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Bismillah Ar-Rahman Nir RaheemMuslims against Love?

no_valentine_day

{Read,before making any plans with your *spouse*}

This article is a brief reply to those Christians, Jews and other Non-Muslims who allege that Muslims are against love and hence don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day.

It is a mistake to confuse what they call the day with what the real intentions are behind it. The love referred to on this day is romantic love, taking mistresses and lovers, boyfriends and girlfriends. It is known to be a day of promiscuity and sex for them, with no restraints or restrictions.

They are not talking of pure love between a man and his wife or a woman and her husband, or at least they do not distinguish between the legitimate love in the relationship between husband and wife, and the forbidden love of mistresses and lovers. This festival for them is a means for everyone to express love.

Love in Islam is more general and more comprehensive; it is not restricted only to one kind of love, that between a man and a woman. It is love when we cry for those Muslims being tortured and killed by those evil armies of the west. It is love when we cry looking at the people of Somalia dying out of hunger. It is love when we morally, mentally and financially support those Muslims whose life have been devastated by tyrant rulers like in Syria.

There is no religion which encourages its followers to love and care for one another more than Islam does. This applies at all times and in all circumstances, not just on one particular day. Indeed, Islam encourages us to express our emotions and love at all times , as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If a man loves his brother, let him tell him that he loves him.” (narrated by Abu Dawood, 5124; al-Tirmidhi, 2329; it is saheeh).

And he said: “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise until you truly believe, and you will not truly believe until you love one another.  Shall I not tell you of something that, if you do it, you will love one another? Spread (the greeting of) salaam amongst yourselves.” (Narrated by Muslim, 54)

So Oh you celebrators of ‘Eed al-Hubb (the festival of love), you yourself don’t know the history of this evil custom. Oh you who allege us Muslims of being against love, listen to this:

I am not forced to admit to you on this day that I have known love. However, this does not coerce me to allocate one day for the rest of my entire life to regret the killing of the patron saint of love (Valentine) and commemorate him. I am not obliged to show love to those who are massacring the concept of true love in my country, killing my dreams and corrupting my youth. I am not obliged to behave like an innocent child, to receive a red heart by the right hand while they treacherously stab me from behind with their left hand. I am not required to commemorate Astarte’s (one of so called Greek goddess) rivers of tears for Adonis (one of so called Greek goddess of beauty and desire), while my people’s rivers of blood are shed in our streets. Anemone should grow only on the blood of the Ummah (nation), not on tears of illicit love.

History has been crushed under the feet of those who came to my country. I want to tell them: You will never be dearer to me than Huda and ‘Abeer (two young Muslim girls who fell victims to the enemies’ brutal attacks in Gaza and Iraq). Your yellow smile will never deceive me to forget Imaan and Mohammed Al-Durra (Palestinian children killed by the Zionists). I will not be able to hide my face and share your joy and forget the sorrows of my Ummah.

I am not coerced to live as a yes-man while they compel me to remember those whom I love one day, for I have many loved ones. If they have Valentine, I have someone much greater than him, Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) who taught me to dedicate all my life and days for love.

He taught me that when I love someone, I should quickly come to him, not wait until February 14, or any other date, to tell him how I feel. He taught me that a gift (regardless of its value and color) is the messenger of love. Therefore he said: “Exchange gifts and you will love each other.” He taught me a way to be more beautiful than Adonis and superior to Venus. Therefore, he said: “Allaah is beautiful and He loves beauty.“

Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) taught me that Allaah The Almighty loves me because I live with love. Therefore, He said: “My love is due for those who love each other for My sake, meet together for My sake and visit each other for My sake.” He promised me that I will be with him if I love him, for love of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is more than just words. He said: “One will be resurrected with those whom he loves.“

Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) directed me to the verse in which Allaah The Exalted Says (what means): {Close friends, that Day, will be enemies to each other, except for the righteous.} [Quran 43: 67] He told me that the essence of my love in this world is love for Allaah The Almighty and love for His sake. In a Hadeeth (narration), he said: “The one who loves for the sake of Allaah, hates for the sake of Allaah, gives for the sake of Allaah and withholds for the sake of Allaah has perfect faith.“

Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) taught me to choose those whom I love in order not to regret my love, Allaah The Exalted Says (what means): {And the Day the wrongdoer will bite on his hands [in regret] he will say, “Oh, I wish I had taken with the Messenger a way. Oh, woe to me! I wish I had not taken that one as a friend. He led me away from the remembrance after it had come to me. And ever is Satan, to man, a deserter.”} [Quran 25: 27-29]

As for those who love each other for the sake of Allaah The Almighty, He will shield them on the Day of Judgment under His shade when there will be no shade but His and include them in His love. On the Day of Judgment, Allaah The Almighty will call them, saying: “Where are those who love each other for My Majesty? Today, I will shield them under My shade, as today there is no shade but Mine.” He will praise them, saying: “Those who love each other for My sake for them [are] pulpits of light, the prophets and the martyrs will look at them with admiration.”

Cursed is this Valentine’s Day whose cherishers from the non-Muslims abuse our Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) with their cartoons and movies. How can I participate in Valentine’s Day on the occasion of which the parliament of the Netherlands said to the whole world, “If Muslims want to live here, they have to rip up half the Quran and throw it away?”

May Allaah The Almighty expose the true face of those who call to such abominations! If some weak-minded Muslims have been deceived by your false, beguiling and distorted media, there are many others who have seen through the facade of illicit love that you promote.

Muslims are to reject it, warn others against it and to fulfill their duty towards it of enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil.

Other Articles On Valentines Day in this blog !

Say No to Valentine Day

Valentine Day Celebration

Rulings on Celebrating Valentine Day

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Bismillah Ar-Rahman Nir Raheem

History of Valentine Day :: Valentines Day not for Muslims

love_prophet_or_valentine_No_to_valentine_day_2013

{Read,before making any plans with your *spouse*}

A brief discussion of the origins, development and purpose of this holiday, and what the Muslim should do with regard to it.

The Festival of Love was one of the festivals of the pagan Romans, when paganism was the prevalent religion of the Romans more than seventeen centuries ago. In the pagan Roman concept, it was an expression of  “spiritual love”.

There were myths associated with this pagan festival of the Romans, which persisted with their Christian heirs. Among the most famous of these myths was the Roman belief that Romulus, the founder of Rome, was suckled one day by a she-wolf, which gave him strength and wisdom.

The Romans used to celebrate this event in mid-February each year with a big festival. One of the rituals of this festival was the sacrifice of a dog and a goat. Two strong and muscular youths would daub the blood of the dog and goat onto their bodies, then they would wash the blood away with milk. After that there would be a great parade, with these two youths at its head, which would go about the streets. The two youths would have pieces of leather with which they would hit everyone who crossed their path. The Roman women would welcome these blows, because they believed that they could prevent or cure infertility.

The connection between Saint Valentine and Valentine’s Day

Saint Valentine is a name which is given to two of the ancient “martyrs” of the Christian Church. It was said that there were two of them, or that there was only one, who died in Rome as the result of the persecution of the Gothic leader Claudius, c. 296 CE. In 350 CE, a church was built in Rome on the site of the place where he died, to perpetuate his memory.

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When the Romans embraced Christianity, they continued to celebrate the Feast of Love mentioned above, but they changed it from the pagan concept of “spiritual love” to another concept known as the “martyrs of love”, represented by Saint Valentine who had advocated love and peace, for which cause he was martyred, according to their claims. It was also called the Feast of Lovers, and Saint Valentine was considered to be the patron saint of lovers.

One of their false beliefs connected with this festival was that the names of girls who had reached marriageable age would be written on small rolls of paper and placed in a dish on a table. Then the young men who wanted to get married would be called, and each of them would pick a piece of paper. He would put himself at the service of the girl whose name he had drawn for one year, so that they could find out about one another. Then they would get married, or they would repeat the same process again on the day of the festival in the following year.

The Christian clergy reacted against this tradition, which they considered to have a corrupting influence on the morals of young men and women. It was abolished in Italy, where it had been well-known, then it was revived in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when in some western countries there appeared shops which sold small books called “Valentine’s books”, which contained love poems, from which the one who wanted to send a greeting to his sweetheart could choose. They also contained suggestions for writing love letters.

It was also said concerning the origins of this holiday that when the Romans became Christian, after Christianity had become widespread, the Roman emperor Claudius II decreed in the third century CE that soldiers should not get married, because marriage would distract them from the wars they used to fight. This decree was opposed by Saint Valentine, who started to perform marriages for the soldiers in secret. When the emperor found out about that, he threw him in jail and sentenced him to execution. In prison, he (Saint Valentine) fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, but this was a secret because according to Christian laws, priests and monks were forbidden to marry or fall in love. But he is still regarded highly by the Christians because of his steadfastness in adhering to Christianity when the emperor offered to pardon him if he forsook Christianity and worshipped the Roman gods; then he would be one of his closest confidantes and he would make him his son-in-law. But Valentine refused this offer and preferred Christianity, so he was executed on 14 February 270 CE, on the eve of February 15, the festival of Lupercalis. So this day was named for this saint.

In The Story of Civilization, it says that the Church devised a calendar in which every day was designated as the feast day of one of the saints. In England, Saint Valentine’s Day was to come at the end of winter. When that day came, according to them, the birds mated enthusiastically in the forests, and the young men would put flowers on the windowsills of the homes of the girls whom they loved. (The Story of Civilization by Will Durant, 15/23)

The Pope designated the day of the death of Saint Valentine, February 14, 270 CE, as a festival of love. Who is the Pope? He is the “the archbishop, the supreme pontiff of the universal church, the successor of Saint Peter.”

Look at this “archbishop” and how he prescribed for them the observance of this festival which was an innovation in their religion. This reminds us of what Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allaah (by obeying them in things which they made lawful or unlawful according to their own desires without being ordered by Allaah)…”[al-Tawbah 9:31]

It was narrated that ‘Adiy ibn Haatim said: “I came to the Prophet(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) wearing a gold cross around my neck. He said, ‘O ‘Adiy, cast aside this idol.’ And I heard him reciting from Soorat Baraa’ah [al-Tawbah] (interpretation of the meaning): ‘They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allaah.’ He said: ‘They do not worship them, but when they permit them something they accept it as permitted, and when they forbid them something they accept it as forbidden.’” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and it is a hasan hadeeth).

Important symbols of Valentine’s Day:

No Valentine Day :: Click to Download this Picture !

1 – Expressing joy and happiness on this occasion, as on their other major festivals.

2 – Exchanging red roses, which are an expression of love, the “spiritual love” of the pagans or the “love” of the Christians. Hence it is known to them as the Feast of Lovers.

3 – The sending of greetings cards. On some of these cards are pictures of “Cupid”, who appears as a child with two wings, carrying a bow and arrows. This was the god of love of the pagan Romans – exalted be Allaah far above their fabrications and their association of others with Him.

4 – Exchange of words of love and desire in the greetings cards which they send to one another, in verse, prose and short phrases. Some of the cards contain comical pictures and funny words, and they often contain the phrase “be my Valentine”. This represents the Christian concept of this festival after it was taken from the pagan concept.

5 – In many western countries, parties are held during the day and in the evening, where there is mixing of men and women, and dancing. Many of them send gifts such as roses and boxes of chocolates to their wives, friends and those whom they love.

What do You Understand from Valentine’s Day?

Anyone who looks at what is said above about the myths surrounding this pagan festival will clearly understand the following:

Firstly:

That its origins lie in the pagan beliefs of the Romans, where it was an expression of the spiritual love of the idols which they used to worship instead of Allaah. Whoever celebrates it is celebrating an occasion of shirk on which the idols are venerated. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Verily, whosoever sets up partners (in worship) with Allaah, then Allaah has forbidden Paradise to him, and the Fire will be his abode. And for the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers) there are no helpers” [al-Maa’idah 5:72]

Secondly:

That the development of this festival among the Romans was connected to myths and legends which no sound mind can accept, let alone the mind of the Muslim who believes in Allaah and His Messengers (peace be upon them). Can anyone of sound mind believe that a she-wolf suckled the founder of the city of Rome and gave him strength and wisdom. Moreover, these myths go against the belief (‘aqeedah) of the Muslim because the One Who bestows strength and wisdom is the Creator, may He be glorified and exalted, not the milk of a she-wolf! The same applies to the myth that their idols could protect them from evil or keep wolves away from their flocks.

Thirdly:

Among the ugly rituals of the Romans on this day was the sacrifice of a dog and a goat, the daubing of their blood onto two youths then washing the blood off with milk, etc… This is something that would cause revulsion in anyone of a sound nature, and it is unacceptable to the sound mind.

Fourthly:

The connection between Saint Valentine and this festival has been questioned by many sources, and it considered to be far from definite. It would have been better for the Christians to reject this pagan festival in which they imitated the pagans. So how about Muslims, who are commanded to be different from the Christians and the pagans before them?

Fifthly:

This festival was denounced by the Christian clergy in Italy, the bastion of Catholicism, because it was spreading bad attitudes and having an adverse effect on the minds of young men and women. So it is better for the Muslims to reject it, warn others against it and to fulfil their duty towards it of enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil.

Free Valentine’s Day Presents/Gifts for him and her:

What can be more good for a believer (both him and her) than the gift of coming to know, the reality of the evils of this Eid of the ignorants, and start abstaining from it?

If  you know any of your Muslim friends who have girlfriends and boyfriends, then share this gift of knowledge with them.

This is a gift which is really cheap (cost wise) but is priceless (benefit wise).

Instead of sending e-cards and roses and all sorts of stuffs, send them this article which will be of benefit for him/her in improving his state as a believer both in this world and hereafter, Insha’Allaah (God Willing).

 

Muslims are to reject it, warn others against it and to fulfill their duty towards it of enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil.

Other Articles On Valentines Day in this blog !

Say No to Valentine Day

Valentine Day Celebration

Rulings on Celebrating Valentine Day

Bookmark and Share

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

The Basis of Unity :: Friday Sermon

by : Yasir Qadhi

unity

I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad pbuh is His Servant and Messenger. May Allaah bestow peace and blessings upon him, his family and companions.

PART I

When we turn to ahadeeth of the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam, we find that a small hadith might contain so much benefit that volumes can be written about it. As he himself said, “Indeed I have been given comprehensive speech.” In other words, a very small statement or a very small phrase will be able to carry a great meaning. This is the case with a particular hadith – the Hadith of ‘Irbad ibn Sa’riya, named after the companion who narrated it. This hadith is so well-known and comprehensive that when this companion’s name is mentioned, this hadith comes to mind. It is an authentic hadith reported in the sunan of Abu Dawud and the ja’mi of Tirmidhi as well as others.

‘Irbad ibn Sa’riya narrates: “Verily the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam delivered a sermon, which caused our hearts to tremble and our ears and our eyes to cry.” Notice the effect that the Prophet’s speech had on the Sahabah. And the Quran describes the Believers as such:

…when they hear the verses recited to them they fall down in sajdah and they cry.

This is the way of the Believer; he benefits from and loves to hear advice. And this is in contrast to the hypocrite and the weak believer, the Fasiq. Allah ‘azza wa jal describes them in the Quran:

Why is it that they turn away when they are reminded? / Why don’t they listen? / It is only the believer that benefits from advice and loves it.

The Sahabah were affected because of their sincere faith and dedication to the deen. They were moved and more importantly they paid attention. And this is a sign of Imaan; when a person finds he loves to attend religious gatherings and when Quran and Sunnah are recited, he is affected. And the opposite is also true. When a person does not care about religious lectures, khutbahs, sermons, seeking knowledge, or if he does not pay attention when the Quran and Sunnah are recited to him, then this is an evil sign befitting of the hypocrites and the kuffar. And that is why the Sahabah were the best of our generations. Sitting there they were affected by Prophet Muhammad’s sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam talk. Their hearts trembled and their eyes cried.

‘Irbad then goes on and says, “The Sahabah said, after the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam had finished the sermon, ‘O Messenger of Allah, we feel that you are about to leave us. The emotion in which you have delivered this talk was so intense that we feel that you are about to leave us. So give us some concise advice, give us a legacy. Give us, if you like, your last will and testament.’”

MashaAllah! Look at the Imaan of the Sahabah; after the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam finished his talk, they wanted more, in fact they demanded more. Unlike the people of today, they didn’t get tired or bored or look at their watches waiting for the Islamic knowledge to finish so they could go on with their lives. No, they wanted more because they realized that this was far more precious to them than anything the world contained. So they said, “Ya RasulAllah give us more; we want to hear more.” And this is why the Sahabah were the best of all generations. As the Quran says:

Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Allah.

So the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam, due to his merciful nature, agreed to their request, and he gave another sermon, rather another small advice. And the reason that this lecture is so important is that the Sahabah had said, “Ya RasulAllah, give us a concise legacy.” Basically they were asking the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam to summarize for them what they needed to know, what were the essentials, and his last will and testament to the Ummah. So because they requested such beautiful advice, the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam fulfilled their request. This shows that this hadith is a very important hadith, a hadith of high status, a hadith that every one of us should study. Think about it – this is the legacy that the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam gave to the Sahabah when they asked him.

The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam started off saying, “My legacy to you is that I advise you to have the taqwa of Allah ‘azza wa jall. And I command you to listen and to obey,” meaning the rulers, “even if an Abyssinian slave becomes your leader.” To listen and to obey even if someone you do not like, someone you look down upon, becomes your leader. In the Shari’ah it is considered better to listen to the rulers even if they are not perfect, as long as they are not non-Muslims and committing open kufr. Listening to them is seen as a lesser sin than revolting and causing chaos, pandemonium, blood being shed, honor being dishonored, women being raped, and villages being pillaged. All of these things could be direct results of revolting against a ruler who is Muslim, even though you dislike some things about him. So the Shari’ah says that if there is a ruler and a leader who is a Muslim and is judging, in general, by the Shari’ah, then it is better, it is the correct thing to do, to leave him in power even if there are other problems with him; and you listen to and you obey him.

He went on and said, “He who lives long amongst you will see a lot of differing,” meaning amongst the Muslims. When he said, “He who lives long amongst you,” he was talking to the Sahabah, the first generation of Islam. And he said that amongst themselves they will witness a phenomenon that did not exist before. They will see something new that was not there before. And that is, there will be ikhtilaaf, differences of opinion. There will be Muslims disunited. And this is something that never existed during the time of the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam. When Prophet Muhammad sal Allaahu alayhi wa salla was amongst their midst this was unheard of because he was their Prophet, their leader, guiding them, advising them, and mediating between them. But he predicted this disease, ikhtilaaf, would appear shortly after his death, and would continue until the Day of Judgment. He predicted it because Allah ‘azza wa jall told him about it. And he did not tell the Sahabah that it would come after a thousand years or after a few hundred years. He said those who lived long amongst them, while Islam would still in its infancy, would be plagued by ikhtilaaf.

And it was exactly as he said. Shortly after Prophet Muhammad sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam’s death, in the middle of the khilaafa of ‘Uthman radi Allahu anhu, the neo-Khawaarij, the first splinter group, broke away from the Muslims. And then in the time of ‘Ali, the Rafidha broke away. And so on and so forth, it continued, the Muslims kept on breaking away from the Ummah to the point that now we have so many groups, methodologies, and movements, so many ways of understanding Islam, that we cannot even count them. So the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam, because of his concern for us, because of his knowledge that Allah ‘azza wa jall gave him, warned us of a disease that would afflict all of us; the disease of ikhtilaaf, the disease of disunity.

Ikhtilaaf is such a severe disease that there is not a single issue except that we find Muslims differing about it. Forget the trivial matters of how to pray and fast. There are bigger issues such as the status of the Sahabah and the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam, even the status of Allah ‘azza wa jall Himself and His names and attributes. There is not a single topic that you can think of except that you will find Muslim groups, sects, and deviants, all of them claiming to be Muslim, yet they have different ideas, methodologies, and opinions. It appears to be hopeless to bring any unification since there are so many groups. It is as the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said. Imagine. He was talking to the Sahabah so what of the situation now. How much ikhtilaaf is there? We have so much ikhtilaaf that there is not a community of Muslims on the face of the earth, except that they differ amongst themselves. Forget Muslim states, we’re talking about even local masjids in a community. Two masjids across the street from each other may have different opinions, ideologies, methodologies, agendas, and understandings of the same book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam. All of us have witnessed it. It is as if Muslims cannot become united. At least that is the way many Muslims feel.

The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam informed us of this disease and what will happen. Do you think that our Prophet, whom Allah ‘azza wa jall describes as the one who cares about you, the one who is merciful towards you, pitiful towards you, would tell us of the disease without telling us the cure? Do you think he would warn us of the impending problem without telling us the solution? No, wallahi it is not possible. He warned us of the problem and then immediately went on and he told us the solution. He said:

“So I command you (I put it upon you, the obligation is upon you) to turn back to my Sunnah.”

This is the solution. When you differ, when you have ikhtilaaf, then the obligation is upon you, to take this ikhtilaaf, to take this differing, back to the Sunnah. And obviously taking it back to the Sunnah means automatically you must take it back to the Quran as well. The Quran and Sunnah go hand in hand. As Allah ‘azza wa jal says:

If you differ about the smallest thing (if you differ about an issue) take it back to Allah and His Messenger, if you have Imaan in Allah and the Day of Judgment.

Meaning, if you do not have Imaan in Allah and the Day of Judgment, then you will not take it back to Allah and His Messenger. Only if you have Imaan will you then take it back to Allah and His Messenger.

But the question arises, how is it possible that there is still ikhtilaaf when the majority of Muslims of our time, those that call themselves Sunni, acknowledge that they go back to the Quran and Sunnah? The vast majority of what we call the conglomerate Sunni groups, even though amongst the Sunni groups there are so many splinter groups, claim the same thing: Our basis is the Quran and Sunnah. And yet, we still find ikhtilaaf.

This is because the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam did not just stop there at “take it back to my Sunnah.” He continued, “…and also, the Sunnah (the practice) of the rightly guided Khalifas after me.” Meaning, take it back to the Sunnah of the Sahabah, to the understanding of the first generation of Islam. And this is where the vast majority of Sunni groups fail; they take it back to the Quran and Sunnah, but they put a full stop there. Hardly any group, in fact there is only one group, says we must go back to the Quran and Sunnah based upon the understanding of the early generations.

The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam described that generation (specifically the four major Khalifahs) as Rashideen, meaning they have guided themselves, or Mahdi’een, they guide others. Take it back to their Sunnah.

The status of the Sahabi is not a trivial status. The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said, “The best of all generations is my generation (those of the Sahabah), and then those that come after them (Tabi’oon), and then those that come after them (the Taba Tabi’oon).” Three generations. Meaning that in the entire history of mankind, from the time of Adam until the Day of Judgment, never will there be an entire group, an entire generation, better than the Sahabah. Never. And that is why Allah refers to the companions as such in Surah ‘Imran:

You are the best ummah that has ever been sent to mankind. You command what is good, you forbid the evil, and you believe in Allah.

What does it mean “the best”? Most Muslims think it means they are the best in their Imaan and taqwa; that they reached the heights of Imaan and taqwa and no one can reach those heights. This is of course true, but had this been the only meaning, then how would we be able to benefit from the Sahabah; what would there be for us to gain? If their Imaan reached the stars and ours can only reach a small amount, how would we be able to benefit from them?

Know with certainty that the Sahabah were of course the best in Imaan and taqwa, but they were also the best in their knowledge and in their understanding and implementation of the Quran and Sunnah. Therefore, the fact that they are the best generation means that their understanding is the best understanding. Their opinions are the best opinions. Their implementation of the Quran and Sunnah is the best implementation. Without this, they would not be the best. They were the best in everything; the best in Imaan, in taqwa, in knowledge, and in actions. So when we differ about something, the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam commanded us to take it back to his Sunnah and the Sunnah of the early Khalifaas after him. And then he said, “Hold on fast to it [the Sunnah], cling onto it, bite onto it with your molar teeth.” Emphasis after emphasis, this is what will save you. As they say, a drowning man clutches at every straw. So too the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam is telling us, cling on, bite onto it (the Sunnah) with your molar teeth. This is what will save you from the fitna, from the ikhtilaaf, and from the disunity.

So the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam told us the disease, he told us the solution to that disease, and then he went a step further. He went a step further and told us the virus that causes that disease. He pointed out the reason why there will be this disease. He said, “And I caution you (I warn you) against newly invented matters.” These were matters of the religion that were not known to the early generations; that were not found in the Quran and Sunnah. Again, “I warn you against them, I caution you about them.” He went on: “Be careful because every single one of these innovations is qualified as a bid’a, and every bid’a is a misguidance, and every misguidance leads to the fire of Hell.” This is the virus that causes the disease of ikhtilaaf.

Think about it my dear brothers and sisters. Think about it. The Sahabah were one, they were united. They did not differ amongst themselves in the slightest bit with regards to this religion of Islam, the names and attributes of Allah, the concept of destiny, and any of the aspects of aqeedah. They did not differ. Yet we find in our time so many different groups. What must have happened?

Historically speaking, the first group came along, the Khawaarij, and they invented something which the Sahabah did not agree on. So the next generation found two opinions – that of the Sahabah and that of the Khawaarij. And then another group came, the Rafidha, and they invented a third opinion. And then the Qadariyyah, and then the Jahmiyyah, and then the Muht’azila and then the Asha’ira, until in our times we are surrounded by a myriad of groups and we do not know where to turn to.

So the cause of this problem was that people kept on inventing, adding, and appending to the religion of Islam, to the understanding of the Sahabah, to the Quran and the Sunnah. Bid’as (innovations), is how this disunity started and this is why it is still here. As the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said:

“My Ummah will split into seventy-three groups. Every single one of them is destined for the fire of Hell except one.”

In an authentic hadith of Tirmidhi, the companions asked, “Who are they, ya RasulAllah?”

The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said, “The group that follows what I am upon today and my companions.”

Once again, the emphasis here is put on “I and my companions.” This infers that it is essential to look at how the Prophet lived and how the Sahabi understood and implemented Islam from him. This statement is of paramount importance. We should understand that if we do not heed it, we will be left as the majority of groups have been left; with no standards, criterion, and judge of what is right and what is wrong.

My dear brothers and sisters, in this legacy he left us, the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam shined a light on one of the most difficult problems the Muslim Ummah faces – the problem of ikhtilaaf, of disunity. He warned us of the divisions to come within the Ummah, but also gave us a solution – turn back to the Quran and Sunnah.

PART II

My dear brothers and sisters, this is the Hadith of ‘Irbad ibn Sa’riya, the legacy that the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam left us upon. He said, “I have left you upon the shining path, its night is like its day. No one will deviate from it except that he wishes to be destroyed.”

“…Its night is like its day…” meaning anyone who wants to be guided will be guided; anyone who wants to search for the truth will find it. The path is clear. There is no darkness. Any Muslim who sincerely wishes to be guided, any, any kafir, any non-Muslim who sincerely wants to be guided, it is not possible that he will be misguided. The path is too clear; it is a promise of Allah ‘azza wa jal. The only one who will deviate from this is the one who follows his own desires, the one who does not want to be guided. This is the one who like the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said will go astray because he wishes to go astray, he wishes to destroy himself.

My dear brothers and sisters, the religion of Islam is a perfect religion. We all say this to the point that it has now become a cliche and we don’t even understand what it really means. Going back to the Quran, Allah says:

Today I have perfected your religion for you and completed my favors upon you and I have been pleased with Islam as your way of life.

What do we understand of Islam’s perfection from this verse? It means that the Islam of the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam, the Islam that was practiced by the companions, that is the perfect Islam; there cannot be an Islam better than that. Time or place is irrelevant; there is no such thing as reversions or evolutions of Islam. We do not make distinctions and say there is a Pakistani Islam, an Arab Islam, a Lebanese Islam, or a Philistini Islam. Nor is there such a thing as an 18th century Islam and a 20th century Islam. Islam does not evolve. Our beliefs don’t evolve. Our fiqh, the fundamentals of our fiqh do not change. We are not talking about the minor differences that the Shari’ah has allowed us to undertake from time to time and place to place. We are talking about the broad general laws of Islam; they do not change from time to time and place to place. Therefore, when we find this differing, the solution is to take it back to that perfection as it existed, in the time of the Sahabah when there was no ikhtilaaf.

My dear brothers and sisters, we find many aayaat and ahadith where the importance of unity is stressed. Some of these include:

…hold on fast all of you to the rope of Allah and do not be disunited.

The believers are brothers so reconcile between them (Do not let them fight with one another).

And the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said:

“All of you together be brothers in worship of Allah.”

We all know the importance of unity, yet we also know that the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam predicted that the Muslim Ummah will be disunited. In fact, the Quran itself predicted it as Allah says:

Those that have split up the religions and become into parties and groups, you have nothing to do with them.

The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam also warned us against innovation. As he said in one hadith:

“Whoever innovates in it or supports an innovator, then the curse of Allah and the curse of the angels and the curse of all of mankind will be upon him (Allah will not except from him any good deed).”

In another hadith the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said:

“On the Day of Judgment I will see a group of Muslims and I will recognize them by the signs of wudu. I will recognize them as Muslims and I will say come to me. But the angels will come in between and they will beat them away from me. So I will tell the angels, ‘These are my Ummah, these are the people of my Ummah,’ and the angel will respond, ‘You do not know what they have changed after you.’” In other words you do not know what they have innovated into the religion after you. So the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam will say, “Go away (be away, go off). I have nothing to do with you if you change anything after me.”

What is the basis of Muslim unity? We know we have to be unified and that the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam has cursed innovations and rejected them. So what is the basis? How do we unify when within the Muslim Ummah, two extremes are present.

The first extreme is that a person considers any and every difference to be a big deal. If you differ with them about anything, then you become a’oodhubillah, a kafir. Even the smallest difference such as whether you say ameen out loud or silently, and immediately the conclusion is made that this person is a deviant, and a kafir. This is the one extreme. The other extreme is the exact opposite, which is to ignore every single difference of opinion. Such people just want the masses to come together. They prefer quantity over quality so they ignore every single ikhtilaaf. It does not matter what they say about Allah, the Sahabah, the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam, etc. As long as someone claims to be a Muslim, they are okay. This is the other extreme.

As usual, the true correct group of Islam and the Muslims is always in the middle, between the two extremes. Not every single ikhtilaaf should lead to ikhtilaaf of the hearts. Not every single difference of opinion should lead to boycotting, leaving, or considering someone to be a deviant or a non-Muslim.

What is the criterion then? How do we know which ikhtilaaf is important and which one can be ignored? In reality, this is something the scholars are qualified to do. They are the ones who in general know what is important and what is not. But there is a simple rule of thumb that most of us can apply. We should rely upon the scholars who follow the way of the Quran and Sunnah and the early companions. Turn to them. If they make a big deal about an issue, then make a big deal about it. And if they trivialize it and say no big deal, do not make a big deal about it. Let us always see if the companions disagreed about an issue or if they were unanimous in their opinion. The Sahabah did differ about many things but their differences never led to a problem of the heart. They may have had a difference regarding a certain opinion, but they were still brothers in Islam because these differences were trivial. If we find that the companions were unanimous about an issue, then we too should follow the unanimous opinion. For example, if the companions were unanimous against a certain act, yet someone claims it to be from the Shair’ah, then the general rule of thumb applies and we should rule with the unanimous opinion that the act is not correct.

Take it back to the early generations of Islam; this is a simple rule of thumb. Ask youself, “Is this understanding, this belief, this aqeedah, this practice, shared by the Sahabah? Is this methodology I’m being asked to follow, something that was implemented by the companions, by the Tabi’oon, by the Taba Tabi’oon?” They were the ones with the correct understanding so if they implemented it, then alhamdullilah. If not, then it must be a newly invented matter.

A point of caution is that we must realize that unity and brotherhood is based upon a person’s Imaan. The stronger a person’s Imaan is, the stronger your brotherhood and love must be for him. And the weaker it is, then the weaker your brotherhood and love will be. So your brotherhood for a Muslim who does not pray five times a day, or who does not fast the month of Ramadan, or who is involved in a major sin, or who is involved in a major innovation is not like the brotherhood and unity you feel towards a Muslim who is pious, prays five times a day, fasts the month of Ramadan, and avoids the major sins.

But it is not black and white, and this is the mistake most Muslims make; there are shades of gray in between. You look at every single person and you see the good in him as well as the evil, and accordingly you love him for the good and you hate him for the evil. So the unity will be based upon his Imaan. Unity is not a slogan that we unite with every Muslim who says, “I am Muslim.” No. Unity is based on adherence to the Quran and Sunnah. The closer a person adheres to the Quran and Sunnah, the closer our unity is with him. And if someone disagrees with the Quran and Sunnah, and the understanding of the early generations, then he is the one causing disunity by refusing to go back to the Quran and Sunnah and by refusing to go back to the understanding of the early generations, not us. This is the person who is breaking away from us and we are not breaking away from him.

PART III

What is so important about the salaf and the scholars of the past and the Sahabah and the Tabi’oon that we have to follow them? I will quote a few proofs to illustrate the importance of taking this ikhtilaaf back to them. The first set of proofs is the Quranic proofs, the aayaat of the Quran which prove the high status of the Sahabah. And there are literally dozens of verses in the Quran discussing the status of the Sahabah.

Of them:

Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Allah.

Allah has testified that he is pleased with the Sahabah. Therefore, should we not go back to them when we differ?

You are the best Ummah that has been sent to mankind.

The second set of evidences is the ahadith of the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam, some of which have been quoted earlier already:

“The best of nations is my nation, and then those that come after them, and then those that come after them.”

The hadith of ‘Irbad ibn Sa’riya: “I command you to follow my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided Khalifas after me.”

The hadith of seventy-three groups, and when he was asked who the one safe group was he said, “That which follows what I am following and my companions.”

The third set of evidences is the statements of the companions themselves. When innovations spread and the Khawaarij came and then the Shi’a and the Rafidha and so on and so forth, the companions advised those after them to stick with the Sahabah of the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam. Realize that in the time of the Sahabah, three deviant groups came and yet, not a single Sahabi ever went to those groups. As Ibn Masoud said, “Follow us and don’t innovate after us because it is sufficient for you what we are upon (What we are doing is sufficient for you, don’t do more than that).”

The fourth set of proofs is the proofs from history, Islamic History. From Islamic History we see that the Sahabah were united in their beliefs and in their theology. These deviant groups that came after them, not a single companion was amongst them. The Khawaarij, they numbered in the thousands, and they fought the Sahabah in many wars. Never did any companion leave the ranks of the companions and join the Khawaarij. Ali radi Allahu anhu himself was alive when the Rafidha were there and he had some of them executed. Likewise, the Qadareeya, they too appeared when the Sahabah were alive. None of the companions joined them. And the same follows for the other three generations as well. The group of the Sunnah, Ahlul Sunnah Wal Jam’a, or the Sunni Muslims, they were distinct and clear. There was only one Ahlul Sunnah Wal Jam’a for over two hundred and fifty years. Any other group had other names. Be it the Jahmeeya, the Mu’atazila, the Asha’riya, the Qulabeeya, the Qadareeya, and others. But the Ahlul Sunnah were always one. So for the first two hundred and fifty years, it was clear who was following the Sunnah and who was a deviant.

The fifth set of proofs is a logical proof. Obviously, the best generation that we should go back to for a criterion, for a reference, is the Sahabah. So from a common sense point of view, we need to have a standard, and that standard is the Sahabah.

And the last set of proofs is a realistic proof. This proof becomes apparent if we examine many of the groups today. All of the groups today claim they follow the Quran and Sunnah. They claim to be Sunni groups, following the Quran and the Sunnah, and at the same time claim each other to be kafir. So realistically speaking there must be something more and we believe that the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam must have told us about it. He could not have told us the problem without telling us the solution, and he did. Realistically speaking, the solution is not just the Quran and Sunnah, which of course is the fundamental, but the Quran and Sunnah based upon the understanding of the early generations.

There is a famous slogan that we hear amongst many Muslim groups. “Whatever we disagree about we will ignore, and whatever we agree about we will cooperate in.” This slogan is not a precise slogan, rather it should be: “Whatever we agree about we will cooperate in, whatever we disagree about we will take it back to the Quran and the Sunnah and the understanding of the early generations.” With this slogan, we will be united.

My dear Muslims, unity does not come from quantity; it comes through quality. It comes through a person’s Imaan, taqwa, and adherence to the Quran and Sunnah based upon the understanding of the early generations. If a person does not wish to be upon that understanding, then he is the one causing problems, he is the one breaking away, he is the one becoming disunited and fractionalized.

Therefore, in conclusion I advise you just as the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam advised the companions, to have the taqwa of Allah ‘azza wa jal, and to listen and obey – to listen and obey even if your rulers are people whom you do not like because you will see, you have seen, and all of us have seen, a lot of ikhtilaaf. So when we see it, let us revisit the Sunnah of the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam and the Sunnah of the rightly guided Khalifas after him. Hold onto this, stick with this; this is the way we will be united, this is the way that we will be saved. And I caution you, just as Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam I warn you against innovations, against bid’as. Because every single innovation into this religion is a bid’a, and every bid’a is a misguidance, and every misguidance leads to the fire of Hell.

I pray that Allah ‘azza wa jal guides us to the correct understanding of Islam. That He makes us united as Muslims, submitting ourselves to Him. And that He resurrects us upon Imaan. Ameen.

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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

Hindu scholar terms Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) greatest person in history, urges to study Prophet’s life for understanding Islam

Hindu scholar terms Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) greatest person in history

Patna: Islam is a wonderful religion and Prophet of Islam, Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) is the greatest person in the history of mankind. This claim was not surfaced by a Muslim but said by a well-renowned Hindu scholar in India. He also said that for learning and understanding Islam, Prophet’s (Peace Be Upon Him) life and teachings are the best source.

By Farhan Iqbal

Patna: Islam is a wonderful religion and Prophet of Islam, Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) is the greatest person in the history of mankind. This claim was not surfaced by a Muslim but said by a well-renowned Hindu scholar in India. He also said that for learning and understanding Islam, Prophet’s (Peace Be Upon Him) life and teachings are the best source.

The Hindu scholar, Swami Lakshmi Shankaracharya, stated, “We are talking about Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and we should keep it in our mind that he is the greatest individual in history. If anyone wants to know about Islam, one should judge Islam by Prophet’s (Peace Be Upon Him) life and his teachings.”

While delivering a lecture on “Seerat-un-Nabi” (Prophet’s Upright Character) conference held here last month, Swami who is also the founder of Jan Ekta Manch, said that peace and humanity is the core teaching of Islam. But, unfortunately, most of the Muslims don’t follow Islamic teachings and they hardly learn from the life of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).

He urged, “It is the duty of every Muslim according to their religion to save and protect the humanity, Prophet Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him) always forgave his enemies and showed patience when he was harmed by others, this was his moral teachings which made Islam an international religion.”

He cited the stories of “Fatah-e-Makkah” (Makkah Conquer) when enemies of Islam were given complete liberty despite being made prisoners of war by the Muslims. On Jihad, he clarified that it has nothing to do with innocent killings and terrorism. The first permission to take to arms was accorded in verse 22:39 of the Holy Quran, which reads: “Permission (to take up arms) is hereby given to those who attacked, because they have been wronged.” The Holy Quran further says: “Fight, for the sake of Allah with those that fight against you, but do not be aggressive.”

He also cited extensively from the Veda and Gita to authenticate that Islam’s endeavor to establish peace is not different from what Sanatan scriptures bid.

It is interesting to mention that Swami was initially very critical about Islam and its concept of Jihad. He considered Islam to be the root cause of global terrorism. This thinking had cropped up in his mind because of his study of negative materials on Islam and behavior of some Muslims. Then he wrote a book “The History of Islamic Terrorism.” However, on being urged to study Islam from its original sources Swami read The Holy Quran from cover to cover besides the life of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). Finally, he realized that he misunderstood Islam. He accepted his mistake and decided to write a rejoinder of such negative materials in a book titled, “Islam – Aatank ya Aadarsh” in Hindi or “Islam – Terror or Ideal Path” in English. In this book, he clarifies the real meaning of Jihad and how Islam is the religion of peace. He concludes that Muslims were enjoined to fight in self-defense to establish peace, without resorting to terror.

The conference was organized by Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Bihar, and group’s chief of the region, Nayyaruzzaman, presided over the conference. He emphasized on the acquisition of true knowledge of Islam and practicing it as was done by the Prophet’s companions.

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USA Supreme Court List Muhammad [pbuh] as 1 of the Greatest Law Giver of World

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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

55 Sayings Of Our Beloved Rasulullah (SAW)  :: Beautiful Islamic Quotes

muhammad_small1

1) The worst blindness is straying form the straight path after receiving true guidance.

2) Among the virtues of a believer are cleanliness in dress, contentment and thankfulness when one does not have enough.

3) A believer wishes for others what he wishes for himself.

4) When your good deeds please you and your bad deeds cause you grief, you are a believer.

5) The believers are like the parts of a building strengthening one another.

6) Look at those who are less fortunate than you so that you are not ungrateful for the things which you have been blessed with by Allah.

7)  Allah Almighty has cursed the one offering the bribe, the one who is receiving it as well as the go-between.

8) If you are a trustworthy, honest and truthful businessman, you will rise up with the martyrs on the Day of Judgment.

9) The greatest form of charity is the effort to help a poor man, made in secret by one who is poor himself.

10) When Allah Almighty blesses someone with children, and they give their children their love, and meet their parental obligation, Allah saves them from the fire of hell.

11) When you see a coffin passing by stand up (out of respect) whether it is a Muslim or a non-Muslim.

12) Man is tested according to his level of faith. If his faith is firm, his trials increase in severity.

13) For everything there is a way to purify it, and for the body it is fasting.

14) The Almighty forgives him who forgives others.

15) Whoever buys a gift and brings it home to his family he is like one who has given charity.

16) Whatever hardship a person faces – even if it is as small as the prick from a thorn -Allah makes it atonement for his sins.

17) The greatest kin of holy war is to speak up for truth in the face of a ruling authority that deviates from the right path.

18) Whoever follows a path seeking knowledge, Allah Almighty will make that path easy for them.

19) The best thing you can do is to serve your mother, then your mother, then your mother, and then you father, then your relatives.

20) The one who cares for a widow or the needy is like the one who fasts all day and prays all night.

21) Beware of the prayer of the victim of an injustice, for there is no barrier between him and Allah Almighty.

22) Allah Almighty has no regard for a prayer in which a man’s heart is not present with his bodily actions.

23) Previous nations were destroyed because they let off people with high rank and punished the poor and the helpless.

24) The superiority of a learned man over the one engaged only in ritual worship is like that of a full moon over the stars.

25) What comes to you in my name but is in conflict of theQuran cannot be from me.

26) You have rights over women and women have rights over you.

27) Before speaking the salaam should be said. (Tirmizi)

28) Spread the salaam amongst yourselves. (Muslims)

29) Whoever sends one Durood upon me, Allah sends ten blessings (Durood) upon him. (Tirmizi)

30) My intercession is for the big sinners in my Ummah. (Tirmizi)

31) Cleanliness is a part of the Faith. (Tirmizi)

32) Dua is the kernel of Ibaadat. (Tirmizi)

33) Actions depend on their intention. (Bukhari and Muslim)

34) A Muslim is he from whose tongue and hands a Muslim is safe. (Al-Bukhari)

35) The best of you is the one who learned and taught the Quran. (Al-Bukhari)

36) Modesty is a part of faith. (Muslim)

37) Visit the graves because they remind one of the Akhirah. (Muslim)

38) A Muslim is a brother of a Muslim. (Al-Bukhari)

39) To learn the Knowledge of the Deen is fard upon every Muslim man and woman. (Ibn-e-Majah)

40) Salah is a pillar of the Deen. (Tabarâni)

41) Whoever is deprived of tenderness (unto others) is deprived of good. (Muslim)

42) Relate on my behalf even if it is an Ayah. (Al-Bukhari)

43) Whoever remains quiet attains salvation. (Tirmizi)

44) The influence of the gaze is Haq (the Truth). (Al-Bukhari)

45) Religion is the name of well-wishing. (Al-Bukhari)

46) Announce your Nikah (marriage). (Tirmizi)

47) Nikah (marriage) is my Sunnah. (Ibn-e-Majah)

48) Whoever turns from my sunnah is not from me. (Al-Bukhari)

49) Dua rids calamity.

50) I distribute (to people) and Allah gives. (Al-Bukhari)

51) To be ashamed (of sins) is repentance. (Ibn-e-Majah)

52) It is because of those Awliya (Friends) of Allah that it rains and it is because of them that Rizq (sustenance) is given.

53) Fasting is a shield (from sins). (Tirmizi)

54) The best sadaqah is that a Muslim man learns knowledge (of the Deen) and then teaches it to his Muslim brothers. (Ibn-e-Majah)

55)  “Whoever innovates a good innovation in Islam has its reward and the reward of those who would practice upon it until the Day of Judgment – without lessening the rewards of those who practice with it. The one who innovates the innovation of misguidance, would take the sin for it and the sin of those who practice upon it until the Day of Judgment–without lessening the sin of those who practice with it.” (Muslim, as-Sahih, 2:705)

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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

Church Forces Girl to Apologize After Being Raped :: News

Tina-Anderson

We have often heard about horror stories from Saudia Arabia where a woman is raped and along with her attacker is accused of committing fornication and then flogged or at least sentenced to be flogged. Some might think that this sort of thing could never happen anywhere else, but something equally egregious occurred here in the USA.

A Christian church found out that one of its parishioner raped a fellow parishioner twice, impregnating her. What did they do? They sheltered the rapist, made him apologize for raping the girl and made the girl apologize for becoming pregnant.

Police: Girl raped, then relocated

After being raped and impregnated by a fellow churchgoer more than twice her age, a 15-year-old Concord girl was forced by Trinity Baptist Church leaders to stand before the congregation to apologize before they helped whisk her out of state, according to the police.

While her pastor, Chuck Phelps, reported the alleged rape in 1997 to state youth officials, Concord police detectives were never able to find the victim. The victim said she was sent to another church member’s home in Colorado, where she was home-schooled and not allowed to have contact with others her age. It wasn’t until this past February that the victim, who is now 28, decided to come forward after reading about other similar cases, realizing for the first time it wasn’t her fault that she had been raped, she told the police.

The police arrested Ernest Willis, 51, of Gilford, last week in connection with the case, accusing him of raping the girl twice – once in the back seat of a car he was teaching her to drive in and again after showing up at her Concord home while her parents were away. He was charged with four felonies – two counts of rape and two counts of having sex with a minor, court records show.

In a statement to the police, the victim said Willis came to her home in the summer of 1997 without warning.

“He said he wanted to talk to me about something so I let him in the house,” she wrote. “He locked the door behind him and pushed me over to the couch. I had a dress on and he pulled it off. I pushed my hands against his shoulders and said ‘No,’ but he didn’t stop.”

At the time of the alleged rape, Phelps was in touch with the police, who told him to contact the Division for Children, Youth and Families.

But moving the girl out of state prevented the police from collecting evidence or a statement, the police said yesterday.

“Without a victim, it makes it very difficult to have a case,” said Lt. Keith Mitchell. “That basically made the investigation very difficult.”

At the time, Willis also refused to give a statement, police records show.

So for 13 years, a file on the case sat closed and marked “unresolved” at the Concord police station.

Police records do not show whether detectives asked church leaders to help them get in contact with the victim or if information was withheld.

“If somebody tried to cover this up or not cover this up, that’s a separate issue,” Mitchell said.

Phelps did not return a message seeking comment yesterday. He no longer works at the church.

“The leadership of Trinity Baptist Church reported this alleged crime within 24 hours of hearing the accusations on Oct. 8, 1997,” said spokesman Peter Flint from a prepared statement. “We continue in our commitment to cooperate with authorities so that justice is served.”

‘Completely in shock’

The victim said she came forward after getting in touch with Jocelyn Zichterman, who runs an online group for victims of church abuse.

In a seven-page statement to the police, the victim recounted the moments leading up to her departure from New Hampshire.

At 14, she began babysitting for Willis, a well-known member of the church. She told the police she would often stay the night if he got home late.

Just over a year later, he offered to give her driving lessons. While in the parking lot of a Concord business, Willis asked her to pull over to switch seats, she told the police.

But instead he pulled her into the backseat and raped her, according to a statement to the police.

In the summer of 1997, Willis raped her again, this time while at her home while her mother was out, according to police records.

“I was completely in shock, but too scared to go and tell anyone because I thought I would get blamed for what happened,” she said.

Over the next few months, the girl became suspicious she was pregnant. She called Willis, who brought over a pregnancy test that came up positive, she told the police.

“He asked me if I wanted him to take me to a neighboring state where underage abortions were legal . . . and he would pay for an abortion,” she told the police. “He then asked me if I wanted him to punch me in the stomach as hard as he could because that might cause a miscarriage.”

She declined both.

‘Church discipline’

The victim told her mother about the pregnancy. Soon after, Phelps was also alerted.

The victim said Phelps told her she would be put up for “church discipline,” where parishioners go before the congregation to apologize for their sins.

She asked why. “Pastor Phelps then said that (Willis) may have been 99 percent responsible, but I needed to confess my 1 percent guilt in the situation,” the victim told the police.

“He told me that I should be happy that I didn’t live in Old Testament times because I would have been stoned.”

Fran Earle, the church’s former clerk, witnessed the punishment session.

At a night meeting of the church’s fellowship in 1997, Phelps invited Willis to the front of the room. Willis apologized to the group for not being faithful to his wife, Earle said.

“I can remember saying to my husband, I don’t understand it’s any of our business why this is being brought up,” Earle said.

Phelps then told parishioners a second matter was at hand; he invited the victim to apologize for getting pregnant.

“I can still see the little girl standing up there with this smile on her face trying to get through this,” Earle said.

A day after the session, Earle called the pastor’s wife, who said the victim had decided not to press charges for statutory rape.

“You’ve got to understand, we trusted our pastor and his wife to be telling us the truth,” Earle said. “They told us it had been reported. He reported it as a consensual act between a man and a woman. Well, I didn’t know a 15-year-old was a woman.”

Earle, who left the church in 2001 after 19 years, said it was regular to see young girls who were pregnant called to the front of the congregation to be humiliated.

Rob Sims, another former member, said the discipline sessions were formulaic – Phelps would read Bible verses, give a limited overview of what happened and then each person would read a statement.

“(The) statement agreed that they had done wrong and why they ‘now believed’ that they had sinned,” he said. “Then Pastor Phelps would give a few closing remarks and then a vote would be taken to remove the guilty party from membership or to keep them in membership but under discipline, or something to that effect.”

The police said the victim’s family asked for her to be moved to Colorado.

“I think that she clearly did not want to go to Colorado, and I’m quite sure she expressed that to the church, her mother and the pastor,” said Concord police Detective Chris DeAngelis. “However, she was a juvenile. Her mom requests assistance and that was what they came up with.”

Mitchell said the police are looking at pressing other charges.

Willis was released on $100,000 personal recognizance bail. He faces an arraignment June 16 in Concord District Court.

Trent Spiner can be reached at 369-3306 or tspiner@cmonitor.com


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