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Violent to the core.

Islam - 1 hour 45 min ago

A fanatic extremist is just someone who has taken his religion a bit too seriously and follows his doctrine word by word.So apparently ISIS, KKK, and RSS are the doing nothing but following their religion a bit better than the ones who remain a pacifist.

Because coexistence and tolerance are human values not religious. Has Christianity said that since Islam teaches the same thing you’re free to convert and vice versa? Or where has Islam said to go live with atheists? Or has Hinduism ever said not to be casteist assholes and practice inter caste marriages?

People are liberal and tolerant only because they don’t take their religion too seriously.
In case of disagreement just investigate that which religion asks to peacefully coexist with people of other faith or suggest that other religions also teach the same thing and are the paths to the same God AND where?

Categories: Islam

A GOLDEN NAME

Islam - 2 hours 32 min ago

All perfect praise belongs to Allaah, the Lord of the worlds, and may the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his Household, his Companions and his Followers until the Last Day.

Allaah (may He be exalted) has firmly established undeniable authority in His Names, as Allaah says in surah al-‘Araf, verse 180,

“And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allaah”

He then followed this uncompetitive declaration with a command for its applicability,

“so call on Him by them”.

It has then become obligatory upon man to understand their affirmations and negations by staying within the limits mentioned in the texts of the Qur’aan and Sunnah; neither adding to them nor subtracting there from.

The focus of this article however, is on one of these beautiful Names, which has personally been Nick-named “The Golden Name“.

There is no doubt that all the Names stand independently in supreme Greatness, as they are what The Creator, The Uncreated, has either called Himself or described Himself by. The aim therefore isn’t to relegate any but to create a situation of reflection that perhaps we may ponder and become grateful.

FACTS ABOUT THE GOLDEN NAME

  • It is a manifestation of the truthfulness of the Promise of Allaah to His servants as it immediately reminds the one facing trials that Allaah is aware and will grant him ease, since He is The One Who never turns back on His Words.
  • It is a Mercy from Allaah to create certainty and tranquility in the hearts of His servants. The believers are in daily battle, struggling with Eemaan that keeps fluctuating, so Allaah compensated this strive with a golden Mercy – “you don’t need to worry, just call on me and I will respond.” So every time you get a response to your Du’aa, it increases your Eemaan and Dependency on
  • It is the communication pathway: Call – Therefore, the believers understand that there can be no response except there is a call. This then means that it is the outcome of all our communications with Allaah. Hence, no matter how much we are in need, if we don’t call to Him, there will be no response, even though none knows our needs better than Him.

 

AL-MUJEEB -THE RESPONDER, THE ANSWERER

He is Allaah, The One Who Responds to the calls of the caller when he calls. He is Allaah, The Answerer of du’aa (Glorified and Exalted is He).

Allaah says in suurah al-Baqara, Verse 186;

” I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me.”

And in suurah al-Ghafir verse 60, He said;

“And your Lord said: “Invoke Me, I will respond to your (invocation).”

And in suurah Hud, verse 61;

“Certainly, my Lord is Near, Responsive.”

The Name of Allaah, Al-Mujeeb, has in one way or the other been constantly manifested in our daily lives but most of us have never really noticed, let alone be grateful for the form and speed in which our du’aa have been answered. And this is because man is ever heedless to the signs of His Lord and indeed ungrateful.

Hopefully, the perusal of the following beautiful examples from history will sensitize and trigger the acknowledgement of this aspect of our daily existence, if Allaah Wills.

  • Prophet Zakariyya عليه السلام  had no child at old age, his wife was barren. He saw the mercy of Allaah upon Mariam عليه السلام who was supplied with off season fruits from JANNAH. This made him hopeful that the One who gave off season fruits to a human on earth was (and is still) able to give them child at their ages so he didn’t hold back while asking. And you know what? He didn’t only ask for a son at their old ages, but he went further to ask for a blessed child that would inherit his Prophet hood. Why? This is because he knew that Allaah is Able to do that and more, yet it will neither reduce nor add anything to His Magnificent Bounties.  Allaah accepted his Du’aa and granted him Prophet Yahya. (Suurah al-Imran, Verse 37-41).
  • Prophet Sulaiman السلام عليه asked Allaah for a Kingdom that no one will have after him. He had no reservations in asking for something so great because he understood that The One he asked from was, and is still, the Owner of a Vast Kingdom that never ends. His prayer was answered and his request granted. (Suurah Sad, Verse 35-40)
  • Prophet Yunus عليه السلام  cried through the depth of darkness in the belly of the fish to be saved. He recognized his mistakes in leaving the land and forsaking his people so he supplicated for help. Allaah rescued him and even mede his Du’aa a standard for supplication; (Tafsir Ibn Kathir: page 481-486)
  • Sarah, the wife of prophet Ibrahim السلام عليهم invoked Allaah against the evil king that wanted to use her to satisfy his evil pleasure, as was the norm. However, when she invoked Allaah and he witnessed something he could not explain logically, he called her a devil and released her. He even gave her a gift; (Sahih Al-Bukhari 4/3358). This, most times, is the reaction of man when he is confronted with the signs of Allaah and this in itself is a sign for those who call to Allaah with sincerity.
  • From amongst the stories of those before us was a boy who a king wanted to kill because of his faith in Allaah. The king’s several attempts at killing him were thwarted because he said:” O Allaah! Save me from them by any means that You wish.” The boy was only killed when the king, who was an unbeliever, invoked the Name of Allaah, The Exalted; (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, page 427-432). Indeed, nothing gets achieved without calling Allaah.
  • Prophet Ibrahim عليه السلام  made a lot of supplications which were all amazing, unfortunately this text will only discuss the supplication he made after he left his wife Hajar and son Isma’eel in a desert alone without any form of inhabitants but with little date and water; (Sahih Al BuKhari, 4/3364). The supplication was answered across generations after them, today there is no Muslim who doesn’t want to travel to Makkah for Hajj or Umrah. It is amazing, isn’t it? How easy is it for one to leave his loved ones alone in the middle of no where? It is not easy except for those who submit and trust in the qualities of Allaah and know with certainty that Al-Mujeeb will answer the call.
  • When the Prophet Musa السلام عليه was about to be caught while running with the Bani Israel, his companions became despaired when they saw how close the army of Fir’aun was, yet there seemed to be no way out. He said: “Never! My Lord is with me, He will guide me.” (Suurah ash-Shu’araa, verses 61-66). The response came in the form of inspiration and behold, the path opened for them through a sea to escape while the enemies were destroyed.
  • On the Day of battle of Badr, Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسل  , after seeing how the population of the disbelievers overshadowed that of the believers, raised his hands and supplicated to Allaah. “O Allaah, accomplish for me what Thou hast promised to me. O Allaah, bring about what Thou hast promised to me. O Allaah, if this small band of Muslims is destroyed. Thou will not be worshipped on this earth.” Allaah responded by sending down angels in succession to fight with the believers, and they were granted victory. (Sahih Muslim 1763) Indeed Allaah is able to do all things.

The examples are inexhaustible. Even if more pages are filled, justice would never be served in portraying the virtue of this great Name; Al-Mujeeb.

Al-Mujeeb of then is still The One of now. He has never changed and will never change. Why then are there so many draw backs as to the effect of invoking The One Who Answers?

The answer lies with the supplicant. The afore-mentioned were righteous servants of Allaah, who struggled to live within the limits of The Most High. Unlike our generation who invoke while immersed in blatant disobedience of Allaah, and while we invoke in distraction with little faith, the past believing generations were ever constant in personal jihaad.

Hence, emulating their qualities with the below listed conditions is the best step to attaining success, by the Will of Allaah:

  • Tawheed; absolute believe in the Oneness of Allaah.
  • Eemaan; true belief of the heart, speech of the tongue and action of the limbs. Entertaining no doubt that the answer is coming. We need to think good of our Lord.
  • Ihsaan; perfection of worship and invocation/supplication.
  • Tawakkul; total trust and dependency in Allaah.
  • Obedience and submission to the commandments of Allaah.
  • Khushoo; Humility and reverence to Allaah.
  • Inaabah; Turning repentantly to Allaah.
  • Raghbah; Fervent desire to please Allaah, hastening to do good deeds.
  • Khashyah; Dread to commit sin and are in awe of the magnificence of Allaah.
  • Sabr; Patience upon Allaah‘s tests and decrees.
  • Khawf Wa Rajaa; reverential fear, hope and longing for mercy……

It might be argued that all the above conditions have been established yet the Du’aa wasn’t answered.

To that, we will say, referring him to suurah al-Imran, Verse 35-36

“(Remember) when the wife of ‘Imran said: “O my Lord! I have vowed to You as to what is in my womb, to be dedicated for Your services so accept this, from me….” Then when she delivered her, she said: “O my Lord! I have delivered a female child,” – and Allah knew better what she delivered, – “And the male is not like the female,…”

This du’aa was answered but not completely in the form she had expected so she questioned. Then Allaah explained that the answer she got is even better than what she requested for.

The moral?

Sometimes we ask Allaah for a thing, but because He is All-knowing, All-Wise, He grants us something else. It may be that we become despaired but if we reflect at a later date, we become even more grateful as we realize that what we had sought would have been bad for us. So the key is to be patient and hold on to the connection channel while obeying the commands and staying away from the prohibitions of Allaah.

Remember that Allaah remains the same. His promise remains intact for you and I. So when you call Him, hold not back for He is Al-Mujeeb the Responder.

May Allaah answer our supplications and make His commands beloved to us.

Aameen.

By HUMAIRAH.

29th Dhul Qa’adah, 1438 AH.

Categories: Islam

Book Review! Vengeance by Newt Gingrich

Islam - 2 hours 36 min ago

Title: Vengeance
Author: 
Newt Gingrich 
Rating:
4/5
Release Date: 
October 24, 2017

Description from Goodreads.com: Leading politician and bestselling author Newt Gingrich and novelist Pete Earley are back with another gripping international thriller.

A terrorist drives an explosive-packed rental truck into Major Brooke Grant’s Washington, D.C., wedding, intending to detonate a deadly bomb.

Saved by a last-minute fluke, Brooke seeks revenge against the master terrorist responsible, an international radical Islamist known only as the Falcon, who is determined to murder her, bring America to its knees, and create a modern-day caliphate.

An unorthodox, newly sworn-in president recruits Brooke to join a clandestine CIA team in pursuit of the Falcon. With help from an odd coupling-a Saudi intelligence officer and an Israeli Mossad agent-Brooke goes after her elusive zealot nemesis. But before the trio can close in on their target, they discover that America’s worst nightmare has come true.

Intertwined with backroom Washington political intrigue, Vengeance is a fast-paced, realistic thriller that entertains while raising serious questions about our national security, the power of religious faith to inspire good and evil, the consequences of revenge, and the validity of our constitutional safeguards.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Washington Post reporter turned novelist Pete Earley are at their best in this third installment of their bestselling Brooke Grant series.”

Review: This book was really intense. The beginning had me worried about how it would turn out but it was really good and I am glad I continued on. The characters were exciting and this book full of action and suspense.

The characters were hard to figure out and that made them really fascinating. They all played their cards close to their vest so you couldn’t ever see what anyone’s motives were. I was always waiting for someone to do something very unexpected.

I was hooked on this book pretty quick. Like I said earlier, the beginning had me worried, but then you had to keep reading to see how it would all play out. After that, the action got really intense. By the time I got a quarter of the way in it was so action packed that I didn’t really feel as though there was ever a good time to put it down.

This is a scary world we live in right now and this book showed exactly what could happen. With all the talk from North Korea about launching nuclear bombs at the US, this book is terrifyingly relevant to today’s world.

 

 *I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*

 

Categories: Islam

Franklin Graham: 'Politicians Should Stop Saying Islam is a Religion of Peace'

Islam - 3 hours 53 min ago
(via Breitbart) Celebrated evangelical preacher Franklin Graham has urged politicians and other worl
Categories: Islam

The Real Threat to America Comes From Americans

Islam - 4 hours 3 min ago

This month, a man was arrested in Oklahoma City for trying to detonate 1,000 pounds of explosives in a cargo van parked downtown. The attack, he hoped, would cripple the government and start a revolution. Last October, three men were arrested in Kansas for plotting to bomb an apartment complex and a mosque using four cars laden with explosives.

In these febrile days, where terrorists have sought to wreak fear and chaos from Orlando to Paris, and now Barcelona, you’d expect wall-to-wall coverage on cable news about these foiled plots. Terrorism experts would be wheeled out to opine for hours on all angles, from the explosives used to the profile of the would-be attackers to how and why they were radicalized.

Instead, the two incidents got barely any coverage — some brief news spots here and there and a few mentions online. Ask any Arab-American or Muslim in America why those incidents weren’t covered ad nauseam and they’ll reply deadpan: because the would-be attackers were white.

So why has this growing threat not received the same coverage as attacks carried out by Islamist jihadis or Muslim lone wolves? The answer goes to the heart of what every society struggles with: admitting that it can produce darkness.

The alternative explanation — that the plots were ignored because they failed — doesn’t hold water. Just think of the alarmist coverage every time a plot hatched in Yemen targeting the United States is foiled. Nor were these isolated incidents. The FBI just warned that white supremacist groups have already carried out more attacks in the years since 9/11 than any other domestic extremist group and were likely to carry out more.

These attacks happen regularly — and receive barely any media attention. When a mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota, was torn apart by a homemade bomb on Aug. 5, the response was muted. When an Indian man was shot dead in February in a bar in Olathe, Kansas, by a white man who shouted, “Get out of my country,” I struggled to find any coverage on American cable television. The BBC was one of the few media outlets to cover the story in any depth.

People prefer to think evil comes from the outside, not from within. White nationalists and supremacists get treated as a curiosity and described as “dapper” even in progressive magazines like Mother Jones (the magazine was mocked and promptly changed the headline). It’s much easier to believe that the real threat emanates from people from “over there,” who wish Americans harm and threaten their way of life, than to ask hard questions about one’s own society and its unresolved issues.

Until last week, there was no liberal-conservative divide here. From Fox News to MSNBC, the approach was the same. This double standard in media coverage and political discourse, which also feeds Islamophobia, has now received more attention in the wake of the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, but it took a horrific car attack that killed a woman and white men brandishing torches chanting “Jews will not replace us” for the threat of domestic terrorism to rise to national attention.

The repeated invocations of those appalled by the Charlottesville violence has been: “We are better than this” or “this is not who we are.” It reminds me of friends in the Arab world shaking their heads at the violence meted out by the so-called Islamic State or the many awful suicide attacks of jihadi Islamists across the region. In the Middle East, too, the response of many to these crimes is to create distance from the perpetrators, often by blaming outsiders. The Islamic State is the creation of America, these people might say, or 9/11 was a Mossad plot to make Arabs look bad.

Yet the hard truth is that those who perpetrate terrorism are a product of their societies, even if they’re a minority. They’re the result of unresolved issues, deep-seated problems that have been glossed over.

Societies in the Arab world have long struggled with this conversation. Only when militants conducted suicide attacks inside Saudi Arabia in 2003 did the kingdom acknowledge that its austere interpretation of Islam had opened the way for some on the fringes to take it to violent extremes. The rise of the Islamic State again brought to the fore the debate about intolerant religious teachings used by radical clerics to whip disenfranchised youth into a frenzy. But only now is the sectarian hate speech favored by some clerics finally being called out forcefully and very publicly in the kingdom.

In the United States, Republicans harangued Democrats during the 2016 presidential campaign for allegedly refusing to use the words “radical Islamic terrorism” to describe the crimes of the Islamic State and other jihadis. Donald Trump apparently needed convincing to condemn Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan after Charlottesville but wasted no time in tweeting about the threat of Islamic terrorism after the Barcelona attack. Understandably, Democrats and many others are wary of using broad terms that could alienate 1.8 billion Muslims, who find their own world wrecked by a minority of radical violent extremists.

But it is also essential to call things by their name. Experts from the region I spoke to disagreed with the term “radical Islamic terrorism,” which is too broad, but suggested the more specific term “jihadi Islamists.” Hassan Hassan, the co-author of a book about the Islamic State, and Nadia Oweidat, a lecturer on Islamic thought, advised that the best strategy was to address the fact that the Islamic State has drawn inspiration from teachings that are common in the region head-on. Failing to do so, they said, will make it impossible to show how they have subverted those teachings.

In the United States, the focus can’t just be on Trump and statues of Confederate leaders but on the reason why the discourse of white supremacy resonates with some and leads them to violence. It’s important to realize that these outbreaks of violence are the product of deeply rooted injustices in U.S. society — a double standard baked into American life in which Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black boy, is shot dead by police for wielding a toy gun while white militiamen armed to the teeth can march unimpeded in Charlottesville. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe pushed back against criticism that the police didn’t do enough to stop the bloodshed: “It’s easy to criticize.… You saw the militia walking down the street. You would have thought they were an army.”

After Trump’s election, my friend Rabih Alameddine, who fled Lebanon in the 1980s and settled in the United States, wrote an essay titled “Our Part in the Darkness” in reaction to those around him who insisted that “we are better than this.”

“We are not better than this. We are this,” he argued. “The man was elected president. Ipso facto, America is this, we are this.”

Not everyone is this. Not all of America can be reduced to the angry crowd of white men marching in Charlottesville. But from slavery to Japanese internment camps to the voter suppression laws recently popping up all over the country, the United States has had its share of darkness and has not done enough to rid itself of comforting myths that undergird its sense of exceptionalism. America as a shining city on a hill that strives toward progress still appeals and inspires people across the globe; these same people are watching with some trepidation to see how the United States works through this critical moment. Yes, many have loudly denounced racism, hatred, and bigotry, but 67 percent of Republicans also approve of how Trump responded to the events in Charlottesville.

There is perhaps some degree of schadenfreude among Arabs in response to these events. There is a small sense of vindication in realizing that America, which has for so long lectured others about civil rights, democracy, and freedom, has some serious problems of its own that it needs to address.

When the white supremacist Richard Spencer held a press conference just down the road from the White House in November mere days after Trump’s victory, during which his followers raised their hands in a Nazi salute, one Saudi tweeted: “America, we need to talk about your radicalization problem.”

That conversation about why so many young white men feel angry and disenfranchised has certainly now exploded into public view. At CNN, Jim Sciutto wrote that jihadis and white nationalists are both driven by a “search for identity, sick devotion to a cause, and angry reaction to perceived victimization.” And yet the Trump administration has chosen to focus its efforts to counter violent extremism solely on jihadis and ended funding for organizations like Life After Hate, a group that works to deradicalize neo-Nazis.

The singular focus on acts of terrorism by jihadis not only feeds Islamophobia but allows people to ignore the threat of domestic terrorism by white supremacists. But hate is hate, wherever it arises.

“Racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism & Islamophobia are poisoning our societies,” tweeted U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. “We must stand up against them. Every time. Everywhere.”

It’s time to realize that no society is without darkness — and the direst threat facing the United States today may well be from within, not without.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Categories: Islam

What's On Your Plate?

Islam - 4 hours 13 min ago

Introduction to balanced diet.

You’re probably thinking;

“Ugh! this is going to be all about how yucky, healthy food is better than good old fashioned toxic, cheap, stress-free junk we prefer to consume”

Well, let it be clarified that you couldn’t have been more to the point if you tried!

A balanced diet consists of various nutrients that perform different functions in providing the body with what it needs.  Stocking up more than half of your meal plate with carbohydrates and leaving some protein and veggies on the side is not exactly “balancing” your “diet”. The idea is not only to have a taste of each food group, but to give each its due measure. Nutritionists have recommended the 40/30/30 ratio for consuming our carbohydrates, protein and fats.

Here are some useful tips and tricks to help maintain the right balanced diet in shaa Allaah:

  • Our bodies do not NEED processed carbohydrates like white flour, white rice and pasta. They raised the blood sugar level more than sugar itself. So yes, that box of a dozen white floured doughnuts you had for breakfast is not helping your case.
  • Ensure the calories that you derive from carbohydrates, protein and fats are in the 40/30/30 ratio. You won’t feel hunger pangs in spite of eating less food.
  • Men need energy foods (sweet potato, bananas, beans, eggs etc). Children also need energy foods and milk to help them grow.
  • A healthy diet should comprise of three balanced meals per day and snacks when necessary.
  • Add vegetables (pepper, onions, tomatoes) to your omelettes, spaghetti sauces and soups. Veggies are your friends, be nice to them.
  • Remove the visible fat from the meat, and the skin from chicken.
  • It’s recommended to add fish to your meal twice a week, one of which should be oily (like salmon, trout or mackerel)
  • You don’t have to get it right all week. Pay more attention to getting the balance right.

The 5 food groups and their ideal proportion by Jamie Oliver (world-renowned Chef and food campaigner).

  1. Vegetables and fruits (1/3 of plate)
  2. Starchy carbohydrates (1/3 of plate)
  3. Protein (1/6 of plate)
  4. Dairy and milk(1/6 of plate)
  5. Fat/sugar-high food(Small amount)

Reward for Maintaining a Balanced Diet

Who would want to go through the torture of cutting down on foods that only please the taste buds without expecting benefits? Or go through the stress of ensuring he’s eating the right food in the best combinations possible without having a goal in mind? Most likely not the 21st century millenials. So here are some encouragements to get you started on the journey of getting your diet right!

  • Maintaining a balanced diet is important to your health, your body’s organs and tissues. They require proper nutrition to work and perform effectively. Without an adequate diet, you may be at risk of chronic illnesses like diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • Carbohydrates are for energy-burning brain and muscle activity. Fats assist in long term energy, strengthens cell walls and mucous membranes. Protein stabilizes blood sugar, promotes cell growth and repair, aid in hormone production, cell metabolism, maintenance of immune system etc.
  • A stable blood sugar level is one of the major rewards. Extended energy, balanced moods and greater mental performance are all concomitant with this stability.
  • It aids in weight control. Including whole grains, vegetables and fruits in your diet leaves less room for unhealthy and fatty food.
  • According to director of Yale Prevention Research Center, David Katz, essential nutrients are critical for the production and maintenance of key germ fighting cells in the immune system, and a balanced diet also has a strong effect on vascular function, since the immune system is dependent on blood flow.
  • As was previously mentioned, adding fish to your diet (at least) twice a week is recommended (by the American Heart Association). Oily fish such as salmon and trout, contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help in reducing the risk of getting coronary artery disease.
  • Lastly, as a muslim, you earn hassanah (rewards) for taking care of yourself and Lord knows we need as much of those as we can get!

By Halimah Kasim.

28th Dhul Qa’adah, 1438 AH.

Categories: Islam

The Turku, Finland stabbings : Follow-up comment

Islam - 4 hours 17 min ago

I made a follow-up comment on the stabbings in Turku. What do we know now about the perpetrator and what are the reactions? You can watch the video here:

If you like what I do, feel free to support A Swede Speaks. For information about how to do that, take a look at the box to the right.

 

Categories: Islam

Book Review: "Surprise" by Zaheera Jina.

Islam - 4 hours 25 min ago

Surprise” by Zaheera Jina is a feel good book for kids about a Muslim family. 
The story is about two boys receiving a surprise from their mother.
The story is engaging and there is a mystery element till the end of the book.
The language is easy to follow and great.


What I liked most about the book:
1. I believe that in children’s books, authors should try to send good messages both directly and indirectly to the readers.

Because, kids are sponges, and they are always absorbing information. And what they read becomes imbibed in them.

I liked few good examples shown by author : 

A) Healthy eating habit: Broccoli for dinner.

B) Brushing teeth at night. That too with a catchy song! Extra points for that. 

C) Mentioning name of Allah at the time of eating and sleeping.

D) Yousuf helping mom with dishes.

Mothers can encourage their children to adopt these habits from the book.
2. I liked the mention of crickets and moths. It added an element of drama to the book.
It’s a nice story and great for bed time. The illustrations are hand drawn, using color pencils I believe. And guess what the street is called? The “Colour street”. Kids love these things because it triggers their imagination.


What I would have liked:
1. Mention of authentic, arabic duas instead of just english words.

2. I didn’t understand why there is “Aameen” used.
This book is inspired from her personal life and hence extremely relatable. 

I commend the author for a job well done. All the best for your future works.

Categories: Islam

Episode 01

Islam - 4 hours 43 min ago

I had one month to prepare for the trip. Everything had to be done in a rush. The vaccine jab, the visa, and other administrative matters, including the checking of the expiry date for the passport. I have to admit, it was one of the nerve wrecking moments in my life; all of this happening in a flash? Yes!

Believe it or not, lessons were only done twice, fortnightly on Saturday nights. That meant I had to sacrifice my time to travel to the East side, and also one of the Saturdays away from Universal Studios, because at that point of time all NSFs and Regulars were given a special discount to a whole day entry to Universal Studios. But I knew leaving this to attend the class was much more important and crucial. Usually, classes on Hajj and ‘Umrah are done in a stretch of months end. I can understand why, because the ones who will perform this ritual are mostly adults, those who are aging and have saved up a lifetime’s worth of money just to go for the once in a lifetime trip. But I was pleasantly surprised to learn how,  in two lessons, all cramped up in a span of 4/5 hours per class, could make you realise that ‘Umrah is actually simple. Of course, it was draining. We were all so focused on the class, and we were oblivious to the time. We started at around 8 pm….and by the time I looked up to see the time on the wall, it was close to 1 am.

We received two luggages, a pair of ihram clothing. And what is ihram clothing? You’ll know it when you wear it; it’s the most humbling experience in my life to only have two clothes that cover me up without wearing any undergarments or t-shirts. My only fear though, was the thought of having my lower ihram being stepped and pulled over whilst wearing it. That anxiety did wear me out a bit. So I became a little bit conscious when trying it, making sure that it was tight enough to be wrapped around my waist.

 

…and I still find it funny though, the thought of having it being stepped on and it is left opened. May Allah protect us from humiliation!

I wanted to tell no one about this trip, but I knew I had to say my last words to a few closed ones. The thought of leaving and not coming back home made me drop my ego for a moment, and all I wanted was to travel to my Lord with a clean heart. So I did what I had to do. I texted them and told them I was leaving.

Departure day

I didn’t know how to feel that day. A tinge of sadness, a tinge of hope, a tinge of happiness, of the fact that I was finally flying off to the holiest place on Earth. Years of dreaming of it, of listening to the imams reciting the Qur’an, of making persistent dua’, and I was finally flying off to Makkah and Madinah? Alhamdulillah. It was one of the biggest blessings in my life. To the point where my late aunt commented on saying, “You are so fortunate to be going there at such a young age.” She passed away last April. I miss her now. May Allah have mercy on her.

 

My parents were there to send me, as with a few close friends – Shafiq and Uthman. Shafiq was elated for me, and he knew what I was going through. I don’t know but, he has always been that friend that brings on the good vibe with his Jim Carrey impersonations, the endless laughters, and the lame jokes that we both create out of thin air. I miss him now. But, he’s also the friend who’d always chide on me for not taking the opportunities that were presented in front of me. Although it hurts my ego, I feel it’s only because he cares for me, and I love him for that. I’m thankful that this friendship has lasted for the longest time possible. Friends; we should find people who care enough about our well being, both in this world and the next.

The moment came. We said our goodbyes, and off we went into the departure hall. Surprisingly, there were a lot of pilgrims going on the same day as us. But Alhamdulillah, it was a joyous occasion to experience, seeing each and everyone who passed through the departure hall, all going for one purpose, and that is to worship Allah alone. The moment my passport was chopped, I instantly made a new friend. He was to be my friend throughout my whole trip.

8 hour trip. Once we were ushered into the plane and to our seats the relief began pouring down. Everybody was made to seat accordingly. Seat belts on, the standard procedure of the cabin crews instructing us about the do’s and don’ts in the plane, and a few minutes later, we were ready to take off…

At around 3 in the afternoon, the plane took off, leaving everything behind on ground, and me, although still with a heavy heart, took off too just like the plane, slowly flying up into the altitude of peace and serenity, for peace and serenity. Finally, I was on my way to becoming one of His guests in the most beloved places to Him, Masjidil Haram…

 

Categories: Islam

The Gift of Giving

Islam - 5 hours 27 min ago

I recently came across a very interesting Ted talk by Jacqueline Way, who suggests that there is one simple habit that can make you happy and can change the world.

Depression and anxiety is something that affects 300 million people worldwide, according to WHO (World Health Organization). Needless to say, it is so common amongst our population. But Jacqueline suggests something that, if we do consistently, will make us smile, others smile, and the world a better place overall.

The solution lies in doing good deeds.

Jacqueline Way suggests that something as simple as giving can make us happier overall. Scientists, she says, have understood that the brain releases endorphins when we give, which is called the ‘helper’s high’, and it is proven to make us happier. Furthermore, some scientists suggest that we are actually programmed to be generous, contrary to the popular theory of ‘survival of the fittest.’ Being selfless and altruistic makes us cooperate which is better in the long run than groups that have conflict. Scientists realized with studies using MRI scans that people that made the decision to give, whether it was voluntary or involuntary, were happier after they had made that decision because it had activated the area in the brain responsible for rewards. Your serotonin goes up, and your cortisol levels drop; giving naturally reduces anxiety and stress, and it makes you happier.

This suggests that we are better off when we give!

The Benefits of Giving

According to Way’s website, 365give, giving has several positive impacts:

  • It reduces bullying
  • It makes you cooperative
  • It improves social relationships
  • It increases happiness
  • It improves grades too!

people who give of their time or their money are more cooperative, more apt to have higher quality relationships and are better at resolving conflict. Dr Stephen Post states that “when we give of ourselves, especially if we start young, everything from life satisfaction, to self realization and physical health is significantly affected. Mortality is delayed. Depression is reduced. Well being and good fortune is increased.”

Giving in Islam

Islam values giving as a core principle. Zakaat, or giving charity as a religious duty in the time of Ramadan, is one of the five tenets of the faith. In the Quran, we are often reminded to ‘believe and do good deeds’. Charity and how to give charity is a finely detailed topic, where even a smile is counted as a charity or a good deed.

Charity is said to keep you safe from ill fortune and it pleases Allah when you give for the sake of Allah only. We are taught to purify our intention, so as to not be giving or doing deeds merely to show off or to gain worldly successes. Allah rewards the intention of doing a good deed as well, even if you haven’t done the good deed itself! The rewards that Allah has for someone who does good deeds are much more than the deed itself.

Allah also values kindness; Allah is kind to those who are kind to others, and He teaches us to be kind to animals as well. ‘He who has no kindness has no faith’ is a Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

We should live a life of doing good deeds to please Allah; this is the ultimate goal, rather than any worldly goal. It is with Allah that we have our hopes, and we should have trust in His plan for our life. Our lives will be of value if we follow these principles of believing and doing good deeds!

Get set, give…

Giving is easy. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from – you can start to give.

From an Islamic perspective, just the intention to do something good sincerely for the sake of Allah is enough for you to be rewarded, even if you do not carry out the deed itself! This shows the Mercy and the Generosity of Allah and reminds you of His Greatness and Wisdom.

Speaking gently and speaking good words are charity. Smiling is charity. Giving to the poor and the needy is charity. Looking after the orphans is charity. Spending with your efforts and your time for the sake of Allah is charity. Helping your neighbors, cleaning the pathway for someone else, and smiling and being kind to your parents are all good deeds! In fact, being good to your parents by looking at them with love will earn you the reward of Hajj !

Remembering Allah, His commands and the sayings of His Prophet (SAW) and spreading the message to do good is also a good deed. In fact, anything that you do with the intention of earning the pleasure of Allah is a good deed provided that it is within the ambit of the religion!

Back to the lady who gave the Ted talk, her idea was to give something every day for the 365 days of the year – she called her project 365give. It has inspired people all over the world with its simplicity and purpose. You can all start today with the right intention of pleasing Allah for this is a noble intention! Grab a notebook, make a list of what you can do and start small. Eventually insha Allah your good deeds will increase and become more regular, and you will make a positive difference in your life and the lives of others as well.

“So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it.” Surah Al Zalzalah, Verse 7.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Islam

Last week in Islamic terror (8/21/2017)

Islam - 5 hours 39 min ago

I uploaded this week’s report on last week in Islamic terror. It has truly been a week with Islamic terror in both West and East. You can watch the video here:

If you like what I do, feel free to support A Swede Speaks. For information on how to do that, take a look at the box to the right.

Categories: Islam

Fichte : introductions berlinoises à la philosophie

Islam - 5 hours 59 min ago

Ces lignes, résumées, sont extraites de la présentation des “Introductions berlinoises de Fichte à la philosophie”:

https://books.google.fr/books?id=v38WAwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&hl=fr#v=onepage&q&f=false

Léon Brunschvicg est appelé fréquemment le “Fichte Français” selon Jean Michel Le Lannou:

https://anthroposophiephilosophieetscience.wordpress.com/2016/05/25/expose-de-jean-michel-le-lannou-sur-brunschvicg-la-puissance-de-lidee/

En tout cas , plus d’un siècle avant celle de Brunschvicg:

https://leonbrunschvicg.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/la-querelle-de-latheisme-de-brunschvicg/

Fichte avait écrit une “querelle de l’athéisme”:

https://books.google.fr/books?id=s6uzOaHFgN4C&printsec=frontcover&hl=fr#v=onepage&q&f=false

où il oppose au ” dieu des religions” qui n’est jamais que le dieu de l’instinct et de l’égoïsme vital le “dieu des philosophes et des savants”
Mais bien entendu, nous qui vivons cette angoissante périodes contemporaine du terrorisme, nous savons que la seule “religion” qui divinise l’instinct sanguinaire propre au plan vital est l’islam, le naziSSlam, et que christianisme comme judaïsme sont des messages de paix, de tolérance et d’amour.

Il y a une première philosophie de Fichte, une philosophie du Moi, qui a été mal comprise parce que l’on a confondu le Moi transcendantal avec le moi individuel.

“Sa philosophie du Moi le rendit immédiatement célèbre. Elle élaborait une construction dans laquelle tout l’ordre des choses, le monde, l’objectivité étaient à concevoir comme comme Non-Moi que le Moi oppose nécessairement à soi pour exister. Mais cet exposé qui fut celui de la première doctrine de la Science, fut radicalement mal compris : on crut que Fichte voulait dire que le moi individuel était créateur du Non-moi, que le Sujet était le producteur du monde, bref une sorte de nouveau Dieu. Or le Moi de Fichte n’était pas un Moi personnel mais Un Moi créateur Infini.”

Avec les versions suivantes de la “Doctrine de la science” la philosophie de Fichte devient une philosophie de l’Absolu: Fichte , dans sa tentative de lever l’ambiguïté du Moi, pris à tort pour le Moi empirique, posa à la place ce qui pour lui est le véritable fondement de l’être et du savoir : l’Absolu , dont on ne peut rien dire sinon qu’il est l’Absolu, et qu’il diffère entièrement tant du Moi que du monde des phénomènes. “Ainsi la philosophie de Fichte, après avoir été une philosophie du Moi, devint philosophie de l’Absolu et se déploya tantôt dans une démarche ascendante puis descendante, comme dans la Doctrine de la Science de 1804 où Fichte remontait depuis le donné empirique (l’opposition du sujet et de l’objet) vers le principe Absolu de celui ci, puis redescendait de l’Absolu vers le Moi et le monde des phénomènes “.

C’est dans la dernière “introduction à la doctrine de la Science” , celle de 1813 (Fichte est mort en 1814):

https://fr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Gottlieb_Fichte

que Fichte évoque la naissance d’un nouveau “sens interne” , qui est à l’état embryonnaire chez tous les êtres humains, que la pratique de la philosophie véritable qui est l’idéalisme permet de développer :” celui qui développe ce sens nouveau n’est plus l’homme ancien, renfermé dans les limites de son existence naturelle: il s’élève au dessus de celle ci pour la comprendre., et gagne ainsi sa liberté. Le sens nouveau est le sens de la liberté, et la doctrine de ce sens est doctrine de la liberté.”

http://books.openedition.org/europhilosophie/325?lang=fr

“Les “considérations pour moi même de Fichte insistent sur la nécessité de

se détacher de la multiplicité sensible pour s’élever vers l’universel et l’Un

Rudolf Steiner a cité dans “Théosophie” la doctrine de la Science de 1813 de Fichte lorsqu’elle évoque le développement de ce nouveau “sens interne”, que Steiner comprend comme la possibilité donnée par l’anthroposophie de “voir dans le monde spirituel” (au début de l’Introduction):

http://anthroposophie.doc.pagesperso-orange.fr/pdf/Theosophie_RS_EP_1923.pdf

https://gregoireperra.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/cours-sur-la-doctrine-de-la-science-de-fichte/

https://anthroposophiephilosophieetscience.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/rudolf-steiner-credo-1888-le-monde-des-idees-est-la-source-mere-et-le-principe-de-toute-existence/

Ainsi la voie tracée par Fichte il y a environ deux siècles, qui est une forme d’idéalisme platonicien, peut s’interpréter comme l’itinéraire de l’âme humaine du plan vital au plan internel-spirituel des Idées ; il est nécessaire pour la parcourir de “se détacher de la multiplicité sensible ” , propre au monde, au plan vital pour s’élever vers l’universel et vers l’Un, qui est le plan internel-spirituel, c’est à dire CAT, catégorie de toutes les catégories :

https://anthroposophiephilosophieetscience.wordpress.com/2016/08/25/la-metacategorie-cat-de-toutes-les-categories-comme-modele-mathematique-du-monde-des-idees-de-platon/

Le chef d’œuvre d’Orson Welles, “Citizen Kane”(1941):

https://anthroposophiephilosophieetscience.wordpress.com/2016/04/03/kubla-khan-de-coleridge-et-citizen-kane-dorson-welles/

nous montre en Charles Foster Kane un homme très doué et très ambitieux, mais qui ne parvient pas à se libérer de la multiplicité foisonnante des objets sensibles qu’il amasse dans son palais , comme nous le montre avec une beauté saisissante la scène de la fin du film. “Rosebud” , dont la signification nous est révélée par cette scène, sans doute l’une des plus grandes du cinéma mondial, n’est rien qu’un objet parmi les autres, promis au feu purificateur , de cette multiplicité chaotique, qui vue en contreplongée par la caméra ressemble à une ville, “a piece of a jigsaw puzzle ” , ” a missing piece ” comme dit le journaliste enquêteur à la fin:

Or se détacher de la multiplicité sensible, pour s’élever vers l’universel et l’Un, c’est renoncer au plan vital, c’est à dire “renoncer à la mort”, seule vraie religion selon Léon Brunschvicg. Vous pouvez bien multiplier les messes où les confessions pour sauver votre précieuse “âme “, ce ne sera jamais qu’une autre multiplicité, vous ne serez pas vraiment un esprit religieux …

Categories: Islam

Malaysia's Muslim women face more online abuse than others, according to this survey

Islam - 6 hours 45 min ago

Women everywhere are vulnerable to abuse online. In Malaysia, women of all races are mistreated, however activists claim that Muslim women face more rage online because of what the society expects from them.

“We are seeing a trend where Muslim women, particularly Malay-Muslims are targeted in a different way, especially when it comes to how they present themselves,” says Juana Jaafar, a women’s rights advocate, reports BBC. 

The online pubic spaces have been taken over by tabloid and gossip sites and abuses are hurled all over the comment sections.

Jaafar said that this is more of a cultural issue than a religious one. “The religion doesn’t encourage this behaviour. There are hadiths that talk about respecting privacy.”

A senior gender studies lecturer at Universiti of Malaya said, “These things happen globally, but it does come with an extra layer [in Malaysia], a sense of moral justification that is rooted in quite narrow interpretations of religion.”

As more and more young Malaysian women turn to social media – particularly Twitter – to talk about women’s issues, these cases of harassment have also become more frequent.

“It’s not just about people not liking your views, it’s about people bulldozing your entire existence, your self-esteem,” a Twitter user who has long been a victim of online violence shared.

“When you give language to a movement that questions the status quo, they get much more insecure,” she adds.

In other cases, wearing too much makeup and clothes that are too tight, or being chubby are “crimes” that make women susceptible to gender-based violence.

“The female body is a constant battleground for men to argue [about]. A woman may be covered from head to toe, but someone will still complain that the covering is not baggy enough or long enough,” Dyana Sofya, executive committee member of the centre-left DAP Socialist Youth party said.

Most of the women say that it is mostly Muslim men hurling the abuse at them online.

In most cases, the victims come away physically unharmed but online violence can take a toll on mental health.

In the case of Twitter and Instagram user Arlina Arshad, she confessed that the abuse she received because of her weight led to thoughts of suicide.

Juana Jaafar says, “The counter-propaganda method can be extremely hostile and when they’re facing women, it becomes a violent exchange where women are attacked, body-shamed, and policed about their Muslim identities.”

This article originally appeared on BBC.

Categories: Islam

Analytic Theology and the One God: Where is the Mystery?

Islam - 7 hours 1 min ago

Once the transcendence of Transcendence has been properly grasped, many of the objections advanced against the catholic doctrine of the Holy Trinity lose their persuasive power. Perhaps they have some purchase among analytic philosophers attached to the univocity of being; but for those who have been schooled in the apophatic vision of the Church Fathers, they just seem … well, irrelevant. One might as well complain about European football not being American football—two different games, two different sets of rules. So it is with Dale Tuggy’s book What is the Trinity? The book is intended for a popular audience, but it issues from the author’s extended conversations with his fellow analytic philosophers. No doubt they recognize in his published works an understanding of divinity shared within the analytic community, as evidenced by the fact that he was chosen to write the entry on the Trinity for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Tuggy knows well the contemporary philosophical debates on the doctrine of the Trinity and believes he has advanced telling criticisms of it. But I suspect that neither Orthodox nor Roman Catholic theologians will pay them much mind—not because they are not well-stated, but simply because Tuggy and his fellow analytics seem to be playing a different game. Where, one might ask, is the Mystery?

If Trinitarian theologians (at least those outside the analytic camp) agree on anything, they agree that the dogma of the Trinity points to a mystery, the one Mystery whose divine essence is incomprehensible to finite rational beings (at least in this life and perhaps even into the Eschaton). By divine revelation we may know who God is—namely, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—but we cannot know what God is. We cannot provide a definition of divinity. He does not belong to a class or genus nor stand alongside his creatures as one being among many—hence the heavy reliance by the Church Fathers (the very individuals who formulated the dogma) upon negative attributes like infinity, immutability, and simplicity. These negative attributes highlight the incomprehensibility of the divine substance and secure the Creator’s absolute uniqueness and incomparability. The Fathers are happy to talk about the perfections of God, but these perfections are enveloped in the recognition of his ineffability. Tuggy names this apophatic strategy “mysterianism.” He goes on to distinguish between positive mysterianism and negative mysterianism, but the key is the assertion of divine incomprehensibility, which then opens the door to paradox and antinomy (and probably dancing, too!). Tuggy restricts mysterianism to Trinitarian discourse, but this is a mistake, I think. The three great monotheistic traditions—Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—apprehend the one Creator as infinite mystery and have commonly employed the via negativa in order to distinguish him from the creaturely order (see David Burrell, Knowing the Unknowable God). Thus the great Rambam:

The second principle – the unity of God, meaning, that we believe that He who is the Primary Cause is one, and is not one pair, or one species, or one person that can be divided into many ones, and not one like a simple body that is numerically one, but that is subject to endless division. Rather, God is one in a oneness of which there is nothing similar. This second principle is indicated by what is said, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” (“Thirteen Principles of Faith”)

There cannot be any belief in the unity of God except by admitting that He is one simple substance, without any composition or plurality of elements: one from whatever side you view it, and by whatever test you examine it: not divisible into two parts in any way and by any cause, nor capable of any form of plurality either objectively or subjectively. (Guide for the Perplexed 1.51)

From the Yigdal:

Exalted and praised be the living God;
He exists, and His existence is timeless.
He is One and there is no unity like his —
He is mysterious, and His oneness infinite.
He has nothing resembling a body, and no physical substance;
His holiness is unique.

Similarly Ibn Sina:

The First also has no genus. This is because the First has no quiddity . That which has no quiddity has no genus, since genus is spoken of in answer to the question, “What is it?” and [moreover] genus in one is a part of a thing; and it has been ascertained that the First is not a composite. … the First has no differentia. Since He has neither genus nor differentia, He has no definition. There is no demonstration of Him, since there is no cause of Him. For this reason there is no “why” regarding Him, and you shall know that there in no “why-ness” for His act. … The negation that follows it does not add [anything] to it above and beyond existence, except the relation of distinctiveness. This meaning does not include any realized thing after existence, nor is it a meaning of something in itself; but it is only in terms of relation. (The Metaphysics 8.4.277)

And Al Ghazali:

We say that [the word] “one” can be taken and understood in the sense of that which does not admit of division, that is to say, it has no quantity, no perimeter, and no extension. Thus, the Creator most high is one, meaning that he is not quantifiable, meaning that quantification denies something’s wholeness by dividing it. But [God] is not divisible, since divisibility pertains to things that are quantifiable. Quantification results in division into parts, becoming smaller. But that which is not quantifiable cannot be described as divisible. Furthermore, [one] can be understood as that which has no equal in its rank, such as when we say that the sun is one. In this sense also the Creator most high is one, since he has no peer. (On Divine Essence 73.10)

And representing the Church catholic, the Anaphora of St John Chrysostom:

It is meet and right to hymn Thee, to bless Thee, to give thanks to Thee, and to worship Thee in every place of Thy dominion: for Thou art God ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, ever-existing and eternally the same, Thou and Thine Only-begotten Son and Thy Holy Spirit.

The oneness of the Creator confounds and delights the human intellect. Everything we know may be differentiated one from another, based on their respective natures and particulari­ties; but this is impossible when we seek to apprehend God in his transcendent unicity. The God of faith cannot be counted. Confessing the one Deity is not a matter of comparing respective pantheons. “You Romans have many gods (Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Pluto), but we Jews have only one.” That would reduce YHWH to being an instantiation, albeit the sole instantiation, of a divine nature. The Lord becomes, as it were, the last deity standing. Once upon a time there were many dodos, but then the species started dying out. Eventually there was only one left; then that one died, too, and now there are none. (As the pop-atheist meme goes: “I just believe in one fewer god than you do”). The one God is not the last dodo—hence the traditional monotheistic insistence that God is beyond counting. Counting presupposes that we know the natures of things and can differentiate one from another. We can count computers and chairs and airplanes, for we know their essences; but we do not know what it means for God to be God. His nature is beyond our grasp, his essence incomprehensible. The mystery of divine oneness is beautifully expressed by the medieval Jewish poet Solomon ibin Gabirol:

Thou art One, the first of every number, and
the foundation of every structure,
Thou art One, and at the mystery of Thy Oneness the wise of heart are struck dumb,
For they know not what it is.
Thou art One, and Thy Oneness can neither be increased nor lessened,
It lacketh naught, nor doth aught remain over.
Thou art One, but not like a unit to be grasped or counted,
For number and change cannot reach Thee.
Thou art not to be visioned, nor to be figured thus or thus.
Thou art One, but to put to Thee bound or
circumference my imagination would fail me.
Therefore I have said I will guard my ways lest I sin with the tongue.
Thou art One, Thou art high and exalted beyond abasement or falling,
“For how should the One fall?”

Denys Turner invites us to engage in a thought experiment. We bring together all the scientists in the world, and we ask them to make an exhaustive list of everything that exists. The list will no doubt number in the billions, trillions, zillions. After the list is finished, would it then be legitimate for someone to say, “But you have omitted God. Don’t forget to add him to the list”? No, Turner replies. “God cannot be counted in any list of the ‘everything that is.’ God’s oneness is not the oneness of mathematics, as it would be were I to say of any creaturely oneness: ‘I’ll have one pie for lunch, not two’” (Thomas Aquinas, p. 120; also see Turner’s essay “Christians, Muslims, and the Name of God“). The confession of the one God immediately brings us into the transcendent mystery of the God who is not a god. The ontological cleavage between creator and creation is decisive. We can number the gods, for the gods (if they exist) belong to the world of nature. But the one God plus the world does not equal two. As St Dionysius writes, “For God is not some kind of being” (Divine Names 817D). St Gregory Palamas is even more provocative: “Every created nature is far removed from and completely foreign to the divine nature. For if God is nature, other things are not nature; but if every other thing is nature, He is not a nature, just as He is not a being if all other things are beings. And if He is a being, then other things are not beings” (Capita 78). It is therefore false to claim that there are two Gods (what could that mean?), whereas to say that there is one God is true, though with this important nuance: “the oneness of God is beyond our comprehension. That is why the manner in which ‘There is one God’ excludes ‘There are two Gods’ is not the same as the manner in which ‘There is one pie for lunch’ excludes ‘There are two pies for lunch'” (Turner, pp. 275-276, n. 15). The oneness of the Creator is a transcendent oneness of Being (or beyond Being), not a oneness of entities. Hence to speak of the one God as numerically one is incorrect. The divine unicity excludes all numeration. Our language breaks precisely at this point—at the point of the infinite interval between Creator and creature. Neither unitarians nor Trinitarians can escape it. “Christian trinitarianism does not rock a unitarian boat that would otherwise be plain sailing for Jews and Muslims,” Turner remarks. “Whether by God’s oneness or God’s threeness, we are in equal measures theologically benighted, or, as one might more positively put it, believers of all three faith traditions are thereby invited into a participation in love with the same unknowable, indescribable Godhead” (pp. 130-131). In the end, we are all mysterians and mystics.

But this apophatic way of speaking and knowing the one God disappears when we turn to Dr Tuggy’s reflections. In his recently published essay “On Counting Gods,” Tuggy proposes three conditions for divinity:

  1. To be a deity requires selfhood. It must be “a being/entity who is in principle capable of having a first-person point of view and knowledge, and performing intentional actions” (p. 190). It is a person whom we may address and who communicates with us.
  2. To be a deity requires power, more power than ordinary human beings possess, thus enabling them to act in those areas of life which human beings care about. Not only can they do most of the things human beings do, but they are also capable of performing feats of which ordinary humans are incapable—think superheroes. But deities are greater than the greatest of our comic book heroes, because they also fulfill condition #3.
  3. To be a deity requires supernatural power, that is to say, it must possess “the ability to intentionally act in ways not wholly constrained by the natural world’s normal ways” (p. 192). Whereas a superhero still acts within the constraints of the laws of nature (pushing them to their very limits, perhaps manipulating hidden laws), a deity is able to transgress the laws of nature: “a deity has powers to act not wholly constrained by nature’s normal ways, and he or she acts without making use of hidden natural laws.”

Note that the above are conditions for being a deity (lower-case), as analyzed from the perspective of comparative religions. Tuggy then makes a second distinction, between being a deity and being a god/God: while all gods are deities, not all deities qualify for godhood; they lack the quality of ultimacy. “An ultimate,” Tuggy explains, “is a being/entity which is unique and unsurpassable in reality (degree and/or kind) and/or in explanatory priority. Roughly, an ultimate is supposed to be the highest, most basic, most real, or ‘farthest back’ being” (p. 195). The concept of godhood necessarily implies ultimacy; the concept of deity does not. On the other hand, ultimacy does not necessarily imply godhood, as the ultimate may lack the characteristics of selfhood and personality which all gods must have. Examples of an impersonal ultimate would be the Tao of Chinese religion and the Brahman of Advaita Vedanta Hindu philosophy. Tuggy proposes that an impersonal ultimate be called “The Ultimate.” We thus get this Venn diagram:

A further clarification is needed: Can there be more than one god? Tuggy thinks not. As used in analytic philosophy, the term “god” is employed not as a name or title but as “a sortal or a kind term, referring to the sort of being that atheists believe there to be no example of” (p. 194).

It is presumed that there can be at most one such being; if there is any such being, it is of necessity unique. There is supposed to be a contradiction in the claim that there is more than one god (but not in the claim of more than one deity). Nor is a god supposed to be just any old deity. If there are other deities, none is the god’s peer. A god is by definition incapable of having a true peer. (p. 195)

Tuggy is aware that those who believe in an impersonal ultimate sometimes identify their ultimate principle or entity as “God.” He finds this usage confusing and reasonably suggests that the title be reserved for a being who qualifies as a god. Hence it appears that if a being qualifies as a god (i.e., an ultimate deity), he is, by definition, God. Tuggy goes on to develop various categories and distinctions, ranging from “naturalistic adeism” (old fashioned atheism) at one end of the religion spectrum to “polydeistic monotheism” (one god plus angels, demons, and maybe even some cool preternatural creatures) at the other end. This last category is of particular interest, because this is where he locates most Jews, Muslims, and Christians, as well as monotheistic Hindus. Polydeistic monotheists believe in the existence of exactly one personal creator, “yet they are polydeists, with a plurality of deities, such as angels, demons, the divine council, sons of God, jinn, devas, or asuras” (p. 205). “Polydeistic monotheism” must also be distinguished from “monodeistic monotheism,” which lies in the middle of the spectrum. Monodeistic monotheists believe in the existence of one god but deny the existence of non-god deities. So what’s the difference between an adeist and a monotheist? A matter of number—0 or 1.

How well do Christianity, Judaism, and Islam fit into Tuggy’s categories (whether #3 or #8)? Clearly Tuggy thinks they fit just fine. What’s the problem? Each of the three monotheistic traditions speak of one absolute Deity possessing ultimate metaphysical status. This divine self has all the essential properties to qualify for godhood: “super-powerful and knowledge­able and good, unique creator of all else, who is uniquely provident over history” (What is the Trinity?, p. 117). What more do you want? Yet I can easily envision Dionysius, Aquinas, Maimonides, and al-Ghazali jumping up in protest, exclaiming, “There’s no counting in God!”

Any hint of God’s radical unicity and transcendent difference or the inherent inappropri­ateness of our theological language is notably missing in Tuggy’s presentation. To put it bluntly, God is simply the greatest thing around. Tuggy’s analysis of ultimate personal divinity is thus vulnerable to the criticisms advanced by Barry Miller against “perfect being,” or Anselmian, theology:

The Anselmians’ notion of a perfection has immediate implications for their understanding of God’s transcendence over his creatures. They succeed in setting him well apart from his creatures, many of which may perhaps have great-making properties but no one of which would have even one of them to the maximum degree possible. On this view, the gulf between God and creatures would therefore be wide, and perhaps unimaginably so, though it would not constitute an absolute divide. It is difficult to see how it could be more than a difference of degree, since the terms indicating his properties—‘powerful,’ ‘knowing,’ ‘loving,’ ‘merciful,’ ‘generous’ and so on—seem to be used univocally of God and creatures. True, when applied to God, those terms are often qualified as ‘maximally powerful,’ ‘all knowing,’ ‘infinitely merciful,’ ‘unsurpassably generous,’ but the qualifiers do nothing to change the sense of the terms they qualify. Hence, the role of ‘maximally,’ ‘all,’ ‘infinitely,’ and ‘unsurpassably’ cannot be that of alienans adjectives like ‘decoy’ in ‘decoy duck,’ or ‘negative’ in ‘negative growth,’ each of which does serve to change the sense of the term it qualifies. Rather, they are merely superlatives, which of course leave quite intact the sense of the terms they qualify. Thus understood, God’s properties are merely human ones, albeit extended to the maximum degree possible.

As conceived of by perfect-being theologians, therefore, God turns out to be simply the greatest thing around, some kind of super-being that would be quite capable of evoking admiration and wonder, but who could scarcely be described as being absolutely transcendent, or as being worthy of worship. The point is that the terms that perfect-being theology predicates of God are being used in precisely the sense that ipso facto precludes their being predicated of a God who is absolutely transcendent, since it is a sense in which they could equally be predicated of creatures. The difference between creatures and any God of whom they really could be predicated would therefore be simply one of degree. Although this may seem to be a hard saying, it follows straightforwardly from the fact that absolute transcen­dence cannot be attained merely by extending human attributes to whatever degree is deemed to be ‘maximal.’ The Anselmians’ God is therefore anything but ineffable, for not only can we talk about him, we can do so in precisely the same terms as those we use in talking about humans. Such a view succeeds in presenting God in terms that are comfortingly familiar, but only at the price of being discomfitingly anthropomorphic. (A Most Unlikely God, pp. 2-3)

Perfect being theology presupposes a scale of “greatness” (one can hardly avoid thinking of the Hellenistic chain of being), with the greatest and most perfect being at the summit. It seems all very reasonable. Yet by itself, the Anselmian view leaves us with a Deity who is less than Deity. What should Anselm and his followers have done? asks Miller. They should have considered the possibility, as St Thomas Aquinas certainly did (“we cannot know what God is, but rather what He is not” [ST I.3]), that the greatest being does not exist on any scale, that the items on the scale merely point to the ultimate reality without ever converging upon it. “In other words,” suggests Miller, “what should at least have been considered was the possibility of the greatest F not being the final member in a series of members that were F to an increasing degree, not belonging to the series at all, but lying completely outside it. In that case, the greatest F would not be a maximum or limit simpliciter in an ordered series of Fs, as Anselmians understand it to be. Rather, it would be the limit case of such a series” (p. 4). A limit simpliciter differs by degree from that of which it is the limit, whereas a limit case differs absolutely. For perfect being theology, Deity ends up being a human being writ large (with appropriate qualifications)—let’s call it a divine self—but he still remains significantly different from the ineffable God worshipped in Christianity, Judaism and Islam, whose transcendent uniqueness is determinative. I imagine that some would reply that Miller’s concerns are fully satisfied by the attribution to God of incompositeness, but divine simplicity is a contentious issue in analytic circles (see William Vallicella, “Divine Simplicity,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy; R. T. Mullins, “Simply Impossible“; cf. Dale Tuggy, “Why I Am Not a Thomist” [part 1, part 2]; for a defense of apophaticism from an analytic perspective, see Jonathan D. Jacobs, “The Ineffable, Inconceivable, and Incomprehensible God“).

Where is the incomprehensibility of the divine essence or the transcendence of Transcen­dence? The problem, I surmise, lies with perfect being methodology. If we begin with maximal attributes and the difference of degrees, it’s hard to see how we can ever rightly conceive divine transcendence, even if, like Tuggy, we identify God as an ultimate and unique being. Aristotle’s unmoved mover, for example, is a unique and ultimate being, but it’s still just a being within the continuum of being. But if we begin with the biblical revelation of the creatio ex nihilo and the infinite analogical interval, then all the superla­tives of the perfect being may be properly gathered into the one and holy Mystery. Herbert McCabe eloquently states the necessary distinction, with implications:

The Jewish discovery that God is not a god but Creator is the discovery of absolute Mystery behind and underpinning reality. Those who share it (either in its Judaic or its Christian form) are not monotheists who have reduced the number of gods to one. They, we, have abolished the gods; there is only the Mystery sustaining all that is. The Mystery is unfathomable, but it is not remote as the gods are remote. The gods live somewhere else, on Olympus or above the starry sky. The Mystery is everywhere and always, in every grain of sand and every flash of colour, every hint of flavour in a wine, keeping all these things in existence every microsecond. We could not literally approach God or get nearer to God for God is already nearer to us than we are to ourselves. God is at the ultimate depth of our beings making us to be ourselves. (God Still Matters, p. 59)

Here is the surprising weakness of Dr Tuggy’s presentation of unitarian divinity—the failure to properly conceive the transcendent oneness of the one God.

(cont)

Categories: Islam

Christian philosopher: Islam civilized the world

Islam - 7 hours 32 min ago

Charles Taliaferro, PhD, a professor of philosophy at St. Olaf College, in Northfield, Minnesota (USA), in a recent interview with Tehran Times said that the world does well to remember the gift of Islam to civilization, culture, education, and to stand against acts that violate the greatness and beauty of Islamic teaching, practice, and architecture.

Commenting on Israeli fascism at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied Al-Quds (East Jerusalem), Taliaferro said: “It’s sober reminder of the way some anti-Muslim forces resort not to peaceful dialogue and public debate, but resort instead to shameful acts of violence. The world does well to remember the gift of Islam to civilization, culture, education, and to stand against such acts that violate the greatness and beauty of Islamic teaching, practice, and architecture.”

Taliaferro acknowledged Muslim contributions to the Western civilization and landscape.

The beauty of mosques, their domes, minarets, schools, sites of worship and dialogue, testify to the faithfulness, and intricate integrity of Islam. They stand as testimony to the enduring, public mission Islamic teaching and practice,” he said.

Responding the current wave of Islamophobia in the West, Dr. Taliaferro said: “While I am a Christian, one of the most sacred experiences of my life was studying the Qu’ran in Istanbul on the grounds of the Blue Mosque.  If more non-Muslims were able to open themselves to the beauty of the mosque, we would experience a badly needed appreciation of the greatness of Islam.”

In November 2015, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei wrote an open letter to the youth of the West. Commenting on the letter, Dr. Taliaferro said: “It should be welcomed by those of any age in the West. His analogy about Islam and Christianity is deeply wise. Just as Christians needed to understand and recognize that the atrocities carried out in the name of Christianity (slavery) were contrary to the teachings of Jesus and thus not true to the spirit and integrity of Christianity, today, everyone, perhaps especially the youth who are trying to be open minded and find wisdom, need to discern what is truly Islam and what is false. While the letter’s focus is on challenging those who portray Islam as innately dangerous and bent on violating the rights of others, it implicitly challenges and condemns those who wrongly use the name of Islam and the Prophet to carry out acts of violence which are clearly in violation of Qur’anic teachings.”

The West owes its so-called achievements which were the work of Muslim scholars and inventors during the time when the West was living in its Dark Ages.

Categories: Islam

Brave Malaysian Doctor Stitched Herself Up After Being Shot So She Could Continue Saving Lives. MashaAllah

Islam - 8 hours 21 min ago
The story of Dr Jemilah Mahmood, the founder and former President of MERCY Malaysia.

90 people were murdered by terrorists in Kabul last May. Where is the minute’s silence for them?

50 refugees killed after smugglers deliberately throw them off boat near Yemen. Where’s our humanity??

 

Dr Jemilah Mahmood and her team were on their way to deliver medical supplies to a children’s hospital in Iraq when they were trapped in a crossfire.

Two people died, another two doctors were injured, and Dr Jemilah was shot in her hip.

 

 

 

“I was shot through a friend, Dr Baba – he was more injured and he took the bullet for me,” Dr Jemilah, founder and former president of MERCY Malaysia told Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald in an exclusive interview recently, in conjunction with World Humanitarian Day.

The bullet had gone through her friend and a thick Reader’s Digest book before hitting Dr Jemilah’s hip. She stitched herself up, left the bullet in, and got Dr Baba on the operating table – crying and wondering if she made a grave mistake dragging her team from MERCY Malaysia through a war-torn country.

“We had a white flag, everything was correct,” she explained, stressing that they were shot despite the clear sign of the white flags of humanitarians on the ambulances they were travelling in.

 

Even before she could take a breather and digest the incident, she was pulled back to reality by news of an anaemic woman who was going into labour.

Dr Jemilah performed an emergency C-section and delivered a healthy baby boy, all within hours after being shot in the hip and losing part of her team.

 

However, the reality of the situation only sank in six hours later, when Dr Jemilah asked the woman who had just given birth why was she packing her things to return home.

“If the bombs drop on my home tonight, I want to be with my children,” was the woman’s response to her question.

Rohignya Muslim women raped by Burma soldiers and abandoned by husbands who ‘blame them’

That’s when it hit Dr Jemilah – it is people like this woman and the many humanitarians who have lost their lives trying to save other people are the true heroes. She pointed out that calling her a hero, is a disrespect to all those who have died in such situations.

“Why am I complaining about this bullet in my hip? We can’t fight our destiny. There must be a reason why I am here? If I gave up, I wouldn’t be doing justice to those who gave their lives.”

 

It served as realisation for her that humanitarians aren’t protected from the brutalities of war.

Today, Dr Jemilah is the under secretary general for partnerships at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the world’s largest humanitarian group with over 190 national societies and 17 million volunteers.

Together, they strive to help and save those stuck in wars, natural disasters, and health emergencies with zero discrimination to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class, or political opinions. This also puts them in grave danger and IRFC is doing their best to keep their team and volunteers save.

“The humanitarian sector is no longer sacrosanct and international humanitarian law is no longer upheld. We are under attack when we shouldn’t be,” Dr Jemilah explained. It was reported that 29 Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers have been killed in the line of duty since January 2017.

Dr Jemilah’s career in the medical sector began as a obstetrician and gynecologist.

But, it was a conversation with her son that sparked her love and interest in being a humanitarian.

 

 

Image via Merdeka Award

 

Speaking to Sydney Morning Herald, Dr Jemilah recalled the night her life changed. She was watching television with her five-year-old son, explaining to him about the war in Kosovo and telling him that children there were starving due to the war.

His immediate response was, “Mum, you are a doctor, go and do something.” That was the beginning of Dr Jemilah’s journey as a humanitarian. She quickly applied to various humanitarian organisations volunteering her services and only Doctors without Borders responded.

In an interview with Perdana Leadership Foundation in the past, Dr Jemilah said she remembered asking her husband why Malaysians don’t give importance to humanitarian causes.

 

“Why is it that Malaysians don’t care? We emphasise the development of buildings and economy but we don’t consider human development in the equation. If we don’t develop compassion, if we don’t develop global solidarity, then it’s going to be a dark place in the future.”

 

 

Image via Perdana Leadership Foundation

 

That’s when her husband told her that if she felt so strongly about it, she should start an organisation. In 1999, Dr Jemilah started MERCY Malaysia with the main objective of providing medical relief for vulnerable communities in both crisis and non-crisis situations.

MERCY Malaysia sent five missions to Kosovo during the war in 1999 to provide mobile medical care. Dr Jemilah also mentioned that MERCY Malaysia had so little funds when they first started, to the point that their volunteers had to pay for their own airfares to fly into the Kosovo war zone.

Story of Basel Al-A’raj, a pharmacist who fought against IDF for 2 hours before shaheed

Christians killing thousands of Muslims in Africa, but Western media stay silenced

In the same year, the organisation also sent relief teams to Turkey to help victims of the 1999 Izmit earthquake. MERCY’s medical team was also the first to arrive in Aceh, Indonesia, during the December 2004 tsunami.

To date, MERCY Malaysia has sent its team and aid to many war-torn and disaster areas in the world including, Somalia, Turkey, Gaza, Sierra Leone, and Musan County in North Korea to name a few.

 Calling her childhood home a “mini United Nations”, the 58-year-old doctor revealed that she was raised by kind and generous parents who taught her a great deal about helping those in need

 

 

Image via Twitter/Herve Gazeau

“We used to live in a house that had families living with us. My parents had no hesitation helping people, feeding them and finding them jobs, so we used to have lots of people sleeping in our house. Rice was bought by the sacks. My parents were not rich but whatever they had, they shared.

“But both my parents didn’t talk about their philanthropy. When my mother died, people contacted us from all over Malaysia asking why the cheques stopped coming. She had been quietly sending donations to mosques and such. We did not know,” Dr Jemilah said in an interview with Perdana.

Her mother used to even send her off to Singapore with some money to visit her less fortunate cousins and buy them school supplies and shoes.

“My mother would say get your own school shoes at the same time. She really trained us to make people feel comfortable, it was not about making them feel helpless. At the end of the day, dignity is probably the most important thing – and maintaining the dignity of people affected by a crisis is crucial,” said Dr Jemilah.

 

Dr Jemilah’s unwavering commitment and selfless desire to bring relief to those who have, or are going through human or natural disasters is truly outstanding

 

 

Image via Merdeka Award

She has been presented with numerous awards from both Malaysia and other countries including, four local royal awards – DPMP Perak, DIMP Pahang, PJN from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and PSM that carries the title Tan Sri.

Internationally, she became the first recipient of the Isa Award for Service to Humanity in 2013. The Isa award was established by HM King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa, the King of Bahrain, for celebrating outstanding world humanitarian leaders.

Dr Jemilah has also served as the catalyst and major driving force in MERCY Malaysia being recognised as the first Asian NGO and third NGO globally to be certified for humanitarian accountability by Humanitarian Accountability Partnership International in 2007.

Categories: Islam

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SURAH KAHAF

Islam - 9 hours 58 min ago
On The Subject Of Surah Al Kahf

Surah Al Kahf is the 18th Surah of the Holy Quran. It comprises of a total of 110 verses or Ayaat. The Quran was sent down to the Prophet Muhammad SAW in a sequence of revelations that spanned over the occasion that he spent in the Holy cities of Makkah and Medina in his life span. These verses were sorted under the Divine leadership into Surahs that were additional categorized as Makki Surahs and Madni Surahs correspondingly. Surah Al Kahf is a Makki Surah. This Surah was exposed to the Prophet before he migrated to Medina. At this time, the Muslims in Makkah were under huge conjecture as well as harassment. In order to help find safe haven for the Muslims, the Prophet SAW left his home town in the friendly city of Medina. This Surah was exposed between the 8th and the 10th year of Prophet Hood.

The 4 Fables With 4 Teaching To Learn In Surah Al Kahf

This Surah discusses 4 major subjects. First is the trial of trust, which is discussed from the 9th verse to the 26th verse discussing the Ashab Al Kahf or the People of the Cave. Second is the trial of Wealth discussed from the 32nd verse to the 44th verse; this theme focuses on the story of the rich and the poor. Third is the trial of information extending from the 60th verse to the 82nd verse which discussion about Prophet Moses and Al Khizr. in conclusion, this Surah talk about the examination of authority extending from the 83rd verse to the 98th verse. In this subject, the prediction concerning Yajuj Majuj as well as Dhul Qar Nayn is shed light upon.

The Men Of Cave –The Test From Side To Side Hardships

The first fable is concerning the men who left their city and way of life for the sake of Allah as they left the paganism belief and became the true believers of Allah. They took safe haven in a cave where Almighty bestowed them with a sleep that wrecked for an era and when they woke up by the moment in time, the whole city was transformed into believers.

Read in Details:7 Things You Need to Know About Surah Al Kahf

 

 

Categories: Islam

Ethics of War in Shia Islam

Islam - 10 hours 7 min ago

[1]. Paper presented by Abdolrahim Gavahi at Comparative Ethics of War Workshop, Oslo, Aug. 21-23, 2008.

Introduction

In Shia Islam, the sources of inferring religious commandments are: 1.the holy book (Quran); 2.the prophet’s tradition (Sunnah);
3.intellect and reasoning (Agl); and finally 4.consensus (Ijma’). Therefore, in the following discussion, all these four sources of deducting religious ordinances will be used to deduct and explain Shiite position on Ethics of War and Just War. Nevertheless, amongst Shiites, there are Fivers (Zaidi), Seveners (Ismailite), and Twelvers (Ja’fari) traditions, which we will focus on the last group only.

This paper is divided into four mains sections, namely: 1.War from the point of view of Islam; 2.Jurists’ positions on war; 3.War Rules and Regulations; and 4.Summary and Conclusion; which will be explained briefly. But, before addressing these main topics, we have included an introductory comment on the meaning of the term “Jihad” in Islam and Quran.

In the holy Quran, the term “Jihad” is used forty-two times and its general meaning is “hard and vigorous struggle” (Al-Munjid fi al-loghat) and not fighting and war. Also, in Islamic ethics and mysticism, jihad is basically used for self-discipline and self-moral cultivation. Unfortunately, with the advent of Islamic extremism and Taliban movement, the term has been widely misunderstood and misused in Western media and literature. According to Ayatullah Motahhari, a leading contemporary Shiite scholar, and jurist (faqih), whenever “war” is conducted for offensive purposes, it is wrong and unholy (Motahhari, 14).

In section one, war and Jihad have been addressed from the point of view of Quran. First, war has been divided into two main categories: 1.Defensive; 2.Offensive. Then it has been discussed whether “offensive” war is legitimate and has ever been present in Islam.

On this, three distinctive views have been expressed:

  1. That offensive war has never existed in Islam and is totally forbidden;
  2. That offensive war has always been present in Islam and is permitted by law of religion;
  3. That offensive war existed during the time of the holy Prophet (and holy Imams in Shiite tradition), but was limited to their time and is prohibited now.

Naturally, due to contradictory nature of these views and the fact that in one of them “war” is a pillar concept and in the other one “peace” is essential, traditional and modern Jurists’ views on both of them have been fully explained and exemplified.

Also, in this section, it has been argued that based on the teachings of the Quran and the Holy Prophet, the concept of “peace” is the fundamental concept in the conduct of man and society, and not vice-versa (i.e. the concept of war). This position has been substantiated through many verses of the holy Quran and juristic views of such modern renowned clergies as Motahhari, Salehi Najafabadi, and Mohaghegh Damad, all three leading scholars in contemporary Shiite tradition.

Furthermore, it has been argued that, as Quran says, “there is no compulsion in religion” (Quran 2/256), and so people are to be “invited” to the way of God by means of persuasion and free will and not to the contrary, i.e. by use of force and compulsion. Many different Quranic verses to this effect have been illustrated.

At this stage, the two different kinds of war (defensive and offensive) have been discussed in more details and the views of their advocates and opponents have been cross-examined accordingly. The interesting point is that the advocates of each of these two seemingly contradictory views refer to a different set of Quranic verses to substantiate their positions. Ayatullah Damad holds that the solution to this rather contradictory position of Quran, i.e. supporting both “offensive” and “defensive” wars, is that we interpret the general/unqualified verses to specific/qualified ones which give very specific reasons regarding waging a war. He then states four “conditions” or restrictions which, in his opinion, bond or condition Quran’s general commandments on war, namely:

  1. Fight against fight;
  2. Removing cruelty and oppression;
  3. No compulsion in accepting religion;
  4. The importance of peace and truce (Damad, 110).

At the end of this section the views of those against the legitimacy of “offensive” war in Islam and Quran, which is also what the present author holds, have been restated with more elaboration and justification. Also, in the same line, two famous traditions of the holy Prophet which sound as if his holiness supports the offensive war have been discussed and their implicit application to offensive war has been seriously questioned.

While section one basically examined divine commandments (i.e. verses of the holy Quran) on war and confrontation, in section two we have examined the views of leading “ulama” (clergies, religious scholars) on the same subject, i.e. “defensive” and “offensive” wars. Also, the views of jurists (fuqaha) maintaining that “offensive” war have been limited to the time of infallible ones (i.e. the holy Prophet and Shiite Imams), and those who believe in both offensive and defensive wars simultaneously, have been considered. In view of the importance of this subject, and also its close relation to some Shiite jurisdictions, some of the legal views of leading Sunnite jurists have also been mentioned here.

In summary of Shiite fuqahas‘ views on war, we have deliberately chosen the views of Ayatullah Salehi Najafabadi and Ayatullah Mohaghegh Damad as the leading contemporary Shiite scholars opposing the use of initial or offensive war to pursue the matter of faith, and have presented them as the most authoritative modern Shiite views on the subject matter.

Ayatullah Damad states that there are about one hundred verses in the holy Quran that invite Muslims to peace and recommends war only in self-defense or in defending one’s religion. Among the verses that he quotes, the followings are most relevant to his conclusion:

  1. “Peace and reconciliation are better” (Holy Quran 4/128).
  2. “Fight in the way of God with those who fight you …”

(Holy Quran 2/190).

  1. “But if the enemy desists, you too have to observe the truce…” (Holy Quran 2/192).
  2. “Permission to fight back is given to those who are oppressed…” (Holy Quran 22/39).
  3. “God does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of your religion, and have not driven you out of your homes, that you treat them with kindness and deal with them Justly…” (Holy Quran 60/8).

He then cites numerous examples from the life of the holy Prophet and Shiite Imams, especially Imam Ali, to support his juristic position that peace and truce have always been the dominant position of Islam, and that war and hostility are only permitted in defensive circumstances (Damad,120-126).

Ayatullah Salehi Najafabadi, in his valuable and controversial book titled “Jihad in Islam“, argues along the same line too and states that Shiite Ulama’s view in support of “offensive” war originates from the fatwa (religious opinion or decree) of the grand Ayatullah Shaikh-e Tousi which is in turn adapted from the “wrong” fatwa of Sunni clergy Imam Shafeie Who holds that the qualified or conditioned verses of Quran which limit the war with the infidels with the condition that they should have started the war, are all abrogated or annulled by the verse that says: “Fight them until there is no more subversion and all religion belongs to God” (Quran, 2/193). Thus waging offensive war against unbelievers-even though they are not harmful to Muslim community-for the sake of spreading the rule of religion is obligatory (Salehi, 12-14). This seems to be a very distinct and courageous position taken by a Shiite faqih.

He then enumerates eight positions of Shiite fuqaha in the course of time which, in his view, are absolutely wrong fatwas in relation to issues such as war, rules of fighting, cessation of hostilities, and prisoners of war. Ayatullah Salehi then concludes that: “Inviting people to the right path should basically be accompanied with logic, reasoning, admonition, and benevolence, and is never congruent with threat and compulsion. Thus the view of some fuqaha which hold that Jihad is for imposing religion on the people by the power of the sword is neither in agreement with Quranic verses nor with intellect or very nature of human being, it also does not have any public/universal acceptance. Thus, it has to be abandoned as an irrational and unacceptable view” (Salehi, 53).

Section three deals with the rules and regulation of a just, i.e. defensive, war and counts four kinds of war which fall into this category. Then it reviews the licit or legitimate actions in a warfare vis-à-vis the illicit or illegitimate ones. Issues relating to retaliation, repelling attacks, forbidden periods and places of war, illegal actions in war, armaments, prisoners of war, war reparations, etc. , have all been discussed in this section.

The last subject discussed in this section is “the end of the war”, i.e. when the hostilities should be stopped and some kind of truce or ceasefire have prevailed. Again the advocates of “defensive” war hold that as soon as the enemy shows any sign of peace-seeking and cessation of hostilities, Muslim fighters should respond immediately and positively and welcome the truce.

Finally, section four provides a short summary and conclusion of the whole discussion, reiterating Islam’s principal position on the war, i.e. that the war should basically be defensive, and only to repel enemy’s attack on the life, territory, and property of Muslim community. Also, based on this clear and sound position, any “offensive” reading of Islamic Jihad has been strongly refuted through Quranic verses and the holy Prophet’s tradition. This argument is based on many Quranic verses, the most important of which is the famous saying: “There is no compulsion in religion” (Holy Quran 2/256).

Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that, although   traditionally most Jurists (fuqaha) have maintained that some kind of “offensivejihad is permitted in Islam, during the course of the time and the emergence of less fanatical views on matters of religion, this attitude has gradually changed to the extent that nowadays many modern, university-educated scholars hold that “offensive” jihad is against the teachings of Quran and the holy Prophet of Islam and so is never permitted in Islam nor practiced during the holy Prophet or holy Imam’s time.

Also, it has been shown that the holy Prophet of Islam has never attacked the enemies of Islam by surprise, and so such sudden/ surprise attacks or guerilla activities are more of a terroristic nature than a “Just war” activity. Nevertheless, believers are asked to help the weak and oppressed people in a proper code of conduct and not in a sort of partisan ambushes risking the lives of innocent people.

Ayatullah Salehi Najafabadi reviews some of the more extremist fatwas of Shiite and Sunnite fuqaha on offensive jihad and concludes that such kind of unwise proclamations have provided substance for western scholars and media to criticize and attack Islamic tenets and beliefs, and so have to be modified and corrected in Islamic texts as soon as possible.

Finally, at the end of this rather short summary of the Islamic/Shiite view on Jihad, it has been clearly stated that what has been discussed here is more on a conceptual level not fully applied in many Islamic societies. Thus, what one notices in most Muslim communities is somehow different from this line of argumentation. Therefore, it may well be concluded that it takes years or even decades/centuries before all these humanitarian teachings of Islam are fully implemented in Islamic societies.

 

 

Categories: Islam

The State: A Cautionary Tale? Review of Peter Kosminsky's Drama about British Recruits to the Islamic State.

Islam - 10 hours 25 min ago

The State: A Cautionary Tale?

The first episode of The State, the tale of four British people who leave Europe and join the Islamic State in Raqqa Syria, was shown last night. Channel Four, at a time of glossy, paper-thin, series, terrestrial, streamed or in Box Sets, needs no justification to show serious tragedy. Peter Kosminsky, who adapted Wolf Hall, it was a “narrative that needed to be told”. “As far as I know there’s been no other depiction certainly in drama, of what happens to young British Muslims when they arrive in Islamic State.” (The ‘I’. 17.8.17)

The audience hardly has to be told of the importance of the subject. Globalisation means not only that media had brought a cascade of information about Daesh and its acts, but also has facilitated the recruitment of these supporters amongst several thousand other Europeans. As Graeme Wood put this in the Way of Strangers (2017) “Since 2010, tens of thousands of men, women and children have migrated to a theocratic state, under the belief that migration is a sacred obligation and that the state’s leader is the worldly successor of the last and greatest of prophets. If religious scholars see no role for religion in a mass movement like this, they see no role for religion in the world.”

This should not lead us to forget that ISIS was able to create its original totalitarian strongholds from many more Middle Eastern recruits in the wake the bloodbaths of post-invasion Iraq, and the Syrian civil war. Or that, as Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan have recounted, their “draconian rule and religious obscurantism” was initially resisted in Raqqa itself by brave individuals like schoolteacher Souad Nofa (Pages 187 – 190. Isis. Inside the Army of Terror. 2015)

In this vein, The State Kosminsky has stated that the production is based on extensive research both about life in Raqqa, and the “relationship many radical Muslims have with their faith”. “These people are either recent converts to Islam or people [who are] born Muslims, but who’ve been relatively recently ‘born again’ relatively recently and come to an interest in the faith”.

Radicalisation.

Sunday’s broadcast did not begin with lengthy treatment of the process of ‘radicalisation’ that led to the voyage to Raqqa. We are rushed into the crossing into Syria, hungry for clues about whether the recruits were ‘self-radicalised’, dreamt of their own pious utopia, or were pushed into Jihad by a passage through Salafism and recruiters who float in its milieu, as Gilles Kepel famously suggests (La Fracture. 2016).

Some indications about their background do emerge. Adolescent Ushna is anxious to fit in and wed. She hopes to be “a lioness amongst the lions” but her manners suggest an effort to adapt to Daesh’s Islamist rules, as do the other, mobile phone hugging, companions. Single mother and Junior Doctor, the Black British Shakira,  wants to tend to the – Islamist – sick. In a  scene, with echoes of The Handmaid’s Tale, women are instructed by American convert  Umm Walid, brittleness peppered with “sweeties”,  in their proper role as helpmeets. This Ushna challenges, as if she was in a university seminar, by citing female warriors at the time of the Prophet. 

Towards the end of the programme, a speech, in which the male combatants are informed of the coming Apocalypse, when America has been lured into their territory and Armageddon will unfurl, suggests something of Olivier Roy’s Jihadist “imaginaire” (Le djihad et la mort. 2016). Yet the characters already show ambiguity towards this war, a global jihad waged with the utmost force against the unclean, unbelieving “Kuffar” (the word constantly used in The State), whose violent momentum Roy considers the source of the attraction of ISIS.

The State is, Kosminsky has announced, a “cautionary tale” far from a “recruitment video”. We can expect disillusion, although it is hard to see why anybody should feel empathy for those, portrayed by actors,  who have joined an armed totalitarian organisation, a would-be state, whose genocidal acts are more than well known and self-advertised. It is certainly a powerful story, well dramatised. 

 

Whether this series will help shed light on the wider conflicts in the Middle East, from the Civil War in Syria to Iraq, where, as Gilbert Achcar has underlined, there are many other murdering bands, not to mention the Assad regime itself, remains to be seen (Morbid Symptoms: Relapse in the Arab Uprising  2016) But we hope, that after we see how Daesh treats women, we’ll hear a lot less of the genre of comments by Judith Butler about the Burka carrying “many meanings of agency” which Westerners have not grasped. (Precarious life. The Powers of Mourning and Violence. 2006)

Next episode tonight…

******

The State is a four-part mini-series following the story of four British men and women who have left their lives behind to join ISIS in Syria, and although it is a fictional story, it is based on extensive research of real life events.

Channel Four.

The Mail reviewer Christopher Stevens  says,

The State is no sort of truthful drama, as it claims to be. This is a recruitment video to rival Nazi propaganda of the Thirties calling young men to join the Brownshirts.

 

Categories: Islam

New national council to issue progressive rulings for Britain's Muslims | The Guardian

Islam - 10 hours 36 min ago

Worth noting:

Britain’s most senior Muslim clerics are to set up their first national council to issue progressive religious rulings that “embed Islam in a 21st-century British context”.

Qari Asim, one of Britain’s most prominent imams, said the central religious authority would promote an interpretation of Islam that was in line with British values.

Asim, the chief imam of Makkah mosque in Leeds, said the British Muslim community was crying out for an authoritative and credible voice that could speak out on issues as diverse as terrorism, obesity, organ donation and Islamophobia.

“People are proud and confident of their religious identity as well as their national identity, but at times they’re not getting enough theological or doctrinal guidance on some of their daily issues,” he said.

The national body, to consist of senior imams who will consult experts on issues, would be the first central religious authority for British Muslims. It would deliver religious rulings on topics that attract diverse views across the Muslim community, with the aim of providing clarity to young British Muslims, Asim said.

“This is about providing clarity on some of the sociopolitical issues, whether it be forced marriages, [female genital mutilation], honour killing,” he said. “These practices are not sanctioned by the faith Islam but they are cultural practices that have penetrated the Muslim community of particular backgrounds.

“The attempt is to embed Islam in a 21st-century British context. It’s about contextualising Islam in Britain.”

Asim, 39, was recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours list in 2012 for working to build bridges between communities in Leeds since the 7 July 2005 terror attack. He is an adviser to a commons inquiry into sharia councils and has campaigned against forced marriages and domestic violence. The imam is seen as a leading progressive figure in the British Muslim community.

Unlike the Church of England, there is no hierarchical structure to Islam in Britain, with most mosques operating independently. Asim said the new body would make rulings in a similar way to national religious bodies in many Sunni Muslim countries, although here it would be independent of government.

“It would lose credibility if it was state-backed or state-influenced,” Asim said. “The intention isn’t to have a mouthpiece for the government: it’s about providing a credible, authoritative voice for Muslims.”

He said the body would “supplement and complement” existing bodies, such as the Muslim Council of Britain, which represents hundreds of mosques across the country but does not rule on religious doctrine.

Asim said: “We see the need for this as Muslims are continually being asked to speak on behalf of other Muslims. It’s a council that will be able to speak on behalf of other Muslims and also challenge the establishment where needed.

“We want to protect our young people from the extremist narrative [of those] who are brainwashing and recruiting them, but at the same time we want them to feel comfortable and confident in their national heritage and uphold the values of democracy, rule of law, justice and compassion.”

Asim, who described Thursday’s terror attack in Spain as depraved, said there would be diverse views on issues including abortion, organ donation or climate change, but that organisation would seek to come to a formal position by a unanimous or majority vote and after hearing expert opinion on those topics.

“There are going to inevitably be diverse views on different issues, but the point is that we have a dialogue and debate about them and reach some form of consensus, whether it be unanimous or a majority, where there is clarity for young British Muslims,” he said.

Source: New national council to issue progressive rulings for Britain’s Muslims | World news | The Guardian
Categories: Islam

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