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The New Zealand Massacre – Shaykh Nuh Keller

Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller writes a touching and inspiriting letter to the Muslim community in the wake of the New Zealand massacre. New Zealand massacre

In the Name of Allah Most Merciful and Compassionate

Letter to New Zealand
Saturday 16 March 2019

Brothers and Sisters:
as-Salamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatu Llahi wa barakatuh, wa ba‘d:

All praise is Allah’s for all of His blessings, inward and outward; And the highest of blessings and peace unto His prophet Muhammad and all who follow him until the end of days.

In the Name of Allah Most Merciful and Compassionate:
How gloriously exalted in beneficence above all
is He in whose hand alone is sovereignty;
And He has absolute power to do anything.
Who created death and life
to try you as to which of you is better in works;
And He is the Invincible, the All-forgiving (Koran 67:1–2).

Allah tells us the Angel of Death will inexorably overtake each of us, believer and unbeliever: to the believer a complete relief, but to those with no belief a dreadful disaster:

‘Our Lord, and enter them into
lush groves of Eden that You have promised them,
with all who were righteous of their forefathers, their wives, and their offspring:
Verily it is You who are the All-powerful, the All-wise.
‘And shield them from their ill-deeds;
And whom You shield that day from their ill-deeds,
You have shown true mercy:
And that is the mighty undying triumph.’
Verily those who would not believe shall be called to:
‘Truly Allah’s loathing for your doing so is even greater
than your loathing for your own selves now;
When you were invited again and again to faith,
yet you only disbelieved’ (40:8–10).

Death is thus the beginning of our permanent existence forever with Allah and the end of our world of trials and tribulations, to either triumph or ruin. The perpetrator of this crime should be shown the full rigor of the law in this world, while true and entire divine justice can only be shown to him in the next, which is without end.

May the Almighty guide the responsible authorities to improve the safeguarding of lives of the citizens of their lands, and to effect laws for adequate security vetting of those given permits to carry lethal weapons, especially ones which have no relation to hunting whatsoever.

May Allah in His infinite mercy inspire every one of us to regard our own lifespans, however long and prosperous, as short as they actually are, and to fill them with works that please Him; to comfort, protect, show true love to, and help the bereaved survivors of this terrible tragedy; and give us the tawfiq to be the best of good neighbors to everyone whom we live near—all for His incomparable Self, Amin. Allah tells us that what we can do and see is finite, while its consequences are both infinite and created with a divine surpassing due Wisdom, which we have been created to understand, benefit
from, and move on. My sincerest condolences in your sorrows and estrangement; may
Allah help you and keep you,

wa s-Salamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatu Llahi wa barakatuh,
Nuh Keller

Back to Our Roots as SeekersGuidance – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

A Renewed Commitment to be the First Truly Global Islamic Seminary: An announcement by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Assalam alaykum,

The year 2019 will bring some exciting changes to our services and programming. Moving forward, we are very pleased to announce our new name: we’re going back to our founding name, SeekersGuidance.

This is part of the growth of our online Islamic seminary. Neither our services nor your donations will be affected by this change. Your donations to “SeekersHub Global” will continue as they are to support our shared causes of spreading light and knowledge; we have always been legally registered as “SeekersGuidance.” Also, we are resuming our teaching on the ground in Toronto as “SeekersGuidance Canada.”

And do bookmark www.seekersguidance.org as our new URL.

Why the Name Change?

SeekersGuidance began in the summer of 2008, by Sidi Mumen al-Hamawi (now our Programs and Development Director) and me. We were striving to establish an online portal to open access to Islamic education, and a free question and answer service to anyone, anywhere.

As part of this concern, we soon adopted the #KnowledgeWithoutBarriers paradigm, and made all our online courses and educational offerings completely free.

As a result, we grew from 600 students in 2011 to about 90,000 student registrations in 2018 alone. Alhamdulillah!

Establishing a Global Islamic Seminary

Our teachers – some of the leading Islamic scholars, such as Habib Umar bin Hafiz , Shaykh Nuh Keller, Shaykh Akram Abd al-Wahhab, and Imam Zaid Shakir – have urged us to take “all possible means” to establish a truly global Islamic seminary, offering a full curriculum of top-quality Islamic education, for anyone, anywhere.

This is a major mandate that we have been working steadily towards. For this, we added “Global Islamic Seminary” to our name, “SeekersHub.” However, “SeekersHub Global Islamic Seminary” was becoming quite a mouthful.

As such, we are returning to our roots, and our name is back to SeekersGuidance. Our moniker is “The Global Islamic Seminary.”

(There is also the matter of the parting of the ways with our previous home in Toronto, which is retaining the name “SeekersHub Toronto.” Though we own the rights to the name, “SeekersHub,” and retain the domain “SeekersHub.org,” part of our commitment to part with grace is that we are allowing our brothers and sisters at the Hub to keep the name – and we wish them all the best.)

What Are The Implications? Will Any Services be Affected?

None of our services be affected by this name change. Rather, we are renewing our commitment to excellence (ihsan) and to consistently improve and expand our educational services.

Thus, we are continuing to strive to make our Steps curriculum, online Courses, Answers, Podcasts, Blog, and other projects cater to the needs of our community in the best and most beneficial ways.

The “Double the Impact” Initiative

We reached 90,000 student registrations and nearly five million unique visitors to our website in 2018. But the need to spread the light of Prophetic knowledge and guidance is far, far wider. As such, our goal for 2019 is to “Double the Impact” of our online offerings.

We want to reach 200,000 student registrations and ten million visitors to our website in 2019.

This is not “just for the numbers,” but for the benefit, the need, and the urgent obligation and imperative to preserve and spread the light of Prophetic guidance to seekers everywhere.

We Love the Name SeekersGuidance

We love the name “SeekersGuidance,” because it highlights the two foundational pillars of our project:

  1. All believers should be seekers – we all seek Allah’s love and closeness, and knowledge is the only way to this;
  2. All believers seek guidance – the beneficial knowledge and inspiration that will show us the path of turning to Allah, upholding and spreading the good, and that inspires us to fulfill our true human potential.

What about My Donations?

If you were donating to “SeekersHub Global,” your donations are still reaching us. (We have, in fact, always been legally registered as “SeekersGuidance, Inc.”)

If you are not already a monthly supporter, you can help us Double the Impact of our online offerings by becoming a monthly supporter now by going to www.seekersguidance.org/donate.

We will continue to provide authentic, engaging, and relevant Islamic education. And most importantly, we will still offer all our services completely free of charge.

What about Toronto?

We have registered in Canada as “SeekersGuidance Canada,” and our classes and programs are continuing with Shaykh Muhammad Badhib, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin, Ustadha Umm Umar, and myself. These classes are being held weekly at Jame Masjid Mississauga (Coopers), and other locations.

We’re establishing a newer, bigger learning center and headquarters in Toronto – to serve the local community and as a base for our global Islamic seminary and its educational offerings. Click here to support our efforts.

Some New Projects Are Coming!

In addition to all our current services, we are working on some exciting new projects. These include:

  • Publishing our own ebooks and other digital content.
  • Newly revamped On-Demand courses offering many relevant topics.
  • New additions to our curriculum courses.
  • Exciting content released by the members of our Helpers program.
  • Forthcoming Podcasts by a number of scholars and counselors.
  • Reboots of our SeekersGuidance Arabiyya and SeekersGuidance Espanol partner pages, in order to reach seekers all over the world in other languages as well.

May Allah grant us and you facilitation and success.

Wassalam,

Faraz Rabbani, Founder and Executive Director, SeekersGuidance,
And the SeekersGuidance team.


What Is The Fate of a Non-Muslim in The Afterlife?

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani clarifies what is generally accepted to be the fate of non-Muslims in the Afterlife according to sound Sunni theology.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

What is the fate of non-Muslims in the afterlife? Is a pious non-Muslim better than a vile Muslim?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

It is a condition for moral accountability (in matters of belief and action) that the message of Islam has reached one. Before this, they are not accountable to believe in God, according to the Ash‘ari school of Sunni beliefs.

Sheikh Nuh Keller dealt with this in his article refuting the idea of the “universal validity of all religions,” saying:

5. The Fate of Non-Muslims in the Afterlife

The reason that contemporary writers affected by the writings of Gunon and Schuon, such as Chittick and Gai Eaton (or such as Martin Lings, Titus Burckhardt etc.), seem to want the universal validity of all religions at any price, even to the extent of attributing it to masters like Muhyiddin ibn al Arabi (“in principle”) or Emir Abd al Qadir (“he protected the Christians against massacre by taking them into his own home because he understood” [as if other scholars considered massacring them halal]) would seem to be the emotive impalatability of followers of other religions going to hell. Where is the mercy? Would Allah put someone in the hellfire merely for worshipping in another religion besides Islam? This question is answered by traditional Islam according to two possibilities:

(1) There are some peoples who have not been reached by the message of the Prophet of Islam, Allah bless him and give him peace, that we must worship the One God alone, associating nothing else with Him. Such people are innocent, and will not be punished no matter what they do. Allah says in Sura al Isra,

“We do not punish until We send a Messenger.” (Sura al Isra 17:15).

These include, for example, Christians and others who lived in the period after the spread of the myth of Jesus godhood, until the time of the prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), who renewed the call to pure monotheism.

The great Muslim scholar, Imam Ghazali, includes in this category those who have only been reached with a distorted picture of the Messenger of Islam, Allah bless him and give him peace, presumably including many people in the West today who know nothing about Allah’s religion but newspaper stories about Ayatollahs and mad Muslim bombers. Is it within such people’s capacity to believe? In Ghazali’s view, such people are excused until after they have had an opportunity to learn the undistorted truth about Islam (Ghazali: “Faysal al tafriqa,” Majmu‘a rasa’il al Imam al Ghazali, 3.96). This of course does not alter our own obligation as Muslims to reach them with the da‘wa.

(2) A second group of people consists of those who turn away from God’s divine message of Islam, rejecting the command to make their worship God’s alone; whether because of blindly imitating the religion of their ancestors, or for some other reason. These are people to whom God has sent a prophetic messenger and reached with His message, and to whom He has given hearing and an intellect with which to grasp it but after all this, persist in associating others with Allah, either by actually worshipping another, or by rejecting the laws brought by His messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, which associates their own customs with His prerogative to be worshipped as He directs. Such people have violated God’s rights, and have accepted to go to hell, which is precisely what His messengers have warned them of, so they have no excuse:

“Truly, Allah does not forgive that any be associated with Him; but He forgives what is less than that to whomever He wills.” (Sura al Nisa 4:48).

In either case, Allah’s mercy exists, though for non-Muslims unreached by the message, it is a question of divine amnesty for their ignorance, not a confirmation of their religions validity. It is worth knowing the difference between these two things, for one’s eternal fate depends on it.

A sinful believer is liable for temporary (even if often long and painful) punishment in Hell for his sin, unless he repents. Ultimately, though, they are of the people of Heaven. A kafir, though, is liable to enter Hell eternally: if the message of Islam reached them in a sound and well-presented way, this is their fate. Otherwise, Allah knows best.

Thus, in general, those who the message of Islam has not reached in a sound and well-presented way will not be punished by Hell. As to the specifics of their fate, we leave it to Allah; it is not our duty. Our duty is to convey the truth, so people may be guided to that which is best for them in this life and the next.

As for a pious person who is non-Muslim compared to a “vile” Muslim: there is no sin more serious than associating partners with Allah, as Allah and His Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, have informed us.

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani