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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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”.

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BEFORE BURNING IT, KNOW WHAT IS INSIDE

September 12, 2010

Qur’ān. V49:11–13: "come to know each oth...

Image via Wikipedia

Essayist: Before Burning Quran, Know What’s In It


A vandalized sign at the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., where Pastor Terry Jones was planning to burn copies of the Quran on the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Published: September 09, 2010

by Anisa Mehdi

An outcry from Muslim communities around the world greeted Florida Pastor Terry Jones’ announcement that he would commemorate the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by burning copies of the Quran. The outrage was matched only by those who staunchly oppose the building of an Islamic cultural center near ground zero in New York City.

President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. David Petraeus all urged the pastor to call off the event, citing potential threats to Americans overseas. In a late afternoon press conference, Jones said he had canceled the protest in exchange for a deal to move the proposed Islamic center away from ground zero. But Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam planning the center, quickly said no such deal had been made.

Anisa Mehdi is a Fulbright Scholar and filmmaker who directed the National Geographic documentary Inside Mecca.

Here’s a quick test of your knowledge of scripture.  Where does the following passage come from?

“Behold! The angels said: “O Mary! God hath chosen thee and purified thee – chosen thee above the women of all nations.”

Let’s try another, with more modern language:

“Behold, the angels said, “O Mary, God announces good news to you by a Word from God named the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, honored in this world and the hereafter.”

The first from the King James Version of the Bible and the second from the Revised Standard?

No on both accounts.

These are passages from the Quran. The first in English translation by Yusuf Ali and the second by Thomas Cleary. As an English-speaking Muslim, I have several versions of the Quran in English.

The Quran, the holy book of Islam, gets quoted for exhortations to fight for the faith. “Those who believe fight in the cause of God, and those who reject faith fight in the cause of Evil.” But it’s also filled with reverent passages about Jesus Christ.  There is a whole chapter named for his mother, Mary, who is mentioned more often in the Quran than she is in the Bible itself.

And this is the book the Rev. Terry Jones threatened to burn at his Dove World Outreach Center in Gainsville, Fla., on Saturday?

Did he know what he would be burning?

The Rev. Jones may reject much of what he believes is so about Islam.  He may reject the notion that another prophet came to humankind after Jesus.  He may resent Islam’s fierce adherence to One God and not a Trinity. He may — and rightly so — despise the acts of terror committed in the name of Islam. But he should know that the book he hopes to burn as a statement of protest and rage holds his Savior in the highest esteem.

“And in the footsteps of the prophets we send Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming the law that had come before him. We sent him the Gospel. Therein was Guidance and Light.”

The Quran tells about miracles performed by Jesus — some unfamiliar to the Bible, like talking when he was a baby and breathing life into a clay bird, but also recognizable miracles, like healing lepers and restoring the dead to life.

The chapter of Mary also tells stories of Abraham, Moses and Noah. Surely these are figures of prominence in the Christianity of the Dove World Outreach Center.

But the crisis around burning the Quran was not one-sided. It may have been instigated in Florida but hostile reactions were predicted in Afghanistan by U.S. Gen. David Petraeus and who knows where else. After all, there is a history of violent reaction by Muslim people to perceived offenses against their faith.  Remember the Danish cartoons?

So there is another group of people who need to know better just what’s in the book at the center of this story.

Muslims themselves.

We are now celebrating the end of the month of Ramadan.  Muslims showed self-discipline by fasting from dawn until dusk for 30 days in a row.  This is a time to put that self-control into action.

In Chapter Five, the Table, we read, “O Believers! Stand up as witnesses for God by righteousness and let not ill will at any induce you not to act uprightly.  Act uprightly … And fear ye God. God is apprised of what ye do.”

“Killing is bad,” the book goes on to say,” but lawlessness is even worse than carnage.”

Just like the Bible, the Quran has its share of passages about punishment and vengeance.  No doubt I’ll be accused of only choosing the soft, sweet lines out of context for the purpose of making a point.

But it’s a point that needs to be made as much as the point that has been made that burning the Quran is NOT a good idea.  That the challenge for Muslims in this trying situation is to behave and perform as cited in the very book they said they were trying to save. [Copyright 2010 National Public Radio]


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 »


Muslim Terrorists? Differentiate Between Acts of People and Islam

March 30, 2010



NOT IN THE NAME OF MY RELIGION !!!

by Asma bint Shameem

Once again the news of “Muslim Terrorists” hits the headlines…

Once again “Muslims” perpetrate acts of violence and terror in the name of Islam…

Once again, they bring a bad… bad name to this beautiful, perfect religion of mine.

Subhaan Allaah!

This religion of Islam is a perfect religion.
It is a peaceful religion.
It is a JUST religion.

It CONDEMNS violence….
It CONDEMNS extremism…
It CONDEMNS terrorism.
In fact, extremism, violence, and terrorism have no connection whatsoever with Islam.

Yet, people, bearing names, similar to mine, act violently…hurt people…terrorize and intimidate…thinking they are acting in accordance with Islam….whether it be 9/11, or the bombing in Spain or London, or any time perpetration against humanity is carried out in the name of Islam. These people do NOTHING, BUT A DISSERVICE to this great religion of mine…this perfect way of life.

DON’T THEY KNOW that Islam is the religion of peace; it teaches us to RESPECT lives???

“Nor take life – which Allaah has made sacred – except for just cause…”[Surah Israa’:33]

Had they studied the Shareeah, they would have discovered that it vehemently condemns all sorts of extremism, acts of violence or aggression against others without a just cause.

“… If anyone killed a person, except in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind…”(Surah Maidah: 32)

DON’T THEY KNOW that it is a form of spreading mischief (fasaad) in the land which Allaah has strictly prohibited people from committing???

Read the rest of this entry »


Muslims as Terrorist: Read in Context Please!

February 12, 2010

This is a reply to a visitor who read many of the posts about Terrorism in Islam.  I felt some regret that my posts seemed to have little or no change in his way of thinking  but rather he insisted to list a rather long list of verses from the Qur’an and also Hadith which readily show the “hunger” of Muslims to slaughter, massacre or generally kill non- Muslims.

I will not get into this so deeply simply for the fact that he has taken all of these out of context of the situation they were revealed. All of those from the Quran were revealed after the believers had been attacked and were forced to fight. When you take only one verse out of its setting yes you will be shocked and say wow those Muslims are horrible and only know about terror. However let us see the real situation.

Why are there verses in the Qur’an that encourage Muslims to kill non-believers wherever they find them?

The Importance of Context

The word ‘context’ has two dictionary meanings:
1. The parts of a written or spoken statement that precede or follow a specific word or passage, usually influencing its meaning or effect. 2. The set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc.

Any discussion on Qur’anic verses that refer to violence would be meaningless, without a study of the surrounding context. Before we study the verses in question, therefore, let us examine this issue in a wider perspective:

The Sanctity of Life

The Glorious Qur’an says:
“…take not life, which God hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.” [Al-Qur’an 6:151]

Islam considers all life forms as sacred. However, the sanctity of human life is accorded a special place. The first and the foremost basic right of a human being is the right to live. The Glorious Qur’an says:
“…if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” [Al-Qur’an 5:32]

The value of human life is so great, that the Qur’an equates the taking of even one human life unjustly with the killing of all humanity.

The Verses of War

The words that often cause consternation among those unfamiliar with Islam, are: “…and slay them wherever ye catch them…”

The truth is that this is only part of verse 191 of Chapter 2 of the Qur’an. Let us read the verses 190 to 191 in order to get a complete picture:

“Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors. And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have Turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith.” [Al-Qur’an 2:190-191]

It is a well-known fact of Islamic history, that fighting against aggressors was prohibited during the first thirteen years of the Prophet’s mission. After Muslims migrated to Medina, the verses above were revealed to enable the community to fight in self-defense. The verses that follow clearly indicate Islam’s prohibition on aggression and inclination towards peace:

“But if they cease, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah; but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practise oppression.” [Al-Qur’an 2:192-193]

The verses above specifically refer to fighting against oppression and in defense of religious freedom as the Glorious Qur’an says:
“Let there be no compulsion in religion” [Al-Qur’an 2:256]

Fair-Dealing Towards All

When read in context, the above verses do not even remotely suggest an exhortation for Muslims to be vicious or hateful towards people of other faiths. Far from this, the Qur’an actually requires that Muslims conduct themselves with fairness and dignity in all matters, and especially in regard to interfaith relations, as indicated by the following verse:

“Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just.” [Al-Qur’an 60:8]

The verse you posted up do not reflect the other verses that are around them. For example, let us read this verse.. what do you think about it? [2:191] You may kill those who wage war against you, and you may evict them whence they evicted you. Oppression is worse than murder. Do not fight them at the Sacred Masjid, unless they attack you therein. If they attack you, you may kill them. This is the just retribution for those disbelievers.

You will feel it is very aggressive. Now put it into context with the situation that was occurring at that time,,,,

Rules of War*
[2:190] You may fight in the cause of GOD against those who attack you, but do not aggress. GOD does not love the aggressors.
Footnote

[2:191] You may kill those who wage war against you, and you may evict them whence they evicted you. Oppression is worse than murder. Do not fight them at the Sacred Masjid, unless they attack you therein. If they attack you, you may kill them. This is the just retribution for those disbelievers.

[2:192] If they refrain, then GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

[2:193] You may also fight them to eliminate oppression, and to worship GOD freely. If they refrain, you shall not aggress; aggression is permitted only against the aggressors.

[2:194] During the Sacred Months, aggression may be met by an equivalent response. If they attack you, you may retaliate by inflicting an equitable retribution. You shall observe GOD and know that GOD is with the righteous.

[2:195] You shall spend in the cause of GOD; do not throw yourselves with your own hands into destruction. You shall be charitable; GOD loves the charitable.

Also, 4:89-90
89.
They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks;-

90.
Except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty (of peace), or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. If Allah had pleased, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you: Therefore if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and (instead) send you (Guarantees of) peace, then Allah Hath opened no way for you (to war against them).

So you can see that always the path of peace and treaties is best and most loved by God however if someone is aggressing against you or attacking you then you have the right, and must, defend yourself. It is so simple as that.

Here, taken from a Christan dialog on the web: When the desertion of the hypocrites at Uhud nearly caused a disaster to the Muslim cause there was great feeling among the Muslims of Madinah against them. One party wanted to put them to the sword; another to leave them alone. The actual policy pursued avoided both extremes, and was determined by these verses.

It was clear that they were a danger to the Muslim community if they were admitted into its counsels, and in any case they were a source of demoralization. But while every caution was used, no extreme measures were taken against them. On the contrary, they were given a chance of making good.

If they made a sacrifice for the cause (“flee from what is forbidden”, see next verse) their conduct purged their previous cowardice, and their sincerity entitled them to be taken back. But if they deserted the Muslim community again, they were treated as enemies, with the additional penalty of desertion, which is enforced by all nations actually at war.

Even so, a human exception was made in the two cases specified in 4:90.
As Christians, we get upset when atheists quote the Bible out of context during their attacks on our faith.

It is therefore indefensible for a Christian to practice the same deceit.

I have to applaud this Christian for being open minded and honest and being able to see through all the media hype and mis information

I hope that this helps to clarify the issue of war being mentioned in the Qur’an and that people need to realize that these events really took place and the issues dealt with specifically are related to those events with general teachings given through them.

Basically you need to understand that Muslims should not be the aggressor – as stated clearly in the Qur’an, but have every right – and duty– to defend one self, community, homes, person, and family from aggression and attack.

Sakina


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 »


WHAT THE QURAN REALLY SAYS ABOUT JIHAD AND VIOLENCE

September 22, 2008

 

What the Qur’an Really Says About Jihad and Violence
Save a Life, Save All Humanity–Take a Life, Kill All Humanity
from beliefnet.com

… Here are several of the Qur’an passages most frequently cited, and analysis from Islamic scholars.

On Jihad or “Holy War”                                                          

Chapter 2, verse 190: “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress

 limits; for Allah loves not transgressors.”  This portion of the Qur’an was written in about 606 C.E., when the Prophet Muhammad and his followers were under attack in the city of Medinah, says Imam Yahya Hendi, a Qur’anic scholar who is the Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University. There, they had established their own state. But various coalitions of non-Muslim tribes–including Christians, Jews, atheists and animists–continued to go to war with them. This portion of the Qur’an explains their reasoning behind striking back.

The passage actually refers to a defensive war. “You fight back. You go as far as it takes to stop the aggression but you do not go beyond that. So if you have to, you go as far as fighting verbally to get someone out of your home–but you don’t shoot him after he is out. You don’t keep going on with it–only if you are attacked, if there is an oppression applied to you. The idea is that justice prevails. You don’t fight because you enjoy fighting, but because there is an oppression.

“It could be military force or [in today’s world] it could be media force, writing against you. But when the hostilities are over and the enemy offers a peace treaty, you should submit. Muslims are obliged to submit to a peace treaty offered by the enemy. You don’t keep fighting.”

Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid, imam of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood in Harlem, says the word jihad has its origin in the verb jahada which means to struggle, to fight. The word has a few different connotations, since struggle can occur on several levels.

“Muslims understand these levels based not only on the words of Allah in the Qur’an, but also on the authentic statements of the Prophet Muhammad as recorded in our oral traditions, preserved as hadith,” he says. According to ‘Abdur-Rashid, there are three levels of jihad: 

Personal Jihad: The most excellent jihad is that of the soul. This jihad, called the Jihadun-Nafs, is the intimate struggle to purify the soul of satanic influence–both subtle and overt. It is the struggle to cleanse one’s spirit of sin. This is the most important level of jihad.

Verbal Jihad: On another occasion, the Prophet said, “The most excellent jihad is the speaking of truth in the face of a tyrant.” He encouraged raising one’s voice in the name of Allah on behalf of justice.

Physical Jihad: This is combat waged in defense of Muslims against oppression and transgression by the enemies of Allah, Islam and Muslims. We are commanded by Allah to lead peaceful lives and not transgress against anyone, but also to defend ourselves against oppression by “fighting against those who fight against us.” This “jihad with the hand” is the aspect of jihad that has been so profoundly misunderstood in today’s world. Read the rest of this entry »


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