Friday, December 30, 2005

Freedom From All Oppression.

Oppression is the worst abuse humans can suffer. For a lot of people death can be preferred over oppression. There are a lot of faces for oppression:
1- Occupation.
2- Tyrant regimes.
3- Oppression against women.
4- Oppression of minorities.
5- Discrimination with all its forms: race, color, gender, sexuality...
6- Poverty.
7- Sins.
8- Fear: second to tyranny, absence of health and long term security, sins...
9- Insecurity: physical and sexual abuse, violent societies, absence of health and long term security...
10- Debts.
11- Religious oppression to people with different faith or no faith.
As you see to liberate the human mind and spirit there are a lot of things that need to be done. The UN and world leaders both political and religious have to work it out to liberate the human soul and mind. This can be done with a lot of politics and not wars. There is no absolute evil and good. Many times people against us are not our enemies but the other side. If every one is to be fair and put his foot on other person shoe we will have a lot of understanding and we can change the world. People who follow prophecies think the world will change only through the tribulation that God will inflict on humans. I do not know, I keep reading prophecies, meanwhile we have to use the sound politics and judgment to change the world. Prophecies ultimately reflects our judgments and actions.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Kindness In Islam.

These words from the Quran and hadith shows well how Kindness is very highly regarded in Islam.

"Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious; for your Lord knows best who have strayed from His Path, and who are truly guided."
Quran 16:125

"Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer? It is keeping peace and good relations between people, as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind."
(Muslims & Bukhari)

"Reviling a Muslim is disobedience to God, and fighting with him is infidelity."
(Bukhari, Muslim)

"Narrated Anas ibn Malik: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Three things are the roots of faith: to refrain from (killing) a person who utters, "There is no god but Allah" and not to declare him unbeliever whatever sin he commits, and not to excommunicate him from Islam for his any action."

"The most excellent Jihad is that for the conquest of self."

"Kindness is a mark of faith, and whoever is not kind has no faith." (Muslim)

"Whoever is kind, Allah will be kind to him; therefore be kind to man on the earth. He who is in heaven will show mercy on you."
(Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi)

"You will not enter paradise until you have faith; and you will not complete your faith till you love one another."

"You have two characters which God likes; gentleness and deliberation."

"By Him in whose hand my soul is, you will not enter paradise unless you believe, and you will not truly believe unless you love each other."
(Bukhari and Muslim)

"…Try to pass your mornings and evenings in a state where your heart is free from all ill-feelings, jealousy and hatred for everyone, and remember that this is my Sunnah, and he who loves my Sunnah will be with me in paradise."

"Those in whose hearts is no mercy for others will not attain the mercy of Allah."
(Bukhari and Muslim)

"Verily, Allah is mild and is fond of mildness, and He gives to
the mild what He does not give to the harsh."

"One who lacks kindness of heart lacks all good."

"Allah is gentle and loves gentleness in all things."
(Bukhari and Muslim)

Islam is the religion of kindness. This does not contradict your right to feel angry when Muslims are oppressed, poor, suffering and have a lot of injustices.
Kindness does not mean you give away you rights. For creating a kind society Islam beleives much to have the best of people are the one who to serve in the government.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Atheists and Agnostics I agree, But.

If you do not agree with the critics of religions in many things they say you are religious fanatic. If you find that the truth of religion is proclaiming what they think about you are in their side, but a real believer. These are the common sayings of some famous atheists and agnostics:
Francis Bacon:
Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation; all of which may be guides to an outward moral virtue, even if religion vanished; but religious superstition dismounts all these and erects an absolute monarchy in the minds of men.
My answer: Islam is compatible with sense, philosophy, piety, laws, and reputation. There is no monarchy one is free to find God and to reason with every thing in religion. Few are unseens are left to faith but almost every thing is amenable to mind.
George Santayana:
My atheism, like that of Spinoza, is true piety towards the universe and denies only gods fashioned by men in their own image to be servants of their human interests.
My Answer: Man created religions or used religions to serve their interests. This is well described in the religion of Islam.
Gore Vidal:
I'm a born-again atheist.
My answer: I am born-again Muslim and reborn every day Muslim I reassert my faith daily through the same tool Gore is using, human brain.
Henny Youngman:
I once wanted to become an atheist but I gave up . . . they have no holidays.
My answer: no comment I love the joke.
Pearl S. Buck:
When men destroy their old gods they will find new ones to take their place.
My answer: This is the difference between finding your God or creating one.
Pearl S. Buck:
Believing in gods always causes confusion.
My answer: Humans can confuse everything even religion. Every one of the major three religions came to us as one sect and people confused them and split them into many.
As to the gods, I have no means of knowing either that they exist or do not exist.
My answer: I have means the Bible and the Quran. I have no means to prove that man is not created by a God I have never found that chance can create a very complicated structure like me.
Thomas Jefferson:
Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.
My answer: I agree and I think Jefferson was a man who knew God.

Why The President Of Iran Got It Wrong?

The president of Iran is a devout Muslim and he believes much in the coming of El Mahdi. He tries to run his countries on the concepts of humanity, justice and the common good. He is however missing the point that if there is Al Mahdi he would be very likely to be a political leader. He is very likely to prepare the earth for Jesus second coming. He is very likely to fill the earth with peace and not to destroy it. He is very likely to have all people regardless of thier religions to get rightous and good humans. For any leader to be that capable he has not to be agressive any nuclear war would end our world. He will work to prevent Armagdon and not to make it. He is very likely to be friendly to Israel like any other nation. If God to send Jesus today he would be in a jail somewhere in the world. Corruption, tyranny and oppression are widespread. We have to play very reasonable and responsible geopolitics. God is the one who makes prophecies not us. Many times people do good or bad things and they trurn to be a prophecy or an old vision. I like the enthusiasm of the Iran president but we have to understand that Islam can conquer the world with its message not its troops.

Antisemitism is Racism: Harun Yahya.

Antisemitism is Racism
Totally Contrary to Islam
HARUN YAHYA (with some modifications):
In the 20th century, antisemitism has signed its name to great disasters, one of the most horrible being the cruelty and murder inflicted by the Nazis on the Jews. Besides this, in many countries authoritarian regimes have targeted Jews and subjected them to cruel treatment. Fascist organizations have harassed Jews and arranged bloody attacks against them.

In our times antisemitism is still an ideology which threatens world peace and targets the well-being and security of innocent people.

So, how should a Muslim regard antisemitism?

The answer is obvious. Every Muslim must oppose antisemitism as he would oppose every other racist ideology; he must resist this ideology of hatred and defend the rights of Jews as he would defend the rights of all other people. Every Muslim must recognize and defend the rights of Jews whether in Israel or in the diaspora to live in peace, to worship, to protect their identity and to express themselves.
Antisemitism: The Product of Neo Paganism

A basic fact that must be appreciated about antisemitism is that it is a pagan creed that no Muslim could ever espouse.

In order to make this clear, we must examine the roots of Antisemitism. This term is generally understood as meaning "anti Jewish," but its basic meaning is a "hatred of Semitic peoples". The Semitic peoples are basically made up of Arabs, Jews and a few other Middle Eastern ethnic groups. There is a great similarity between the languages and cultures of the Semites; for example, Arabic and Hebrew are much alike.

The second largest linguistic and racial group in the world is the Indo-European community of nations. Most of the countries of present day Europe have Indo-European roots.

The pagan war god Wotan, one of the symbols of pagan barbarism and bigotry.
All these various civilizations have had their prophets who proclaimed the existence and the unity of God and made His commands known. But when we examine recorded history, we see that Indo-European peoples from ancient times always believed in paganism. The Greek and Roman civilizations, the Teutons, Vikings and other Barbarian peoples living in southern Europe at that time were all polytheistic pagans. For this reason, these communities remained completely without moral guidance. Violence and savagery were regarded as praiseworthy; homosexuality and adultery were widely practiced. (The most important historical representative of Indo-European civilization was the Roman Empire, and we must not forget that it was a savage society that delighted in seeing people torn apart in the arenas.)

These peoples who ruled Europe encountered monotheism through Jesus Christ, a prophet sent to Semitic people. Sent as a prophet to the children of Israel, the teaching of Jesus spread throughout Europe in the course of time and all the formerly pagan peoples gradually accepted Christianity.

But in the 18th and 19th centuries, with the weakening of Christianity and the growth of ideologies and philosophies that promoted the rejection of religion, a strange current of thought circulated in Europe- Neo-Paganism. The leaders of this movement claimed that European societies must reject Christianity and return to ancient pagan beliefs. According to the adherents of Neo-Paganism, the way European societies understood morality in ancient pagan times (i.e., a warlike, pitiless, bloodthirsty, unbounded barbarous morality), was much superior to the morality they adopted when they accepted Christianity (i.e., a humble, compassionate, peace-loving and religious morality).

Nietzshce was an antisemite, because he sympathized with the pagan culture of violence and hated Theistic religions.
One of the most important representatives of this trend is also one of the greatest theorists of Fascism- Friedrich Nietzsche. He hated Christianity; he believed that it had destroyed the warlike spirit of the German people, that is, it's very essence.

The adherents of Neo-Paganism were hostile to Christianity; at the same time, they adopted a great hatred for Judaism which they saw as the source of Christianity. Indeed, they saw Christianity as the disseminator of Jewish ideas throughout the world and regarded it as a kind of Jewish plot.

So, this Neo-Paganism, on the one hand incited hostility against religion and, on the other, gave birth to fascism and antisemitism. Especially when we look at the foundations of the Nazi ideology, we can see clearly that Hitler and his confreres were, in fact, pagans.

Nazism: 20th Century Paganism

One of the greatest roles in the development of the Nazi ideology was played by a thinker by the name of Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels. Lanz fervently believed in the ideas of Neo-Paganism. He was the first person to find in ancient sources the swastika which was later to become the symbol of the Nazi party. The Ordo Novi Templi (Order of the New Temple), an organization founded by Lanz, devoted itself totally to the rebirth of paganism. Lanz freely proclaimed that he worshiped Wotan, the imaginary "War God" of the ancient German people. He thought that the worship of Wotan was the true religion of the German people and that Germans could be saved only by returning to this religion.

Nazi ideology developed on the road prepared for it by Lanz and other devotees of Neo-Paganism. One of the most important Nazi ideologues, Alfred Rosenberg, thought that Christianity could not provide the spiritual energy needed by the new Germany being established by Hitler, and declared openly that the German people must return to their ancient pagan religion. According to Rosenberg, when the Nazis came to power, religious symbols in churches should be removed and replaced by swastikas, a copy of Hitler's book "Mein Kampf" (My Struggle) and swords symbolizing German invincibility. Hitler adopted the views of Rosenberg but, thinking it would cause too much of a reaction among the people, he did not put this new theory of German religion into effect. [1]

Nazis were neo-pagans who sought to destroy the Judeo-Christian ethics and convert the German society to pagan barbarism.
Nevertheless, during the Nazi regime, some important practices of Neo-Paganism were instituted. Shortly after Hitler came to power, the holy days and feasts of Christianity began to be suppressed and replaced by the holy days of pagan religions. At weddings, oaths were sworn to such imaginary gods as "Mother Earth" and "Father Sky". In 1935, students in schools were forbidden to say Christian prayers and later, lessons with any Christian content were completely discontinued.

Hitler once revealed his attitude toward Christianity when he bluntly stated that religion is an:

…organized lie [that] must be smashed. The State must remain the absolute master. When I was younger, I thought it was necessary to set about [destroying religion] …with dynamite. I've since realized there's room for a little subtlety …. The final state must be … in St. Peter's Chair, a senile officiant; facing him a few sinister old women… The young and healthy are on our side … Our peoples had previously succeeded in living all right without this religion. I have six divisions of SS men absolutely indifferent in matters of religion. It doesn't prevent them from going to their death with serenity in their souls. [2]

As we can see, Hitler saw only one idea as having importance in the spiritual realm: the idea that would lead people to "go to their death with serenity in their souls". He found it in abundance in such pagan concepts as "the German spirit" and "honor in battle". He saw monotheistic religions as beliefs that must be "destroyed with dynamite" but, for political reasons, he acted more moderately.

The Nazi hatred for Jews was a part of this anti-Theistic ideology. Nazis who hated Christianity saw it as a "Jewish plot." That Jesus Christ, a prophet of Israeli origin, should be loved and revered by Germans, who regarded themselves as the "master race", was for them unthinkable. For the Nazis, it was not a prophet of Israeli origin that would be a guide for Germans, but the barbarous and cruel warriors of pagan German culture.

So, this is the real truth about Nazism and antisemitism in general. Today, the leaders of antisemitism are various Neo-Nazi and Fascist groups. If we look at them, we see immediately that every one of them has an anti-religious ideology and what they say is based on pagan ideas.

Antisemitism And Every Kind Of Racism Is Contrary To Islam

From the facts that we have examined so far, the following is clear:

Antisemitism is an anti-religion ideology that has its roots in Neo-Paganism. Therefore, it is unthinkable that a Muslim would espouse antisemitism or feel sympathy for this ideology. Anti-Semites have no respect for Abraham, Moses or David who were blessed prophets chosen by God to be examples for humanity.

Antisemitism and other kinds of racism (eg. prejudice against Blacks) have no place in true religion; they are perversions arising from various ideologies and superstitions.

Furthermore, when we examine antisemitism and other forms of racism, we see clearly that they promote ideas and a model of society that is totally contrary to the moral teachings of the Qur'an, For example, at the root of antisemitism lie hatred, violence, and lack of compassion. An anti-Semite may be so cruel as to support the murder of Jewish people without distinguishing between women, children and the aged, and condone their being subjected to torture. However, the moral teaching of the Qur'an enjoins love, compassion and mercy for all people. It also commands Muslims to show justice and be forgiving even to their enemies.

According to the Qur'an, Muslims, Jews and Christians Must Live in Friendship

Jews and Christians (called in the Qur'an the "people of the book") are much closer to Muslims than idolaters (pagans or the atheists). The people of the book, like Muslims, believe in one God and are subject to His commands.

In the Qur'an, there is a significant difference between the people of the book and the idolaters. This is especially emphasized in the area of social life. For example, it is said concerning the idolaters: "(they) are unclean, so after this year they should not come near the Masjid al-Haram." (Surat at-Tawba: 28) Idolaters are people who know no divine law, have no moral precepts and who can commit every kind of degrading and perverse deed without hesitation.

But the people of the book, while they rely basically on God's revelation, have moral precepts and know what is lawful and what is not. For this reason, if one of the people of the book cooks some food, it is lawful for Muslims to eat it. In the same way, permission has been given to a Muslim man to marry a woman from among the people of the book. On this subject God commands:

Today all good things have been made lawful for you. And the food of those given the Book is also lawful for you and your food is lawful for them. So are chaste women from among the believers and chaste women of those given the Book before you, once you have given them their dowries in marriage, not in fornication or taking them as lovers. But as for anyone who disbelieve, his actions will come to nothing and in the hereafter he will be among the losers. (Surat al-Mai'da: 5)

These commands show that bonds of kinship may be established as a result of the marriage of a Muslim with a woman from the people of the book and that those on each side of the union can accept an invitation to a meal. These are the fundamentals that will ensure the establishment of equitable human relationships and a happy communal life. Since the Qur'an enjoins this equitable and tolerant attitude, it is unthinkable that a Muslim could take an opposing view.

Monasteries, Churches And Synagogues Must Be Respected

Temples that deserve respect: A church...
Another important fact we learn from the Qur'an is that Muslims must respect Jewish and Christian places of worship. In the Qur'an, the places of worship of the people of the book, ie. monasteries, churches and synagogues, are mentioned as places of worship protected by God.

"…if God had not driven some people back by means of others, monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques, where God's name is mentioned much, would have been pulled down and destroyed. God will certainly help those who help Him - God is All-Strong, Almighty." (Surat al-Hajj: 40 )

This verse shows to every Muslim the importance of respecting and protecting the holy places of the people of the book.

... and a synagouge.
Indeed, in the Qur'an, God commands Muslims not to harbor any enmity toward any people. In many verses, friendship is recommended even with the idolaters. God even refers to the idolaters at war with Muslims like this: "If any of the idolaters ask you for protection, give them protection until they have heard the words of God. Then convey them to a place where they are safe." (Surat at-Tawba: 6)

Jews and Christians, however, are much closer to Muslims than idolaters. Each of these religions has its book, that is, they are subject to a book sent down by God. They know what is right and what is wrong, what is lawful and what is unlawful. They know they will give an account to God and they love and revere His prophets. This shows that Muslims and the people of the book can live easily together.


In a Muslim's outlook on the world, one of his basic criteria is justice. No matter whom he may oppose, he cannot depart from justice. He acts not according to his feelings, but with his reason and conscience. He removes himself from fanaticism and bigotry, and makes his decisions according to wisdom.

What God teaches us in the Qur'an about different peoples and creeds is clear:

1. The morality of the Qur'an excludes every kind of racism.

2. It is commanded in the Qur'an that, so long as they show no hostility to Islam or Muslims, a tolerant and friendly attitude must be maintained toward other religions.

Our wish is that a world will be established in which people will be able to live together in peace no matter to what race or religion they belong, in which every racist perversion will be rejected, everyone's rights will be regarded and everyone will be respected.


1- Michael Howard, The Occult Conspiracy: The Secret History of Mystics, Templars, Masons and Occult Societies, 1.b., London: Rider, 1989, p. 130
2- Hitler, A., Hitler's Secret Conversations 1941-1944, With an introductory essay on The Mind of Adolf Hitler by H.R. Trevor-Roper, Farrar, Straus and Young, New York, p. 117


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Top Ten List According to Bible Rejecting Jesus’ Divinity!

By: Shahid Bin Waheed!

1. Mark 12:29 Jesus said "Here, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord." [This confirms that Jesus preached to worship One and Only God, not trinity.

2. John 20:17 Jesus said I ascend to my God and your God. [Jesus has a God according to him; we know that God can’t have a God?]

3. John 8:28 Jesus said, "I do nothing of myself” [Can a God be this dependant?]

4. John 14:28 Jesus said, "My Father (GOD) is greater than I am" [So, how can Jesus himself be a God?]

5. Luke 23:46 Jesus said "Father (GOD), into thy hands I commend my spirit" [God does not have spirit like Jesus did.]

6. Matthew 24:36 Jesus told his followers that no one (including Jesus) knows when the judgment day will come, only GOD knows. [Or Jesus was lying to his followers, if he was God?]

7. John 5:30 Jesus told his followers that he couldn’t do a single thing of his own. [When a God became this helpless?]

8. John 5:32 Jesus told his followers that they have never seen GOD at anytime nor ever heard his voice. [Or Jesus was lying again here, if he was God?]

9. Luke 5:16 Jesus prays to God. [Funny, if Jesus was God, then why he is praying to God? Since when and how a God has a God?

10. Matthew 26:39 Jesus fell on his face and prayed to his GOD like Muslims do. [How would you explain this from the very Bible?

Monday, December 26, 2005

Islam is Totally Against Persecution.

If a Muslim persecuted a christian or any non-Muslim he is either an idiot, bulley or likely a combination of both. These are the reasons behind my points:
1- The main reason that people followed Islam or converted to Islam after their firm faith it is real is its humanistic nature. In Quran God says that " Do not cut short people's rights". He did not say Muslims, he said people. So all people and all their rights have to be protected.
2- There is no known case that Muhammad (PBUH) persecuted anyone for no reason. The people oppressed and killed Muslims they rightly fought them back. But for peaceful people Muhammad named the minority of people in a muslim country " The people in our protection". In Islam even money was given to non-Muslims and particularly poor non-Muslims.
3- Islam is a very civilized religion and survived all these years and took over a lot of religions because of its high values and Muslims themselves should be sure that no mean Muslims to harm Islam by persecuting non-Muslims.
4- A lot of Muslims consider non-Muslims as potential Musliums that we have to work to have people love Islam so they convert willingly to Islam. Even if they did not convert we did the right thing to our religion and to humanity.

Why Muslims need a different Ben Ladin?

A lot of Muslims/Arab and even foreigners understands well the complelling reasons for his terrible terrorist attacks of 9/11. Even the Aemrican administration acknowledge that and talked about the hopelessness and severe oppression and poverty as causes for terrorism. They admitted as well their unconditioned and unjustified support to the Arab regimes. The words are good but action is what count. As Muslims/Arabs we have always to keep open door that actions may come at sometime. As one other Muslim politicians Mawya said " If there is a thraid of hair between me and the other people I would never cut it off". Ben Ladin may be still a hero to many muslims and arabs. However, he did attract the moderates who are the greatest and the most able so less brave part of the masses. The animalistic styles of killing Muslims and non-muslims and the failure to talk politics harmed well their cause. So other alternatives are very difficult to do. However, moderate Muslims would have been better got organized and get new front against all the terrorists/Jihadists, Arab dictators and American hypocracy. The problem is they think they can work through the American government. The trick is the American government main taks is to fight the terrerists so they need the Arab tyrants for a number of years. President Bush agenda is likely to correct the mess of Iraq and get out of there which is not bad for him and his country. As American I do not think it is good for our security and interest in America. As An Arab/Muslim I feel it is just to all of these millions of oppressed and poor people to be freed. The moderate Arab/Muslim will be having against them however very strong and repressive regimes. They also have to work carefully with American govenrment or just accept that their obligations to the Arab tyrants are more important now. The Arab and Muslim moderates would need to gather masses around them and use all resources particularly the media. The need a kind of a leader that can gather them. If there is no Mahdi they have to make one a geopolitical leader or a group of elite that best represent them. They have to accept Israel as first goal. Relgiously it is also their land and with the Plastinian they have to work things out. We need our main goals to get rid of the tyrants and create democratic prosporus socities enjoying the mainstream Islam which is very moderate. I do not care if the Muslim world will look like an Empire or as prosporus and loosly connected states. All I care is we get the best of Islam to the advantage of Muslims and non-Muslims. We have to deal with America prudently even the Europeans do that. We have to win politically the major powers as China, EU and Russia. All powers in the world would appreciate a non hostile, moderate and civillized group of Islamic states that would adapt the humanistic cooperative approach to all problems with open dialogue, no secrecy or imperialism.


Islamic Banking

A previous section on Islamic prohibition of usury made mention of the rejection by Islam of financial interest or riba, largely on the grounds of its negative distributive justice and equity effects (Khan, 1986). Out of this prohibition has developed perhaps the most sophisticated and complete theoretical systems of interest-free political economy in the world (Chouhury & Malik, 1992).

The specific methods for implementing Islamic banking have centered around financial equity based approaches, most notably Mudarabah - a joint venture between the bank and a 'partner' with both contributing to the capital of the project and sharing the profit or loss - and Musharakah - in which all the capital for an investment is provided by the bank in return for a predetermined share of the profit or loss of the business undertaking (Kahn & Mirakhor, 1986).

The first modern Islamic bank was established in the 1960s in Egypt (The Banker, 1989) and in the ensuing three decades, Islamic banking has grown into an industry with $80 billion in deposits and 100 banks and finance houses (Khalaf, 1995). Much of this growth has been as a result of the comprehensive attempts by Iran, Pakistan and Sudan over past 10 years to restructure their national banking systems to bring them into accordance with Islamic law of the Shari'ah (Aftab, 1986; The Economist, 1992a). In addition, increasing numbers of banks outside these countries, including in Western countries, have begun to offer parallel Islamic banking services (O'Brien & Palmer, 1993). As recently as 1996, the UK joined these latter ranks, with Flemmings Merchant Bank (1996) offering the first Islamic banking service, the Oasis Fund, to British customers.

The claimed advantages of the Islamic banking approach to finance are that it results in: more just and equitable distribution of resources; more responsible and profitable lending due to the necessarily closer bank-client relationship; less volatile business cycles; and more stable banking systems (Taylor & Evans, 1987); as well as "the relative efficiency of the interest-free money system over the alternative interest-based system" (Darrat, 1988). On the other hand, the Islamic banking industry has been criticized on a number of counts too: for its lack of uniformity and standardization of products, accounting systems and endorsements by different Sharia boards (Khalaf op.cit); various bad-debt complications (Shreeve, 1988); the information-gathering burden on potential consumers and banks themselves to ensure the security and profitability of their funds, as well the lack of an interest-rate mechanism to use as a macro-economic tool (The Economist, 1992b). However, these limitations must be viewed against the backdrop of Islamic banking as a young and innovative growth market.


Jesus in Islam and Christmas

Jesus in Islam and Christmas
12/25/2005 - Religious Interfaith - Article Ref: IC0312-2171
By: IslamiCity
IslamiCity* -

Many Christians are unaware that the true spirit of reverence which Muslims display towards Jesus and his mother Mary spring from the fountainhead of their faith as prescribed in the Holy Quran. Most do not know that a Muslim does not take the name of Jesus , without saying Eesa alai-hiss-salaam i.e. (Jesus peace be upon him).

Many Christians do not know that in the Holy Quran Jesus is mentioned by name twenty-five times. For example:

.. We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the holy spirit. .. Quran 2:87

Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah gives thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah. Quran 3:45

.. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an apostle of Allah .. Quran 4:171

And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him .. Quran 5:46

And Zakariya and John, and Jesus and Elias: all in the ranks of the righteous: Quran 6:85

The Quranic Titles of Jesus

Though Jesus is mentioned by name in twenty-five places in the Holy Quran he is also addressed with respect as: "Ibne Maryam" - son of Mary; as Masi (Heb) Messiah - translated as Christ; "Abd-ullah" servant of Allah; "Rasul -Ullah" - Messenger of Allah.

He is spoken of as "the word of God", as "the spirit of God", as a "Sign of God", and numerous other epithets of honor spread over fifteen different chapters. The Holy Quran honors this great Messenger of God, and over the past fourteen hundred years Muslims continue to hold Jesus as a symbol of truth.

Islam requires Muslims to respect the faith of others
Regardless of historical facts and theological differences that Christians may have among themselves or theological differences Muslims may have with Christianity we cannot disregard the sentiments of practicing Christians who use this occasion to revere Jesus .
Prophet Muhammad was always very respectful towards the Christians. According to Islamic historians, Ibn e Saad and Ibn e Hisham, once there was a delegation of Byzantine Christians, who were traveling from Yemen to Madinah. The delegation was lead by a bishop by the name of Zqyd al-Usquf, who came to discuss a number of issues with Prophet Muhammad . When the time of their prayer came, they asked the Prophet if they could do their worship in the mosque of the Prophet. He answered, "Conduct your service here in the mosque. It is a place dedicated to God."
We should never ridicule the religious beliefs of others, no matter how much we disagree with them. God says in the Quran: "And insult not those whom they worship besides God, lest they insult God wrongfully without knowledge. Thus We have made fair-seeming to each people its own doings; then to their Lord is their return and He shall then inform them of all that they used to do". Quran, 6:108

How Stands the Empire? by Patrick J. Buchanan

How long ago was it that you last heard some pundit blather on about America being "the greatest empire since Rome"?

Quite a while, I imagine. For if the Iraqi insurgency has done nothing else, it has induced a sense of humility, and of the limits of American power.

Surely, all Americans hope the Iraqi elections will usher in a coalition that will let us depart. But it is time we stood back and took a hard look at what this war tells us, not only about our ability, but about the wisdom of trying to remake the world in our own image.

Is this generation of Americans really up to the task? Is it really willing to pay indefinitely in blood and treasure to realize the ambitious agenda George W. Bush has set out? Consider:

Though our 2,150 war dead are not 4 percent of the men we lost in Vietnam, our home front has buckled. Half the nation wants out. Is this how a mighty empire reacts to a little adversity?

Today, we field armed forces one-tenth the size of U.S. forces in 1945, and not half as large as the forces commanded by Ike and JFK. Yet, the very suggestion of a return to the draft, which we all readily accepted in the 1950s, causes a firestorm of indignation and protest.

Apparently, few of our future leaders wish to risk their lives in the "global democratic revolution."

Nor have the rest of us been called on to sacrifice. Today, we spend 4 percent of our GDP on the military. In Ike's day, it was 9 percent; in Reagan's, 6 percent. But any proposal to raise taxes to expand U.S. armed forces to enforce the Bush Doctrine against Iran or North Korea would have Republican supply-siders digging the cobblestones out of the streets of Georgetown.

When it comes to empire, we are – in a phrase Bush used to hear often growing up in West Texas – "all hat and no cattle."

And whether we invaded to liberate Iraq from a brutal tyrant, or to strip a dangerous regime of WMD, or to establish democracy, does the world appreciate it? Does the world really want America to democratize mankind?

A new Zogby poll of 3,900 people in six once-friendly Arab nations finds that, when asked to name the leader they detest most, 45 percent named Ariel Sharon, but Bush has moved into second at 30 percent. Tony Blair was a distant third at 3 percent. No one else was close. ( I personally thinks Ariel Sharon makes a great peace maker now, the Arabs are inpatients)

Only 6 percent agreed with al-Qaeda's goal of a caliphate ruling the Islamic world, and only 7 percent approved of its terrorism – but fully 36 percent admired how al-Qaeda "confronts the U.S." ( I personally have no problem with a Christian empire or Christian caliphates if they would apply the teachings of Jesus)

How admired is President Bush? When he urged the Iranians to go to the polls and repudiate the mullahs, they responded by choosing as president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who makes Hashemi Rafsanjani look like Ramsey Clark. When Condi Rice stiffed the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood on a visit to Cairo, the Brotherhood soared in Egyptian eyes and swept to victory in 60 percent of the parliamentary races it contested.

Everywhere today, nationalists burnish their credentials by dissing us. In Canada, Prime Minister Paul Martin seeks to save a scandal-ridden regime by pandering to Canadians' dislike of the United States. Hugo Chavez made himself the toast of South America by flipping off Bush at the Argentine summit. Evo Morales just swept to victory in Bolivia by promising to defy the Americans.

When Bush went to Seoul, he was informed that South Korea is pulling out of Iraq. The U.S. ambassador, who denounced the North as a criminal regime, was told to shut up. East Asia just held its first summit – to which the United States was not invited. The Uzbeks have just told us: Close your airbase, and get out.

Because of charges that we used secret prisons in Europe to interrogate jihadists and EU airports to transfer them there, the United States has never been less admired in NATO Europe, nor its president more despised.

Is it not thus apparent the world does not really want an American empire, or American hegemony, or Bush's "democratic revolution"? Is it not equally apparent that we Americans, unwilling to conscript our young or further tax ourselves, cannot sustain a global policy that commits us to defending nations all over this world, most of which do not even like us?

However Iraq ends, the era that began with the fall of the Berlin Wall has reached its close. That place in the sun the Greatest Generation won for us, and the Cold War generation kept for us, the baby boomer generation appears to have lost. And perhaps forever.

America needs a new vision. America needs a new foreign policy.

Mr. Buchanan is absolutely right. Arabs/Muslims are not idiots: they know we went to Iraq for oil, oil, oil, Israel, Israel, Sadui Dynasty, then librity, vandata, remake of middle east, arresting the theif of Bughdad and finding Al-Adin lamp .

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Why Prayers Are Not Answered?

Shaykh Hamza Yousuf recounted the tale of Ibrahim bin Adham from Al Basra (Iraq) and how people complained to him that despite calling on Allah (GOD), they did not receive what they asked for. He explained that it was because their hearts were dead due to the following 10 factors:

1) You know Allah (SWT), yet you do not fulfill His rights
2) You read the Qura’an, yet you do not follow it.
3) You claim to love the Prophet (Sal Allah Alayhi Wa Salaam), yet you do not act upon the sunnah.
4) You claim the devil is your enemy, yet you agree with him.
5) You claim to love Paradise, yet you do nothing to earn it.
6) You claim to hate the Fire, but you do nothing to flee from it.
7) You claim that death is real, yet you do not prepare for it.
8) You are preoccupied with the faults of others, yet you do not think of your own faults.
9) You eat the blessings of Allah, yet do not thank Him (SWT).
10) We bury the dead, yet take no lesson from it.

May we return to Allah (SWT) with a sound heart and remember Him (SWT) in every moment of our lives. "Truly, it is by the Remembrance of Allah that hearts find rest." [Qura'an, 13.28]

Drops of Faith: Water in Islam

Drops of Faith: Water in Islam

Francesca De Chatel

As a universal religion born initially in the harsh deserts of Arabia to complete the message of former prophets and convey the divine revelation in its last testament (Qur’an), Islam ascribes the most sacred qualities to water as a life-giving, sustaining and purifying resource. It is the origin of all life on earth, the substance from which Allah created man (25:54), and the Holy Qur’an emphasizes its centrality: “We made from water every living thing (21:30)”. Water is the primary element that existed even before the heavens and the earth did: “And it is He who created the heavens and the earth in six days, and his Throne was upon the waters (11:7).”

The water of rain, rivers and fountains runs through the pages of the Qur’an to symbolize Allah’s benevolence: “He sends down saving rain for them when they have lost all hope and spreads abroad His mercy (25:48)”. At the same time, the believers are constantly reminded that it is Allah Who gives sweet water to the people, and that He can just as easily withhold it: “Consider the water which you drink. Was it you that brought it down from the rain cloud or We? If We had pleased, We could make it bitter (56:68-70)”. In this verse the believers are warned that they are only the guardians of Allah’s creation on earth; they must not take His law into their own hands.

Facing Allah in Radiant Purity: Ablutions

“Cleanliness is half of faith,” the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) tells his companions in one of the Hadiths. These well-known and oft-repeated words reveal not only the central importance of purity and cleanliness, but also the essential role water plays in Islamic religion. Purification through ablution is an obligatory component of the Islamic prayer ritual; prayers carried out in an impure state are not valid. This means Muslims are obliged to carry out ritual ablution before each of the five daily prayers. In addition, a more thorough ritual is required on specific occasions.

The Qur’an tells believers that Allah “loves those who cleanse themselves (9:108)” and instructs them: “O you who believe, when you rise to pray, wash your faces and your hands as far as the elbow, wipe your heads, and your feet to the ankle. If you are polluted, cleanse yourselves… Allah does not wish to burden you, but desires to purify you (5:6)”. Allah will reward those who purify themselves, as the eleventh century theologian al-Ghazali testifies in the following Hadith: “The believers will come on Resurrection Day with brightness on their foreheads, wrists and ankles from the effect of ablution.”

Entire chapters of the Hadiths are dedicated to ablutions, detailing when and how they should be performed, and explaining in which order the various parts of the body should be washed, how the feet are to be cleaned, how the head should be rubbed - even how often the nostrils should be cleared. They also specify that the water used for ablutions should be pure-mutlaq-which means it should not be mixed with any other liquid. Water from rain, wells, flowing water from taps, rivers and streams, and still water from lakes, ponds, seas and oceans, are all considered to be pure and suitable for ritual ablution.

The body and the Soul: Physical Purity in Religious Contexts

There are two types of ablution. Wudu’, the minor purification carried out before prayer, consists of washing the hands, the face, the forearms, the head and the feet. The Hadiths explain that by performing wudu’ the believer washes away sin, and that each drop of water that falls in the hand makes the devil flee.

The process of wudu’ is described in a very physical way, as though the sin were a visible stain, an insidious little demon that clings to the believer and can only be chased away with water. Thus when a believer washes his face during wudu’, the Hadiths say that every sin that he contemplated with his eyes is washed away from his face with the last drop of water; when he washes his hands, every sin they wrought is effaced; and when he washes his feet, every sin toward which his feet have walked is washed away, until he comes out pure of all sins.

Ghusl is the major purification, which cleanses the whole body from impurities and is required after intercourse, menstruation, childbirth, before adopting Islam, and after death, but also before important celebrations and during the Hajj.

Cleansing the Mind: Spiritual Purity

Wudu’ and ghusl are both part of the act of worship, rituals that are mandatory before starting prayers, reading, or even touching the Qur’an. As such, these rituals include a spiritual component, which means that even if one is physically clean, but has not carried out the purification in ritual fashion, it is not permitted to read the Qur’an or even touch it.

This prohibition has nothing to do with physical purity - whether one has clean hands or whether one might stain the pages of the Holy Book, for example. It is purely a question of reverence towards the Word of Allah. Thus physical purity alone does not suffice to arrive at a state of tahara, ritual purity. Ablution should not be carried out mechanically, but only after niyyat (intention), the silent expression of sincerity and obedience to Allah. This is the spiritual component of the purification ritual: while the body is purified with water, the mind must be completely focussed on Allah. Carrying out wudu’ or ghusl simply for refreshment in hot weather, for example, makes it invalid.

The physical and spiritual components of the purification ritual reflect the Islamic principle of tawhid (unity): body and mind should be united in the performance of religious duties. Islam means “surrendering to Allah”, and Muslims, “those who have surrendered to Allah”, do so with body and soul. An inscription in the baths of Granada’s old Moorish Quarter expresses this link between physical and spiritual purity. It says that the body is the mirror of the soul, and therefore “outer stains suggest inner ones as well.”

Saving Water

The Hadiths urge moderation and thriftiness in the use of water during ablution. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) warned that wudu’ should not be performed more than three times in a row before each prayer; the Prophet himself (peace and blessings be upon him) washed each part only two or three times without ever going beyond three, even if water supplies were abundant. Commentators add: “The men of science disapprove of exaggeration and also of exceeding the number of ablutions of the Prophet.”

The Hadiths also offer advice for times of scarcity, using the Prophet’s actions as a guideline. One day when the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was travelling through the desert with his companions, his wife `A’ishah lost her necklace. They spent time searching for it and when prayer time came, the company was nowhere near a water source. It was then that Allah revealed the ritual of tayammum to the Prophet: “O you who believe, (…) if you are sick or on a journey, (…) and if you can find no water, then have recourse to clean dust and wipe your faces and your hands with it (4:43).” Clean earth can thus be used as a substitute for water in exceptional circumstances. Indeed, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) acknowledged the pure nature of earth when he said: “The earth has been created for me as a mosque and as a means of purification.”

Islam and Christianity: Two Religions, Two Waters

One of the fundamental distinctions between Islam and Christianity lies in their view of the relationship between body and soul, and this also indirectly reveals a difference in the valuing of water. Where Islam assumes a unity of body and soul, Christian philosophy sees the two as independent entities. Inspired by Plato’s philosophy of dualism, it conceives of a rational, controllable mind or soul, and a body that is governed by blind necessity and that cannot always be kept in check by the mind.

The idea of separation of body and soul was adopted by the Church and strongly dominated the ideology of early Christian ascetics. They believed physical suffering and deprivation would purify the spirit and bring the faithful closer to Christ, leading to decidedly questionable ideas about purity and cleanliness. Saints of early Christianity boasted that water had never touched their feet except when they had had to wade across a stream. St. Jerome also denounced bathing as a pagan practice and affirmed that “He who has bathed in Christ [i.e. has been baptized] does not need a second bath.” This abhorrence of bathing and everything related to it persisted far into the Middle Ages and went beyond the realms of the clergy. During the Spanish Reconquista of the fifteenth century, Queen Isabella famously declared she would not change her robe until Granada fell. Given that the siege lasted eight months, one can imagine the odour that surrounded the pious Catholic Queen. As mentioned above, in Islam, the unity of body and soul means regular ablution and bathing is a religious requirement.

Christian baptism, in which newborn babies [or adults] are blessed by holy water and accepted into the Church, also reveals a different view of water in the two religions. In Islam, all water is sacred and sent as a gift from Allah. This is repeated many times in the Qur’an: “We provided you with sweet water (77:27)”. All water, as long as it is mutlaq (free from impurities), can be used for ablution. The holy water that is used in Christian baptism is of a different nature; it is not just any water, but water that has been blessed in the name of Christ. This blessing gives the water a special quality, an added value that sets it apart and elevates it above other water. Records from the early Church Fathers show that holy water was believed to chase away evil spirits and cure a variety of illnesses. Many Christians kept baptismal water in their houses throughout the year, or else used it to water their fields, vineyards and gardens. Islamic doctrine ascribes holiness to all water: “And you see the land dried up, but when We send down water upon it, it trembles, and swells, and grows…(22:5).”

The Bathhouse and the Drinking Fountain: Water’s Legacy in the Islamic City

Water’s importance in Islamic culture has, over the centuries, also left its mark on the design of the city. The fountains, cisterns, and public baths that can still be found today in cities around the Islamic world survive as a physical testimony to the central role water plays in Muslim society.

The hammam, the public bathhouse, has a long history that goes back to pre-Islamic times. Tradition attributes the creation of the bathhouse to King Solomon and Bilqís, the Queen of Sheba (see Al-Tha`labi, The Stories of the Prophets for more on the origin of the hammam). While scholars generally agree that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) never visited a hammam himself, they were much frequented until running water was installed in homes. While the visit to the hammam was, of course, in the first place part of the purification ritual, the steam and hot water also served medicinal purposes, and many visited them for health reasons. Today hammams are not frequented as often as they were, except in North African countries like Tunisia and Morocco, where visits to the hammam have become a social event as much as a component of the religious ritual.

Before running water was installed in households, inhabitants of the Islamic city fetched their water from fountains, cisterns or wells. In many of the medieval towns, the water source was a place where women and girls met and chatted when they came to fill up their jugs and pitchers every day. Today little remains of these social hubs with the exception of the sabil, the drinking water fountain that existed through the Ottoman Empire.

Sabils were usually charitable donations from rich and powerful citizens, and their water was free for all. They were more than just water sources; soon buildings were designed around them, and they evolved to become architectural features within the urban texture, monuments to water’s holy qualities. Drawing upon the Prophet’s words that the two greatest mercies are “water for the thirsty and knowledge for the ignorant”, many sabils are combined with small madrasas (schools) on the first floor. They are called sabil-kuttub, literally “fountains of books” or “fountain schools”. Hidden in the narrow alleys and lanes of Islamic Cairo, the sabil and the sabil-kuttub can still be found. Some are built of wood and decorated with fine carvings; some look like baroque tea pavilions, dripping with ornaments, elaborate stone and metalwork; others are hardly recognizable, crumbling stone structures hidden under layers of grime and dust. Today, as the majority of homes has running water, the sabil has fallen into disuse, though some of the madrasas within them still function.

Shafa and Shirb: Water and Islamic Law

The harsh desert climate of Arabia, the Near East and Saharan North Africa makes water a highly valuable and precious resource here. Islamic law, the Shari`ah, goes into great detail on the subject of water to ensure the fair and equitable distribution of water within the community.

The word "Shari`ah" itself is closely related to water. It is included in early Arab dictionaries and originally meant “the place from which one descends to water”. Before the advent of Islam in Arabia, the shari`ah was, in fact, a series of rules about water use: the shuraat al-maa were the permits that gave right to drinking water. The term later evolved to include the body of laws and rules given by Allah.

Water is a gift from Allah. It is one of the three things that every Muslim is entitled to: grass (pasture for cattle), water, and fire. Water should be freely available to all, and any Muslim who withholds unneeded water sins against Allah: “No one can refuse surplus water without sinning against Allah and against man.” The Hadiths say that among the three people Allah will ignore on the Day of Resurrection there will be “the man who, having water in excess of his needs, refuses it to a traveler...”

There are two fundamental precepts that guide the rights to water in the Shari`ah: shafa, the right of thirst, establishes the universal right for humans to quench their thirst and that of their animals; shirb, the right of irrigation, gives all users the right to water their crops. Both rules are interpreted in different ways by the various schools of Islam, and their implementation varies from region to region, from village to village, each community applying the law to suit geographical and social circumstances.

Boiling, Festering and Simmering Waters: Punishing the Non-believers

Allah does not always send water as a gift. It can also be a violent punishment. The unbelievers and those who take their religion “as jest and frolic” will be burned by rains of fire, and boiling water will be poured over them. In Hell, the unbelievers will be forced to drink from a source of simmering water (88:5). They will drink boiling, festering water (6:70) that will tear their innards apart (47:15), and they will be dragged in fetters through boiling water (40:72) and receive it over their heads (22:19), burning their skin.

In the earthly context, water can also be a source of suffering. Indeed the quantity and quality of the water Allah sends down from heaven determines whether it will be a blessing or a punishment. The Qur’an distinguishes between different types of water: “one palatable and sweet, the other salt and bitter (29:53)”. Salt, bitter, and brackish water cannot quench thirst or bring life to the land; it will only bring suffering. It is not only the quality; the quantity of water also determines whether it will bring life or destruction. Again, this decision lies in Allah’s power: “He sent down water from the heaven in measure (43:11)”. This means the rains can bring life to barren land, bringing forth crops for the people and their cattle (32:27), but they can also be torrential, wreaking havoc, sweeping away crops and homes: “And We caused heaven to pour down abundant rain over them and made rivers flow beneath them. Then We annihilated them (6:6).” The Qur’an also speaks of rains of hail, rains of fire and of “darkness, thunder and lightning.” (6:6)

“Water, Greenery and a Lovely Face”: Images of Islamic Paradise

The poetic and Qur’anic metaphors in which water is used to symbolize Paradise, righteousness and Allah’s mercy are, however, much more frequent. From the numerous Qur’anic references to cooling rivers, fresh rain and fountains of flavored drinking water in Paradise, we can deduce that water is the essence of the gardens of Paradise. It flows beneath and through them, bringing coolness and greenery, and quenching thirst. The believers will be rewarded for their piety by “rivers of unstagnant water; and rivers of milk unchanging in taste, and rivers of wine, delicious to the drinkers, and rivers of honey purified (47:16)”. The water in Paradise is never stagnant; it flows, rushes, unlike the festering waters of Hell. The Qur’an also equates the waters of Paradise with moral uprightness: “In the garden is no idle talk; there is a gushing fountain (88:11-12)”.

The many specific statements about the topography of Paradise in the Qur’an led to many attempts to map Paradise. Throughout history, Muslim rulers from Moorish Spain to Persia sought to reproduce the image of Paradise in the design of their palace gardens, creating elaborate water features, pools and fountains. The gardens of the Alhambra in Spanish Granada, the Bagh-é-Tarikhi in Iran’s Kashan, and the gardens of the imperial palaces in Morocco’s Marrakesh all testify to this desire to emulate Qur’anic Paradise on earth. All are designed around water features and fountains that have been subtly woven into the layout of the beautiful parks, hence combining water and the beauty of natural landscape to fill the human soul with faith, joy and happiness.


Second Coming Mission.

The Mission works for the spiritual rebirth of humankind as God's people on Earth. It pronounces the truth about the state of humankind as a whole and its civilisation which has to change in order to survive in the long term. It deciphers the deep meaning of the greatest prophecies in the history of humankind such as the End of Time, the Day of Judgement, the Second Coming, the New Millennium and transforms them into actual plans for spiritual action.

The Mission works towards the fulfilment of the most cherished dreams of the world religions such as returning back to the Kingdom of God led by Jesus Christ (Christianity), receiving the New Enlightenment of Maitreya Buddha (Buddhism), going to the Promised Land led by the Messiah (Judaism), self-realisation and liberation (Hinduism), resurrection and restoration of the Divine order (Islam), and so forth.

The Mission strengthens, rejuvenates and reinforces the existing spiritual traditions. At the same time it reveals the mystery of the Second Coming and prepares the people for this glorious event.

A cherished goal of the Mission is the blossoming of the Rose of the World prophesised by the great Russian mystic Daniil Andreev. The Rose of the World is a symbol of the heart centre of all humankind which now opens and begins to blossom. The beauty and fragrance of all spiritual paths and traditions come from the depths of the collective heart of humankind – the centre of its Divine origin in God springing from the Universal Soul. This heart contains inexhaustible potential, shines with all the colours of light and love, testifies to the infinite and passionate, always new and deeply moving Divine Love. The blossoming of the Rose of the World will indicate the opening of the heart centre of humankind. As a result of this Divine process, the greatest mystical event in human history will take place: communion between Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Hebrews, the followers of all spiritual paths, coming together at the centre of the Holy City and forming one people of God on sacred Earth. This is the new humankind living in the reality of the New Heaven and the New Earth.

The Mission offers an inspiring spiritual journey to the reality of the New Heaven and the New Earth where everyone could find a spiritual purpose in life and realisation of their Divine potential. It unfolds a new spiritual story, that of humankind returning to the Kingdom of God with great honour, glory, love and wisdom and establishing this celestial reality down on Earth.

Now at the beginning of the New Millennium the Mission offers an inspiring spiritual programme for the spiritual evolution of humankind for the new epoch.


Why I Am Looking Forward For Christ Second Coming?

There is no doubt that divine intervention is the only hope for salvation of humans. No doubt they can not achieve it themselves. They can work together to create the most powerful computer in the world or to conquer the most devastating disease. But they can not work together to coexist in a peaceful and a just world. All major religions' members to be blamed and not their religions. If Christ to come today he would be crucified somewhere in the Middle East. These are some of the blames that can go around:
1- Corruption.
2- Jealousy.
3- Closed mindedness.
4- Hate.
5- Fear.
6- Love of power.
7- Greed.
8- Selfishness.
9- Anger.
10- Discrimination.
11- Prejudice.
12- Oppression.
13- Political hypocrisy.
14- Religious hypocrisy.
15- Perversion.
16- Wickedness.
17- Capitalistic political complexes.
18- Abuse of religions.
19- Stupidity.
I believe firmly in God but It would amaze me how God can break all these barriers. I am not the only one even for people who believe firmly in the messiah have their exclamation marks. Even an Elijah who would warn people before the messiah would not have better luck. We can not however loose faith since we are the same people that believed that the rod of prophet Moses split the sea and saved the Israelites when they were loosing every hope. Reading through the book of revealtion you beleive there is light at the end of tunnel but there is a lot of unpredictable fearful events. From point A we are in to point B which defines the golden mellinum of humanity we do not know for sure what is God's plan which is ultimately our geopolitical and precption of human history mixed with very unstable ecology

Why Islam Did Spread Fast And Stayed Long?

The straight answer to this question is: because it is real. The more sophisticated one will encompass multiple reasons. We always learn that life and even religion is not that simple:
1- The reality of Islam: It is very reasonable attitude for humans to be suspicious and critical. Islam to a lot of Arabs and even non-Arabs is like a trade. Do you really want to pay to buy certain goods. Do you really want to spend a lot of time, effort and endurance for a true or false deal. Thus most people even who inherited the religion runs it well in their mind: Is it real or not.
2- Fulfillment: the fulfillment in Islam is related to the spirituality of the religion and the materialistic fulfillment. You can easily have it both ways.
3- The integration of life: Islam not only cause Muslims to live as better individuals and more holly but integrate them as a loving community.
4- Living along non-Muslims: Like a good Jew when he will be in any community he will be looked at as the champ of equality, justice and human rights. Good Muslims are fare people who would require equality and justice for all.
5- Honesty and transparency: unlike the Arab leaders now who plays politics in the dark. They promise their people justice and democracy and does every thing in the dark to get more control and greed over their people rights and wealth.
6- Clean and pure life: people whatever their background if they would to live a pure and clean life they would feel rested, calm and happy. You give up a little materialism for a lot of spiritual gain and peaceful life.
7- Islam believes in social classes: Though the best of us for God is the best in fear to God, Islam accepted the reality that we can not be all equal. For example in marriage Islam prefer you to marry from your same socio-economic level as an individual. But as a group Islam help us to tighten the gap between the rich and poor and teach us that best of us who has the best manners particularly with people who are weaker or less fortunate than him. For non-Muslims Islam did not break the rich or more affluent or the people. Even when they turn into Islam. The religion acknowledges the presence of classes. But it makes people look more beyond the classes. There is no social war in Islam.
8- God forgiveness for sinners: as in other major religions sins can drag man to hell and meanwhile no one can be so desperate that God would never forgive his sins whatever great they are. Thus religion particularly Islam has always an open door to sinners. Meanwhile it is against organized sinning. This is a community that all indulge into sins. Organized sin or overwhelming sin equates to God organized wrath and overwhelming wrath.
9- Religion comes before personalities: For Muhammad (PBUH) the worst of hypocrites and unbelievers who were against him he never had a personal revenge against any of them. A lot of them became very good Muslims. They simply found it is something very different and it is not about the victory of Islam but about getting God word to all people and liberate all people from all kinds of tyranny. If you find tyrants or evil leaders in Islamic history it does mean that humanity has its evil even from any religion.
10- The leaders of Muslims as models: in early Islam were more pious and devotee to their religion. People looked at them as new breed of people. Most people looked seriously and studied seriously their religion. It is like the Gospel or good news of Jesus. There is God he connected again with another human (Muhammad) through his angel Gabriel. He is not a liar and not crazy. It is an astonishing story but more believable than an elephant that was an ant or the thousands of species that came from one atom or single cell.
11- Removing all forms of oppression: there is no compulsion in religion. Simply God wants to go to him with your complete mental and spiritual will, There is no middle man in Islam you respect Imams but all your relation with God is one in one. There is no oppression of women, workers, minorities, foreigners.... Islam means that you submit to God but in the same time you liberate your brain and soul. You do not become under the oppression of sins, people, governments, religious institutions,... It means you live with freedom and dignity more a life of worshiping, awareness and wisdom.

Friday, December 23, 2005

This day have I perfected your religion for you.

Muhammad (PBUH) talked to the Muslims in his last pilgrim "This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion." al-Qur'an 5:3

why this is very true:
1- By that time he had almost all Quran and hadith finished.
2- All the Sharia laws have been put forward and practiced.
3- Muslims have control of their holy place in Mecca.
4- Muslims had a control of Arabia.
5- Muslims oppression and persecution were ended.

God kept his promise to his messenger. About 12 years prior to that Muslims were oppressed and persecuted in Mecca. At that time Muslims would not think that in 12 years they will prevail and the Arabia would be converted to Islam.

Muslims are looking today to the same promise of God. Many left the oppression and injustices in their mother lands in Muslim countries and travelled to the west. They have the same ambition to see the justice and equality of Islam prevail in the world. They are moving in the right direction by spreading their religion and uniting under one banner "Islam". They are recruiting a lot of people from various religions and non-religions.

The Muslims at time of the prophet forgot about their personal ambitions and suffered to protect their faith and spread their religion. The day will come when Islam will prevail again and Muslims will see God promise realized and the righteous will inherit the earth. At that time we will remember the prophet words declaring the perfection of the Islam religion. At that day the earth will choose Islam the religion of truth as its religion. At that day peace and justice will fill the earth. A sajda (prostration) to God will be more liked by a Muslim than the earth and what it contains.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Revolution Without Revolutionaries. By Sherif Mohammed.

Why is it that makes Muslims believe that Islam is a tremendous bounty and a gift from God, when the rest of the world views ALL religions as a burden on mankind created by backward cultures?
Islam is the faith that defines us, defines who we are, defines our identity. In fact anyone who truly understand's Islam will be well aware of it's simplicity, elegance and the power to lead man for what Muslims believe is mans true purpose. Why is there nothing like Islam on earth? Why is Islam so revolutionary?

It is Islam that has taught human beings that the Lord their God is One and Only. That He has no partners, no wife, and no son, and that there can be no compromise on the unity of God.

It is Islam that has taught human beings that they are all equal and that no Arab is superior to non-Arab, nor a non-Arab is superior to an Arab and that the best of all of us is the one who is most righteous.

It is Islam that has taught human beings that they are all brothers and sisters created from a single pair of a male and a female. Therefore, Islam , unlike Hinduism, neither recognizes nor condones the idea of a caste system. Islam is a war on caste systems, on aristocracies, and hereditary social groups of all kinds.

It is Islam that has taught humanity the value of the intellect, the importance of reflection, and the role of the mind in attaining faith. Christians teach that one can never become a believer except when the Holy Spirit mysteriously occupies one's heart. Islam teaches that faith is the fruit of reason and it is through continuous reflection on the wonders of creation that faith can be obtained, maintained, and nurtured.

It is Islam that has has taught humanity that people of all races, all colors, all ethnicities are perfectly capable of attaining faith in the One and Only God. Hindus believe that Hinduism is just for those privileged to be born in the faith and therefore they do not invite the "less privileged" to embrace their faith. Islam rejects all that and calls upon all people of all backgrounds to submit themselves to their Creator. Once they do, they automatically become members of the community of Islam with the same rights and duties as any other Muslim. Islam is not, and can never be, the monopoly of one race or a certain linguistic group.

It is Islam that has taught humanity that God is absolutely Just and Merciful and that He will never punish one person for the sins of others. Christianity teaches that Adam and Eve had bequeathed their sin to all their descendants and thus all humans are born in this "Original Sin" and therefore Jesus Christ had to be sacrificed on the cross to redeem humanity of its 'original sin.' Islam says, NO. Humans are not born in sin. No person will be held accountable for another's mistakes. Every soul will pay for its own deeds, only. Divine justice is absolute.

It is Islam that has taught humanity that righteous deeds are necessary for salvation. Faith is indispensable, but not sufficient. Humans will be admitted to Paradise by their faith and their righteous acts. They have to go together, hand in hand. Many Christian denominations teach that faith in Jesus is enough for salvations. If you accept Jesus sacrifice on the cross, then you are saved regardless of what you may do afterwards because Jesus has already paid for all your sins. Islam totally disagrees. No one can pay for your sins. Faith, doing righteousness, avoiding evil, and continuous repentance are the only ways for salvation. Islam does not accept , nor condone the corrupting influence on the individual as well as the society that can be caused by the idea of a "guaranteed" salvation.

It is Islam that has taught humanity how to balance the needs of this life and the next. Islam does not accept the idea that renunciation of this world is the best means to get salvation in the next. Catholicism and Buddism teach that by living a reclusive life, one can attain higher spirituality. Buddism even taught the recluse must make his living by begging. Islam rejects the whole notion of the alleged goodness of renouncing the world. Islam teaches that best means for advancement in the next life is by getting involved in the affairs of this world by commanding good and forbidding evil; by helping one another in righteousness and piety; by doing Jihad, by struggling against all forms of evil, injustice, tyranny, intolerance...Islam does not teach rejection of the world, it teaches involvement, struggle, and change.

It is Islam that has taught humanity that kindness to parents, to kin, to neighbors, and to fellow humans is an essential part of faith and righteousness. Christianity claims that Jesus has taught that one cannot come closer to God unless one hates one's father, mother, wife, children,...(Luke 14:26) Islam teaches the opposite. One cannot come closer to God unless one acts so kindly towards one's mother, father, family, neighbors, etc.

It is Islam that has taught humanity that God is very close to them and that He is with them wherever they are and that He hears their prayers and respond to them. Islam teaches that God is so close that He needs no intermediaries to mediate between Him and His servants. Islam does not accept the concept of priesthood and clergy acting as mediators between God and humans. Islam teaches that one does not have to confess one's sins to a priest in order to get forgiveness. One can simply confess one's sins to God without any human intervention, seek forgiveness, and God will grant it. Many Jews today still believe that prayers cannot reach God and get a response from Him unless the prayer is made at the Wailing Wall in Juresalem. Some even fax their prayers or send it via the Internet to Jerusalem so that someone there would take it and put it on the Wailing Wall to reach God. Islam teaches that wherever one maybe, one can pray to God, confess to God, seek God's help and forgiveness, and God will certainly respond. No human intervention is needed, no special place or time is necessary. God is always very close.

It is Islam that has taught humans to accept and respect their human nature. Islam recognizes the strengths, the weaknesses, and the needs of humans. Islam never requires humans to behave as angels or to ignore their physical and emotional needs. Christianity does not allow divorce. Islam recognizes it as a human reality. Catholicism considers celibacy an ideal. Islam does not. The Anglican Church frowns upon second marriages. Prince Charles in order to become King of England has to behave as a practicing Anglican. Therefore, he can commit adultery openly with his famous mistress but he cannot marry her or else he will lose the throne for violating the rules of the Church of England. Islam never engages in such irrationality and moral contradictions.

There is nothing like Islam on earth. There is no faith, no religion, no ideology, no system of belief that can rival Islam in its clarity and simplicity ; in its submission to God, the One and Only; in its rationality and intellectual depth; in its egalitarianism and equality; in its spirituality; in its code of ethics; in its unparalleled balance between the needs of this life and the demands of the hereafter. Islam has elevated the human soul, body, and mind to heights that have never been reached by any other faith or tradition. Islam is the only religion that has truly enabled human beings to fulfill their humanity.

Islam is like a perfect piece of art at which the human eye can keep looking and scrutinizing for days, weeks, years on end and still can find no flaws, no defects, and no contradictions. All the human eye can do is to keep wondering at the amazing beauty and coherence of this faith of ours: Islam.

Leopold Wiess, the Austrian Jew who embraced Islam in 1926 and became one of the greatest Muslim intellects of the twentieth century has expressed the same level of astonishment at the overwhelming beauty and coherence of Islam, "I was asked, time and again: 'Why did you embrace Islam ? What was it that attracted you particularly ?' -- and I must confess: I don't know of any satisfactory answer. It was not any particular teaching that attracted me, but the whole wonderful, inexplicably coherent structure of moral teaching and practical life programme. I could not say, even now, which aspect of it appeals to me more than any other. Islam appears to me like a perfect work of architecture. All its parts are harmoniously conceived to complement and support each other: nothing is superfluous and nothing lacking, with the result of an absolute balance and solid composure. Probably this feeling that everything in the teachings and postulates of Islam is 'in its proper place,' has created the strongest impression on me."

In a nutshell, Islam is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

It is important to note that Islam is not just a set of ideals, it is a tremendous force capable of transforming and regenerating individuals as well societies and whole nations. The influence of Islam upon the first society that embraced it, the Arabian peninsula, was nothing short of a revolution. Islam has revolutionized Arabia in all aspects of life: politically, economically, socially, and above all morally:

It was Islam that transformed the fiercely independent-minded Arabs who knew no government, obeyed no authority, recognized no state into a nation with a government, a capital, and a respected authority.

It was Islam that taught the anarchic Arabs how to elect a head of state from among themselves and how to run their government upon principles of mutual consultation.

It was Islam that taught the Arabs who never agreed on any form of law to build a nation based on the rule of one sacred, just, and merciful law. Islam also taught them that they were all equals before the law and no one even the daughter of the Prophet was above the law.

It was Islam that transformed the intensely militant Arabs from a group of tribes massacring each other all the time -- to the extent that they had to agree on four months of peace every year to prevent their whole race from extinction due to the incessant wars -- into one nation with united tribal armies able to confront and defeat the armies of the surrounding superpowers: the Byzantines and the Sassanids.

It was Islam that abolished usury from Arabia and taught the Arabs how to make business transactions justly and fairly without exploitation or abuse.

It was Islam that abolished the gruesome habit of female infanticide from Arabia.

It was Islam that taught the Arabs that women were full human beings, not mere chattel, and that they were their sisters in humanity and in faith. It was Islam that guaranteed for Arabian women their rights to: inheritance, property, divorce, and independent legal personality.

It was Islam that eradicated Alcohol, with all its evils, from Arabia.

It was Islam that ended all forms of prostitution, gambling, and intoxicants from the Arabian society. And it was Islam that opened all doors for freeing slaves.

It was Islam that uprooted racism from the Arab mind completely to the extent that the deeply racist and arrogant Arabs would accept to be soldiers in armies whose leaders were black Africans.

And above all, it was Islam that transformed the idolatrous and superstitious Arabs into believers in the One and Only God. It was Islam that transformed them from idol worshippers into a people who stand together in one line in prayer and prostrate their heads to the Almighty.

Arabia before Islam was a society bound by tradition and precedent. Whatever was customary was right and proper. Whatever the forefathers had done deserved to be imitated. Islam rejected this blind faith in tradition. Islam challenged all the customs of the society. Islam questioned all the mores and manners of the Arabs. Islam introduced to them the standards of morality and the fundamentals of right and wrong. Islam taught them how to think critically of everything around them and how to reject the bad habits and keep the good ones. Islam showed them the proper way for peace and happiness in this life and felicity in the next. This was the essence of the revolution that Islam was.

The question that irresistibly comes to the mind is this: that was the past, what about now? Can Islam revolutionize the world today as it did to seventh century Arabia? Is Islam relevant today? Does Islam have anything to offer today's world? Yes, a great deal.

For us, Muslims living in the West, it would be reasonable to focus on what Islam has to offer to our Western society at the dawn of a new millennium. The West, as the seventh century Arabia and as any other society for that matter, has its own virtues as well as vices. Islam can improve and enhance all the virtues while eliminating -- or, at least, minimizing -- the vices.

In a society where alcohol is the number one cause of criminal death and injury; where alcohol costs billions of dollars each year in medical expenses and property damage; where alcohol consumption causes the death of hundreds of thousands of people annually; where alcohol is a major cause of rape and domestic violence -- Is there any faith more able than Islam to prevent all the ills of alcohol?

In a society still tormented by racial strife; where "black" churches are continuously fire-bombed by bigots of all kinds; where one rarely sees a black person in a "white" church or a white person in a "black" church -- Islam has so much to offer because Islam does not tolerate the very idea of a "black" mosque or a "white" mosque; Islam obliges believers to stand together in one line, shoulder to shoulder and foot to foot, and prostrate their foreheads to God so that they learn they are all humble servants of the Almighty.

In a society where violence against women has risen to alarming proportions, where it is not safe for women to walk alone in the dark, where even institutions of higher learning have to provide 'walk home service' to protect women on campus at night -- Islam has much more to contribute than escort services or karate lessons. Islam does implant modesty and sense of propriety in the minds of the believers, Islam eradicates vulgarity, Islam eliminates any possibility that men view women as sex objects.

In a society as violent as the United States where some 25000 lives are taken every year by handguns alone; where 5% of the world population consume 50% of the world's illegal drugs despite the arrest of some 700,000 drug dealers every year; where a car is stolen every few seconds; where a woman is raped every few minutes -- Islam has a lot more to offer than merely putting more cops in the streets. Islam teaches that prevention is better than cure and that crime can best be reduced by taking care of the family, the community, and the neighborhood. Islam attaches great esteem and honor to the role of the mother because when she takes proper care of her children, the whole society benefits. Islam reminds the fathers of their duties, encourages the neighbors to take care of each other's needs, strengthen community bonds, advocates commanding what is right and forbidding what is wrong instead of apathy and individualism. Islam always eliminates problems from their roots.

In a society afflicted with intense individualism, excessive materialism, fierce consumerism, and unabashed sensualism; Islam has the intellectual and the spiritual power required to rectify all the excesses of the society because Islam preaches moderation and balance in all worldly and other-worldly affairs.

The influence of Islam is not limited to the social and moral domains, it extends to the political, economic, legal, cultural, and educational realms as well. Two examples should suffice.

In the realm of politics: the egalitarian nature of Islam requires major reforms in the way democracy is practiced in the society today. As it stands, the existing democracy is elitist and lopsided in favor of the wealthy, the powerful, and the special interests.The average person almost has no meaningful say in how things are run by the elite. This state of affairs falls far short of the ideal of mutual consultation in all affairs advocated by Islam.

In the realm of economics: capitalism left unregulated has a tendency to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. In a period of ten years only (1978-1987) the poorest fifth of the American population got 8% poorer while the richest fifth got 13% richer. This is the nature of capitalism; wealth breeds more wealth, sometimes even without any effort or creativity. Islam obliges all rich people to pay part of their wealth annually to the poor so that the wealth gets redistributed in the society in order to protect the poor from perpetual poverty and give them a fair chance to compete in a world dominated by the tyranny of capital.
There is so much in Islam that can truly make the West, and indeed the whole world, a safer, better, and more decent place to live in. Islam is a formidable force with potential great enough to revolutionize the world and radically change the course of history as it once did some 1400 years ago.
The problem is we have got the theory, but we don't have the practitioners. We have the revolution but we do not have the revolutionaries. And as there can be no democracy without democrats, no socialism without socialists, there also can be no Islam without Muslims. Islam is a message that is in constant need for messengers to deliver it to the world. Yes, the Book of God is there, the guidance of the Prophet is there, the testimony of history is there, but where are the Muslims? Where are the messengers? Where are the revolutionaries? They effectively do not exist.

What does exist in the world today is some sort of "de-Islamized" Muslims. People who call themselves Muslims but the Islam they practice is a vague shadow of the Islam described in the magnificent words of the Quran. Muslims of today practice an Islam without spirit, an Islam without a message to humanity, an Islam without a mission, an Islam without ambition... An Islam without identity.

Islam will never revolutionize the world, as it once did, unless there are true Muslims, as they once existed-- Muslims from the inside-out, Muslims in thought and in action, Muslims in theory and in practice, Muslims in private and in public, Muslims in spirit, in intellect, and in emotions.

The road to produce such Muslims is long and hard. It is perhaps more realistic to focus on just one good first step. This first step, I believe, would be to raise a generation of Muslim youth who take great pride in their great faith. A generation of young Muslims whose identity is purely Islamic, a generation of Muslims for whom Islam comes first and everything else - national, ethnic, racial, linguistic identity - comes, at best, a distant second-- a generation that totally believes in what the great khalifa Omar once said, " It is only because of Islam that we gained 'izzah' (honor, dignity, and pride), and if we seek 'izzah' outside of Islam, Allah will humiliate us."

I once had a conversation with a brother who embraced Islam several years ago. I asked him about the things he liked or disliked the most about Islam and Muslims. His answer was, " Everything about Islam is beautiful, but there is one thing I dislike in Muslims...They do not have a great sense of pride in Islam..."

The brother's point is precisely what we need to ingrain in the minds of our new generation: the sense of pride in belonging to Islam -- A pride strong enough to make them declare to the whole world openly and loudly, "We are Muslims, we will plead guilty to that, and we are extremely proud of it."


Friday, December 16, 2005

A Very Efficient Government Is No Government.

Governments over the ages have been either the source of happiness of its people or sadness and depression. I look at an efficient government as the government that is so efficient that make you feel that there is no government. It is like you are dealing with a bank that is very efficient and every thing goes smooth. You may not have much interest how they accomplish that but you like it this way. Once a year or so you may ask who is the manager or CEO of the bank. An efficient government I look at the same way that it is so effective that people feel that there is no government. As you guessed the bank has no party system and very likely was very efficient because of the dedication and harmony of the staff of the bank. Can we make governments work same way, my answer is yes if we to do the following:
1- No party system since it had proved to be divisive to the country and allowed dictators to dominate over their countries.
2- Media that supervise every part of the government.
3- No interest groups or outside money that corrupt the government.
4- All mechanisms to prevent the corruption of the government.
5- Weak politicians and strong citizens thus the government officials are serving the public and not vice versa. Politicians are not getting strength through absolute power and authority or through the strength of the party.
6- Politicians are more of independent people that in the network in the government and have to work it out between them.
7- The government will become much less attractive for dominating dictators and corrupt individuals. People are basically will change their attitude towards their leaders and they will be looked at more like CEO's.
8- The government in every country would hold the human values of free speech, women rights, women rights, religious rights... That will make the people happy feeling social justice, equality and freedom.
9- The government overtime with all its intact institutions that allow smooth and very efficient governing system will make people do not feel there is a government and they will worship their God and enjoy their families. Meanwhile will prevent most causes of wars and social upsets.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Are We Living in the Time of the End?

Are We Living in the Time of the End?
Noah and Our Time: A Sobering Parallel

Jesus Christ used the example of Noah to reveal attitudes that would predominate near the end: "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be Matthew 24:37-39).

This is history and prophecy working together. Their meaning is clear: The attitude of people in Noah's day would prevail again just before Christ's second coming. To both groups God seemed far away, virtually unconcerned about human activities on earth, and life appeared to go on as it always had ( 2 Peter 3:3-6). These people would be unconcerned as to their true spiritual condition and blind to God's impending judgment.

The key to the example Christ gave is to understand that people can be so concerned about the cares of this life that they neglect to seek their Creator Matthew 6:33 Luke 21:34-35). It happened before, and it is happening again.

The apostle Paul commented to Timothy about other carnal attitudes and activities that would characterize the last days: "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying its power" ( 2 Timothy 3:1-5).

This perfectly describes the dominant attitude and outlook of our age. Such attitudes will prevent the vast majority of humanity from believing God and the biblical warning signs until all havoc breaks loose. Like the people in Noah's time who laughed and mocked his building an ark, the end of this age will come when the overwhelming majority are unprepared.

Our Values and Guiding Principles

Our Values and Guiding Principles

There are a number of basic principles and moral values that govern our dealings with other nations. These were set forth fourteen centuries ago by the messenger of Islam, Muhammad. This was before human rights organizations existed and before there was a United Nations with its international charters.

Let us look at some of these:

1. The human being is inherently a sacred creation. It is forbidden to transgress against any human being, irrespective of color, ethnicity, or religion. The Qur'ân says: "We have honored the descendants of Adam." [17:70]

2. It is forbidden to kill a human soul unjustly. Killing a single person is to God as heinous as killing all of humanity, just as saving a single person from death is as weighty as saving the lives of all humanity. The Qur'ân says: "If anyone killed a person except as recompense for murder or spreading havoc in the land, then it would be as if he killed all of humanity. And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the lives of all humanity." [5:32]

3. It is forbidden to impose a religious faith upon a person. The Qur'ân says: "There is no compulsion in religion." [2:256] A person will not even be considered a Muslim if he or she accepted Islam under duress.

4. The message of Islam asserts that human relationships must be established on the highest moral standards. Muhammad said: "I was only sent to perfect good conduct."

The Qur'ân says: "We sent aforetime our messengers with clear signs and sent down with them the scripture and the balance so the people could establish justice. And We sent down iron wherein is mighty power and many benefits for mankind." [57:25]

We read in another place in the Qur'ân: "God does not restrain you with regard to those who do not fight you on account of your faith nor drive you out of your homes from dealing kindly and justly with them, for God loves those who are just." [60:8]

5. All the resources of the Earth were created for humanity. The Qur'ân addresses this when it says: "It is He who has created for you all that is on the Earth." [2:29]

These resources were only created for human beings to benefit from them within the limits of justice and for the betterment of humanity. Therefore, spoiling the environment, spreading havoc on Earth, perpetrating violence against weaker nations and fighting to wrest from them their wealth and the fruits of their prosperity, is conduct that is reviled by God. In the Qur'ân we read: "When he turns his back, his aim is to spread mischief throughout the Earth and destroy crops and cattle, but Allah does not love mischief." [2:205] and: "Do not make mischief in the Earth after it has been set in order." [7: 56]

6. Responsibility for a crime rests solely upon the perpetrator of that crime. No one may be punished for the crimes of another. The Qur'ân says: "No bearer of burdens must bear the burdens of another." [35:18]

7. Justice for all people is their inalienable right. Oppressing them is forbidden, irrespective of their religion, color, or ethnicity. The Qur'ân states: "And whenever you speak, speak justly, even if a close relative is concerned." [6: 152]

8. Dialogue and invitation must be done in the best possible manner. The Qur'ân says: "Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good preaching and argue with them in the best manner" [16:125]

We believe in these principles, as our religion commands us to. They are the teachings of Muhammad. They agree to some extent with some of the principles that the American intellectuals put forth in their paper. We see that this agreement gives us a good platform for discussion that can bring about good for all of mankind.


Wisdom from a Plumber

Wisdom from a Plumber"Too much material success, too many lawyers and psychiatrists, and too many service industries doing everything for everyone has America losing its edge, and essentially, its American-ness," says US convert to Islam, Abdul-Lateef Abdullah.
These days, you never can tell where wisdom will come from. God is constantly humbling us by manifesting truth in all sorts of ways and from all types of people. A few days ago, I was on the phone with my teacher in New Jersey, and I was asking him what the mood was like in the U.S. (I am currently living in Malaysia, but am an American). He then proceeded to tell me that he had an interesting conversation with his plumber that day. The plumber? What bit of insight into world events could a plumber from New Jersey have, I thought. The plumber from small-town USA, driving his pick-up truck and proudly displaying the Stars and Stripes bandanna on his head, came up with an important observation about his country. He said, "the laws of this country (U.S.) have made us weak. Whenever we have a problem, our first reaction is to call our lawyer or someone else to take away our problems for us. This has made us weak. We have forgotten how to take care of our own business." (May Allah and the plumber forgive me if I have misquoted him).
My teacher was in complete agreement with him. In fact, in his eleven years living in the U.S., he has frequently commented on this very same thing. For him, while growing up outside the U.S., everything about America was cowboys and Indians and rugged individualism. The U.S. represented strength, bravery and toughness. Now, through his experiences there, he sees a society of illness and weakness, buried under materialism, violence, and greed. With the tragedy of the September 11th attacks, there can be no denying that the illusion of immunity from external aggression was dealt a major blow to the collective conscious of America, and in effect, the psyche of the American public and the ability to cope with the reality of vulnerability.
The plumber's statements alluded to a nation and people that once prided itself on its toughness, self-reliance, and pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps outlook on life driven by the Protestant work ethic. Too much material success, too many lawyers and psychiatrists, and too many service industries doing everything for everyone, however, has America losing its edge, and essentially, its "American-ness."
If you carefully observe the way America once was, and where contemporary American culture is now heading, you can clearly see the signs. The nature, not just the statistics, of social ills in America today are pointing to problems that run deep, and stem from a loss of "soulfulness." Go to your local bookstore or turn on Oprah, and almost daily you will see some show or read some article about social or psychological malaise affecting some man, woman, child or group. Emotionally, people are hurting, confused, and depressed and many are choosing to shun traditional remedies for "alternative" or more "eastern" approaches to their problems.
Essentially, America is drowning and is running out of ideas on how to save itself. Take schools and education for example. Now, in the U.S., children essentially run the schools. Teachers everywhere, particularly in the inner-city schools, are scared of their students. They find it nearly impossible to control them, let alone - God forbid - discipline them. Parents today are more prone to back their children in contentious teacher-student situations, no matter what the child does to earn the teacher's displeasure, than to defend the teacher. No more are the days when parents and teachers formed a united front to teach and enforce respect and correct behavior of children. Now, the teachers are under attack and the students - children - are leading the assault. This is an example of the backwardness in societies that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) warned us about as we approach the end of time.
The "weakening" of America - as put by the plumber - is also being facilitated by the never-ending lawsuits in which the society is literally drowning. (In)famous cases like the woman who won two million dollars from McDonald's because she spilled hot coffee on herself while driving is just an example of how the extreme "litigiousness" of American society is manufacturing greed to the point where people become fixated on suing over every little thing in the hope of making a quick buck. (As a summer intern in the Superior Court of the State of Delaware a few years back, I can assure you, people in my country sue over just about anything!) Judges are frequently forced to throw cases out of court due to superfluous lawsuits brought about by people trying to capitalize on the slightest misfortune.
This mentality of whatever wrong is done to me, I am owed something - which in most cases, translates into large sums of money - has added a great deal to the psychological fragility of America. It is also another indicator of an increasingly atheistic worldview, one in which there is little belief that everything happens to us for a reason - even if that thing is as mundane as spilling hot coffee on ourselves. Such a mentality represents a major step backward for those who still believe in the importance of meeting responsibilities before being granted rights and privileges. American culture today, however, teaches the opposite - that we should demand our rights regardless as to whether or not we meet our responsibilities. We have the right to sue for huge sums of money if we act like fools and put scolding hot coffee between are legs, even though commonsense would teach us that we have a responsibility to ourselves not to do it because it is physically dangerous.
These developments, which have evolved primarily over the past half century, have been heavily influenced by Western psychology - a psychology that is atheistic, materialistic, and void of a soul or spirit. This is in great contrast to religion and the concept of spirituality, which views the human being as the complex meeting point of mental, physical and spiritual faculties. The Western psychological schools of thought and their ranks of foot soldiers have greatly influenced Western society through the systematic application of God-less psychology. With their widespread application and influence on mainstream culture, psychological schools such as Freud's, admittedly do not address aspects of the human being such as the soul, because such concepts are outside of the measurable, positivist scientific scope. In fact, Freud and his followers have explained religion as nothing more than the "universal obsessional neurosis (Ahmed, 2001)."
An example of this from my time spent at the Taqwa Gayong (Islamic) Academy in New Jersey is of one particular teenage Muslim boy. His parents, in response to their inability to control his behavior that included drug use, alcohol use, and free sex, decided to send him to a psychiatrist out of desperation. After "treating" the boy several times, the psychiatrist, however, far from helping the boy understand why he needed to be more obedient and respectful to his parents so as to help mend the family according to its correct structure, sided with the boy and told the parents that their requiring him to pray five times a day was borderline abusive and excessive, and that they should let him have more freedom to do what he wants. Although only an example, this is how people in America - children more than anyone else - are becoming stripped of their "humanness." They are being spoon-fed the notion that they need to indulge every urge, want, and desire, otherwise, they will not be happy. Ironically enough, the opposite effect has taken hold and its proof is in the pudding. As of 1998, one in five American adults was considered to have suffered from some sort of diagnosable mental disorder. In addition, 4 of the 10 leading causes of disability in the U.S. and other developed countries are mental disorders -- major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. (National Institute of Mental Health - 1998).
The psychic deterioration of America is thus being facilitated through the use of modern day psychology and exaggerated notions of mental illness to make people dependent on everything and everyone but God and themselves. This is not to say that modern psychology has not contributed anything positive toward understanding human behavior, but because of its atheistic roots and assumptions, it often works against religion and the critical role of spirituality in the development of man. Thus, it essentially goes against our very nature as human beings. As a result, religion has been reduced to an "extracurricular activity," rather than a way of life. Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike who are avid practitioners of their faiths often get strange looks and clichéd labels such as "fundamentalists" if they speak publicly about religion or even use the word "god" in a professional context.
People the world over who are experiencing more Western culture in their daily lives have to guard against the dangers of "dependency culture." This is one of the down sides to Western culture, in that it promotes a way of life that encourages the individual to do less for himself, to look away from himself, to complain when he does not get his way, to blame others for his problems, and to shy away from critiquing the "man in the mirror." As a result, we start to believe that we are "owed" things, or that certain luxuries and status are due to us, regardless of whether or not we are meeting our responsibilities, are grateful to God for what we have, and are busy with the ongoing work of self-improvement and reflection.
Today, whether in Western countries or in other parts of the world, we are seeing larger numbers of Muslims who, although they may be religious insofar as their worship is concerned, are getting sucked into the traps of dependency culture. This is precisely how God is being replaced. This is how Western cultural elites have been able to systematic remove God and religion from everyday life with atheistic and materialist psychology - by making us dependent on things and people rather than God. On the contrary, however, as Muslims we must heed God in the Qur'an when he says: "Nay, seek (God's) help with patient perseverance and prayer: It is indeed hard, except to those who bring a lowly spirit (2:45)." Furthermore, the Prophet (SAW) spoke on this matter when he said, "Wisdom and power follow endurance and patience." (reported by Abu Sayeed al-Khodri).
Looking back at our history, we can see that in his life, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) never asked anybody for anything. He always relied on God. He did not take positions in Mekkan society when they were offered to him, he did not take concessions from their rulers, he certainly did not demand his rights from anybody, and he never complained to any human being about his lot or situation. Even after being run out of the city of Taif by children who had bloodied and humiliated him, what did he do? He complained - To God - of his weakness, and the lack of support and humiliation he was made to receive (Salahi, 1995).
From my own personal perspective, the drive toward self-perfection can be quite a challenge at times. The idea that everything comes to us from God, and that we have to train and condition ourselves to understand this and be grateful for whatever God sends us, is truly a struggle to put into practice. Every moment we have to fight the urge to complain about this, complain about that, demand to know why this happened or why that happened, blame our misfortunes on others, and just lie down and give in to our lower selves. A believer, however, must differentiate him or herself through quiet determination and resignation to the fact that God is always in charge. Naturally, this includes improving the world around us, standing up to oppression and tyranny, and doing our best to correct falsehood because it is our duty to as vicegerents (khalifahs). It is part of our collective responsibility, and must be conducted correctly and according to Divine Law.
Ultimately, obeying God is about self-perfection and self-love. If we love ourselves, we will want to perfect ourselves and work to do so. If we hate ourselves, we will work to destroy ourselves by going against God commands, for as we already know, they exist for our benefit and success. Therefore, He has expressly forbidden those things that will destroy us, so that we can avoid them, love ourselves, and enjoy the ultimate success. Thus, the formula of looking to others - to do things for us and as the source of our problems - is one of self-destruction.
People everywhere today are being conditioned to look outside of themselves first to solve their problems, and as a result they are becoming more and more incapable of keeping their own houses in order. It is this formula that is creating societies replete with self-hatred and weakness, which is what the plumber from New Jersey so poignantly picked up on. The signs are there - social ills growing out of control. This is surely the path to self-destruction first, and societal destruction second. As Muslims who understand this, we must avoid making these same mistakes and help others by bringing them into the light of God grace and formula for ultimate success, as the results of not doing so could be disastrous for all of humanity.