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September 2011

1. DEAR ABE: If Islam's teachings promote equality and being nonjudgmental, why is there a "judgment" day and some people go to heaven and some go to hell? Does the Islamic religion believe in the possibility of reincarnation?  –AHMED, GEORGIA, USA

DEAR AHMED : There is no support in the Quran for reincarnation.  God has provided us one life to choose to follow his guidance [1].  We have been given absolute freedom of choice in this matter [2].  Those who take advantage of this opportunity will be rewarded with heaven in the next life, and those who do not will go to hell [3]. Submission to God is not based on the materials of this world, but on our righteous actions. Thus we are all equal in our opportunity to live a righteous life.  When we are all resurrected, judgment will be done by God alone based on our record [4].

Relevant Quran Verses:  [1] 7:23-25; 30:8; 45:22, 46:3; [2] 33:72; [3] 30:13-16; Sura 56; [4] 22:56.


2. DEAR ABE: I would like to know more about zakat (obligatory charity). I recently purchased some items some of which I intend to resell and some to give as a gift.  Do I need to pay zakat on my income and on my recent purchases?  If so, then when? –RAFIL, INDIA

DEAR RAFIL: Zakat (obligatory charity) is paid on income not assets. You should pay zakat whenever you have income, whether it is from a paycheck or profitable sale of property. According to the Quran, zakat should be paid when we receive the income [1]. Paying zakat on assets is an innovation of scholars and has no basis in the Quran.  A specific portion, traditionally 2.5% of one’s income, is paid to people in need according to the following priorities: parents, relatives, orphans, the poor, and traveling alien [2].

Relevant Quran Verses:  [1] 6:141; [2] 2:177.


3. DEAR ABE: I made a mistake.  I have prayed and made sure that it won’t happen again, but I am still tense.  How can I be sure that Allah will accept my repentance? –LAILA, ASIA

DEAR LAILA: God accepts the repentance of the sincere [1].  You have repented to God, so it is upon you to make sure of your sincerity.  It is essential to guard against similar mistakes in the future and be sure that God is the highest priority in your life [2]. Remembering God and asking for guidance frequently helps us to avoid sin and avoid situations where we are more likely to stray.

Relevant Quran Verses: [1] 3:90, 4:17-18, 5:74, 9:104, 40:3, 42:25; [2]  5:91, 9:11, 17:19, 17:25.

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The answers provided by Abe and friends represent the understanding of the
writers, and should not be taken as the only acceptable approach. The reader is encouraged to research the topics further using the Quran.

Disclaimer: Abe and friends condemn all acts of violence, suicide bombings, and terrorism enacted under the banner of Islam.

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