The Quran frequently refers to issues relating to Truth and lies; distinguishing between them is critical, in many ways the defining point of guidance. In fact, faith itself is predicated on that distinction, the purpose of the Quran and other divine revelations being to guide us to the truth and, as a part of that guidance, to help us recognize and avoid falsehood.
We all know Ramadan as a sacred month of fasting and worship, of purification, of compassion and contrition. Looking at the meaning of the word “sacred” in English, it is not an exact translation of the Arabic word haram, which means “prohibited” or “protected by prohibitions” in a sense, but also it means “sacred” in the sense of being reverenced, which brings us to another word, taqwa. This word is mentioned frequently in varying grammatical forms, sometimes translated as “fear of God,” or “reverence.” I like the word “reverence,” because although there’s an element of fear and respect in reverence, it is of a particular kind, a willing attitude of one who appreciates the value and power and importance of that which is revered. It acts as fear of God in causing one to avoid doing anything that would incur God’s wrath, so it is a directed fear, and that involves the mind. The Quran also uses the word taqwa in the sense of “beware” or “be aware,” invoking mindfulness, whereas fear itself, expressed in a very different Arabic word khauf, is an emotional reaction that does not involve thinking or the mind. Continue reading
That Allah has no gender should be obvious to all Muslims, for the Quran makes it clear that the Creator does not procreate, is neither created nor begotten, nor is there anything whatsoever similar to Him. He created male/female in His creation, but Allah has no equivalent and, as exemplified by the great names Al-Rahman, Al-Raheem, which, like the concepts of yin and yang, comprise both power and receptivity (in an abstract sense, female and male principles) in one Supreme Being. Continue reading
One of the ideas commonly taught in Islam is the idea of intercession (Shifaa), in which someone (we shall discuss whom) intercedes on behalf of an individual presented before Allah on Judgment Day. But some misconceptions have made this rather simple idea more controversial. Continue reading