The Essence of Religions

September 18, 2010

This is an inspiring article from the Huffington Post

Instead of Burning, Try Learning

Brian D. McLaren

Brian D. McLaren

Author, ‘A New Kind of Christianity’

So the Florida group planning to burn the Quran has backed down. That’s good. But does anybody doubt some other group will soon realize how gullible the media is to grant free publicity for irresponsibility and extremism, and try it again?

It’s not enough to stop burning one another’s holy texts: we need to start learning about them and learning from them.

I’m embarrassed to say that it wasn’t until a decade or so ago that I actually read the Quran. Sure, I had read selections extracted by anti-Muslim critics, all intended to cast Islam in a negative light. And sure, I had read selections extracted by others, intended to cast Islam in a wholly positive light.

Christians and Jews know that a hostile critic could do the same — extract Bible verses to make their religions seem truly barbaric, just as they know that a sympathetic kind of extraction could hide some of the discomforting bits that our best theologians find ways of sequestering so that they aren’t abused.

When I read the Quran itself in its entirety, I got a more holistic impression than either the hostile or sympathetic digests could offer. And the same would happen if a Muslim or Jew were to read all four gospels, or better yet the whole New Testament, just as it would if a Muslim or Christian read the Law and Prophets from start to finish, seeking not to find faults to pounce on and extract, but to learn. (Thankfully, the recent media frenzy has prompted many people to do just that.)

But even so, it’s not enough to learn about and from one another’s holy texts. A note from a Muslim friend in the Middle East made this clearer than ever to me this week. He was trying to calm some of his Muslim brothers about the threats of Quran-burning here in the U.S., and he said something like this to them:

Where does the Holy Quran really exist? If someone burns a copy, do your beliefs suddenly disappear from your mind and heart? Isn’t the place where the Holy Quran truly resides in the minds and hearts of believers, not simply in words on a page? Yes, the words on a page are important and should be respected, but what will happen when most of us read the Holy Quran in digital form on our laptops? Will it be an outrage for someone to hit delete? Couldn’t this whole episode remind us that what matters most is not the words on paper but the message alive in our hearts? Could this be what God wants us to learn?Whatever the Holy Quran says on paper about peace, if we are violent in the name of the Quran, doesn’t that speak more loudly to the world about what we believe? And whatever the Bible says on paper about loving neighbors, strangers, and enemies, if Christians burn the Quran, doesn’t that speak more loudly to the world than anything else?

My friend’s wisdom explains why I say that beyond learning about and learning from one another’s sacred texts, we need to learn how those texts are embodied in real people. We need to learn from people. And when we do, we will see that for every Christian who wants to burn Qurans, there are millions who would never do so, and for every Muslim who … you get the point.

The most important translation of our texts is the translation into daily life — in acts of kindness, generosity, courage, humility, justice, self-control, respect, reverence, fidelity, and compassion. If we stop burning texts and comparing “our best” with “their worst,” we can start learning not only about each other, but with each other. And by God’s grace, perhaps we can translate the best of our texts into our lives, communities, and world. That is my hope, my plea, my prayer.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-d-mclaren/instead-of-burning-try-le_b_713692.html


A Christian Preacher Shares Her Wisdom, Faith, and Knowledge

September 14, 2010

During this troublesome time of misinformation, fear, misconceptions, intolerance on many sides, it is rare and beautiful to find such eloquence in the realm social dialogue.  I hope and pray that this video finds its way into all homes, and that viewers can comprehend this woman’s wisdom, clarity, humility, and true religious spirit.  May God Almighty open hearts and guide all of us to patience, tolerance, understanding among all members of the human race.

ReadQuranDay | September 14, 2010

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http://www.facebook.com/Read.Quran.Day

THE RELIGION OF ISLAM

The first thing that one should know and clearly understand about Islam is what the word “Islam” itself means. The religion of Islam is not named after a person as in the case of Christianity which was named after Jesus Christ, Buddhism after Gotama Buddha, Confucianism after Confucius, and Marxism after Karl Marx. Nor was it named after a tribe like Judaism after the tribe of Judah and Hinduism after the Hindus. Islam is the true religion of “Allah” and as such, its name represents the central principle of Allah’s “God’s” religion; the total submission to the will of Allah “God”. The Arabic word “Islam” means the submission or surrender of one’s will to the only true god worthy of worship “Allah” and anyone who does so is termed a “Muslim”, The word also implies “peace” which is the natural consequence of total submission to the will of Allah. Hence, it was not a new religion brought by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) I in Arabia in the seventh century, but only the true religion of Allah re-expressed in its final form.

Islam is the religion which was given to Adam, the first man and the first prophet of Allah, and it was the religion of all the prophets sent by Allah to mankind. The name of God’s religion lslam was not decided upon by later generations of man. It was chosen by Allah Himself and clearly mentioned in His final revelation to man. In the final book of divine revelation, the Qur’aan, Allah states the following:

“This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion”. (Soorah Al-Maa’idah 5:3)
“If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah (God) never will It be accepted of Him” (Soorah Aal’imraan 3:85)
“Abraham was not a Jew nor Christian; but an upright Muslim.” (Soorah Aal’imraan 3:67)
Nowhere in the Bible will you find Allah saying to Prophet Moses’ people or their descendants that their religion is Judaism, nor to the followers of Christ that their religion is Christianity. In fact, Christ was not even his name, nor was it Jesus! The name “Christ” comes from the Greek word Christos which means the annointed. That is, Christ is a Greek translation of the Hebrew title “Messiah”. The name “Jesus” on the other hand, is a latinized version of the Hebrew name Esau.

For simplicity’s sake, I will however continue to refer to Prophet Esau (PBUH) as Jesus. As for his religion, it was what he called his followers to. Like the prophets before him, he called the people to surrender their will to the will of Allah; (which is Islam) and he warned them to stay away from the false gods of human imagination.

According to the New Testament, he taught his followers to pray as follows: “Yours will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”.


IGNORANCE CAUSES FEAR

September 9, 2010

‘They are scared of Holy Book’s divinity’

By SYED FAISAL ALI | ARAB NEWS

Published: Sep 9, 2010 00:01 Updated: Sep 9, 2010 01:06

http://arabnews.com/world/article131144.ece

JEDDAH: Dialogue and dawa are the deeds that will stand Muslims in good stead, especially at this moment in time when an American pastor’s call for a provocative action against Islam is stoking hatred and fear.

Essam Mudeer, a renowned dawa worker, called the actions of pastor Terry Jones of Gainsville, Florida and Dutch deputy Geert Wilders “plain stupid,” adding, “they act this way only to seek attention.”

Mudeer believes that it is not hatred but fear that is driving people like Jones and Wilders to such “crazy” actions. “Those who want to burn the Holy Qur’an are scared of its divinity and message and know that if it reaches non-believers, they will instantly join the believers. And this is the greatest fear that drives these people.”

Muslims must understand this is the hidden agenda that Muslims world over should understand and see, and use the power of articulate

picture of quranic page

dialogue and tolerant behavior to turn the tables on these people, Mudeer said. “They are in the business of rekindling the fires of war, but we should be properly equipped to become firefighters and for that we need books not bombs,” Mudeer said during an interview with Arab News. “Our pen should be our bazooka. Hence, I request our brothers and sisters to flood America with copies of the Holy Qur’an and Islamic literatures,” Mudeer added.

The Islamic advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has expressed similar sentiments and called on Muslims and others to host “Share the Qur’an” dinners to educate the public. The group announced a campaign to give out 100,000 copies of the Qur’an to local, state and national leaders.

Mudeer said the call by the church to burn the Holy Qur’an is primarily aimed at provoking Muslims around the globe, but the community should not fall into this trap. Instead we should use this opportunity to initiate dialogue with Christians and the West.

But Mudeer, a member of the founding team of Saudi-based Iqra TV, was at pains to admit that the Muslims would miss this opportunity. “Muslims have lost the art of talking and have become predictable. At the same time the enemies of Islam have mastered the art of noise making. And they know which button to push for desired reaction in order to label them as intolerant and extremists.”

Mudeer fears extremists world over may use the images of the Qur’an burning to inflame public opinion and incite violence, and this is what people like Jones want. “We should understand their nefarious intentions and avoid indulging in any act of aggressive protest. However, we can still vent our anger in some peaceful manner,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »


10 Terms NOT to Use with Muslims

August 12, 2010

Christian Science Monitor

There’s a big difference between what we say and what they hear.

I have to really respect many items that have been printed in the CSM.  I feel that of few people, the editors really do try to distribute good articles based upon correct information as much as they can.  I hope you enjoy this article….

Arlington, Va.

In the course of my travels – from the Middle East to Central Asia to Southeast Asia – it has been my great privilege to meet and become friends with many devout Muslims. These friendships are defined by frank respect as we listen to each other; understand and agree on the what, why, and how of our disagreements, political and theological; and, most of all, deepen our points of commonality as a result.

I have learned much from my Muslim friends, foremost this: Political disagreements come and go, but genuine respect for each other, rooted in our respective faith traditions, does not. If there is no respect, there is no relationship, merely a transactional encounter that serves no one in the long term.

As President Obama considers his first speech in a Muslim majority country (he visits Turkey April 6-7), and as the US national security establishment reviews its foreign policy and public diplomacy, I want to share the advice given to me from dear Muslim friends worldwide regarding words and concepts that are not useful in building relationships with them. Obviously, we are not going to throw out all of these terms, nor should we. But we do need to be very careful about how we use them, and in what context.

1. “The Clash of Civilizations.” Invariably, this kind of discussion ends up with us as the good guy and them as the bad guy. There is no clash of civilizations, only a clash between those who are for civilization, and those who are against it. Civilization has many characteristics but two are foundational: 1) It has no place for those who encourage, invite, and/or commit the murder of innocent civilians; and 2) It is defined by institutions that protect and promote both the minority and the transparent rule of law.

2. “Secular.” The Muslim ear tends to hear “godless” with the pronunciation of this word. And a godless society is simply inconceivable to the vast majority of Muslims worldwide. Pluralism – which encourages those with (and those without) a God-based worldview to have a welcomed and equal place in the public square – is a much better word.

3. “Assimilation.” This word suggests that the minority Muslim groups in North America and Europe need to look like the majority, Christian culture. Integration, on the other hand, suggests that all views, majority and minority, deserve equal respect as long as each is willing to be civil with one another amid the public square of a shared society. Read the rest of this entry »


I AM NOT A TERRORIST

February 1, 2009

Cramps, colds and everything else is happening simultaneously. And what’s worse, I had to show up at work. I know. I don’t work much, but I am a full-time student, taking a killer load. So my main job is studying.

So back to work, it was really slow ( I am a salesperson). My constant sneezing and coughing didn’t really attract any customers my way either. Not to mention the way I dress.

I hung around some co-workers and we were talking about, I can’t even remember, when they mentions something about how another co-worker constantly refers to me as “terrorist”.

My co-workers didn’t think much of it and continued their conversation. I told them to stop and who is he calling the terrorist again?

My Christian co-worker was honest. He said that my Indian co-worker refers to me as terrorists, almost always. “Yep, terrorist is late today,” “terrorist called out today”. Etc..

(Just note that the fine Indian co-worker isn’t even American)

I was hurt. I was so hurt to be referred to as a “terrorist”. How am I close to a terrorist? Why have a laugh on my expense? On any one’s expense.

I was almost in tears. Angrily I explained to my co-workers that they shouldn’t allow this ignorant man to call me such names.
Read the rest of this entry »


WHEN PEOPLE MISQUOTE THE QURAN

December 3, 2008

 

Islam News Room

 

Quran Misquoted Again

Contributed by Ansar Al Adl Thursday, 06 December 2007 Last Updated Thursday, 06 December 2007

 

Do people misquote the Quran?

 

“I am tired of people insulting my beliefs, my faith and everything I hold dear to me by misquoting the Quran and teachings of our prophet, peace be upon him.”

 

“How do you reply to these attacks coming from non-Muslims and remove their correct assumptions and misconceptions?” – (signed: Fed-Up in Texas)

 

Commonly Misquoted Verses From the Quran By : Ansar Al-‘Adl

 

Misquotes from the Quran

 

1. Introduction 2. Verse 1: “Fighting is ordained for you…” (2:216) 3. Verse 2: “Not equal are those who sit at home…” (4:95) 4. Verse 3: “Among the believers are men having fulfilled their covenant…” (33:23) 5. Verse 4: “When you meet the infidels, smite their necks…” (47:4) 6. Verse 5: “There is no blame on those who are old…” (9:91) 7. Verse 6: “Slay them wherever you catch them…” (2:191) 8. Verse 7: “But if they turn away, catch and slaughter them…” (4:89)

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Islam News Room

 

9. Verse 8: “Fight the pagans wherever you see them…” (9:5) 10. Abrogated? 11. Verse 9: “They ask you about fighting in the holy month…” (2:217-218) 12. Verses 10: “Fight in God’s cause…” (2:244) & (4:76) 13. Verse 11: “Fight those who believe not in God…” (9:29) 14. Similar Narration: “I have been ordered to fight…” 15. Verse 12: “Ruthless to the disbelievers…” (5:54) & (48:29) 16. Verses 13: “I will instil terror into the hearts…” (8:12-13) 17. Verse 14: “The punishment for those who wage war…” (5:33) 18. Similar Narration: “A group from the Ukil/Urayna tribe…” 19. Verse 15: “Take not the Jews and Christians as friends…” (5:51) 20. Conclusion

 

By Ansar Al-‘Adl (www.islamicboard.com)

 

Introduction

 

In our time, we find it becoming more and more common for some people to misquote verses from the Qur’an, or narrations of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), in order to support their twisted presentation of Islam as a hostile and violent religion. The majority of these verses are either mistranslated, taken out of context, or misunderstood due to lack of basic knowledge. For example, Jihad is misunderstood by many people today as a “holy war”, hence, whenever it is praised in the Qur’an, it is seen in a negative light. Jihad in reality is a positive concept, not a negative one, and for this reason, one must read about Jihad before reading the rest of this article. An explanation of Jihad can be read here. This article intends to clarify the misconception that Islam promotes violence and hatred by re-examining the misquoted verses and narrations. As we shall see, once understood properly, it becomes apparent that Islam teaches nothing but peace, harmony and tolerance for all humanity. We have selected and quoted the verses/narrations in the way that they are circulated by the Islam-haters, so that the poor translation and other deceptive tactics of the Islam-Haters may be exposed.

 

Misquoted Verse #1

 

Qur’an 2:216 Jihad (holy fighting in God’s Cause) is ordained for you (Muslims), though you dislike it. But it is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and like a thing which is bad for you. But God knows, and you know not.

 

The first mistake in this translation is that this Qur’anic verse actually does not use the word “Jihad”. This verse actually uses the word “Qitaal”, which refers to physical fighting. Fighting is ordained for Muslims in order to defend themselves and their rights, as well as the rights of others. The obligation to physically defend one’s rights, and to establish justice was elaborated on in the previously mentioned article on Jihad. It is sufficient

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Islam News Room

 

to quote a verse from the Qur’an in this regard:

 

4:75 And what is wrong with you that you fight not in the Cause of Allah, and for those weak, ill-treated and oppressed among men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from You one who will help.”

 

It is most certainly a duty of all human beings to help each other from oppression and injustice. This is what Islam teaches. Commenting on verse 2:216, Abdullah Yusuf Ali writes:

 

To fight in the cause of Truth is one of the highest forms of charity. What can you offer that is more precious than your own life? But here again the limitations come in. If you are a mere brawler, or a selfish aggressive person, or a vainglorious bully, you deserve the highest censure. (Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an, Text, Translation and Commentary )

 

Therefore, the fighting ordained by God in the Qur’an is the fighting to establish justice and security in the land, and this is a duty upon all human beings. We will always hope for peace, but we must realize that without justice, freedom, rights and equity, peace will never be able to survive. Likewise, on verse 2:216, Abdul Majid Daryabadi writes:

 

War, it has been truly said, is sanctioned by the law of nature – the constitution of man and the constitution of society – and is at times a biological and sociological necessity. Islam, the ideal and practical religion has allowed it, but only in cases of sheer necessity. (Daryabadi, The Glorious Qur’an, emphasis added)

 

Islam has designated war as the last resort and only in cases of sheer necessity, in order for us to defend the rights of ourselves and others. Also, the picture becomes even more clear when we take into consideration the historical context of the revelation. Abdullah Yusuf Ali goes on to explain the historical context in his commentary on verse 2:217:

 

The intolerance and persecution of the Pagan clique at Mecca caused untold hardships to the holy Messenger of Islam and his early disciples. They bore all with meekness and long-suffering patience until the holy one permitted them to take up arms in self-defence… (Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an, Text, Translation and Commentary ) Read the rest of this entry »


Campbell Brown – So what if Obama was a Muslim or an Arab?

October 26, 2008

My site is not a place I intend to put political jargon, however I found the eloquence of Campbell Brown so fluid and precise that I felt it was worth posting. I am not willing to get into politics however her point about Muslim Americans and the average Muslim around the world being a peaceful, normal citizen of many countries, is a wonderful and poignant messege we all need to hear and UNDERSTAND.

more about “Campbell Brown – So what if Obama was…“, posted with vodpod

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