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As the United States Supreme Court judges sit in their chamber, to their right, front, and the left sides are friezes depicting the 18 greatest lawgivers of the world.

The second frieze to the right features a person holding a copy of the Quran, the Islamic holy book. It is intended to recognize Prophet Muhammad as one of the greatest lawgivers in the world, along with Moses, Solomon, Confucius, and Hammurabi, among others.

Here is what the Supreme Court’s website says about this frieze:

Muhammad (c. 570 – 632) The Prophet of Islam. He is depicted holding the Qur’an. The Qur’an provides the primary source of Islamic Law. Prophet Muhammad’s teachings explain and implement Qur’anic principles. The figure above is a well-intentioned attempt by the sculptor, Adolph Weinman, to honor Muhammad, and it bears no resemblance to Muhammad. Muslims generally have a strong aversion to sculptured or pictured representations of their Prophet.

In the year in which the frieze of Prophet Muhammad was erected, Franklin D. Roosevelt was president, and Charles Evans Hughes was the Chief Justice. It is not known how the court deliberated on this architectural contribution. No one at that time thought it inappropriate to include Prophet Muhammad as one of the greatest lawgivers of the world at the chambers of the United States Supreme Court. This was despite the fact that American society at that time was not as diverse as it is today. Women had just acquired the right to vote, and Japanese-Americans were about to be sent to concentration camps.

While the learned people in our country knew of the contribution of Prophet Muhammad, our neighbors today are given regular doses of misinformation about the Prophet and Sharia, the path of the Prophet, more commonly described as Islamic law.

Prophet Muhammad’s Peace And Justice Movement

Prophet Muhammad envisioned a just and peaceful society. With a mass peace movement, he achieved this goal during his life. He hated war and always preferred a peace treaty with his opponents, even if it was not favorable to his and his followers’ interests. He established his first peace sanctuary in the city of Madinah without any war whatsoever. While he did fight to defend that peace sanctuary, it is critical to note that the total time of actual fighting defending his people was not more than six days in his life of 63 years. He struggled to secure a peace that ensured justice and liberation for all people, especially for those most marginalized and oppressed.

Here are some of the Prophet’s notable contributions

  • He taught that there is one God for all mankind.
  • He taught Muslims to believe in all of the prophets and all divinely revealed scriptures, especially Biblical ones.
  • As the Prophet established a peace sanctuary called Madinah after his migration from Makkah, he negotiated treaties with the Jews and the pagans of Madinah. Muslims consider these treaties to be the first written surviving constitution in the world. The constitution guaranteed freedom of religion, self-governance, and legal autonomy in all matters. It called for the common defense of Madinah, and declared the Jews, pagans, and Muslims of that treaty to be one nation, or “one Ummah.”
  • He prohibited hunting and the cutting of trees in the peace sanctuary of Madinah.
  • He declared killing non-combatants to be illegal, placed severe restrictions on how warfare could be conducted, and even paid compensation for the killing of some dogs by one of his commanders.
  • The Prophet’s teachings and the Quran are the two major sources of Sharia. Some of his precepts include the following:
    • Moral behavior: personal cleanliness; emphasis on preservation and nourishment of all life forms, including plants and animals; rituals and spirituality of prayers; fasting and charity; righteous conduct and good deeds; and rights of parents, children, spouses, and neighbors.
    • Interpersonal relations: teaching to enhance human relations and to avoid breaking relationships; encouraging mutual consultation in all affairs; prohibiting bigotry and racism; and emphasizing kindness and hospitality toward others, especially the weak and the poor.
    • Financial guidelines: encouraging charity, rights of the poor, respect for workers, and rejection of exploitation; and circulation of wealth among all classes.
    • Personal rules and laws regarding privacy, gender relations, marriage, divorce, and inheritance.
    • Criminal laws implementing the many of the Ten Commandments. (The only one of the Ten Commandments not having a parallel statement in the Quran is the one having to do with keeping the Sabbath.) Less than two percent of Quranic verses deal with the criminal law of Islam, which is a part of the Sharia but not the totality of it.
  • The Prophet asked his judges to make things easy for people, not difficult.
  • He declared all sins forgivable as long as a person asks God’s forgiveness and that of the one who has been wronged.
  • The Prophet gave special emphasis to honoring treaties, standing up for justice, and opposing oppression.

Why Muslims Often Demand Sharia In The Muslim World

In the Muslim world, many Muslims are sick and tired of their corrupt leaders. As such, they demand Sharia, envisioning a return to a just and peaceful system like the time when a caliph would submit himself without any immunity to a judge on an equal footing with his accuser. The United Nations gives all nations the right to self-determination. That is how even in the U.S.-brokered constitutions of Afghanistan and Iraq there is importance given to Sharia principles.

Unfortunately, the brutal and often biased implementation of criminal law in some Muslim countries has given Sharia a bad name. The Prophet would be horrified to see this merciless brutality in the name of Islam by some Muslims.

It Is Against Sharia To Impose Sharia On Anyone!

Almost all the Sharia with which Muslim Americans deal relates to personal religious life, ethics, morality, and human relationships. Practicing Muslims live Sharia every day as they pray, fast, eat Halal (permissible in Islam) food, practice charity, raise families, and serve communities. Sharia is like Halacha, which is practiced by Jews in America. Jews in America even operate Jewish courts in the U.S., called Beth Din. Muslim Americans do not operate any such courts.

Muslim Americans are subject to U.S. laws, just like any other citizens. No Muslim has called for the replacement of the U.S. Constitution with Sharia. Sharia is neither a constitution nor is it all law. It is actually against Sharia to impose Sharia on anyone. Further, Sharia only applies to Muslims, not to non-Muslims.

Muslims have been demanding equal protection under the U.S. Constitution since their rights are regularly violated in the current Islamophobic environment in which we are living, where Muslims are continuously targeted and subjected to bigotry and prejudice.

America’s Founding Fathers were wise people. Today’s Islamophobes can learn a great deal from them. In the Treaty of Peace and Friendship (1796) between the United States and Tripoli they stated:

“As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen (Muslims)…”

Further Reading

For more Muslim perspectives about Sharia please visit Sharia101.org.
Please also read Rose Wilder Lane’s Discovery of Freedom. She is the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, of Little House on the Prairie fame. She considered Prophet Muhammad, Prophet Abraham, and the American Revolution to be the three major sources of freedom in the world.
Muhammad: A Prophet For Our Time, by Karen Armstrong, published by HarperCollins
Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, by Martin Lings, published by Inner Traditions.


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Learn Tajweed 


Interview with a Tajweed Blogger
Tajweed is one area of Qur’anic learning which needs patience, perseverance and practice on the part of the learner. Blessed are those who read the Qur’an as it should be read. More blessed are those who have not only mastered the art of Qur’anic recitation but also get themselves involved in teaching and reaching out to the people, sharing their knowledge and expertise.
When she took a dive into the sea of Tajweed, Sr. Fatimah realised that this ‘sea’ is actually an ‘ocean’. Through sheer hard work and determination, she has achieved excellence in Tajweed. In order to share the secrets of her ‘swimming’ skills with others, she took up teaching through blogging.
As a regular visitor to her blog, I find her way of explaining the Tajweed rules to be very interesting. An idea struck my mind to have an interview with such a dedicated Muslimah. I am honoured and also thankful to her for this interview.
Tell us something about you?
Since the day my father called the athaan in my ear, I’ve grown to embrace the wonders of life through the lens of la illaha illa Allah. The journey so far has landed me in Australia where I enjoy being a student, teacher, sister and daughter, without losing my Syrian heritage.
I tend to think of myself as being inflexibly resourceful – a clash which works wonders on my Islamic Education students and university projects.
I enjoy photography and cooking, and had one of my many poems published at 13 years of age. Despite this, my love and fascination with Tajweed is immeasurable.
What is Tajweed?
Tajweed means to give every letter its right by pronouncing it from the correct makhraj (point of articulation) and with the correct sifa (characteristic).
What are the advantages of reading the Qur’an with Tajweed?
Not only will you be reading the way the Prophet sal-lal-laahu alayhi wa sallam read the Qur’an, but you’ll also enjoy the serenity (sakeenah) that transcends upon you while reading. It is needless to say that reading with tajweed means you’re fulfilling your duty as a Muslim. We know that the Qur’an will either testify in our favour or against us, and so reading with tajweed and observing the requirements of reading the Quran is yet another advantage.
Is there any unique method to equip oneself with the techniques of Tajweed?
This really depends on the type of learner you are. I’ve always felt that looking at diagrams or watching videos and listening to audio helps understand how to move the muscles associated with the rule being studied.
What is the best way to learn Tajweed?
Write it down! (after a trustworthy tajweed teacher has taught you a rule). After writing down the rule, read it and practice it, and try to find examples from the chapters of the Qur’an that you know.
People capable of speaking more than one language should translate the rule with explanation. Doing this successfully means you’ve learnt and understood the rule well. As an example, I learnt Tajweed in Arabic, however I post about it in English: this becomes a criteria I mark myself against, to ensure that I’ve comprehended the rule correctly. Then, all that’s left is to practice, practice and practice!
What are the pitfalls to be avoided while learning Tajweed?
Giving up! It’s so easy to give up because “you don’t have time” or “your jaw and throat hurts”, but these things are tricks of the shaytaan. Unfortunately, some teachers nowadays are lenient and allow for slip ups to occur, but the precision required for reading Qur’an is much sharper, so finding a trustworthy Qur’an teacher and learning all the right things is a must. Above all, keeping colloquial dialects and accents right away from reciting Qur’an is very important and necessary!
What are the specific difficulties encountered by people in the beginning stage of learning Tajweed and how to overcome them?
Ouch! Argh! Oops! Meaning: Ouch! my jaw hurts a lot! Argh! this way is too hard! Oops! I thought I had understood that properly! Many scholars call tajweed “the exercise for the jaw and throat”, so as with any exercise regimen, the beginning will always hurt, and practice will always strengthen (That’s why I said before never give up!)
Sometimes learning tajweed can become overwhelming because so many rules relate to each other and so many things have to be done all at once. Undergoing a one-on-one self-paced class with a Qur’an teacher will help overcome this.
At the same time, it is important to understand every rule correctly. Ikhfaa and Ghunnah for example sound similar, but they’re completely different things. Just remember to never stay quiet but Ask Ask Ask!
Which book is the best book on Tajweed in English language?
I never studied tajweed in English, however I have heard that the set of 3 books titled “Tajweed Rules of the Qur’an” by Kareema Carol published by Darussalam are comprehensive.
Yeah, those books are really resourceful. In Arabic, which book do you recommend?
I definitely recommend Al-Muthakkarah fit-Tajweed by Dr Muhammad Nabhaan bin Hussain Masree المذكرة في التجويد تأليف ﻣﺣﻣﺩ ﻧﺑﻬﺎﻥ ﺑﻥ ﺣﺳﻳﻥ ﻣﺻﺭﻱ This book covers all the basic and many of the advanced rules of tajweed. The structures of the lessons in the book are easy to follow and the layout of the book is pleasant. It may be found online and available in print form.
Will it be a sin on the part of non-Arab Muslims who read the Qur’an without bothering for Tajweed as they don’t know the language actually?
Tajweed is fard ‘ayn which means it is compulsory upon every Muslim, just as fasting or praying is. People who do not speak Arabic should make every effort to learn tajweed and practice reading Qur’an with a certified Quran teacher. It is fard kifaayah that the specific rules are learnt.
So all of this means it is not compulsory upon every Muslim to know the specific rules of tajweed, but it is compulsory for every Muslim to read with tajweed. If learning the rules is hard, then just learn the sounds by doing tilawah (reciting practice) with a teacher.
How can people develop their reading and tajweed skills?
First, know that this won’t happen overnight. Ideally, set up a ‘homework chart’ and ensure you read half an hour every day. In this time, you may only accomplish a page, but within a few weeks you’ll begin to accomplish many more pages as your reading picks up pace.
Every night read a different page, one you’ve never read before (or one which you haven’t read in a long time). On the homework chart, write down what pages you read and the date you read it, and leave a space for some comments. Either you can put a little note or recite to your Qur’an teacher at the end of every week and write down their comment.
In conjunction with this daily ‘homework’ have your Qur’an teacher take you through a book titled ‘Easy Quran Reading with Baghdadi Primer’ by Moustafa Elgindy. This book is designed for students of any age, and takes you from “alif–baa” to reading Qur’an with tajweed.
What made you to start a blog on Tajweed?
The lack of online English resources that were of a satisfying standard drove me to start my Tajweed Blog. I hope that through this humble attempt to spread the knowledge I’ve gained, many seekers of knowledge can benefit greatly.
What is your memorable experience as a blogger of Tajweed that you want to share with people?
Posting tajweed rules is more time consuming than you’d think. Reading the rule, translating it, re-reading it, typing and obtaining the graphics, then proofreading it a few times: it can take me up to two hours to complete a post. I remember a few days after I had posted “hamzatul wasl exceptions” I was typing up some tajweed documents for a friend’s students and she told me to put in Al-Madd Al-Farq. I was in a fluster because I’d never heard of this madd and started raving in dismay, until I was politely informed that I had posted about it in the “exceptions” post – but I hadn’t known it’s called that way.
Every time I think of such moments (and they happen occasionally) I take a step back and look at the ever-growing map of interrelated tajweed rules with inspirational awe. Times like those are when I drop everything and click to “edit post”.
Thank you, Sr. Fatimah, for taking time out from your busy schedule. May Allah bless you with all His choicest blessings both in this world and the Hereafter. Aameen.
Jazakillahu Khayr.
Wa iyyaakum.

Learn Quran

Learn Quran

“And We have indeed made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember; then is there anyone who will remember (or receive admonition)? 
 (Surah al Qamar 54: 17, 22, 32 & 40)

بسم الله الذي لا يضرّ مع اسمه شيء في الأرض ولا في السّماء وهو السميع العليم

“In the Name of Allah with Whose Name nothing on the earth and in the skies can do any harm whatsoever, for He is the All-Hearer and the All-Knower!

الحمد لله الذي هدانا لهذا وما كنّا لنهتدي لو لا أن هدانا الله

“All Praise is to Allah Who guided us unto this;  Had it not been for His Guidance we would not have been rightly guided”.

Thought of doing someTo put it precisely, this blog aims to kindle the spark of learning and living by the Qur’an.
When you convey the teachings of the Qur’an, you strive in the cause of Allah.
And those who sincerely strive in His Cause are showered with His exclusive Guidance.
Allah’s assurance is the greatest inspiration:
والّذين جاهدوا فينا لنهدينّهم سبلنا وإنّ الله لمع المحسنين
“And those who strive in Our Cause, We shall Guide them to our Ways. Certainly, Allah is with those who excel in good”.

thing before death overtakes me!
After all, we have come from dust, we will go back to dust and will be raised again from dust: منها خلقناكم وفيها نعيدكم ومنها نخرجكم تارة أخرى
For all good things mentioned in this blog, I humbly submit to the Majesty of Allah, Alhamdulillah: All Praise is due to Allah.
I own the responsibility for any errors. May Allah forgive me for that.
I would be grateful to you if you point out to me any error, should you come across any mistake in this blog. You can inform me of any mistakes/errors through comment section, Inshaa’Allah.
May Allah give us the Tawfeeq and Hidayah to live by the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Aameen.
ربّنا تقبّل منّا إنّك أنت السّميع العليم وتب علينا إنّك أنت التّوّاب الرّحيم
سبحان ربك ربّ العزّة عمّا يصفون – وسلام على المرسلين – والحمد لله ربّ العالمين