There are two main things that affect muscle growth: food and exercise. Actually, there’s one more thing: sleep (rest).
Both creatine and whey protein powder have been shown to increase muscle mass when taken in combination with resistance exercise.
Creatine increases exercise capacity during high-intensity exercise. This leads to improved recovery and adaptations such as increased muscle mass.
Meanwhile, ingesting whey protein in combination with exercise provides your body a high-quality source of protein, enhancing muscle protein synthesis and leading to increased muscle gains over time.
While both creatine and whey protein promote muscle gain, they differ in the ways they work. Creatine increases strength and muscle mass by increasing exercise capacity, whereas whey protein does so by stimulating increased muscle protein synthesis.
Muscles are made out of protein, among other things. So, you’re going to need to consume enough protein to build muscle. You should target 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. For example, I currently weigh 178 lbs so I should consume 178 grams of protein. Here’s are some protein-rich foods.
Consuming a lot of protein without supplements can be difficult because you might feel full before you’ve reached your target daily intake. Also, it can be expensive. For that reason, most bodybuilders take protein supplements. When choosing a protein supplement, it’s important to stay away from ones with a lot of added sugar. The most popular protein supplement is whey protein. To be safe, opt for pure whey protein. I personally get the unflavored Nutricost Whey Protein Concentrate. It contains only one ingredient: Whey protein concentrate. 1 scoop contains 25 g of protein and 130 calories.
You can also buy whey protein isolate which has 90 – 95% protein compared to whey protein concentrate which has 60 – 80% protein. Source
Creatine monohydrate is the best-studied and most effective form of this supplement. There are 2 dosing regimens:
Loading phase: Take 20-25 grams split into 4 or 5 equal doses over 5-7 days.
Maintenance phase: Then, take 3-5 grams per day to maintain your muscle stores of the compound.
Skip the loading phase and start the maintenance phase.
Both options are effective the first option will allow you to experience the benefits 4x faster. Source
Now, don’t go consuming nothing but protein shakes. They are meant to be supplements and not food substitutes. You can eat whatever else you want but generally, you should avoid processed foods and foods with lots of added sugar. I have personally found the Keto diet (very low carb diet) to be one of the best, if not the best diet. I was able to lose 20 lbs following the Keto diet. It’s not just good for losing weight but it’s also good for overall healthy eating.
While you can build muscle in a calorie deficit (losing weight), it will be quicker to build muscle by having a moderate calorie surplus.
Example Meal Plan
Here’s my daily meal plan.
4 eggs in a bowl microwaved for 2 minutes
1 cup of Nespresso coffee with frothed milk, 1/4 teaspoon of Truvia sugar substitute (erithrytol + Stevia extra), and cinnamon
Muscle size increases when a person continually challenges the muscles to deal with higher levels of resistance or weight. This process is known as muscle hypertrophy.
Muscle hypertrophy occurs when the fibers of the muscles sustain damage or injury. The body repairs damaged fibers by fusing them, which increases the mass and size of the muscles. This increase, however, does not happen while you actually lift the weights. Instead, it occurs while you rest.
You need to be consistent and lift progressively heavier weights. To do this, you should keep track of your efforts. Personally, I log my workouts using the free version of the FitNotes app.
Sets and reps
A standard way of exercising each muscle is by grouping each exercise into 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps (repetitions). For example, if you bench press, you can choose a weight such that for the first set, you lift X lbs until your reach failure (can no longer lift) after the 12th rep. Then, for the 2nd set, you do the same until your failure is after the 10th rep. And for the 3rd set, your fail after 8 reps.
Note that more important than the number of reps is the effort to lift until failure. If, after a while, you feel that you can lift more than X lbs, you need to increase the weight and continue to lift until failure, regardless of the exact number of reps you can do. This is called “progressive overloading.”
Let me repeat that. Train until failure such that you can barely complete your last rep with proper form.
The longer your lift weights, the harder it becomes to grow more muscle. Following are average muscle weight gains for men and women at different stages of resistance training.
Traditional muscle gain is achieved by gaining weight. Yes, you can gain a little bit of muscle while losing fat, but this process is fairly slow and not as efficient as building muscle during a true bulk. If you want to gain some serious muscle mass, this requires weight gain.
The thing about weight gain and weight loss is that it is always a combination of lean tissue and fatty tissue – never one exclusively. This means you will always gain some additional body fat when trying to gain muscle and lose some muscle when trying to lose body fat.
Depending on a number of factors, for each pound you gain, anywhere from one-third to two-thirds will result in fat, with the remaining being lean tissue (muscle).
Here’s a diagram of some of the more obvious muscles that you’ll want to target when lifting weights.
Sleep / Rest
In order for your muscles to grow, you need to have sufficient rest. Make sure to sleep enough, e.g. 7 hours a day.
Stages of Muscle Growth
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually build muscle while you’re lifting weights. You do need to lift weights to add mass, but training actually causes muscle breakdown. There are three stages of muscle growth.
1. Muscle breakdown
You break down your muscles by lifting weights at a high intensity
2. Hormone increase
Beginning during the lifting session and continuing when you’re resting, certain hypertrophy-specific hormones increase
3. Muscle repair and growth
While resting, damaged muscle tissue is repaired and the muscles grow bigger only if you have consumed an excess of calories
You’re Gaining Weight Track your weight at the same time each day and plot it on a chart to see your long term progress.
Your Clothes Fit Differently Getting jacked will often mean your clothes start to fit differently – usually in a good way. If you’re noticing your shirts are fitting a bit tighter around your shoulders, chest, and biceps, or your pants are getting snug in the thigh and hip area, these tend to be good signs you’re gaining healthy weight.
You’re Building Strength If you can lift heavier weights, then you are probably building muscle. Track your strength using a log and practice progressive overloading.
You’re Muscles Are Looking “Swole” Feeling puffier or bigger is normal and likely a good sign you’re growing your muscle fibers. Lifting weights increases fluids to your muscle giving you that post weight training pump, especially when you are just getting started with strength training. Over time, some of the water retention may diminish but you should continue to feel bulkier.
Daily or Weekly Progress Photos Stand in front of a mirror and take a full body photo. Repeat and assess your visual transformation regularly.
Your Body Composition Has Changed Ultimately, the most efficient way to measure your muscle gain progress is to assess your body composition at the beginning and end of your bulk. You can opt for an affordable and convenient at home scale, or schedule a DXA/DEXA scan that estimates your body fat percentage within a 1.6% margin of error.
The best way to know you are gaining muscle is if you are progressively able to lift heavier weights because the only way you can lift heavier weights if you have bigger muscles.
Stay in a positive protein balance by hitting your protein consistently.
Get your protein from high-quality sources like meat, eggs, dairy, and soy.
Your body needs energy to grow, so it helps to be in a caloric surplus — or at least in maintenance if you’re new to lifting.
Make sleep a priority — both quantity and quality.
Hit the weights consistently, and train harder by adding volume (in weight, reps, and sets) over time – progressive overloading.
Every now and then I come across a documentary which shows extreme poverty in many places around the world. I can’t help but wonder why many of these countries don’t appear to be progressing whereas others which used to be poor, like China and Singapore, have become rich in a relatively short period of time. This article examines some of the reasons that prevent countries from growing.
High Levels of Corruption
According to Transparency International, there tends to be less corruption in rich countries and more corruption in poor countries. This makes sense since growth would be limited if governments steal their people’s money.
The problem with corruption is if you elect a new leader / president who isn’t corrupt, they will have a hard time eliminating corruption if other government officials are used to being corrupt. You likely need to sack all government officials and hire new ones who hopefully aren’t corrupt.
No Access to Education
According to this UNESCO study, it’s clear that there’s a correlation between poverty and education.
If we look at the countries ranked by primary school pupil-to-teacher ratio, we find, unsurprisingly, that there tends to be a smaller percentage of teachers in poor countries than in rich ones.
Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics (http://uis.unesco.org/)
Another interesting metric is literacy rates. According to this map, we see consistent results showing poorer countries tend to have more illiterate people.
Another issue is the cost of education. While most countries offer free primary school education, most require tuition for a college education. Many rich European countries offer free college education and some, like in the U.S., offer very affordable college tuition. U.S. students can also get free money (grants) and low interest loans to help pay for college.
In high population countries, there aren’t enough resources (jobs, schools, teachers, etc) to support the large population. This situation becomes one of supply and demand where there is a large supply of unskilled workers and a short supply of resources. This results in a large percentage of the population becoming poor because, for example, they are unavailable seats to a nearby school or they are unavailable jobs.
According to this article by the World Economic Forum, there is a correlation between population size and a country’s wealth. In rich countries, people tend to have fewer children whereas in poor countries, people tend to have more children.
There is also a correlation between population size and education. Education leads to lower birth rates and slows population growth. This makes it easier for countries to develop. A more-educated workforce also makes poverty eradication and economic growth easier to achieve. Of course, economic growth brings with it another problem: increased consumption.
In one study, it was found that uneducated Malian women gave birth to almost 7 children whereas educated ones only gave birth to 4.
In order to slow population growth, some countries have tried to limit the number of children born. However, when China did this, it just turned a problem of population growth into one of an ageing society.
According to an article on the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health website, fertility rates tend to be higher in poorly resourced countries. In developing countries children are needed as a labor force and to provide care for their parents in old age. In these countries, fertility rates are higher due to the lack of access to contraceptives and generally lower levels of female education. When children are put to work, e.g. by selling water or tissue at busy intersections, they are not in school and end up following in their parents’ footsteps, i.e. having many kids to make them work. Also, couples don’t expect help from the government when they’re old so they have kids who they expect will take care of them later on in life.
Human capital—the knowledge, skills, and health that people accumulate over their lives—is a central driver of sustainable growth and poverty reduction. More human capital is associated with higher earnings for people, higher income for countries, and stronger cohesion in societies. Unsurprisingly, the developed countries tend to be the ones with a high human capital index (HCI) value. Here’s a subset and the ranking.
Japan, South Korea, Canada, Finland, Macao, Sweden
Low tax revenues means that a government can only fund basic services such as policing, the courts and the armed forces. In order to provide universal healthcare, education, and a social safety net for all of a country’s residents, higher tax revenues are required. According to the UN, this can be achieved if a country’s tax revenues are at least 20% of their GDP . If achieved, this would result in an increase in a society’s quality of life. The Human Development Index (HDI)  is a ranking of a society’s quality of life by country. The index groups countries into 4 categories. Following is a 2016 listing of those categories with a sampling of countries. The listing also shows each country’s 2015 tax revenue-to-GDP ratio . Each country’s estimated 2017 GDP per capita per the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is also listed to give an idea of the average individual’s annual income for that country . In addition, I note whether a country is an Islamic country.
Interestingly, the top 10 countries with the highest quality of life are the countries that collect the most tax from their residents.
If we take the average tax revenue as a % of GDP for all countries in each category, we get the following table.
Average Tax Revenue as % of GDP
Top 10 Very High Human Development
Very High Human Development
High Human Development
Medium Human Development
Low Human Development
Based on the two tables above, it appears that, in general, the more taxes a country collects (higher tax-revenue as % of GDP), the higher the quality of life of its residents.
In addition to higher taxation, tax policy should be progressive such that the poor do not may as much or more as middle and upper class people. Also, corporations and rich people should not be able to evade taxes using loopholes.
GDP Per Capita From 1960 to 2020
Below is a graph of the change in GDP per capita of a few countries. Singapore was able to catch up to the US in a short period of time. China and India have many similarities, e.g. two of the most populated countries. Both countries started growing around the same time but clearly China grew rapidly whereas India barely grew.
China has 1.4 billion people. 1/5th of all humanity. Chinese was successful up until the 17th century when China closed its doors and decided it didn’t need Western gadgets. Many people ended up dying due to starvation. 14 million Chinese people died in WWII. Mao Tse Dong ruled China and closed all universities. Deng Xioping had a vision to make China prosperous. His slogan was “To be rich is glorious”. Like Mao, he believed that to ensure stability and to prosper, you needed one-party rule. When Mao Tse Dong died in 1976, Deng asked to be in charge of China’s education and science. Deng allowed everyone to take university exams for free. The first exams started in December of 1977. 5.7 million people applied for exams but only 5% could be admitted. In 1978, Deng emerged as preeminent leader. In 1978, Deng went with a delegation of 30 people to Europe. He witnessed how advanced Europe was and how far back China had fallen behind. Deng then went to Singapore and Japan. He noticed that trains in Japan could travel at 210 kph whereas those in China could only go up to 60 kph. He saw robots making cars in Japan. Deng wanted Chinese people to see how people in Japan and Singapore lived so he showed them on TV. Chinese people were in shock to see Japanese people work and have their own refrigerators at home. China embarked on an economic and social experiment – mixing the Communist command economy with the energy of capitalist enterprise. Chinese students were sent to foreign universities. There was a concern that Chinese students may not want to return to China. There was a huge investment in primary and secondary education – especially for women. By the early 80s, the signs of reform were everywhere from the schools to the cars on the streets where there were once only bicycles. The rural population of China had been moving to the cities at a rapid pace. In just 4 years, China’s agriculture, education and industry were reformed. Private business was allowed to flourish. China’s low production costs offered huge opportunities to the outside world. With its fast, expanding urban workforce, China’s GDP would increase nearly 70 times in 40 years. The Chinese way was a marriage of one-party rule with capitalist enterprise. China didn’t want to be dependent anymore on outside people for technology.
Not everyone has specialized skills or the ability to get a 4 year degree or higher due to their unique circumstances. Though having a college education normally results in higher pay, you don’t always get paid more for having a higher education. One must wonder, then, what is the highest paying job for the lowest level of education. Fortunately, the US government collects labor data and provides a ton of information to help people compare careers, salaries, education requirements, and more. This information is updated regularly and available at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook website.
Here, we can search for careers starting from the lowest level of education up to a having a 2 year associate’s degree. With each search, we can filter by average annual salary. Here are the results. Occupations with salaries below $40,000 a year are excluded.
For this education level, there is only one occupation in the $80,000 more category. It is “Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers” with a 2019 Median Pay of $28.40 per hour or $59,080 per year. However, this occupation is in decline and not growing.
Say, “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds. No partner has He. And this I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims.” (6:162-163)
The same applies to the Hajj. There are many verses that indicate that the only purpose of the Hajj is to “commemorate God”.
And proclaim the Hajj to the people …… to commemorate God’s name during the known days. (22:27-28)
You shall commemorate God for a number of days. (2:203)
When you disperse from Arafat you shall commemorate God at the Mishaar Al-Haram. (2:198)
Then once you have completed your rituals, you shall commemorate God. (2:200)
The duration of Hajj
Many Muslims believe that there is only one 5 day period each year during which they can perform the hajj. However, the Quran makes it clear that the hajj can be done any time during the four months beginning from Dhul-Hijjah. The fact that the hajj period lasts for multiple months is proven in verse 2:197.
Hajj is [during] well-known (specified) months (Arabic: ashur), so whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein (in those months), there is [to be for him] no sexual relations and no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj. … (2:197)
Notice how the verse uses the Arabic word “ashur” which means “months” (plural). “Shahrun” is Arabic for one month. “Shahrain” is Arabic for two months. “Ashurun” is Arabic for three or more months.
Some may argue that the use of the plural “months” was used to describe a regularity that occurs every year. However, this argument is unsupportable as the verse clearly indicates that the months refer to certain months of a year.
Another argument is that the 5 days of Dhul-hijjah fall within the well-known months and therefore that is why the plural “months” is used in the verse. This argument is non-sensical since the verse states very clearly that hajj can be done during months (Arabic: ashurun) that are well-known (Arabic: ma’lumatun). In verse 2:197, notice the Arabic words “farada feehinna”.
“farada” means “he made obligatory”
“feehinna” is a conjunction of two words: “fee” which means “in” and “hinna” which means “them” in the feminine gender form.
Therefore, that section of the verse means “whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein (in those months)” proves that God is telling you that you can perform the Hajj at any time during those months.
Some people argue that the Hajj is restricted to the first 10 days of the 12th month by citing verses 22:28 and 2:203.
… mention the name of Allah on known days … (22:28)
You shall commemorate God for a number of days. … (2:203)
They claim that the words “known days” and “a number of days” indicate that the Hajj can only be performed during a 10 day period.
Counter-argument #1: Hajj versus believers
In verse 2:197, we see that God is addressing the “hajj’ itself when He describes the “specified months”. In other words, the hajj itself can be performed during the multiple months of Hajj. In contrast, in verses 22:28 and 2:203, God is addressing the “believers” when He speaks of the “number of days”. In other words, the believers who perform the Hajj go for a number of days and not for several months.
Counter-argument #2: Comparison to Ramadan
In verse 2:185, we see that God indicates that the month for fasting is the (single) month of Ramadan. In the same verse, we see a reference to “a number of days”. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that you must only fast for a few days in the month of Ramadan but rather that if you miss some days, you must make up for them later.
The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. … (2:185)
A month, or months, can be spoken of as days because a month is made up of days. Nevertheless, this doesn’t change the fact that they are still months. This is similar to someone describing the years of his childhood by saying “they were the best days of my life”.
The 12th month of the Islamic calendar is called Zhu al-Hijjah which means “that (month) of the Hajj”. It would make sense that this month would be one of the Hajj months and the beginning of those months.
4 “hurum” months
In verse 9:36, we see that there are 12 months in a year and that 4 of them are called “hurum”.
Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are “hurum”. . … (9:36)
The word ‘Hurum’ does not mean sacred as some have translated, for the word used in the Quran for sacred is ‘muqqaddas’, see 20:12, 79:16 and 5:21. The word ‘Hurum’ (adjective) is the plural of the word ‘Haram’ which is also associated with the months of Hajj. Both words come from the noun ‘Ihram’ which means abstention. Abstention is one of the requirements during Hajj, abstention from war, hunting and so on.
As a result, we know that the number of months that God designated for Hajj is four (2:197).
Consecutive “hurum” months
In verses 9:2-5 we see that 4 months are specifically granted to those with whom obligations were removed as they continuously broke treaties and invoked hostilities against the Muslims. Respite was then granted from the Day of Pilgrimage and extended 4 months in succession. The statement that respite was granted from the Day of Pilgrimage until the hurum months have passed indicates that the hurum months are in succession.
(Paraphrasing 9:2-5) So go about in the land for four months (9:2)… And an announcement from God and His Messenger, to the people (assembled) on the day of the Great Pilgrimage (9:3)… So when the hurum months (in succession) have passed … (9:5)
In verse 9:5, the word that indicates a consecutive set of months is “insalakha” which means “withdrawn in succession”. The word literally means “skinned”. When you skin something, e.g. an onion, you remove its layers consecutively one or more layers at a time. You can’t remove the outermost layer (skin) and then the 5th inner layer (skin) before removing the layers (skins) in between.
The same word “salakha” is used in verse 36:37 which denotes a gradual and successive transition. In this verse, the transition is from day to night (sunset).
The beginning of the Hajj period
Verse 2:189 gives us an indication as to the beginning of the Hajj period.
They ask you, [O Muhammad], about the new moons. Say, “They are measurements of time for the people and for Hajj.” …(2:189)
Since the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, the sighting of the first crescent signals the beginning of each month. Just as the sighting of the first crescent in the month of Ramadan signals the beginning of the fasting, the sighting of the first crescent in the month of Zhu Al-Hijjah, which means “that (month of Hajj) signals the beginning of the Hajj period.
The Islamic calendar
The Islamic lunar calendar in use today is
Muḥarram محرّم (or Muḥarram al Ḥaram)
Ṣafar صفر (or Ṣafar al Muzaffar)
Rabīʿ al-Awwal (Rabīʿ I) ربيع الأوّل
Rabīʿ al-Thānī (or Rabīʿ al-Ākhir) (Rabīʿ II) ربيع الآخر أو ربيع الثاني
Jumādā al-Ūlā (Jumādā I) جمادى الأولى
Jumādā al-Thānī (or Jumādā al-Ākhirah) (Jumādā II) جمادى الآخرة أو جمادى الثانية
Rajab رجب (or Rajab al-Murājab)
Shaʿbān شعبان (or Shaʿbān al-Muʿaẓẓam)
Ramaḍān رمضان (or Ramaḍān al-Mubārak)
Shawwāl شوّال (or Shawwāl al-Mukarram)
Dhū al-Qaʿda ذو القعدة (or Dhū al-Qiʿda)
Dhū al-Ḥijja ذو الحجة (or Dhū al-Ḥajja)
The Hajj months
From the verses above, we know that
there are 4 hurum months
the 4 hurum months begin with on Day of the Pilgrimage
the hurum months are in succession
If the beginning of Dhul-Hijjah is taken to be the beginning of the Day of the Pilgrimage, which would make sense, then the 4 hurum (and Hajj) months would be
Solution to current problems
If these 4 hurum months are the months during which people can perform that hajj, as suggested in the Quran, then the following problems resulting from restricting the hajj to a mere 5 days of the year would be reduced if not eliminated.
Intense congestion from millions of people being packed in one place
Extreme congestion during tawaaf (circumambulation)
The difficulties of finding accommodation and resulting exorbitant costs
The long delays
Some women may not be able to perform or complete the hajj as their menstrual cycle may fall
within the 5 days
Deaths from human stampedes due to overcrowdedness
Being hit by flying stones during the Stoning ritual
Unsanitary (to say the least) washing and cleaning facilities
Concerns of being robbed by petty thieve or getting lost from your group
The fact that the Hajj is limited to 5 days severely limits how many people can perform the Hajj each year. As such, there are visa quotas set for visitors from each country. The Quran says that the Hajj is the duty of every Muslim, provided he can afford it, not if he is lucky enough to get a visa!
The current situation of performing hajj clearly is inconvenient, expensive, and burdensome to many and even dangerous to some. Many pilgrims now believe that enduring hardships to perform the hajj would reap them higher rewards. Some travel agents conveniently take advantage of this by providing decrepit services while saying that pilgrims shouldn’t complain as it is better for them to endure.
Contrary to reality, God states in verse 22:78 that He imposes no difficulties in religion.
وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ
… and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty … (22:78)
Based on the analysis above, it appears that people or so-called Islamic scholars are unnecessarily placing difficulty in religion by misinterpreting the Quran and restricting the number of days during which to perform hajj to a mere 5 each year.
The message of not being a burdensome religion is also mentioned elsewhere as follows:
2:185 With regards fasting, God desires for you ease; He does not desire any difficulties or hardship for you.
5:6 With regards Wudu (ablution) in which God wishes to place no difficulty
73:2-3 God instructs the Prophet to abate a little and regulate his night long worship so that it imposes no hardship for him and the believers.
The correct rituals of Hajj
Perform the Hajj during any of the 4 hajj months
As stated above, the hajj months are Dhul al-Hijja, Muharram, Safar and Rabi al-Awwal.
Perform the Hajj for at least 2 days
And remember Allah during [specific] numbered days. Then whoever hastens [his departure] in two days – there is no sin upon him; and whoever delays [for more days] – there is no sin upon him – for him who fears Allah . (2:203)
Commemorate God throughout the Hajj
The primary purpose and goal of the Hajj is to commemorate God.
And proclaim the Hajj to the people …… to commemorate God’s name during the known days. (22:27-28)
You shall commemorate God for a number of days. (2:203)
Then once you have completed your rituals, you shall commemorate God. (2:200)
Hunting is prohibited during Hajj as per the following verses:
You shall not permit hunting while you are hurum. (5:1)
Once you are no longer in abstention you may hunt. (5:2)
O you who believe, do not kill any game while you are hurum. (5:95)
War and fighting
All warfare is prohibited during the Hurum Months of Hajj except in self defence:
They ask you about the Haram Month and fighting therein: say, “Fighting therein is a grave matter.” (2:217)
Sexual intercourse, misconduct and arguments
These abstentions are given in verse 2:197
Whoever executes the Hajj in them (the known months) shall refrain from sexual intercourse, wickedness and arguing during Hajj. (2:197)
Abstaining from cutting the hair
Note that some people claim that the hair must be cut or shortened at the end of Hajj. However, nowhere does the Quran say this. The Quran only states that you can’t shave or cut your hair during the Hajj.
You shall complete the Hajj and Umrah for God. If you are prevented, then make a convenient offering, and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches its destination. (2:196)
Visit the Kaa’ba (Ancient House) and circumambulate it at least 1x (once)
Then, they shall end their state of unkemptness, fulfill their vows and go around / circumambulate (yatawwaffa) the Ancient House. (22:29)
Note that there is no mention that you must circle the Kaa’ba seven times, as is commonly believed. Therefore, you are only required to do it once. Obviously, the purpose of performing the hajj and umrah is to remember and focus on God. Trying to keep track of how many times you’ve circled the Kaa’ba, especially when it’s overly crowded, would only deter your from the primary goal.
Walking between Safa and Marwah are optional
Indeed, as-Safa and al-Marwah are among the symbols of Allah. So whoever makes Hajj to the House or performs ‘umrah – there is no blame upon him for walking between them (yatawwaffa bihima). And whoever volunteers good – then indeed, Allah is appreciative and Knowing. (2:158)
Note that there is no mention that you must walk between Safa and Marwa seven times, as is commonly believed.
Commemorate God at the Masjid al Haram
The Mishaar Al-haram is the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca because it is the only House called “Haram” in the Quran.
When you disperse from Arafat you shall commemorate God at the Mishaar Al-Haram. (2:198)
You must offer an animal
The animal offerings are among the rites decreed for you by God. In them there are benefits for you. So mention God’s name on them while they are lined up, then, once they collapse on their sides, you shall eat therefrom and feed the poor and the needy. It is thus that We have ordained them for you so that you may be thankful. (22:36)
This animal offering isn’t to be confused with the pagan concept of animal sacrifice for some gods. The animal offering is for human benefit, as indicated in 22:36, and not for God, as indicated in 22:37.
Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you. … (22:78)
For people who progress from Umrah to Hajj, they shall make a convenient offering (to the poor and needy). If they can’t, then they can fast.
… whoever performs ‘umrah [during the Hajj months] followed by Hajj [offers] what can be obtained with ease of an offering (hadye). And whoever cannot find [or afford an offering] – then a fast of three days during Hajj and of seven when you have returned [home]. Those are ten complete [days]. This is for those whose family is not in the area of al-Masjid al-Haram. … (2:196)
Optionally pray at the Station of Abraham
Verse 2:125 indicates that one should pray at the Station of Abraham. However, this is in the context of what people did during the time of Abraham. To expect everyone nowadays to all pray at the Station of Abraham could be a logistical nightmare.
And [mention] when We made the House a place of return for the people and [a place of] security. And take, [O believers], from the standing place of Abraham a place of prayer. And We charged Abraham and Ishmael, [saying], “Purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who are staying [there] for worship and those who bow and prostrate [in prayer].” (2:125)
The man-made rituals of Hajj
The Hajj garments
Most Muslims believe that men must wear two seamless white clothes similar to beach towels. There is nothing in the Quran that mandates this dress code. Furthermore, having to wear nothing but two pieces of cloth could easily defocus your attention on commemorating God as you would likely be worried that your clothes would fall and everyone would see you naked, including making women.
In verse 7:31 we see that God instructs people to bring their “zinah” to every masjid (mosque). Zinah means adornments or any item that is worn to make oneself beautiful. The command is to dress nicely at “every” masjid. Since the Masjid Al-Haram is a mosque, then this verse instructs people to dress nicely in it.
O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess. (7:31)
Many Muslims justify the wearing of the Hajj garments (two white pieces of cloth) to equalize everyone so the rich and poor look alike and the poor don’t feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. If that were the case, why is that belief not applied to the Friday congregational prayer? During the Friday prayers, no one poor appears embarrassed or uncomfortable to be there. Furthermore, a poor person would be better off going to the Hajj in whatever clothes they have rather than be burdened to spend extra money on special towels, sandals, belts, and what not.
The miqat is a location from where pilgrims are required to start wearing the “ihram” garments and enter into a state of “ihram”. The common understanding is that “ihram”garments are two unstitched white pieces of cloth for men and loose-fitting white clothes for women. There are 5 miqat locations:
Pilgrims typically put on their “ihram” garments at one of these 5 locations and then proceed to Mecca to perform Umrah or Hajj. Needless to say, none are such rules in the Quran. The Quranic state of “ihram” is to abstain from war, hunting, sexual activity and bad language and begins when pilgrims enter the Masjid Al-Haram to commence their Hajj. Like the so-called “ihram” garments, the miqat locations are yet another man-made innovation.
The “Black Stone”
The Black Stone is a stone located at one of the corners of the Kaa’ba at the Masjid Al-Haram. Muslims tend to congregate and push themselves towards it in an effort to touch and kiss it with the hope of getting some sort of blessing. Clearly, this is an idolatrous behavior similar to what the statue worshippers during the time of Abraham did. As such, it should come as no surprise that there is no mention of this ritual anywhere in the Quran. This ritual originates from the hadith which claims that the stone descended from Heaven during the time of Abraham and that Prophet Muhammad used to kiss it. As we know from the Quran in verse 21:66, Abraham destroyed all of the stones and statues that people were worshipping and asked them if they worship something that cannot benefit nor harm them instead of God.
He (Abraham) said (to the idolaters), “Then do you worship instead of Allah that which does not benefit you at all or harm you? (21:66)
Similar verses are found at 5:76,10:18 and 25:55.
Zamzam water is water that comes from a particular well. The water is available at the Masjid Al-Haram and is considered sacred by most Muslims. Many also believe that it can cure ailments. Muslim historians claim that the well of Zamzam was made to flow for Hagar and her infant Ishmael when the two of them ran in desperation between the hill tops of Safa and Marwah in search of water. This story is nowhere to be found in the Quran but rather comes from the Bible (Torah). Genesis 21:14-21 describes the story of Abraham’s slave wife Hagar when she was sent away to the desert with her child Ishmael. In desperation and fear of dying out of thirst, Hagar ran back and forth between two hill tops in search of water, at which point God mercifully produced for her a gushing well from which she and Ishmael drank. As this story is not in the Quran, it’s likely that hadith writers borrowed this story from the Bible and modified it such that the Zamzam well would be located at the Masjid Al-Haram. The Bible, however, indicates that the event took place at Beer Sheba which is located south of Jerusalem, between Gaza and the Dead Sea.
Regardless of this story, the Quran makes it clear that we should not idolize and hold sacred any object, whether it is the water of Zamzam or the Black Stone, thinking that it could “benefit” us. On the contrary, doing so would be a direct violation of 5:76,10:18 and 25:55. At the end of the day, Muslims must believe that all cures are ultimately from God.
The ritual of stoning Satan
Another commonly practiced Hajj ritual is the stoning of Satan. This ritual, according to the historian Al-Arazi, originates from Abraham’s journey to perform the Hajj. The story has it that when Abraham left Mina, Satan appeared to him. Then, Gabriel appeared and told Abraham to pelt Satan. Abraham threw 7 stones which made Satan disappear. Satan reappeared at the Middle Stone-Heap and the Little Stone-Heap and Abraham where Abraham threw more stones until Satan finally withdrew. These 3 locations are called the “Jamaraat” and are meant to represent the devil.
There is nothing in the Quran mentioning this Hajj ritual.
Some scholars quote verse 38:77 and 15:34 to justify the stoning of Satan practice.
He (God) said, ‘Then, get out of it, for you (Satan) are ‘rajeem’ (expelled). (38:77)
They use the word “rajeem”, which means “expelled” or “outcast”, to mean “stoned”.
As you can imagine, believers of this non-sensical and unauthorized ritual probably think that they are hurting Satan as they passionately throw stones at something they can’t even see. However, what is more likely to be happening is that Satan is sitting behind them laughing for having succeeded in deviating millions of Muslims from the sole purpose of Hajj, which is to praise and commemorate God (22:27-28, 2:203, 2:198, 2:200). By tricking clueless Muslims who don’t pay attention to the Quran and its clear instructions, Satan has succeeded in wasting 3 days of each pilgrims’ Hajj days in his name instead of for God.
Interestingly, most of the fatal tragedies during the Hajj occur during the Stoning ritual. Could it be that these tragedies are related to the fact that this ritual is completely counter to the purpose of the Hajj? Throughout the entire Quran, God never tells people to attack the devil. His command is only to stay away from and not follow the devil.
Women not allowed to perform Hajj without a “muhrim”
A “muhrim” is understood to be any male who is unlawful for marriage to the woman in question, e.g. a woman’s father, brother, son, grandfather, etc. As such, Muslim women believe that they can’t perform the Hajj unless one of their “muhrims” accompany them. This belief originates from hadith that says that no man shall be in the company of a woman alone and in seclusion. With millions of Hajj pilgrims visiting Mecca every year, being in a state of “seclusion” is quite the opposite of what actually occurs. This belief is common in male-dominated cultures such as in Saudi Arabia where the rule is clearly one-sided as the restriction does not apply to men. Needless to say, there is such law in the Quran which prohibits women from performing the Hajj without a “muhrim”.
Women during menstruation forbidden from completing Hajj
There is no restriction in the Quran that prevents a woman from completing the Hajj if they are menstruating. Likewise, women are not forbidden from fasting and praying while menstruating. Menstruation is a bodily cycle designed by God Himself. It’s non-sensical to believe that God would forbid His own creatures from praying and worshipping Him 7 days a month. The only restriction placed on women during menstruation is from having sexual intercourse with their husbands for the benefit of both of them (2:222). See chapter “Are Menstruating Women Required to Fast?” for details.
Visiting Prophet Muhammad’s tomb during the Hajj
Many Hajj pilgrims visit Prophet’s Muhammad’s tomb during the Hajj. The tomb is located in Medina at the Prophet’s Mosque (Masjid Al-Nabawi). The Quran only speaks of one “Haram Masjid”, which is the one in Mecca. Nevertheless, many Muslims consider there to be two Haram Masjids (Al-Haramayn), the second being the Prophet’s Mosque.
First of all, the practice of visiting Muhammad’s tomb is not an authorized Hajj ritual per the Quran as it is nowhere to be found in it. On the contrary, visiting Muhammad’s tomb would constitute a violation of Hajj requirements which has as its primary goal of praising and commemorating God alone (22:27-28, 2:203, 2:198, 2:200).
Secondly, many Muslims pray in front of Muhammad’s tomb which, if they are praying with Muhammad in mind, is an act of shirk (idol worship). And if they are there only to pray to God, then it would seem suspicious for choosing that particular mosque. As verse 72:18 states, all mosques are solely for God and calling on anyone else in them is strictly prohibited.
And the masjids are for God, so do not invoke with God anyone. (72:18)
Thirdly, most of these Muslims who believe in and follow the hadith yet, unsurprisingly, since most people just blindly follow the masses, don’t realize that the hadith prohibits taking graves of the prophets as places of worship. Considering the following so-called “sahih” hadith.
Jundub reported: I heard from the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) five days before his death and he said: I stand acquitted before Allah that I took any one of you as a friend, for Allah has taken me as His friend, as he took Ibrahim as His friend. Had I taken any one of my Ummah as a friend, I would have taken Abu Bakr as a friend. Beware of those who preceded you and used to take the graves of their prophets and righteous men as places of worship, but you must not take graves as mosques; I forbid you to do that. Sahih Muslim 532In-book reference: Book 5, Hadith 28USC-MSA web (English) reference: Book 4, Hadith 1083 https://sunnah.com/muslim/5/28
Lastly, many Muslims believe that by visiting the Prophet’s tomb, they are just following the religion the way Prophet Muhammad did. Funnily, this is purely non-sensical as Muhammad could not have visited his own grave when he was alive and performing the Hajj. Furthermore, the whole Hajj ritual began way before Muhammad was even born, originating with Prophet Abraham who, obviously, could not have visited Muhammad’s tomb when he was alive.
Performing hajj for someone else
Some Muslims believe that they can perform the hajj for someone else, e.g. a dead relative who never performed the hajj. However, Quran verses 53:39 and 6:164 make it clear that no one will be credited with or be responsible for the good or bad deeds of anyone else.
وَأَن لَّيْسَ لِلْإِنسَانِ إِلَّا مَا سَعَىٰ
And that there is not for man except that [good] for which he strives (53:39)
Most Muslims believe that zakat is only a required payment in the amount of 2.5% on their income primarily for people in need and that it is only required by Muslims. However, the Quran seems to suggest that zakat is more like a government tax required by all members of society, whether Muslim or not, and is not limited to 2.5%.
The word zakat
Zakat is an Arabic word that literally means “that which purifies”. Many Muslims agree that zakat is named as such because Muslims are obligated to pay zakat in order to remain spiritually pure.
Zakat (tax) and salat (prayer)
People familiar with Quranic verses will often note that zakat is almost always mentioned together with salat (prayer). For example, in verse 2:43 we read
… أَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ …
… and establish prayer and give zakat … (2:43 part)
This verse, and many others, make it clear that zakat is mandatory among Muslims.
Sadaqah and zakat are not the same thing
Even though sadaqah and zakat may have some similarities, verse 58:13 proves that sadaqah and zakat are two different things.
Do you fear that you will present charities (sadaqaat) before your consultation? Then when you do not (give charity) and God has forgiven you, then establish prayer and give zakah and obey God and His Messenger. And God is Acquainted with what you do. (58:13)
Do non-Muslims have to pay zakat?
Non-Muslims also had to pay Zakat
According to verse 41:6-7, disbelievers and polytheists must also pay zakat.
And establish prayer and give zakah and bow with those who bow [in worship]. (2:43)
The fact that the Quran requires Jews to also pay zakat further supports the argument that paying zakat was required among everyone and not just Muslims.
People paid zakat long before Prophet Muhammad was even born
Many Muslims assume that the requirement to pay zakat began with Muhammad. However, the Quran proves that the payment of zakat began very long before Muhammad was even born. The following verses indicate who was expected or ordered to pay zakat.
Prophet Jesus (Isa)
Prophet Ishmael ordered his people to pay zakat.
2:83, 7:156, 5:12
The Children of Israel (Jews)
Prophet’s Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
The Jews (referenced as “hadu” in 4:160)
Zakat was a fundamental aspect of the true religion of God even to people of previous revelations and scriptures from prophets before Muhammad.
Is zakat based on income or savings?
Some Muslims believe that zakat is based on their savings. However, according to verse 6:141, we see evidence that zakat is based on income and that zakat is due as soon as you get paid. The verse uses the example of a farmer who harvests fruit. When the fruits are ready, they can be harvested. On that day, the farmer must pay his due (zakat) since that is the day the farmer can sell the fruit and get paid.
And He it is who causes gardens to grow, [both] trellised and untrellised, and palm trees and crops of different [kinds of] food and olives and pomegranates, similar and dissimilar. Eat of [each of] its fruit when it yields and give its due [zakah] on the day of its harvest. And be not excessive. Indeed, He does not like those who commit excess. (6:141)
Nowadays, most people don’t work as farmers. Nevertheless, the point of the verse above is that one has to pay his dues (zakat) when they receive an income, whether it is every 2 weeks, once a month, or yearly.
Who should manage zakat money?
Many Muslims today pay zakat by giving 2.5% of their income to a mosque for distribution or they manually distribute it themselves to whoever they think deserve it. However, according to verse 22:41, it seems to suggest that governments should establish a system of zakat.
[And they are] those who, if We establish them in the land, establish prayer and give zakah and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. And to God belongs the outcome of [all] matters. (22:41)
Notice how verse 22:41 mentions “if We (God) establish them (people) in the land”. Obviously, people who are established in a land are people who live in an organized society with a system managed by a government.
Pay zakat to people individually or to a central authority for distribution
Aside from the amount of zakat or tax distributed to those in need, it should be obvious that having a centralized system for collecting, spending and distributing this money would be far better than if people individually decided who to give some of their money to.
If people individually give zakat money to the needy, then
only certain individuals would receive zakat money and possibly, only Muslims
many people who qualify for zakat money may not receive any at all
benefits received by recipients would strictly be limited to money and no other form of help
Zakat recipients would only receive cash which could be misused, e.g. drugs and alcohol
the overall welfare of everyone would be severely limited as zakat money would strictly be used for distributing money to the poor and needy
If people give zakat money (or tax) to a central government, then
some of the money can be distributed to all needy people and not just some people
everyone, both Muslims and non-Muslims, can receive financial help fairly and equally
some of the money can be used for social programs as well as public services such as free or subsidized transportation, healthcare, education, and so on
Recipients can’t abuse tax / zakat benefits because governments can issue food stamps, for example, which can’t be used for drugs and alcohol
the overall welfare of everyone would improve
Who can receive zakat money?
Most Muslims believe that zakat money is strictly for people who are poor or in need. Many Muslims also believe that zakat money is only for Muslim recipients. Many Muslim scholars quote verse 9:60 to determine 8 categories of people who can receive zakat money. Below is the correct English translation of verse 9:60
“Charities (Arabic: Sadaqaatu) are only for the poor (Arabic: Fuqara) and the needy (Arabic: Masakin), and those who collect them (Amalina Alayha), and those whose hearts are to be reconciled (Mu-alafati qulubuhum) and to free the captives (Arabic: Fil-riqabi) and the debtors (Arabic: Gharimina), and for the cause of God (Arabic: Fi-Sabili-llahi) and(for) the wayfarer (Arabic: Sabili);- a duty imposed by God. God is Knower, Wise” (9:60)
It is very clear from verse 9:60 above that it addresses charities (sadaqaat) and not zakat. And, as we have proven above in verse 58:13, and as most Muslims would agree, charity and zakat are two different things. While the Quran is absolutely clear as to who can receive charity (sadaqah) money, the Quran does not state who can receive zakat money. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that zakat money is strictly limited to the poor and the needy or just Muslim people.
As suggested by verse 22:41, if a government is to manage zakat money, then it would make sense that the Quran would not specifically state how zakat money should be used since different countries have different needs. For example, in the United States, according to Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the 2015 federal spending by category was
Social Security, Unemployment and Labor
Medicare and Health
Interest on Debt
Food and Agriculture
Housing and Community
All of the categories above, except for “Military”, “Interest on Debt” and “Veteran’s Benefits”, support the poor and people in need by providing financial support for the elderly (social security) and the unemployed, providing medical assistance to the poor and people in need (Medicare and health), providing food for the poor and the needy, providing education to low-income students, providing subsidized or free public transportation for the poor and the needy, and providing housing assistance for the poor and the needy.
As you can see, even a non-Islamic government such as the government of the United States ends up spending much of its money on social programs that benefit the poor and the needy because it makes sense to do so.
Why should non-Muslims receive zakat money?
Some, if not many, Muslims believe that only Muslims are entitled to receive zakat money. There is no such restriction in the Quran. As a matter of fact, the Quran makes it clear that polytheists (41:6-7) and Jews (2:43) had to pay zakat during the time of Prophet Muhammad. Therefore, if those non-Muslims had to pay zakat, it would only be fair if the poor and needy among them could also receive zakat money. Unfortunately, many Muslims are quick to judge non-Muslims as predestined people who will surely go to Hell. However, it is not unreasonable for a non-Muslim to eventually convert to Islam. Obviously, not everyone is born into a Muslim family so not everyone has the same circumstances in life.
How much should zakat be?
Most Muslims believe that zakat is 2.5% on savings or income to be paid once a year. Muslims scholars have decided that the 2.5% comes from some relatively vague hadeeth. However, there is no mention of zakat being strictly limited to 2.5% in the Quran. As suggested by verse 22:41, if a government is to manage zakat money, then it should be a percentage that is necessary for the government to do its job and support the people. Obviously, every country has different circumstances and needs. Oil-rich Gulf countries with small populations such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia have plenty of valuable natural resources that they don’t need money from their residents in order to run the country and provide for the poor and the needy. Consequently, both the UAE and Saudi Arabia have a 0% tax on their people. On the other hand, the United States needs to charge an average 25-30% tax on its residents with an exemption for low-income people, of course. Considering the different circumstances of different countries, it would make sense, then, that the Quran would not limit how much each country must charge for zakat (tax) so that each government can decide how much it needs to best help its people.
2.5% zakat versus government tax
It should be obvious that most governments use a portion of their tax revenue to support the poor and needy. As mentioned above, the United States government spent more than 50% of its 2015 tax revenues on social programs. Assuming a US taxpayer had an effective tax rate of 30%, then at least 15% of that taxpayer’s tax money would go towards the poor and needy in one way or another. That is already 6 times the 2.5% zakat that most Muslims pay for the same cause, and that’s only for federal tax – it doesn’t include state tax. Since most governments charge much more than 2.5% for income tax, then by paying your income tax to the government, you are already paying much more from your income for the same purpose as the 2.5% zakat most Muslims pay. Since most of a government’s tax revenues support the poor and needy, then it should be easy to see how your government income tax is really no different than zakat – it’s just not called “zakat” because “zakat” literally means “that which purifies” whereas the Arabic word for “tax” is “dareeba”.
Zakat and taxes in Muslim countries
Many Muslims living in Muslim countries complain about poverty, lack of government support, expensive healthcare, and low quality of life. These same people admire non-Islamic countries such as the United States, Australia, and Western European countries for offering much support to their citizens such as free healthcare, education, and financial support for the poor and needy. If we compare these two groups of countries, we quickly realize that a large percentage of the population in non-Islamic countries pay taxes whereas in Islamic countries, an extremely small percentage of the population pays taxes, even though many of them still hand out 2.5% of their income to the poor and needy. In Pakistan, the government tax rate is between 7.5% and 35% however, only 0.57% of the population pays taxes. Assuming everyone paid 2.5% of their income for zakat, it’s clear that, considering the quality of life in Pakistan, their 2.5% zakat money doesn’t appear to make much of a difference in the general welfare of the people.
Some Muslims, whether living in a Muslim country or not, are extremely disciplined when it comes to paying 2.5% of their income for what they call “zakat”. These same people receive support from their government which obviously comes from taxpayer money. Ironically, however, when it comes time to pay their income tax to their government, they either complain or, worse yet, avoid paying it as much as possible. Furthermore, there are some Muslims who withdraw state benefits when they are clearly not eligible for them. While it may not seem like stealing, what these Muslims are doing is, in effect, stealing taxpayer money, regardless of how little, that could be meant to support people who are actually poor or in need.
How much is enough zakat (government tax)?
Low tax revenues means that a government can only fund basic services such as policing, the courts and the armed forces. In order to provide universal healthcare, education, and a social safety net for all of a country’s residents, higher tax revenues are required. According to the UN, this can be achieved if a country’s tax revenues are at least 20% of its GDP . If achieved, this would result in an increase in a society’s quality of life. The Human Development Index (HDI)  is a ranking of a society’s quality of life by country. The index groups countries into 4 categories. Following is a 2016 listing of those categories with a sampling of countries. The listing also shows each country’s 2015 tax revenue-to-GDP ratio . Each country’s estimated 2017 GDP per capita per the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is also listed to give an idea of the average individual’s annual income for that country . In addition, I note whether a country is an Islamic country.
One thing of note is that all Islamic countries in the “Very high human development” category are oil or natural gas-producing countries. These countries do not collect much, if any, tax from their residents because they don’t need to as they’ve been lucky enough to have a very valuable natural resource. These are mostly small countries with small populations and lots of oil and gas.
Based on the table above, most Islamic countries have a tax revenue as % of GDP value of less than 20%. And as you can see, the top 10 countries with the highest quality of life are the countries that collect the most tax from their residents. Not a single one of these top 10 countries is an Islamic country.
If we take the average tax revenue as a % of GDP for all countries in each category, we get the following table.
Average Tax Revenue as % of GDP
Top 10 Very High Human Development
Very High Human Development
High Human Development
Medium Human Development
Low Human Development
Based on the two tables above, it appears that, in general, the more taxes a country collects (higher tax revenue as % of GDP), the higher the quality of life of its residents.
Quite ironically, the requirements of a society based on an inclusive tax system seem to be better understood in non-Islamic countries than in many Muslim countries that cannot often fulfill the basic demands and needs of their citizens.
To conclude, it should be clear now that Islamic zakat is actually government taxation which is mandatory by everyone, not just Muslims, and for the benefit of everyone, not just Muslims. In Islamic countries, since many Muslims think that zakat is not government taxation, it may be helpful to change the term “income tax” to “zakat” since, as I have explained above, the two terms are synonymous.
Is charity or zakah only for Muslims?
Some Muslims refuse to give charity to non-Muslims as they consider all non-Muslims as infidels (kafir). First of all, the Quran never says you may only give charity to Muslims. Secondly, not all non-Muslims are kafir because to be a kafir, you have to intentionally reject God. If you were raised in a Hindu family and you worship statues, then you are an idolater (mushrik), but not necessarily an infidel (kafir). You are, however, wrong in thinking that a statue is God and unless you use your brain to think about that to discover the truth, as required of you in verse 8:22, you will likely die and end up in Hell.
And if any one of the polytheists seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the words of Allah. Then deliver him to his place of safety. That is because they are a people who do not know. (9:6)
If they do not reject God, then they can get guidance so as to see their mistakes and discover the real God. In the meantime, they deserve financial help just like anyone else. Not everyone is born into a Muslim family but everyone can convert to Islam at any time in their lives. To refuse to help someone based on their current belief is not only inhumane but counter to the spirit of Islam. Who knows? The person you refuse to give charity to based on their current belief may end up converting and becoming a more righteous Muslim than you.
Many Muslims believe that they will reap some huge reward or all of their sins will be washed away if they perform lots of worship during one unknown night near the end of the month of Ramadan. However, there is no statement in the Quran that tells people to try and find Lailat Al-Qadr.
According to verses 97:1-5, we know that God revealed something in the Night of Decree (Laylatul-qadr).
Indeed, We sent it down (Arabic: Anzalnahu) during the Night of Decree. And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn. (97:1-5)
The Arabic word “anzalnahu” means “we sent it down”. This most like means that the Quran was sent down. If we look at verse 44:2-4, we find that the same word (anzalnahu) was used to describe the Quran being sent down.
And [it is] a Qur’an which We have separated [by intervals] that you might recite it to the people over a prolonged period. And We have sent it down progressively. (17:106)
Based on the facts about Laylatul-Qadr described above, we see that the Quran never tells people to seek the Night of Decree (Laylatul Qadr). The revelation of the Quran began on the Night of Decree (Laylatul Qadr) and the rest of the Quran was revealed throughout the remainder of Muhammad’s life.
Lastly, the purpose of fasting in the month of Ramadhan is to guard against evil and learn self-restraint (Arabic: tattaqun) as described in verse 2:183.
… And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from its black thread. …(2:187)
In order to determine when fasting should begin, we need to understand a few concepts.
Fajr Prayer Period
Fajr is an Arabic word that means dawn. Therefore, the fajr prayer means the dawn prayer which means the fajr prayer time period is from the beginning of dawn until the end of dawn.
What is dawn?
By definition, dawn begins when the sun starts to lighten the sky and ends when the sunrise begins. Scientifically, there are 3 stages of dawn:
Astronomical Dawn Astronomical Dawn is when the geometric center of the Sun’s disk is 18 degrees below the horizon. At this point, twilight is so faint that it is generally indistinguishable from night, especially in areas with light pollution.
Nautical Dawn / First Light Nautical dawn is when the geometric center of the Sun’s disk reaches an angle of 12 degrees below the horizon. The sunlight reflected by the atmosphere is now generally sufficient to distinguish the sky from land or water in clear weather conditions. This is also called “first light” because it’s the first point of dawn when the sun’s light (not the sun itself) is noticeable to the human eye.
Civil Dawn Civil dawn is when the geometric center of the Sun’s disc is 6° below the horizon.
Sunrise is when the geometric center of the Sun’s disk is at the horizon.
Beginning of fajr prayer time period
Muslims usually take astronomical dawn to be the beginning of the fajr prayer time period even though the sky is still dark to the human eye and light is only visible in certain conditions and possibly using scientific equipment.
Beginning of fasting
Since verse 2:187 indicates that fasting begins at the point when sunlight first becomes visible to the human eye, then based on the stages of dawn described above, the beginning of fasting would be at the beginning of the nautical dawn stage, aka “first light”.
Since Muslims consider the fajr prayer to begin at astronomical dawn and since we have just proven that the beginning of fasting begins at nautical dawn (first light), then fasting begins some time after the fajr prayer. In order to determine when nautical dawn or first light occurs in your area, you can visit https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/dawn.html
Do we end fasting at the time of maghrib (sunset) or night (layl)?
Many Muslims believe that the time to break their fast in Ramadan is at Maghrib (sunset). However, the Quran makes it very clear that you must fast till night time (layl) which is as soon as there is no more sunlight in the sky, not when the sun is setting and it’s still bright outside. This is proven in verse 2:187.
…and eat and drink, until the white thread of dawn appears to you distinct from its black thread. Then complete the fast till the night (Arabic: layl)… (2:187)
At no place in the Quran is ‘layl’ (night) the same thing as sunset.
What is sunset?
The description of “sunset” is clearly defined when we look at the following verse:
حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغَ مَغْرِبَ الشَّمْسِ
Until, when he reached the setting of the sun (Arabic: Maghriba-l-shams) … (18:86)
The word ‘maghriba’ comes from its root word ‘Ghurub’ (G-R-B) which means to retire, to depart, to be hidden from view or to be absent. Used along with ‘shams’ (sun) it refers to sunset, or the west which is clearly the setting place of the sun.
Verse 2:187 does not instruct people to fast until the ‘ghurub’ of the ‘shams’ (setting of the sun). Rather, it informs people to fast till ‘layl’ (night).
In verse 20:130 and 50:39, we see another reference to “ghurub” which clearly indicate the setting of the sun, aka “sunset”.
So be patient, [O Muhammad], over what they say and exalt [ Allah ] with praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting, (50:39)
As you can see, the term “ghurub” which means “sunset” is well known in the Quran. If God wanted people to end their fast at sunset, He could have just used the word “ghurub” but He didn’t. Instead, God wanted people to end their fast at night which is why He used the word “layl”.
Following are some dictionary definitions of “ghurub”.
OMAR, A M, Dictionary of the Holy Quran, Arabic Words – English Meanings, Noor Foundation – International Inc, First Edition May 24, 2003, Reprint used February 26 2010, Page 400
LANE. E.W, Edward Lanes Lexicon, Williams and Norgate 1863; Librairie du Liban Beirut-Lebanon 1968, Volume 3, Page 971
What is “layl” (night)
Layl (night) is when there is no more noticeable sunlight in the sky. In other words, it is when twilight has ended and the sky is dark.
In verse 91:1-4, we see that “layl” or night is when both the sun and its light can no longer be seen.
By the Sun and its brightness (splendour, brightness, brilliance – duha) and the moon when it follows it and the day (Arabic: nahar) when it displays it (sun’s glory) and the night (Arabic: layl) when it covers / conceals it. (18:86)
If the sun is below the horizon and hidden from view but sunlight is still seen in the sky, that’s still sunset (ghurub) and not layl (night).
In verse 10:067 we see proof that daytime (nahar) is contrasted with nighttime (layl) in that daytime is when you can see things / things are visible.
And We made between them and the towns which We had blessed, towns easy to be seen, and We made stages of journey between them easy, (saying): Travel in them safely both by night (Arabic: layliya) and day. (34:18)
Indeed, your Lord knows, [O Muhammad], that you stand [in prayer] almost two-thirds of the night or half of it or a third of it, and [so do] a group of those with you. … (73/20)
It would be hard to believe that the reference to the word “layl” in the above verses means sunset.
In verse 79:29, we see one more reference to “layl” which indicates that it is when there is darkness as opposed to brightness.
وَأَغْطَشَ لَيْلَهَا وَأَخْرَجَ ضُحَاهَا
And He darkened its night and extracted its brightness. (79:29)
When does layl (night) begin?
The Quran refers to certain periods of nighttime as being totally dark. For example, ‘al-layli muzliman’ (10:27) or ‘ghasaq al-layl’ (17:78). The Quran in verse 12:16 also refers to “night” as “isha” to describe the night prayer (salaat al-isha). However, the Quran doesn’t use any of these terms to describe the time at which to end fasting. Therefore, it would be reasonable to understand the beginning of night to be the end of sunset when there is no more light in the sky.
The twilight phases in the morning are often called dawn, while the twilight phases in the evening are referred to as dusk. However, unlike the term twilight, which describes a time span, the terms dawn and dusk refer to moments during the transitions between day and night.
Civil dawn is the moment when the geometric center of the Sun is 6 degrees below the horizon in the morning. It is preceded by nautical twilight.
Similarly, civil dusk is the instant when the geometric center of the Sun is 6 degrees below the horizon in the evening. It marks the beginning of nautical twilight.
Following is an example of the different parts of a day (and night) for San Francisco on June 5, 2017.
Black is nighttime, light blue is daytime. The darker blue shadings represent the twilight phases during dawn (left) and dusk (right).
As you can see, sunset / dusk / ghurub begins at 8:28 PM. This is also the beginning of civil twilight and corresponds to the time when Muslims pray Maghrib. However, you’ll notice that when you step outside at Maghrib, there’s still plenty of sunlight in the sky. Obviously, this is not night (layl). Complete night (total darkness), in this example, begins at 10:21 PM. The beginning of night should, therefore, at least, be at the end of civil twilight which, in this example, is at 8:59 PM. According to Weather Underground (https://www.wunderground.com/), last light is at 8:59 PM. If you step outside at this time, you’ll notice that the sky is dark. Therefore, it is reasonable to take the beginning of “layl” (night) to be at the end of civil twilight.
You can also use the Golden Hour app. The screenshot of Golden Hour below shows last light (beginning of night) in Hayward, CA, USA on Dec 27, 2021 to be at 5:26 PM.
Many Muslims hear the call to prayer (adhaan) and assume it is correct. However, the most widely used version of the call to prayer contains wording that not only seems irrelevant, but also possibly contradictory to the purpose of the call. According to Wikipedia, the Sunni call to prayer, for example, contains the wording “I acknowledge that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.”
A couple of questions worth asking are:
If the caller to prayer (muezzin) is calling or telling people to pray to God, why is he (it’s always a male) saying that he acknowledges that Muhammad is the messenger of God?
In verse 72:18, God makes it clear that mosques (places of worship) are for God and that we must not invoke anyone with God. Verse 20:14 makes it clear that prayer is to remember God. Based on these two verses, is it even necessary or allowed to mention that Muhammad is a messenger of God? God has many messengers including Abraham and, according to 2:285, they should all be treated equally. Exclusively stating that Muhammad is the messenger of God would therefore violate 2:285.
Indeed, I am God. There is no deity except Me, so worship Me and establish prayer for My remembrance. (20:14)
لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّسُلِهِ
We make no distinction between any of His messengers. (2:285)
Based on these issues, a more logical version of the call to prayer that also doesn’t violate the Quran would be as follows:
God is the greatest.
God is the greatest.
I acknowledge that there is no god but God.
There is no god but God.
I acknowledge that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.
Hasten to prayer (Salah).
Hasten to success.
God is the greatest.
There is no god but God.
I didn’t mention the number of times each statement should be said since that is irrelevant. It could be twice, four times, or however many times one sees fit.
I also excluded the “Hasten to prayer” and “Hasted to success” statements since people already know that they should pray as soon as it’s time and that praying is one of many requirements for long-term success. Everyone knows that when the call to prayer is done, it is time to pray and that they should pray. The purpose of prayer is to worship God alone and the two statements in the proposed call to prayer clearly focus on that aspect.
Must the call to prayer be done in Arabic?
Many Muslims in non-Muslim countries believe that the call to prayer must be done in Arabic. However, there is no requirement in the Quran that it be done in Arabic. It is clear that the purpose of the call to prayer is to remind people that it’s time to pray so that they go and pray. If people don’t speak or understand Arabic, then an Arabic call to prayer becomes less useful. Although most non-Arabic-speaking people know that when they hear the call to prayer in Arabic that it’s time to pray, not understanding the meaning of the words uttered during the call would render it effectively no different than if someone blew a horn or rang a bell.
Must the call to prayer be done live or can it be prerecorded?
Many Muslims think that the call to prayer must be done live and that playing a prerecorded version of the call is invalid. However, there are no requirements in the Quran that it be done live. It is commonly known that the first person to perform the call to prayer was a man by the name of Bilal. It is also commonly known that he was chosen for having a good voice. Unfortunately, many callers to prayer (muezzins) do not have a good voice and to make matters worse, they use modern-day technology (loudspeakers) to blast their unpleasant voices all over town and sometimes right next to people’s living rooms. It is clear that God has given some people gifts over others, such as a nice voice. There are many people who have a nice voice and can perform the call to prayer such that it is generally more pleasant to listen to. These calls can be recorded and played either manually or automatically. It is clear that doing so has many benefits including motivating people to actually pray rather than cover their ears. While some people may argue that using modern-day technology by playing a recording invalidates the call, that argument would also invalidate all current methods of the call to prayer since they use loudspeakers which did not exist during the time of Muhammad. Regardless, there are no specific requirements in the Quran with regards to the call to prayer. Therefore, God has given us the freedom to perform it however best we can. Playing a recording of a pleasant-sounding call to prayer would clearly result in a better, consistent and more motivating experience for the target audience.
Most Muslims believe that praying must be done in Arabic. However, the Quran does not require prayer to be done only in Arabic. As a matter of fact, the Quran requires that you understand what you are saying when you are praying. If you don’t speak Arabic, you would likely not understand what you are saying, in which case you should probably pray in a language that you understand. Sadly, many, if not most, Muslims today continue to pray in Arabic yet have only a vague idea as to the meaning of the Arabic sounds they make. Many Muslims who were raised Muslim were taught to memorize the Arabic words that they utter during prayer. By the time they are adults, or even before then, they could recite the Arabic words without even thinking much or at all. Arguably, if you don’t understand the meaning of the words you utter during prayer, you will likely lose focus and your mind will wander off to think about anything but God. Consequently, it would be understandable to see why some people would lose interest in praying or feel that it is futile as they don’t feel any connection with God or feel they are even communicating with God.
Variations in language and color
In verse 30:22, we see that God created man having different languages and colors.
And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge. (30:22)
And since God is fair and just, it wouldn’t make sense that God would make any particular group or groups of people at an advantage or disadvantage, whether due to native language or for any other reason.
Different Messengers, Different Languages
Verse 14:4 proves that the messengers of God all spoke the language of their respective communities.
And We did not send any messenger except [speaking] in the language of his people to state clearly for them, and Allah sends astray [thereby] whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. (14:4)
There are many verses in the Quran that prove that many of the prophets before Muhammad prayed. That being the case, what language did prophets Moses and Jesus pray in knowing that they did not speak Arabic. What about all of the other prophets and messengers such as Saleh, Hud, Lot, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, David, Solomon? They most likely did not all speak Arabic.
In verse 42:7, we see the Quran was revealed in Arabic to Muhammad, an Arabic-speaking person, to warn the Arabic-speaking people in his community.
And thus We have revealed to you an Arabic Qur’an that you may warn the Mother of Cities [Makkah] and those around it and warn of the Day of Assembly, about which there is no doubt. A party will be in Paradise and a party in the Blaze. (42:7)
Though the Quran is meant for all of humanity, the Quran was revealed in Arabic so that the immediate community who spoke Arabic would understand it. Obviously, if the Quran was to be given to someone in Japan, it would need to be translated into Japanese.
The primordial testimony
In verse 7:172, we see that when God creates everyone (the Children of Adam), God asks each one of us if He is our Lord. In response, each one of us responds by saying, “Yes, we testify” that God is our Lord.
And [mention] when your Lord took from the children of Adam – from their loins – their descendants and made them testify of themselves, [saying to them], “Am I not your Lord?” They said, “Yes, we have testified.” [This] – lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection, “Indeed, we were of this unaware.” (7:172)
Since we testified to God upon our creation, likely before we even had a chance to open our eyes, what language, then, did we speak to God in?
God understands all languages
Verse 17:44 indicates that everything in existence declares God’s glory and praises Him even though we humans don’t understand how other creatures do it. Nevertheless, the verse proves that God understands all languages.
The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them exalt Him. And there is not a thing except that it exalts [ God ] by His praise, but you do not understand their [way of] exalting. Indeed, He is ever Forbearing and Forgiving. (17:44)
In verse 21:79 we see that mountains, birds and prophet David praised God yet neither did prophet David nor do birds or mountains speak Arabic.
And We gave understanding of the case to Solomon, and to each [of them] We gave judgment and knowledge. And We subjected the mountains to exalt [Us], along with David and [also] the birds. And We were doing [that]. (21:79)
Don’t pray until / unless you understand what you are saying
In verse 4:43, God instructs us to not pray until we understand what we are saying during prayer.
O you who have believed, do not approach prayer with a mind befogged (Arabic: sukara) until you know what you are saying … (4:43)
The Arabic word “sukara” in the verse above is usually translated as drunken intoxication as that is the popular meaning of the word. However, like many other words, “sukara” has other meanings, and in the context of this verse, it most likely means a state of mind devoid of clarity whether due to anger, distraction, or anything else. The specific word for “intoxication / drink” is “khamr” as used in verse 5:90. Since “khamr” is not the word used in verse 7:172 above, then the meaning of the phrase “until you know what you are saying” is not about getting over a hangover but rather about literally understanding the meaning of the words you say during prayer.
Based on the correct understanding of verse 7:172 just explained, it would appear that most Muslims are violating this verse since they simply don’t understand the meaning of the words they utter during prayer.
Are you supposed to pray quietly?
Most Muslims pray quietly. However, according to verse 17:110, you’re supposed to pray with a moderate volume.
Say, “Call upon Allah or call upon the Most Merciful. Whichever [name] you call – to Him belong the best names.” And do not recite [too] loudly in your prayer or [too] quietly but seek between that an [intermediate] way. (17:110)
Can you shorten your prayer while on vacation?
Some Muslims believe that if they are traveling, e.g. on vacation, they can shorten their 4 rakaah prayers to 2 rakaahs. However, the Quran makes it clear that that option is only available if you are in danger, e.g. if an enemy can attack you.
In verse 4:101, if one reads the complete verse and not just the first part of it, we clearly see that the shortening of prayers is only allowed if you are in danger or fear on a journey.
And when you travel throughout the land, there is no blame upon you for shortening the prayer, if you fear that those who disbelieve may disrupt [or attack] you. Indeed, the disbelievers are ever to you a clear enemy. (4:101)
Can we mention Muhammad or anyone else during prayer?
Many Muslims recite the tashahhud and salawaat al-nabi during prayer. However, the Quran in verse 72:18 and 20:14 make it clear that
Indeed, God confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [ God to confer] blessing upon him and ask [ Allah to grant him] peace. (33:56)
However, it doesn’t say you must do it during prayer which, according to verse 20:14, is reserved for God. If one wants to ask God to bless Muhammad and Abraham or make a statement of testimony as to their belief that Muhammad is a messenger of God, they can do that after the prayer. To prevent violating the requirements of prayer as stated in the two verses above, one should only mention God and focus on worshipping Him and not mix the statements uttered with anything besides worshipping God. Furthermore, it is clear from the Quran that many people such as Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and many more, prayed before Muhammad’s time. Since Muhammad didn’t exist yet, they couldn’t have prayed and mentioned Muhammad’s name. Therefore, adding Muhammad’s name during prayer must have been an addition which, unfortunately, violates the Quran.
Can Muhammad or other people’s names be displayed in mosques?
Most mosques throughout the world have Arabic calligraphy written on their walls. They also often emphasize two names in particular: Allah (God) and Muhammad. Most people seem to think this is acceptable. However, verse 72:18 makes it very clear that mosques are for God and that we must not invoke anyone besides God in them.
The Messenger … and the believers …, [saying], “We make no distinction between any of His (God’s) messengers.” … (2:285)
Therefore, we must treat all messengers as equal. To mention Muhammad’s name in mosques is somewhat a violation of verse 72:18 and to do so without mentioning the other messengers is a violation of 2:285. Therefore, any name besides God’s name should probably not be displayed in mosques.
Ada sekelompok orang yang percaya bahwa mereka adalah keturunan Nabi Muhammad. Istilah populer yang digunakan untuk orang-orang ini adalah “Sayyid” (tunggal) atau “Sadah” (jamak). Ini juga sering ditulis “Syed”. Keturunan Muhammad melalui ibu mereka tetapi bukan ayah disebut sebagai “Mirza”. Meskipun statistik yang dapat diandalkan tidak ada, perkiraan konservatif jumlah Sayyid mencapai puluhan juta. Sayyid dapat ditemukan di seluruh dunia termasuk negara2 yang berikut ini.
Irak Keluarga Sayyid di Irak sangat banyak sehingga ada buku yang ditulis khusus untuk mendaftar keluarga2nya dan menghubungkan mereka.
Iran Sayyid ditemukan dalam jumlah besar di Iran. Kepala “Organisasi Nasional untuk Pencatatan Sipil” Iran menyatakan bahwa lebih dari 6 juta orang Iran adalah Sayyid.
Oman Di Oman, gelar Sayyid digunakan oleh anggota keluarga kerajaan penguasa Al Said. Anggota keluarga besar atau anggota karena perkawinan menyandang gelar Sayyid atau Sayyida untuk perempuan. Gelar semacam itu di Oman diwariskan melalui garis keturunan ayah atau dalam beberapa keadaan luar biasa, seperti gelar kehormatan yang diberikan oleh keputusan kerajaan.
Libya Para Sayyid di Libya adalah Sunni, termasuk bekas keluarga kerajaan, yang aslinya adalah Zaidi-Maroko (juga dikenal sebagai keluarga Senussi).
Yaman Di Yaman, Sayyid lebih dikenal sebagai sadah; mereka juga disebut sebagai Hashemites (Bani Hashem). Praktik keagamaan mereka adalah Syiah, Sunni, dan Sufi. Keluarga Sayyid di Yaman termasuk Rassid, Qasimid, Mutawakkilites, Hamideddin, beberapa Al-Zaidi dari Ma’rib, Sana’a, dan Sa’dah, keluarga Ba ‘Alawi sada di Hadhramaut, Al-Wazir dari Sana’ a, Al-Shammam dari Sa’dah, Sufyan dari Juban, dan Al-Jaylani dari Juban.
Yamani Ba ‘Alawi Istilah Ba’ Alawi (باعلوي) yang dalam dialek Yaman adalah kependekan dari Bani ‘Alawi, yang berarti “kaum atau keturunan ‘Alawi”.
Keluarga Ba ‘Alawi sada menelusuri garis keturunan mereka ke Sayyid al-Imam Ahmad al-Muhajir bin Isa ar-Rumi lahir pada tahun 873 (260H), yang beremigrasi dari Basra ke Hadhramaut pada tahun 931 (320H) untuk menghindari kekerasan sektarian, termasuk invasi pasukan Qaram ke dalam Kekhalifahan Abbasiyah. Cucu Imam al-Muhajir, Alawi, adalah Sayyid pertama yang lahir di Hadhramaut, dan satu-satunya keturunan Imam al-Muhajir yang menghasilkan garis lanjutan; garis keturunan cucu Imam al-Muhajir lainnya, Basri dan Jadid, terputus setelah beberapa generasi. Oleh karena itu, keturunan Imam Al-Muhajir di Hadhramaut memegang nama Bā ‘Alawi (“keturunan ‘Alawi”). Ba ‘Alawi Sadah sejak itu tinggal di Hadhramaut di Yaman Selatan, mempertahankan aliran Sunni di sekolah fiqh Syafi’i. Pada mulanya keturunan Imam Ahmad Muhajir yang menjadi ulama di bidang Islam disebut Imam, kemudian Syekh, namun kemudian dipanggil Habib (kekasih).
Asia Selatan Pada tahun 1901 jumlah Sayyid (Syed) di India (dibawah penjajahan Inggris) dihitung 1.339.734. Perkiraan terbaru menunjukkan bahwa di India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, dan Nepal terdapat lebih dari 15 juta Sayyid: 8 juta di Pakistan, 7 juta di India, lebih dari 1 juta di Bangladesh, dan sekitar tujuh puluh ribu di Nepal.
Asia Tenggara Sebagian besar Sayyid Alawi yang pindah ke Asia Tenggara adalah keturunan Ali ibn Husain Zayn al-Abidin, terutama Ba ‘Alawi sada, banyak di antaranya adalah keturunan pendatang dari Hadhramaut. Meskipun mereka diduga sebagai keturunan Husain, tidak biasa para Sayyid perempuan disebut Sayyidah; mereka lebih sering disebut Sharifah. Kebanyakan dari mereka tinggal di Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapura, Provinsi Moro di Filipina, Pattani dan Kamboja. Banyak keluarga kerajaan di wilayah ini seperti keluarga kerajaan Filipina sebelumnya (Kesultanan Sulu, Kesultanan Maguindanao, Konfederasi Kesultanan Ranao), Singapura (Kesultanan Singapura), Malaysia (Kesultanan Johor dan Perlis), Indonesia (Kesultanan Siak, Pontianak, Gowa, beberapa Kesultanan Jawa), dan keluarga kerajaan Brunei (Rumah Bolkiah) yang ada juga adalah Sayyid, terutama dari Ba’Alawi.
Beberapa nama keluarga dari Sayyid ini adalah al-Saqqaf, Shihab (atau Shahab), al-Aidaroos, al-Habsyi (atau al-Habshi), al-Kaff, al-Aththos, al-Haddad, al-Jufri (atau al- Jifri), al-Muhdhar, al-Shaikh Abubakar, al-Qadri, al-Munawwar.
Kekaisaran Ottoman Di Kekaisaran Ottoman, keturunan Muhammad adalah semacam bangsawan dengan hak istimewa mengenakan turban hijau.
Apakah Sayyid Benar-benar Keturunan Nabi Muhammad?
Studi genetik Sayyid dari India
Penulis studi “Kromosom Y dari Syed di India” menunjukkan bahwa kromosom Y dari Syed yang diidentifikasi sendiri dari India dan Pakistan tidak beda beragamnya dari yang bukan Syed dari wilayah yang sama. Ini menunjukkan bahwa status Syed, daripada benar-benar turun melalui ayah, mungkin turun lewat rute lain. Di samping itu, tidak ada dasar biologis untuk mendukung keyakinan bahwa Syed yang di India dan Pakistan memiliki keturunan yg sama baru-baru ini.
Di Kekaisaran Ottoman, pengecualian pembayaran pajak untuk orang Sayyid mendorong banyak orang untuk membeli sertifikat keturunan atau memalsukan silsilah; Fenomena teseyyüd – yaitu secara bohong mengklaim seseorang sebagai keturunan bangsawan – menyebar melintasi batas etnis, kelas, dan agama. Pada abad ke-17, seorang birokrat Utsmaniyah memperkirakan ada 300.000 penipu. Di Anatolia abad ke-18, hampir semua orang di kota besar di kelas atas mengaku dirinya sebagai keturunan Muhammad.
Meskipun banyak Sayyid mengklaim bangsawan dan keunggulan karena garis keturunan mereka dengan Nabi Muhammad, kebanyakan Sayyid hanya dapat mengklaim keturunan melalui ayah. Orang Sayyid sering menikah dengan orang Arab yang bukan Sayyid dan bahkan orang yang bukan Arab sama sekali sehingga mereka memiliki sangat sedikit jejak genetik Nabi Muhammad. Tidak mengherankan, sebagian besar Sayyid, seperti Ba’Alawi di Asia Tenggara, bertampang campuran Asia dan Arab atau sepenuhnya Asia. Berikut adalah beberapa Sayyid Ba’Alawi yang terkenal menurut https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ba_%27Alawi_sada yang bermuka Indonesia atau campuran Arab dan Indonesia.
Kebanyakan Muslim menganggap Nabi Muhammad lebih unggul dari semua nabi lainnya. Hal ini dibuktikan dengan fakta bahwa hampir setiap masjid di dunia memiliki dua nama yang diletakkan berdampingan di dindingnya, yaitu nama “Muhammad” dan “Allah” (bahasa Arab untuk “Tuhan”). Sangat jarang Anda akan melihat nama-nama nabi lain seperti Ibrahim, Musa dan Yesus. Yang menarik, nama Muhammad sering berukuran sama dan tingginya sama dengan nama Tuhan, seolah-olah menunjukkan bahwa Muhammad sederajat dengan Tuhan, walaupun itu jelas-jelas bertentangan dengan keyakinan dasar Islam, tapi itu masalah yang berbeda dari topik artikel ini.
Dengan meyakini keunggulan Muhammad, sebagian keturunan Nabi Muhammad dan bahkan Muslim lainnya menganggap Sayyid sebagai orang yang mulia yang agak lebih unggul dari orang lain. Misalnya, di kekaisaran Ottoman, pengecualian pembayaran pajak diberikan kepada orang Sayyid. Di Indonesia, banyak pelajar Islam pribumi Indonesia akan sujud dan mencium tangan Sayyid bahkan jika orang Sayyid itu seorang Muslim yang tidak mempraktekkan ibadah Islam.
Bukti lebih lanjut bahwa Sayyid menganggap diri mereka sebagai kelompok yang lebih unggul berasal dari pilihan mereka dalam pasangan nikah (atau pilihan pasangan nikah oleh orang tua untuk anak-anak mereka).
Di India, keluarga Sayyid tradisional jarang menikah di luar komunitas mereka dan menekankan pernikahan dengan Najeeb Altarfain (keturunan Sayyid dari sisi ibu dan ayah). Namun, tekanan endogami (pernikahan dalam suatu kaum) ini mulai menurun di antara keluarga-keluarga yang di kota-kota besar, dengan peningkatan eksogami (pernikahan diluar suatu kaum) dengan kelompok lain seperti Syaikh dan Mughal.
Di Indonesia sendiri saya tahu bahwa banyak Sayyid Ba’Alawi yang ngotot menikahi Sayyid Ba’Alawi lainnya, apalagi kalau orang Sayyid itu perempuan karena garis keturunannya diambil dari ayah, bukan ibu. Ironisnya, Nabi Muhammad sendiri tidak memiliki anak laki-laki, hanya seorang anak perempuan, namun banyak Sayyid menggunakan garis keturunan patrilineal (dari ayah) dalam silsilah keluarga mereka yang menghubungkan mereka dengan nabi.
Untuk melanjutkan keturunan patrilineal mereka kepada nabi Muhammad dan rasa kebangsawanan dan keunggulan anak-anak mereka, orang Sayyid perempuan harus menikah dengan Sayyid lain. Sayangnya, menikahi seseorang berdasarkan nama keluarga dan bukan karena kecocokan cenderung berakhir dengan kekecewaan dan/atau perceraian.
Perempuan Sayyid menikahi laki-laki Sayyid
Dalam satu contoh, seorang Sayyid Ba’alawi perempuan yang saya kenal menikah dengan laki-laki Sayyid Ba’alawi yang ternyata bersifat keras dan bahkan mengancam akan membunuhnya. Itu jelas bukan perilaku yang mulia atau perilaku Nabi Muhammad.
Dalam contoh lain, seorang perempuan Ba’alawi Sayyid menikah dengan laki-laki Ba’alawi Sayyid yang adalah sepupunya. Pria itu kemudian menikah dengan wanita lain keturunan Arab tapi bukan Ba’Alawi sehingga memiliki dua istri. Istri pertama menolak pernikahan kedua dan melarikan diri. Lama lama, istri kedua menceraikan suaminya. Istri pertama, yang tidak pernah bekerja, bergantung pada suaminya sehingga akhirnya dia kembali kepadanya. Sekarang, mereka tinggal bersama tetapi tidur di kamar terpisah dan tidak berbicara satu sama lain.
Dalam contoh lain, seorang perempuan Ba’alawi Sayyid yang saya kenal menikah dengan Sayyid Ba’alawi tanpa mereka pernah bertemu secara langsung sebelum hari pernikahan mereka. Bahkan ada dukungan dan tekanan untuk pernikahan ini dari kedua keluarga seolah-olah pernikahan antara dua Sayyid adalah jaminan kesuksesan dan kebahagiaan. Maka tidak mengherankan bahwa pernikahan ini berakhir dengan perceraian setelah 10 tahun. Perempuan itu sekarang berusia 40an, tidak punya anak meski ingin punya anak, dan merasa sulit untuk menikah lagi.
Seorang perempuan Arab non-Sayyid menikah dengan laki-laki Sayyid
Beberapa perempuan non-Sayyid mungkin merasa bangga menikah dengan pria Sayyid supaya anak mereka dapat menjadi Sayyid. Meskipun orang Sayyid mungkin menganggap diri mereka superior, mereka sebenarnya hanyalah orang biasa. Seperti orang lain, ada orang Sayyid yang baik dan ada yang buruk. Saya kenal sama seorang wanita non-Sayyid yang menikahi dua Sayyid Ba’alawi. Dia menceraikan suami pertama setelah satu minggu dan menceraikan suami kedua setelah dapat 6 anak. Dia tidak pernah menikah lagi. Meskipun dia mungkin merasa bangga bahwa anak-anaknya adalah Sayyid dari pihak ayah, dia mungkin lebih kecewa karena pernikahannya gagal.
Seorang perempuan Sayyid menikah dengan laki-laki non-Arab, non-Sayyid
Kadang-kadang, seorang perempuan Sayyid menikah dengan non-Arab non-Sayyid. Ini terjadi pada saudara perempuan teman Ba’alawi Sayyid saya. Dia ingin menikah dengan orang Indonesia pribumi. Karena pernikahan ini tidak dapat diterima oleh keluarganya perempuan, sayangnya hanya sedikit orang yang menghadiri pernikahan dari pihak Sayyid. Mayoritas tamu pernikahan itu dari pihak pengantin pria.
Laki-laki Sayyid menikahi perempuan non-Arab dan non-Sayyid
Ada juga kasus di mana orang tua Sayyid memaksa anak laki-laki mereka menikah dengan perempuan Sayyid tetapi anak laki-laki mereka tidak mau. Dalam satu kasus, tiga saudara laki-laki Ba’alawi Sayyid masing-masing menikah dengan non-Sayyid yang berasal dari Mongolia, Jepang dan Indonesia. Meskipun orang tua mereka merasa sedih atau malu, putra mereka tampaknya bahagia dalam perkawinannya.
Situs web perjodohan perkawinan
Beberapa situs web perjodohan perkawinan bahkan memiliki kategori bagi orang-orang untuk mencari pria dan wanita Sayyid (Syed) seperti yang ini di India.
Ada profil orang yang tertulis bahwa mereka hanya mau untuk menikahi Sayyid lain. Dalam beberapa contoh, orang tua dapat membuat profil untuk putra atau putri mereka yang menyatakan bahwa mereka adalah orang Sayyid dan secara ketat mencari pasangan Sayyid saja dengan kata-kata seperti “Non-Sayyid tidak usah menghubungi kita dan membuang waktu kita.”
Tidak mengherankan, setelah beberapa generasi pernikahan antar ras, Sayyid yang mengidentifikasi dirinya di situs web ini terlihat seperti orang India pribumi, bukan Arab atau campuran Arab dan India.
Yang menarik (dan menyedihkan) adalah banyaknya kelompok di bawah kategori Muslim. Di situs web ini, seseorang dapat mencari dari salah satu kelompok Muslim berikut. Rupanya beberapa orang – mungkin banyak – merasa bahwa pembagian kategori “Muslim” ini penting tanpa menyadari bahwa pembagian ini hanya akan semakin memecah belah umat Islam daripada mempersatukan mereka. Selain itu, membatasi pilihan seseorang ketika mencari pasangan itu sangat membatasi potensi seseorang untuk mendapat pernikahan yang bahagia.
Muslim – Ansari
Muslim – Arain
Muslim – Awan
Muslim – Bohra
Muslim – Dekkani
Muslim – Dudekula
Muslim – Hanafi
Muslim – Jat
Muslim – Khoja
Muslim – Lebbai
Muslim – Malik
Muslim – Mapila
Muslim – Maraicar
Muslim – Memon
Muslim – Mughal
Muslim – Pathan
Muslim – Qureshi
Muslim – Rajput
Muslim – Rowther
Muslim – Shafi
Muslim – Sheikh
Muslim – Siddiqui
Muslim – Syed
Muslim – UnSpecified
Sebagai seorang Muslim Amerika, saya tidak tahu ada kelompok-kelompok Muslim ini dan hanya minggu lalu saya dapat tahu tentang kelompok “Syed”. Dengan kata lain, untuk orang luar, tidak ada kelompok yang penting kecuali yang semua orang tahu, yaitu “Muslim”.
Bagaimana dengan Keturunan Nabi Lain?
Semua nabi dan rasul Islam derajatnya sama
Semua Muslim percaya bahwa ada banyak nabi Islam selain Muhammad. Beberapa nabi lebih terkenal dari yang lain, misalnya Adam, Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, dan Yesus. Sayangnya, Muslim, baik Sayyid maupun non-Sayyid, secara keliru percaya bahwa Muhammad lebih tinggi derajatnya dari semua nabi lainnya. Sebenarnya, tidak ada perbedaan yang boleh dibuat antara nabi dan rasul Tuhan. Ini terbukti dalam ayat-ayat berikut.
Katakanlah: Kami percaya pada Allah dan apa yang telah diwahyukan kepada kita, dan apa yang diwahyukan kepada Ibrahim dan Ismail dan Ishak dan Yakub dan suku-suku, dan apa yang diberikan kepada Musa dan Yesus, dan apa yang diberikan kepada para nabi dari Tuhan mereka, kami tidak membuat perbedaan apapun di antara mereka (nabi), dan kami adalah Muslim kepada-Nya. (2:136)
Rasul (Muhammad) telah percaya pada apa yang diturunkan kepadanya dari Tuhannya, dan [begitu juga] orang mukmin (orang yang percaya / beriman). Mereka semua percaya pada Tuhan dan malaikat-Nya dan buku-buku-Nya dan para rasul-Nya, [dan berkata], “Kami tidak membedakan antara rasul-rasul-Nya.” Dan mereka berkata, “Kami mendengar dan kami taat. [Kami mencari] pengampunan-Mu, Tuhan kami, dan bagi-Mu adalah tujuan [akhir].” (2:285)
Katakanlah, “Kami telah percaya pada Tuhan dan apa yang telah diturunkan kepada kami dan apa yang diturunkan kepada Ibrahim, Ismail, Ishak, Yakub, dan Keturunan [al-Asbat], dan dalam apa yang diberikan kepada Musa dan Yesus dan kepada para nabi dari Tuhan mereka. Kami tidak membuat perbedaan di antara mereka (nabi-nabi), dan kami adalah Muslim kepada-Nya. ” (3:84)
Ayat 4:152 menunjukkan bahwa Tuhan akan memberi hadiah kepada orang-orang mukmin yang tidak membeda-bedakan antara rasul siapapun. Ini berarti bahwa orang beriman, termasuk Sayyid, yang menganggap Nabi Muhammad lebih tinggi dari nabi dan rasul lainnya tidak akan diberi hadiah dari Tuhan.
Dan mereka yang percaya pada Tuhan dan rasul-Nya dan tidak membeda-bedakan antara mereka (rasul-rasul) – bagi mereka Dia akan memberikan hadiah. Dan selalu Tuhan adalah Pengampun dan Penyayang. (4:152)
Sekarang telah terbukti bahwa
semua nabi dan rasul adalah sama (derajatnya sama)
Muslim tidak diperbolehkan untuk melihat nabi dan rasul memiliki derajat lain lain
Muhammad tidak lebih tinggi derajatnya dari nabi dan rasul lainnya
Mari kita lihat apa yang Alquran katakan tentang beberapa keturunan dari nabi lainnya.
Sebagian dari keturunan nabi Ibrahim adalah orang yang salah
Dalam ayat 2:124, kita melihat bukti bahwa tidak semua keturunan nabi Ibrahim benar. Tuhan mengakui bahwa sebagiannya salah meskipun mereka keturunan nabi Ibrahim.
Dan [sebutkan, ya Muhammad], ketika Ibrahim diuji oleh Tuhan dengan perintah dan dia memenuhi perintah itu. [Tuhan] berkata, “Sungguh, Aku akan menjadikanmu seorang pemimpin bagi rakyat.” [Ibrahim] berkata, “Dan keturunan saya?” [Tuhan] berkata, “Perjanjian saya tidak mencakup orang-orang yang melakukan kesalahan.” (2:124)
Dalam ayat 37:112-113 kita melihat bahwa nabi Ibrahim diberkahi dengan putra bernama Ishak tetapi sebagian dari keturunan mereka adalah orang berdosa yang tidak benar.
Dan Kami beri dia [Ibrahim] kabar baik (merupakan anak yang namanya) Ishak, seorang nabi dari orang-orang yang benar. Dan Kami memberkahi dia dan Ishak. Tapi di antara keturunan mereka ada orang-orang pelaku kebenaran dan orang-orang yang jelas merusak dirinya sendiri [yaitu, orang berdosa]. (37:112-113)
Dalam ayat 11:1-18, kita melihat bukti bahwa semua anak Nabi Yakub tidak benar kecuali satu. Mereka mencoba membunuh saudara mereka, Yusuf, dengan melemparkannya ke dalam sumur. Yusuf kemudian menjadi seorang nabi.
Dalam ayat 11:46 kita melihat bukti bahwa keturunan langsung nabi Nuh (salah satu putranya) tidak benar.
Dia [Allah] berkata, “Wahai Nuh, memang dia (anak Anda) bukan dari keluarga Anda, (karena) memang ia adalah [orang yang] kelakuannya tidak benar / saleh, maka jangan berdoa kepada-Ku (untuknya) apa yang kamu tidak ketahui. Sesungguhnya, Aku menasihati kamu, jangan sampai kamu termasuk orang yang tidak peduli sama kenyataan.” (11:46)
Perhatikan bahwa dalam ayat di atas, Tuhan memberi tahu Nuh bahwa
Salah satu putranya Nuh tidak benar / saleh
Nuh tidak boleh menganggap putranya yang tidak benar itu sebagai anggota keluarganya
Nuh seharusnya tidak meminta (berdoa kepada) Tuhan untuk membantu (mengampuni) putranya
Dalam ayat 57:26 kita melihat bukti jelas bahwa banyak (bukan “beberapa”, tapi “banyak”) dari keturunan nabi Nuh dan Ibrahim adalah pelaku kesalahan (“bersifat keras untuk tidak taat”). Kata “banyak” yang digunakan dalam ayat ini adalah “katheer” / كَثِيرٌۭ dalam bahasa Arab yang jelas berarti “banyak”.
Dan Kami telah mengutus Nuh dan Ibrahim dan menempatkan di keturunan mereka kenabian dan kitab suci; dan di antara mereka adalah dia yang dapat petunjuk (hidayah), tetapi banyak dari mereka yang tidak taat. (57:26)
Ada kemungkinan bahwa ayat ini bicara tentang orang-orang yang tinggal di masyarakatnya keturunan Nuh dan Ibrahim tetapi, menurut kata-kata dalam ayat-ayat di atas, kemungkinan besar ayat ini bermaksud bahwa yang banyak melakukan kesalahan adalah keturunan nabi Nuh dan Ibrahim.
Bagaimana dengan Keturunan Nabi Musa dan Yesus?
Menurut Alquran, Musa dan Yesus adalah nabi dalam Islam. Mereka adalah dua nabi yang sering disebutkan dalam Alquran. Alquran menyebut pengikut mereka Ahli Kitab (Arab: Ahl Al-Kitaab) karena mereka adalah pengikut kitab suci, Taurat Yahudi. Orang Yahudi dan Kristen menghormati Musa dan Yesus sama seperti pengikut Alquran menghormati Muhammad. Tetapi, Yahudi dan Kristen memiliki sikap yang berbeda terhadap keturunan nabi-nabi tersebut.
Keturunan Nabi Yesus
Dalam kasus Yesus, tidak ada masalah karena dia tidak memiliki keturunan.
Keturunan Nabi Musa
Dalam kasus Musa, dia memiliki dua putra, Gersom dan Eliezer. Tapi, ketika tiba waktunya untuk memilih pengganti Musa, orang bijak Yahudi berkata bahwa Musa meminta salah satu putranya diangkat. Tapi, Tuhan menjawab dengan, “Anak-anakmu duduk dan tidak menyibukkan diri dengan Taurat. Yosua, yang melayani Anda, cocok untuk melayani Israel. ” Jadi, Yosua, bukan putra Musa, menjadi pemimpin suku-suku Israel setelah kematian Musa (Deuteronomy 31:1–8; 34:9).
Musa memiliki seorang kakak laki-laki, Harun, yang memiliki empat putra. Meskipun putra-putra Musa tidak mengikuti tradisi Musa, putra-putra Harun memang membawa tradisi luhur ayah mereka. Tuhan menganggap keponakan Musa (anak-anak Harun) sebagai anak-anak Musa, karena Musa-lah yang mengajari mereka Taurat. Ini tercermin dalam ayat Numbers 3:1 yang dimulai dengan “Ini adalah keturunan Musa dan Harun…” tetapi hanya mencantumkan keempat putra Harun. Tuhan meyakinkan Musa bahwa bahkan Yosua pun perlu berunding dengan putra Harun, Imam Besar, untuk mengetahui kehendak Tuhan.
Meskipun Musa memiliki dua putra, mereka tidak istimewa dan orang Yahudi tidak menganggap keturunan Musa lebih istimewa dari siapa pun. Mungkin orang Muslim bisa mendapat pelajaran dari sikap benar ini dari orang-orang Yahudi.
Bagaimana dengan Istri Para Nabi?
Banyak Muslim percaya bahwa istri-istri Nabi Muhammad adalah wanita-wanita yang superior dan saleh. Karena telah dibuktikan di atas bahwa semua nabi dan rasul adalah sederajat, maka orang mungkin juga berpikir bahwa istri dari nabi dan rasul lainnya juga lebih tinggi dan saleh. Mari kita lihat apa yang Quran katakan tentang ini.
Dalam ayat 66:10 kita melihat bukti bahwa meskipun nabi Nuh dan Lut adalah hamba Tuhan yang benar / saleh, istri mereka adalah orang berdosa dan dikirim ke Neraka. Ayat ini juga membuktikan bahwa nabi yang saleh tidak memiliki kuasa untuk menyelamatkan istri mereka yang berdosa dari Neraka.
Allah memberi contoh orang-orang kafir: istri Nuh dan istri Lut. Mereka berada di bawah dua hamba Kami yang benar / saleh tetapi mengkhianati mereka, mereka [yaitu, para nabi itu] sama sekali tidak memanfaatkan (dapat menyelamatkan) (istri-istri) mereka dari Tuhan, dan dikatakan (kepada istri-istri mereka), “Masuki Api bersama mereka yang masuk.” (66:10)
Dalam ayat 33:30 kita membaca bahwa jika ada istri nabi Muhammad yang melakukan dosa, maka hukuman mereka akan menjadi dua kali lipat dari orang lain.
Ya istri-istri Nabi, siapa pun dari Anda yang melakukan suatu perbuatan amoral – untuk dia hukumannya akan menjadi dua kali lipat, dan (hukuman) itu, buat Allah, mudah dilakukan. (33:30)
Menurut ayat di atas, menjadi jelas bahwa bersaudara dengan nabi Muhammad tidak mengecualikan mereka untuk melakukan kebenaran dan tidak menjamin mereka masuk surga.
Syafaat oleh Nabi Muhammad
Beberapa Sayyid percaya bahwa keturunan mereka kepada Nabi Muhammad akan membantu mereka mendapatkan akses ke surga dengan cara Nabi Muhammad menjadi perantara (syafaat) atas nama mereka di akhirat. Keyakinan ini sangat berbahaya karena memberi rasa aman yang palsu. Menurut ayat 2:123, tidak ada seorang pun, termasuk nabi Muhammad, yang memiliki kemampuan untuk menjadi perantara atas nama siapa pun pada hari itu.
Dan takutlah pada suatu Hari (Hari Keadilan / Pembalasan) bila tidak ada jiwa dapat membantu jiwa lain sama sekali, dan tidak ada kompensasi yang akan diterima darinya, juga tidak akan ada perantaraan yang menguntungkannya, juga mereka tidak akan dibantu. (2:123)
Ayat di atas membuktikan bahwa dalam urusan agama, setiap orang bertanggung jawab atas dirinya sendiri, dan tidak ada leluhur, tidak peduli seberapa terkenal atau mulia mereka, baik mereka meninggal kemarin atau 1400 tahun yang lalu, dapat bermanfaat bagi siapa pun, termasuk keturunannya.
Membandingkan Sayyid dengan Kelompok Lain
Jelas, Sayyid bukanlah satu-satunya orang yang berpikir bahwa mereka lebih unggul dari orang lain. Berikut adalah beberapa contoh kelompok orang lain yang juga memiliki perasaan unggul karena keturunannya.
Sistem kasta Hindu membagi umat Hindu menjadi empat kategori utama – Brahmana, Ksatria, Waisya dan Sudra. Banyak yang percaya bahwa kelompok tersebut berasal dari Brahma, Dewa Pencipta Hindu. Di luar sistem kasta Hindu ini adalah orang-orang achhoots – Dalit atau Untouchables (orang yang tak tersentuh). Dalam sistem ini, semakin tinggi kasta Anda, semakin tinggi pula derajat Anda.
Perhatikan bahwa, seperti untuk orang Sayyid, sistem kepercayaan Hindu ini didasarkan atas kelahiran – tidak ada yang dapat berpindah dari satu kelompok ke kelompok lain, baik naik derajat maupun turun. Dari sudut pandang seorang Hindu dari kasta tinggi, seorang Sayyid Muslim dapat dianggap lebih rendah dari mereka. Salah satu konsekuensi dari sistem kasta Hindu yang sangat tidak adil ini adalah konversi banyak Dalit ke Islam dengan harapan bisa lepas dari diskriminasi. Sayangnya, menurut artikel BBC Mengapa banyak Muslim India dipandang tak tersentuh?, bahkan Muslim dari kasta tinggi akan mendiskriminasi orang Dalit yang telah masuk Islam.
Orang-orang Dalit dianggap tidak murni oleh kasta Hindu dan banyak dari mereka bekerja di bidang sanitasi.
Meskipun konstitusi India melarang diskriminasi atas dasar kasta, diskriminasi berdasarkan kasta masih banyak terjadi.
Keunggulan orang putih (White Supremacy)
Kelompok “Keunggulan Orang Putih” percaya bahwa orang kulit putih merupakan ras yang unggul dan oleh karena itu harus mendominasi masyarakat, biasanya dengan mengesampingkan atau merugikan kelompok ras dan etnis lain, khususnya orang kulit hitam yang berasal dari Afrika atau Yahudi. Beberapa anggota kelompok ini berpendapat bahwa darah mereka “murni” atau bahwa mereka memiliki keturunan “murni” dari orang kulit putih Eropa. Tidak jarang seorang anggota kelompok ini berpikir bahwa mereka berketurunan orang Eropa murni tetapi setelah mereka mengambil tes genetik, ternyata mereka memiliki keturunan campuran dengan orang bukan Eropa.
Misalnya, banyak orang kulit putih mungkin terlihat seperti orang kaukasia tetapi sebenarnya memiliki keturunan campuran pribumi Amerika atau Meksiko. Kenyataan yang pasti mengejutkan ini membuat beberapa orang menolak begitu saja hasil tes genetik supaya mereka dapat melanjutkan perasaan superior mereka.
Walaupun hukum di Amerika Serikat melarang diskriminasi karena ras, warna kulit, agama, asal kebangsaan, jenis kelamin, umur, dan lain lain, masih banyak diskriminasi ditemukan di masyarakat.
Jika dipikir-pikir, rasisme dan orang-orang yang memiliki sikap superioritas ada di semua lapisan masyarakat. Beberapa contoh adalah:
Orang yang tinggal di kota mungkin berpikir mereka lebih unggul daripada orang yang tinggal di daerah pedesaan
Orang kaya mungkin berpikir mereka lebih unggul dari orang miskin
Orang India atau Afrika berkulit putih mungkin berpikir mereka lebih unggul dari orang India atau Afrika berkulit gelap (produk pemutih kulit adalah bisnis besar di India dan Afrika)
Orang berpendidikan mungkin merasa lebih unggul dari orang yang tidak berpendidikan
Orang yang memiliki rumah mungkin merasa lebih unggul daripada orang yang menyewa rumah
Orang yang memiliki mobil mungkin merasa lebih unggul daripada orang yang harus naik angkutan umum
Seorang Amerika, yang lahir dan tinggal di negara terkaya dan terkuat di dunia, mungkin merasa lebih unggul dari semua orang yang bukan dari Amerika.
Kebanyakan Sayyid akan percaya bahwa sistem kasta Hindu, supremasi orang kulit putih, dan contoh-contoh lain di atas keterlaluan dan sama sekali tidak dapat diterima. Ironisnya, cara berpikir banyak orang Sayyid tidak berbeda dengan kelompok lain yang mengklaim keunggulan.
Dalam Quran, Surah al-Ahzab (33), Ayat 56 kita membaca bahwa Tuhan dan Malaikat-Nya mengirim salawaat (berkah) kepada Muhammad dan Tuhan memerintahkan orang-orang beriman untuk mengirim salawaat ke Muhammad juga.
“Allah dan Malaikat-Nya memberi salawaat pada Nabi (Muhammad). Hai orang yang beriman! (Ucapkan) salawaat Anda pada dia, dan beri hormat kepadanya.”
Kata Salawaat adalah bentuk jamak dari kata salat yang berarti doa, berkah atau penghargaan. Beberapa Sayyid berpikir bahwa karena Tuhan dan Malaikat-Nya mengirimkan salawaat kepada nabi Muhammad, maka Muhammad harus lebih unggul dari semua nabi lainnya dan lebih jauh lagi, keturunan Muhammad ikut lebih unggul dari orang-orang lain. Mereka dapat dengan mudah dibuktikan salah dengan membaca beberapa ayat sebelum ayat di atas. Dalam Al-Qur’an Surah al-Ahzab (33), Ayat 41-43 kita menemukan bahwa Tuhan dan Malaikat-Nya mengirimkan salawaat kepada SEMUA orang yang beriman.
Hai orang-orang yang beriman, ingatlah Allah dengan banyak ingatan (zikir). Dan muliakan Dia pagi dan sore. Dialah yang memberi salawaat kepada Anda (orang-orang yang beriman), dan para malaikat-Nya [memberi salawaat juga] sehingga Dia dapat membawa Anda keluar dari kegelapan menuju keterangan. Dan selalu Dia, bagi orang yang beriman, Penyayang.
Ketika orang Muslim sembahyang, mereka membaca salawaat menjelang akhir shalat. Biasanya ucapannya sebagai berikut:
Allah, kirimlah salawaat pada Muhammad dan keluarga Muhammad, sebagaimana Anda telah mengirimkan salawaat untuk Ibrahim dan keluarga Ibrahim. Sungguh, Engkau Terpuji dan Mulia. Allah, berkatilah Muhammad dan keluarga Muhammad, karena Anda telah memberkati Ibrahim dan keluarga Ibrahim. Sungguh, Engkau Terpuji dan Mulia.
Di sini, kita melihat bahwa salawaat dilakukan bukan hanya untuk Muhammad tetapi untuk keluarganya Muhammad juga. Tapi, tidak ada instruksi dalam Al Qur’an bagi orang-orang beriman untuk mengirim salawaat kepada keluarga Muhammad. Seharusnya tidak mengherankan bahwa Islam, seperti banyak agama lain, telah berubah banyak karena politik, tradisi lokal, perang, dll. Itu salah satu sebabnya Islam menjadi bercabang dengan banyak aliran. Oleh karena itu, orang-orang yang berpengaruh, misalnya beberapa Sayyid dahulu kala, mungkin telah memodifikasi ucapan salawaat untuk memasukkan keluarga Muhammad untuk keuntungan pribadi mereka sendiri.
Membagi Umat Muslim
Jika Sayyid percaya bahwa mereka lebih unggul dari orang lain, maka mereka membagi umat Muslim. Menurut ayat 6:159, pikiran ini bukan hanya tidak dapat diterima, tetapi Tuhan bahkan mengatakan kepada Muhammad bahwa Muhammad tidak ada hubungannya dengan mereka.
Sesungguhnya, orang-orang yang telah membagi agama mereka dan menjadi sekte – Anda, [Ya Muhammad], tidak [terkait] dengan mereka dalam apapun. Urusan mereka untuk Tuhan; kemudian Dia akan memberi tahu mereka tentang (kesalahan) apa yang mereka lakukan. (6:159)
Ironisnya, orang-orang Sayyid menggunakan hubungannya dengan Muhammad untuk membenarkan rasa superioritas mereka yang membagi umat Islam sedangkan Tuhan mengatakan bahwa Muhammad tidak ada hubungannya dengan orang-orang Sayyid justru karena sebab itu.
Setan (Bapak Kesombongan) dan Sayyid
Ironisnya, para Sayyid Muslim yang percaya bahwa mereka lebih unggul dari orang lain ternyata berperilaku seperti Setan sendiri. Menurut Alquran, Setan (jin) merasa lebih unggul dari Adam (manusia) karena Setan dibuat dari api tanpa asap sedangkan Adam terbuat dari tanah liat.
Jelas, perbedaan biologis Setan dengan Adam jauh lebih jelas daripada perbedaan genetik yang tidak terlihat antara Sayyid dan non-Sayyid. Kita semua (orang-orang Yahudi, Kristen dan Muslim) tahu bagaimana ceritanya berakhir. Kesombongan dan kompleks superioritas setan akan membawanya ke Neraka untuk selamanya.
Keturunan Adam – Nabi Pertama Islam
Kebanyakan orang lebih menghormati pendiri atau pemula sesuatu, misalnya pendiri atau pemula agama, negara, revolusi, suatu gerakan, perusahaan yang sangat sukses, dll, daripada pemimpin berikutnya. Inilah salah satu sebab mengapa kebanyakan Muslim sangat menghormati Nabi Muhammad – mereka berpikir bahwa Muhammad adalah Muslim pertama dan pendiri Islam. Yang memalukan bagi mereka, dapat dengan mudah dibuktikan dengan Al-Qur’an bahwa Muhammad bukanlah Muslim dan nabi Islam pertama dan bahwa dia adalah nabi terakhir dari rantai panjang nabi. Dalam ayat 16:123, Tuhan secara khusus menyuruh Muhammad untuk mengikuti agamanya Nabi Ibrahim.
Kemudian Kami [Allah] mewahyukan kepada Anda, [ya Muhammad], untuk mengikuti agama (bahasa Arab: millat) Ibrahim, menuju kebenaran; dan dia (Ibrahim) bukan seperti mereka yang syirik. (16:123)
Daripada berfokus pada Muhammad, nabi terakhir Islam, bagaimana jika umat Islam berfokus pada Adam, nabi pertama Islam? Meskipun Quran tidak secara harfiah menyebutkan bahwa Adam adalah seorang nabi atau rasul Islam, kenabiannya jelas tersirat dalam ayat 3:33 di mana ia disebut sederajat dengan nabi Nuh, Ibrahim dan Imran.
Sesungguhnya, Tuhan memilih Adam dan Nuh dan keluarga Ibrahim dan keluarga Imran atas alam semesta – (3:33)
Nabi Adam bukan hanya pendiri dan nabi pertama Islam tetapi juga pendiri umat manusia (setiap orang adalah keturunan Adam). Tidak ada silsilah keluarga yang dibutuhkan untuk membuktikan keturunan seseorang dari Adam. Akibatnya, setiap orang setara dalam hal keturunan bangsawan dan tidak ada yang bisa mengklaim keunggulan berdasarkan garis keturunan yang, seperti dibuktikan di atas, adalah sifat Iblis! Mungkin keturunan Ba’Alawi lebih baik menyebut diri mereka keturunan Ba’Adam, yaitu Bani Adam (keturunan Adam), saja.
Orang Paling Mulia
Jika kita benar-benar ingin memilih seseorang atau sekelompok orang yang dianggap mulia menurut Islam, maka kita dapat dengan mudah menemukan siapa mereka dari Alquran. Ayat 49:13 menjelaskan bahwa orang yang paling mulia adalah orang yang paling bertaqwa. Dan, jelas ketawqaan itu tidak didasarkan pada kelahiran tetapi tindakan seseorang.
Hai manusia, sesungguhnya Kami telah menciptakan kamu dari laki-laki dan perempuan dan membuat kalian bangsa dan suku yang mungkin kalian kenal satu sama lain. Sesungguhnya, yang paling mulia dari Anda di mata Allah adalah yang paling bertaqwa dari Anda. Sesungguhnya, Allah Maha Mengetahui dan Sadar. (49:13)
Beberapa Sayyid mungkin berpendapat bahwa ada hadits sahih yang mendukung argumen bahwa Nabi Muhammad dan keturunannya lebih unggul dari orang lain. Mereka dianjurkan membaca artikel saya yang membuktikan bahwa hadits bukanlah sumber yang sah dari hukum Islam dan bahwa menggunakan hadits sebagai hukum Islam merupakan bentuk dari kesyirikan dan menyebabkan orang menjadi kafir.
Bukti-bukti Alquran dan argumen logis di atas memperjelas bahwa keturunan Nabi Muhammad tidak lebih unggul sama sekali dibandingkan dengan umat manusia lainnya. Kesimpulan ini sangat jelas di negara-negara Barat non-Islam tetapi sayangnya, banyak orang di negara-negara Islam terlalu cuek dan menolak kesimpulan ini, mungkin karena mereka memiliki sikap bahwa tradisi harus benar meskipun bertentangan dengan logika. Mungkin mereka sebaiknya mundur selangkah dan merenungkan ayat berikut.