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Belonging to Islam and The Islamic Identity

We are grateful to Allah who helped us to fast and make queam in the month of Ramadan. We are grateful to Allah who helped us all to gather in the morning of this blessed Eid day to perform prayer and to listen to the speech. We are grateful to the Glorified Allah who guided us all to this deen (religion) and we won't be guided unless he guided us. We are also grateful to the glorified Allah who made us all belong to this umah (nation), the best nation ever existed for mankind. We are grateful to the glorified Allah who made us all gather on the work of Islam and to witness that there is no God but Allah.

Neither the differences in nationalities and nationalism nor the differences in colors and languages can detach us apart. We are grateful and thankful to the glorified Allah for his many bounties and we ask His glory to help us thank him for these countless bounties.

Dear Brothers and sisters in Islam, if we tried to gather around the nationality and nationalism axis we would have disputed and split apart due to the differences in our nationalities and nationalism. If we tried to gather based on colors and/or language we would have conflicts and detach apart due to the differences in our colors and Languages. By the same token if we tried to gather based on social and educational ranks we would have disagreed and scattered away due to the differences in our social ranks and levels of education.

But, if we decided to gather around the same axis and word of Islam we would assemble and unite because we all have one deen (religion), one God, Allah all mighty, one prophet, Muhammad (S.A.W.), one qeblah that we all face in prayer. That is why our ummah (nation) is one ummah.

Islam is the rope of Allah which He ordered us to hold fast by saying in surat Al-Emran, (verse 103 and 105), what may be translated as, "And hold fast, all of you together, to the rope of Allah (i.e. this Qur'an), and do not divided among yourselves. And remember Allah's favor on you, for you were enemies and He joined your hearts together, so that by His Grace, you became brethren (in Islamic Faith), and you were on the brink of a Pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.,) clear to you, that you may be guided." Then He said after one verse: "And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them. It is they for whom there is an awful torment."

Dear brothers and sisters in Islam, we are celebrating Eid, a season of grace and blessing. Allow me to address an important matter that concerns us all. It is the matter of belonging to Islam and verifies our Islamic identity. Belonging to this religion? How could it be achieved? And how could we verify our Islamic Identity? What are the facts that help us to achieve these goals? And what are the matters that hinder our way and deprive us from reaching these goals?

All these important questions need straight answers from every one of us. This is the case because it is a vital issue that faces us today and will continue to face our children the new generation in the future. So let's give it the right amount of focused study instead of being satisfied with quick and brief answers. And instead of issuing superficial and emotional solutions that will never lead to fruitful results.

Dear brothers and sisters of Islam, the matter of belonging to Islam and the Islamic identity on our personal and public lives is an important matter as important as the deen (religion) itself. An effort is made in this speech to focus some light on some points of these matters. The way is open for everyone to share in this discussion. What is the Islamic identity that we have to seek to verify and protect? It is just to belong to Islam by name? Or it is just the maintenance of some legal mandatory duties such as prayers, fasting, zakah and so on? Or is it just the hijab (cover) of Muslim women? In fact it is all of this and more that constitutes this Islamic Identity and defines its features.

Actually, we can specify its meaning with accuracy if we refer to the expression "Islamic Identity" itself. That is the following and the submission to the order of Allah and his forbidding in every matter big or small. Allah said in surat Al-Bagarah, (verse 208), what may be translated as, "O you who believe! Enter perfectly in Islam (by obeying all the rules and regulations of the Islamic religion) and follow not the footsteps of Satan. Verily! he is to you a plain enemy."

And also Allah said in surat An-Nisa’, (verse 59, 60, and 65), what may be translated as, "O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination." And then He said: "Have you seen those (hypocrites) who claim that they believe in that which has been sent down to you, and that which was sent down before you, and they wish to go for judgment (in their disputes) to the Taghut (False judges etc.) While they have been ordered to reject them. But Satan wishes to lead them far astray." And then He said after verses: "We sent no Messenger, but to be obeyed by Allah's leave." Then He said in the next verse: "But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission."

Dear Brothers and sisters in Islam, the complete application of Islam in our individual and social life does not imply by any means to abandon the contemporary evolved issues and the modern inventions and stick back to the elementary methods that were available during the first era of Islam 1400 years ago. Actually that is not what is meant to be. Some people doubt this explanation due to ignorance of the religion of Allah; where as the religion of Allah is innocent from people's doubts and their vague imaginations. On the contrary, the completion of the Islamic Identity is achieved by having the Muslims cope with the new modern civilizations at their time and take whatever is beneficial and avoid whatever is harmful.

Allah had described our prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) In the Torah and the Gospel in surat Al-Araf, (verse 157), what may be translated as, "He will make lawful for them all good things and forbid for them only the evil and foul."

So every good thing of the products of modern civilizations is lawful to us, and all harmful things are unlawful. And this is the way to judge these matters.

Dear brother and sisters in Islam, the compete following of the religion of Allah and verifying the Islamic identity is actually following Allah and his prophet (S.A.W.) only and nothing else. So Allah makes the law and the prophet (S.A.W.) told us these laws. Allah gave us Islam as a complete religion that needs no addition at all. So, be careful to stop any addition to the religion of Allah. This is required even if good intention is behind this addition. And those who try to add new things to Islam whether it is habits or traditions of nations. Are actually adding strange ideas that do not belong to Islam.

Yes it is not wrong for an individual or a group to be influenced by habits or traditions, which they were raised upon. If these traditions are not against the orders of Allah and his messenger. But the vital, dangerous mistake is to introduce these strange habits and traditions into the religion of Allah, where by the introducers of these ideas apply them as part of Islam and ask others to apply and respect them. Adding on strange ideas to our religion is equivalent to removing part of it. Hence it is unfair and is considered an attack on the religion.

Inviting others, whether consciously or unconsciously to habits we are used in our countries and societies back home, is unfair towards others. There should be an accurate distinction and a clear separation between the laws of Allah we are ordered to follow and the habits and traditions we practice. Otherwise, trust will be lost and the shining image of Islam will be distorted while we think we are doing a fine job.

The distinction between the mixed up matters is simple and clear. This is the case because the scale is well established and had neither substituted nor modified. This scale is to expose all matters big or small to the book of Allah and the Sunnah of his prophet (S.A.W.). The prophet (S.A.W.) said: " I left among of you two things you will never go astray as long as you hold fast to them. The book of Allah and my tradition." (sunnah)

Also Allah said in surat An-Nisa’, (verse 59), what may be translated as, "And if you have a dispute concerning any matter, refer it to Allah and the Messenger."

By doing so we filter the strange attached ideas out of the religion of Allah. We confirm what the prophet (S.A.W.) confirmed and we discard what the prophet (S.A.W.) discarded. On the other hand matters with no clear-cut evidence, each knowledgeable person has his own opinion by which he is convinced. At the same time he cannot force anyone to follow what Allah and his prophet (S.A.W.) did not force to be apply.

Allah warns us from this mixing up of matters by saying in surat An-Nahl, (verse 116), what may be translated as, "And say not concerning that which you tongues put forth falsely: "this is lawful and is this forbidden," so as to invent lies against Allah. Verily, those who invent lies against Allah will never prosper."

So without this scale and without referring to Allah and His prophet (S.A.W.) the Islamic Identity and its reality will be lost between the unserious appliers of the law of Allah who abandoned his orders and between the matters mixers who try to add to the religion of Allah strange habits and opinions.

Dear brothers and sisters in Islam, so let's keep the duties in our religion with our brothers and sisters, our families and children and with all people around us. Let's convey the real shining and pure image of Islam as was delivered to our prophet (S.A.W.) and let's listen to Allah's warning and saying in surat Al-Anfal, (verse 27), what may be translated as, "O you who believe! Do not betray not Allah and His Messenger, nor betray knowingly your "amanat" (things entrusted to you)."

To insure the correct process of protecting the Islamic identity more knowledge and acquaintance with Islam is very important. Also more Islamic behavior is needed in our daily life. So let's get started today in this blessed Eid day by cooperation and let's establish a serious step towards the building path to build our individual and social life aided with Allah and his messenger's guidance. This way we achieve and be proud of the Islamic Identity.

Allah said in surat At-Tawbah, (verse 105), what may be translated as, "And say (O Muhammad) Do deeds! Allah will see your deeds, and (so will) His Messenger and the believers. And you will be brought back to the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen. Then He will inform you of what you used to do."

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