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It is indeed very regrettable that your parents behave in the way described by you. They are ruining their own happiness in this life, are contriving to be deprived of the Grace of Allah in the life hereafter; and, what is even more tragic, they are ruining the lives of their children by putting such emotional strains upon them. Children brought up in such an atmosphere have to be extra alert to protect themselves from psychological effects of this negative influence. It is for this reason that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) said : "May Allah curse the parents who (by their misconduct) instigate their children to disobey them''.
This much about your parents. Now about your duty towards them. It is incumbent upon you to behave respectfully towards them, inspite of all their shortcomings. Islam has emphasized the cardinal virtue of the obedience towards parents even if the parents are 'Kafir'.
It is ordained in the Quran :
''And We enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents: Show gratitude to Me and to thy parents. To Me is your return. And if they strive to make you join in worship with Me things of which you have no knowledge,obey
them not; yet bear them company in this life with fairness and consideration." (Qur'an, 31:14-15).
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said : "There are three things about which one has no option, (one has to fulfil them without any condition attached): To return to the owner the thing entrusted to one's care, whether the owner be pious or debauchee; and to fulfil the promise whether it was (made) to a pious or a debauchee; and to do good to the parents whether they be pious or sinners".
So far as loving your aunt more than your parents is concerned, I think in the circumstances mentioned by you, it is understandable; and personally I see no harm in it, provided your dealing with your parents is based on respect and good manner.
As children of one father have a feeling of brotherhood because all are the off-springs of one father, likewise, the creatures of One God are bound to have brotherly feelings towards each other because they are the creation of One Creator.
By telling them of those prophecies and warning them to abstain from evil deeds. Forewarned is fore-armed.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) used to change the names of newly-converted Muslims if their previous names were not good. He guided the Muslims thus: "Select good names for yourself, because you will be called by those names on the Day of Resurrection - Get up O So and so son of so and so".

And in other traditions it is explained that good names are those of prophets and Imams and those names which indicate that one is a servant of Allah. For example, 'Abdullah (Slave of Allah.).

This much about desirability of changing the previous names. Coming to the practical side, many names used by the Europe and Americans are not good at all. People use those names without knowing their meaning. Take, for example, your own previous name "Everett". Look for its meaning in a dictionary of names and you will find that it means 'strong as a wild boar: Such a name will not be liked in a Muslim society.
The questions in your letter are based on some assumptions which have no connection with Islam; and you have drawn such conclusions from the ayats of the Holy Qur'an which give the impression that you have not studied those ayats. Before going in details, it will save much time if I give here the facts about Friday prayer and sura Juma.

1.Jurn'ah prayer was established in the first week of the arrival of the Holy Prophet at Madina. Sura Jum'ah was revealed not to establish that prayer but to tell the people to stop trading on hearing the Adhan ofJurn'ah prayer and hurryingly go to participate in it; and, when the prayer is finished, to continue their affairs, but remembering God in every condition and every time.

2.There is no such thing as "Rest Day" or "Sabbath Day" in Islam. The idea behind the Muslim "Day of Assembly" is diametrically different from that behind the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) or Christian Sunday.

I will give the details afterwards; but here I should mention the main differences:-
a.The Jewish Sabbath is primarily a commemoration of God's ending his work and resting on the seventh day.

But the Mualims are taught that God needs no rest, nor does he feel fatigue (Qur'an, 2:255 and 50:38).

b.The Jewish command forbids work on that day, but says nothing about worship or prayer. (Exodus, 20:10).

Muslims are not forbidden to work on Fridays; and our ordinance lays chief stress on remembrance of God.

c.Jewish formalism went so far as to kill the spirit of the Sabbath and called forth the protest from Jesus, "the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath:' (Mark, 2:27)

Christian church has inherited the same spirit, except in so far as it has been secularized.

But our teachings are: When the time for Jurn'ah prayer comes, close your business and answer the summons earnestly, meet loyally, pray and learn by social contact and religious sermon; when the meeting is over, scatter and go about business.

d.Christians' Sabbath, i.e. Sunday was not ordained by God. The Christians changed from Saturday to Sunday to appease pagan tendencies, as I will explain later.

Jum'ah is not a concession to any group or tendency, it was established, first and last, to assemble, pray and seek the grace of Allah; remembering Him at all times.

3.The Sura ofJum'ah rendered a death blow to claims on which Jewish pride was based:
a.They claimed to be the children or chosen people of God. God told them to desire death if they were sincere in their belief; and then declared that "never will they desire for it" because of their bad deeds, for which they are afraid to receive punishment from God.

b.They claimed to be the possessors of Torah (Law). But as they did not act upon it they have been compared to a donkey holding a load of books on its back.

c.Theysaid theyhadadayof sabbath (Saturday) forthem.Godshowed thatthedays in themselves have no significance. If God could ordain Saturday a sacred day for a nation, He easily could and did change it to Jum'ah for the whole mankind.
4.The sanctity of Friday for the Muslims was estabilished long before the Sura ofJum'ah was revealed. The Holy Prophet in innumerable traditions declared that Friday was the weekly "id" as "Idul-Fitr" and "Idul-Adha'' were annual "Ids". Friday is foremost of the days of the week just as Mecca is superior to all regions of the world and Rama­ dhan is superior to all the months of the year. The names given to Friday by the Holy Prophet are: "Day of Grace': "Day of Blessings': "Day of Mercy", "Day of Acceptance of Prayers': "Day of "Id': "Day of Piety': "Day of Honour': "Day of Abundance':

I think this much will be enough to remove your misunderstandings. But it is necessary to point out where you have erred in your letter and to give some details of the points mentioned above.

5.I have already mentioned that there is no such thing as "Rest Day" in Islam as it is understood by the Jews. The Jews believe that God created the universe in six days and rested on the seventh day:

"And on seventh day God ended his work which he had made and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it because on it he had rested from all his work which he created and made:' (Genesis, 2:2,3).

This belief is absolutely wrong, because, first of all, the "six-day-creation" theory is now discarded even by the Jews and the Christians themselves, as it has been proved to be wrong by all branches of science.

6.Apart from that, there is no sense at all in saying that God did rest. The need of rest presupposes tiredness and fatigue. And tiredness and fatigue presupposes a body. There can be no fatigue without a body. But God is not a body. How could He feel fatigue? By the way, I am sending you a booklet "God of Islam" which I request you to study carefully. I am sure that its study will remove many of your misunderstandings. The Holy Qur'an clearly refutes this belief in Sura 50, ayat 38:-

''And we created the skies and earth in six periods (or stages) and touched us not any fatigue".

7.Also the Jews think that God did no work on the seventh day. But the Qur'an says: "Every day He is in a (new) splendorous manifestation': (Sura 55, Ayat 29). Think for a moment. If the universe can go on working without God's guidance for one day, then why can't it go on working without God for seven days? What is the need of believing in a god at all?

And if the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, the Earth and the whole Universe can go on functioning for billions of years without any rest, is it not ridiculous to believe that their Creator became tired and felt the need of rest after six days work?
8.There are seven ayats in the Holy Qur'an in which skies and earth and what is between them have been declared to be created in six periods or stages. The word used in them is ''Ayyam". Ayyam in Arabic means 'days' and 'periods: Now how to know what the Qur'an says on this subject? The Holy Prophet had said: "I am leaving behind two precious things, the Book of God and My family members who are my descendants; and so long as you will hold fast unto them you will not go astray; and they will not separate from each other till they reach to me on the Haud (of Kauthar) in Qiyamah". Thus the Holy Prophet declared that the true meaning of the Holy Qur'an could be ascertained from the family members of the Prophet only.

Imam Muhammad Baqir, the grand-son oflmam Husain bin 'Ali (the grand-son of the Holy Prophet) said that ''Ayyam" means 'periods: not days. This interpretation is found in all the books of Tafsir written by those who follow the true successors of the Holy Prophet in matters of religion.

9.Unfortunately, the majority of the Muslims ignored this directive. They begged at every door for the meaning of Qur'an, except the door of the family-members of the Prophet. As a result many baseless ideas became the integral part of the Sunni belief. One of their spiritual guides was Ka'b-ul-Ahbar, a former Jew who was converted to Islam who used to interpret every 'ayat of the Qur'an from the background of his previous learning. Thus he imported every Jewish trash into Islam. It was his teaching, based upon Jewish legend (found in Old Testament) which led the Sunnis to believe that the Hamites, i.e. black people are a cursed nation (See Genesis 9:25) and that they are doomed to perpetual servitude of other nations. It is because of this myth that the white minority of Southern Africa claims divine right to keep the Africans in a condition which is far worse than the old days' slavery. And it is because of such writings of scriptures that the Dutch Reformed Church openly supports the policy of apartheid, much to the embarrasment of other churches which (not because of any religious conviction, but purely on political ground) mean to appease black Africans by condemning apartheid.

10.Anyhow, it was that same Ka'b-ul-Ahbar who taught the Sunnis that ''Ayyam" in those ayats meant 'days'; and that the universe was created in six days. Such baseless theories have become the integral part of the Sunni faith, because they have been taught the garbled Tafsir of the Qur'an. But neither Islam, nor the Qur'an is responsible for such worthless stuff which was imported from sources alien to Islam.

11.Now I must point out some of your mistakes. I wonder whether you have really read correctly the verses of the Qur'an which you have quoted in your letter. You have drawn such conclusions from those ayats which can never be thought of even in a dream. For example:-

Where does the ayat 10 of Sura Jum'ah admonishes the Muslims 'to work hard on six days? The ayat simply says that at the call ofJum'ah prayer the Muslims must leave off all trading activities and after the prayer they are to disperse and seek the grace of God, remembering Him always and everwhere. Where is the question of working 'six days' or the 'rest' on 'seventh day? This ayat says, if anything, that the Muslims have to work hard for seven days except for about one hour for Jum'ah prayer. Likewise, you say that Sura 7 ayat 54 wants us 'to rest on the seventh day: I am amazed to hear it; because this ayat tells no one (not even the Jews) to rest on any day. It simply says that 'God created skies and earth in six "periods:' There is nothing to link it with a 'rest day:

12.Then you go on saying that "Sura 4:154 support that Saturday was a rest day for the Muslims". Here also you are in gross error.

Ayat 154 of Sura 4 is a continuous narration of the transgression of the Jews. It says, inter alia, ''And we lifted up the mountains over them ... and said we unto them exceed not (our limits) in the sabbath day; ..:' It enumerates the rebellious nature of the Jews that whatever they were told they violated it. It does not mean that Saturday was to be a day of Rest for the Muslims! All it says is that Saturday was sacred for the Jews and they violated its sanctity.

13.Also you quote Sura 16 ayat 124 as the proof that Muslims were to rest on Saturday. But ayat 123 -124 of Sura 16 clearly say that whatever sanctity was given to the Saturday was only for the Jews and it had no permanent value.

Prophet Musa was sent at least 1300 years after Prophet Ibrahim. As Bani Israel were very, hard-hearted, God ordained them a shari'ah which was very tough. The ordination of Sabbath was one of those rules. It was a part of the shari'ah of Prophet Musa and it was not for the whole mankind for all the time. When the Holy Prophet of Islam was sent by God he claimed that he was reviving the
fundamental religion brought before by the Prophet Ibrahim, free from all additions which had outlived their usefulness. The Jews asked why didn't he observe the Sabbath. It was in reply to this objection that the ayat 123 and 124 and connected ayats were revealed. It says:
"So we revealed unto thee (0 Apostle Muhammad) that thou followeth the (pure) religion of Ibrahim, the upright one, and he was not of the polytheists.

"Verily the Sabbath was ordained only for those who differed about it, and verily thy Lord will judge between them '

This ayat shows that:
a.Sabbath was not in the days of Ibrahim;
b.It was not for the whole mankind,
c.It was ordained as punishment to the Jews who were always quarrelling and
d.Even the believers in the Sabbath differ among themselves - some keep it on Saturdays, others have switched to Sundays, while a group among the latter still clings to Saturdays.
14.When St. Paul turned Christianity into Paulinity, and 300 years after Christ, Emperor Constantine (fomerly a follower of Mithraism) was converted to this Paulinity (erronously called Christianity), the Christian priests changed almost all tenets of Christianity to suit the new converts. Mithraism held Sunday as a sacred day because it was the day of Sun (Sunday) which was worshipped in Mithraism. Therefore Christians changed Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. Also it should be said that Prophet 'Isa is known to have been born in summer (perhaps April), but as the followers of Mithraism held festival of Sun on 25th December, the Christians invented the myth that Christmas was the birthday of Christ.

15.Now, I think you can easily understand that we Muslims do not keep any day as a rest day, be it Friday or Sunday or Saturday. And also you will know why the Muslims do not keep Friday as a strict day of rest.

16.Prayer is to be performed on Fridays. It does not matter whether it is the sixth day or the seventh day or the first day.
17.D' Jumat is not English rendering of - it is written so in continental languages like Italian and French. Perhaps you have seen it written like this in the writings of Christian missionaries of non-English origin.

18.Ayat 68 of Surah 39 has nothing to do with Jesus Christ. From where have you imported the idea of "Jesus coming and raising dead" in this ayat. As a matter of fact there is no mention of Jesus in that whole Sura.

19.You are absolutely wrong in thinking that the Holy Prophet was to confess. All Prophets were sinless (Ma'sum), free from all errors, mistakes and faults. (For details see our book "Prophethood").

20.Christianity teaches that Jesus was crucified to atone the sins of those who believe him to be the son of god; and if anybody believes in this myth, he ensures his salvation automatically.

That belief ingrained in Christians'minds has left the Christians free to do whatever they like in this world. They may drop Atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they may burn and massacre innocent women and children to bring civilization to Vietnam; they may keep "uncivilized" Africans and Asians in virtual servitude, they may legalise homosexualty, they may perform marriages between two males in a church, their woman may go naked in pleasure-shops, they may swap wives; they may do any thing they like because they have ensured their salvation by believe Jesus Christ.

If by automatic salvation you mean something like this,then, I am sorry,we have no such thing to offer.

The Qur'an repeatedly emphasizes on True Belief ('Iman) and good Deeds ('Amal­ e-saleh) for salvation. Also, the Holy Prophet has said: "There is no intercessor more successful then Tawbah (Repentance.)"

There is, also Mercy of God, and intercession of Holy Prophet and the Imams on behalf of the sinners, but this also is not "automatic".
Rebelling against and disobeying parents; fornication/adultery; sodomy; lesbianism; drinking liquor; gambling; eating flesh of swine and other forbidden things; usurping other people's property; bribery, foresaking religious duties; stealing; pimping and helping adultery; lying; backbiting and creating discord; usury; murder; embezzlement; oppression.

Masturbation; breach of promise; cheating; adulteration in merchandise; spying in other peoples' affairs; abusing and recrimination; indecent dressing by women; helping the oppressor; judgement against the tenet of Islam.

Niggardliness; envy; cowardice; lack of courage; treachery and enmity; vengeance; complaining when in distress.

Boasting, greed; laziness, vain talk and self-humiliation.
(a)Yes; you should show her brotherly love in worldly affairs, but not in religious matters.
(b)No. She is a Muslim, although at present she is entangled in the capital sin of illegal sexual relations with a Kafir, whom she erroneously thinks is her husband. But if she repents and returns within the boundary of Shari'ah, there is no need to recite Shahadah again.
(c)If she returns to you, the minor children will be treated as Muslims, but they will have to recite Shahadah when they reach age of bulugh.

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