The Golden Advice

The one that can save you from hellfire and save others from you.

Today, we are living in an era of severe fitnah (trial and tribulations). Islam is under bombardment and its name and image is being damaged from the enemies of Islam, inside and outside.

The external enemies of Islam are not the ones I fear. I am more scared for the so-called Muslim scholars, inviters or even the average Muslim who spread rumours, falsehood and wrong knowledge and understanding of Islam under the banner of Islam. These kinds of enemies are the most treacherous.

With the immense division we are witnessing today, fitnah between each other is adding fuel to the fire of confusion, and the masses, including the youth are becoming lured and trapped into all the flames of the misunderstanding and chaos.

Some of them mean well, and some of them are genuine seekers of knowledge. Yet, by lending our support to the wrong information and unscrupulous persons, many of us are unwittingly aiding the enemies of Islam, whose objective is to create colossal misunderstanding and confusion to the level that leads to the mass rejection of Islam amongst both Muslims and non Muslims.

To our discredit, the majority of the actions against Islam are actually perpetrated by our own hands.

My advice to you is to be careful about every word, action or reaction you take when coming across any information, status update and other sources claiming to be done in the name of Islam. Do not pass on such knowledge, unless you ensure its authenticity first, that it has been quoted in the right context and has reflected the original spirit in which it was revealed.

I consider the following verses to be the constitution of a major warning from Allah, promising a severe torture from Him to those passing knowledge or judgment against individuals, including family members, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters in Islam, neighbours, society and mankind.

O ye who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest ye harm people unwittingly, and afterwards become full of repentance for what ye have done. (Al Qur'an 49:6).

This is a command from Allah for all the believers, which means it is an obligation. In this verse, the one spreading falsehood or wrong interpretation is labeled by Allah as a "fasiq": a person who is utterly evil and completely disgraced. For them, Allah warns of a severe torture.

The Warning Signs

When reading a piece of information, ask who it is originally from, and what the effect is likely to be if it is spread to others. A few are warning signs of messages that should not be spread even if purported to be in the name of Islam:

1. Hate messages. Islam is a message of peace and mercy, and any message of hate, even if claimed to be quoted from Qur'an and Sunnah, goes against this core principle;

2. Insulting other religions: Islam prohibits abusing or making fun of other belief  systems, including the deities and methods of worship. This applies to insulting non  Muslims or making personal attacks against them;

3.  Racism: Any racially biased comments, which marginalise certain races or elevate  others, are contrary to the message of racial equality that  Islam champions;

4. Promotion of political agendas: Islam is an apolitical belief system. If someone uses Islam as a platform to promote a political creed, that message is based on the person's own ideology, and not Islam;

5.Violence or bloodshed: A call to arms, or anything that promotes vengeance, demonstrations, upheavals and violence. There is nothing in Islam that justifies the killing of innocent people or attacking any part of civilian society, young or old, men, women or children. If anyone claims that we are entitled to seek revenge because the same is being done to us, and if they quote Hadith and Qur'an to support this, please be aware that such quotes are tightly governed by volumes of strict regulations and ethics. This is why the violent acts in the name of Islam we see recently never existed in the past 1400 years. Much of the mayhem, attacks and killings are new phenomena. They are highly questionable acts and have no roots in Islam, especially if they can harm innocent people;

6. Promotion of Islamic sects or cults: There is only one version of Islam. Those who claim that their methodology of Islam is superior are to be treated with extreme caution;

7. Promotion of "new" values": Recently, new "Islamic" groups are challenging long established Islamic principles. Their reinterpretation of Islam is not based on the Qur'an and Sunnah, but   rather are launched from their own personal dogma. Many of these are motivated by the rejection of certain Islamic teachings, to accommodate their own personal beliefs, desires and lifestyles. Faith, piety and authentic Islamic knowledge are absent from their messages;

8. Controversial messages: Many of these are designed to attract attention and provoke retaliation and hostility, thus multiplying the division in the ummah.

Look at the potential implications of the above. They generate a lot of negative and ugly perceptions of Islam. Non Muslims are now looking through a window into Islam, which is soiled, bloody, full of screaming, shouting and chaos. If a customer looking into a store and this is what they see, how will they be tempted to buy any of the products or even have any dealings with this store?

Today we have to set our house in order, so that it is clean, well scented and filled with beautiful high quality products that people will be attracted to. This high quality product is each one of us, with our honesty, manner, conduct, cleanliness, consideration and all the other qualities promoted by Islam. This is what the Companions did.

In recent history, Umar al Mukhtar, who defended Libya against the Italian occupation, refused to torture the Italian prisoners of war even though the Italians tortured the Muslim prisoner of war. He said:" Our beloved Prophet is our teacher, and the enemy of Islam is not our teacher."

We cannot allow their actions of our enemies to drag us down to their level of behaviour. We have a constitution which governs our ethics, manner and conduct. Let's go back to the soul and beautiful ethics of Islam and not be drawn in any act or understanding by others which allows us to behave in a way never sanctioned by Islam before.

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