What’s it like to be an Aussie Muslim?

It’s not every day that you see the face of an Australian Muslim in a positive light. The Muslim community has been a highlight of the Australian media for almost two decades now, and as our recent study shows, the coverage has been both disproportionately large and negative.


More recently, however, some networks have taken a slightly different approach, seeing the demand for a more “nuanced” discussion of Islam in Australia and jumping on board. Shows like the SBS’ Muslims like Us are an example of what happens when the Muslim community becomes a source of entertainment for the wider society, rather than a respected and equal member within it.

What it is Like to Win the Grand Final

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That’s why Bachar Houli is such a refreshing face. As a midfielder for the Richmond Tigers, the team which just won the AFL Grand Final, he has become both an amazing footballer, and a great role model for Muslim youth in Australia, all whilst maintaining his commitment to the practices of his faith.

Sporting a big beard and a bigger smile, he has become one of the most visible Muslim faces associated with the Aussie rules football code, serving as a bridge between the very “Aussie” sport, and a community seen by many as not “Aussie” enough.

“When I entered into the system of AFL, I was 18 years old,” Houli says. “And subhanAllah [praise be to God], the majority of people knew the person I was, they knew that Bachar Houli was this person who was a practicing Muslim.

According to Houli, this commitment to and association with his faith helped him greatly throughout his journey in the sport. His reputation of trustworthiness and respect within the AFL community allowed him to be open about the things he could and couldn’t do, and even prompted his teammates to support, rather than simply tolerate, his decisions.

Some Advice for the Youth

“When we won the [Grand Final] game, we got together, and obviously there was alcohol and drinking within the vicinity. One of my teammates pulled me aside and he said [referring to the Islamic prohibition of alcohol] ‘Bashar, do not change the person you are. The person that we know you are is a proud Australian Muslim. Do not change your ways just because we’ve won a grand final.”

This attitude of mutual respect and understanding is a breath of fresh air in a media environment filled with either outright hostility or condescending entertainment. The pressure on Muslims in Australia is forcing many to try and hide their faith, with parents changing their children’s name from Mohammed to Michael, not to mention the rising levels of violent Islamophobia in the country causing many women to fear to leave their house.

Both Muslims and non-Muslims have a lot to learn from the example of Bachar Houli in both maintaining a commitment to faith and to the communities we find ourselves in, despite the challenges we face in doing so.

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The Sunnah way to Eat

Thirteen Sunnahs of Eating

Say Bismillah

Eat with your right

Eat that nearest to you

The above three Sunan of eating are all taken from the Hadith of Umar Ibn Abi Salamah:

“I was a boy under the care of Allah’s Messenger ﷺ and my hand used to go around the dish while I was eating. So Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said to me:

يَا غُلَامُ سَمِّ اللَّهَ، وَكُلْ بِيَمِينِكَ، وَكُلْ مِمَّا يَلِيكَ

‘Oh boy! Mention the Name of Allah and eat with your right hand, and eat of the dish what is nearer to you.” Since then I have applied those instructions when eating.”

Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim

 

Eat on the floor

It is narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said:

“I eat just as the slave eats, and I sit just as the slave sits”.

Abu Ya’la (Sahih)

Eat with three fingers

Ka’b Ibn Malik states:

“The Prophet ﷺ used to eat with three fingers and lick his hand before he wiped it.”

Sahih Muslim

Eat together

Abdullah Ibn Umar Narrated:

“I heard my father say: ‘I heard ‘Umar bin Khattab say: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘Eat together and do not eat separately, for the blessing is in being together.’”

Sunan Ibn Majah (Hassan)

Don’t overeat

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

‘The human does not fill any container that is worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat what will support his back. If this is not possible, then a third for food, a third for drink, and third for his breath.”

Al-Tirmidhi (Sahih)

Don’t criticise food

Abu Huraira narrates that:

“The Prophet ﷺ did not criticise any food ever. If he desired the food, he would eat it and if he disliked it, he would leave it.”

Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim

Compliment tasty food

Jabir reported:

The Prophet ﷺ asked for sauce and was told that there was nothing except vinegar. He asked for it and began to eat from it saying, “How excellent is vinegar when eaten as a condiment! How excellent is vinegar when eaten as a condiment!

Sahih Muslim

Don’t discard any food.

From the Hadith of Jabir:

I heard Allah’s Apostle ﷺ as saying: The Satan is present with any one of you in everything he does; he is present even when he eats food; so if any one of you drops a mouthful he should remove away anything filthy on it and eat it and not leave for the devil; and when he finishes (food) he should lick his fingers, for he does not know in what portion of his food the blessing lies.

Sahih Muslim

Lick your fingers

Jabir Bin Abdullah narrates that the Prophet ﷺ said:

“He should not wipe his hand with a tissue until he licks his fingers, for he does not know in which part of his food is the blessing”.

Sahih Muslim

Wipe the dish

Anas Ibn Malik narrates:

“(The Prophet) commanded us to wipe our plates”.

Sahih Muslim

Praise Allah after eating

Anas Bin Malik narrates that the Prophet ﷺ said:

“Allah is pleased with a servant if he eats his food, he praises Allah for it; or if he drinks his drink he praises Allah for it”.

Sahih Muslim

310 Killed in Ghouta

The Annihilation Campaign of Ghouta

A eastern district of Damascus called Ghouta has been the target of an intense air strike campaign by the Syrian regime. With almost 310 killed in only five days, it is one of the worst events in the tragic Syrian civil war.

Ghouta has been targeted regularly since the start of the civil war in 2011, being attacked with chemical weapons in 2012 in an event which almost brought the US in in a military intervention.

Make Your Contribution!

Human Appeal Australia are on the ground making a difference

The districts population, which was 2.5 million before the war, has now dropped to 400,000, with surviving residents facing air strikes, shelling, and massive shortages in food and medical supplies.

The regime has also intentionally targeted ambulances and hospitals, crippling the districts already meager medical services.

May Allah protect the people of Syria and free them from this oppression.

 

Five Tips to Overcome Laziness

 

Five Tips to Overcome Laziness

We’ve been guilty of saying “I can’t be bothered!”. We sometimes wake up feeling lazy. But the truth about laziness is that it is mostly in our mind. Laziness is actually an action and we are almost always the culprits in letting that action take control of our minds.

So next time you decide to snooze your Fajr alarm or you decide to sit at home all day and binge watch on Netflix, think about these tips that the Quran and Sunnah has provided us and take action to stop your lazy nafs (soul) and get up and do something good for yourself and others insha’Allah…

So here are five tips to overcome laziness:

Recite this Dua’a (Supplication)

The Prophet ﷺ used to say, “O Allah! I seek refuge with You from helplessness, laziness, cowardice and feeble old age; I seek refuge with You from afflictions of life and death and seek refuge with You from the punishment in the grave.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

Avoid Overeating

Overeating leads to laziness and sleepiness, therefore, we should try and follow the Prophet ﷺ’s advice:

‘The human does not fill any container that is worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat what will support his back. If this is not possible, then a third for food, a third for drink, and third for his breath.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

Fight your Yawns

The Prophet ﷺ said, “Yawning is from Satan and if anyone of you yawns, he should check his yawning as much as possible, for if anyone of you (during the act of yawning) should say: ‘Ha’, Satan will laugh at him.” (Al-Bukhari)

Surround yourself by Righteous, Productive people

Allah has commanded us

“And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance.” (Quran 18:28)

“وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُم بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ…”

Don’t Make Excuses

Rather, man, against himself, will be a witness, Even if he presents his excuses. (Quran 75:14-15)

“بَلِ الۡاِنۡسَانُ عَلٰى نَفۡسِهٖ بَصِيۡرَةٌ وَّلَوۡ اَلۡقٰى مَعَاذِيۡرَهٗؕ‏”

Don’t make up excuses as to why you didn’t perform a fard (obligatory religious duty), or for commiting a sin but instead be truthful to Allah and yourself and make a proper repentance. And try not to repeat the same mistakes over and over again..

 

May Allah keep us steadfast on deen (religion), keep our hearts fully dedicated to Him.

Six Facts About the Throne of Allah

Six Facts About the Throne of Allah from the Quran and Sunnah

هُوَ الَّذي خَلَقَ السَّماواتِ وَالأَرضَ في سِتَّةِ أَيّامٍ ثُمَّ استَوىٰ عَلَى العَرشِ ۚ يَعلَمُ ما يَلِجُ فِي الأَرضِ وَما يَخرُجُ مِنها وَما يَنزِلُ مِنَ السَّماءِ وَما يَعرُجُ فيها ۖ وَهُوَ مَعَكُم أَينَ ما كُنتُم ۚ وَاللَّهُ بِما تَعمَلونَ بَصيرٌ

“It is He who created the heavens and earth in six days and then established Himself above the Throne. He knows what penetrates into the earth and what emerges from it and what descends from the heaven and what ascends therein; and He is with you wherever you are. And Allah, of what you do, is Seeing.”

(Quran 57:4)

Allah has mentioned His Throne and Kursi in the Quran, and our beloved Prophet has told us about it in several narrations.

So here are Six facts about the Throne of Allah to help us understand the greatness of Allah and His creation:

The Throne (Al-Arsh) is Allah’s First and Greatest Creation

The Prophet ﷺsaid,

“First of all, there was nothing but Allah, and (then He created His Throne). His throne was over the water, and He wrote everything in the Book (in the Heaven) and created the Heavens and the Earth.”

(Bukhari)

 

The Throne of Allah is on Water

“And it is He who created the heavens and the earth in six days – and His Throne had been upon water…”

(Quran 11:7)

The Prophet ﷺ was asked,

“ Where was Allah before He created His creation?’ He said: “He was above the clouds, below which was air, and above which was air and water. Then He created His Throne above the water.”

(Sunan Ibn Majah)

The Bearers of the Throne

The Prophetﷺ said,

“I have been permitted to tell about one of Allah’s angels who bears the throne that the distance between the lobe of his ear and his shoulder is a journey of seven hundred years.”

(Sunan Abi Dawud)

Glorifying Allah reaches the Throne

The Messenger of Allahﷺ said:

“What you mention of glory of Allah, of Tabsih (Subhan-Allah), Tahlil (Allahu-Akbar) and Tahmid (Al-Hamdu lillah), revolves around the Throne, buzzing like bees, reminding of the one who said it. Wouldn’t any one of you like to have, or continue to have, something that reminds of him (in the presence of Allah)?'”

(Sunan Ibn Majah)

Allah’s Mercy is mentioned over the Throne

Allah’s Messengerﷺ said,

“When Allah completed the creation, He wrote in His Book which is with Him on His Throne, “My Mercy overpowers My Anger.”

(Bukhari)

Al-Firdaws (The Highest Paradise) is directly under the Throne of Allah

The Messenger of Allahﷺ said:

‘Paradise has one hundred grades, each of which is as big as the distance between heaven and earth. The highest of them is Firdaws and the best of them is Firdaws. The Throne is above Firdaws and from it spring forth the rivers of Paradise. If you ask of Allah, ask Him for Firdaws.’”

(Sunan Ibn Majah)

May Allah grant us Al-Firdaws the Highest level of Paradise!

The life of Imam Malik Bin Anas

The life of Imam Malik Bin Anas

Imam Malik Bin Anas, born in the year 93 AH (after Hijra) in the city of Madina. Imam Malik was the founder of the second school of Islamic legal thought, the Maliki school of thought and was the second of the four great Imams of Islam.

Imam Malik was of Yemeni origin. He was described as being very tall and imposing in stature. He had very fair hair. He also had a huge beard and big blue eyes. Imam Malik studied under very acclaimed scholars and teachers, one of them being Imam Abu Hanifa. This explains the many years of peace and mutual respect that existed between the Maliki school and the Hanafi school.

The Imam began studying at the very young age of ten. He was dedicated to learning about Hadiths that he would often wait outside in the hot sun to ask his teacher a question about a Hadith he learned about during class. He also loved Medina and the prophet so much that he refused to ride a camel in the city because he considered it to be disrespectful to lift his body off the ground while the prophet was in the ground.

At the age of 21, he became a Mujtahid. Meaning that he has reached a status where he can look at raw Quran and raw Hadith and give a ruling on a specific issue. One of his most memorable achievements was his role in the gathering of thousands of Hadiths to make the golden chain. These Hadiths are some of the most authentic Hadiths that exist today. His students put these Hadiths in a book called ‘Al Muwatta’.

Although some people thought that Imam Malik got along pretty well with the state officials of Medina, however, this is far from the truth. The Imam endured a trial at the hand of the caliph at the time ‘Abu Ja’far al-Mansur’. This started when a politically motivated question was asked to Imam Malik. The question was if a man was forced to divorce his wife and he divorced her, would the divorce count?

The Imams response was ‘The divorce of the coerced does not take effect’. Due to its political application to the coerced pledged (bay’a) to the caliph then in effect, the Imam was forbidden to say this. A spy then came and asked the Imam the same question to test him and the Imam responded the same.

The governor of Medina (the cousin of the caliph at the time) seized Imam Malik and lashed him until his arms were dislocated and passed out. Imam Malik persisted even after being shaved and put on the back of a camel and kept on saying ‘The divorce of the coerced is null and void!’. When the news reached Ja’far, he released Imam Malik.

Imam Malik was highly respected amongst the scholars. Even the first Imam Abu Hanifa would recommend scholars of Medina to Imam Malik saying: ‘If there is any excellence in them it lies in the fair-haired, blue-eyed youth.’  He remained respected until his death at the age of 90 in the year 179 AH (after Hijra).

Islam in the Media 2017

By The Numbers

These are the results of a year-long investigation into Australia’s media coverage of Islam and Muslims.

For the entire year of 2017, OnePath Network tracked how 5 of Australia’s biggest newspapers reported on Islam. We wanted to see exactly how the media portrayed the 2.6% of the Australian population that identify as Muslim, and whether or not journalists and columnists were fair in their coverage. This is what we found.

THE MURDOCH PRESS REALLY DOES HAVE A THING AGAINST MUSLIMS

Whilst it isn’t exactly news that newspapers like the Daily Telegraph and The Australian talk about Islam a lot, what is really shocking is just how much they do it. We focused on 5 newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch’s company News Ltd., namely the Australian, the Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun, the Courier Mail and the Advertiser. In these 5 newspapers alone, we found almost 3000 articles that referred to Islam or Muslims alongside words like violence, extremism, terrorism or radical.

That’s over 8 articles a day in the Murdoch press slamming Muslims. If all of those were put together, that would be a full double-page spread. Every single day.

We also found 152 front pages over the year that featured Islam in some negative capacity. A lot of the time, these articles and exclusives were the featured item, the most important story for selling the newspaper.

 

  • # of Murdoch Media Articles
  • # of Fairfax Media Articles

This is how many articles there are written about Islam every month.

When we looked more closely, we saw that certain names came up time and time again, as they have been for almost 2 decades. We looked into 6 of the most controversial commentators in the Australian news media, including figures like Andrew Bolt, Miranda Devine and Janet Albrechtsen. On average, 31% of their opinion pieces were devoted to Islam, with the overwhelming majority of them being negative and divisive in nature. For Jennifer Oriel, that number was 54%. Even though they are stated to be “opinion” pieces, they are often written as fact and encourage.

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In every statistic we found, from negative coverage to front-page features to audience write-ins, we came to the same conclusion: the way the media talks about Islam in Australia is disproportionate, divisive, and dangerous.

HERE ARE 145 FRONT PAGES THAT TALK ABOUT ISLAM

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THE MOST OVERBLOWN EVENTS OF THE YEAR

Whilst a general overview clearly shows just how disproportionate the negative coverage of Islam is, it’s only when you zoom in and see the actual issues that the obsessive and unnecessary nature of the coverage becomes clear. And it wasn’t just about terrorism. Many of the most absurd and overblown examples of coverage come from issues that the Murdoch media highlighted by themselves, dragging the rest of Australia into their worldview. Here’s a couple of ridiculous highlights from a year of crazy coverage.

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After a heated discussion on the ABC’s February 13 Q&A program, in which Yassmin Abdel-Magied claimed that Islam was “the most feminist religion”, the Sudanese-Australian engineer and activist has been endlessly scrutinised by News Ltd. owned media. Over 200 articles have been dedicated to commenting on everything from her role as an ABC presenter, to her twitter feed, to her recent move to London.

In April, she also made an infamous post on her Facebook page, saying “LEST.WE.FORGET. (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine….)”, using the phrase commonly associated with ANZAC day and remembrance of national values to bring attention to the crises of war and refugees both near and abroad. The post appeared only on her personal Facebook page, and was taken down and retracted within an hour.

That, however, didn’t stop the post being highlighted and sensationalised as much as possible, with 5 front pages and over 100 articles in News Ltd. newspapers describing the comments as “offensive” (Daily Telegraph, 27 April) a “real sin” (Herald Sun, 28 April) and a “hateful… vile slur” (Daily Telegraph, 26 April). The coverage drummed up immense anger and hatred on social media, with a conservative commentator on radio station 2GB, Prue Macsween, saying that she would be “tempted to run her over” if she saw her on the street.

 

 

 

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With the number of incendiary front-pages in 2017 about government and police policy regarding terrorism, a casual observer would not be faulted for thinking that Australia was actively engaged in daily combat on its streets. In fact, it would hardly be surprising if that was the perception in the offices of Daily Telegraph and the Australian.

Featuring front-page headlines like “This Means War” (Daily Telegraph, July 17), “Enemy at the Gates” (March 3) and “In the Firing Line” (May 22), the Daily Telegraph took great pains to terrify its audience about the threat of terrorism in Australia. A number of ‘exclusives’ claimed that “there is nothing stopping scores of barbaric homegrown jihadists, including brutes waging war for ISIS, from lawfully returning to the country” (Daily Telegraph, March 3), with “deadly extremists who have fought overseas.. roaming our streets because frustrated authorities don’t have enough evidence to put them behind bars” (Daily Telegraph, May 29), as well as the news that “NSW police will now carry military-style assault rifles on our streets to protect us from deranged terrorist killers” (Daily Telegraph, June 8).

In reality though, these ‘exclusives’ referred to the opinions of a small number of politicians and analysts and was in no way proportionate to any actual threat to the Australian people.

 

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When the debate over allowing same-sex marriage in Australia was at its peak in September, the Daily Telegraph featured the headline “Same-Sex Jihad” on the front page, claiming that “Sydney’s Islamic leaders have launched a jihad against same-sex marriage” (Daily Telegraph, 19 September).

The story referred to three community figures, with unsubstantiated claims about sermons by the Grand Mufti Dr. Ibrahim Abdallah, as well as a number of sensationalised quotes by Keysar Trad.

This particular report, which was not found in any other newspaper or publication, stunk of an attempt to mock the Muslim community on this issue, as well as paint Muslims as outsiders in this debate whose views were not welcome.

 

 

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Punchbowl Boys High School was the target of a number of supposed controversies throughout the year. The first came with the sacking of principal Chris Griffiths after allegedly refusing to implement the state government’s deradicalisation program (Daily Telegraph, 3 March).

Then came the incendiary headlines “Allah Allah Allah, Oi Oi Oi” (Daily Telegraph, March 13) and “Behead of the Class” (Daily Telegraph, March 16), which claimed the school was a hotbed of radicalisation, with kids in year 5 “using religious language” and “chanting the Koran”, implying that these were worrying examples of indoctrination and extremism, as well as claiming the “infamous” school was disrespecting women and police, and had Islam prayer group bullies who supposedly targeted children who didn’t pray (Daily Telegraph, 13 March).

To support their claims the Daily Telegraph featured an interview with the replacement school principal Robert Patruno, who contrary to the front pages above, confirmed students were in fact respecting their female teachers and that he had found no evidence of Islamic State sympathisers at the school (Daily Telegraph, 12 March).

With no sources or evidence for their claims (despite mass scrutiny and a Department of Education ‘appraisal’), as well as a new principal who disagreed with their accusations, the Daily Telegraph instead published a derogatory and offensive opinion piece by renowned Islamophobe Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who said regarding the school: “Whether it is in Raqqa or Punchbowl the Islamist strategy with regard to children is the same: indoctrinate them, prevent critical thinking, then accept and implement sharia law” (Daily Telegraph, 27 March).

 

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On December 21, a Melbourne man drove his car through the crowds on one of Melbourne’s busiest roads, injuring 20 people. 2 days later, a number of News Ltd. papers seized on a report that the driver had mumbled something about Allah and ASIO, and the Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph, Courier Mail and the Australian all ran “ALLAH RANTS” on their front pages.

What all 4 papers failed to mention on the front page was that the driver had a history of mental illness and drug use, and that there was no credible link whatsoever between the man’s actions and his identity as a Muslim.

 

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OUR STANDARDS AND EXPECTATIONS OF JOURNALISTS ARE TOO LOW

Media coverage of Islam does not exist in a vacuum of facts and objectivity. The reality is, print news is a struggling industry, and a very effective method for selling newspapers is fear, sensation, and drama. The more that these methods are normalised, the more they will be used against anybody who the media paints as the next ‘enemy’ of ‘Australian values’. As Charles Morton from Victoria Police Media put it, “At the end of the day, they want to shift newspapers” (Ewart 2016).

This is not just an issue of bias or exaggeration in individual reports. As we found in our research, the overwhelming scale of association between Islam and terror, extremism, violence, and oppression through phrasing and word choice is far more significant than any isolated events or reports. If 2891 articles include the phrase “Islamic terrorism” or “Muslim oppression”, those ideas stick.

This is coupled with stereotypical pictures and images on front-pages and feature stories that are prominently shown in order to sell more papers. These images have been shown to significantly shape the way Islam and Muslims are framed in the public eye (Ewart 2017). In fact there have been a high number of incidents in which images have had to be withdrawn and apologies made for incorrect associations with events. Many newspapers seem to have a policy of “show the face, apologise later.” This kind of approach not only affects public perceptions, it has serious ramifications on the individuals that these papers choose to ‘name and shame’, whether correctly or not.

Whether Muslims stay silent and take the heat, or ‘play the game’ and push back, the result is the same: public animosity and resentment of Islam in Australia.

However, what is said and shown is only one aspect of the equation. As Thomas Huckin points out, “what is not said and/or written is equally powerful because of the ideological role it plays” (Patil 2016). It is simply naive to think that journalists don’t have a choice in what they choose to talk about, and that those choices don’t have consequences on the public’s perception.

CONSERVATIVE COLUMNISTS ON ISLAM

Miranda Devine

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Janet Albrechtsen

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Greg Sheridan

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Andrew Bolt

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Rita Panahi

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Jennifer Oriel

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FEAR OF ISLAM IS NOT BASED ON KNOWLEDGE OF ISLAM

In 2016, an Essential Report found that 49% of Australians supported a ban on Muslim immigration to Australia. Another poll by the Australian National University found that 71% of Australians were concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism locally. In the same year however, researchers at Griffith University found that 70% of Australians believed that they themselves knew “little to nothing about the religion and its adherents” (O’Donnell 2017), despite the disproportionate coverage of Islam and Muslims in the media shown above.

It takes a special kind of fear mongering and sensationalism to convince the majority of a nation to ban a community they themselves recognise they know almost nothing about. It is simply naive to ignore the serious role the media plays in making Muslims seem ‘different’ to the rest of Australian society. As Anne Aly, an academic and MP for Cowan, put it:

“In the popular Australian media… Muslims have been characterized as non-members of the Australian community – relegating them to the space of the ‘other’, alien, foreign and incompatible with Australian cultural values.” (Aly 2007)

In 2016, 2,886 Australians died in relation to suicide, whilst 0 people died from a terrorist attack on Australian soil. Yet in the 2017 budget, the federal government allocated $7.2 million to the ANZ Counter-Terrorism Committee, and only $2.1 million to suicide prevention and awareness. That is not to take away from the work that our police and intelligence agencies do to keep us safe. But it’s essential that we remember that our beliefs as a society do not just affect how we view or treat the individuals around us. They shape government policy, institutional agendas and cultural norms. And those things have a far greater power to harm a community that is already struggling to find its place in Australian society.

In 2017, the Islamophobia Register Australia published the report Islamophobia in Australia: 2014-2016, which found “an observable coincidence between spikes of vilification reported to the Islamophobia Register and terror attacks, anti-terror legislation and negative media coverage of high profile Muslim leaders” (Iner 2017), such as the with the case of the Grand Mufti. It also showed that the majority of Islamophobic insults were not related to terrorism, meaning that simply the existence and visibility of Muslims and Islam is now the main motivation behind these hate attacks.

The reality is, print news is a struggling industry, and a very effective method for selling newspapers is fear, sensation and drama.

Aly also noted that “attempts by Muslims to articulate their views and opinions in the popular media often draw opposition from the public about accommodating the needs of Muslims” (Aly 2007). This can clearly be seen in the case of Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s infamous Q&A appearance and ANZAC day post, or in the debates surrounding Halal food.

In other words, whether Muslims stay silent and take the heat, or ‘play the game’ and push back, the result is the same: public animosity and resentment of Islam in Australia.

[mpc_quote preset=”mpc_preset_24″ layout=”style_2″ author_font_preset=”mpc_preset_17″ author_font_color=”#333333″ author_font_size=”16″ author_font_transform=”uppercase” author_font_align=”left” author=”Brice Hamack, Islamophobia Register of Australia” quote_font_preset=”mpc_preset_1″ quote_font_color=”#0a0a0a” quote_font_size=”18″ quote_font_line_height=”1.5″ quote_font_align=”left” icon_type=”image” icon_image_size=”100×100″ icon_image=”10361″ icon_border_css=”border-radius:75px;” icon_padding_css=”padding:0px;” padding_divider=”true” padding_css=”padding-top:40px;padding-right:40px;padding-bottom:40px;padding-left:0px;” mpc_ribbon__disable=”true”]Even to someone who has spent years working with Muslim communities to defend against anti-Muslim hate, the findings of this new study are astounding. That approximately 70% of Australians have little to no knowledge of Islam and Muslims, yet are concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism locally, demonstrates how disturbingly influential tabloid journalism is in Australia. It’s time Australians acknowledge these publications for what they really are tabloid journalism aimed at preying on irrational fears of the unknown and sensationalising isolated incidents to increase profits. These practices show a complete lack of social and professional responsibility and create real safety risks for the vast majority of Australian Muslims who want nothing more than to build a peaceful life for themselves and their families.”[/mpc_quote]

MOVING FORWARD

If 2017 taught us anything, it’s that we have a serious lack of faith in journalism, and for good reason. A Pew Poll in January 2018 found that whilst people around the world “overwhelmingly agree that the news media should be unbiased… many [say] their media do not deliver.” We are grappling with the critical question of what ethical journalism really is, and so far we haven’t found the answer. All we do know is that our current approach is not working.

There are certain actions we can all take that will benefit our situation. Building relationships between communities is one of the most effective ways to ensure that we do the right thing by each other. For journalists and media outlets, that means any coverage that alienates or dehumanises a community is simply bad reporting, and needs to be avoided. Strong relationships at an individual and organisational level allow legitimate voices to be heard, and legitimate issues to be addressed.

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For everyone else, that means better understanding where and how we get our news. If we know the difference between a trustworthy story and an untrustworthy story, the financial and political incentive for fake news drastically decreases. When we hold the media to a higher standard, they will have no choice but to meet it.

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References:

J Ewart, M Pearson & G Healy (2016), ‘Journalists’ and Educators’ Perspectives on News Media Reporting of Islam and Muslim Communities in Australia and New Zealand’, Journal of Media and Religion, 15:3, pp. 136-145

A Aly (2007), ‘Australian Muslim Responses to the Discourse on Terrorism in the Australian Popular Media’, Australian Journal of Social Issues, 42:1, pp. 27-40

K O’Donnell, R Davis & J Ewart (2017), ‘Non-Muslim Australians’ Knowledge of Islam: Identifying and Rectifying Knowledge Deficiencies’, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 37:1, pp. 41-54

T Patil & G M Ennis (2016), ‘Silence as a Discourse in the Public Sphere: Media Representations of Australians Joining the Fight in Syria’, Social Alternatives, 35:1, pp.

D Iner (2017), ‘Islamophobia in Australia 2014-2016’, Charles Sturt University & Islamic Sciences and Research Academy, Sydney

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Prophets mentioned in the Quran

Prophets in the Holy Quran

Prophets are human beings, who were chosen by Allah to preach the same, universal message: Believing in one God. Prophets guided their nations to reform their morals and purify their souls. This growth was achieved through commands and rules that ensured humans acted morally, honoring them in this life and the next, and to protect them from evil doings. Muslims must have faith in all prophets chosen, as they deliver God’s message without hiding, corrupting or altering it. To reject a prophet, is to reject the One who chose the prophet, and to disobey a prophet is to disobey the One who gave the commands. Allah sent a prophet to every nation, and most prophets were of that same nation. They preached to worship Allah alone, and shunned any false gods.

“And We certainly sent into every nation a messenger, [saying], “Worship Allah and avoid Taghut.” And among them were those whom Allah guided, and among them were those upon whom error was [deservedly] decreed.

(Quran, 16:36).

Prophets were sent to warn and educate their nation. Although they were normal humans, they were distinguished as they were chosen as a messenger, to convey the message of God or a book they received from Allah. They also were chosen as an example for their nation, in regards to how they practiced and implemented the divine commands and messages of God. Here we will be mentioning the prophets, in order of how many times they were directly mentioned in the Quran.

Musa (Moses) mentioned 136 times

Prophet Musa received the book Tawraat (Torah), and was sent to the tyrant Pharaoh, who considered himself a god and expected his people to worship him along with other statues. Prophet Musa was mentioned the most in the quran, as his story and the morals within them transcends time and has great value in Islamic history

Ibrahim (Abraham) – 69 times

Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) is also known as Khalil Allah, the friend of Allah. He was mainly known for being the first person to build the sacred Kaaba. He was also given the Suhof (Scrolls) to help guide his nation to monotheism.

Nuh (Noah) – 43 times

Prophet Nuh preached for 950 years and was the first prophet to be persecuted by his nation. He built an Ark, that later protected him from a severe flood that was afflicted onto the disbelievers.

Lut (Lot) 27 times

Yusof (Joseph) 27 times

Isa (Jesus) – 25 times

Prophet Isa is the son of Maryam (Mary) a.s. The miracle of this prophet, was that he was born without a father. Contrary to some beliefs, jesus is not the son of a God, and was sent strictly as a messenger, to guide his people to a life of nobility and good deeds. Although he was blessed with many miracles, his sole purpose was to guide the people to believe in Allah only.

  1. Adam 25 times
  2. Harun (Aaron) 20 times
  3. Sulayman (Solomon) 17 times
  4. Ishaq (isaac) 17 times
  5. Dawud (David) 16 times

Prophet Dawud was given the Zaboor (Psalms) and was gifted with great knowledge and power within land. He was also an exemplary worshipper of Allah.

  1. Yaqub (Jacob) 16 times
  2. Ismael (Ishmael) 12 times
  3. Shuayb 11 times
  4. Salih 9 times
  5. Zakaria 7 times
  6. Hud 7 times
  7. Yahya 5 times
  8. Muhammad 4 times

Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) was the final prophet, sent to all of mankind, and known as the seal of the prophets. He was chosen to preach the message to believe in Allah and forsake any other gods. He was sent as a mercy to the people, guiding and setting the greatest example possible of how every muslim should be. He was also given the final book, the Holy Quran, whereby the Islamic rulings and guidelines are written. Although he wasn’t directly mentioned a lot of times in the Quran, his importance is indisputable and has continued to influence and guide nations for over 1400 years.

  1. Yunus (Jonah) 4 times
  2. Ayyub (Job) 4 times
  3. Idris (Enoch) – twice
  4. Alyasa (Elisha) – twice
  5. Elyas (Elijah) – twice
  6. Thul Kifl (Ezekiel) – twice

It is important to remember that Prophets were sent to preach the message of God. They are not equal in status to God, and must not be over exalted or given prominence over the belief in God. This has been exemplified in the following verse:

“Muhammad is not but a messenger. [Other] messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels [to unbelief]? And he who turns back on his heels will never harm Allah at all; but Allah will reward the grateful.”  

(Quran, 3:144)

Most of the messengers of Allah were sent to a specific nation except Prophet Muhammad, who was sent to guide all of mankind. It is a duty of Muslims to send salaams (Peace and Blessings of Allah) when mentioning the names of any of the Prophets.

“Indeed, Allah sends blessings upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to send] blessings upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace.”

Quran (33:56)

May the peace and blessings on Allah SWT be upon them all.

 

6 Reasons why westerners are converting to Islam.

Why are so many Westerners converting to Islam?

Islam is currently the fastest growing religion in the world, which may come as surprise to many, considering the amount of negative coverage it constantly receives in the media. There are currently 1.8 billion Muslims in the world and that is nearly one-fourth of the world population, making it the world’s second largest religion, after Christianity (Pew Research Centre).

However, it has been estimated that within the second half of this century (around the year of 2050), Islam will become the world’s largest religious group. This is due to faster birth rates and the increase in the number of people converting to Islam.

So, why are so many people converting to Islam?

It is important to first understand that the Muslim population is extremely diverse and spreads across the globe. Although it is often associated with Arabs and the Middle East, only 15% of Muslims are Arab! The largest populations stem from southeast Asia (comprising more than 60% of the world’s total) with Indonesia currently holding the largest population of Muslims. (Pew Research Centre)

[divide]

Regional Distribution of Muslims (2017)

  1. Asia Pacific: 986,420,000
  2. Middle East/ North Africa: 370,070,000
  3. Sub Saharan Africa: 248,420,000
  4. Europe: 43,470,000
  5. North America: 3,480,000
  6. Latin America/ Caribbean: 840,000

[divide]

Top 12 Countries With the Largest Muslim Populations (approximations)

  1. Indonesia: 225 million

  2. Pakistan: 181 million

  3. India: 172 million

  4. Bangladesh: 146.6 million

  5. Nigeria: 104 million

  6. Egypt: 83 million

  7. Iran: 79.8 million

  8. Turkey: 79.5 million

  9. Algeria 40.61 million

  10. Sudan: 38 million

  11. Iraq: 37.2 million

  12. Morocco: 35 million

(Pew Research Centre)

Various studies have assessed the reasons why so many westerners are converting to Islam. This article will combine information that was obtained in studies conducted in America and Britain, as these countries have the highest conversion rates

Firstly, the media’s coverage in relation to Islam is predominantly negative. This consequently has to lead a lot of people to further research the ideologies and concepts of Islam, to find out if it really is a religion of war, oppression or terrorism. To their surprise, many found the peace and beauty within Islam, and the more they read and researched about Islam, the more they discovered how contradictory their original beliefs were. Further, in a study conducted by the University of Cambridge, a woman said she converted due to the apparent “Tranquility and stability despite the difficulties they experienced”. Another man claimed that when he realised that Muslims greet each other by saying “Peace be Upon you”, Islam could not be a religion of terrorism.

Next, upon researching Islam, many realised how its doctrine is simple and rational. The most crucial factor in Islam that differentiates it from other religions, it to believe in God & that Muhammad is His messenger. Further, it is required to pray 5 times a day, give charity, fast in Ramadan and perform Hajj (at least once a lifetime).

“Islam is raised on five (pillars), testifying that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is His messenger, the establishment of prayer, payment of Zakat (charity), Performing Hajj and the fast of Ramadan.

Muslim

It provides direction and discipline, which is another core reason why many convert.  Contemporary society lacks discipline, and many believe that it is slowly disintegrating. Through Islam, hope is restored for an orderly life, with guidelines that ensure discipline is maintained, both for oneself and in broader society. A woman claimed that when researching about the modesty of women, she found that Islam “isn’t self-restricting but a way to implement and learn self-control.”

Many hold the ideology that Islam oppresses women, perhaps due to the fact that women have to wear a headscarf, or once again due to false media representations. However, Islam was actually the first religion to explicitly give women their own rights. 1400 years ago, girls used to be buried alive out of shame of having a daughter. However, as soon as Islam was introduced, it instantly banned the burial of children.

(Quran 81:8-9 & 17:31).

The Quran further exemplifies the vast amount of rights that it gives to women. Some of the many rights are as follows:

  • Mothers are 3x more deserving of good treatment than fathers.
  • Prophet Muhammad said: “The world is but a (quick passing) enjoyment, and the best enjoyment of the world is a pious and virtuous woman”. (Muslim)
  • Women are allowed to work, and keep their wealth to themselves, whether it is inherited or earned.
Muslim Council of Britain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Women are permitted to participate in the battlefield (if need be, not just as nurses, but also as soldiers)
  • Men have the responsibility to spend their earnings/wealth on the women in the family, whereas women are not obligated to financially support the family.
  • No woman can be forced into a marriage, neither by her family or by a man. She also has the right to divorce.
  • Domestic abuse is completely prohibited in Islam.

Muslim Council of Britain

In summary, Islam does not differentiate between the treatment of men and women. Both are created equal and both will be judged purely based on their actions.

“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women.”

(Quran, 4:1)

Similarly, another central reason why the religion of Islam is growing is due to the fact that every human was created as an equal. No race, gender or social status is better than the other. All that matters in Islam, are one’s actions and intentions. The best among Muslims is the most righteous.

“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.”

(Quran, 49:13)

Further, in the Prophet’s final sermon, he stated:

“All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor does a black have any superiority over a white except by piety and good action.”

Justice and equity are key factors that are lacking in broader society, and Islam has placed a great emphasis on both of these factors for over 1400 years.

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:

“He who intended to do good, but did not do it, one good was recorded for him, and he who intended to do good and also did it, ten to seven hundred good deeds were recorded for him. And he who intended evil, but did not commit it, no entry was made against his name, but if he committed that, it was recorded as one evil.”

High conversion rates to Islam has also been found with those who are incarcerated. This radicalisation comes from a place where all hope is usually lost, and they primarily feel alone. When people are in a time of need or desperation, they commonly turn to religion, as a form of redemption. Many also have the time to read the Holy Quran, understand and appreciate it. The time spent alone gives them the opportunity to reflect upon their actions and their life thus far. In Islam, as soon as a person converts; by acknowledging that there is only one God, and repenting from their wrongful actions, all past sins are instantly forgiven. Converts are given a fresh slate to begin their life again and all their good deeds remain!

The prophet Muhammad (ﷺ ) said:

“… Do you not know that (embracing) Islam wipes out all that has gone before it (previous misdeeds).”

Muslim.

The final reason why people convert, is due to meeting other Muslims. In Islam, respect, kindness, and forgiveness are core values that each person should practice. Many, when interviewed about why they converted, replied that they met a Muslim that had extraordinary characteristics, that directly conflicted with what the media has portrayed. This leads them to research further about Islam, and eventually convert.

Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ ) said:

“Your smiling in the face of your brother is charity, commanding good and forbidding evil is charity, your giving directions to a man lost in the land is charity for you. Your seeing for a man with bad sight is a charity for you, your removal of a rock, a thorn or a bone from the road is charity for you. Your pouring what remains from your bucket into the bucket of your brother is charity for you.”

Within all these factors and reasons, one aspect stands out. The western culture, within the 21st century, promotes experimentation and variety. A westerner that converts to Islam is making the conscious decision to change their lifestyle in a diametrically opposite direction. They are accepting the predetermined rules in relation to belief, dress, diet and any social or sexual behaviours. Our current disintegrating society lacks the direction and discipline that is required within human nature.

The inaccurate portrayal of Islam in western media has lead to an increase in verbal and physical abuse experienced by Muslims, however, this has neither changed their beliefs nor values & this has been evident in the continuously growing number of Muslims around the world.

References:

  • Pew Research Centre
  • Muslim Council of Britain
  • Narratives of Conversion to Islam in Britain: Male & Female Perspectives sourced from University of Cambridge, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, 2018 HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies.

 

The Best Islamic Apps to Download

The Best Islamic Apps to Download

Technology, when used efficiently, can help us as Muslims get closer to Allah. We’ve all been on the train or waiting at the doctors, and an Islamic app comes in handy in these rather stagnant situations. Instead of staring at the ceiling while waiting, you could be getting hundreds of good deeds written in your book! Muslim apps can also instantly improve your mood and make you more cheerful!

There are many apps today that help Muslims in their daily life. Here’s a list of the 17 best Islamic apps (in our opinion) to download:


Muslim Pro: Azan, Quran, Qibla  

Used by more than 40 million Muslims around the world, Muslim Pro provides the most accurate Prayer time & Azan application.

The app also features the full Quran with Arabic scripts, phonetics, translations and audio recitations as well as a Qibla locator, an Islamic Hijri calendar, dua (supplication) list and a map of halal restaurants and Mosques, etc..

If your phone is the minimalistic type, and you only want one Islamic app, Muslim Pro is definitely the one to download.

To Download on an iPhone, Click Here

To Download on an Android, Click Here


Learn Quran Tajwid

If you struggle reading the Quran, or if you want to perfect your recitation, Learn Quran Tajwid is the app for you.

It is an all in one app to study how to recite the Quran.

This app provides a thorough range of lessons, from basic tajweed lessons to an advanced class. It is suitable for all learners of all levels and is designed in a way to allow you to study alone, or with a teacher!

To Download on an iPhone, Click Here

To Download on an Android, Click Here


Dua, and Azkar

It is essential to have a daily routine of Dua and Azkar. So if you’re looking for a good source, Dua and Azkar provides a wide collection of supplications and remembrance of Allah, from various books and websites, including:

  • Dua after Salah
  • Morning Azkar
  • Evening Azkar
  • Daily Essential Dua
  • 40 Dua begins with ‘Rabbana’
  • Ruquiya (Audio Only)
  • Missed Rak’ah Procedure
  • Hajj & Umrah

All Dua have features including audios, translations, and pronunciations

To Download on an iPhone, Click Here

To Download on an Android, Click Here


QamarDeen Quran

If you struggle to reach goals it is very important to have a schedule written down where you check your progress. 

QamarDeen Quran lets you track all your daily spiritual efforts to help you measure your progress and continue to improve.

Use QamarDeen to track your prayer, Quran reading, Charity, fasting and visualize it all to analyse behavior and improve.

To Download on an iPhone, Click Here

To Download on an Android, Click Here


Halal Advisor (Australia)

Want to eat out but you don’t know which restaurant serves Halal food?

With over 2,000 Halal restaurants, Halal Advisor is Australia’s largest halal restaurant finder app. Use this app to browse restaurant details, search for dining in, takeaway or delivery options, post photos, check reviews and ratings to decide where you want to eat, and use the map feature to guide you there.

To Download on an iPhone, Click Here

To Download on an Android, Click Here


Scan Halal: World’s Largest Halal Products Guide

We all prefer not to read through the long-worded, hard-to-pronounce ingredients of grocery products. Scan Halal provides an easy way to scan the barcode of a product that you want to purchase and quickly provides you with all the information on whether it’s halal or not. This app works on most international brands available in Australian stores. 

To Download on an iPhone, Click Here

To Download on an Android, Click Here


OnePath Network

Watch premium Islamic content on the new OnePath Network app. Featuring all your favourite OnePath videos, including short films, inspirational reminders, current news, Islamic history, and much more. If you’re looking for a platform to learn the teachings of Islam, delivered by international personalities and scholars, then the OnePath Network app is the perfect app for you.

To download on an iPhone, click here

To download on an Android, click here


Quran Companion

Want to memorize the Quran? Then we recommend downloading Quran Companion. Developed by a Hafiz of the Quran, this app features gamification and scientifically backed learning techniques that make memorizing the Quran effective, social and fun. Its smart features such as personal challenges, group challenges, guided lesson plans, and global leaderboards will keep you motivated and on track with your memorization goals.

To download on an iPhone, click here

To download on an Android, click here


iQuran

With over 10 million downloads, iQuran allows you to read the Quran in Arabic along with its translation. Available with 15+ translations and 7 famous Quran reciters in its full version, iQuran provides verse by verse audio with the option to repeat a verse or group of verses to aid in memorizing the Quran. It also comes with unlimited bookmarks, tags with notes, full-text search engine, and colour coded Tajweed rules.

To download on an iPhone, click here

To download on an Android, click here


Bayan Quran

This Quran app allows you to tap on any word in the Quran to instantly access its translation, root word, root word definition, morphology, grammar, and transliteration! Never skip a word you don’t know any more and learn new words every time you read with the Bayan Quran app.

To download on an iPhone, click here

To download on an Android, click here


Hadith Collection (All In One)

The ultimate collection of the narrations of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This app contains over 41,000+ hadiths from 14 well-known books of Hadith, such as:

  • Sahih Al-Bukhari
  • Sahih Muslim
  • Sunan An-Nasa’i
  • Sunan Abu Dawood
  • Sunan Ibn Majah
  • Jami Atl-Tirmidhi
  • Riyadh Us-Saaliheen
  • Imam Nawawee’s 40 Hadith

and more.

To download on an Android, click here


Salam: Hajj & Umrah Guide

The Salam app makes it easier to perform Hajj & Umrah. Its features include:

  • Hajj and Umrah guidance with informative videos, pictures, easy to follow information, and a progress bar to display your current stage of the journey.
  • Tawaf and Sa’i counter to track your progress and provide du’as to recite, wherever applicable. No more counting them in your head and losing track of how many rounds you have completed!
  • Interactive map to track friends, along with finding all essential service providers and important sites in Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah, Arafah, and Mina.

To download on an iPhone, click here

To download on an Android, click here


Islamic GPS

Islamic GPS is the first augmented reality Islamic App, it helps people find mosques and discover knowledge about Islamic heritage sites in an interactive and engaging way. By using your smartphone, simply hold up your camera as you move it 360° and you will engage with your chosen landmarks. Become your own tour guide and learn about Islamic places to a greater depth.

To download on an iPhone, click here

To download on an Android, click here



Haramain

Want to listen to the daily prayers from Makkah and Madinah? The Haramain app brings you the latest prayers from both Masjid al-Haram and Masjid al Nabawi straight to your phone. Choose which reciters to listen to specifically and autoplay tracks.

To download on an iPhone, click here

To download on an Android, click here


One4Kids

If you’re a Muslim parent concerned about what your kids watch online, the One4Kids app provides halal education and fun for your children. Featuring the famous cartoon character Zaky, One4Kids is jam packed with different cartoons and shows for your kids to enjoy and learn Islam.

To download on an iPhone, click here

To download on an Android, click here


Ali Huda

Ali Huda is a halal education and entertainment platform for Muslim kids. With this video on demand streaming service, your children can enjoy fun entertainment in a halal and safe online environment. The full Ali Huda subscription includes Islamic songs and Nasheeds, Islamic cartoons in HD, Quran and Arabic shows, interactive quizzes, challenges, and much more.

To download on an iPhone, click here

To download on an Android, click here


Never Miss Fajr

If you struggle to wake up for Fajr, then this app is the perfect solution. Never worry again about turning off the alarm by mistake when half asleep, because this clever app won’t stop playing the adhaan until you complete the required activities! Choose from two triggers: shaking your phone 20 times or completing a 5 question quiz. If you don’t complete the activity, the adhaan will keep on playing in a loop and your phone will vibrate non-stop. Give this app a go and insha’Allah you’ll never miss Fajr again!

To download on an iPhone, click here

To download on an Android, click here


If you have any Islamic apps that you would like to recommend, let us know!