who roamed the deserts of Arabia seeking pastures for their herds of camel and other animals. Soon a habitation emerged and, not long after, a settlement was established here in this valley which became known as Makkah (Mecca).

• Command executed
Some years later, in Palestine, Prophet Abraham was elated because Sarah conceived a child and Isaac (Ishak) was born. But Prophet Abraham was saddened to receive a dream-vision in which he was commanded by Allah to sacrifice his first-born, Ishmael, who was about mid-teen by now.

But when he told this to his son, Ishmael, who was also a great believer in Allah, he surprisingly agreed. Allah says: “Then when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, He (Abraham) said: ‘O my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: now see what it is thy view!’ The son said: ‘O my father! Do as thou art commanded, thou will find me, if Allah so wills, one practising patience and constancy!'” (37:102) (Note: In the Bible, it was Isaac who was sacrificed.)

• Faith triumphed
At the site of the sacrifice, Ishmael put his head down on a rock in preparation for the sacrifice, and Prophet Abraham, with a heavy heart, placed the knife to his son’s throat to execute the sacrifice. Suddenly, a voice, the voice of Angel Gabriel, was heard. Conveying the Message of Allah, the Angel said he had passed the test of his deep faith in Allah, and that Allah required no sacrifice of his son. Prophet Abraham was relieved and thanked Allah for it. The willingness to sacrifice the first-born son was an ultimate test of faith.

Allah says in the Qur’an, thus: “We called out to him: ‘O Abraham! You have already fulfilled the vision.’ Thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial; and We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice. And We left (this Blessing) for him among generations (to come) in later times. Peace and salutation to Abraham. Thus indeed do We reward those who do right; for he was one of Our believing servants!” (37:104-111)

• Haj instituted
It was Prophet Abraham, assisted by Ishmael, who built the Ka’aba as instructed by Allah (through Angel Gabriel) as a place for the worship of the One God, and called people to it for the Haj. Allah says: “Behold! We gave the site to Abraham, of the (Sacred) House, (saying): ‘Associate not anything (in worship) with Me; and sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or stand up, or bow, or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer). And proclaim the Haj among mankind…'” (22:26-27) The Haj was thus instituted, and it is one of the five Pillars of Islam.

About Prophet Abraham, Allah says: “Abraham was indeed a model, devoutly obedient to Allah and true in faith, and he joined not gods with Allah. He showed his gratitude for the favours of Allah, who chose him and guided him to the Straight Path. And We gave him good in this world, and he will be in the Hereafter in the ranks of the righteous.” (16:120-122)

My book, “Read!” (Iqra) – the Islamic inspiration on guidance, wisdom and progress”, published by the Islamic Theological Association of Singapore, also known as Pertapis, in 1986.
(Photos show the front and back covers of the book.}

When Ishmael became a Prophet, he reminded the people of the teachings of his father and reiterated the belief in the One God. However, when Prophet Ishmael died, many of the people of Mecca gradually over time forgot the teachings and, seduced by satanic forces, reverted to worshipping idols made of clay and stone. [Such “back to old” practice also took place with the people of Prophet Moses. When Prophet Moses left his followers to pursue a religious calling, although for only a short period, his people “made out of ornaments, the image of a calf for worship.” (7:148)]

The pilgrimage to the sacred “House” continued annually, but not as originally instituted. The practice was corrupted by idol worship. The pagan Meccans worshipped 360 idols which were placed in and around the Ka’aba. Also, a trade fair flourished in the vicinity of the Ka’aba with dancing girls and other vices practised. The pagans also indulged in immorality, slavery and cruelty such as pawning away their wives and infanticide (burying female infants alive).

This long period, known as the “Age of Jahilliyah” (Age of Ignorance), extended right to the time of the advent of Prophet Muhammad, Allah’s final prophet, and these atrocities and idol worship came to an end with the inception of Islam.

Shaik Kadir
10 February 2018

(The writer of this series of articles would take a one-month break to undertake an important Islamic obligation – Umrah or minor pilgrimage in Mecca. )

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Adam’s visit Part 1: Adam in North Carolina

 

Adam’s visits

Part 1:  Adam in North Carolina

Photo in the writer’s Facebook on 2 February 2018.

Yes, he’s already in Singapore but for a week only before he heads for Sydney.

Adam Rayan Dula, the 4-year-old grandson of American Lib Dula and Fred Dula and Singaporean Khairon Mastan and Shaik Kadir, went with his parents Munirah Shaik Kadir and Allen Dula in mid-December last year to meet his American relatives.

Of course, Adam’s American relatives were expecting to see him and were extremely delighted when he arrived; they last saw him when he was just three months old.

Adam and his parents were staying in Sydney, Australia, where his mother was doing her PhD studies (in Physics Education) which she has just completed.

In North Carolina, USA, where Adam’s grandparents live, Adam was doted by his relatives.

On 22 December last year after about just a week with Adam, Fred said of his grandson: “Thanks so much Shaik. Adam is unbelievable. I cannot tell you how much he means to all of us. I’ve never seen a 4-year-old with so much personality. He was the star of the show both on Christmas Eve and then again on Christmas Day.”

Then, exactly a month later, on 22 January this year, Fred showered more praises for Adam. He said: “I’ve never seen such an outgoing child as Adam. He never meets a stranger. He has this incredible personality. He is adored by all.”

Before going to America, my daughter, Munirah, her husband, Allen, and Adam came to Singapore from Sydney and stayed in Singapore for a fortnight before flying off to North Carolina to meet Allen’s parents.

Adam had an enjoyable seven weeks of fun with his American relatives. The following pictures show Adam enjoying his stay with his American relatives.

Fred Dula (third from left) and his family members in a restaurant.

Adam with his granddad, Fred, and his mother, Munirah…

Adam with is grandmother, Lib whom he affectionately calls “Mimi”.

It’s wintry cold in North Carolina…

Alson Dula-Brodhage, Allen’s elder sister, writing to Adam’s Singapore granddad, “Atuk”: “We are really enjoying the visit with Adam and the family. Thank you for everything you do.”

Edie and Fred with Adam…

It is 2 February – Fred’s birthday – and Fred booked a room in a restaurant for his whole family to be together for the celebration. (On the left in the foreground is John, with beard, Alson’s husband. Alson is third from left. The girls, twin, are their grandchildren. Unable to attend the family gathering are Allen’s brother Page, and his wife, Alison.)

It’s Fred’s 80-th birthday celebration but Adam is taking the center-stage.

Fred, Allen, Munirah and Adam visited Fred’s 81-year-old sister, Ann. “Ann was a runner up in the Miss Durham contest. The winner, Elaine Herndon, won the Miss North Carolina contest and was later 5th in the Miss America contest. Ann was Miss Congeniality in the Miss Durham contest,” said Fred in his Facebook about his sister.
Munirah told us: “When we visited Ann, she really looked good and she ate well, but her health tumbled the following day. And a few days later, she passed away.
May Ann rest in peace.

Allen’s elder brother, Page Dula with his wife, Alison, with Adam and his mother, Munirah.

Happy moments: Adam with his parents.

Fun in the snow…

Parting is always sad: “We will miss Adam when he leaves but do feel that he will turn out to be a very fine young man as time goes by,” said Fred.

Adam was eager to meet his cousin, 3½-year old Nur Iffah Muhammad Imran, in Singapore. The last time they met was in December last year when Adam and his parents came to Singapore for two weeks enroute to North Carolina.

Adam and his cousin, Iffah: They get along very well. (Photos of Adam with Iffah and Uncle Imran Shaik Kadir taken in December last year.

Adam with his Singapore family last year: At Uncle Imran’s home.

Now he’s back in Singapore from USA. His Singapore’s experience will be related in Part 2 (Adam’s visit – Part 2: Adam back in Singapore).

Shaik Kadir
7 February 2018

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Beauty and Rationality of Islam – The Spirit of Islam – Part 2: Human nature and Prophet Adam

Beauty and Rationality of Islam

( The “Beauty and Rationality of Islam” series aim at providing a foundation for the proper understanding of Islam, especially its concept – that Islam was not introduced or founded by Prophet Muhammad but he was sent only to confirm and complete the “Religion of Truth” whose teachings were taught by numerous prophets before Islam, including that of Prophet Jesus (Jesus Christ), Peace be on them all. 

Islam is the name given to the “Religion of Truth” when the time came for it to be further expanded and completed.

It is hoped that with the proper understanding of Islam, people of other faiths would appreciate Islam and thus live with Muslims as fellow brothers and sisters. There is no place for suspicion, hatred of races and faiths or terrorism. What we need in this world is peace, happiness, togetherness and harmony.

The first article in the series, “The Spirit of Islam – Part 1: Prophets and their missions”, appeared last Saturday, 27 January, in this blog. )

Beauty and Rationality of Islam
– The Spirit of Islam –
Part 2: Human nature and Prophet Adam

The writer of this blog’s article, “Saving one life is like saving the whole mankind”, in The Muslim Reader (TMR), Issue No. 33, 2015/2016, a publication of The Muslim Converts’ Association of Singapore, popularly known as Darul Arqam Singapore.

“Saving one life is like saving the whole mankind” appears on pages 76-79 of the annual magazine which is for converts and members of the Association.
Go to this website to read the article as well the others articles in the issue: http://www.darul-arqam.org.sg/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/TMR_2015_2016_Vol33.pdf

Nature of human beings 

The story of human beings begins with Allah’s own address to mankind to remind people that all of them, of whatever colour they are and from whichever corner of the earth they reside, all came from a single pair – Adam and Eve, and that they were created by Allah who is “your Guardian-Lord”.

Allah says: “O mankind! Revere your Guardian-Lord who created you from a single pair, and from them were scattered (like seeds) countless men and women.” (4:1)

Human beings have been created “in the best form” (95:4) with intelligence, abilities and compassion. Allah says: “We have endowed them with the faculties of hearing, seeing, heart (feeling) and intellect (understanding).” (23:78) & (46:26)

Islam says that man came into this world with fitrah (naturally good and pure state) regardless of whether he was born into a Muslim or non-Muslim family. Prophet Muhammad said that “each child is born with fitrah.” Every baby in the world is innocent, pure, and sinless.

As the child grows up, external forces like the child’s parents, peers and the environment (beliefs, doctrines, traditions and cultures) influence and change his natural disposition. Islam, therefore, teaches man to maintain his natural disposition as best as he could or, if already “tainted” through his own fault or negligence, get reverted quickly to his original disposition by doing good and refraining from doing unrighteous acts. Allah says: “Those who do right and refrain from wrong have a great reward.” (3:172)

Man, with his intelligence and freedom of choice, can do good and evil, or change from good to evil or vice versa. As such, he can rise to the level of dignity – the angelic level, or fall to the level of degradation – the satanic level. He can act virtuously and reach the zenith of sublimation and spiritual perfection or act immorally and sink to the deepest pit of disgrace and humiliation. His worldly and spiritual destiny lies in his own hands.

In Islam, the creation of human beings was in Allah’s Plan. His Plan was to have human beings on earth when the earth was ripe and ready for human habitation. In human reckoning, this might take millions or even billions of years.

Theories that human beings evolved from apes, like those human-like apes of prehistoric times, were not really human beings in the real sense. They could be among the numerous and varied types of creatures that had some resemblance to human features. According to Islam, Prophet Adam and Eve were true-blooded human beings like us.

This blog’s writer’s article, “Show gratitude to Allah and to your parents”, in Teens’ Crossroads (TC), Volume 24, Number 1, 2016, a publication of The Muslim Converts’ Association of Singapore, popularly known as Darul Arqam Singapore.

“Show gratitude to Allah and to your parents” appears on pages 33-36 of the magazine which is for Muslim teenagers. It is published twice a year.
Go to this website to read the article as well the others articles in the issue: http://www.darul-arqam.org.sg/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/TC1-2016_Volume24_Number1_web.pdf

Adam, the first man 

Allah created Adam (the first man) and Eve (the first woman) and all human beings with a soul and conscience and other special attributes, including the ability to speak and communicate and love for knowledge and compassion. Allah also imbued in them the ability to make choices and learn about right and wrong and to make progress and development in their living conditions.

Just like a woman’s womb is a “special” place where a human baby is “kept” for special nurturing and growth until a certain period of time, and only when the baby is well-developed will it be delivered into the worldly environment, Adam and Eve, being the first pair of human beings, were “kept” in a very special and highly befitting place for nurturing to take place – Paradise. They dwelt in Paradise as husband and wife.

Allah, being All-knowing, knew that His first pair of human beings would disobey His instruction out of curiosity but he let it happen – as he has given them the faculty of inquisitiveness and choice for them to make mistakes and learn from their mistakes, in this case, of disobedience to Allah’s warning.

At one point in their development, Allah told them: “O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Garden; and eat of the bountiful things therein as (where and when) you will; but approach not this tree lest you run into harm and transgression.” (4:35)

But, both Adam and Eve, tempted by the Satan (Iblis), together ate the fruit of the tree, disobeying Allah’s instruction not to eat it. Thereupon, Allah reprimanded them but, when they, as Allah’s first human creation, repented and sought His forgiveness, Allah forgave them because it was only a first disobedience and it is in the majesty of the Almighty to have mercy on his creatures; so he forgave them.

Thus, Allah did not cause this disobedience of Adam and Eve to become a spot of impurity or sin that would affect the soul of every one, every baby, of their progeny right to this day. Instead every human being born is pure and sinless. Allah says: “We have honoured the children of Adam (humanity).” (17:70)

When Adam and Eve were “ready” for their worldly roles, they were placed on earth to assume a different role, to dwell and procreate. The couple’s love for and nearness to Allah thus developed further.

Also, as Adam had been obeying Allah’s commands seriously, his status as the father of mankind was enhanced. The Qur’an says: “His Lord chose him (from His Grace); He turned to him and gave him “inspiration” (2:37) and “guidance” (20:122) and taught him “the names of everything.” (2:31) Adam, thus, became Islam’s first prophet with the ability to lead his progeny during his time along the path of righteousness though not every person could be guided right – humans could make choices.

Allah assures Prophet Adam of his prophetic mission: “As is sure, there comes to you guidance from Me, so whosoever (of your descendants) follows My guidance, will not lose his way, nor fall into misery.” (20:123)

On earth, Prophet Adam and Eve were placed at separate locations so that with the knowledge learned in Paradise and following Allah’s guidance on perseverance and other virtues like simple prayer of hope and guidance of the Almighty, love and patience, they could find each other and live together again, making this endeavour their first lesson in survival-tactic skills on earth. With this survival skill their progeny too would “scatter” all over on earth. In today’s term, it is “globalisation” – people criss-crossing the globe to travel, work or live.

According to the Hadith (traditions or sayings and deed of Prophet Muhammad), Prophet Adam and Eve were separated by a short distance in the desert of Arabia but found each other on the hill-side of Jabal Rahmah (Mount of Mercy) in the plain of Arafah, a few kilometres away from Mecca.

Today, a tall pillar marks the spot where Adam and Eve were reunited. An information board placed at the spot provides the details. Jabal Rahmah is also well-known to Muslims because on its hill-side, Prophet Muhammad had stood to deliver his Haj sermon to10,000 pilgrims during his last pilgrimage or what became known in Islamic history as the Prophet’s Farewell Pilgrimage.

Traditions also indicate that Prophet Adam had prayed at a spot which became the spot and foundation on which the Ka’aba was built, ages later, by Prophet Abraham.

(“The Spirit of Islam: Part 3 – Prophet Abraham” will be posted in the next instalment of the series.)

Shaik Kadir
3 February 2018

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Beauty and Rationality of Islam – The Spirit of Islam – Part 1: Prophets and their missions

Beauty and Rationality of Islam

( The “Beauty and Rationality of Islam” series aim at providing a foundation for the proper understanding of Islam, especially its concept – that Islam was not introduced or founded by Prophet Muhammad but he was sent only to confirm and complete the “Religion of Truth” whose teachings were taught by numerous prophets before Islam, including that of Prophet Jesus (Jesus Christ), Peace be on them all.
Islam is the name given to the “Religion of Truth” when the time came for it to be further expanded and completed.
With the proper understanding of Islam, people of other faiths would appreciate Islam and thus live with Muslims as fellow brothers and sisters. There is no place for suspicion, hatred of races and faiths as well as terrorism. What we need in this world is peace, happiness, togetherness and harmony.
The first article in the series, “The Spirit of Islam – Part 1: Prophets and their missions” appears today, below. )

Beauty and Rationality of Islam

– The Spirit of Islam –

Part 1: Prophets and their missions

Among the many Islamic books written by the writer of this article is “The Straight Way”, published in 1993 by The Muslim Converts’ Association of Singapore or commonly known as Darul Arqam Singapore. The 170-page book answers questions on Islam put forward by people of other faiths.

Allah’s Prophets
Bearers of God’s Revelations were the numerous prophets of Islam. They were all human beings but upright in character and were chosen by God for their respective roles and missions. They include people like Prophet Abraham, Prophet Moses, Prophet Jesus (Jesus Christ) and Prophet Muhammad. They received Messages, called Revelations, from God and passed them on as instructed to the people they were sent to.

In the case of Islam, the Revelations from God to Prophet Muhammad were recorded in the Qur’an word for word (explanation on this will be given in subsequent articles in the series). This exact record of the Revelations of God, called the Qur’an (Criterion), is the Holy Book of Muslims, and it is in Arabic, in the language of Prophet Muhammad and as received by him. (Translations in all major languages are available today.) Whatever Prophet Muhammad needed to explain to, or advise, people were recorded separately and called the Hadith which also includes his conduct and deeds (Sunnah). In other words, the Qur’an is the exact Word of God recorded and confirmed by Prophet Muhammad himself while the Hadith were his explanation, advice and character recorded by other people with his knowledge or without.

The term “God”, the Almighty, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, is mentioned in the Qur’an as “Allah” and it means “the God” in Arabic. For man’s proper understanding of God, God Himself provides a concise definition of Him in Chapter 112 of the Qur’an so that people will no longer misunderstand and misinterpret God as had happened before Islam. So in this series, the Qur’anic term “Allah” will be used unless when commonality is required.

Muslims’ knowledge of Allah begins with the creation of the first man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve, in Paradise. When the couple was ready to dwell on earth, Adam was honoured by Allah to be mankind’s first prophet.

A prophet is a person who was chosen by Allah to say the things that Allah wants to tell people or to convey His (Allah’s) Message to them. Thus, some of these prophets, including Prophet Muhammad, are also termed as Messengers. According to Islam, Allah sent a long chain of these specially-chosen men as bearers of “good news”, which comprises His reminders of previous messages and new messages as well as instructions and warnings, to specific people they were sent to, while always maintaining that God is One and has no partners, child or wife. These chosen men include prophets such as Prophet Noah, Prophet Abraham, Prophet Moses, Prophet Jesus (Jesus Christ) who is referred to as “Jesus, son of Mary” in the Qur’an) and Prophet Muhammad.

Prophets were people with exceptionally upright character. In his book, Islam – the Basic Truths, Gaafar S. Idris says about prophets: “They are men of extremely high moral, spiritual and intellectual standards that qualify them – in the eyes of God – to be the bearers of His ‘Lights’ to the world. When God chooses any of them, He supports him with a clear ‘sign’ that proves the truth of his claims, and distinguishes him from false prophets, sorcerers and soothsayers. None of them betrays the Message or falls short of being exemplary in practising what he preaches.”

“Splendours of Islam”, was also published by The Muslim Converts’ Association of Singapore (Darul Arqam Singapore) in 2000 and reprinted annually and updated by the author in 2004, 2011 and 2016 . Darul Arqam gives away this 164-page book free to converts, potential converts and Muslims or people of other faiths who want to know Islam and request for a copy.

Mission of Allah’s Prophets and Messengers
Islam says that ever since the existence of human life on earth, Allah has sent more than 124,000 chosen men (as mentioned in the Hadith) to various parts of the world, at various periods of time, to various communities of people to guide them towards righteous living. These chosen men are termed variously as Apostles, Warners and Messengers in the Qur’an. Allah says:
• “To every nation was sent an Apostle.” (10:47)
• “There was never a people without a Warner having lived among them (in the past).” (35:24)

Regarding their mission, Allah says: “We sent them save as bearers of good news and to warn: so those who believe and mend their lives – upon them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (6:48)

Summarily, each prophet came to fulfil the previous prophet’s teachings or add on a bit more to the previous prophets’ teachings as people of olden times would not be able to understand and practise a “completed Deen” as taught in Islam. (Deen can be expressed in several positive ways, such as the Straight Way, Islamic way of living, believers’ way of life and God-conscious lifestyle.) For people of the past generations, what their respective prophets taught – the belief in One God and practice of simple righteousness (morals and good deeds) would be sufficient.

Some of these prophets were termed “Rasul” (Messengers) because they received Allah’s Messages and Laws to teach to their people, namely, Prophet Moses received the Torah (Taurat), Prophet David (Dawud) received the Psalms (Zabur), Prophet Jesus received the Gospel (Injil) and Prophet Muhammad received the Qur’an. Others, called apostles and warners, came to teach moral principles. Regarding the Buddha, though the Qur’an did not mention him by name in the Qur’an, there is a possibility that he too could be among the 124,000 chosen men as only 25 of them were mentioned by name in the Qur’an.

These 25 prophets were mentioned in the Qur’an when Allah relates certain matters regarding their roles. Among them was Prophet Abraham who is the patriarch of Jews, Christians and Muslims. All these prophets taught the essence of Islam: “Serve God (Allah) and eschew evil.” (16:36)

(“The Spirit of Islam: Part 2 – Human nature and Prophet Adam” will be posted in the next instalment of the series.)

Shaik Kadir
27 January 2018

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Beauty and Rationality of Islam

“The Spirit of Islam”, the first article in a series of articles on the “Beauty and Rationality of Islam”, explains the concept of Islam and aims at sharing the information to readers, both Muslims and people of other faiths to appreciate Islam and live as fellow brothers and sisters. What we need in this world is peace and happiness and togetherness. There is no place for hatred of different faiths, racial dominance, vengeance and terrorism.

“The Spirit of Islam” begins with Part 1: Prophets and their missions

This series hopes to provide a foundation for the proper understanding of Islam, especially its concept – that Islam was not introduced or founded by Prophet Muhammad; he was sent only to confirm and complete the “Religion of Truth” whose teachings were taught by numerous prophets before Islam.  Islam is the name given to the “Religion of Truth” when the time came for it to be further expanded and completed.

Shaik Kadir
24 January 2018

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Spain-Morocco tour: Part 2 – Morocco

Spain-Morocco tour: Part 2 – Morocco

The article, “Spain-Morocco tour: Part 1 – Spain”, published in this blog last Saturday (6 January 2018), begins: “In mid-December last year (2017), 18 people from various parts of Singapore went together for a 12-day holiday tour of Spain and Morocco. It was an enjoyable trip with everybody in the group and the tour leader bonding together, joking and laughing during the entire trip.”

The final paragraph of the article states: “After our tour of Spain, we crossed the Gulf of Gibraltar by ferry to Morocco. Zamree was all excited and wore a tarboosh as if he wanted to meet his long lost elder brother. Find out about this person in the Spain-Morocco tour article, “Part 2 – Morocco”, to be published in this blog soon.”

So, who is the person, the look-alike of Mr Zamree Mustapha in the two pictures shown below?

Well, he is none other than the king of Morocco, Mohammed VI, in the picture on the left, given above. He ascended to the throne on 23 July 1999 upon the death of his father, King Hassan ll. He has brought many changes and improvements to Morocco, an interesting nation that is developing fast.

Unique cities
The highlights of the tour include visits to:
• Tangier – Old Medina and the Kasbah: The old Medina is a lively walled city with its alleyways which are filled with shops and tea-houses. The tour in Tangiers includes walking in the alleys within the Kasbah walls and a visit to the old but large Tangier Grand Mosque.
• Fez – Medina and Bouanania Mosque: The tour in Fez, capital of Morocco, includes a visit the Mosque of Bouanania and exploring the Medina with its typical bazaars, an area which has been designated Unesco World Heritage of Humanity Site, as well as wandering through Medina’s souks (markets) and alleys which are unchanged since the Middle Ages.
• Marrakech – Saadian Tombs and Jemaa el Fna Square: Another highlight in the city is the visit to the Koutoubia Mosque
• Casablanca – Mosque of Hassan II: The highlights is not only visiting the magnificent Mosque of King Hassan II, but also enjoying the splendid sunset at the beach of “Ain sbai”.

Palm trees

What is very interesting about Morocco is that everywhere there are palm trees, neatly in rows along roads and artistically arranged in parks, roundabouts and special areas.

“The Moroccan Gang”
The members who went for the Spain-Morocco tour seem to like being referred to as the “Moroccan Gang”. Let me reintroduce them here.

From left, Latifah Ibrahim and her husband, Maznan; Noor and his wife, Latiffah Majid; and Aminah and her husband, Masod.

From left, Shaik Kadir and his wife, Khairon; Said and his wife, Khatijah; and Zamree and his wife, Sutinah.

Mdm Simah and her youngest granddaughter, Nasyitha; Marlah and colleague, Juita; and Nadiah and her younger sister, Nabilah.

More photos of the “Moroccan Gang”

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Mr Mohammed Said…

“Morocco is beautiful with lots of land, much covered with agricultural produce. The views are also beautiful – mountains, plains and rivers. I like Morocco also because of its historical buildings, beautiful and large mosques and many Islamic sites. Some places we visited did not change since old times and these makes Morocco unique. But there are also some negative things to say, like many of the alleys are not clean and some sellers follow us and were persistent to sell their wares but this, I guess, is because they are poor as also happens in some Asian countries.”
– Mr Mohammed Said

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Islamic designs

As in Spain, I’m enthralled by the Islamic architectural designs of mosques, Islamic institutions and private homes.

Mosques
The mosques in Morocco are large and beautiful, and the King Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca beat them all in size and internal beauty.

The mosque, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, is the 13th largest in the world. It’s minaret is the world’s tallest at 210 metres high and a laser at its top beams its light towards Mecca.

The walls of the interior of the mosque are of hand-crafted marble and the roof is retractable.

We had the opportunity to perform the Friday prayers in this huge mosque.

What are they up to?

These four people look like they are from the “Moroccan Gang”.  But, are they in exuberance or in fright?

Rose garden

Roses are irresistible for romantic occasions and expression of love. Here are a couple of quotes about roses:

• “Love planted a rose, and the world turned sweet.” – Katharine Lee Bates
• “A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.” – Leo Buscaglia

“If you love the rose, leave it on its stem. Don’t pluck it and give it to your darling and make the plant lose its charm.” – Shaik Kadir

Charm of the giant tea-kettle and the tagine
According to Wikipedia, tagine is a Moroccon dish which is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. Even the small one is quite heavy to carry and can easily break.
Pix (2 slides)

Khairon is not so much interested in getting a tagine but she wanted to buy a giant tea-kettle, saying it would be useful for serving tea at home when guests come for Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. But when she heard the exorbitant price, she was shocked and started rubbing the kettle hard and surprisingly a genie sprang out of it and gave her a tagine.

Upon returning home, instead of cooking a meal herself, she asked her 3½-year old granddaughter to cook a dish for dinner, and the little girl, who loves cooking and admires chefs, did two dishes – an egg dish and a chicken dish. “Really tasty dishes, thanks, Iffah.”

Moroccan delight

Some unique Moroccan wares and souvenirs…

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Ms Nadiah Zamree…

“As a History student in JC, I have always been interested on learning about past civilisations and hence, the trip to Spain and Morocco was extremely meaningful to me.
The trip also gave me the opportunity to widen my world views. As I listened to the stories told by the tour guides at the tourist locations, my thoughts ran wild as I tried hard to imagine what it must have been like in the past.
I was especially intrigued by the beautiful Islamic architecture in Spain. I find it bizarre that the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba still reveals some of its former Islamic prominence, especially in elements of Islamic architectural designs.
I must also say that I have formed a nice friendship with the group members.”
– Ms Nadiah Zamree, National University of Singapore student

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More of you, more of Morocco

What happened?
Oh my goodness! Why are members of the “Morrocan Gang” looking sad and standing in a straight row? Why? Why? Why?

Have they been arrested for buying too many Moroccan souvenirs and waiting to be questioned by the police, or are they very hungry and angry waiting long for their makan?

Sila makan!

Yes, no one forgets the three meals a day – to be energetic to travel long distances in the coach and to walk long distances too to places of interest.

Teh Tarik? Looks like the tarik (pull) is longer than in Singapore….

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Ms Noor Marlah Mahmood…

“Between Spain and Morocco, I personally like Morocco more. Perhaps it was the knowledgeable guide who gave us a thorough and interesting commentary on the different places or maybe Morocco was just more exotic to me.

Fes and Marrakech are wonderful with rich history. I would never have guessed that behind the narrow alleys of the Medina are beautiful and splendid restaurants, shops and living quarters.

I was really inspired by the cacti fences in the Moroccan countryside. An ingenious way to go green and add more oxygen to the environment.

I must also add that the group was fabulous – the members were cheerful, helpful, warm and inclusive travel companions. I pray that we will all move on from being great travel companions to precious friends. Alhamdulillah. Ameen.”

– Ms Noor Marlah Mahmood

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The helpful Nabilah

As in Spain, Nabilah Zamree is always helpful in assisting Nani Khairon during the long walks to places of interest.

“Thank you, Nabilah. Nani loves you.”

And, thank you to all for the wonderful companionship we enjoyed during the entire Spain-Morocco holiday trip.  Keep the friendship going, Moroccan Gang!

Shaik Kadir
13 January 2018

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