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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Getting the Most Out of Ramadan, Imam Shamsuddin Waheed

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Caliphate : the question of Muslim Leadership

In recent weeks we have seen the rise of an insurgency within Iraq, in particular a militia known as ISIS [The Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant ] { Ad Dawlah al Islamiyyah fil 'Iraaq wa Shaam}. ISIS has been able to capture large areas of Sunni Iraq. This group, deemed so radical that even Al-Qa'ida broke links with them{ http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/al-qaeda-disavows-any-ties-with-radical-islamist-isis-group-in-syria-iraq/2014/02/03/2c9afc3a-8cef-11e3-98ab-fe5228217bd1_story.html], having had some military setbacks in Syria, have brought their attention to Iraq, taking advantage of the general discontent with Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki [a Shiite] and his government, and have felt so comfortable in their position that they have even proclaimed their leader, known as Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, as Caliph [Khalifah] of all Muslims, soliciting support. The brutality of their actions, as well as acts of other similar groups, such as Boko Haram in Nigeria, raises concerns as to what exactly is "Islamic state" or "Islamic leadership".

Caliphate in Islamic history

Upon the death of the Prophet Muhammad [Sall Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam], the political and administrative duties fell into the hands of successors. The successor is called Khalifah [Caliph] . The period of Khilafat [Caliphate] immediately following the Prophet's death [i.e. the first four Caliphs] is seen traditionally as setting the pace or standards of high conduct and wise rule that should be emulated by the Muslim political leadership.

Eventually, the Muslims expanded, and our history saw administrations such emerge such as the Ummayyads, Abbasids, and Ottoman empires. Despite the flaws and character defects of some rulers and policies, nonetheless Muslims worldwide saw the Khilafat as a symbol of unity. This state was finally abolished in March 1924, by the official founding of the Turkish Republic.

Is there wide appeal for a revival of Khilafat?

The emergence of the nation-states, as well as nationalism, Capitalism, Communism and the like, with its epic failures, has generated in the eyes of many Muslims a nostalgia for times gone by, where there was unity, strength, and a feeling of justice. Indeed, this reading is also true in light of the Zionist annexation and continued oppression of Palestine.

Some movements have emerged which called for the return of the Khilafat and a Khalifah to rule all the Muslims. Harakat-e-Khilafat rose in British India [led by Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar] not long after Khilafat was abolished, and of course there is the Hizbut Tahrir, a group with membership worldwide, which, despite the fact it does not advocate violence and believes education is a needed prerequisite before Khilafat can come, is banned and persecuted in many countries.

Khilafat in the Qur'an

The word Khalifah itself is used twice. In one place when Adam is designated Khalifah [Q 2:30], the context suggests that humanity itself is being given the job of making decisions in this world. To help in this job, Allah taught 'Adam' the potential to understand all that man will encounter in the physical world [ Q 2:32, also see 55:3-4 and 96:4-5] . Dawud [David] is also called Khalifah, and is told to conduct his rule with justice and to avoid following whims in his administration [ 38:25].

Peoples who have succeeded previous societies are called Caliphs, or Khulafaa'. They succeed those who have died out either naturally or as a result of Divine punishment [Qur'an 7:69, 27:62, 35:39, also see 6:165, 10:14 and 10:73]

Islam does not mandate a particular system

Too many observers reduce Islam to "simply" things like hand-cutting, amputations and exemplary executions. This superficial reading does not give justice to a topic of this nature. In reality, Islam can work in any time or place, and should not be seen with limited eyes. The Qur'an does give some direct rulings on things, such as amputating the hand of a thief  [5:38], but this is simply the maximum allowance for a response to this crime. It does not require that this particular Hukm be followed every time this crime is prosecuted. Criminal and financial laws and their application has to be carried out in a just, fair and comprehensive manner, otherwise more injustices will follow, and not less. Thus, Taliban in Afghanistan may have cut off people's hands, but did little to address poverty.

What does Islam advocate

Muslims are not to impose their opinions and beliefs on others. What It does teach is universal justice [2:256, 4:135] and the removal of exploitation of all forms, including that of usury, prostitution, usurping of the rights, property and dignity of human beings. These broad principles can work anywhere.

We do not absolve the current system of government of its crimes and its flaws. Perhaps it should be replaced, but it can't be changed in exchange for a bigoted so called Khilafat. This is one of the pitfalls of ISIS. They vent their anger, mostly, at other Muslims. They are just like the Kharijites of the past, a brutal sect that also emerged in Iraq, who declared any Muslims who disagreed with them to be Kuffaar.

May Allah save us from these types of people and their thinking patterns. May Allah deliver us guidance based on a comprehensive understanding of the Qur'an and the Prophetic model. Ameen!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Newspaper clipping: Sunni-Shiah divide, Iraq, ISIS

Sunni-Shia divide, conflict puts Islamic sects back in spotlight

Toledo-area Muslim figures downplay differences

BY TK BARGER
BLADE RELIGION EDITOR
Al-SaedyAl-Saedy
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Sunni and Shia are back in the news because of the latest developments in Iraq. “Why don’t they get along today” is again the question. For the most part, they do — and Muslims in Toledo are together in denouncing the groups engaged in conflict in Iraq and Syria today.
WaheedWaheed
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“I worry for all in the war, not just my country,” said Sheik Rahim Al-Saedy, who immigrated to the United States from Iraq and leads the Fatemah Islamic Center in Sylvania, a Shia mosque.
Abo-ElzahabAbo-Elzahab
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“It’s my job,” Sheik Al-Saedy said. “I have to worry for all the people, not just Muslims. ... If they get hurt or have a problem, we pray for them and we’re upset, because we are human beings.”
AnjumAnjum
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Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s efforts last year to crush protests by Sunnis complaining of discrimination under his Shiite-led government sparked a wave of violence by militants, who took over the city of Fallujah in the western, Sunni-dominated province of Anbar, and parts of the provincial capital, Ramadi.
During the last two weeks, militants have taken over the cities of Mosul and Tikrit as well as checkpoints on the Iraq-Syria border. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militant group is trying to create an Islamic caliphate in a vast area of both countries.
The religious ways of Sunni and Shia are different in some practices, but most are not major; one difference, however, is that many Shia are called “Twelvers,” the largest Shia group, including members of Fatemah.
“There were 12 imams after the prophet, and the 12th one died without an heir,” said Ovamir Anjum, who holds the Imam Khattab endowed chair of Islamic Studies at the University of Toledo. The 12th is known as Mohammed al-Mahdi. “He disappeared without an heir, according to the Shiites, and he died according to the Sunni; he couldn’t have died [say the Shia] because he must have produced an heir, because the world could not continue without an infallible imam to guide — that would be unjust on behalf of God to leave the world unguided, so therefore he must have disappeared, and he is called an occultation, and he will come back toward the end of times to set all things that have gone wrong right, and to bring justice to the world, and so on.”
Some add that the Mahdi and Jesus will return. “They’re working together,” said Sheik Al-Saedy.
An early split
Sunni and Shia differences stem from a split early in Islam’s history, over who would succeed Mohammed as leader of the new faith and be caliph or supreme ruler. It started with Ali, Mohammed’s son-in-law and a close cousin. He was the fourth person to be caliph, but Shiites think he should have been the first because he had family lineage.
The determination that blood succession (Shia thought) might be better than following Mohammed’s companions (Sunni thought) came from the religion’s rapid growth, Mr. Anjum said. Security was not unheard of for the early caliphs, and “that cost two of them their lives.”
Islam took over the Persian Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire in 30 to 50 years, Mr. Anjum said, “so all of a sudden these people have to rule over such a large territory, and what is happening as a result is a different kind of government emerges.”
No more equality, consultation, and piety; it became “almost an imperial model that people are used to in the Near East.”
For the Muslims, “what happens is that two responses develop. There is a small radical minority, always, that says all is lost [the Shia in this case], wherein there is a majority that says, ‘‍But still, we have a lot’ [the Sunnis].”
Disagreements
In their religious practices, Sunnis and Shiites “do have disagreements about certain things,” said Imam Shamsuddin Waheed of Toledo Masjid of Al-Islam, a Sunni mosque, “but we have more in common than the Catholics and the Protestants have in common. We have the same book [the Qur’an]. The Protestants and the Catholics, they have different versions of the same book [the Bible]. The Catholic version has a few more books than the Protestant version. We have the same prophet [Mohammed]. We have the same rituals: the same five daily prayers, same Ramadan, same Hajj.”
Some Muslims today minimize the differences and prioritize their faith. Imam Farooq Abo Elzahab, whose service as clergy leader of the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo will end June 30, said, “There is nothing even called Sunni in Islam. This word came as the opposite of Shia. … We [all] take religion from the Qur’an and the Sunnah and the Hadith of the lifestyle of the prophet Mohammed.”
Historically and geographically, Sunni and Shia have intermingled. “In America, it’s an interesting example, some of the young people identify themselves as Sushis, not Sunni or Shia,” Mr. Anjum said.
Political issues
But political differences are not like religious ones.
“One thing that has recently unfortunately destroyed lots of these webs of networks and relationships in all of these societies is the Syrian conflict,” Mr. Anjum said, “where again it’s more modern politics than religious conflict. It’s a small minority of a particular type of Shia [the Alawites] ... not considered legitimate even by the Twelver Shias, but for politics it doesn’t matter. ... Some would not even consider them Muslim.”
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is “an offshoot of al-Qaeda, and the ‘‍Islamic state’ is obviously a misnomer,” Mr. Anjum said. “They’re not a state. ... They’re a vigilante sort of group, a terrorist group.”
“We don’t know what they have,” said Sheik Al-Saedy. “They don’t like Muslim people. They don’t like Christianity. They don’t like Jewish. Right now in Iraq, they destroyed all the churches for Christianity, they destroyed mosques, and they killed anyone outside. They raped a girl. We don’t know where they come from.”
“We‘‍re reading articles in the media, even the Muslim media, [that say] a lot of the people who are going there are actually from places where there are no Shia,” Imam Waheed said.
Members of ISIS are “drawing themes that a large number of Muslims would identify with,” Mr. Anjum said. “One of them is that Muslims should not have boundaries dividing them. There’s no reason for Muslims in Iraq and Syria to be separate. These modern nation states that were created, actually, by the British and the French map makers after the First World War, they’re unnatural and destructive, and all kinds of conflicts have existed between these states, so this is almost a romantic theme among Muslim intellectuals throughout the 20th century that ‘‍we should all get back together.’ But of course the actual narrow interests of the elite in any of these countries don’t go along with that very well.”
Mr. Anjum said there is a magic solution.
“Study things. ... Knowledge and education are extremely important. One of the things that happens in our contemporary society is people have a very uncomfortable relationship with facts. ... The solution, to me, is education and community. ... Healthy communities where you can have healthy relationships within that are intact, and with other communities in faith. Christian and Muslim communities, and Shia and Sunni communities within Islam.”
Contact TK Barger: tkbarger@theblade.com, 419-724-6278 or on Twitter @TK_Barger.

Read more at http://www.toledoblade.com/Religion/2014/06/22/The-Sunni-Shia-divide-Conflictputs-Islamic-sects-back-in-spotlight.html#LzE1Z48t8APe6dHI.99

Newspaper clipping: Ramadan


Month-long observance of Ramadan starts today

BY TK BARGER
BLADE RELIGION EDITOR
Imam WaheedImam Waheed
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Today the month of Ramadan begins for Muslims, the holy month when, through fasting and other actions, religious people live their faith with greater attention.
Imam Abo ElzahabImam Abo Elzahab
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Observing Ramadan is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith. Others are belief in one God, with Muhammad as God’s prophet; being charitable to the poor; and making at least one pilgrimage to Mecca if a person is able. And there is a pillar to pray, and it is customary to pray five times a day.
Sheik Al-SaedySheik Al-Saedy
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Muslims who are able to stand, kneel, and bow do those actions in a standard way. It is a ritual, a routine of words, bowing, and kneeling that makes up a unit of prayer. The number of units of the routine varies for the different prayer times in the day. In those units there is also time for personal prayer.
The Masjid Al-Islam, a mosque on Bancroft Street in Toledo, has the Qur’an’s first Surah or chapter in Arabic script on the wall of the mosque’s prayer room. “It’s the main prayer text,” Shamsuddin Waheed said. He translated:
“It says, ‘In the name of God, the beneficent, the merciful. Praise belongs to God, the lord of the universe, the beneficent, the merciful, master of judgment day. It is you we worship, you we seek assistance from. Guide us upon the straight path, the path of those whom you have blessed; not the path of those with whom you are angry nor the path of those who are astray.’”
Imam Farooq Abo Elzahab, who ends 16 years of service this month as religious leader at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo in Perrysburg, described the manner of prayer. “You read that first chapter in the Qur’an—’The Opening,’ ‘Al-Fatihah’—and a few verses from the Qur’an. If you memorize it or do not memorize it, that’s fine.”
There are different types of bowing, according to ritual. When bowing and kneeling, people praying say, in Arabic, “‘Glory be to God the greatest,’” Abo Elzahab said, “but in prostration it is ‘Glory be to God the highest.’ You are in the lowest position, you remember the most high one, and in this kind of position we are the closest to God. The whole body, soul, from the toes to the head, everything is surrendered to God on the mother earth that we’ve been created from. ... Now you can reveal everything to God, you can ask for anything, you can whisper to God, you can cry to God, you can beg God for forgiveness, for guidance, for health, for a cure, for unity, for love, for this, for anything you’d like to have.”
The five daily prayers are “all of them the same,” said Sheik Rahim Al-Saedy, imam of the Fatemah Islamic Center in Sylvania, “because we worship God. In the morning or afternoon or evening, it’s the same thing.” However, that doesn’t mean some people don’t have favorites.
Imam Waheed likes the dawn. After that prayer, “then the rest of your day pretty much goes smooth,” he said. “But I also find that, say, for example, I oversleep. Now you still pray, but it’s considered late, so I find … the rest of the day doesn’t go that smooth, and a lot of Muslims that I talk to say similar things. I can’t say why that’s the case but that seems to be the case.”
“The prayer described in the Qur’an is a timely obligation,” said Abo Alzahab. “Just to be standing in front of God five times a day, most likely that makes the person behave, or at least have this kind of self-criticism or self-exposure to himself and with God five times a day. So if he did his day good so far till midday or afternoon … then he’s thankful to God. If he did something wrong, then he’ll make an apology to God. So it is really to make up, it is really to correct your record five times a day. … The last one is to thank Allah or God for living my day to the best of my ability, trying to please God, trying to do what is good; so when I sleep, then I am entrusting God with my soul so far. If I have another day to live, that is great. If I do not have, I ended my day praying to God and seeking his forgiveness.”
Contact TK Barger @ tkbarger@theblade.com, 419-724-6278 or on Twitter @TK_Barger.

Read more at http://www.toledoblade.com/Religion/2014/06/28/Month-long-observance-of-Ramadan-starts-today.html#tseTas6W7mzrPf3w.99

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Contemplating Islamic principles: Marriage, love and family ties in today's world

Introduction

We often say that "Islam is the answer", that all of  the contents of the Qur'an and the Sunnah have all we need for guidance, even though the scripture and the Prophet to whom it was revealed, upon whom we pray for God's choicest of blessings and peace, was sent forth fourteen centuries ago, in the Arabian peninsula.

Yet, this assertion is under constant scrutiny. It is questioned, even by some believing, practicing Muslims.There are a number of examples from the Islamic texts, terms and concepts, particularly from the realm of social relations, that are cited, be it Jizyah, Dhihaar{Ft.#1}, AhlidhDhimmah, and so forth. Should these type of concepts be revived in a modern, complex and diverse world? If so, in what fashion? If these things should be consigned to the past, would that not deny the assertion that Islam has all the answers? Would it not show Islam to be relevant only to a particular moment in the past?

To answer this question, we would like to examine the example of male-female relations.


Relations between men and women a  foundation for healthy life

This statement needs no textual evidence to back it up. Adults know this instinctively. Humans seek out the companionship of the opposite sex, be it through Halaal or Haraam means. If unsuccessful, that failure can lead to many problems, creating bitterness that can eventually lead even to things such as suicide and murder, as we recently seen with Elliot Rodger, a young man who, due to his failures with women, went on a rampage in Santa Barbara, California , killing seven people as well as himself.

In the time of the Prophet, Sall Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam, there were men who swore off women. One says he will fast continously, and another says he will even undergo castration, that way there is no distractions and they can simply devote their time to worship.The Prophet responds to this by saying "I fast and I break fast [meaning that he doesn't continously fast], and I marry women." He says " Marriage is my Sunnah, and whosoever abandons my Sunnah is not of me." [ Bukhari, 62:1, narrated by Anas ibn Malik]


Searching for love

Worldwide people have grown up watching movies and hearing about 'soulmates', seeking out 'love'{ft.2}. The modern world's method is for dating to take place, the couple go out for a couple years, discover is they are indeed compatible in all areas, 'fall in love' and marry. Admittedly the emotional tie is the norm. There is no objection, either religious, moral or legal, to wanting to love and be loved. But we have to admit, Islam - God's Deen for the benefit and health of humanity, is actually very realistic. What we mean by this is that while the rhetoric of love is very appealing, this pattern of repeated relationships people go through, having the ups and downs of emotional attachments even when unmarried, brings forth constant instability. Countless problems are created because of this instability, a pattern that repeats itself so much that a person, even a 'catch'- may never move forward towards other important life areas.


Looking at some of the options available 

Islam does not lend support to sexual relations, except in a certain context, i.e. the marriage context. Even in that, Islamically [as per the Sunnah], marriage is very easy. Agreement [Qubool] between the parties, a gift to symbolize the man's responsibility in this serious manner [Mahr or dowry], a ceremony [Ft.3], the agreement being witnessed by a minumum of two witnesses.Forced relationships are Haraam.

Society may have certain expectations that are unrealistic or unreachable for certain peoples. Moreover, there are also traditional demands about having spouses from the same race or social status, village, family or tribe etc, leading to extreme stress and late marriage, if at all.

The Qur'an has this to say, as an example of the options available. The quoted translation is from Saheeh International.

And whoever among you cannot [find] the means to marry free, believing women, then [he may marry] from those whom your right hands possess of believing slave girls. And Allah is most knowing about your faith. You [believers] are of one another. So marry them with the permission of their people and give them their due compensation according to what is acceptable. [They should be] chaste, neither [of] those who commit unlawful intercourse randomly nor those who take [secret] lovers... 4:25

To put it in another way, if the normal avenue of marriage is unavailable for a man, he should expand his field of potential mates to include those whom he would not usually seek out. Why not seek out, or at least be open to, a woman who already has children? Or a widow, as there are many women who have been widowed as a result of the war in Syria and Iraq.

Islam repeatedly connects solving social problems with the religious life. A woman struggling, for whatever reason, does not need limited charity. Charity, although good and a religious pillar, is of a limited reach. However, a woman or a mother with children with no support will find long-term solution in being with a man who at least is willing to deliver emotional, moral, physical and of course financial support. That- in term- will see the development of love, of families melding together, of becoming attached and loving children.

We also admit that Islam allows a limited polygamy. All of these allowances from the Most Wise Creator, if done with maturity, planning, a realistic [as opposed to ideal] outlook, can bring forth more peace in neighborhoods, responsibility, less burden on governments. Men and women learning to expand their scope of care and support. In the end, that is the miracle of miracles. Community oriented and socially responsible human beings who seek to obey Allah and his Messenger.

Footnotes
[1] Dhihaar was a common divorce method in Pre-Islamic Arabia designed to maximize suffering to a woman, so that she could neither expect support from her husband nor seek out a new husband. The Qur'an [ 58:2-3] outlawed this practice.

[2] An interesting fact is that the Arabic word for love, Hubb, is from the same root as the word Habb, which means seed. The ideas interchanging within these words are obvious. From the seedling we may get a fruit producing tree, benefitting generations. The same can be said of love.

[3] In many societies the important thing is the signing of the marriage agreement ['Aqd], the ceremony only being for public consumption. Moreover, it is often the case that neither the groom nor bride are at the signing, being signed instead by representatives.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Seal of the Prophets: examining the import of the Muhammadan light








"Muhammad is not the father of any of your males, however, he is the messenger of Allah, and the seal of the Prophets. And Allah is knowledgeable of all things." [Qur'an 33:40]


To my knowledge, there is no other text or message in any faith like that of the above mentioned ayah. While other faiths undoubtedly assign exclusive claims to salvation and use texts to support that belief [ft.#1], the Qur'an is the only scripture that uses the expression Khatm an Nabiyyeen, seal of the Prophets.




Muhammad is not the father of any of your males


This line is a bit deeper than expressing the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم only had daughters. It shows us that his message will never die out, nor is it bound by a specific group, sect or personality. Almighty Allah reminds the Prophet "Surely We [Allah] have given you [O Muhammad] 'Al-Kauthar'. So, pray to your Lord and sacrifice. Surely, the one who is hateful to you [O Muhammad] will have no legacy" [Qur'an 108:1-3].
He is a prophet or a messenger for the entire world, a sufficient guide, a mercy to all nations, so his reach is far and wide. In today's world, we see that, even though the Prophet, upon whom be peace, was an Arab, his followers are mostly Non Arab, Arabs themselves are a minority in the Muslim world.

So, if he is not a father of any males, if he is not bound by ethnic or time constraints, who is he? what is he?  "However, he is the messenger of Allah, the seal of the prophets".

He delivers the message and is himself the embodiment of that message. 


Umm al Mu'mineen 'A'ishaa Radee Allahu 'anhaa, when asked about the Prophet's character, replied "His character was the Qur'an" [Muslim]


""It is he who has sent among the Ummiyyeen [ The Arabs]  a messenger [ Muhammad] , relating to them his [Allah's ] signs, purifying them, teaching them the scripture and wisdom. And before that, they had been in a clear state of loss. And to others who have not yet joined them [this messenger and this Qur'an has come to likewise benefit them] .And he is the exalted, the wise. This is Allah's bounty, he gives to whom he wills. And Allah is the possessor of bounty, the magnificent." [Qur'an 62:2-4]

What does that message consist of?

[1] Ultimate unity of humanity  [Q 30:22, 49:13] [ft.3]

[2] Freedom of religion or conscious actually granted by God [Q 2:256,  18:29]

[3] Collective decision making [as opposed to dictatorship and oppression] a necessary element in running a society. [  Q 42:38-39]

[4] A method of solving marital problems [  Q 4:35]

[5] A just economic system, which includes the total abolition of Usury [  Q 2:275-281, 3:130, among other verses]


Islam finds its completion in the coming of the Prophet Muhammad - upon whom be peace and blessings-and in the scripture sent forth to him, the Glorious Qur'an. There is no need for a Rasool or a Nabi after him [Ft.4]. This format of completion was the Divine will and in accord with the Divine wisdom, which is precisely why the verse  ends "And Allah is knowledgeable of all things." The wisdom of Allah is often hard to see, especially right away, and especially when a spiritual diet of deep prayer and contemplation has been absent [ft.5]. But when we look at the message he came with- in detail and with open eyes- we find answers to all our issues, even if we don't like the answers. That message presents a vision of what God's earth should look like, it gives us general principles that can work anywhere, a source of blessing that benefits all humanity. May we benefit from that blessing, as truly none but the foolish reject blessings!

Footnotes

[1] An example of an exclusive claim to salvation is the Biblical statement " None  come to the father, except through me [Jesus].." [ John 14:6]

[2]  Arabs constitute only 20% of Muslims worldwide. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_world

[3] These Quranic verses show us that God intentionally made different skin colors, languages and cultures, so that humans can benefit from each other. 

[4] Muhammad is given the title of Rasulullaah [messenger of Allah] and Khatm an Nabiyyeen [seal of the Prophets]. The Risaalah [message] given to him is mainly preserved within the Qur'an itself, as this article cited. There is no need for any more. With that said, there has been attempts to explain these plain Quranic statements in a different way, in order to open the door for more claims, but these efforts have been quite unsuccessful. Elijah Muhammad [1897-1975] saw himself as "the messenger of Allah" to Black America [and even called one of his main books The message to the Blackman in America], teaching a doctrine of racial separation and a number of odd assertions, seemingly a mixture of ideas gleamed from the Bible, Islam, and freemasonry. Yet, upon the death of Elijah Muhammad, his son W.Deen Mohammed [known as Imam Warith Deen Mohammed] attained the leadership of his father's Nation of Islam and through a deliberate process led the organization to Orthodox Islam. The latter argued that this was the plan all along, even from the time of his father's teacher W.D. Fard [Fard Muhammad]- to have this process that would allow for the eventual acceptance by African Americans of Islam. So, while the followers of Imam W.D. Mohammed [who passed away in 2008] still have respect for his father, he is not seen as Allah's messenger.

 In recent years, in the Malay countryside, a man named Abdul Kahar Ahmad proclaimed himself a Prophet for the Malaysians [Rasul Melayu]. This only accomplished him being on the run for a number of years, eventually, he announced he was "retiring" from the job! 

Rashad Khalifa [ 1935-1990] claimed to be a messenger, he preferred to use the Farsi term [even though he was an Egyptian] Rasool-e- Khuda. He argued that he discovered a mathematical code within the Qur'an, his teachings developed to an eventual rejection of the Prophet's Sunnah in its entirety, that there was two "false insertions" in the Quranic text, among other things. Despite the great attention he received, and- after his death- the revival of grandiose claims by his followers on the internet, they don't have even a single physical place wherein they meet. 

Ghulam Ahmad  [1835-1908] is a most interesting figure. A prolific writer and poet in many languages, he emerged in India as a figure eventually claiming to be the second coming of Jesus and Mahdi in one person, eventually claiming a prophethood, albeit an inferior one [Zill-e- Nabi, in the shadow of Muhammad], still a follower of Muhammad.  His followers have interpreted "seal of the Prophets" to mean not the last, but the seal of approval for the prophet to come, meaning himself [Ghulam Ahmad]. [ see the Ahmadi translation The Holy Qur'an, 2003, edited by Malik Ghulam Farid, Islam international publications Ltd, London, page 911]. These claims have separated the Ahmadis from the wider Muslim world, and in Pakistan there is limited social relations between Ahmadis and Non Ahmadis. 

There is reason to believe that Ahmad was using metaphorical, sufi language that has been misunderstood, this is the argument used by some of Ahmad's early disciples such as Maulana Muhammad Ali, himself a prolific writer and translator of the Qur'an in English and Urdu. As a result, the Ahmadiyya sect divided into two camps, the latter one being founded by Maulana Muhammad Ali [the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha-at-e-Islami Lahore or Lahoris for short], still believing that Muhammad was indeed the final Prophet, and the Ahmadiyya movement in Islam, known  widely as the Qadianis, whose headquarters are now in London.  So it can be seen that these claims have done nothing but create confusion and fitnah whereever they emerge.

[5] Deep contemplation is an item needed to make correct decisions, especially in the spiritual realm. There are many Quranic verses and sayings of the Prophet that highlight this, one hadeeth has it that the Prophet said "Contemplating for a single hour is more useful than a year's worth of ritual worship" [Arabic: Tafakkuru Saa'atan Khayrun min 'Ibaadati Sanah.] [  Ibn 'Abbas, Bayhaqi].

A Christian theologian observes, about the Prophet " Muhammad is an example of a man who really made history when the time was ripe. In Arnold Toynbee's terminology, a 'challenge' was given; it was matched in the person of Muhammad by the 'response'" [ Hans Kung, Islam, past present and future, page 124, 2007 Oneworld publications, London.]