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Islam: From Purism to Extremism of Misled Some Muslims

[] We Need God

[] In God We Trust

The era when a person can live only by science and technology has not come and it will never do. You will not be able to express your emotional moves through a setup made of computers and a stack of machines piled up in your living room! Or, try to live emotionless. You will not last for long.

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[] Content

We Need God 1

In God We Trust 1

1

Content 2

Disclaimer 10

DEDICATION 11

The public wins 12

[* No Body Loves You Donald Trump! How Did You Get Elected? Really! 12*]

[* Non-Muslim Americans wear hijab in solidarity for “World Hijab Day” 15*]

Morals and Ethics 16

The Election of Donald Trump 16

One Life to Live 18

Prelude 19

10 Reasons I am an Atheist: 23

Lack of Faith Integration in the West 24

The Creation-Evolution Process 25

[* Looking for God: The Islamic Way of Doing Science 28*]

Intellect-Evolution 30

[* If you believe in God and you would like to know more about Muslims and their religion; and if you are curious why some misguided Muslims may pursue a twisted-version of the faith and radicalize, you may continue reading… 42*]

Is Democracy an Optimal System? 42

Islam vs. Secularism 44

[* Is it Science or Religion? Where is the Code of Ethics? 45*]

[* God is Unfair? Hardship Cleanses Your Sins 46*]

Equality of Mankind 47

All Stand Equal before the Law 50

[* The Prophet Sets the Ethics of “Peace” 50*]

  • The Big Fight for the Right of the Word 51*

[* Judeo-Christian Origin of Islam-Common Code but Conflicting Venues 52*]

Who Goes to Heaven? 57

Who will be the Judge? 58

Who was the Sacrifice: Ishmael or Isaac? 59

How Old Can You Get? 60

Who is a Muslim? 60

The Book of Muslims-The Quran 62

Perfection of the Writing of the Book 63

[* Cessation of Divine Intervention-Must Adapt Religion 64*]

[* Who can Issue a Religious Ruling “fatwa”? 66*]

Why the Muslim World is a Third World? 71

Fatwas of Scholars 72

  • New Appointed Taliban Leader Urges Afghans to Plant More Trees 73*

[* Unification of Fatwas-Centralization of the Establishment 74*]

Great Tolerance! Where did it All Go? 75

[* Where are Love, Hate and other Feelings in the Faith? 78*]

Faith Racism 79

  • External Incitement is a Motive for the Youth to Radicalize 80*

[* Muslim Youth in the West React to Faith-Incitement 80*]

Violence! 81

The Ten Commandments Islamically-Oriented 84

No Monasticism in Islam 85

Hajj: Pilgrimage to the Holiest Site 88

Faith Rituals 91

No Music in Islamic Rituals 92

The Greatest Rift; Shiite vs. Sunni 92

[* Love of “Ahlul Bayt: People of the Prophet’s House” 93*]

The Establishment 95

What is Important in the Faith? 97

Islam as a Way of Life 99

Moderation Vs Extremism 99

  • Rulers are Representatives of the People 100*

Islam Didn’t Outlaw Slavery! 102

The Role of the Woman in Islam 104

Hitting as Punishment 105

Arranged Marriage 107

Underage Marriage 107

Instant Divorce by Man 108

Honor Killing 108

  • Physical Distinction and Social Role of Men and Women 109*

Two Women Witnesses for One Man 110

[* Women Inherit Half of What Men Do-is it Injustice? 111*]

Women and Men Stand Together 112

Witchcraft 113

[* People of the Book-Christianity in the Eyes of Muslims 114*]

Shariah Regulation-Understanding Islamic Law 117

[* Islamic Religion is to Set Rules and Draft Laws-Islamic Jurisprudence 119*]

Who Should Rule? 120

Shariah-Research Rules 121

Most Obvious Rules 121

Don’t Commit Injustice 121

Worship the Lord 122

Preserving Human Lives-Rule 122

[* Murder-Accepting Blood Money (Diyah) Instead of Retaliation (Qisaas) 123*]

Free Will to Choose Rule 123

Freedom to Choose Faith 123

Different Faith Protection Rule 124

No-Sin Rule of Unintentional Acts 124

Corruption Rule 125

Soul Corruption 125

Take it or Leave it Rule 125

Behind Closed Doors-Privacy Rule 127

Common Interest Rule 127

[* Globalization vs. Individualization – Rule of Thumb for Survival 127*]

No Destruction to the Self-Rule 128

[* Non-Muslim’s Human Life is to be Spared-Rule 128*]

No Hardship in Worship-Rule 128

Slandering-Rule 129

[* Any Rule May be Broken-Rule; the Rescue Rule 129*]

[* Always Clean up with Water Rule— Start with the Body to Cleanse the Heart 130*]

No Interest Rule 130

Exception to the Rule-Prophet’s Own Rule 131

Call for War-Jihad 131

We Fight who Fights us 132

Twisted Faith? 134

Abusing the Faith 135

[* Extremism: Why Radicalists have the Potential to Become Extremists? Is it the Path for Twisted-Faith Terrorism? Is Extremism a Self-Destructive Movement? 135*]

[* Too Many “Extras” or Individualized Solo-modes Lead to Radicalization-Serious Crevices 138*]

Violent or Peaceful-Path for Extremism 138

Killing the Self, is it Legal? 139

[* Brutal Totalitarian Authorities-is it Twisted-Faith Terrorism? 140*]

“[* Takfirism”- Declaration of Apostasy 142 *]

Kill the Infidels 143

[* Extremism and Terrorism -Western Point of View 143 *]

[* Who is an Extremist-Islamic Point of View? 144*]

What are Signs of Faith Extremism? 145

Radicalism Turns to Extremism 145

Use of Extremism to Counter Extremism 145

Fighting Extremism 146

  • The Establishment is Incomplete without the Public 146*

[* My People will not Go Wrong if Convened- “Public-Jury-Process” 148 *]

  • Add the Best of the Best to our Legal System 148*

[* More Than One Opinion; Choose One and Institutionalize it 148*]

  • The Role of the Public vs. the Role of the Establishment 150*

No Body is Infallible but the Public 151

Institutionalization 153

Realizing the True Value of Religion 154

Separation of Religion and the State 155

  • Divine Words or own Opinion, a Deeper Insight 155*

[* One Way Thinking- Reject Rigidness 157 *]

FINAL WORDS 157

The Public Wins 164

References 165

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Muslim World is Living its Saddest Day

 

 

 

 

It is Saddening that our Great Religion has been Introduced for the First Time to Many of Those Who had No Knowledge of its Greatness

~Only Through

Terrorism~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[]Disclaimer

The notes in this book reflect only the author’s opinion. All Quranic verses and Hadiths therein are translation of the original ones in Arabic language. The translation mostly was made by another party. If any erring occurred in the translation, the author would like a positive feedback.

The author: Kamal Barghout

Professor of Physics

[email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[]DEDICATION

This Book Is Dedicated To The Greatest Man Ever Walked On Earth, Who Taught Humanity How To LOVE.

MUHMMED BIN ABDELLAH BIN ABDELMUTTALIB….BIN ISHMAEL BIN ABRAHAM….BIN NOAH….BIN ADAM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[] The public wins

 

 

 

I know what is in your mind. You are saying,

who are you to have a say in the subject? Believe me, you and I should be respectfully allowed to have our say in matters concerning our faith. We are not asking “them” to adopt our opinion. We are asking them to be enlightened by the public’s opinion and still they have the right to reject it

as they are the supreme decision-makers in the faith

establishment.

But we, you and I, the public, should be part

of the establishment and should participate in the

decision-making process. Either that

or the establishment people will always live in

a closed shell with their mistakes constantly

overgrow. We want to help correct their mistakes.

All humans are vulnerable to making mistakes. Unless we all do our share, it will always be the case that the

few will get away with their mistakes. The laws the establishment draft will always be infested with the mistakes they unintentionally make.

Remember, they are humans.

 

 

  • * No Body Loves You Donald Trump! How Did You Get Elected? Really!

 

Terrorism: First speech by the new US president: Donald Trump

[_ BBC- January, 2017. “We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against “radical Islamic terrorism”, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth”, said Donald Trump, minutes after taking the oath of office of the president of the United States of America, January, 2017, on Friday, the day before the big “Women March” against him across the globe was a big event. _]

 

Anti-Muslims: Religious groups are unhappy with Trump ban

[_ BBC- January, 2017. ] “Everyone matters to God,” they say. [_Trump may have secured the votes of the majorities of white evangelical Christians and white Catholics, but President Donald Trump’s decision to issue an executive order barring immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries and blocking all refugees from Syria is attracting criticism from across the spectrum of religious belief.]

 

The US authorities have rolled back a controversial travel ban on people from seven mainly Muslim countries after a judge suspended it

[_ BBC- Feb 3, 2017. The state department said it was reversing the cancellation of visas, 60,000 of which were revoked after President Donald Trump's order. Judge James Robart ruled there were legal grounds to challenge the ban. Mr. Trump reacted furiously, calling Mr. Robart's ruling "ridiculous" and vowing to restore his ban. People affected by the ban treated news of the suspension warily as airlines began allowing them to board flights to America on Saturday. _]

 

Trump appeals against Seattle judge’s travel ban ruling

[_ BBC- Feb 4, 2017. The US justice department has filed a court motion against the suspension of President Trump's travel ban on people from seven mainly Muslim nations. _]

Trump bid to restore travel ban rejected

[_ BBC- Feb 5, 2017. The US federal appeals court has rejected the Trump administration's request to reinstate a travel ban blocked by a federal judge on Friday. _]

The US Department of Justice has defended President Donald Trump’s travel ban and urged an appeals court to reinstate it in the interests of national security.

[_ BBC- Feb 6, 2017. A 15-page brief argued it was a "lawful exercise of the president's authority" and not a ban on Muslims. The executive order temporarily banned entry from all refugees and visitors from seven mainly Muslim countries. A 15-page brief argued it was a "lawful exercise of the president's authority" and not a ban on Muslims. _]

 

Trump loses appeal court bid to reinstate travel ban

[_ BBC- Feb 10, 2017. ] _A US federal appeals court has rejected President Donald Trump’s attempt to reinstate his ban on citizens from seven mainly Muslim countries

 

Trump travel ban: US judge blocks the second executive order

[_ BBC- March 3, 2017. A Federal judge in Hawaii has blocked President Donald Trump's new travel ban, hours before it was due to begin at midnight on Thursday. After the ruling in Hawaii, the legal battle is now expected to move to the federal appeals circuit. _]

 

Tech firms back legal fight against Trump’s travel ban

[_ BBC- January, 2017. ] [_A lawsuit was filed by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson to prove that President Trump’s order to temporarily bar nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US is unconstitutional. The legal challenge was backed by] Microsoft, Amazon and Expedia.

 

Quebec mosque attack “Shocking but not surprising”

[_ BBC- January, 2017. Police say that six people were killed and another eight injured in a shooting at a mosque in Quebec City, Canada. “Authorities in the city have not been taking the security of Muslims seriously”, says Haroun Bouazzi, co-president of the Association of Muslims and Arabs for a Secular Quebec. _]

 

 

 

Trump called Trudeau to express condolences to the Canadian people and to offer any assistance that might be needed, Canadian prime minister-Trudeau’s office said*.* Quebec City mosque shooting: Six killed, eight wounded.

[_ BBC- January, 2017. ] [“We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a center of worship and refuge,” Trudeau said in an earlier statement. “It is heart-wrenching to see such senseless violence. Diversity is our strength, and religious tolerance is a value that we, as Canadians, hold dear. “Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country,” he said._]

 

Anti-women “Women’s March on Washington”

[_ BBC- January, 2017. The march was to protest against Donald Trump, the new president of the U.S.A. The women participating have plenty to complain about; from his admitted sexual misconduct to the many sexual assault allegations against him that he’s denied to the serious threats to women’s health and reproductive rights that experts expect based on his threatened de-funding of planned parenthood and appointment of conservative Supreme Court justices. _]

 

 

Trump is at war with science and knowledge, and that should terrify you

[_ Los Angeles Times- January, 2017. ] [_Many scientists view the apparent crackdown as a reflection of President Trump’s anti-science mentality, reflected partially in his depiction of climate change as a Chinese “hoax” during his election campaign. He also has given credence to a decisively debunked link between childhood vaccines and autism, and sought through his transition team to collect the names of Department of Energy scientists working on climate change.]

 

I Want to Leave the Whole Country

[_ BBC- February, 2017. ] [_Catherine Hannan sees so much turmoil ahead that she and her partner are making plans to leave before it’s too hard to leave the country. “We live in a rural area where people are already starting to regret voting for Trump. We tried to warn them but they were blinded by their religious convictions,” wrote Hannan, who says she stands out in her community because she’s originally from California, which she says is a more progressive state. “We are semi-retired, collect social security and pension but don’t know if that will be available for long under Trump.” We are leaving everything behind including our livestock…We see the changes coming and know it’s only a matter of time before there will be a mass exodus.”]

 

 

 

 

  • * Non-Muslim Americans wear hijab in solidarity for “World Hijab Day”

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[]Morals and Ethics

“Violence” is the dark character of human being set by evolution for survival. Leaders or citizens; believers or atheists; groups or individuals, they are all driven by survival-of-the-fittest tool. Believe it or not, you don’t run a nation by morals. Donald Trump proved it. Security is number one to convince people that you are the best. This reflects peoples’ general attitude. Moral is much of less importance than security to the public, all being it financial. Even if Donald Trump shuns all avenues to good character, he still wins.

 

Moral is welded with faith. May be you could run a nation based on moral if the system was religiously oriented as would be the public. We conclude that America is immoral and without faith. Or is it only because America is so scared of “twisted” faith-terrorism?

Kamal Barghout; the Author

[] The Election of Donald Trump

The election of president Trump may be seen by the American minorities as a backlash of scared white Americans of the economic future of their country, but with an element of racism. We may agree on the economic reason, but we probably disagree on that the white American has voted for Trump out of racism. Where was racism when president Obama won for two terms? It is not fair to dwarf the problem to white racist American individual. Racism is there, but it is not prevalent. Even a racist would choose a black president if he found in him what he wants of a president. What do you want from a president? He must be highly qualified for the job; to execute the law and uphold the constitution efficiently. A racist wants to protect his identity in the society as an individual who wants to be given a free will to express his views. The constitution gives him, and everybody else, this right regardless of the skin color of the president. Trump himself might not be that racist in the sense of hating foreigners, even though he openly showed racist remarks to minorities of great weight, especially for women and foreigners of Muslim backgrounds and Latinos. Remember, his wife is from a foreign origin. You have seen him having her stand beside him in front of the media. The truth is that this guy is a cunning guru, and no doubt he is very patriotic. Yes he is politically inexperienced, but he is a guy of his words. So, he will definitely change his mind on many issues once he is active in the white house. The most obvious is his promise to work close with Putin, but this will change soon when he realizes that this thing will oppose the no-return path of shunning Iran as a threat to global security, unless Putin himself flips his siding with Iran. This might be the way through as Putin is not less cunning than his rival Trump even though his long siding with Iran and Syria-Assad seem to be an unbreakable bond.

 

White Caucasian Americans voted for Trump because they wanted to make a change in the white house, and truly they are scared of “twisted-faith terrorism”; for one, their national security has been compromised before with the September-11 terror act, and secondly, it is the quest for the Americans to achieve financial security that has not fully recovered from the last recession. Trump himself mentioned in one of his speeches, “we spent six trillion dollars in the Middle East in the last fifteen years, if we used that money to spend it to build our country, we would have built it three times better as where we are right now”.

 

International terrorism is one of the reasons America and the west mobilizes their armies, at least as claimed openly. But nobody will forget “weapons of mass destruction”, an “intentionally made fake allegation” to rationalize war in the middle east that completely destabilized it. Terrorism will always have roots to grow. Let’s be honest with ourselves and work on that as Muslims. Yes indeed, Muslim countries are the ones which have been hit hard by “twisted-faith” terrorism so far, and indeed the impact was doubled and tripled by the wall the west constructed between them and the Islamic world. Now the west is defending itself by making this wall even higher and ever dividing one. So, they don’t want twisted-faith terror to reach their territories and they are even willing to sacrifice their democratic values for that most of the time. They have seen twisted-faith terrorism for many, many years during the Middle Ages in their own territories and they knew how to get rid of it. Now, twisted-faith terrorism comes back and they are defending themselves against it. In Britain for example, they proved it; if Europe does not want to strengthen the dividing wall further, then let be it, we are br-exiting. Trump is trying to do it as well, he is Trump-exiting. But one wishes that cooperation between the west and the Muslim world would not be sacrificed when solving international problems, especially problems of terrorism and dividing walls. Dividing walls of faith or even of financial nature, like that Trump is trying to build in the U.S. southern border, will not remain forever. Let’s learn from history; remember walls that have been torn down by the public.

 

Some people have started to criticize democracy as vulnerable to shortcomings and seriously flawed that allowed a “racist” person to come to power. Democracy is not sacred and has its own flaws. But we have to remember though that the president does not have absolute power. More or less, he executes the law as written in the constitution. There are mechanisms to overturn his decisions in the congress and he can be removed if he truly misconducts. He can be voted out if he is terrible enough. Just fresh news, “Court ousts South Korea’s scandal-hit president”.

 

For some people, democracy might not be the optimum ruling method because, in one way or another, it has not given minorities their full rights as citizens, even though officially it claims it does. If you claim otherwise, tell me then why African Americans do revolt violently every once in a while in the US? Omar, the second Muslim Caliph, used to limit the ruling period of governors by four years. Also, when it reached him that people despised a governor in Iraq, he ordered his removal right away. It is reported that he once addressed people to straighten him out by the sword if he ever errs. Aren’t those the ultimate goals of what a democratic system would want of the top people in the legal system? Omar naturally exercised his understanding of the Islamic ruling system as the will of the people and implemented it. He didn’t learn it from pre-Islamic period as he was one of the heads of the aristocratic people in Mecca. He only learned it naturally from the new faith. But where are the tools that bring the final word to the public in the Islamic world today? Rulers will be happy to listen to the public opinion; missing though is the voice of the faith-establishment which is grossly embattled with “faith crevices” that literally disintegrates its power. Rulers indeed do fear “twisted-faith” violence. Some claim that Muslim rulers keep their local “dwarfed faith-establishment” to consult with, and thereby delineate their “twisted views” to comply with their own “un-Islamic” views. That might be off reality. The rulers pray five times a day, just like you and me. They simply look for the faith establishment, but they can’t find it. So, they establish their own, which may not be compatible enough to face the world crises. It is the faith-establishment that is shaky with no solid structural foundation. The faith establishment is an old man, secluded in a remote island and unaware of the world’s affairs, yet we fax and text him to solve our problems.

 

Trump embattled his legal way to enforce his rejected executive order to ban people from seven Muslim countries to enter the US. Later he made them six, removing Iraq from the list and signed a new one. He argued; the ban is only for security reasons and has no religious grounds. The order now is on hold awaiting legal battle. So, truly, it is not who rules as long as the constitution is preserved. Even though many, including some of those who voted for him, may address him as an arrogant person, Trump, like many of the American people, fears “twisted-faith” violence just like many of the Muslim rulers.

Kamal Barghout; the Author

[]One Life to Live

If you believe in incarnation, let alone the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus Christ, may be this book is not for you. One life justifies the big struggle. An endless series of multiple lives may not be that bad after all. If so, don’t make your next life what you don’t want it to be. A dog is not a good one. Don’t be a dog, as you might end up on the recipe at some restaurant in Seoul one day. If that happens, you probably want to choose a fancy restaurant. At least you end your life with dignity before you see what the next one could be.

For life is short, and most probably a solo-one; you need to maximize productivity then. You may have heard of those people who only sleep couple of hours a day and allegedly solve the energy problem of the globe. They claim that by only sleeping couple of hours per day there is lots of time left to double or triple their productivity. Let’s hope that their productivity remains at maximum level, which is of course if they kept their sanity as the lack of sleep deprives them of their ability to think straight. Increasing the daily number of hours by not sleeping those beautiful eight hours drops your efficiency significantly. To compensate, for life is too short, let it be of quality level and let’s not lose those beautiful eight hours of sleep, especially those seconds of “spiritual” elevation, Morphine-effect-like intoxicating state of high sensation right before you rest to deep sleep. Einstein reportedly slept for at least ten hours per day any. This beautiful state of in-between sleep and awake mimics an elevation-time above the noise of struggle in life. Are you wondering if time just before death is similar?

 

People may waste a daily hour-bath-time, more or less. You need those ten-minutes of bath time? Those are precious minutes that need to be totally integrated with the rest of the day. To excel, you need to psychologically ensure constant engagement with what you excel in. So, don’t lose those minutes of bath-time. If you are a comedian, don’t freak out if you find yourself laughing at a joke you repeatedly told yourself while taking a bath. You have not gone crazy. Don’t do that and you are not good on stage. No continuity, no excellence, period. By the way, you don’t want to be a lazy guy. Double thinking is better than solo thinking, and better off if you can triple yet. For example, you can talk to your wife and answer her questions effectively while deeply engaging in resolving a life or death related family issue that your partner might even never come close to understanding it. Just be very careful when your wife stares at you and screams, “you are not listening. I am talking to you idiot. I am going to grab a gun right now”. Now be solo thinker, or else fear for your life, because your wife is dead serious. Also, it is not good to be fearful when it is not time for it. Like, tell the truth no matter what until your wife brings a gun for real. Don’t listen to those who tell you, a “white” lie is not a bad thing for be careful of a “real” gun your wife will definitely use if she discovers it. But at least, confrontation is not bad until the gun has arrived. Extreme fear in any situation is unjustifiable. It comes to my mind a joke that tells it all; a general orders his soldiers to line up. While in a state of complete silence, one soldier sneezes. The sneeze sends a shock wave throughout. The general looks around, not able to identify where the sneeze came from, he approaches the first unit and goes; who sneezed here? The soldiers don’t respond out of extreme fear. So the general goes; execute them. They all get executed. He then approaches the second unit and screams; who sneezed over there? No body answers and they get executed. He approaches the third group and asks the same question; who sneezed over there? One very scared soldier from that unit raises his hand shitting out of fear goes, me sir. The general goes; BLESS YOU SOLDIER. The general wanted to wish blessing for the soldier who sneezed, but along the way many scared people get killed. A good intention by those on the top mixed with devilish sense of power may bring death to town by the great unjustifiable fear by the public from those who happened to be on top. Until the public and those on top recognize that they are one body, a great many people will die.

 

If you are a one-life believer and you want to maximize your productivity, you better maximize your potential. If you want a happy one-life and raise a family in a beautiful little house with a little backyard in a quiet suburban neighborhood, you better own that house. Make sure you pay off your payments on time. Don’t let the bank people take it away from you, because if they do, your beautiful family ends up on the streets, unless Mr. Obama comes up with a magic recipe to save your house.

 

Do you really need that house to raise your family? Do you think you can’t raise that beautiful family without it? How can you? You don’t have a house, you don’t have a family! Do you want a family? May be you don’t. But if you do, then own that goddamn house and don’t let go of it, period. Install a security system to it so you can repel burglars. Obama can help there too. No tax on the cost. Obama is gone? Trump is there for you, unless you are a woman. Then evade tax. No worries, Trump did. After all, security is above morality. Your tax may save the house. Long live America.

Kamal Barghout; the Author

 

[]Prelude

I asked a new Muslim convert, a PhD colleague who spent most of his life in Europe dwelling its Christian faith, about his decision of abandoning Christianity. It wasn’t about merely abandoning the Trinity concept. May be he is still a Trinity guy. His response was; look, I can be the worst Muslim ever but not the most faithful Christian. I asked why that is. He replied; they claim to possess pure spiritual character and yet they legalize the worst acts in human life in their parliaments that literally kills the spirit. I asked, and that is? He replied; same sex marriage. He continued; this thing is so disgusting it turns everyone away from the most beautiful of the purist faiths.” Of course, legalizing such a controversial issue is a long fight in western parliamentary democracies of which slowly freedom wins over conservatism. But the issue of faith remains the defining path of a free choice. Civilizations that grow from democracy may not ultimately prevail if spiritual needs of humans are greatly suppressed. Under democracy, legal equality, rule of law, and political freedom are preserved. With only those characteristics, a door opens to unlimited freedom that undermines spiritual needs as they diminish proportional to the growth of competing elements. This aspect may be the main issue that drove many westerners and others to throw themselves into extremism with the ultimate decision to join extremist groups or act as a lone mass killer! The continuous abandoning of the westerners to the spiritual needs of the human in favor of more democratic freedom that shaped the modern western way of life is to blame for many of the chaotic mental states of many western individuals.

 

George W. Bush mobilized the mightiest army driven by his faith, a mixed democracy-Christian faith. Didn’t he admittedly declare a crusade to liberate Iraq from the cruel rule of Saddam Hussein under the fake umbrella of weapons of mass destruction? But isn’t true that Europe is largely a secular continent, where religion is shyly segregated from many of the daily livelihood of people and they have to live with it? This was the consequence of a long struggle between the church and the state that ended up with people “happily” choosing the rule of the state over the “brutal” interference of the church. Aren’t they happy with it? Well, it doesn’t seem like much so as many people are seeking elsewhere to fulfill their inner spiritual drive. When Christian Europe derive most of their legislation away from faith, people feel repelled by abandoning a human need-spiritual survival drive in favor for materialistic gains.

 

It is not wise to try to eliminate extremism by eliminating religion. You cannot eliminate religion as it seems that faith is an inner human intimate drive for self-satisfaction. This can be drawn from historical events. State systems that tried to eliminate religion ended up in failure; look at the past ones, particularly communism. Communism is history or may be toward extinction now. Communism is “eliminated” but religion remained.

 

Europe was wiser than Communist east. They invented democracy and shushed the church. It has worked so far. But is it going to last? I think so. That is awing to a mostly spiritual Christian religion. Deprive people of the minimal church influence on peoples’ livelihood and you survive the move. The church can only tell people, look, follow me because you owe me your spiritual life. This is not a simple case for Islam though, at least as defined by contemporary Islamic scholars. The Islamic establishment tells people, look; follow me because you owe me all of your life.

 

For many Muslims, democracy is fundamentally hard to compromise with many faith aspects, but this trend has lately been diminishing and a call for faith-compromise with democracy has been a hot topic. But is what we need a compromise, or is it that the faith naturally encompasses “democratic values”? Basically, democracy is nothing but a globalization (federalization) process of the legal system that ensures localization of minority rules. It follows that a line of distinction between the two approaches should be drawn. This line of distinction resulted in the separation between the church and the legal system in the western democracies. The separation hushed minorities from revolting against the legal system but sadly killed the human spiritual attribute at many levels and the western individual remained secluded within the walls of the scientific definition of “spiritual human needs” by which the western individual resorted to spiritual “alcoholic drinks” to resolve his “spiritual problems”, resulting in unprecedented number of miserable “spiritual life styles” of the western individual.

 

Because of the constant negativity that surrounds the Islamic faith, the western individual is greatly ill-informed and usually bombarded by exaggerations about Islam that may not necessarily be true. Unfortunately, the Islamic establishment attitude does not help to remove the obscurity. On the contrary, in many cases it adds more to it. So, it is imperative to introduce the religion from scratch, highlighting the most important matters in the religion and stressing points along the path of where we are heading with our faith as Muslims. Most importantly, stressing the uneasy and narrow understanding of the religion at some points that might presumably has produced the negative halo surrounding it. Indeed, the halo introduced a negative state of mind blocking avenues for inter-relational cooperation between Islam and other main faiths and helped extremism nourish which constantly was left, mostly unintentionally, in a growing mode, greatly due to the ever growing negative halo itself and the attitude of the establishment. But before we dwell in that, it is important to debate the root cause of the birth of a faith; God. Is He there? What makes people think He is there? Is it how great the universe is? Is it that looking for Him is something in our blood, like imprinted in our genes? Or, we would have never known He was there had He not sent messengers from over there, where He is at, to let us know He is there?

 

This book is addressed to the average Muslim and to the non-Muslim who is interested to dig a little deeper in understanding the ideological approach of the Islamic faith that defines Muslims’ behavior. In particular, I will lay a general atmosphere of how we, Muslims, see and react with our religion as the guiding tool that defines our behavior. Basically, I present Islam as I know it myself and as the average Muslim knows it, not in an academic, abstract layout. I avoid using terms that might be problematic to the non-Muslim. I guide the reader to an understanding of Islam as a package. Non-Muslims need to understand the faith in totality rather than picking up just pieces here and there before understanding where some “stray” Muslims might have gone wrong on a specific subject, like the subject of radicalism. The book nevertheless is not elaborate to bore the reader but it suffices to understand the ideological aspects of the Islamic faith sometimes mixed with historical facts. As it is the most important aspect of the faith, I discuss in a philosophical way why atheism is wrong and God is there. Specifically, I am interested in exposing our interference as believers of the Islamic faith in the rule-making process that defines much of the faith. Some weak crevices are identified as a result of this interference leaving open “wounds” that should be openly addressed. It is suggested that the “public” should play a role in identifying and rectifying the existing “rifts” that have been created due to some faulty handling of the basis of the rule-making-process in the faith due to existing crevices. It is concluded that it is not only for a handy number of highly ranked scholars to do the evaluation of matters in hand that pertain to the faith and pass as laws their own opinions on them, the knowledgeable public should also help. We respect the opinions of all scholars but we do need the “mass” to have their say specifically in the differing issues. The mass means those who know but outside the shell of the faith-establishment. And believe me, there are so many people who know and reside outside the establishment-shell, including you and I to some degree. If you need to memorize the holy Quran to know, look how many people do outside the establishment! If you need to tell by heart what is in “The Authentic Six Books” of “Hadith”; believe me, there are millions who do but reside outside the establishment. What is left for those people on the top of the establishment that makes them so special? The difference between those on the top of the establishment and those people who know Quran and Hadith but reside outside the establishment-shell is that those outside know contemporary science and technology more than those from within the establishment. They know life more than them. They know medicine, biology, physics, psychology, human relation, and the list goes on, more than them.

 

This book is made primarily to present the Islamic faith at the elementary level, but particularly to illustrate why some Muslim youth may be “pruned” to see the path to “faith-extremism” as lit by bright light and planted with flowers. In order to see that, Islam should firstly be presented naturally without the due restrictions of the standardized and complicated Islamic Shariah books. Much of the complication apparently comes from the repeated input by the scholars over the course of time. Here, I shed light on Islamic issues that can be pushed for a degree of “normalization” in the Islamic religion pertaining to issues that define a fine line between keeping a pure faith and being driven into extremism. Those issues are simply treated as peripheral to the faith since the core-faith matters are in-divisively agreed upon.

 

No one can undermine the great religion of Islam but we do argue sometimes from a historical perspective as how Islamic faith is seen by Muslims to make a perfect and peaceful religion but erroneously may be seen otherwise by non-Muslims. Here, I present the Muslim’s point of view that it is peaceful in nature. It suffices to mention that the name of the faith says it all, which means “SUBMISION to GOD” and has the natural meaning of “SUBMIT to GOD-IN PEACE”, and when Muslims meet each other or meet a foreigner their only greeting is “Peace to be Granted upon You”. The Quran itself used the term peace when referred to the religion, read please “O You who believe! Enter absolutely into peace (Islam). Do not follow in the footsteps of Satan. He is an outright enemy to you .” [Quran- The Cow 2: 208] In Islam, Allah (the Arabic name for God) is “The PEACE”, as that is one of His names; read please, “ And Allah invites to the abode of The Peace (paradise of Allah), and guides whom He pleases to the right path .” [Quran- Jonah 10:25] and read please, “ For them shall be the abode of The Peace near their Lord and He will be their guardian because of what they used to do (good in this life)” [Quran- The Cattle 6:127]; The Peace is God and “the abode of The Peace” is His paradise.

 

You may find yourself know much of what is being discussed here if you are of a Muslim background. The language of the book is mostly simple words. The content mostly relates current concerns that pertain to the faith and the actively discussed global matters, most importantly the issue of youth radicalization. The faith is discussed from within the Islamic culture, but organized in a simple way for a non-Muslim to follow at ease. Sometimes the same issue is mentioned more than once throughout the book to stress the intended point. You will find the approach to how arguments are introduced and discussed unique and different than those of a standard textbook of the subject, suiting those of concern to the western individual. Even though the book is not a textbook of the Islamic law, some of those of current concern are discussed. The book is not all inclusive, only I choose specific subjects and rules to make my case, stressing a degree of rationalization of the rules and sometimes the reason behind passing them. In general, the book is not strictly conceptual. It is in no way proclaimed that claims made throughout the book are remedies to existing struggles in understanding the faith from outside its shell, but the book exposes some hidden issues that might help those inside and outside the faith-shell to more understand external and internal struggles, and hopefully more effectively fight radicalism. Many may disagree with parts of the book which may be rejected by some people as only pertaining to the author’s opinion and not necessarily unanimous. That is the purpose of the book, a critical and hopefully constructive opinion. In much of the Islamic world, to express your opinion in some “specific matters” concerning the faith is a taboo as most of the faith issues are in the hands of the very few of those classified as highly faith-knowledgeable scholars that grant them the right to issue rulings “fatwas”. I call the system that comprises those “few” scholars and the way they handle rule-making process pertaining to the faith throughout the book as the “establishment”.

 

I will put forward my understanding of the faith as an average Muslim understands his faith and cite references mainly from the Quran or the prophet’s (prophet Muhammad) teaching directly rather than cite opinions of others. I took this freedom to express my opinion with extreme caution only to reflect how an average Muslim understands his religion, but I don’t hesitate to affirm what I see as misunderstanding by others even if they were highly respected scholars. The free will to criticize is the ultimate gift by the Lord to the human being. We also should not be afraid to make mistakes in the path of our quest for the truth and we should be willing to accept counter-criticism and correction. That is the only path to correct our mistakes and collectively achieve self-satisfaction in all avenues in our lives, most importantly our faith-differences.

 

Finding crevices, defined here by “ill-treated subjects”, when possible, to mainly pinpoint paths for faith-extremism, is stressed throughout the book. You will find me defending the faith, sometimes strongly, while discussing matters in hand. Of course, I am a Muslim, but a critical one. I am not attempting to make a reform move by writing these notes. Islamic faith has been solid all along. From now on, people should gently try to remove the dust off of a 1400-year-old ideology to uncover the shiny gold that lies under layers of dust and recover their deep love of the faith that has been almost tarnished by twisted-faith terrorism, and treat this gold with, logic, love and respect to block misunderstood venues that may have led some to pursue radicalism!

[] 10 Reasons I am an Atheist:

I ask for proof before belief, not an unreasonable request.” By: Sydney-based author of TimeStorm, blogger and filmmaker Steve Harrison, April 8, 2016.

 

“Recent debate here in Australia, in the U.S. and around the Western world has been focused on immigration and religious intolerance. The minor kerfuffle about 'no religion' being given poll position on the upcoming census form has also heightened debate. Debate, of course, is a very good thing, so I thought I would share ten reasons I am an atheist to reassure anyone thinking of pointing a finger my way that you have nothing to worry about.”-- Steve. The following are the 10 reasons,

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p<>{color:#000;}. I didn’t have to convert. I didn’t even have to tell anyone. And it was free. No money changed hands and no guilt was applied. I just said to myself, “I’m an atheist” and it was done. Welcome aboard!

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p<>{color:#000;}. Once I recognized I was an atheist, I didn’t have to do anything. No church, no praying, no begging forgiveness. No rules. I live my life without worrying about whether or not I am adhering to the facets of a faith. I can just be.

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p<>{color:#000;}. No need to differentiate between, or give weight to, confusing levels of belief. Whether someone believes in God, Santa, unicorns, ghosts, goblins or the Tooth Fairy, I apply equality to all supernatural beliefs, which is refreshing.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Owning no religious belief is empowering. Instead of following a restrictive religion, I now view myself as an integral part of the entire universe. I am made of the same stuff as the stars, not cobbled together suddenly by magic, and therefore made of particles as old as the universe itself. This is an incredibly profound realization.

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p<>{color:#000;}. The sense of equality and unity. People are all the same, regardless of belief, color, nationality, or any other superficial differences. We and all life on our planet share the same origin in a soupy primordial mix millions of years ago. It’s a feeling that delivers a warm smile, a feeling of well-being and a wonderful sense of belonging.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Freedom from doctrine. I follow the natural human moral compulsion to “treat others as you would like them to treat you”, without ascribing morality to any particular religious instruction or acting out of fear of retribution. And I don’t have to adjust my conscience to accommodate those uncomfortable aspects of a religion I disagree with.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Ignorance is bliss. Science provides many answers to fundamental questions and is constantly searching for more. The vast gap in our knowledge is tremendously exciting, filled with wonder and allows my imagination to soar without the need to contrive supernatural answers.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Self-sufficiency. I am my own boss. Atheism has no rules, no headquarters, no spokesperson. No referral service or councilors. It doesn’t exist as an organization. It is whatever an individual makes it and its interpretation is entirely up to me.

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p<>{color:#000;}. I ask for proof before belief, not an unreasonable request. Atheism to me means accepting what has been proved and being fully open to what has not. I do not believe there is a God, but I am very willing to be proven wrong about his or her existence and that of the aforementioned Santa, unicorns, ghosts, goblins and the Tooth Fairy.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Long term comfort. I know what happens after death. My body will decompose or be cremated and my remains will once again become part of the stuff of the universe. I don't worry about Heaven or Hell, an afterlife or purgatory. The acceptance that life will end when I die is tremendously empowering and comforting. What could be more exciting than knowing I will one day return to the universe I -- and all of us -- came from?

Sorry: with all due respect, I didn’t see the word “LOVE in the 10 reasons; [* the author- Kamal *]

 

[] Lack of Faith Integration in the West

I received a video clip on WhatsApp of a German convert preaching Islam. He was speaking in little broken but very clear Arabic language. He was talking about how Germans have a very low spiritual enthusiasm which is reflected very negatively on their daily routines. Here is a translation of the guy’s talk. He says; “It is in people’s blood that they look at the west and only see a small portion of it, and they don’t see the rest. One time I was in the mall, he says, at a phone service shop; the guy asked me, where are you from? Are you from Russia? I said, no, I am from Germany. He said, oh yes, best of people. I said to him, I don’t see that. I disagree with you. Addressing his audience he continues; the guy at the shop wants now to explain why Germany is best; so he started saying, German technology, Mercedes, etc., I told him, brother, you have mentioned some positive stuff about Germany, and did you know that in Germany every forty-eight minutes there is a suicide case? Do you know that in Germany there is about a million of elderly people who were expelled by their families and thrown in care homes? The son says to his dad, you know dad, I know you spent most of your money on me, but you know, I don’t have time for you now, it’s time to get out of my house and go to a care home. Don’t worry, I will visit you once every year and may be call you once a week or so. Do you know my friend in Germany for example, when a Muslim stays at a hospital, you will find the hospital full of visitors for him while an elderly German Christian woman at the hospital may be visited once every week at the most. You only see the outside of Germany brother, he tells the guy at the shop. You see the streets are clean, but you don’t know that the “underwear” is dirty. You only see the outside clean streets but you don’t see the dirty inside, so I tell you, everywhere there is negative and positive. Here he quotes the prophet’s saying, “If you traded with interest (so as to make much money), and plowed your fields, and are satisfied with the harvest, but deserted Jihad, Allah will implant humiliation in your hearts until you come back to your faith”, and what is the best way to come back to the faith brother? It is application of Shariah law.” This German Muslim convert recognizes the positive side of German technology on the society but stresses the missing spiritual side of the German way of life. He must have missed a satisfactory spiritual life before he converted. From his description above, obviously he is looking for a “transcendental life” where faith plays the main role in its tranquility, a spiritual life that is not confined between the walls of the church. A spiritual life that touches your heart when you get sick and your friends visit you to lift your spirit. May be he was a Unitarian by heart and found complimentary freedom in his conversion to seek the truth of reality of the existence and the true meaning of life.

[] The Creation-Evolution Process

You may ask yourself why we are here. Creation! The universe really big! But why is that so? For a believer in God, the answer comes straight from the book of God. For Muslims, here is what the Quran says about why Allah “created” death and life. The Lord says, “Blessed is He in Whose hand is the Kingdom (the universe), and He is possessor of power over all things; Who created death and life so He will test youwhich of you is best in deeds; And He is the Mighty, the Forgiving; Who created the seven heavens alike. Thou seest no incongruity in the creation of the Beneficent. Then look again: Canst thou see any disorder ?” [Quran- The Kingdom 67:1-3] Also, in the Quran, there is a lengthy chapter named “ The Prophets” where the Lord starts the chapter by directing the attention of the reader to the “magnificent universe” He created and then throughout the chapter He stresses the process of SENDING prophets to humans as a reminder for the purpose of His creation of the universe as nothing but for his intelligent creature (the human) to worship Him. So, the purpose of life on earth to the believer in God is a test; are you pro-life or are you corrupt? Are you of good manners and follow a code of ethics or you are dwelling on earth seeking corruption and destruction? For an atheist though, life was founded by “natural evolution” and God should not be invoked, therefore, the intelligent human is what there is to maintain and seek better life for himself on earth, and it is evolution that made human intelligent, not God! Believers in God might argue that human alone, as the ultimate arbitrator, might lead to destruction of life on earth and not necessarily sustaining it, as he possesses both attributes, constructive and destructive. Therefore, a code of divine ethics should define human’s manner. Atheists might say, we, the humans, will develop the code of ethics and will learn from evolution how to sustain life on earth.

According to Islamic faith, when God created Adam, He created all of his descendants to be and made them testify that He was their Lord. This belief asserts that human was created intelligent from the very beginning of creation. Indeed, this belief is in the heart of the process of creation. God created mankind in total, every one of them, from their father, Adam. It seems like, evolution may be understood as not a process for the livings to be, intelligent or non-intelligent, but for the species to actuate and develop. They are there as a creation, but they are to be seeded chronologically, as all creatures, it seems, every creature at a time where evolution is taking place for the seeding process. It is like, every living thing is on a shelf awaiting to be seeded when time comes. For humans for example, please read, “It was, when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their seeds (from Adam’s loin his offspring) and made them testify as to themselves (saying): “Am I not your Lord?” They said: “Yes! We testify,” lest you should say on the day of Resurrection: “Verily, we have been unaware of this ."” [Quran- The Elevated Places 7: 172]. Also, it seems that all creatures were created intelligent like humans but they rejected to carry the burden of “trust” to descend and live on earth but human accepted it. That trust is to sustain life on earth responsibly and not to indulge in corruption. In other words, keep the peace on earth. Here is the verse that carries this meaning, “ Indeed We presented the Trust to the heavens and the earth (all beings anywhere in the universe) and the mountains, but they refused to bear it, and were apprehensive of it; but man undertook it. Indeed he is most unfair and senseless. ” [Quran- The Confederates 33-72]

 

But if all beings are as intelligent as humans to be offered the trust by the Lord, why does it seem that intelligence is a human-only attribute? Could it be that intelligence was further hindered by some kind of limitation to actuate the building process, imposed on all creatures except for human, rather than demeaning intelligence itself, for example, non-human species are all brain-hard wired to deal with the complex life of humans but un-hardwired within their specie world? If that is the case, you may ask a team of ant-engineers how to build a ladder into space to launch satellites if you know ant-language. But then, I bet you, the ants would ask not to be part of the project of building a device for that purpose as they would claim they have no “power” over some type of “energy source” to actuate the building process! I remember when I was a little kid enjoying squashing a 2-meter line of ants. Starting at one end and squashing one ant after another, in seconds, the big ant at the other end of the line (most probably the queen), along with the rest close to it, quickly disappeared into the hole, appeared to be their nest. The scene was very chaotic before all the ants got in the hole except for the few I had squashed. They definitely communicated at a distance over the 2-meter-distance and saved themselves. Is this an incomplete intelligence, or is it a restricted one?

 

Six days of creation! Are those days unlike ours in duration? Please read, “Surely your Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in six periods (days), and then He established himself on the Throne of Power. He makes the night cover the day, which it pursues incessantly. And (He created) the sun and the moon and the stars, made subservient by His command. Surely His is the creation and the command. Blessed is Allah, the Lord of the worlds !” [Quran- The Elevated Places 7:54] The creation was then secured by the Lord as a whole, and then the process of dissemination of it took place in time following His words of actuation. Within the allocated space and time, there took place the evolution to set tuned a complete and perfect creation by His command, His rules of nature. In the Quran Allah hints the process of following a specific law of nature such as evolution, including divine ones of sending prophets to humans, as the Sunnah “the scheme: the way” by which He ordained on His creation, the scheme by which the rules of nature take place. One saying to mention in that regard is when the prophet said: “choose carefully whom you marry because the roots (genes) of your spouse will slip in”. That is a clear pillar of Islamic ideology, to recognize Allah’s schemes in His creation and abide by the rules of nature. The same scheme of a set of divine rules of ethics He ordained on Prophet Muhammad, which is the prophet’s “Sunnah”, the Arabic word for scheme. He also described that it is the same divine scheme He ordained on all prophets preceding Prophet Muhammad. Read please, “(This is Our) way with Our messengers whom We sent before thee, and thou wilt not find a change in Our course (scheme).” [Quran- The Israelites 17:77] For species on earth then, God's scheme of “evolution” made human ready to start the seeding process of the “intelligent” human that was waiting on a “shelf” to be seeded. Is this then the jump from non-intelligent prehuman to the intelligent modern human? Does it make a difference that modern human walks on two, rather than four or more as other species do? Read please, “ Allah created every earth dweller (animal) from water. Among them are some that creep upon their bellies and among them are some that walk on two feet, and among them are some that walk on four. Allah creates whatever He wishes. Indeed Allah has power over all things. ” [Quran- The Light 24:45] Note that ' from water’ could indicate that life started in the “sea” and spread to land, or, it may indicate that water is the main constituent of living beings on earth, or, it may indicate that the process that sustains life on earth is water-based. All of that is supported by science. But Allah distinguished His intelligent being (human) from all other earth dwellers by making him most “beautiful” of all. Read please, “We certainly created man in the best of forms .” [Quran- The Fig 95-4]

 

The Faith-Islam

Islam defines religion as “All of ETHICS ”. In other words, religion is a set of moral rules. This common definition comes from the many Hadiths that describes religion as “the set of moral principles”. One is; the prophet said, “I came to complete the best of morals” [Hadith- Malik]. Another is, “best of you who has best manners (ethics).” [Hadith- Bukhari]. Here is another great one, “The prophet asked: do you know who the bankrupt is? The companions (of the prophet) answered: the bankrupt from us is the one who has no Dinar or Dirhim (money). The prophet replied: the bankrupt amongst you who comes in the hereafter with Prayers, Fasting, Zakat, Pilgrimage, etc., but cursed this guy, falsely accused this guy of wrong doing, embezzled that guy, wrongly killed that guy, etc., so each one 'of them' comes 'in the hereafter' and cuts a portion of his good deeds until he is bankrupt of good deeds, then he will be driven to hell fire. [Hadith- Muslim & Turmithi] This Hadith sets the rules of morals of humans as the “human-to-human” ethics which must be straightened out. The morals of human-Lord set of ethics are next in importance and are only complementary to human-to-human ones.

Religion is to put faith into practice. In Islam, ritual-worship is void unless accompanied by “ethical human-to-human behavior”, which defines human-human relationship. Religion is literally to sort out the unlawful and scrap it. Basically, everything is lawful in Islam except otherwise clearly mentioned as unlawful. In Islam, (all) good foods have been made lawful, and the food of those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) are lawful as well , Quran- see references [1-2].

Here is how the prophet describes faith, he said, “Faith (Belief) consists of more than sixty parts, and Haya (being shy) is part of faith.” [Hadith- Muslim] It means to be shy to do wrong. It covers self-respect, modesty, etc. This Hadith is an indication that faith is an integral part of life and more or less shapes the Muslim's personality.

But what are elements that define Islamic divine ethics? Are Islamic ethics defined such that any culture may be the right candidate? Indeed, Muslims believe that Islamic ethics are made to suit any culture where it can finely integrate. The Islamic rules of ethics are collective rules. A verse in the Quran says it all; Allah says, “… We (the Lord) have not neglected anything in the Book (the Quran: faith)... [Quran- The Cattle 6: part of 38] It means this book covers it all. Anything, whatever you may be looking for, you will find a mention of it in the faith. This puts the Islamic ethics a valid set of rules for any culture as Muslims believe. According to the Islamic religion, if the faith enters a new land, the inhabitants of the land shall not be forced to change their culture to follow the “might be” new ethics as the culture will naturally adopt with ease. This indeed happened with many cultures across the globe in the following ten years or so after Prophet Mohammad's death where the faith reached the borders of China in the east, the heart of Europe and well deep into Africa!

 

It is important from the point of view of a person outside the faith to collectively understand the faith to be able to make a judgment over a specific issue, all be it an important one as radicalism. To understand a divine faith, unlike a scientific subject, you need to be biased toward believing in God as a supreme entity and as the creator. It might be very hard to follow up if you are a solid atheist.

 

Islam is an Abrahamic faith that aligns itself with Christianity and Judaism in most of its aspects, first and foremost, monotheism. You can broadly call its followers as Christians without Trinity.

 

In Islam as in all divine religions, God is conceived as the Supreme and principal object of faith of attributes of infinite knowledge, unlimited power, omnipresence, perfectly good and all loving.

[] Looking for God: The Islamic Way of Doing Science

First and foremost, the Lord is asking you to look for Him to find Him. And what else is it going to be better than experimentation to verify observation around you to find God? That is why early Muslims understood it and did science extensively, whether they started the scientific approach or someone else did. Muslims explorers and scientists excelled in doing science. Now, we have advanced in science, our judgment is closer to reality than ever. For example, we have Cosmology, Quantum Physics (QM) with all of its weird stuff, General Relativity (GR) etc. Here is the question; do any of those modern sciences actually disprove the existence of God? That is the debate between us, believers of God, and the atheists. But before the atheists make a conclusion on whether science can indeed disprove the existence of God (not has solidly disproved it), let scientists resolve the deep controversial discrepancies between the modern “pillars” of physics, namely, GR and QM. If the two are conflicting in real physical sense, believe me then any one of them could be totally wrong, no matter how close both are to reality. QM may seem to be a true physical science because it describes observation at the particle level at incredible precision; likewise, GR does seem to explain stuff precisely at the macro level. For QM, common people generally don’t like the mere dependence on the inherent attribute of randomness and probabilistic approach which if assessed mentally only will lead to chaotic states as opposed to the observable ordered states of science as is experimentally proved, which Einstein himself could not mentally escape criticizing, while for the believers, science is one tool to prove God’s existence. On the other hand, relativity theory, as pioneered by Einstein himself, seems to disregard the fact that space-time is totally ignored as belonging to the sensible materialistic world, yet it is taken as an integral part of it to describe the world’s dynamics. For that, GR completely placed a halo of doubt on the nature of a persisting Dark Matter and Dark Energy problems which dominate the dynamics of the universe! They must exist, yet they are dark; of unknown nature! No wonder why there is a trend in the scientific community to look for new physics to explain cosmological discrepancies! If Dark Matter gravitationally influences baryonic (normal matter), and normal matter possesses self-gravitational attributes by self-aggregating, why Dark Matter particles cannot similarly, gravitationally self-aggregate? Of course, that is the only way theory could fit the observed data! Isn’t it time to look for different basic matter-attributes that can fit the data as well? Cosmologists have always been on the look to find Dark Matter-dominated galaxies to prove that Dark Matter fills in the blank and explains galactic dynamics. They found very few of them, but if that is the norm, statistically, Dark Matter-dominated galaxies should be as common as normal galaxies. The deep urge of the heart-rooted inclination of our scientists to only fit the data better regardless of important “sensible” factors sometimes led them to ignore the main attribute of life, which is belonging to the sensible world, and assumingly is supposed to be the work of science as well!

 

But, firstly, no matter what science tells us believers, we will always look for reconciliation, simply because this deep down-the-heart touch of the faith can never go away. Secondly, because science advances in conflicting ways sometimes, it means that believers will always await a miracle to reconcile the faith with science. The miracle part is highly viewable in Christian doctrine, as Jesus himself is a miracle; so, you find it extremely hard to convince a Christian that God is not there. For the atheists; we have done science and look, it seems that the universe doesn’t need God to operate, therefore God doesn’t exist. But on the other hand, if God created the universe and us, humans, why we don’t see Him and we only see His magnificent creation? Why He wouldn’t show Himself to us? That is a question Christians and others of some other religions have answered by saying; that is not true, we have seen the person of God walking between us and He came to us for a purpose. But, we don’t see Him now! So, why is He not around so we can see Him and talk to Him. Of course, the answer from Christian point of view is; He finished the job. He saved us to eternity. In the Islamic view, PROPHETS took responsibility for the job of attempting to save people by revealing what God wants. OK, that is what faith is all about; messengers, messages, prophets, scriptures, and then in the scriptures the Lord goes; go find me out there and do “science”. Atheists have not found Him in science; believers on the other hand have found Him in the scriptures of His books and to many they found him in science as well. So, to us believers, God is there and we see Him every time we go to pray. Muslims find Him in everything they do, even when they sneeze, they remember Him and find Him there. The atheists always cling to the statement they always make to disprove the existence of God; that is, if He is there, why the universe seems to self-sustain itself? For us believers, God is there even though the universe seems to self-sustain itself as science reveals. People will always argue if there is a creation there must be a creator. But atheists will always find other ways to explain a universe without a creator. That is not new at all. You will find how God responds to them in the Old Testament and in the Quran and in probably every divine religion. For the believers, to prove the existence of God, we only need to logically deduce it from science exactly as the Quran encourages us to do; that still will not make the atheists any happier.

 

What about the soul the soul that seems to be there if you show any sign of life. Atheists deny its existence and argue that we don’t need the soul to show any sign of life. It is just science, biology and the work of the cell. Well, why would science deny the soul’s existence if, when death comes to a living being, it shivers as if some vital component is being taken off of every cell of it? And why would not just science fall short of knowing what the soul is as in many unexplained phenomenon in many fields of science. Look at what the Quran says regarding the soul; “And they ask thee about the soul. Say (the prophet): The soul is by the commandment of my Lord, and of knowledge you are given but a little. ” [Quran- The Israelites 17:85] This verse was revealed to the prophet after he had been asked about the soul, but he didn't know of it, so he waited a moment until the spirit “the angel Gabriel” came to him and told him of some of the spirit-knowledge (the soul). At least it is a declaration by God that the soul is some entity that we know of little science of it. It means that, had we learned of the science of the soul, we wouldn't be so puzzled about it. In another verse God mentions the soul as if you take away from the body you will then die, read please, “ It is Allah Who takes the soul at death: and those that die not (He takes their soul) during their sleep: then those on whom He has passed the Decree of death He keeps back (their soul from returning to their bodies); but the rest He sends (their souls back to their bodies) for a term appointed. Verily in this are Signs for those who contemplate . - [Quran- The Companies 39:42] This means that when asleep, the soul is no more of a state of solid connection to the body, but probably not completely apart. But by the laws of God, the soul makes complete re-attachment to the body when you are awake, but permanently separates from your body when you die.

Yes the Quran only directs us to do science to find the Lord, but when the Lord is talking He is also using the physical language of reality which includes science. So, from His talking we can deduce what science might be since He is not going to talk outside the realm of the physical reality of His creation. So, when He describes how He created the skies and the earth for example we can deduce some science from that. Yes you will find different interpretations to some of the verses in the literature, and yes there are tools that scholars have deduced when reflecting the words in the holy book to physical reality that we need to follow for interpretation of the words in the book, but there is always room for further deduction. At least we check how close the words to science. And indeed, if it complies with what we know of science, even partially, it is of great meaning to us Muslims. It simply means that it is really God Who is talking to us. That is mostly what we can get from the book of God regarding science.

[]Intellect-Evolution

For the atheist, science is everything, at least for those who belong to science. Science is their God! It is true. That is what God means. God is where you find answers. But here is the question: have we started off being intelligent? I think we did start off intelligent, as if our intelligence was the utmost outcome of evolution, all aspects of human life should be inline of that concept, but we still are subjected to infection of deadly diseases and we are still battling with primitive beings like bacteria and viruses. If intelligence was the outcome of evolution, it would have probably been long ago that we live in “the virtuous city of Plato”. Biological link of evolution and cross specie-evolution that link us to the apes is just an empirical fossil link that does not necessarily, solidly identify an intellectual-jump process! Only if a fossil found to provide a complete unintelligent pre-human as opposed to closely related specie which exhibits pre-signs of intelligence, the apes. All beings exhibit pre-signs of high-intelligence. Let’s hope that the evolution of “intelligence” theory is not a valid scientific theory. Imagine that one species of insects becomes, say the wasps, as intelligent as we are, I bet you, the earth will be soon inhabited solely by wasps that will enslave humans and make them raise bees to produce honey for them!

 

Let me elaborate more on my colleague who deserted Christianity because of the homosexuality issue in “Modern Europe” systems, mentioned in the introduction. He obviously objects to the acceptance, even by heart, of the church to the free democratic systems regarding the issue of sexual orientation. He may be a supporter to a free democratic world but he rebelled against the church. It is often argued in dialogues for why religions make it illegal of homosexuality when “science” shows that it is common with sheep. Some say it is an important part of evolution; I don't see that related to evolution though. It is estimated that 8% of rams are actually homosexual. Sorry, but look again, that is why we are an intelligent specie. We have intelligence and our intellect tells us it is wrong. Do animals practice it because they find it in their genes? OK, good enough. It is part of our “intellect-evolution” to drop what is wrong from our lives for our specie to further develop its intellect, still under rules of biology and still if it was in our genes; survival for the fittest. Even if someone is non-heterosexually oriented and part of the “0.000001.0% population”, we don’t go simply by “animal” natural selection and hope for this “wrongness” to evaporate. Why is it wrong? You tell me why this colleague of mine deserted Christianity? May be, family stuff? Meaning, to further advance human race to a better life you need to have a family, the basic structure of a “human society”? Don’t tell me you can adopt. And then what happens to your genes? They will die off with you just like any genetic disease that we would want to isolate the defective gene from passing on to the offspring. So, homosexuality is nothing but a self-destructive “extremist” movement. Like with all of the extremist movements, twisted-faith or others, they are self-destructive and will disappear by survival of the fittest and natural selection of the smart. Believe me, you are on the wrong side of the “intellectual evolution of human race” if you are homosexual. We hope to reduce the 0.0000010% though in humans! The following is from the study of the “homosexual” sheep that was published in 2002, “Sheep are particularly interesting, the author says, because besides humans, they are the only animal where the males may naturally express exclusively gay sexual preferences. As many as one in 10 rams can be gay.” Here is a recap on the gay sheep story by the INDEPENDENT magazine, 2007, “For the past five years, a team of researchers at Oregon State University has been investigating the sexuality of sheep. When the team studied the brains of these gay sheep, they invariably discovered they have a substantially smaller hypothalamus than their straight male siblings. This is the first hard scientific evidence of biological differences between gay and straight mammals - and they found these brain differences are already in place in the third trimester of pregnancy. Sheep, at least, are born gay or straight. It turns out this epidemic of gay sheep is a serious problem for the agricultural industry. The 8 per cent of rams are not breeding, and a further 8 per cent seem to be asexual. If 16 per cent of your flock is cruising or day-dreaming, that’s a lot of lost money. That’s why the experimenters began to try to do something new: making the gay sheep straight. They altered the hormonal levels in their brains and monitored their behavior. And what is the result? Many of the gay rams decided a bit of ewe wasn’t so bad after all. They began to turn heterosexual. This experiment throws up difficulties for all sides of the millennia-long debate about homosexuality. It gives the forces of homophobia plenty to fume against by annihilating their most hoary argument: that gay sex is “unnatural”.” The conclusion that scientists draw from the gay sheep studies is that it is natural, “we live in a polysexual, polygendered world”, where species from beetles to shrews to chimpanzees have a consistent minority who prefer their own sex. It’s everywhere. Human homosexuality is just another example of a universal phenomenon they conclude. But we don’t see why it is not classified as a “biological” disease where things just work abnormally for a reason or another even at the genetic level. Have we not heard of genetic diseases? The gay ram’s substantially smaller hypothalamus than their straight male siblings suggests that something happened to it. Suppose you open up a stupid guy’s skull and you find his brain has shrunk “substantially”, do you conclude it is biology or something must have happened to it? As a matter of fact, many long unexplained diseases turned out to be just genetic mutation! If homosexual humans can’t produce the proper hormone to act straight we should probably inject them with it to straighten them up. This is until we find their mutated gene hopefully, or we find the chemical/environmental cause and deal with it. It is scientifically beneficial that we experiment on gay men by forcing them to abstain from sex. Deprive them from having sex for some long period of time and force them to marry straight women, hoping their hypothalamus will grow big again by stimulation! We can infer this from the Bible and the Quran, when Lot offered his straight “girls” (not necessarily his own) for those who came to his house asking access to his male-guests, suggestive of, “straighten yourselves out gay people by stimulating your hypothalamus to act normal by thinking straight and engaging right”. Of course it was only a suggestive move by Lot. Like, what is wrong with you gay people? Perhaps, stimulating a defective organ to straighten it up is a working process. Researchers have done that for diabetic mice and it worked to some extent on people. They starved them for longer than normal and had them feast on specific diet. Their pancreas started to grow healthy cells and produce Penicillin!

 

If we are willing to straighten up sheep chemically because the phenomenon is destructive since they are not productive for us human, why we should not do the same for human? Now the phenomenon is pretty and non-destructive? We lose money when it comes to sheep but we make more money when it comes to human? If it was evolution then please do smart evolution “intellect-evolution” as opposed to sheep-evolution. I guess we are the intelligent specie and not the ram one, and that is why we invent medicine to help our immune system fight that aggressive virus we call the flu virus. If not, then let evolution take its course and let our own body develop a cure! By that time, Black Death will make us an extinct species. That is why, as most of us agree, even to go deep in the genetic construct and direct the “evolution itself” toward our betterment is a justified act. I wonder what the prophet might have said about homosexual phenomenon among the sheep. He warned against the human one of course. He must have not cared and probably thought it was a self-destructive phenomenon for the rams, or maybe he has never witnessed it if the phenomenon was just a genetic disease that developed after his time! Humans will only be doomed with this “genetic” disease if it prevails! If you are gay, maybe you should get injected by the missing hormone. If you don’t want then suppress your sexual desire; may be your hypothalamus will get bigger. Larkin’s team “of the sheep study” also found that the hypothalamic region had a rich supply of the enzyme aromatase, which converts testosterone into oestrogen. It is in this form that the hormone interacts with the brain. “This may help support one theory that sexual orientation, in part at least, may be related to the hormones present during fetal development, says Balthazart. But Larkin suggests there may also be the influence of genes at work, at least in predisposing the animals to homosexuality. This is because selective breeding seems to have been responsible for the high proportion of gay sheep compared with other animals.” In both explanations though, homosexuality seems to be a “disease” rather than an inherent “genetic mutation of evolution” that sides with survival to the fittest. In the first one, it is an unfortunate chemical deposition during fetal development and can be characterized as an overdose of chemicals-disease and in the other one it is a genetic distortion most probably unrelated to evolution.

 

Also, there is a little concern regarding the “intellectual evolution”, if you watch too much TV. How about if evil prevails, since we humans have two sides, good and evil. Here, Islamically, we will always say that good is always multiplied by tens and hundreds and even thousands, exactly as rewards are multiplied by good deeds, and bad deeds remain unchanged; so good will always prevail, that by evolution. Basically, “intellectual evolution” will magnify its bright side so the dark side will eventually diminish, hopefully to less than 0.000001%. There will always be floods and there will always be rebuilding in the aftermath, because we love to build and we hate destruction, that is in our genes, part of intellectual-evolutionary process, and fortunately part of every divine religion. Only 0.0000010% of our genes are bad? So, we pass the test and homosexuality is the bad side of our evolution just like incest is, if homosexuality was a by-product of evolution.

 

Here is a good question; why Newton’s prospect of God as the creator and the sustainer of the universe is regarded as wrong to the atheists? Contradicting accounts from the book of God, when compared to science is the answer. Let’s look at Newton’s idea of God’s science; “God didn’t trouble himself with the mundane task of pushing the planets along in their orbits around the sun. Rather, the Almighty had created physical laws, such as gravity, that governed the operations of the universe. And those laws persisted as a direct result of God’s will.”

 

All of the arguments against religion probably have been presented since the dawn of history. If God is first, who is before? Also, science has greatly advanced and the point of view of atheists is more likely to be presented in a more elegant way, but scientists could never disprove the existence of God. We need to check closely of where science contradicts the book of God; here the Quran. I will discuss it from the point of view of an atheist vs that of a believer.

 

The following quarrel describes the main spiritual aspect of the faith, and any other divine faith, as it reveals its face to science; Sean Carroll is a well-respected and a brilliant physicist and a good speaker from Caltech. He is an atheist. In his online page, in an essay he discusses the relationship between God and cosmology, he says “In some ways of thinking about God, there’s no relationship at all; a conception of divinity that is sufficiently ineffable and transcendent may be completely separate from the workings of the physical world. For the purposes of this essay, however, Sean explains, we will limit ourselves to versions of God that play some role in explaining the world we see. In addition to the role of creator, God may also be invoked as that which sustains the world and allows it to exist, or more practically as an explanation for some of the specific contingent properties of the universe we observe. Each of these possibilities necessarily leads to an engagement with science. Modern cosmology attempts to come up with the most powerful and economical possible understanding of the universe that is consistent with observational data. It’s certainly conceivable that the methods of science could lead us to a self-contained picture of the universe that doesn’t involve God in any way. If so, we would be correct to conclude that cosmology has undermined the reasons for believing in God, or at least a certain kind of reason.” Here is my answer to Sean’s question. NO.

 

In one of his talks published on You-tube, titled “God is not a Good Theory”, he uses strong scientific arguments to prove his point of “God” is not good science. Who cares if it is not a good science! But truly it is a genuine rooted corner of human design, possibly at the genetic level. Try to squeeze yourself where God is not there and you feel extremely at loss. If this is not a fact, what could science possibly do to rectify this spiritual loss? And it doesn’t seem like we learned it from revelations we heard of. Meaning, if you put a new born in an isolated island, he will grow up happily and will he never relate anything to a supreme entity. On the contrary, it seems that the new born will grow up seeking knowledge of the big universe around him questioning if God existed.

 

My response to Sean is, “Not a single word he said that I disagree with, but yet it does not change me a bit! I am still a strong believer! I wonder why? I guess may be because we are the only intelligent being out of a 13-billion year of evolutionary process on earth. I still don’t know if there is extraterrestrial intelligence for sure except to speculate from the words of the Lord in the Quran, which points to their existence. But why we ended up the only one specie that developed intelligence on earth. I wonder if there will be another one any time in the future, or there has been one or more but we, humans, wiped them out through natural selection before they even actuated. Statistically, isn’t there at least another being out there off of this very long evolutionary process that developed high intelligence? Recently it has been shown in one evolutionary example that the process of evolution could be much faster than was thought! I would like to know if planet earth will soon perish, probably by the evil work of the solely developed intelligence of humans, before another specie develops high intelligence as ours, and so by self-destruction of evolution! It seems that that is the work of a God that we are the sole intelligence on earth, unless Sean decides that that must be the wise choice of mother nature as if evolution developed a second intelligent specie it would accelerate the process of the doomed “entropy-death” of the beautiful life on earth; may be by making more cars that run on diesel! Why do we always have to be portrayed as the evil specie? We are good creatures. Isn’t there a way to regulate our behavior so we won’t head straight to hell-on-earth by our evil acts?

 

I wish Sean could dive to the lowest point in the ocean and could find a single-cell creature who will be surprised that a human being of multi-cell nature as Sean’s is intelligent like himself and if Sean could use his religion to satisfy his ego. If Sean can dive that deep, he will only find God there. I wish Sean can tell me scientifically why we are the only intelligent creature out of millions of evolutionary years on earth. May be because the wave function of the “creation” process collapsed with a human-eigenvalue when God decided to make a measurement? I wonder how Sean will be happier if God really didn’t exist. It just doesn’t seem right at all for evolution to produce single intelligent being only and take this much time. I admit on the other hand that Sean is a genuine seeker of the truth and he must have learned this from tackling science and he is good at doing it. One of his arguments I heard online was astonishingly the same exact argument used by God in the Quran to convince people of His existence, and therefore they should follow His commands in His book. The truth of the matter is, if you have read the Quran, it seems as if the whole text of it is centered on one thing; hey people of my creation, I am here, I exist, worship me.

 

Here, I will quote Sean’s argument followed by Allah’s argument. Sean argues, “My favorite problem is the problem of instructions. I am personally a textbook author. I have read Amazon.com reviews of my textbook. But if I were God, my textbook would be perfect. If God existed, the one thing the omnipotent being he cares about, us on earth, I would expect clear instructions. I would expect a book that I knew exactly what it said. It was clear, that it was right, that I would be able to follow it. If God did not exist, I would expect all sorts of different books. They would contradict each other. Some of them would be brilliant in parts, silly in other parts, they would be uplifting in parts, they would be very depressing in other parts, there would be edited collections, there would be personal memoirs, and they would all disagree with each other. Which of these two theories fits the data, he asks?” First, I don’t see, with my limited knowledge of Christianity’s “textbooks” clear signs of what he describes to conclude that God does not exist. Secondly, in Islam, it is this exact argument that Allah uses to refute to people His non-existence. In the Quran Allah puts on the table the argument that it is His book that proves His existence. For example, “if it was by another author they would find in it mush of self-disagreement. ” [Quran- The Women 4:82] or challenging people “ Say (prophet): If men and jinn should combine together to bring the like of this Quran, they could not bring the like of it, even if some of them were aiders of the others.” [Quran- The Israelites 17:88] meaning a textbook that is worded perfectly as this book is worded. Or a more daring challenge, “ Who (Allah) made the earth a resting-place for you and the heaven a structure, and sends down rain from the clouds then brings forth with it fruits for your sustenance; so do not set up rivals to Allah while you know. And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant (the prophet), then produce a chapter like it and call on your helpers besides Allah if you are truthful. ” [Quran- The Cow 2:22-23] As a matter of fact, it was one of the biggest challenges for the people of Mecca to refute what it came with; a textbook put forward to challenge not only the mind but also the wording of it. Its clarity, its steadiness, its straight forwardness, its comprehensibility, its resolution in making to the point arguments and to the point explanatory verses, its lasting effect on the mind and the soul when recited, its compliance with most of the content of the textbooks of previous revelations, Christianity and Judaism, all are signs of its truthfulness. On top of that, the textbook commands to do science to prove God's existence! It is generally accepted that there are around 750 verses in the Quran dealing with natural phenomena that pertains to science, which in one way or another asks the reader to go explore to believe. Of course, the rhetoric is, a big universe; science; creator? It is Me; I exist, therefore worship Me. In the Quran, it is always rhetorically expressed that you do the exploration to prove God's existence by doing science, so it is not science by itself but a call to do science to mainly find God. Read please, “ Indeed, within the heavens and earth are signs for the believers. And in the creation of yourselves and what He disperses of moving creatures are signs for people who are certain (in faith). And (in) the alternation of night and day and (in) what Allah sends down from the sky of provision and gives life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and (in His) directing of the winds are signs for a people who reason .” [Quran- The Kneeling 45:3-5]. It really needs a Muslim scientist to express it perfectly. Of many, I would like to quote the great physicist and a Noble prize laureate Abdus Salam from Wikipedia. In his Nobel Prize banquet address, quoted a well-known verse from the Quran [Quran- The Kingdom 67:3-4] and then stated: “This in effect is the faith of all physicists: the deeper we seek, the more is our wonder excited, the more is the dazzlement of our gaze”. One of Salam's core beliefs was that there is no contradiction between Islam and the discoveries that science allows humanity to make about nature and the universe. Salam also held the opinion that the Quran and the Islamic spirit of study and rational reflection was the source of extraordinary civilizational development. Salam highlights, in particular, the work of Ibn al-Haytham and Al-Biruni (Muslim scientists) as the pioneers of empiricism who introduced the experimental approach, breaking way from Aristotle's influence, and thus giving birth to modern science. Salam was also careful to differentiate between metaphysics and physics, and advised against empirically probing certain matters on which “physics is silent and will remain so,” such as the doctrine of “creation from nothing” which in Salam's view is outside the limits of science and thus “gives way” to religious considerations.” ; end of quote from Wikipedia. Actually not everybody agrees with Salam here that the doctrine of “creation from nothing”, being a religion-aspect, as outside the limits of science. It may be in the core of particle physics and the Big Bang theory. With the correct conditions virtual particles pop out to existence from void-vacuum and also can annihilate and restore original vacuum! Check this, a blog by Scientific American titled, “Is All the Universe From Nothing?”. Here is part of it, “According to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, quantum fluctuations in the metastable false vacuum – a state absent of space, time or matter – can give rise to virtual particle pairs. Ordinarily these pairs self-annihilate almost instantly, but if these virtual particles separate immediately, they can avoid annihilation, creating a true vacuum bubble. The authors “Wuhan” team’s equations show that such a bubble has the potential to expand exponentially, causing a new universe to appear. All of this begins from quantum behavior and leads to the creation of a tremendous amount of matter and energy during the inflation stage. (Note that as stated in the quoted paper, the metastable false vacuum has “neither matter nor space or time,” but is a form of wave-function referred to as “quantum potential.” While most of us wouldn’t be inclined to call this “nothing,” physicists do refer to it as such.); end of quote from Scientific American.

 

The Quran even hints General Relativity and the cyclic universe, read please, “The day when We fold the sky like the folding of the scroll of writings. The same way we started the first creation we will repeat it, a promise we surely will fulfill. ” [Quran- The prophets 21:104] NOTE that “ first creation” means there was one, and the current one might not be the first as He did not say “current creation”. Isn’t it true that space-time can be folded in “four-dimensional” sheets as General Relativity forecasts and that is how wormholes form and connect far parts of the universe? Of course, Allah will not make His book a cosmology book, but definitely His book is made to be understood by and may be incentive to a physics guy. When God talks about something He uses the physical construct of it when describing it, but we only can deduce science from His description.

 

Religion is not a story that is told, even though you will find many in it to take examples of. Religion parallels science but teaches ethics, and faith is an element of spiritual and psychological peace of mind. Look at a depressed person for example; science tells you to give him medication; religion tells you, give him medication plus don’t forget that, if you have a strong faith you will have a piece of mind, for stronger immune system; you are then pushing your body to produce that missing hormone, the absence of which made you depressed. The prophet says, “There is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also Has created its remedy.” [Hadith- Al-Bukhari] The prophet even described what could be the best medical procedure to alleviate a medical condition of high blood pressure in his time.

 

The number 7 just intrigues me, seven skies, seven days a week, seven eleven, seven wives, I am kidding about the last one. But truly, in string theory, space-time is ten-dimensional (nine spatial dimensions, and one time dimension). But why time dimension is taken as solo while spatial may be of higher dimension? This really complicated relativity further. What about if we consider only the three spatial dimensions we all familiar with, and seven different time-dimensions! And yes, time curves just like the spatial dimension. If the extra dimensions we talk about were made of time itself, so there would be seven variants of extra universes by having seven variants of time-dimensions; that will be just fantastic. That is probably what Allah means when He mentions in the Quran, “seven pathways” for the seven skies (universes). It also may mean that we encounter the same three spatial dimensions we are familiar with except that time dimension has seven variants of time-flow that complies with relativistic measures! Of course the above is not a new theory of time but just a speculation of how religion may be a guide to do science. That description of variant time dimensions instead of spatial ones doesn’t make GR any further complicated than it is; actually it makes GR is what there is; no string theory.

 

The verse that describes the seven skies tells of “pathways”. A pathway means if you go through that pathway you are heading to a different destination “sky-universe”. Here is the verse, “We created above you seven pathways, and We are never heedless of the creation”. [Quran- The Believers: 23-17] So, it may not be different skies of the same type on top of each other but totally different due to different dimensions “pathways”. Also, read please, “(God) Who created the seven heavens alike. Thou seest no incongruity in the creation of the Beneficent. Then look again: Canst thou see any disorder? ” [Quran- The Kingdom 67:3] How God created seven skies, alike (may be saucer-shaped) together, on top of each other? Or, may be the seven skies are interconnected with different of one or more extra-dimensions! Or maybe the universe is holographic with seven spherical shell-skies on top of each other with the first one holographically projected throughout its volume by mass curving different time-dimensions at different rates? What is important is that the book of God does talk about science. Why God is not specific and does not tell us which one it is, string or holographic? Well what do you think? The book of God is not a Quantum Mechanics or a Cosmology book! You are a scientist, so figure it out. A hint from the Lord is good enough. Of course that hint comes by chance as God only describes His creation by what His creation was made of; a pathway for science.

 

Here is another hint where God hints physics in His book. Muslims believe that the Angels are made of light. So, naturally then they should travel at the speed of light, at least in our 4-dimensional universe. Here, people tried to find a hint for that in the Quran. And believe it or not, a verse in the Quran talks about exactly that. Read please, “(Allah) Rules the cosmic affair from the heavens to the Earth. Then this affair travels to Him (by Angels) a distance in one day, at a measure of one thousand years of what you count (of how you count time). ”[Quran- The Adoration 32:5]. By Special and General Relativity, curious believers have calculated the speed of Angels, as the speed of light since they are made from light. They used the lunar year for distance as the Arabs used the lunar calendar. Believe it or not, they claim they came up with the speed of light! Google it if you like. Even if they got the science or the logic wrong, it is a proof of hinting to knowledge in Quran. We may or may not agree with what people find as hints to science in the holy book, but it is a fact that God hints to science when He reminds us of His might and as a proof of His existence. The Bible also hints to science, but the Bible uses chronological order of events, such as, six days of creation, the great flood, and earth as six thousand years old by adding up the ages of prophets till Jesus, etc. Science seems to disagree with it, but there are always different views of understanding the scripture as well as science.

 

How about this beautiful verse; Allah says, “And the sky, We built it with hands (power), and We are expanding (it).” [Quran- The Scatterers (wind) 51:47] What? Expanding universe in the Quran? Of course early Muslims have always stumbled on this verse and never understood it because they always saw a static universe, just as Einstein did. They moved on believing in the words of God, even though it squarely negated their observation. May be that is why the early Muslim scientists looked towards deep space and counted stars to actually figure out if indeed the universe was expanding!

 

The claim that the creation of the universe opposes scientific empirical principles is simply not very convincing to us believers in God. If God kick-started the universe and held His creation intact all along by controlling His physics laws, there isn’t then room for dispute over the issue. Why isn’t, for example, that evolution is a process for the completion and perfection of the universe? Is that because the Bible or the Quran restricts the creation in six days? But again, who said that the days of God are the same days as ours?

 

The faith-mystery of the creation of the universes in six days, which is usually cited as a controversial fact that contradicts science and by which some people argue against religion, by the same verse cited above it becomes six thousand years of how we count. So, how we count time depends on the constant of the speed of light as universal, and as defined by Special Relativity (SR), which defines the flow of background-time at the speed of light, and I mean the still background time; no relative speed. In other words, if you travel a distance, in spatial dimension, you are borrowing speed from the time-dimension and no more you are traveling at the speed of light in time-dimension! If you are traveling at the speed of light in space, then you have borrowed all the speed from the time-dimension and you are not aging! Have you heard of time dilation? So, as by SR, if you travel at the speed of light, time stands still! In other words, if you are travelling at the speed of light in the time-dimension of space-time, e.g., standing still, it literally means that you are aging at the speed of light to your doom; the end of your life. So, sit on the couch and watch as much TV as possible and you are closest to your death time as you are aging fastest relative to your own rest frame, but you will never age, and therefore never die, with respect to an observer resides in a reference frame that travels at the speed of light! And believe it or not, there are ones at the edge of our observable universe! People who live there just don’t see you age at all! The funny thing is that you are clinging to the earth as a human and no matter how much you accelerate to escape your doom you will always slow down back to your original reference frame; the earth, and you only have gained then very little time to be added to your lifetime, measured by probably as a fraction of a second as you will always want to enjoy life as was initiated here on earth. Then, get out of your room and travel at the speed of light if you like and you will never age! Welcome to Einstein’s SR! If you are standing still, time is passing by at its flow rate that is the speed of light; aren’t you aging? But here is the weird thing about SR. There is no preferred reference frame (space-time) against which you measure your speed in spatial dimension! Therefore, here on earth you see those people who live at the edge of the universe as not aging since they are travelling away from earth and the picture is reversed, they see you as not aging since you are travelling away from them! But there has to be a way of communication between the two parts of the universe, and that is not possible since they move apart at the speed of light and nothing can travel faster than the speed of light by SR itself! That is the twin paradox! The twin don’t have to meet again, the paradox is still there! That is because SR says that inertial frames (no acceleration) are equally preferable to measure your travel against. But we, non-atheists, do believe in an absolute reference frame, even if science has not been able to identify one; that one belongs to GOD and it is really needed to explain the quantum world.

 

We know that time and space as we recognize them by SR, emerged right after the Big Bang (BB), but does that imply that they didn't exist before? We could never tell since we have no perception of what preexisted before the BB. May be when God kick-started the universe, He created 3-spatial dimensions with seven different variants of time-dimensions; different still background time-flows, as mentioned earlier. Each time-flow will then produce seven different speeds of light! Think of how inaccessible is a universe of different time-dimension than ours! It is worthwhile to mention here that there are variable- speed-of-light theories that do describe physics, sometimes pretty well, and of which some were attempted by Einstein himself, but are excluded by the scientific community. Whatever happened at the BB, time and space started to emerge, relative to current observers, us, with the laws of SR governing the dynamics of space and time as we see them today with the speed of light as we see it now of around 300 million meter per second; and even there is a good hint from the Quran of that!

 

About four hundred million years after the BB, the universe began to emerge from the cosmic dark ages during the epoch of re-ionization. Remember, during this time, which lasted more than a half-billion years, clumps of gas collapsed enough to form the first stars and galaxies, whose energetic ultraviolet light ionized and destroyed most of the neutral hydrogen. And read this impressive verse in the Quran that describes the cosmos as “smoke” in the process of perfecting the creation; “Then He (the Lord) directed Himself to the heaven and it was a smoke, so He said to it and to the earth: Come both, willingly or unwillingly. They both said: We come willingly .” [Quran- The Details 41:11] May be we are not there yet with our calculations, but it makes sense that the universe took six thousand years for the solid making of the universe during the epoch of re-ionization. Some people invoke the idea that Dark Matter, the missing exotic matter that accounts for much of the cosmos, in favor of the existence of God. It is a big mystery. So, God is there holding the universe with it! The internet is full of such stuff of proving scientific hints from the book of God, in the Quran as well as in other divine books, whether you Sean or I like it or not. It is one of the defining elements for faith-believers in the “divine book”. In other words, it is God's word against any others', and it is meant to win the challenge as seen by the believers.

 

It is unanimously agreed upon among all Muslims that the textbook of Allah, the Quran, is the “miracle” of all miracles in Islam and by far the most effective to carry on the belief. I should also add for Sean to see, as stated in the textbook of the Muslims by Sean’s own words, and in numerous locations in it that God leaves it totally and freely a challenge to take for humankind or not to take, believe or not believe, act upon what is in the divine book or not act; a complete free will that characterizes human behavior. It is therefore a matter of taste and decision for humans to make to choose to believe or disbelieve, including the issue of the existence of God by mere extrapolation of what could be and could not be. Yes God could have forced it on people if He wished, as Sean wondered in the video why God didn’t choose to do so, but God chose not to or else it would lose its meaning that human has been given complete free will to choose. If not, it won’t be fair to stand accountable of your actions. Sean also reasoned that since the universe needs not God to fully operate, therefore God is not there. I totally agree with him that God is “not” there to operate the universe! He is there to maintain the universe. To me, that is the whole purpose of the creation, a self-sustainable piece of art. “Not” there, does not mean does not exist. Let me ask Sean if he could create a piece of art, a perfect and self-sustainable one, so perfect that it should stand without continuous external intervention by him. Is it going to be a perfect creation of his if he continually has to use his ten fingers and ten tows and two elbows and two knees, in order to sustain it as a perfect piece of art and prevent it from falling apart? It wouldn’t be a perfect one then. See, God made this beautiful piece of art and made it self-sustainable, to be perfect. Meaning, He created the universe along with the laws of physics to hold it intact, by itself, no continuous direct external intervention. Of course, when God mentions in His book that He is the one that keeps the skies and the earth from falling apart; it simply means that He is the one who maintains the laws of nature He founded in the first place; read please what He says, “Surely Allah upholds the heavens and the earth lest they come to naught. And if they come to naught, none can uphold them after Him. Surely He is ever Forbearing, Forgiving .” [Quran- The Originator 35:41] So, when the Lord decides it was time, all He would probably do is change the laws of physics different than the way they stand today (in other words, withdraw His support), and the cosmos would be no more the same. Physicists even try hard to modify the laws of nature they are acquainted with to comply with further observation of physical phenomena. They are always mesmerized when they see the true reality of the universe as totally fine-tuned with the dynamic matter (creation) in it to comply with one direction that is the perfection of this piece of art. Human is there to witness it for his wonders. Everything is perfectly laid down for a perfect creation. What is funny is that a recent theory by a brilliant theoretical physicist, Lee Smolin, who suggests that the laws of physics themselves evolve and do follow the same pattern in nature of “natural selection”. Meaning they modify themselves to maximize the beauty of this master piece called the universe (creation). That is unlikely though to be true of Mother Nature. Creatures base their natural selection phenomenon against the rules of nature (the laws of physics) to perfect themselves. The question is; what would the laws of physics themselves base their natural selection process against to fine-tune their perfection? This is to me the end of the dead-end road where you will only find God there.

 

God also created intelligent being to dwell some part of it; us, humans. He also decided that this intelligent being, be given complete free will and ordered him to do good and forbid evil. He warned him not to disrupt the peace in His creation by the act of corruption. So, He keeps peeking from above to see what this free man does with the free will he has been given. But by doing that, God doesn’t interrupt the self-sustainability of His creation and sends messengers to peek in. The laws of physics will always run as usual. They may be interrupted by God’s direct intervention, if He wishes to; that is called miracles in religions. He either sends His designated angels to do the job, or by His direct command; be and it is, finished, His “word” only. It is a clear cut verse in the Quran when mentioning the Trinity concept, read please, “It is not befitting to Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! When He determines a matter He only says to it “Be,” and it is. ” [Quran- Mary 19-35] In another verse it is the word of God “Be” that made Jesus without a father, read please, “The angels said: O Mary! Allah gives you glad tidings of a word from him: his name will be Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the hereafter, and of those nearest to Allah .” [Quran- The Family of Amran (Joachim) 3:45] That is the term “word” that God uses in the Quran to hint for His omnipotence nature. In another verse, “And Mary, daughter of Imran, who guarded the chastity of her womb, so We breathed into it of Our spirit. She confirmed the words of her Lord and His Books, and she was one of the obedient. ” [Quran- The Forbidding 66:12]. That is the spirit that God used to blow into Mary's womb for Jesus to exist by the enacting of the “word” of God, be and it is. In Christianity though, the Holy Spirit is one of the triad God.

 

It is unlikely though that when people of some faith claim such miracles to exist in a character-statue that portrays the faith which literally defies nature and therefore it is a direct proof of the truthfulness of the faith. But the person himself, if performing the miracle, is definitely a proof. For example, Jesus performing miracles such as healing and resurrection of the dead, that was reported in both Christianity and Islam. The faith miracles of the character-statue is similar to the statue of Mary the virgin appearing to people as performing some unnatural act or the statue of the “Lord Krishna” in the Sikh faith constantly dripping milk coming out of its mouth and crowds of thousands of faithful believers gather to see the miracle! Or, when some Muslims want to proof the existence of God by looking for the phrase “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger” imprinted in a watermelon’s seed! Of course, you need modern technology to magnify the font! I guess; only when God hints for it, go for it. Also, please don’t try divine miracles whoever you are. Here is a fresh story, “Zimbabwe Pastor trying to walk on water at the Crocodile River gets eaten by 3 crocodiles-the Pastor was trying to demonstrate the biblical miracle of Jesus walking on water for his congregants.” Zimbabwe Today- March 24, 2017. One of the “physical” miracles that Muslims talk about and is reportedly mentioned in the Quran is the splitting of the moon. Many Islamic scholars dismiss the actual physical split of the moon and talk about the future occurrence of the event when the end of time comes. As a matter of fact, physical miracles in general mostly approve the person of the prophet to assess his prophet-hood only, as seen by many scholars-as opposed to Jesus’s miracles which Muslims believe as a proof for his prophet-hood while Christians believe them as a proof of his divine person. The physical miracles of the prophet Muhammad though were rare occasions as reported. The prophet-hood of Muhammad was believed to be assessed mostly by the power of the word of God, and conveyed by the prophet. In the Quran though, all prophets had some kind of miracles sent with them to assist with convincing people of the prophet-hood they carry. Moses had the miracle of talking to God, read please, “Surely We have revealed to thee as We revealed to Noah and the prophets after him, and We revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and We gave to David a scripture. And (We sent) messengers We have mentioned to thee before and messengers We have not mentioned to thee. And to Moses Allah addressed His word (directly), speaking (to him)”. [Quran- An-Nisa 4:164-165] The plain miracle for Mohammad was the book of Allah, the Quran. But here is a verse from the Quran explains why Allah didn't ordain prophet Muhammad to have personal, physical miracles as He ordained to messengers before him, read please, “ And nothing hindered Us (The Lord) from sending signs (miracles), but (that) the ancients (in earlier revelations) rejected them. And We gave to Thamud the she-camel, a manifest sign, but they did her wrong, and We send not signs but to warn ”. [Quran- The Israelite 17-59]. The Islamic point of view is that when Jesus was given the greatest miracle of all, to resurrect the dead, people made God. This verse clearly disproves physical miracles as signs for the proof of the truthfulness of the divine nature of the Islamic faith. By this verse also, God only send miracles to prophets to warn of the seriousness of the matter in hand. By this verse then, NO MIRACLE is waiting to occur and all observables are only made by nature. Ironically, Muslims are always on the look and wait for miracles to happen! They always cite how Allah assisted the Muslims and the prophet in battlefields by sending angels to fight along with them as cited in the Quran. But that is not a miracle! The miracle is when you actually, physically see the angel holding his sword up and chopping the enemies' heads with it! A miracle is when the prophet says “be doomed” at the faces of the enemies in a battlefield, and then they are doomed, which reported as the prophet did once by taking some dirt and scattering it at the enemy’s faces! But generally, physical miracles were not the prophet-hood-proof dogma for Prophet Muhammad. A true miracle is when Jesus raised people from the dead; and he did it. That is a great one indeed.

 

It is the word of the Lord in His book which pointed to the word of the Lord in His creation. Muslims see God’s word in everything. They see it in the stars at night, in the mountains, in the ocean that carries on its surface ships and deep in it live fish, in us humans, and most importantly in His word for anything to be and it is.

 

The deep belief of the Muslims in the word of God made some medieval Muslim theologians to reject the idea of cause and effect in essence. That goes square against science. They explained observed “cause and effect” as only some thread that facilitates humankind’s investigation and comprehension of natural processes. “Cause and effect” then to them is the umbrella that gives shade to all physical laws through the word of God. So, “For Muslim theologians, the laws of nature were only the customary sequence of apparent causes: customs of God. So, they do believe in science but they see God in science as opposed to the atheists seeing science as God.

One of the arguments that the atheists always cling to is; if Christianity or Islam came to rescue the astray people from hell fire, why now and what happens to those many people who lived in earlier times? Why are they doomed in hell fire? The answer comes right from the Quran; read please, “And for every nation there is a messenger. So when their messenger comes, the matter is decided between them with justice, and they are not wronged. ” (Quran- Jonah 10:47) So, no one nation has been left untold of God, in the past, now and in the future, except that in Islam it is believed that the chain-process of follow up messengers has been terminated. May be because God ordained that soon “ globalization” would take place and the “globe” would be one melting pot. Prophet-hood goes back to as far as ever man walked the earth as seen by Muslims. Adam himself was the first prophet who walked the earth. And let it be fourteen billion years ago, so Sean would be happy.

 

And by the way, according to Islam, there is another intelligent creature, “the Jinn” that dwells earth along with human, but they have no physical contact with each other; that if Sean wonders if ever there will be another intelligence somewhere in the universe. May be they live in a different dimension. That is why there is no contact with them! Besides that, there exist other intelligent beings elsewhere in the universe; read “We have honored the sons of Adam, and provided them with transport on land and sea and provided them with sustenance and provision and favored them with more bounties over many of whom we have created ” [Quran- The Night Journey 17:70]. Also, there are other verses in the Quran where God uses “whom” to indicate intelligent creatures dwelling other parts of the universe “skies”. We can infer from those verses that there are other intelligent creatures as the word “whom” implies intelligent being in the verses compared to a different term for “whom” used for the unintelligent in Arabic language, and the word “many” means, many of them in the above verse. If not intelligent then why would God compare them with humans? The comparison would be meaningless. Another important Quranic text that indicates other intelligent creatures exist in the universe is the following; “ Look! To Allah indeed belongs whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth. And what do they pursue who invoke partners besides Allah? They merely follow conjectures and they just make surmises. ” [Quran- Jonah 10:66]. Again, “who” is a pronoun meant for the intelligent being, and “heavens” means somewhere in the universe? The claim that those intelligent beings that the Lord mentions in the Quran only indicate the angles who dwell every part of the universe to report accounts to the Lord, can be simply refuted by that angles are erring-less creatures and need not to be enlisted as in the above verse, “ invoke partners besides Allah”. So, Sean, please wait until they contact you with their radio signals. Finally, as all great religions assert, Islamic faith leaves human with a free will to think, wonder, decide and choose. And oh, yes, if an extremist chooses violence, what else he should expect from the Lord other than similar act for interrupting the peaceful earth; for God painted with great patience a peaceful painting of earth? Where else you may find in the universe such peace on a planet? Hell fire, the Lord says, for those extremists, if you wonder why the Lord is so harsh to punish with fire. And yes, heads of states are not excluded. And by the way, Sean, as you asked in the video why won’t God reveal science in His book, how do you expect a book designed for everybody to understand its rhetoric and yet display details of a complicated science like, for example, Quantum Mechanics or General Relativity? Not everybody is as smart as you are Sean! Nevertheless He mentioned His wonders in His book some times in a scientific description as part of describing His creation so human will understand and observe, read please, “And there is no animal in the earth, nor a bird that flies on its two wings, but (they are) communities like yourselves. We did not leave in the book (the faith) a thing unaccounted for. Then to their Lord will they be gathered. ” [Quran- The Cattle 6:38] It means, if not directly the lord told about, and then it is by hinting or derivation and extrapolation. If you wonder also, this tiny human may indeed be able to cross the borders of heavens and earth had he the might to do so. May be in the near future you will see science and technology get you really deep somewhere in the universe and find an intelligent being whom again you wish to adopt their religion when you find they too worship the Lord. May be time-travel! And we are not talking about Mr. Kirk telling Mr. Spock “beam me up please”. We are talking about you Sean! Read please, “ O all of Jinn and human, if you could travel through the diameters of the skies and the earth, do it, as you won’t be able to do it but with a great powe r.” [Quran- The All Beneficent 55:33] It means unless you acquire the required great power to do so, you won't do it, but it also means that if you have great power, then you may travel across the skies and the earth, an indication of the possibility of extraterrestrial travel by human. And if you wonder, Sean, how the Lord would wait thirteen billion years and more of the lifetime of the universe to repeat the creation process, it is not hard for Him. Time is different for him! Read please, “ and as your Lord counts for time, a day for him is like a thousand of yours from how you count.” [Referenced above] And read, “and the spirit (angel Gabriel) and the angels ascend to Him (the Lord, from earth) in a period of fifty thousand years of how you count. ” [Quran- Lofty Stations 70:4] Isn't this relativity in action? Do you believe it? Relativity in the Lord's book!

 

  • * If you believe in God and you would like to know more about Muslims and their religion; and if you are curious why some misguided Muslims may pursue a twisted-version of the faith and radicalize, you may continue reading…

[] Is Democracy an Optimal System?

The west has learned how to fight discrimination. Here is what happened to a western mayor who spoke of discrimination. BBC- April 26, 2017; “a far-right French mayor has been fined 2,000 euros for inciting hatred, after declaring that there were too many Muslim children in his local schools.” Even though Islam prohibits discrimination by nature, we have not learned how to fight it very effectively yet! Fighting discrimination is the optimal gain by any system of ethics. But has democracy truly achieved equal rights of citizens? Are democratic societies free of slavery? Are they totally free of discrimination? Is Islam free of slavery and discrimination? Islam did not outlaw slavery but eradicated it indeed. Islam put forward ethics to push discrimination to extension as well, but Muslims need to learn modern tools to fight discrimination and actuate them. It is undoubtedly true that the most discriminatory act that people may incur on each other is practicing slavery. Here is a story that is widely reported in the Islamic literature in that regard, “Abu Thar, a notable companion of the prophet, reportedly told Bilal, who was the person to call for prayer but was previously a slave from Ethiopia with dark complexion after exchanging word; “You Son of a Black Woman”. Bilal took it with contempt and reported that to the prophet. The prophet told Abu Thar, ‘Did You Mock his Mother? You Are a Person of Ignorance’ Abu Thar reportedly put his cheek on the floor asking Bilal to step on his cheek as a gesture of regretting the derogatory comment he made to his brother.” [Hadith- Bukhari & Muslim]

 

Federalization is an advocate of democracy. In democracy, opinions are weighed and decisions are taken proportionally via representatives in a parliament. Meaning, which ever opinion wins more votes gets to be chosen. Could it be the wrong one? Remember that, if there is no ethical code in regard to a specific matter to follow, unethical decision may be taken. So, for a democracy to be a complete system, a code of ethics has to be firstly identified and agreed upon. Until now democracy has failed to deliver agreeable complete code of ethics to all. Human Rights; Animal Rights; Right of Choice; Choice of Right, you name it! How about freedom of choice as open as free society for all includes homosexual individuals to kiss openly with kids on the streets watching? Under democracy, a good ethical code has been developed, but the construct of democracy itself blocks the completion of the code of ethics as many see it. It looks like under democracy legalization of Heroine comes next after Marijuana has been legalized in some countries. May be because, in democracy, science ultimately rules and there is no much room for faith.

 

From history and under no-ethical code, whole nations were crushed and too many people have died. We can cite many examples; the least to tell is the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We don’t want to wait a million years for the ethical code to evolve via natural selection, but we want to agree on an ethical code. Democracy uses “smart”, humanly-directed natural selection to develop the ethical code. Yes, and after two world wars and many civil wars western people decided to use the mind to quit the conflicts and look for a rational way to settle their struggles. But some skirmishes still surface up and still many people die. So, when is Europe going to find the perfect code of ethics? Does “democracy” produce the code that we are looking for? Democracy is nothing but an inevitable route to calm down a crazy human race-killer of human’s ego that will always run for domination unless a righteous code of ethics dominates the arena and defines our behavior. But who defines this ethical code? So far we have waited to derive it by excluding our previous mistakes that cost us too many lives. We decided to look for the code very patiently. We have developed a nice chunk of it that allowed us to quit many of the quarrels we accumulated in our societies, but it is not over. We are humans with intelligence and sometimes we still do follow natural selection of the non-intelligent, the worms and the apes. We are still waiting on the worms to develop a defensive system to protect themselves from the birds and on the apes to develop human-like intelligence. If we wait too long the whole race will be wiped out by the same nuclear weapon we developed during the ignorance era of no respect for the other. The era when the code of ethics was only derived from the Bible, where the ruler has to be societally divine to rule, is gone and probably forever. But have we indeed developed an ethical code that will survive bad moves? Many people see equality of straightness to homosexuality as a great blunder by the code. How about the pile stock of nuclear weapon and still new piles most probably will be added by the developing countries? How about the increase in crime rate in our developed societies? Do we really need to wait until we are all wiped out? We learned to let go after we have seen a lot of bloodshed on the streets in Europe and throughout the globe with two world wars, but still blood is being shed extensively around the globe. Within the western world, we have built walls for security purposes and developed an ethical code that made people unable to escape depression. Is it time to review our sole use of our “intelligence” to develop the code of ethics? Ethics can be learned, but unlike science, ethics cannot be “fully” experimentally proven right or wrong, all be it we depend on science to develop it! Have you heard of people who would not care if incest is a way of life because science does not mind it! Let nature take its place through natural selection and the survival of the fittest, and we all may head to being cannibals someday. The period of calm after the devastating world wars has come to an end and the world has started to fetch its way through some unethical manners once again. It is a human nature to do bad sometimes, you know, sin! We really need to complement this code with a divine one. Dropping the divine code all together is not a good option. Well, you will say, we never dropped it. We only separated the two. Again, segregation! It has not been long when a black man was a slave in modern “USA”. It was ethics that liberated him, all be it a new political system ruled in favor of ethics to abolish slavery. What do we need to straighten ourselves out then? Is it special ethical codes for democracy? Who built them? Believe me; they came about because the church was still in the hearts of the public and not because of some sort of natural selection. Yes “good” ethics were built after the dark intervention of the church in the ruling system was dropped, but that was the heart that built the ethical code. You see, not separation but adaptation is what we need. Pushing the church farther away will only erode ethics. We indeed got rid of probably the only unethical line of code of the church that is the divine ruler, who built around himself sorcery and black magic to rule with. There is nothing now to make us scared of the divine code of ethics! You may say, but divine ethics are still in the heart of people, not dead. True, but divine ethics are not enacted. Look around you. Homosexuality even invades the church!

 

Here, an Islamic-faith establishment restructure is proposed where all opinions are on the table for council members of a centralized institute to choose from. They have the final decision which could be the least votes, who cares? But this way the public is closely monitoring the establishment in case of erring. In that way, you build a divine ethical code, by the help of the public, and integrate it in the society. Of course the council members are representative of all Muslims all around the globe. So, everyone has a share of the decision-making process and actually everyone should be obligated to do so by expressing his opinion. As the prophet said “My people won’t go wrong if ِ Allah convenes them (to decide), and God's 'hand' is with the mass.” [Hadith- Tirmithi] This is simply a call for centralization of the faith rule-making entity. Democracy is the word of the majority, regardless; yes restricted by the word of the minority, but this is often camouflaged with the greed of the majority. Unless the minority is protected by some kind of autonomous self-rule, the majority will always show off its greed. You will never find a pure heart majority! I can easily point to a democracy where the system miserably failed its minority. How about if the majority is nothing but a ruthless beast? The parliament of the proposed Islamic faith-establishment then makes decisions according to a set of codes, made clear in the constitution, which includes an integrated code of ethics. It is this code of ethics that is missing an important ingredient and may make minorities feel treated unjustly sometimes. Under democracy, minorities will always feel marginalized somehow. African Americans in the US feel it strongly, even though democracy teaches otherwise. It is not though only what you teach. It is also how you change the hearts as well. It is all about ethics, the morals of which a divine religion should define very clearly. But what about the boogieman called terrorism. Indeed, twisted-faith terrorism is the most troubling ethical issues. But let's untwist it then.

 

Within the proposed establishment-structure, the word goes to the representative council. That word should be abiding to everyone. The public only enlightens the establishment council with its opinions. It is a very hard call to make. But once it has started and the door is open for everybody to join in, many current fatwa (Islamic-law ruling: Shariah law) institutes will join in. Those who shy off will eventually join in as they will be looked at by suspicion. We now live in a melting pot of all backgrounds, and technology brings us closer ever more.

[]Islam vs. Secularism

Let our hearts read the faith and actualize it. Let the faith be science and life be the faith. That is the slogan that defines any divine religion. When there is a contradiction, just let go of the contradiction and move on with your consciousness and logic as the ultimate arbitrators. Meaning, let’s live our spiritual life along with our “secular” one and make no distinction between the two. In other words, integrate both. Islam does exactly that. Every secular move is faith, and all faith aspects just go along with secular ones with great ease. So, in Islam, secularism as the principle of the separation of government institutions and government persons from religious institutions and leaders is not applicable in the way the west see it in their democracies; the church has no say in any political matter. In Islam the faith itself contains all secular “tools” that would constitute a functional society of which a government rules by ethics and morals. A distinction that has to be made is that the form of the government is not mandated by the Islamic doctrine and therefore religious institutions can not constitute governments, but governments need to be monitored to maintain Islamic ethics. Religious institutions do monitor government institutions to ensure that their rulings and Islamic ethics are congruent. That is why in the Muslim world governments have “religious councils” for consultation. In the secular west, such monitoring cannot be validated simply because western secularism ruled that the church is nothing but a burden rather than a solution. This relationship between Islamic government institutions and religious institutions stem from the fact that Islamic doctrine did not mandate a ruling system structure, opposite to what some believe. That is not the consensus in the Islamic world, as Shiites greatly depart from that doctrine and maintain Imam-ship form of government. That is the greatest internal rift in the Muslim body which is the source of almost all of the internal conflicts.

 

If faith is what you get rewarded when you obey its rulings and what you get punished for if you disobey them, then everything in life is faith. Simply as Muslims see it; it is because Islamic doctrine lets you define all human's livelihood matters that make up the faith. A guideline of mostly ethical code is defined by the faith. It is only a matter of whether those Islamically derived “secular” rules are a true match to all secular matters that pertain to human, including those derived from science. One Hadith says it all, “Some companions asked the prophet: 'O Messenger of Allah, “rich” people get all the credit when they give away for charity and we get nothing. We pray like them and fast like them. The prophet replied; there is a reward in ordering good and forbidding evil ... and when one satisfies his passion (makes love to his wife). The companions asked, even when one satisfies his passion? The prophet replied, 'Do you know that if he satisfies it unlawfully he has taken a sin upon himself? Likewise, if he satisfies it lawfully, he is rewarded.'” [Hadith- Muslim] In Islam, people have derived rules for everything. It is indeed a complete constitution as Muslims see it, all by compliance to the Islamic code of ethics. On the other hand, this is the main avenue that opens the door wide open for radicalism of hasty Muslims as details of the derivation of the rules have to be worked out by rule-specialists, we call them scholars, but the public may scrutinize and judge them extensively, except for the fact that most of the time the public shies away citing incapability and the issue remains exclusive for the “qualified” scholars. This job of rule-extracting is strenuous and some even may seem to be self-contradictory, all be it few but some are compellingly decisive, mostly because of the too many input views on the subject which led to the appearance of “weak” crevices. Of course, it comes with a cost; we are humans and we are not infallible. Add to the problem is the doctrine of “infallible” Imams of some Islamic groups who will say a ruling of the “infallible” Imam is absolute and undefiable. It is our collective responsibility to figure out those crevices and treat them in such a way to block the way on skepticism that most of the time leads to extreme interpretation of the prophet’s teachings.

  • * Is it Science or Religion? Where is the Code of Ethics?

Let’s take the progressive development of science within a community as an indicator to the degree of human advancement and relate that to the ruling system. Two obvious factors dictate the advancement of science. One, the ruling system permits the use of the tools of which science flourishes. Second, stability and security as the platform of a natural environment that allows science to flourish. But let’s judge systems from historical perspective first. No one doubts though that it was the Islamic second generation after the prophet’s death when people found comfort in science and “Islamic” inventors indulged deeply in science and kicked out a scientific revolution. Can we ask ourselves why that was the ase? Simply because the two factors mentioned above were indeed the prominent feature of the ruling systems that were developed by Muslims deriving them from the faith itself and people found no contradiction between science and the ideology of the Islamic doctrine. It always has been the struggle between ethics, represented by religion, and science. The truth is that science cannot function without ethics. Science will lead us to the destruction of the world if not disciplined by ethics and therefore religion is a must for science. If we develop ethics as humans away from religion, it may not truly be a code that we may completely reckon to simply because we have diverse intentions and ambitions to dominate each other for our own materialistic benefits. People are willing to kill for food. What will stop you from killing your neighbor if your neighbor has money and you are dying from hunger? May be a social system like communism? Well, it didn’t work. How about religion that soothes the soul and rationalizes your behavior? How about a religion that actually inspires you to help your poor neighbor? How about a religion that actually forces you to deduct 2.5% of your estate annually to give your poor neighbor? Well, what about a system that actually does that, but away from the boogie system called “religion”, for example through democracy? May be it is so, but how does it hurt if it gets boosted by religion. How about a religion that tells people of freedom to choose and freedom to seek knowledge and do science and still maintains ethics. Of course you may ask, but all we see is disruption and destruction by religion. Of course you are on the spot where it hurts, but isn't worth it to reexamine our religious proclamations for the sake of perfection of the code of ethics?

The saying that “democracy” as defined by its contemporary advocates, is the only means to work out science and technology is just a fallacy for Muslims. In Islam, democratic tools can be faith-defined and can be integrated within the Islamic doctrine where people work out faith, science and activities of daily living in harmony. If democracy is to let all indulge in science regardless of belief, background, etc., so are Islamic doctrine principles, people of all backgrounds and beliefs are welcome to participate in the advancement of science and technology; sounds too good to be true? Is it contrary to what we currently see in the Muslim world? Indeed, it is not the trend in the Muslim world today. But it used to be and it is the true reality of the faith and may be of any divine religion! Proof is the second generation of Muslims kicking out a scientific revolution. The main reason for the decline in the engagement in science in the Muslim world pertains to the structure of the faith establishment. One obvious example is Imam Al-Ghazali’s decision to declare numbers as the work of Satin. The influence of the great early and contemporary scholars on the public’s decisions is astronomical and indeed a life changer. While they made a great contribution to understanding our religion, their mistakes are not to be ignored. Their mistakes pass on to be part of faith itself. They are humans and they do make mistakes. It takes time to discover their mistakes. People do remember some great contemporary Imams who claimed that the earth was flat and they did write books on the subject deriving that notion by citing examples from the Quran. Of course, now other scholars say; that is not the case and they interpret the same Quranic verses differently. Had the faith-establishment corrected Imam Al-Ghazali and others, it would not have had that influence of that magnitude on the public that made them divert their attention from doing science. We should not look at those iconic Imams as infallible. This problem of magnifying the importance of only one person, the great “Einsteinian” scholar, who will preserve the Muslims from erring and demeaning the rest of scholars is indeed a slap on the face that built a shell around the faith with a few number of “highly qualified scholars” lurking inside the shell while the rest of the Muslim body ineffectively residing outside of it. Is this the true face of the faith? There is a Hadith that probably acclaims this attitude; the prophet says, “God sends a 'faith-revivalist' to the Muslim people everyone hundred years” [Hadith- Abu Dawud]. May be that is why we are lazy enough to wait for the “faith-revivalist” to straighten out our problems! Is that why we are “supposedly” awaiting the arrival of the divinely guided redeemer, “The Mehdi”, who will spread justice across the globe? Why even does a great and a perfect religion that we have right now in our hands need a revivalist? Why even we need to wait on him to understand our religion while God and His prophet made it as clear as a crystal, by the verses of the Quran and the words of the prophet?

It is not the faith that we need to point our fingers at, it is the faith-establishment that makes mistakes that we need to straighten out. Restructuring the establishment is the way to go. Centralization of the establishment may be the best solution.

[] God is Unfair? Hardship Cleanses Your Sins

Some argue that God is not fair for all the difficulties humans endure in their lifetime. Yes He designed the universe to act in such a way that it may inflect hardship on humans and yes He could have designed it otherwise. But two things: One, He is not fair if He lets people endure such calamities without anything in return. In Islam, if you endure hardship in the course of life of no cause of your own, then it is the Lord’s mercy on you as you will always be looking for tools to wipe out your sins, and that is one of the greatest tools if you are enduring the hardship with patience to cultivate its benefit. And don’t tell me you are free of sin as sinning is a human nature. God is always fair. It is mentioned in the Quran that if you endure hardship it is always of your hands and not a “violent” act by God. Meaning, you are a sinner, so it is not injustice to endure hardship. It is your sin that brought hardship to you and therefore the hardship gets to you because of your nature. Is it a natural hardship that you are enduring? Fine; God loves you as a human and wants to cleanse you clean. Many examples can be cited in the Quran and Sunni that project this wiping of sins concept. Indeed, the universe runs according to orderly laws of nature and Islam recognizes that. If nature displays the opposite, like you are walking in the desert and suddenly you find a mine of gold, then nature selects you to win a prize. Just walk away and be happy. No cleansing of sins there but you are lucky and still God is watching what you will do with this gift that God sent to you through the laws of nature. Two, God still will interfere against the will of nature, breaking the laws of physics as He sees it right. So, some hardships that seem to come from nowhere are indeed punishments to you or some out of the blue million-dollar gift is a reward because of your good deeds. I know Sean will say it is just statistically perfectly fine to find a million dollar in the desert. Now, if you do bad and don’t get punished in this world, that is why the Lord prepared hell-fire and if you do good deeds and don’t get rewarded, by never winning anything, don’t be sad, you will get compensated in the hereafter, what a place of paradise to be in then. In Islam that is one of the links if you wonder why God (the son of God) did not descend from heavens and kill Himself on the cross to cleanse His beloved creature from his sins since it would not be fair as He ordained unto him to sin by creating him imperfect. If He did kill Himself, then it is a free ticket to heaven! But hey, you have to believe in Jesus, the son-God who died. But wait, not enough. You have to do your share to get complete redemption. What about if this share is nothing compared to your evil deed? Is this fair? Those who kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people and still laughing, is their life to be taken enough in return? Some people don’t even endorse the death penalty. So, what is wrong with the Old Testament? Of course, the New Testament only amends no contradiction! The Quran amends as well but also rectifies.

 

Complaining that the Old Testament contains violent messages, so, Jesus replaced the old with a new where only love, love, love cures all bad stuff? That led to people to not mind violence, or at least not dislike it; I mean, come on, you don’t want not to dislike a serial killer, let him be loose then and try to hide behind your fortifications of your house in seclusion. Of course the Quran aligns with the Old Testament with some violent messages dealing with violent evil acts. It just doesn’t seem right to let someone slap you on the face out of love to him, “love your enemies, Jesus says!”

 

If you were God, you probably wouldn’t send your son to die, for you would love your son more than anything else you created. The least, you would do then probably is quietly forgive your loved human if he sins, and if there should be a natural cause for forgiveness if your natural creation requires so to go with the cause and effect concept, let it be then away from your family, especially if you have only one son! But you are not God, only perfect ones send their sons to DIE and you are not perfect, Jesus is!

[]Equality of Mankind

Islam does not differentiate between humans on the basis of race, color, origin, etc., but indeed it does sort out and point fingers to differences in beliefs and principles. That is important though because Islam wants to sell its principles to others. But on the other hand, Islam wants to let others to check its principles against theirs, therefore leaving room for all principles on the table for contrast and comparison; which means allowing other beliefs to roam without obstructions. This is not clearly understood by many Muslims and it is indeed a source of confusion. In the Quran, Allah says, “Whoever does good, whether male or female, and is a believer (It means a believer in God; I am sorry, but how do you expect God to reward you for your good deeds if you don’t believe in him?), we shall certainly make him live a good life, and We shall certainly give them their reward for the best of what they did .” [Quran- The bee: 16 / 97] It is important to also mention here one of the most important crevices that in one way or another has been a leading factor toward extremism. It is NOT clearly stated by the establishment whether the people of the book “Abrahamic faiths” are included in the rewarding bounty by Allah. For some, this led to distancing Christians from the reward since Christians in the eyes of Muslims are associating partner to God by claiming the Trinity Concept and therefore are not included in the verse. Unfortunately, some indeed do believe that Christians are doomed in hell fire for disavowing the oneness of God. Remember, Trinity doctrine does not disavow the concept of oneness of God theologically, but it does “mathematically”, which is still a deviation from one. Three is not one, unless you distance God from mathematics! In the Quran, Allah clearly tells Muslims to let God decide on matters of faith and that God and only God will be the ultimate arbitrator, read please, Allah says; “Those who believe (in the new faith: Muslims) and those who are Jews and the Sabians (followers of an early revelation) and the Christians and the Magians and the polytheists — surely Allah will decide between them on the day of Resurrection. Surely Allah is Witness over all things ”. [Quran- The pilgrimage: 22-17] In other words, Allah will make a judgment for all of them, that is the new believers (the Muslims), the non-believers (the pagan Arabs) and those of earlier revelations, so may be, we Muslims shouldn't really make our own judgment and act accordingly. It means, more or less, to let them act upon what they believe in and treat them with righteousness as they have their own thoughts and they make their own decisions. It seems that Allah wants Muslims not to be the ultimate judges on people's behaviors and act upon that but leave that to Allah. There is also a beautiful Quranic verse that indeed exempts those of earlier revelations from distancing them from the right path. It includes them under Allah's mercy. Read please, Allah says, “ Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good, they have their reward with their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve ” [Quran- The Cow: 2:62] “whoever believes in God” in the verse above means, anyone who follows a divine religion; anyone who claims that his religion is divine and follows it, even if it seems somehow divergent from being divine as we Muslims define it; ascribing a personal nature of God, since this verse describes Christians as they do believe in Trinity. Believing in God as one, but God has a son or a family or a community of Gods that rules the universe is indeed a great deviation from the foremost tenant of a divine religion that is the oneness of God. But that religion could indeed be an earlier revelation! Those who follow Buddhism, Hinduism, or Sikhism, who are numbered by billions, need to have their religions treated with respect. Yes the Quran has not identified them by name as holders of earlier divine revelations, but that doesn't mean they actually don't. Have we made our own studies and concluded that their “religion: the path for a moral life” does not represent an earlier divine religion? Is polytheism the main problem? But then why God let us treat Christians as special and we still identify them as “kufar”, Read please, “ Certainly they disbelieve who say: Allah is the third of the three. And there is no God but One God. And if they desist not from what they say, a painful chastisement will surely befall such of them as disbelieve. ” [Quran- The Food 5:73] “Disbelieve” in the verse means they knew the truth but covered it. For us Muslims, is there room in our faith to probably treat them as “people of the book” as Christians and Jews? If they claim that their religion is divine we shouldn't deny that for them. The Arabs in the pre-Islamic era themselves were followers (as they claimed) of the pure Abrahamic original faith that brought to them by a prophet from amongst themselves, Ismael, the son of Abraham; but they were pagan and polytheists. We probably as Muslims need to tell Buddhists and Hindustanis, look, God is mathematically one as he is conceptually one, just like we tell Christians, but not distance ourselves from them, just like we don’t distance ourselves from Christians. Let’s just all unite under one concept, all of us believers; your GOD is ours, and our GOD is yours, we are unity as followers of a “divine” religion. Let's call on whoever claims to hold a divine religion and let him join in. Read please; Allah says in the Quran, “ And argue not with the People of the Book except by what is best, save such of them as act unjustly. But say: We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our God and your God is One, and to Him we submit. ” [Quran- The spider 29:46] In the verse above, it seems that some restricted the People of the Book to the Christians and the Jews only, but the obvious broad meaning is that it refers to those who had a revelation. No body disagrees that many had earlier revelations other than the Christians and the Jews. If some people claim that they are followers of an earlier revelation and can prove it, then they must be from the people of the book.

 

Islam differentiates between believers of God and non-believers, who knew the truth but covered their knowledge with dust and darkness. This goes back to when “we” first dwelled heaven before the sinning of Adam and Eve. Satin did know the truth about God, but challenged Him and disobeyed. That is what the Quran describes as “kufr”. It literally means to cover in Arabic; to know and disavow with rust in your heart. For the atheists though, they don’t know God since they have looked for Him but didn’t find Him, or maybe they have not found Him yet. Another example is Pharaoh, whom Moses disputed his conscious knowledge of the existence of God, and yet covered what is in his heart and disavowed and rebelled out of devilish sense of power and pride. Read please; God says, “And certainly We gave Moses nine clear signs; so ask the Children of Israel. When he came to them, Pharaoh said to him: Surely I deem thee, O Moses, to be one bewitched. He said (Moses): Truly thou knowest that none but the Lord of the heavens and the earth has sent these as clear proofs; and surely I believe thee, O Pharaoh, to be lost. ” [Quran- The Israelites 17:101-102] For the atheists, like Sean, who have full understanding of physics, it seems odd that they believe in GR and still have not reached the state of belief in God. What do you want to see to believe in GOD, physical reality? You want to see Him in front of you? You want to talk to Him? You want to touch Him? What about GR? Currently, GR is a religion to the physics community. If you seek a non-General Relativistic explanation of gravity, you are doomed! GR is indeed treated as how religions are treated, yet it is considered as a full “physical” theory by the scientific community. You “believe in” what space-time does to the “physical world”, by guiding its physical movement, without understanding its true physical reality! Isn’t this how you are supposed to treat “GOD”? Answer this question please, what makes up space-time that is defined as a must-be nonphysical entity by GR, yet it is distorted by the presence of the physical world of matter, other than it is the “gravitational field”? Furthermore, the physics of the micro-world is discrete and granular as dictated by Quantum Physics (QM). If those two pillars of physics to be reconciled, a theory that combines them has to be created. That theory is called quantum gravity. It proved to be very difficult to compromise some conflicting attributes of the two, especially granulizing and/or materializing of space-time! GR connects space-time to gravity, which is always perceived as only attractive. That means you either give mass attribute to space-time to make it granular or a “massive” energy that this space-time has to possess! In both cases space time would have collapsed long time ago under gravity! But we still exist! Also, what is it with the cosmological constant of Einstein that he had to insert in his field equation to make GR theory comply with the expansion of the universe? If space-time has to possess energy, or mass, let it be then negative. It turns out that that is a perfect choice except it squarely negates GR itself as GR requires only positive mass/energy! But that is so only because we define positive and negative mass/energy the way we define them as positive self-attracts, negative self-repels and positive-negative attract. That even defies conservation laws. This definition led to a great confusion and produced an unrealistic dynamics which led to the exclusion of the negative energy-mass from the dynamic picture of the universe. If we need the negative energy-mass to describe space-time then, let’s define negative-positive/energy-mass differently. Or at least, let’s strongly couple negative mass particles to space-time itself, which could serve as the granular part of space-time to comply with QM. If so then, what is the difference between space-time serving as a gravitational field for mass and that of the electromagnetic field for the electric charge? The answer is nothing since mass and charge are attributes of their respective fields but the mother of all fields is that of gravity and all other fields do live on it. If so, then there is a negative energy-mass and a positive energy-mass that belongs to the gravitational field! If so, then it is a must that negative mass-positive mass gravitational interaction mimics that of the negative charge-positive charge electromagnetic interaction; similar mass repel and opposite mass attract! It works well in describing the dynamics of the universe if we take Dark Matter as the negative mass! If you don’t accept that then it is only your blind belief in the “auspices” of GR that makes you accept GR as the only theory of gravity that best fits the data. The positive energy conditions is just to claim that "energy density cannot be negative" to the whole stress-energy tensor of GR. That is because if an arbitrary positive- and negative-energy regions were allowed, the empty vacuum would become unstable and the "energy density gap" would keep on growing. But that won’t happen if the negative mass-positive mass gravitational interaction mimics that of the electric force. We are back to square one then with the gravitational particle that transmits gravity should have different spin than spin-2. May be spin-1 is the right choice.

 

It is the power of science and math that produces results that comply with observation what makes you believe in GR as it stands. It is nothing but a “prophetic” assessment of GR. Relate this fact to the existence of God; we conclude that the existence of God is a scientific reality. Unlike Sean, Einstein kept his strong faith in God when he came up with GR!

[] All Stand Equal before the Law

This Hadith says it all, “Beware! Whoever is cruel and hard on a non-Muslim minority, or curtails their rights, or burdens them with more than they can bear, or takes anything from them against their free will; I (Prophet Muhammad) will complain against that person on the Day of Judgment.” [Hadith- Abu Dawud]

[] The Prophet Sets the Ethics of “Peace”

Prophet Muhammad had a peaceful personality all along, even in the pre-Islamic era. When he was twenty years of age he attended a peace pact between the warring tribes of Mecca. He said about it, “I witnessed with my cousins in the house of Abdullah Bin Jadan a “peace” alliance that I loved more than all bounties ever to me, and if I am ever called upon to do the same in Islam (time) I would not hesitate”. The alliance was for all tribes in Mecca to come as unity against any injustice perpetrated by any one tribe or any individual in Mecca and they all should stand against warring. The alliance was called “League of the Virtuous” which standardized “social ethics” in the city. Mostly, at the meeting the tribal chiefs pledged to respect the principles of justice, and collectively intervene in conflicts to establish justice. This type of code of ethics mainly formed Islamic ethics twenty years later when the prophet had the revelation. The prophet started his movement of the new faith when he was 40 years old and he died when he was 63 years old. In only 23 years he was able to establish the Islamic religion in the Arabian Peninsula based on ethical codes that defined social justice for all. Unethical practices in pre-Islamic era were mostly outlawed. Of many, the prophet outlawed the use of alcohol, gambling and others. Socially, for example, he outlawed the act of burying one’s female newborn alive by deploring such act and declaring it a crime. The Arabs used to do that probably for the social and economic negative factors that raising a female in the desert bears upon the family. The practice was popular in pagan Arab society in the pre-Islamic era. Basically, the prophet transformed the “barbaric” society of the Arabs into a civilized one that goes by ethical codes that are observed collectively.

[] The Big Fight for the Right of the Word

It is all about the right to choose and the right of the “word”. Read please what Allah says, “And if any one of the polytheists (pagan Arabs) seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the words of Allah. Then deliver him to his place of safety .” [Quran- The Repentance 9:6] The Quran also says, “ Not upon the Messenger (Prophet Muhammad) is (responsibility) except (for) notification. And Allah knows whatever you reveal and whatever you conceal. ” [Quran- The Food 5:99] So, indeed, the job of Muslims is to tell of what they think is the truth. It is like; we have been given something of great benefit for you, come have a look at it. If he refuses, let go of him, it is his decision. But if he closes doors on you to tell of what you know, that is clearly unfair. Historically, the Islamic faith was developed from the start such that its followers pursue their ultimate right to practice what faith sees as the right of mankind to acclaim the Lord's purpose of creation: Mankind's free will to choose and express own opinion. Unless this right is acclaimed, the right for the Lord to punish may be unjustified; as you can easily nullify a judgment if you are presented a proof of inability to carry the proclaimed task. Therefore, free will of mankind should be firstly attained as a priori before the Lord may judge mankind's actions in His peaceful creation. In that regard, slavery is the greatest obstacle to practice that right and therefore slavery is ferociously fought in the faith, but never plainly was outlawed. Slaves in Islam are not equal to free people in rights as well as in duty. All of the Islamic rules that pertain to actions that require free will are inapplicable to slaves in the society as they are deprived of their free will and therefore are incapable to do the assigned task. Until they attain their freedom, which is a matter to be pursued strongly in Islam, they should be excused from many social responsibilities.

 

Free will to choose is to be preceded by the right to express one’s own opinion and therefore the right for free speech. That right was ferociously fought by the people of Mecca when the new faith emerged in their society, especially the poor and the incapable. You would find most of those who entered the new faith were from the oppressed, poor and slaves, who carried the faith in their heart and made it public when the opportunity came driven by fear for their lives. The prophet started to practice his right of speech and to express his own opinion when soon he found a great resistance from the side of the aristocratic people in the society. They prevented him from going to the annual gathering in the “Haram” site of Macca to talk to people. When they felt later the danger on their aristocratic status by the call for the social reform of the new faith, they sought revenge by prosecuting the people who adopted it. Of course among those who were prosecuted were the poor and the incapable. Slaves were especially prone to be executed in public. Deprived from all rights, slaves who adopted the new faith were taken to a public site by their masters and were asked to reject the new faith. One very popular story of such an event was the story of Bilal, a slave from what is now Ethiopia. His master took him in public in a hot day and ordered a big hot rock to be placed on his bare chest. The master orders his slave to renounce the new faith. All what Bilal repeated during the ordeal was saying, One, One, only one; in reference to the claim of the new faith that the Lord is only one, opposite to the many Gods the people of Mecca worshiped. An “untouchable” wealthy new convert by the name Abu Bakr, shielded by his status in the society, offers to buy Bilal with large sum of money. The owner agrees. Abu Bakr, later the first Caliph after the death of the prophet, frees Bilal from slavery. Bilal would be a prominent person later. The prophet chooses him to be the guy who calls for prayers; a high social status in the faith. The new faith threatened to transform social life in Mecca and the long trip to fight aristocracy in the society of Mecca has begun. The new prophet was driven out of the city along with the very small number of followers. Their properties were confiscated and their Meccan “citizenship” rights were revoked. Starting with the claim to practice the right for free will and free speech, the new faith rooted a spirit-rebellious attitude in the Meccan society. The new faith grew in the hearts of the poor, while the few wealthy people who adopted the new faith openly expressed their support of the new movement. Both were rejected and expelled from the society. Abu Bakr leaves his wealth and migrates with the prophet. First Migration was to Ethiopia, where the prophet ordered handful number of men and women to go to a Christian land where people are treated justly. The second migration was to Medina, a nearby city. Moving to Medina, they were able to claim the hearts of its people, and later strengthened by their hope to acclaim their lost property in their old city, Mecca, they waged a series of attacks and won the battle over the people of Mecca. The new faith opens up in Mecca and the people are now of no fear to openly acclaim their right to choose their faith. Nearby villages and cities, and later the whole Arabian Peninsula, are now under the new rule. The new social movement propelled by the right of free will and free speech has succeeded and in a few decades the new faith entered the land of God, east and west. The prophet’s prophecy that the new faith would enter every land in the globe has been realized in no more than a couple of decades after the prophet’s death.

 

Now, why would the prophet order the Muslims’ army to prepare to fight the “Romans” just before his death? It is the same reason why he was ordered to fight the Pagan Arabs of the people of Mecca. Why would the newly Muslims “identity” which only was comprised of two cities, Mecca and Medina, and some neighboring sparse nomad tribes to attack the “ROMAN” empire? Again, just like the Arabs, the Romans learned of the new threat in the east and were prepared to annihilate the Muslims for their new religion; a threat to the Romans from the east side of the empire. Is not this religious persecution? Had the Romans given the new Muslims the right of the free word, the Muslims wouldn’t have initiated a war with them. The war had already started; first the rejection of the “right of the word” and second the intention to annihilate the Muslims. Some people reason that Muslims spread the religion throughout the world by the sword. I am sorry, logically, how could the Arabs, mostly Bedouins, who hardly could find food to eat in the desert, spread a new religion, of a merit of equal social status to all, east and west; to China, East Europe and North of Africa, just in about ten years after the death of the prophet where two of the neighboring, mightiest civilizations, the Romans and the Persians, where even at constant war between each other and surrounding the Muslim’s Arabian land? Obviously that is a broken reasoning. I don’t think their swords were divine! May be their “words” were divine? Why wouldn’t it be that when people allowed the “word” to spread, so, they opened their heart then their doors to the Muslims? Of course, especially if the faith is truly peaceful. It is not a threat to any one indeed. The major rule is, “TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT”. So, if the new Muslims will not force me to adopt their new religion, all they want is just “let me tell of it”, then why not let them in and say whatever they want; I would do the same.

  • * Judeo-Christian Origin of Islam-Common Code but Conflicting Venues

Christians always depict Islam as a fallacy and a sign of “Muhammad's utter invention” of a religion that the Quran borrows much from Christianity. Even though this is not the main view of the Catholic Church, but indeed it is the conception among common Christians. Muslims see it the other way around. Islam sees itself as a derivation and continuation of the Judeo-Christian grouping of one faith, the Abrahamic faith -see the section bellow titled “ People of the Book-Christianity in the Eyes of Muslims”. That section is important for those who want to find a common line to understand the one religion of Abraham that combines the three great religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. There is nothing more important for the world’s security than a common divine protocol to eliminate obstacles that block peace and justice for all believers. We should all embrace and enact the goodness depicted in the common roots of the three great religions.

If you look up how common Christians see Islamic faith you will see that many just describe it as phony and just mere fabrication, as if the Arabs who came up with the faith came from space and are not descendants of Abraham. Of course, the Jews do the same for the Christians and the gap to understand each other is deep. No one denies that Ishmael was eponymous ancestor for the Arabs of western Arabia though. According to the Book of Genesis, “Ishmaelites are the descendants of Ishmael, the elder son of Abraham and the descendants of the 12 sons of Ishmael.” Abraham is then the father of the Arab people, and according to Muslims, the founder of Islam. Muslims mention his name five times a day in each prayer by making acceptance of God-prayer for him and all of his descendants, which includes the offspring of David, the Jews and Christians. Is it not that Abraham the father of the Jews and Christians? It is ironic though when the Christians mention the Arabs they point to them as if they came from nowhere and not the descendants of the eldest son of Abraham. It is like Abraham send his son Ishmael and his mother to the moon and made no contact with them ever after, therefore they have no place in history of the Abrahamic faith! Read this in the Bible please; “And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is b efore Mamre.” (Bible- Genesis 25:9) You see, the children of Abraham where unity and when their dad died, Ishmael came back from the “moon” to help with the funeral!

 

If they are one, they should be similar. As per people who see that Muhammad authored the Quran and extensively borrowed from Judeo-Christianity, truly the copy of historical events in the Bible that are found in Quran is of great perfection that to Muslims a human being has not the rhetorical nor the poetic engineering capability to reflect the borrowed “stolen” material and turn it into just a perfect peace of art that synchronizes the past with the current and mixes it with reality. Ask any Muslim who knows the Quran and especially if he knows the Arabic language well, he will tell you that when you read the Quran you know by heart that God is talking to you, unless to complete the picture you consider the religion as a fabrication by Muhammad, you regard Muhammad as divine himself to engineer such perfect words. Well, at least he didn’t tell of himself as so. What catches our eyes also is that Islam on a number of issues jumps Christianity to align with Judaism. An example is sharing dietary laws. Those rules that are followed by both Jews and Muslims are very similar, most importantly prohibiting pork.[2-3], but Christians do not follow them. This presents a question mark for Christianity. If Christianity was only a theological alternate of Judaism due to the appearance of the divine Jesus in flesh, shouldn’t Christianity be a copy of Judaism except of that concept and its derivatives? For example, food restrictions are not there in Christianity? Other restrictions in Judaism also are absent in Christianity. If you ask a Jew, interestingly, he will accuse Christianity of being only a missionary religion; a harsh accusation since it indirectly means a fake religion that will adopt whatever spiritual means possible to attract people to be “non-Jewish”, and what is the cake on the table, God loves you and awaits paradise for you if you believe in Jesus-the savior. The Jewish point of view is then, look, this cake is of fake sweetness, it is artificial. But it is too sweet to resist and many, many people have adopted the divine concept of the savior Jesus Christ. Indeed, the Christian Catholic belief is that man’s sin prevents him from approaching God and that the only way to reconcile this is through Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross. It is a sweet and colorful ready-to-eat cake, except as seen by many it is an act that may not be appropriate of what God is supposed to be. In that regard, all you need to do is ask Sean. You will only make him more confident of his atheism.

 

We believe as Muslims that we and everybody else make mistakes and naturally inclined to sin, thus we need to seek repentance repeatedly at all times. The prophet said "By God, I seek the forgiveness of Him and I turn to Him in repentance more than seventy times each day." [Hadith- Al-Bukhaari] The issue of redemption is common in most religions as human is weak facing temptations and falls into sin. The view of redemption in the Christian doctrine of original sin is no different than other religions in which a revered figure carries the burden of sins of the common people. For example, through embracing qualities like self-sacrifice and morality, Buddhism teaches that there are figures who seek to rescue people from their suffering and help guide them along the right path which starts with confession as in most religions. There is always a “divine” figure to reckon to, to help through the process of redemption. Some through suffering, like the suffering of Jesus in Christianity, some through guidance mostly, like in Buddhism. In Islam there is no intermediary figure to carry any burden in the redemption process. It is completely between you and the Lord. It starts with your confession of the sin to yourself, then redemption comes by following ritually directed steps of which community service type of act may follow. That is an important quality of Islam as every individual carries his share of learning the faith and acting upon his knowledge of it. There is no top divine figure that passes your moves toward redemption. This is actually the principle discipline in the Islamic doctrine in all faith aspects. Only the prophet was a figure who used to be returned to for help in all issues including help in redemption from sin. That is only because he was the one who had connection with God through revelation. And what would he do if he was asked for help by people in that regard? He would just give prayers for the sinner so God may accept his prayer. No different than what the sinner himself would do, except that the prophet's prayer is more likely to be answered. He used to ask for Gabriel's, the angel who is identified as the “word” in the Quran and the intermediary one between earth and the heavens, when he didn't have knowledge of something. But the prophet taught people to seek answers by themselves and by the understanding of the subject from faith. He taught them to inquire answers by asking their hearts when an issue is in doubt.

 

The Christian cake might even be more of “too good to be true” if there is even no temporal debt that you still owe for your sin. One wonders why Jesus didn’t include the temporal sin as well under the redemption concept for his death on the cross. Is his love for human incomplete? Or is it like, I love you so much but hey, do something yourself. I will not carry the entire burden alone; it is even your sin in the first place? Or, is it like, could you please share some suffering with me?

 

On the subject of the Trinity concept, one has to elaborate a little further because the issue bugs many people, including many Christians; except that they tend to overlook its heart-tweaking consequence when they think about it every time they taste its irresistibly decorated and sweat cake, which is encrypted in their hearts. It simply goes like this; the Lord loves you and suffered greatly for you, no need to worry much now. The heart-tweaking touch is the following; the three is one! Really! Well it is OK, because he is the Lord, he can be whatever he wants! But how God on earth communicates with God in the heavens? I guess Sean rightly objects here. If he is here why he would want to send info up there of what happened with him here on earth? Or does God in heaven simultaneously know of what happens with his son on earth? Are they not one? I guess Sean can remind all of us that “entanglement”, a phenomenon in the well-established Quantum Mechanics field of physics, allows instantaneous communication between any two places in the universe, however far away they are from each other. Sean wonders now how God on earth might communicate to God in heavens; Entanglement of course. Entanglement phenomenon does great since he must had been entangled with the God in heavens before he departed to earth! Let’s see; then may be God is one and he doesn’t have to be three, but His entity extends to encompass the universe, so, whatever happens on earth will just be there in heavens and that is probably a nice physical system of what entanglement is! We still don’t need God “the Holy Spirit”! The “Spirit of God” in the Hebrew Bible describes the might of a unitary God and generally refers to it as the divine aspect of prophecy and wisdom and in Christianity it is referred to as the third divine person of the Trinity concept. In Islam, the spirit is an ‘agent’ of divine nature that God uses to make life; an entity of His creation. The spirit is also a term used in the Quran to describe the Archangel Gabriel. As all Abrahamic religions, in Islam God sends angels-messengers to earth day and night! Well, in Islam the angels-messengers are to record affairs for the reckoning day. They write the affairs in books and present it to people in the Day of Judgment. As mentioned in the Quran, God assigns every person, two angels. One writes all of his good deeds while the other writes all of his bad deeds. Read please, “When the two receivers (two Angels) receive, sitting on the right and on the left (of every human), He utters not a word but there is by him a watcher at hand ”. [Quran- Qaf 5:17-18] Records are important piece of evidence in court. In many places in the Quran God explains His omnipresence. Read for example, “ And with Him are the treasures of the unseen — none knows them but He. And He knows what is in the land and the sea. And there falls not a leaf but He knows of it, nor is there a grain in the darkness of the earth, nor anything green or dry, but (it is all) in a clear book .”[Quran- The Cattle 6:59] God explains His nature as nothing is like Him, read please, “ The Originator of the heavens and the earth (Allah). He has made for you pairs from among yourselves, and pairs of the cattle, too, multiplying you thereby. Nothing is like Him; and He is the Hearing, the Seeing. His are the treasures of the heavens and the earth — He amplifies and straightens subsistence for whom He pleases. Surely He is Knower of all things ” [Quran- The counsel 42:11-12]. Nothing like Him means He is not made of normal matter; in other words, He may not present himself to human; He may not impersonate Himself in flesh and walk the market-or have Himself killed on the cross!

 

Of course someone will say, look it is not the first time that faith contradicts science. So, what? Are we going to abandon faith in favor of science? Is human to ever get to the stage where he does not need RELIGION at all. NO, hold your horses. Is it moral what we are looking for? Is it only religion the source of morals? Well, not that, but look, religion guides you to morals. It gives you the tools also. Religion tells you, forbid evil, and it helps you define evil, sometimes culture-wise. The problems come when people define some evil differently, as in the case of homosexuality, religion jumps in to say no, it is an immoral act. You would naturally agree on all of the religion’s messages of what moral could be. In the end, you recognize and define what immoral is and forbid it by say of the guidance of the religion.

 

Christianity may be seen as overly spiritual and abstaining from regulating many of the worldly matters, unlike Judaism and Islam. It seems like in Christianity, love dominates the arena and solves all problems of humanity! Only that too much love indeed killed God!

 

Both Judaism and Christianity would wish that Islam is just not in the picture and fight for that, the least in their hearts. Muslims currently account for about a quarter of the population of the world. Every four souls on the planet earth, one of them is a Muslim. There must be something interesting with their religion! Is it another sweet cake? It is a sweet cake indeed. You go to paradise. What saves you here? Own repentance from sin, nobody needs to die for anybody, not a God, not another human, and not the sinner himself. Here is a Hadith about the inclination of all mankind to sin, the prophet says, “All humans are inclined to making mistakes (sin), and of those who make mistakes are the best if they perform repentance”. [Hadith- Ahmed, Tirmithi and Ibn Majah] Here is what Allah says about repentance, “ But whoever repents after his unjust (wrongdoing) and reforms, indeed, Allah will turn to him in forgiveness. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful .” [Quran- The Food 5:39], and here is a great saying by the prophet Muhammad in that regards, “By the one in whose hands is my life, if you were not to sin, Allah would have replaced you with people who sin, and seek forgiveness and Allah would forgive them.” [Hadith- Muslim] Here is the verse from Quran regarding replacement of sins with that of good deeds and the condition for it, “ Except for those who repent, believe, and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good (ones). And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful. ” [Quran- The Discrimination 25:70] Here is another saying of the prophet of that meaning, “Allah says, "If My servant (human) intends to do a bad deed then (The Angels) do not write it unless he does it; if he does it, then they write it as it is (one bad deed), but if he refrains from doing it for My sake, then they write it as a good deed instead (in his account); (On the other hand) if he intends to do a good deed, but does not do it, then they write it a good deed (in his account), and if he does it, then they write it for him (in his account) as ten good deeds and (multiplies) up to seven-hundred times."” [Hadith- Muslim] It is important to mention also that the act of “repentance from sin” is observed in Judaism as well. Here is the one billion dollar question, why is this NOT good enough and God has to die for the process of redemption? The Catholic Church though specifically defines those who belong to the Abrahamic religions, including Muslims, will go to heaven.

 

In Islam, if you repent, and most people will, you are forgiven your sins. That is a wider concept and present in most religions. All divine religions are revealed to mankind by God to follow. Which process then drives more people to heaven? I guess a better choice is the one that saves more people from their sins. Sean would argue here, why a hell fire in the first place? OK, tell me then how criminals who get away of their bad deeds, serial killers for example, or head of states who order the torture and execution of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, or people of hate crimes that preach burning people alive, or drug dealers, how are they going to be prosecuted after death? Let them get away with it? No. I bet you remember some incident back in time, probably when you were a child, when you wished you could go back and just get even with the person who perpetrated some evil against you! Wouldn’t you wish justice to take place?

 

In all three religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, God is the creator and preserver of the universe. God is the sole ultimate power in the universe, but is distinct from it as by not appearing to human but through His books in words, only for Christianity; the claim of the concept of the personal God. If you are Christian, you probably would wish to see Jesus now since it happened that he walked the earth once. It has been over 2000 years since he lived on earth! He is not around? but He is always watching over His creation. Also God is personal in some attributes, for example, He speaks, sees, hears, acts, and loves. God also is primarily concerned with people and their salvation in all three religions. In the Quran for example, God constantly reminds people to watch out for themselves because He wants them to win back a paradise “as wide as the heavens and the earth”.

 

It is interesting to know from a theological point of view that Christians did revolt against the church in the 18th century, during the time of the Enlightenment (The age of Enlightenment). Their willingness to reform was miraculous and they were able to transform their spiritual affinity to a state of loyalty to logic and observation; the scientific revolution. This direction of thinking pulled the faith into further “thinning” of its sweet cake. The cake is still sweet, but the icing has melted! Many people now take Christianity as nothing but going to church on Sunday morning and more or less the terminology “Jesus Christ” when one needs to express his frustration! What is really interesting is that the reasoning that led to the scientific revolution is a range of ideas centered on reasoning as the primary source of authority and legitimacy. The scientific revolution came to advance ideas like liberty, progress, and tolerance. Most importantly it has reached the theological faith itself, including the heart of the ruling process; that is separation of the church and state. Questioning the Christian theology was also an important consequence that led to the diversion from the doctrine of Trinity by some groups. They founded churches based on unitary nature of God. But for many, the cake has not “melted” completely and its sweetness still remains in their tongues. Reasoning though was the primary motive to faith change. They simply rebelled against the church. NO TRINITY! They perceived Jesus as inspired by God in His moral teachings and as a savior, but as a human not as a deity. Those Anti-Trinitarian devoted Christians are not rebelling; instead they find comfort from within the Bible itself. One such comforting text is, “you received me as angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself .” (Bible- Gal 4:14) Indeed, that is exactly what Islam is about. The prophet of Islam is nothing but a human being “inspired through direct revelation” by God to tell people of their affairs-no God on earth. God is still up there watching. Unitarians fell short of the Islamic faith by further dropping some basic “religious” tenets, specifically the doctrines of original sin, predestination, punishment in an eternal hell and the infallibility of the book of God, which are all inherent in the Islamic faith.

[]Who Goes to Heaven?

It is troubling indeed to wonder why God would create human in the first place and then punish him for the bad he does. But it looks like that God created human out of love as He had him dwell happily in paradise until he sinned. For Abrahamic religions, God’s rule is that heaven for pure dwellers only, so He sends Adam to earth. In Islam, the angels offer to go to earth instead but the Lord teaches them that human can handle the earth better. God loves human and wanted to purify him before he could return to heaven. God multiplies by thousands the good deeds of humans but the bad deeds He keeps them un-multiplied. So, almost anyone will be able to return to heaven. The Lord’s two conditions are to believe in him first and that your good deeds exceed your bad ones. The latter may not be hard indeed with all of the multiplications of the good deeds and all of the ‘almost anything is identified as a good deed’ even a smile out of the blue to a homeless penniless person. The first condition still should not bother you since almost everybody believes in God. Ask a Buddhist or Himalayan who has lived all of his life in a cave, or a Sikh; a Muslim; a Jew; a Christian; a Hindu, almost any one believes in God, even the pagan Arabs in the old days claimed that they used to worship God. The Christian Catholic Church defines those who belong to the Abrahamic religions, including Muslims, will go to heaven. Here is article number 841 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”, see the Vatican site [3] This may not be the common view of ordinary Christians who mostly see that salvation must be in the person of Jesus Christ dogma.

 

Similarly, common Muslims take similar position with regard to who will go to heaven as common Christians. But let’s look how almost everyone will eventually go to paradise for eternity. The prophet says that, “even if you have an amount of a seed of mustard of belief (in God), God will ask His angles (in the hereafter) to look if anyone who has the smallest ever degree of belief in Him; to take him out of hell fire and put him in paradise.” [Hadith- Muslim] Some Muslims will claim that that is only for Muslims. I am sorry, but Muslims are supposed to truly “believe in God”, not just have an amount of a seed of mustard of belief. In Islam, your good deeds have to over-weigh your bad ones, which is not a big deal as good deeds will always multiply but bad ones will remain unchanged! I guess may be even some “incomplete” atheists will have this small amount of belief in God in some corners of their hearts and have done enough good deeds in their lifetime, then maybe they deserve to go to paradise; not excluding Sean of course!

 

Also, why do you think God wants you to worship Him, sometimes day and night if you wish to? You and I know that He is not in need of our sustenance. God says, “And I have not created the jinn and the men except that they should worship Me. I desire no sustenance from them, nor do I desire that they should feed Me. Surely Allah is the Bestower of sustenance, the Lord of Power, the Strong. ” [Quran- The Scatterers 51:56-58] What does He want from human then? May be the Lord loves human much and wants him to return to heaven pure. Worshiping the Lord is then another path to multiply his good deeds.

In Islam, God always not only multiplies good deeds by tens and hundreds and even by thousands but He also keeps bad deeds by their magnitudes and further wipes them out with good deeds. You end up with zero sins, only if you are a serial killer may be, or Bashar Al-Asad! If after all of this bounty from the Lord, your bad deeds over-weigh your good deeds, I think you definitely don’t deserve heaven! That is the salvation in Islam, multiplication of good deeds by thousands times.

 

But what about the verse in the Quran that quotes God as saying, “And if thy Lord had wished, He would have made people a single nation. And they cease not to differ; Except those on whom thy Lord has mercy; and for this did He create them. And the word of thy Lord is fulfilled: I shall fill hell fire with jinn and men, all together. ” [Quran- Hud 11:118]. Well, for those whose good deeds have surpassed their bad ones but some of their bad ones remained un-cleansed (some sins cannot be cleansed, such as associating partners to God or inflecting intentional harm on people); furthermore because no one will enter paradise impure, so, they will have to serve time in hell before they enter paradise pure! In Islam, everybody will approach hell fire, at least for some time, all be it for very little time, before they will go to heaven for eternity for that reason; to cleanse them pure, except that is scary for those who don't believe in life after death, read please “ And that those who believe not in the Hereafter, We have prepared for them a painful chastisement ”. [Quran- The Israelite 17:10] But who knows? Allah is the ultimate arbitrator and the most merciful. Read please, “ So by thy Lord! We shall certainly gather them (The injustice-doers) together with the devils, then We shall bring them around hell (in the Hereafter) on their knees. Then We shall draw forth from every sect those most rebellious against the Beneficent (the Lord). Then, We certainly know best those who deserve most to be burned therein. And there is not one of you (human) but shall come to it; an unavoidable decree of thy Lord. Then We shall save those who guarded themselves (from injustice), and leave the injustice-doers therein on their knees. ” [Quran- Mary 19:68-72] One can ask, under this bounty of God, is Bashar al-Assad going to be saved from hell fire if he believed in God; if he had (undoubtedly) the slightest amount of belief? Yes indeed, but what is a minute or so for us (hopefully), you and I, approaching hell fire compared to his billion-year-time dwelling in it? How about those who are backing him up? Are they going to be saved from hell fire? Yes indeed, but how about half a billion years dwell-time in hell fire? Lastly, is it fair by our side to judge people? Yes indeed. We are the people and we should judge others of their actions. We don't do that and those “wrong-doers” will sink the ship we are all boarding.

[]Who will be the Judge?

In Islam, you will be your own judge of what you have done during your lifetime. Read please what Allah says in the Quran, “And We have made every man’s actions to cling to his neck, and We shall bring forth to him on the day of Resurrection a book (of your actions) which he will find wide open. Read thy book. Thine own soul is sufficient as a reckoner against thee this day. [Quran- The Israelite 17:14] This will happen in the afterlife according to Islam, after the resurrection of humans and a new whole creation of earth and heavens will be made by God. It is time to be judged of what you have done in your life time. The book of your actions is recorded by two angels who accompany you every minute of your life.

[] Who was the Sacrifice: Ishmael or Isaac?

A divisive issue between the three great Abrahamic faiths is Abraham’s sacrificing his son. Is it Isaac as in Judaism or is it Ishmael as in Islam? Let’s look at it logically. In the Old Testament, it is mentioned that the boy was his father’s first son. Firstly, it is mentioned that Abraham got his first son, Ishmael when he was old. The story from Christian side tells it all. Sarah tells her husband to marry her maid Hagar to have children as Abraham knows he needs children to become a progenitor of nations, since ten years of living in the land of Canaan, no child of his had been born. When is it going to be then? They got married and got the first baby. What do you think then would his loved son be? The first one probably since he got it after a long wait with Sarah in no vein. Ask anyone who had no children for long time and suddenly he gets the first baby. He will be sky-high happy. The story continues in the Bible; and Sarah asks her husband to get rid of the baby and his mom! Please read this in Genesis 21:6-21l; “And Sarah said, ‘God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.’ And she said, ‘Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.’ And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. So she said to Abraham, ‘Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.’”. Why do you think that happened? Jealousy may be? If that is so, is that appropriate of Sarah who even offered her husband a wife to please him so the “prophet-hood” shall continue after his death? Besides, why would Ishmael be annoying to his little brother and he is the righteous one as by the same narration. It is natural that Abraham loved his first son. Abraham takes his son, Ishmael, and his mom and sends them away in the desert as by God’s order, you know the rest. Also, could that be really a divine order to send a child and his mom to the desert to simply please Sarah, or is it a divine order to prepare his prophet, Ishmael, for great tests, as reported in the Islamic faith? Secondly , it is really very unlikely that an order by God to kill a little child is even moral. A child! One tradition says the event occurred very soon after he was weaned (Bible- Genesis 21:8). The story goes; Abraham gets a knife and takes his little one Isaac to the mountain to slaughter him. In Islam though, the son was Ishmael, and was not little. He was a “young man” who would go to work along with his dad in the fields, as stated in the Quran. He was old enough to understand that was an order by God. Ishmael was asked by his father that he should sacrifice him by God’s order. Ishmael understands God’s order and obeys and submits. Both are tested and especially Ismael who was being readied by the Lord with this test to carry the burden of “prophet-hood” as his brothers. His descendants made a great multiplication in the desert as per the Bible itself. See, to carry a great burden like carrying the word of God on your shoulders and deliver it during your prophet-hood time is a great task and you need to be qualified. Every prophet endured similar tests to acquire a great tolerance and utmost submission to the Lord. Ishmael passed the test by submitting to his father and laid down for him to be killed. He is ready then for the great burden and the great coming hardship.

 

That incident means no human sacrifice is allowed and let it be an animal instead. In contrast though to the Christian doctrine, “Jesus is the lamb of God”. The sacrifice of the son of God replaced the lamb! The incident is of high significance as human sacrifice is still being practiced for a number of purposes especially in Africa; mostly a practice of faith background. Here is fresh news on the subject from BBC, Mar 6, 2017 “Police in the south Indian state of Karnataka have arrested three people in connection with the ‘human sacrifice’ of a 10-year-old girl. Police told BBC-Hindi that the child was killed on the instructions of a ‘sorcerer’ to ‘cure’ a paralyzed man. The alleged sorcerer told them it was the only way to undo ‘black magic’ affecting their sibling, police said. It is important to mention here that sorcery is un-tolerated in the Islamic faith.

People, some are scholars, do come up with different ways to rationalize the idea of sacrifice for some cause. The Lord here then declares, then be it an animal. And in Islam indeed some rituals do require an animal-sacrifice, most notably at the end of the Hajj-pilgrimage ceremony, with the condition that the meat goes for the poor.

[]How Old Can You Get?

How old can some people get? How many people have you seen over a 100 years old? In the Bible as well as in the Quran, it is mentioned that people lived really for very long! In the Bible, “Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born, and Sarah was past 90. Isaac was 180 years old when he died, and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.” (Bible- Genesis 35:28–29). “Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years.” (Bible- Genesis 25:7). Noah lived 950 years, according to both the Bible and the Quran! The Bible records a progressive decline in the life span of people during the 1,000 years following the flood; from Noah who lived to be 950 years old until Abraham at 175 years old. I wonder though if the flood was a cosmological event that caused both the flood and the period of the earth around the sun to increase, while the life span of people itself didn't change much in terms of time (hours and seconds). Science even reveals that humans have increased their life span, opposite to what we see in the scriptures! The proposed cosmological event is logical then; say if some large asteroid swept close past our planet and transferred some of its gravitational energy to it pushing it farther away from the sun. The cosmological object could be the earth's moon itself; a wandering planet that united with earth without actual physical collision. The moon could have been, for example, a primary planet with its orbit larger than that of the earth itself, but it happened that their orbits almost crossed at one point of time, which allowed both to combine as one object and thereby their new moon-earth object were pushed away from the sun and had a common larger orbit. Let's say it took the new orbit sometime to stabilize, during which the size of the orbit took its final shape, and during that period people's life span decreased proportionally. That is fair though as one wonders why, not long ago, just a couple of thousand years ago, people used to live much longer. That is not fair that they lived much longer than us and still stand the same divine trial as we do! If the cosmological event is true, then that is a confirmation by science to Biblical and Quranic accounts of people's affairs. Here is a nice analysis of a predicted event for the great flood from National Geographic “The comet of 1680 would inspire one of Newton’s closest colleagues and friends: the mathematician William Whiston, whose intricate calculations would bring him fame in Europe. This comet, he declared, had passed close to Earth thousands of years ago—so close, in fact, that the comet had doused our world with water from its tail and exerted enough gravitational force to pull forth oceans from beneath our planet’s crust. In short, Whiston concluded, the same comet seen by incredulous sky-watchers in the 17th century also unleashed the epic rainfall and great flood that had cleansed the Earth of sinners in Biblical times.” (National Geographic, Dec 30, 2016) Any real impact would definitely have left a devastating consequences, but only if the giant object passed by and transferred energy to earth, thereby increasing the size of the orbit. Increasing the size of the orbit means our year has more days and hours. Nevertheless the temperature probably was higher due to the closeness to the sun, but hopefully a less greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide made it cooler. I guess there were no cars 3-4 thousand years ago. Hey, science and religion can work themselves out. I bet Sean still favors science, no religion even if such a theory works out.

[]Who is a Muslim?

There are many different schools of thought of the Islamic faith. Some of them are really off the basic tenets of the religion. As known, the basic two subdivisions of the religion is Shiite and Sunni. But many others emerged throughout Islamic history and many disintegrated by time, but others survived. In 2004, King Abdullah II of Jordan called on the Muslims in the world to unite under one term that defines who a Muslim is. In Jordan of that year the “Amman message” was issued and signed by 200 Islamic scholars from over 50 countries.

 

During the sermon of delivering the Amman message, the following was stressed, “The need to re-emphasize Islam’s core values of compassion, mutual respect, tolerance, acceptance and freedom of religion.” Indeed, that is the basis of the Muslims’ religion.

 

The message was a statement calling for tolerance and unity in the Muslim world and defined who a Muslim is and is not, and defined the principles related to delivering religious rulings “fatwas”. I quote from King Abdallah’s speech where he stated why the Muslim world needs such a signed statement, “We felt that the Islamic message of tolerance was being subjected to a fierce and unjust attack from some in the West who do not understand Islam’s essence, and others who claim to be associated with Islam and hide behind Islam to commit irresponsible deeds”. Notice that the king realized the need to free the Islamic faith from external and internal threats by those who claim a share of the faith but actually in a way or another are implanted in the faith to cause confusion and destruction by their ill-intentions. He wanted them identified and excluded from the body of the religion. Indeed, these threats contribute greatly to the state of hatred and thereby paving a path for extremism.

 

In Amman, the scholars unanimously issued a ruling on three fundamental issues (which became known as the ‘Three Points of the Amman Message’):

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. They specifically recognized the validity of all 8 Mathhabs (legal schools) of Sunni, Shi’a and Ibadhi Islam; of traditional Islamic Theology ; of Islamic Mysticism (Sufism), and of true Salafi thought, and came to a precise definition of who is a Muslim.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Based upon this definition they forbade takfir (declarations of apostasy) between Muslims.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Based upon the Mathahib they set forth the subjective and objective preconditions for the issuing of fatwas, thereby exposing ignorant and illegitimate edicts in the name of Islam.

 

Indeed, too many fatwas from too many sources are misleading. The message of Amman is probably the most important event happened in the modern Islamic world. But still it falls short to limit crevices of which Islam can be interpreted in a “twisted-way”. This is the most important in the message, “subjective and objective preconditions for the issuing of fatwas”. But we really need a strong single institute to follow up with it. Too many institutes will disagree on too many issues. We need an accessible Establishment that represents everyone and that can decide on the final rulings concerning issues of the religion. If fatwas are centralized, no one can claim a share of his own twisted interpretation and most importantly, there will always be a party which will be publically questioned when a case builds up of some sort. Currently, the establishment is scattered all around the globe and no one specific party can be identified as the “mother” party that everybody else may abide with its rulings. Currently, too many existing parties making fatwas, means conflicting rulings that obviously confuse the public. This may seem an artificial problem, but in reality it will always surface whenever we are looking for a solution to some religion-problem.

[] The Book of Muslims-The Quran

The Quran is the Muslims’ divine book; the words of the Lord in Arabic language believed to be spoken to Prophet Muhammad directly by the angel Gabriel. Some Muslims believe that Arabic language is a divine language; as if God prepared its “evolution” in such a way that it would accept the “providence” of a divine revelation in the body of the Quran. Indeed, the Arabic language is very sophisticated in terms of its poetic and rhetoric ability to rhyme along with meaningful expressions. But is it a divine language? May be not! Nowhere in the Quran or the Hadith has it said that it is a divine language. In the Quran though, Allah announces that Arabic is a great language, read please, “The Faithful Spirit (Angel Gabriel) has brought it (the Quran); On thy heart that thou mayest be a warner; In plain, (clear and strong meaningful) Arabic language; And surely the same is in the Scriptures of the ancients. [Quran, the Poets 26; 194-196]. Here, “surely the same is in the scriptures of the ancients” means that all scriptures preceding the Quran had a purpose of warning people by prophets and perhaps revealed with the same level of linguistic power. Meaning, previous revelations used different languages to reveal the truth and pass the word of God.

 

In the Quran, God reveals His talking with human. It is sorted from longest chapters to shortest. There are many small chapters which you can finish reading in less than 15 seconds to a minute-time. Probably the sorting of the chapters and the shortness of the small chapters are important for people to handle a book that contains 114 chapters and 77439 word count. The number of the verses is 6236. Many of those verses are naturally memorized by every Muslim. This is simply what you need to read from, about ten times in the five-every day prayers that Muslims have to do as a must. The short ones are easy to memorize for those who have bad span memory. The rule to read from those verses every day in your prayer is probably one of the reasons why too many people memorize much if not all of the holy book by heart. It is believed that is the process of how the book of Allah has been reserved in the first period of the Islamic era; in the hearts and the memories of the believers. Many of the names of the chapters in the Quran have names of life’s nature such as, The Cow, The Ant, The Bees, The spider, The Woman, The People, The Repentance, The Thunder, The Israelite, The Divorce, The Kingdom, The Food, etc. That is probably because the Quran speaks to people of their daily life affairs directly as the first source of law drafting.

 

Also, Allah reveals in the Quran that He explained everything in it. This is also an indication that the faith is all-inclusive and can be put as a constitution to govern. Here is what Allah says, “And We made the night and the day two signs, then We have made the sign of the night to pass away and We have made the sign of the day manifest, so that you may seek grace from your Lord, and that you may know the numbering of years and the reckoning. And We have explained everything with distinctness .” [Quran- The Israelite 17:12]

 

Important to note that the prophet reportedly had designated scribes who used to write down the Quranic verses on parchment sheets. So, it is also believed that the Quran was written down as soon as it was revealed and thus it was reserved in memory as well as physically. Muslims believe that the Quran was verbally revealed by God to Prophet Muhammad via the angel Gabriel. This was done spanning a period of 23 years and started when the prophet was forty years old until the year he died. The Quran was later compiled as one book by the third Caliph Uthman, but was collected under the auspices of committee of four senior ranking Companions and was kept by the first Caliph Abu Bakr and after his death by his successor, Caliph Umar. The process of how the Quran was physically and spiritually stored is believed by Muslims to have stored the authenticity of the word of God till the present day. Of those original manuscripts, may be none survived till this time, but there are manuscripts that date back to the early times of the Islamic era and are reserved in different locations around the world. There is one of particular interest, owned by the University of Birmingham, which was radiocarbon dated in 2015 between AD 568 and 645.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birmingham Quranic manuscript

 

The proposed radiocarbon date for the manuscript is historically significant, as the prophet Muhammad lived from AD 570 to 632, and it conforms to the reported compilation and canonization of the version of the Quran, accepted and used by all Muslims worldwide, by the third Caliph, Uthman who took office of the Islamic Caliphate twelve years after the prophet’s death.

[] Perfection of the Writing of the Book

Of course, any religion would strive to convince its followers of the perfection of its book. A book of a divine origin means the perfection of the sayings of God. So, how words are perfected? They are words said by the Lord but written by human. Meaning devised and engineered by the Lord using man’s language. It is not very convincing that the words of the Lord are devised and engineered by human to reflect the exact divine meaning they were intended to reflect by God, as human is imperfect no matter what. In Islam, words of the Quran, as claimed by Muslims, were “descended” by the angel Gabriel to the prophet and designed by the prophet. The prophet would instruct his specially chosen “book-writers” to write down the words of God. The prophet had a good number of scribes reportedly between 26 and 42, who were available to him for writing the book of God on parchments. After the death of the prophet, the Quran was ordered by the second Caliph to be collected as pieces and organized in one book, two copies of it. Later more copies were produced and distributed. The Quran then, according to the Muslims, is the exact words of God and not “replica”, designed by humans, and therefore subject to the imperfection of wording that characterizes humans as compared to the perfection of words when engineered by the Lord Himself. In contrast, in Christianity, “God wrote the Bible using as His pens about 40 different people, most of whom did not know each other, over a period spanning some 1,600 years. Yet their works fit together with perfection, like a commercial airliner whose parts, produced all over the world, fit together with engineered perfection”, – quoted. So, those people designed and engineered the wordings of the Bible, but infallibly inspired by the Lord. In Islam, this approach may create multitude of misunderstanding of the faith, and that is exactly what led to a great difference in opinion when it came to interpreting the Sunnah, the words and actions of the prophet. As mentioned, the prophet was the “walking human” of God’s words; compare-in Christianity as Jesus was the walking human of the person of God himself. The Sunnah is also written in books, but designed by words of humans, the scholars of the religion. All along, this has been the ultimate struggle for all faiths to convince their followers of the truthfulness of the source of the faith: the book, or interpretation of it. The trend was the alleged infallibility of those who interpret it. With the passage of time, series of infallible people at the top of the establishment have to claim that honor. For Christianity, it is the papacy system. For Shiites, it is the infallible Imam-ship system. For the Sunnah people, it is the “faith-establishment”. It is important to note that in the Islamic faith the words of the book, the Quran, are not to be re-designed by human, nor for it to be written in any other language and be claimed as the exact words of God, but instead as a translation to the best knowledge of the translator. That is by the order of Allah. The obvious reason is not that humans are untrustworthy, out of being devious, but they are actually incompetent for the job; in other words, no human is infallible. The words of God have to remain perfect.

 

Great differences of opinion emerge in interpreting the meaning of what the prophet did or said, since scholars are human and prone to making mistakes. Almost all of the internal struggles in the Islamic religion stem from that avenue. In that regard, as where scholars have left some gaps, the interpretation of the Sunnah is far from being subjected to the same perfection as the “divine book”. It is only the collective collaboration from everyone that might elucidate crevices of weakness to be rectified and accepted by all Muslims. Why not get help from non-Muslims expert as well? Believe me; help from outside the shell of the faith also does some good. Scholars on the top of the establishment don’t have to abide with anyone’s opinion, only to be enlightened with it. Their “parliamentary establishment” has the final word on the subject in hand. Interpreting an “authentic” Sunnah is the source of misunderstanding in the Islamic faith. That is why scholars always stressed it when there is a difference in opinion it is the book of Allah is to be taken as the last resort to recover the truth and resolve any dispute.

 

In the Quran, when a piece of Quranic scripture is not completely understood or when it contains a mystery of some sort, it is usually left alone as, “God knows best of the meaning of that”. Why? Because of the belief that those words are God’s, and you better not express your opinion there if you don’t understand the verse! That is why the book always has to be used in the language it was revealed with, the Arabic language, even when passages are used during prayers, to keep the words of God intact as engineered by him. Again, any use of the Quran in any other language is nothing but a translation to it for non-Arabs to understand the Quran according to the understanding of the translator. All Muslims must convene to one version of the Arabic Quran believed to be the words of God. Any attempt to tamper with the words of God by any means has always been confronted with firmness.

 

Yes indeed it is a gross mistake when Muslims reflect ill-intention upon those who wrote the Bible and accuse them of fabrication to suit the Quranic scripture. The “war” of who is right and who is wrong only exaggerates differences. It is in the heart of Islam’s approach to other faiths is to accept others’ differences in belief as is and that it is for the others to practice their faith with no heart feeling from the Muslim side. It is for all of believers to strive to understand their own religion and resolve “misunderstandings”, and this goes for us Muslims as well.

[] Cessation of Divine Intervention-Must Adapt Religion

Under Islam, prophet-hood is terminated after the Lord has perfected an everlasting religion and promised to keep it alive for ever, a sign of a must-to-adapt character of the religion. The high degree of adaptation in Islam is mostly theoretically stated in many corner of the religion which points to a crevice relating the theory to reality. That crevice is clear from the resilience of some Muslims to practically accept differences and deal with their believes as part of a new era of globalization of human’s free will to do and choose, even though early Muslims used this same claim to give themselves the right to split from the Polytheistic society of the pagan Arabs. A global religion needs a great deal of tolerance and acceptance of others, an attribute Islam in theory carries a great deal of. Christianity also proclaims a sign, not clearly stated in the religion, of a cessation of divine intervention by claiming the coming of Jesus in person to earth to straighten out sin forever. Since religion is ethics, Islam claims that it perfected the needed, everlasting ethics without any further divine intervention. But, is keeping the very old, unethical, and very ugly human-to-human domination alive and everlasting as part of its everlasting ethics? Slavery is the utmost human-to-human domination that Islam didn’t plainly outlaw. May be Islam did outlaw the ugly practice in principle but what is misunderstood in the religion is the perfection of such attributes by the process of their institutionalization as laws as part of the rising of a ruling system of which Islam left for societies as part of the free will to choose. All signs in Islam point toward that the religion is open to adaptation of the concept of “evolution” of the basics of ethics by which an ugly practice, defined by the faith as unethical, naturally takes the path of extension by virtue of the unethical definition by the faith. It is ironic though that such move has been only accepted by Muslims when the west pressured them to do so as in the case of outlawing slavery in the sixties.

Islam is a Great Religion, Where did Some Muslims Go Wrong?

Make no doubt Islam is a great religion as history reveals so. It started from a land of Nomads where water is extremely scarce and in almost no time spread everywhere in the world. Nobody would argue that there were times when the Islamic world was at the top in pursuing the truth about the existence of the physical meaning of the universe, physical exorbitance of humans and the relationship between them. A renowned cosmologists, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tayson, praises Islamic scientific advancements at one time in history and apparently blaming Muslim clerks in blocking the scientific advancement by giving specific interpretation of some verses of the Quran. Specifically he cites the clerk Hamid Al-Ghazali as doing so by declaring that numbers are the work of Satin. Indeed, some of Islamic scholars’ interpretations may be very influential in the minds of the public and succeeding scholars. It is our job as Muslims to identify weak crevices from which such erroneously determined ruling is derived and correct it. One can cite many similar erroneously derived rulings that still resonate in people’s heads. The great influence that a ruling makes on the public coming from a great scholar has a great impact on people’s behavior indeed. Here is a little biography of Al-Ghazali from Wikipedia;

 

“Was a Muslim theologian, jurist, philosopher, and mystic of Persian descent. Al-Ghazali has been referred to by some historians as the single most influential Muslim after the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Within Islamic civilization he is considered to be a re-newer of the faith. His works were so highly acclaimed by his contemporaries that al-Ghazali was awarded the honorific title “Proof of Islam” (Hujjat al-Islam). Others have cited his opposition to certain strands of Islamic philosophy as a detriment to Islamic scientific progress, although he argued for the separation of philosophy and science. Besides his work that successfully changed the course of Islamic philosophy—the early Islamic Neoplatonism that developed on the grounds of Hellenistic philosophy, for example, was so successfully criticized by al-Ghazali that it never recovered—he also brought the orthodox Islam of his time in close contact with Sufism (mainly ritualistic school of thought in the faith). It became increasingly possible for individuals to combine orthodox theology and Sufism, while adherents of both camps developed a sense of mutual appreciation that made sweeping condemnation of one by the other increasingly problematic”

 

Clerk Al-Ghazali’s association of Satin with numbers had a great influence of declining science in the historic Islam as claimed by some Islamic historians. It is obviously an example of an “unhealthy” interpretation of some great scholars pertaining to religion and influencing its positive impact on peoples’ lives. That is the door that we should make really wide open for scholarly investigation and re-assessment of some venues in the religion. Those doors didn’t only adversely influence the advancement of science in the Islamic era but also adversely affected some of the basic and supplementary rules in Islamic religion that some of which may have led to radicalism.

 

Here are Dr. Tayson’s words from one of his shows online; he says, “Not all stars have names but two thirds of those that do have names, have Arabic names. You might say, how did this come to pass? Where did that come from? Because you think of the Middle East now and you are not saying these are folks naming stars. You go back a thousand years, 800 – 1100 AC. In that period which generally called the golden age of Islam, Islamic science, true golden age. There was no greater golden age in the history of the world before or after when you look at the some advances that came out of that period, in Baghdad. Algebra was invented in that period. Algebra is itself an Arabic word. Algorithm is an Arabic word. Our numerals are Arabic numerals. Ever wondered why they are called Arabic numerals? In that period, mathematics took great leaps. In math, agriculture, engineering, medicine, navigation. Navigation! Navigation! Star math are made to assist navigation. It all stopped. It ended. If you are historian, typically you are focused on history as marked by changes of kings and leaders and wars. That is the lens for which many historians look at the past. If you ask some people, so the Mongols sacked Baghdad that is why all that ended. If that was the only force operating, then later when Islamic culture rose, you would still see this tradition of scientific innovation. But it has not recovered. It has not come back at all, compared to what is going on in those three hundred years. And what you do, you read the writings of Al-Ghazali, who was a Muslim clerk, and he was to Islam what St. Augustine was to Christianity. What he did was he taught you how to be a good Muslim. He taught you how to read the Quran and how to obey the commands of it. Back then, people were just interpreting it for themselves. He interpreted the Quran and he said, this is how you must do it. First you must have social influence, and political and cultural influence. And basically his interpretation took over. And in that interpretation, it included the perspective that the manipulation of numbers is the work of the devil. This cuts the knee caps out of any mathematical advances that would unfold. Math is the language of the universe. If you take out of your personal equation you no longer contribute to the advance of human understanding of the universe. And that absence of Muslim presence in the frontier of science persists to this day…….”

[] Who can Issue a Religious Ruling “fatwa”?

In Islam, no one can issue a ruling without qualification, and no one can issue a judgment without qualification as well. It is essential that those who issue fatwas have excellent moral character, and most importantly are qualified since rulings have a tremendous impact on the lives of people. Allah says in the Quran, “Say: Tell me what Allah has sent down for you of sustenance, then you make (part) of it unlawful and (part) lawful. Say: Has Allah commanded you, or do you forge a lie against Allah? ” [Quran- Jonah 10:59] While Shariah is “divine revelation”, fiqh is the human inference of Shariah. For both, a fatwa is to be drawn as a religious ruling.

Here is a quote from the Islamic Supreme Council of America, [4] It is not allowed for anyone to give a fiqh explanation (fatwa), except one who knows the Holy Quran completely including what verses are abrogated and by which verses they were abrogated, and which verses resemble each other in the Quran and whether a chapter was revealed in Makkah or Medina. He must know the entire corpus of the Hadith of the Prophet, both those which are authentic and those which are false. He must know the Arabic language of the time of the Prophet with its grammar and eloquence as well as know the poetry of the Arabs. Additionally he must know the culture of the various peoples who live in each different nation of the community. If a person has all such attributes combined in him, he may speak on what is permitted (halal) and what is forbidden (haram). Otherwise he has no right to issue a fatwa.”

Well, sorry, this is like saying, to speak whether the sun rotates around the moon or the moon rotates around the sun you have to know every color of every element in the periodic table and the color of every compound in “Chemistry” and what color of the fume that compound will give off if poured on every rock on earth or on the moon for “Geology” and what color of a rock a comet should be to destroy the earth in case of an impact with earth for “Physics” and what color was the rock that made the comet that brought life to earth for “Biology”, and... Unfortunately, to “know” is different than to understand and to comprehend. As a priori, you should know, but there are many, many people who know. Why should we exclude them? Why should we not encourage them to speak of issues concerning their faith? Yes there are rules of course and they have to know them. I am sorry but people still don't know the difference between those who know, meaning know the subject as an abstract one, and those who know, comprehend, reflect on the subject and decipher its “quantum meaning”; those who understand the dynamics of the subject and its variant meanings. And that is by no means to be restricted to the few of the scholars that are classified as highly and all-knowledgeable. I am sorry, but we should differentiate between the “science” of religion and natural sciences. In the science of religion, almost everybody knows his religion and many are indeed highly knowledgeable. In science, say physics, only those who are expert in the field who really can do highly valuable research and rule on physics matters. That is mostly because very few want to be physicists, but all want to know their religion. But we want our faith scholars to be Einstein-like to issue rulings! Religion is not physics. Religion is easy to understand and comprehend unlike physics which is an abstract subject. If religion was hard to understand, God would not equate punishment to all people from all different backgrounds for the same sin; it would be unfair by the Lord! As a matter of fact, almost every Muslim understands his religion pretty well as the prophet explained, “The religion is easy...” [Hadith- Bukhari] and the only thing that makes some people radicalize is because of the existing internal division which is mainly due to the religious chaos and the missing of a central authority over traditional Muslim scholars. Those traditional scholars do know and deserve to be listened to, but the faith-establishment is absent to sort out stuff and approve or disapprove. Those traditional scholars are from the common people and they will always issue their own fatwas for themselves and for others. Once in a while one of them will declare himself a Caliph and will draw many people around him! The establishment is confusing who is of enough knowledge to learn from. May be misunderstanding this verse from the Quran that blocks the way to extend the hand for traditional scholars for help; read please, “We did not send (any prophet) before you except as men to whom We revealed —ask the people of remembrance (of knowledge of previous revelations: The Jews and Christians—to tell you of only men-prophets that God always sent and not angels) if you do not know. ” [Quran- The Bee 16:43] The prevailing opinion is then only people of great, great, great knowledge can have their say!

It is narrated that one of the greatest scholars of Shariah, Abd al-Raħmān ibn Abi Laila said: “I was able to meet with one hundred and twenty of the Companions of the prophet. Every one of these companions was asked about specific Shariah issues, seeking a verdict, but they avoided rendering a decision, instead pointing to another companion to issue the answer. They were afraid to give an answer that would be incorrect for which they would be responsible before Allah.” Those companions of the prophet declined from expressing their opinion for fear of making a mistake and sinning. What a waste of knowledge! They practically lived along with the prophet.

Here, obvious is the struggle to optimize the Islamic laws as seen by the prophet. The struggle is not in the heart of the systems of our modern societies. The idea is, no matter how brilliant or subject-specialized are the people who are in charge to draw conclusions, the general public can help if consulted. Yes indeed, specialization in a subject is required to qualify for judgment on a subject, but it is not the only one. Criminals for example become very specialized, we should exclude them. And actually that was the trend when the Hadith was collected, compiled and interpreted. Learning to decipher which Hadith was authentic and which one was a lie, was what the whole science of Hadith about, and from the Hadith and the Quran, great ever knowledgeable scholars have deduced the “science” of our religion as we see it today. Needless to say, this science has not been sealed off and new “adventures” will always open up doors to better understand it. Our early scholars pursued utmost authenticity of the Hadith and dedicated their lives to decipher it. But let’s say the scholar is most “knowledgeable” and most pious, is he immune from making mistakes? We are here talking about pinning out mistakes. Why would not the public be consulted? The issue here is a trust issue. Do we trust the general traditional scholars from the public to issue fatwa? Yes indeed that should be the case. The prophet consulted specific people on some matters, in most occasions he would direct the question to all and he would listen to all. The trust issue is a problem. If we are afraid of criminals, criminals’ percentage is way too small to influence the outcome of any judgment. At the time of the prophet, there were hypocrites and still the prophet would address all. The judgment is a cumulative opinionated result which always outweighs the individualized negative outcome. Self-correction is also a primary moving factor for mass consultation, since mass consultation is open where people consult each other. So, what is so scary about it? Why do we have to always lean to the side of individualization of matters, on the basis that the chosen individual would not err for his wide wisdom and the comprehensive understanding of the faith that he has accumulated, as opposed to globalization, where everyone participates with his own opinion? Even the prophet used to openly consult on matters of issues in the religion, since the religion is totally inclusive worldly matters. Of course there is a distinction among matters that are open for consultation and those which we had the door closed on them. Those of divine direct Quranic instructions or prophetic instructions are left untouched. But those of explanatory nature are to be consulted for, and the public should not be excluded. How about this; whenever a “fatwa” is issued by a specialized scholar or even a body of scholars, it shouldn’t be passed as a law unless it is backed by the public. The public here is the collective opinion of traditional scholars. People will argue, OK, but fatwas are not obligatory to follow, it is just an opinion. That is indeed the main problem and the greatest crevice of all. People will follow fatwas no matter what! This way fatwas are the means for division, radicalization and ultimately will lead to internal struggles of which we have seen only devastation.

But when and how is an unbinding fatwa going to be passed as a law? It is indeed already a law since followers of the clerk who issued it will follow it. Of course, sharing of knowledge will prevail. For example, I have friends whom I know they know or I have my local scholars, whom I trust to consult, and above all, I have my mind and I have the right to say. This way, judgments are optimized. We are inclined to demean ourselves by excluding ourselves from decision sharing. Of course, red lines have to be drawn. Meaning, Shariah laws that pertain to “A’geedah- the tenants of the religion” are untouchable. Laws that pertain to performance of rituals are untouchable, like how you pray, how you conduct Hajj, and how you perform Zakat etc. In many of the rituals there is a great deal of leniency, so, you choose what suits you, no harm in that. Common faith-establishment then should draw the red lines. Ninety nine percent of the already passed ones will face no objection from the public what so ever, but the one percent left makes all the difference. That is a revolution from the establishment side to share, acknowledge other opinions and document them. So far, the establishment has dictated the system of rule-making for so many years and in many occasions it failed to deliver the right choice throughout history, and believe me our Islamic world has always been a hot spot for disputes.

Christopher Houston (a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia) asserts: “Indeed, the logic of the Shariah law, with its minimal number of clear interdictions, and maximal scope for the interpretative extension of key precepts to particular situations, means that any freezing of the ulama’s (Islamic nation) ‘arbitrary’ decisions arises not so much from the essential characteristics of the Shariah, but from the historic institutionalizing of a particular legal tradition or method of exegesis or from the hegemony of a particular interpretation. Whether this lack of institutional and conceptual closure ironically encourages modern Islamist states or groups to force such closure is another question. Paradoxically, the provisionality of law-making allows some Islamist groups to interpret the Quran as affirming a radical negation of human autonomy”. [5]

The path for some youth for radicalization would be minimized had they been consulted. Consulting means they are allowed to give their opinion, which in no means that their opinion should be the correct one, but then it would not pass by the establishment. That way at least they would feel they are worthy to be a productive part of the wider faith community by having their say. This way they wouldn’t rebel against the establishment and take matters into their own hands. That is why mostly radical groups emerge. They accuse the establishment of wrong doing by ignoring some issues or even by wrong decision-making, even if their attitude toward the establishment is not openly expressed, still they have it in their hearts. The faith is very clear and open indeed. If so, then let the public have its say in matters of concern. How about starting with disputed matters? With disputed matters, we have many different opinions from different scholars and the public is really confused. Dar El-Fatwa (The house of fatwa-institution) expresses the opinion of the few. Many don’t follow their fatwas and not necessarily openly object. Those have the potential to radicalize. The establishment truly regrets the fact that some of the Muslim youths are being radicalized, but cannot change the situation in that regard unless they give the public a share of the decision-making. The problem is that the establishment objects to sharing some decision-making with the public fearing ignorance from the public side regarding the matter in hand. As a matter of fact, radicalization is not localized, which means there is something wrong at the establishment level. In societies like ours, many in the population are highly knowledgeable of their faith. Most of the Imams of the very many mosques we have are indeed very knowledgeable. Believe me, many PhD’s know the stuff they are specialized in but fail to deliver a correct solution to a problem sometimes even they are highly ranked in their field. It is not just how much you know, which the first requirement to be a judge, but your capability to discern matters correctly. How about you flunk in that regard once in a while? It is a human nature to flunk sometimes. If I know every rule on earth but I am not able to identify an apple as an apple, but I identify it as an orange instead, I am then way too off and my ruling is absolutely to no avail. Some people in charge of issuing fatwas on TV speaking in parrot-like talking in a repetitive manner and some of them even stutter extensively when they speak. We all know stories of top clerks who issued fatwas that went bluntly against basic science. It doesn’t mean the clerk is not highly knowledgeable. It only means the he made a mistake, nothing to be ashamed of.

The establishment people are in a state of shock and asking, what is wrong with our kids? Why are some being radicalized? Don’t our kids know that taking a life unlawfully is a high on the importance scale sin? The truth is that our kids know it, but they are rebelling! They are rebelling against the establishment itself and taking matters into their own hands. They are saying, hey, we know too. We are not ignorant and we seek to take action. There are rules that can abolish others under certain circumstances in the Islamic faith and there is a lot then under the carpet that they would use to justify their actions. Here we go. Blow myself up in a busy market, you know, they are all unbelievers and I help the community to get rid of them and I will go straight to heaven. What am I waiting for? The establishment has to do some reform for our kids not to be radicalized and then head toward extremism. The truth also is that the establishment itself is not a unity at all. Al-Azhar institution, for example, is the one that issues fatwas in Egypt. They have done contradicting fatwas with other parts of the establishment elsewhere. Sometimes contradicting fatwas are issued by the same establishment division! The youth know it well and they are taking action on their own. They are rebelling!

To counteract the rebellion of our youth against the establishment, we need to understand the roots of the problem. It is indeed the incompetence of the exact mechanism of how the establishment works. The public recognizes the fact that the establishment as it stands can make mistakes and the hierarchical structure of it does not allow external observers to participate in the correction method. The establishment itself is not capable of self-correction of its mistakes. Why then not get help from outside the establishment? The public can help. Again, the public represents the overall opinion of traditional scholars.

Here is a great saying of the prophet that will set the matter straight. The prophet says, “The legal and the illegal (matters) are clearly expressed (in the religion) and there are “unclear” matters hang in between them; whoever indulges in them falls in the illegal….” It means if you target the unclear you most certainly go astray and decide on the wrong. The prophet wants you to avoid picking up the “unclear” and make your stand on them. Pick the clear, straight-shot ones. The unclear, gray ones are what I call “crevices” throughout the book. Those crevices are taken seriously sometimes by people and then they judge on matters on their own. Ironically, even scholars make mistakes and do stand on crevices sometimes to make a judgment and the public has to follow their rulings “fatwas”. I must add, if the numbers of “knowledgeable” people who participate to draft the fatwas greatly increase, by letting the public have a share, crevices can be identified and avoided. That is the goal, to open up a door of investigation by people of “knowledge”; those who are identified as traditional scholars, to identify as many crevices as possible. What is more important is that the establishment itself admits that crevices are there and we need to identify them. The time to rely on the few is well gone after the prophet had died.

[] Why the Muslim World is a Third World?

I have watched a lecture some time ago by Dr. Al-Qaradawi, one of the influential Muslim clerks in the Muslim world, and an Egyptian Islamic theologian. He is the head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. al-Qaradawi-Syrian Civil War, May 2013

 

In his talk he was angrily describing how the Muslim individual is lazy, very unproductive. He tells in the talk; I went to a conference in Germany in the mid-eighties. On my way I was very disturbed as the streets were completely empty. I asked the driver, where is everyone? Why are people not on the streets? The driver replied, they are all at work. On his way back in the evening, he was surprised that, unlike in the Muslim world, the streets are still pretty empty. He asks the driver one more time, where are the people? The driver replied; they are all home. They went home to rest after a long working day and probably watching some news on TV, preparing for the next working day. That answers his inquiry of why the western individual is much more productive than the Muslim one, rationalizing that because of the personality of the Muslims. I am sorry my dearest scholar of all times, but that was not the case in the boom period between 800-1100 AC of the Islamic world. Dr. al-Qaradawi continues; the employee in our countries only truly works an hour or so during his working day. The rest of the day goes for gossiping, coffee and tea. That is why he is absolutely unproductive. He asks the audience, why in Germany they manufacture everything, and what do we do? We import their cars. Can you tell me what do we manufacture in the car we import? Not even a screw in it. Why, he asks? Here, I agree with Dr. Tayson’s assessment in the previous section. Dear Dr. al-Qaradawi, with all of my due respect to you and all of the admiration of your wide knowledge and expertise in Islamic theology people have placed in you, there is something missing in our inter-relational understanding of faiths at the international level. It is the establishment that takes a big share of the responsibility. There is a missing lead that we don’t understand. Obviously, the establishment didn’t do good enough to identify the infection of laziness. Corruption infests the Islamic world, even though the faith puts corruption way high on the importance scale. Our youth also mix corruption with faith. They are confused. That is another path for rebellion of the youth that sends them to radicalism. The chair of the International Union of Muslim Scholars does not understand why corruption infests our communities nor does he understand why some of our youth are finding an automatic door for radicalism. The share of the establishment in producing the atmosphere to allow such an unwelcome corruption and radicalism to grow is actually fundamental and has to do with the hierarchy of the establishment’s mechanical nature of the decision-making process. Simply, the public is totally ignored to express any opinion at all and completely excluded in the decision-making process of the establishment.

On the other hand, we should be very open when we make our decisions. If faith is not resilient to advancement in science and technology as we always claim, then let the faith prove it. For our employees to only work couple of hours or so out of eight hours per day is completely out of corruption. Indeed, corruption tops our lives and fighting it needs an alternate way of intervention by the establishment than the one practiced. Let the knowledgeable public help you decide. You will be surprised how much they know. The German individual has much higher productivity than the Muslim one because the public decides stuff. In the Muslim world, the establishment decides, and no role for the public. Again, everything is religion, so it is only up to the establishment to decide! The public opinion is completely eliminated, and don’t tell me it is the political regimes that are responsible of corruption. The establishment has a big share of it. People in the political regimes like everybody else are finding crevices to rationalize what they are doing with mostly good intention as they belong to the faith like any other citizen. In the Muslim world, political regimes are inclusive to the faith establishment, either directly as in some countries or in the hearts of their people. It is one of two; either complete separation between faith and political systems as in the west, which is strongly anti-Islamic, or the establishment shares power with the public. Why the faith didn’t make the corrupt employee to quit his corruption. We see much manipulation of Islamic rules in the hearts of employees that most of them accept bribes. Students at universities want to pass and get a degree. They are willing to pay for it. If you tell them, that’s bribery! A high on the importance-scale sin! Why are you doing it? Their normal response is, be cool man, it is OK. Not a big deal. Believe me, peek deeper and you will find that they have compromised it within the faith itself. Rules overrule others. Choose the coolest rule, and it is then cool, not a big deal. Corruption became the norm. We never asked ourselves, may be some rules are not properly “regulated”? For those who cheat and steal, why they do it? Isn’t stealing a high on the importance scale sin? Corruption of the heart! Why their faith commitment didn’t deter them from doing it? They found weak crevices in the faith-rules to legalize it. What happened to the great Hadith, “check your heart” if you doubt whether something is legal or not? Well, there is no room to doubt, because may be the weak “crevice” made it legal by some ruling of the upper management in the faith-establishment! People then blindly follow suit! How about if this ruling is taking a life? How about mass suicide killing of civilians? Children may be included! Is the establishment giving fatwas for such acts? Of course not, but the suicide killing has been passed as legal by some top scholars in wars only. Who said that suicide bombers don’t consider themselves as in an act of war? Some scholars even legalize killing civilians if they happen to be proponents to the enemy, or they happen to be close by when a suicide bomber blows himself up as some kind of collateral damage! I think any rational Muslim, even a toddler, can understand this is very wrong. What happened to the prophet’s mentioning, “when at war, don’t cut down a tree; don’t kill a woman; don’t kill a child; don’t kill a man in his place of worship or an old man”? The don’t kills are more than the kills. Compare this Hadith with mass killing of civilians!

[]Fatwas of Scholars

Fatwa is a final ruling on a matter of concern in Islamic faith made by a scholar. Not everyone can issue a final ruling on a subject neither is any fatwa abiding to everyone. It is clearly understood that the fatwa is only the finalized opinion by a qualified scholar. Indeed, that is a point of disagreement and a path of disarray of the minds of people. The many conflicting fatwas is the source of confusion for our youth. Why would be conflicting fatwas in the first place? Here is the problem of fatwa system. Fatwas generally contain the details of the scholar’s reasoning on a specific issue of concern which followers of that specific scholar are committed to follow his fatwa-ruling. This means that people choose to follow the opinions of the scholar whom they are bound to. So, for the many scholars who are there to issue fatwas, there are many more followers for the scholars who abide with their rulings and obey blindly. That obviously means divisions among Muslims as each one follows his own scholar! And don’t tell me it is OK, as some people claim that different fatwas give people peace of mind as to choose the ruling of their choice. How come it is OK to have people divided? How about if the matter in hand is dead serious, like Al-Ghazali associating numbers with satin and cutting the way on advancement in science as some historians claim. What’s then with the conflicting fatwas concerning Jihad; the main cause for our youth to radicalize? That is the whole point. Many conflicting fatwas from fatwa-scholars; many different opinions, believe me, eventually unqualified people will issue fatwas on their own, and guess what, people choose to blow themselves up in a market full of women and children. Why? Because they are all unbelievers! Children and adults alike! They deserve it. Here we go.

 

Someone will say, look, all fatwas from any scholar no matter how knowledgeable he is, is just not obligatory to anyone and it doesn’t amount to a rule. We all know that a fatwa is just the opinion of a scholar. True, and that is where the danger is; on two folds, one is that it allows people to issue their own fatwa by claiming that their fatwa is applicable only to them; of course, anyone can claim knowledge for himself, as a matter of fact, everybody does; and two it literally plants confusion for the many different fatwas, some of which are conflicting which drives so many to take matters into their own hands. The centralized establishment will issue a fatwa and make it a rule so long another fatwa will not invalidate it. A rule means you sin if you don’t abide with it. It is OK, to pull back a rule on sound new grounds. The prophet did it on some occasions. Even some of the verses of the Quran were “retracted” very few, some say only eight, and replaced by new ones as seen by the Lord in a scheme called “Naskh: abrogation” in Islamic law. Of course the retracted verses where only put originally in a manner to suit a specific situation and when it was time for the final ruling, the Lord “issued” a final ruling on the matter, retracting the previous “temporary one”. Of course the work of the Lord is irreversible and untouchable but certainly it is a guide for us to draw our path for our own “human” fatwa-rulings. This may have caused a great confusion among the early scholars, as they had to figure out which verses where abrogated and which were not, but it is definitely an important rule-making scheme that the scholars learned from the Lord.

  • * New Appointed Taliban Leader Urges Afghans to Plant More Trees

The new appointed Taliban leader urges the people of Afghanistan to plant trees; the statement said, “Plant one or several fruit or non-fruit trees for the beautification of earth and the benefit of almighty Allah's creations." (BBC-Feb 26, 2017) Look at the quick response of the president of Afghanistan; he is like, are you kidding me? He remarks; their statement was an attempt to deceive public opinion and to distract people from their "crimes and destruction". It is known though that the Taliban movement is more usually associated with Afghanistan's production of opium. Taliban, at least that is what is said, lets people do that because it taxes opium in areas under its control. Believe me the leader of Taliban is confused. Remember, he is a Mullah, meaning he is a scholar and he is a person to listen to by his followers. He probably memorizes the Quran and can tell you every word said by every Grand Imam preceded him back to the prophet's time. He is sincere and acts according to what he sees it right religion-wise. On one side, he tells people to plant a tree because he knows that act is high on the importance scale and he whoever does that gets rewarded tremendously. That is because the prophet says, “No Muslim plants a plant and a bird eats from it or a human or an animal but he is rewarded by that.” [Hadith- Bukhari] For two, he is commanded by the prophet to defend the land and honor of people, especially he is the leader and that is part of what Jihad is. Thirdly, he has to fund the movement to continue the Jihad path. How can he achieve that if the movement is being challenged everywhere. Let’s then plant opium, that is the easiest way to make money. He, of course, knows pretty well that that is unethical and that is illegal to consume opium as a Muslim since Islam prohibits the consumption and therefore the production of cannabis. Well, Muslims are not going to consume it, those disbelievers will, and may be it is not illegal for them, or at least it is their job to figure that out! So, it is not going to harm us as Muslims. OK, then, there are rules that can be compromised by other rules; the rule of necessity allows it. Here we go, plant opium but sell for the disbelievers and fund your movement. Sorry, but the guy may be a very knowledgeable Imam, how can he make a destructive move, and he knows destruction “corruption” is one of the highest crimes on the importance scale in Islam? But first, why is he, or his close Imams, to have the right to decide? Spiritual leaders, Imams, Mullahs, all are subject to erring. We treat them as they are infallible. Their word is the last word. We should question the way the establishment is structured and how it operates. Someone will claim, but the Taliban leader is not part of the establishment. Why not? He is indeed part of the establishment and a great number of people listen to what he is to say. That is what the establishment is. The establishment is an institution of too many campuses with mostly no solid connections. Of course each campus has its own police that guard its laws. The laws may differ from one campus to another, but you will not have a jurisdiction over any one campus unless you centralize the establishment.

  • * Unification of Fatwas-Centralization of the Establishment

Yes indeed. That is the solution. There should be a centralized council of scholars where all fatwas should be passed after great scrutiny. The council should also be a place of trust; a Parliament for the faith-establishment. Furthermore, the knowledgeable public should be consulted before the passing of the fatwa for two reasons; first, when the public is consulted the chance to rebel against the fatwa by some people will be minimal as they have given the chance to express their opinion. Second, a great number of opinions on the subject of the fatwa-ruling ensure its success. There is no damage in the pubic “enlightening” the establishment parliament with different opinions. Then the parliament issues the ruling, only one ruling, and everybody should abide with it. No disagreements, no rebellions, no taking matter into own hands. People will only listen to one voice, the voice of the establishment-parliament. Of course there are mini-councils for fatwa institutes scattered around the globe with very small number of board-scholars to help with their opinions. But wait, isn’t this the papacy system; a centralized opinion? Not really. The papacy system of the Catholic Church is not the “best bet” system as it is dependent on the infallibility of the pope. Most of us, Muslims, really don’t believe in infallible people or divine humans. Check your hearts. If a human is to be infallible, he should only be assigned by God in the first place and not chosen by people as Christians do with the pope; no offense. We are not infallible neither are popes nor grand Imams are. It is exactly that path that differentiates a faith-system and a universally binding system of law. They make all rules universal, but we, at the faith-establishment, don’t. They agree on all of the rules they make; we agree on most of them, but disagree on few significantly important ones. Those rules that we disagree on make all of the difference in sorting us out, sometimes, as the evil ones! Islam is truly universal, let’s make it so by unifying our fatwas and make it binding to every Muslim. If the establishment errs, remember they are humans; everyone is looking forward to help to correct its mistakes. Science, in the secular system, developed and advanced because it is the nature of science to correct itself. Scientists accept their mistakes and approve the correction by other scientists. We Muslims started that path and were the leaders to open up the door for “corrective” science. Through our faith, we opened that door; The Lord told us to “look for Him”. We found science to look for Him and us, the Muslims, kick-started it.

 

It is very simple; for those who don’t know, they will submit a baseless fatwa and consequently it will be rejected. For those who know but they submit unacceptable or weak fatwa, it will be rejected as well. The establishment-council will then only approve a fatwa that has merit and may compete with many other similar fatwas. It is the establishment’s final decision of course. What harm does this process bring to the establishment? The council will find a great many, very valuable fatwas from the public from which the council gets to choose. But let’s first find a common fatwa-institute and making it our establishment-institute; may be combining all of the existing ones. It is hard with the so many different schools of thoughts and opinions we have, but it is doable. Another step like that of the “Amman Message” will start it all. When you call on all the Muslim scholars to act rationally they will answer the call. How about for the “establishment-institute” be initiated where the faith started in the first place, the great city of Mecca. Saudi Arabia has always opened its heart for all Muslims and has always been the place to reckon with at times of crises.

 

It has also been said that scattered fatwa-institutes only help different countries issue their own fatwas for their unique locally-induced sensitive variations that should not be ignored. I think that is just another dividing factor and another yet “crevice” that have been greatly misused which created great differences. The central institute should decide for anybody anywhere. They can submit their concerns of course to the central institute. No local council should take responsibility to issue fatwas, it should only be that of the centralized council of the establishment. The local ones may only say their opinions. It should be a federal ruling for all Muslims represented by a central institute. That should be the establishment.

 

The call to reshape the establishment is not going to undermine the current establishment itself nor is it going to undermine any scholar anywhere in the globe. A huge project like this one is going to need the full determination from high ranking fatwa institutes to unite and invite all others to join in. Of course, compromises have to be made. If the project is successful, then all others will follow suit. The centralized establishment will just deter groups that are not in the establishment-union to take matter into their own hands. The true word of what we want, Muslims, and the true face of our faith will reach the world. The confusion of who represents Muslims, and by far Islam, will be removed. If any Muslim group makes the wrong move, then the world will know that it is only that group and not what “Islam” is. Trump-like people will then be ashamed to accuse our great religion of terrorism.

[] Great Tolerance! Where did it All Go?

Nazi Germany which was once branded as hosting the most racist people is recently accepting exceptionally larger number of refugees from war torn countries. Their society is getting more and more diverse. What happened to the hate to the other? What makes people more tolerant? Or is it that tolerance is just a human nature but sometimes suppressed and may be reversed with particular ideology? Indeed it seems the case. Intolerance seems to be taught.

 

Islam is a faith of great tolerance. At least that is what it naturally preaches, contrary to how it is seen by many. Let’s learn tolerance from the prophet. Early historians report that the prophet made binding a constitutional “agreement” (called Saheefah) when he migrated to Medina, fleeing the persecution of people in his home city, Mecca. There he declared himself more of a political leader of a state, stating Islamic laws of governance to ensure stability in the society of the people of Medina. In the agreement, he laid out rules by which the people of Medina live together as one people and thereby all abide by the agreement, Christians, Jews, Muslims and Polytheists. That is a constitution by which all parties abode with, and breaching the agreement articles would be regarded as an act of treachery. That constitution laid out principles of tolerance among all different constituents of the society.

 

A great tolerance means, first, we recognize different faiths that are distinct from ours, secondly, we recognize the right for the believers of other faiths to practice theirs, and thirdly, we actually befriend ourselves with them. Those three ingredients are the principles of tolerance among different faiths. In fact, Islam pushes hard to implement those ingredients. With tolerance, people with different faiths get to know and understand each other. Read please, “O people; We (God) have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes so that you get to know each other. Those of greatest bounty in the eyes of God are those who are most observant (not to do bad).” [Quran- The Apartments 49:13]. Those three principles lay down the foundation of preaching in Islamic faith. As a matter of fact, radicalism feeds on their absence, as intolerance grows to hatred, which leads to extremism. The best example of tolerance in the Islamic faith is probably the case of a Muslim married to a Christian woman. As well known, the issue of Trinity is what the faith strongly preaches against and clearly rejects. Nevertheless, a Muslim is permitted to marry a Christian. Preaching at a distance does not actually work most of the time. The Islamic faith ideology instead preaches intimacy and understanding between different faiths. In case of a Muslim married to a Christian, the Christian wife is permitted to practice her religion at ease. Why then bother and have a Christian wife if she will practice in my house what my religion prohibits? Indeed, that is the idea. That is what the prophet promised in a letter he sent to Saint Catherine's Monastery where the prophet granted protection and other privileges to the Christian monks of the monastery. In the letter the prophet says, “If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.” That is principle number three, to befriend yourself with the other so he gets to know you to best understand your faith. Acting at a distance is not always a good strategy. You have to accommodate the other and tolerate the differences of others. You need mutual understanding, what is better than an actual intimate relationship to achieve that?

 

If the youth are no more taught tolerance and only see unjust discrimination and double standard of the west in their relation with the Muslims, the only alternative is hatred. Also, hatred naturally spreads in the western societies for fear of twisted-faith terrorism by the Muslim side. If trust is not restored, the ditch between the two cultures will ever widen. We should also drop the external root cause of the hate. The source will never change. There are powerful people in the world that will always incite and preach hatred in the media. Ignore them. They will keep doing it no matter what. Prove they are wrong. Don’t let them make you lose your sanity. In Christianity for example, the notion is that if somebody slaps you on one side of your face, turn to him the other side to allow him to slap you the second time! The meaning of this; be cool and peaceful no matter what! Well, if someone slaps you on the face and let him do it the second time, it will simply increase his aggressiveness. His next move will be taking out his gun and shoot you! But at least the notion teaches us tolerance in its extreme case.

 

Why would some People Want to be Muslims? Why others won’t?

Let’s not answer the “why not?”, but what is it in the faith that might drive some people to think seriously about adopting it? As from a historical point of view, this question worried mostly the “aristocratic” people of Mecca, when Mohammad, a person from among themselves who rebelled on the Mecca-class aristocracy and called for a social regime-change, where the social status of an individual is independent on wealth or the color of people. Soon after the success of the faith most of the slaves were freed! The poor aligned with him as they were not scared to do so, driven by his call for social reform as he is backed by some family members from the aristocratic class in Mecca. Those people were from the noble class in the clan which banned his prosecution. Specifically, his uncle fought furiously to protect him; obviously family ties were the strongest in the society. When he was overwhelmed by many people who wanted to kill him and he felt that his immediate family won’t be able to protect him anymore he migrated to Medina, a nearby city whose people heard of his rebellion against the aristocratic class and most of them adopted the new faith. The city of Medina was the pivot where he launched his revolution of a social change. Later he waged a series of wars until he became victorious and even took over his own city, Mecca. The whole Arabian Peninsula was under his rule soon just before he died. His followers continued the expansion of his faith to neighboring lands and within a little more than a decade the new faith expanded way east into China’s territories, west into Africa and deep into the land of Europe. Those people of Nomad nature conquered the world in no time, backed by the call for a change of social status and the sharing of wealth – Zakat. The fascination of the new faith is continuous, and for the question why many people are fascinated with it, is its ability to integrate human’s spiritual drive to social life, and literally to make no distinction between the two. People loved it and always will love it. It tells them, go ahead and indulge in life. Make money and be happy and I will accept you under My umbrella. While you are making money, remember Me, the Lord, and worship Me on your way to your shop, in your travel, heading to bed, and even when you are making love! I guarantee you won’t be bored of Me as your attachment to Me won’t burden you.

 

Lately, a letter revealed that one of the most influential figures in Europe who made the biggest change in World War Two was actually fascinated by the faith. I will “copy and paste” the news from the Independent magazine published on Sunday 28 December 2014, and titled “Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals”.

 

Here is the Independent magazine’s article; The family of Sir Winston Churchill urged him to “fight against” the desire to convert to Islam, a newly discovered letter has revealed. The Prime Minister who led Britain to victory in World War Two was apparently so taken with Islam and the culture of the Orient that his family wrote to try and persuade him not to become a Muslim. In a letter dated August 1907 Churchill’s soon to be sister-in-law wrote to him: “Please don’t become converted to Islam; I have noticed in your disposition a tendency to orientalise, Pasha-like tendencies, I really have. “If you come into contact with Islam your conversion might be effected with greater ease than you might have supposed, call of the blood, don’t you know what I mean, do fight against it.” The letter, discovered by a history research fellow at Cambridge University, Warren Dockter, was written by Lady Gwendoline Bertie who married Churchill’s brother Jack, 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atheist, Sir Winston Churchill

 

“Churchill never seriously considered converting,” Dr Dockter told The Independent magazine “He was more or less an atheist by this time anyway. He did however have a fascination with Islamic culture which was common among Victorians.” Churchill had opportunity to observe Islamic society when he served as an officer of the British Army in Sudan. In a letter written to Lady Lytton in 1907 Churchill wrote that he “wished he were” a Pasha, which was a rank of distinction in the Ottoman Empire. He even took to dressing in Arab clothes in private – an enthusiasm he shared with his good friend the poet Wilfrid S. Blunt. But Dr Dockter thinks Churchill’s family need never have worried about his interest in Islam. “[Lady Gwendoline Bertie] would have been worried because Churchill was leaving for an African tour and she would have known Churchill had been seeing his friend, Wilfrid S. Blunt, who was a renowned Arabist, anti-imperialist and poet. Though he and Churchill were friends and dressed in Arabian dress at times for Blunt’s eccentric parties, they rarely agreed.” In 1940, when Churchill was leading Britain’s fight against Nazi Germany, he gave his support to plans to build what became the London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park – putting aside £100,000 for the purpose – in the hope of winning the support of Muslim countries in the war. He later told the House of Commons that “many of our friends in Muslim countries” had expressed appreciation for this “gift”. But while he was vocal in his admiration for Islam, Churchill was not uncritical. “The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men,” he wrote in his 1899 account of Sudan, The River War. “Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith.” Dr Dockter, who assisted the London Mayor Boris Johnson on his book about Churchill, discovered the letter while researching his forthcoming book Winston Churchill and the Islamic World: Orientalism, Empire and Diplomacy in the Middle East., end of the article.

It looks like from the letter that Churchill was indeed an admirer of the Islamic faith, but fell short of satisfactory answers to some well disputed social issues. Obviously the guy was looking for God and being from a Christian background, he didn’t see God in Christianity, and neither did he see God in Islam. For him God, if he is there, must show himself in what is claimed as revelation from him, that is religion. As we can see, even from a point of view of an atheist, there is a corner in the heart that searches for a supreme being that may be responsible for a perfect and well-tuned piece of art called creation.

Churchill’s criticism of the two thorniest issues in Islamic faith, the status of women and slavery will be discussed separately in this book.

[] Where are Love, Hate and other Feelings in the Faith?

You may express happiness and love when you are in a peaceful state of mind; conversely loss, anger and may be hate when you are in a chaotic state of mind. The later state of mind pretty much characterizes the state of mind of a “twisted-faith terrorist”. For example, Muslims feel very happy and peaceful when they visit Mecca, the holiest place for Muslims, for the purpose of performing an obligated once in a life time and one of the five pillars in Islam; Pilgrimage. There you feel the vast difference between being in a true peaceful state of mind and that of the “on the run” state of mind dealing with your daily worldly affairs. In the faith, love always prevails in all of your actions. If you are angry, calm down and remember it is your brother that you are accusing of wrong doing. Let’s revisit some incidents in that regard, one was mentioned earlier; a companion had an argument with another previously “slave” companion. The argument heats up and the guy curses his brother and mocks his mother by saying, “you, son of a black woman”. The other guy gets upset and complains to the prophet. The prophet chastises the mocker by saying, “You mock him of his mother? You are a person of ignorance”. Those strong words of the prophet made the companion recheck his heart against the new love “rules” of the new faith he adopted out of love and admiration. To transform this love into reality, he puts his cheek on the floor and asks his “black” brother to step on it so he could force his heart to remove the “darkness” that accumulated from the “love-ignorance” of the pre-Islamic period of “slavery-times”. Another incident is when the prophet once addressing people to unite under the avenue of love for the new faith and that they should love him, the prophet, more than anything else. Omar, the great companion and later the second Caliph, replied, oh prophet, I do love you more than anything else except for myself. The prophet replies, no, Omar, you are not there yet. Omar stops silent for a little while and checks his heart, then tells the prophet, now I love you more than myself oh prophet of Allah. The prophet says, now Omar. Meaning, now you are there Omar, in terms of love.

[]Faith Racism

I received a video clip on WhatsApp made by an Arab. He basically wanted to say that people there, where he is from, are racists and he gives examples on many types of racism he saw there, like people don’t want to allow their daughters to marry guys from just across the street based on silly and racial grounds, etc. But what caught my eye is what he described as “faith racism”. He said that where he used to live, a “scholar” and Imam of a foreign origin used to teach people in the local mosque Islamic ethics, Islamic law and most importantly how to recite Quran by the rules of Quran recitation; still when it comes to leading the prayers, he adds, people would pull him out and prevent him from doing so. In other words, they don’t want him to lead prayers. I know where they failed to recognize he is a qualified person to lead the prayers. He is from foreign origin. Even though the guy is knowledgeable in the religion but still I am guessing that may be he can’t pronounce some letter in Arabic correctly, so they disqualify him from leading the prayers even though they qualify him as an Imam. The crevice there is this; they are counting on the Hadith, “Make those who lead you in prayer to be the best of you who memorize and recite Quran.” Well, the guy masters the rules of Quran recitation, and most probably he memorizes the whole Quran. But he is from a foreign origin and wrong pronunciation of one letter may have disqualified him! That can be designated as faith racism. It is not like in some people’s hearts that this faith belongs mostly to the Arabs since the Quran is in Arabic language, but it is just the tendency for some people to want to perfect their religion. Some people, misinterpreting some Hadith, think that their prayer behind a non-Arab might void it, because of that hard to pronounce letter. It is a crevice because indeed it forms a “selfish” personality. What about the Hadith that says you will have one Hassanah “credit-mark” for every letter you read perfectly from the Quran but it doubles if you stutter with it? But for the devoted Muslim, he wants to excel in his work. It is customary even to correct the person who is leading the prayer when he makes a mistake reading Quran. Scholars have explained that the Imam should be corrected by the people praying behind him in a loud voice had the Imam stopped reciting if he forgot the verse, as a gesture that he needs someone to remind him of the verse. But if he makes an innocent mistake that does not alter the meaning of the verse he should not be disrupted. From my experience, you will not find an Imam forgiven if he makes an innocent mistake. You will find many people praying behind him willing to disrupt him and the prayer in a loud voice, insisting that the Imam should correct his mistake and re-recite the verse. Sometimes a huge disruption occurs. They won’t let go. That is where striving for excellence sometimes leads to disruption.

  • * External Incitement is a Motive for the Youth to Radicalize

The cause of the negative attitude by people outside of our faith-shell that we are always bombarded with and that causes hatred from our side is one of two. One, we have contributed a great deal of it due to our tendency to lock ourselves in our shell fearful of bad influence on our youth or bad influence by those of ill-intention from outside the shell. That increased the influence of those of bad intention from within the shell, thereby magnifying the internal struggle. The second one is the true malicious and unjustified attack by other (faith) establishments. Thus mutual incitement creates hatred and mutual violence. External incitement is the path to wipe out love in favor of hatred and violence. The truth is, if you search the internet, you will mostly find malicious attacks by other establishments on the Islamic faith by fabricating some facts, or presenting them with ill-intention. Many sites in the internet, maintained by people of faith-hate, are all well designed to undermine the Islamic faith. I have seen many Islamic sites that lay down the dispute of major disagreements between other faiths and Islam, sometimes aggressively, but I really have not seen the fabrication element! It tells us that in that regard, we are on the right direction to open up our hearts, but those mostly are individualized efforts. Still we need to open up more to the world by expressing our positive attitude towards others and sharing their opinions, not necessarily blindly adopting any other opinion than ours, but sharing values that don’t square out with our own faith values. We keep saying that the faith expanded rapidly east and west right after the death of the prophet by righteous, peaceful and convincing means. How would those means transfer to others other than by opening our heart to others and allow them to peek into our shell to see the light of the faith? If we have nothing to hide, let them peek in. Yes we have severe punishment for those society-craps who do great corruption in the community! For example, stealing is probably the greatest moral corruption in the society. Severe punishment! Yes indeed. Their act also severely affects the moral and societal integrity and is the greatest cause for corruption. Imagine you are working hard all day long as a middle class individual to feed your little ones, then you go home at the end of the day to find out that you were robbed off of the little money you made by an online creep. What would be your feeling? Stealing is part of the corruption rule, one of the highest on the importance scale.

Peeking through our shell is an important first-hand move to understand the faith. They should know what the package is before they will be able to decide to take it or leave it. If they don’t take it, then at least they would know who we are. Let there be a different image for us than terrorism. That requires opening many more doors than already open that lead right through the inside of our faith-shell as part of take it or leave it-rule. A beautiful website is not enough to do the job! It is the faith establishment that has to open many more two way-doors to the world.

[] Muslim Youth in the West React to Faith-Incitement

In the west, Muslim youth truly peacefully integrate with their local societies. The incitement to violence by the unrecognized shackling faith issues that are magnified in the Muslim world are not much apparent to the Muslim youth in the west and therefore are ineffective. The Muslim youth in the west live by the basic peaceful faith-rules and happily integrate with others. They only see the natural peaceful look of the faith. But many westerners see the faith as a threat since they see some of the violence in other parts of the world reaching their borders. They then naturally are repelled by the presence of their fellow Muslim citizens. Western Muslim youths feel the aggressive behavior of the non-Muslims in their own societies in the west. Of course, Hijab (Muslim head scarf) is the sign for a girl to be identified as Muslim. Muslim girls indeed suffer much of the harassment in the west. I lived in the west for long and I indeed never have seen any discriminating act by anybody towards me. But I have seen my wife being harassed simply because she wore Hijab. Obviously, it is the faith that is targeted and not the background. Muslim youth in the west try to defend themselves by all means. In that regard, a Muslim teen, Amal Kassir, from Aurora, Colorado, U.S., fighting, as she sees it, reflects that feeling of injustice with poetry. Her words touch the hearts and indeed very loyal to her background as a Muslim teen born and raised in the US, the land of Donald Trump. This is from her performance stand-up poetry, picked up from Youtube. I will not comment as her words that are perfectly made to be heard. I quote from one titled “The Muslim on the airplane”. Google it if you like to learn how the Muslim youth feel when discriminated against in the west. She appears on the stage wearing an American-flag hijab and says, “Whenever I travel, I carry a little metal box of out mints, because after a 4-hour 7 am flight everyone has bad breath. So, almost any one is willing to take the mint from the Muslim on the airplane! And I know I have been successful when my neighbor turns and asks, so, what’s your name? You see, even if there was an elephant in the room, I am still the elephant in the room. Yeh, when an elephant offers you mints on an airplane, you are fully aware that is not easy to accept when courteously curious do pop the question what’s your name, I try to make it…my name is Amal. That means hope in Arabic. Most states my name is waitress and my family is Damascus restaurant, full time university student, pre-law, world traveler, eleven countries, my name is “I perform poetry” in eight of those countries, international spoken work poet unapologetic Muslim woman, Syrian, American, Hijabi, activist, social justice advocate. My name is writer, teacher, Colorado born mile-high baby. But at the airport, my name is random search, and on the street it’s terrorist, sand-nigger, raghead and on the news, it’s ISIS…..”

[]Violence!

The year 2016 probably is going to be recorded as the peak violence year. The year 2017 will be a year of transition toward the peaceful base of the Islamic faith even though the root cause of the rise in violence in the year 2016 and earlier may still remain unresolved. Trump’s understanding of world peace as unnecessary for world security and the west seclusion as a primary solution to the world crises will be compelled off by the world’s public opinion. Year 2017 will be the wakening year to the Muslim youth that the great injustice, as they see it, made upon the Muslim world may not be revoked by warring with its external as well as internal sources. In particular, the youth will realize that the increase in violence against those who are accused of placing injustice on the Muslim world achieve nothing but increase the determination of the west and others to quash it. The west may realize that the Islamic faith is truly peaceful, but the secular west is concerned more of its security and realizes that the Islamic faith like any other divine faith is not immune from radicalization by some people, which is indeed the path for extremism and “twisted-faith terrorism”, and more importantly is fueled by mutual incitement. Killing and plundering in the name of faith may be the worst curse on mankind, but curses can be reversed. The know-how of the curse removal starts with the faith establishment removing pride and looking seriously for crevices that may be present in understanding the political attributes of the faith.

 

“Arab spring” has been disastrous on its people. Some Arab rulers knew it was spontaneous and dealt with it patiently. Some softened the public by offering good promises of reform, others, wisely, showed their generous face to the public and offered to further pour some money. It worked for most of the Arab countries. Those where it didn’t work turned out to be a true disaster on the people. It is to be noted here that those who wittingly participated in the uprising are by no means proponent to democracy, as most of them believe that democracy is anti-Islamic. The only country that it worked in was the one that started it; Tunisia. But here is why. It started peacefully, continued mostly peacefully and ended up mostly peacefully; sort to speak. The key issue here is the peaceful means. In Egypt for example, people figured out that violence would get them nowhere, so they retracted it. Few pockets of violence here and there are a natural consequence to the public move for the quest for change. In the stable countries of the oil-rich gulf region, the people unite with their governments on most issues, especially on religious issues such as the rivalry position to the Shiite-threat of neighboring Iran.

 

Let’s look at what happened in Libya and Syria; a long and bloody battle over rule-control to enforce the quest for a change, in Yemen as well. Of course, history reveals that violent-change of regimes will most of the time come with only violent outcome or at least a new regime mostly oppressive in nature. Stability is an internal and external quest for every nation. From outside, others will only want stability in their neighborhood and people may figure it out if they are lucky, like in Egypt. But let’s look at the method by which a regime-change may occur that might produce a benign outcome regardless of the root cause of the uprising.

Tunisia tells us that peaceful at the start, continued peacefully, ended peacefully, produces benign and hopefully constructive change. Any different route may produce disastrous consequences. And the public is the main character in the play. The Islamic change movement by the prophet in the pagan Arabian society in Mecca started peacefully, peaceful throughout, except for action-reaction skirmishes here and there, and ended seriously after the prophet went back to conquer his own city, Mecca, where he was driven out of it by force. When he came back to his hometown victorious, he declared it a peaceful end of the struggle. He didn’t ask for revenge against those who oppressed him for long; not to say that most Arab leaders are oppressors to their people. All the prophet did was, he called on the people who specifically oppressed him, and everybody else; what do you think I will do with you? The response was, you are a generous brother and a nephew of a generous brother; asking for clemency. His response was; you are free to go, PEACEFUL END. We should always learn from history. But let’s do some analysis of factual results. The main question remains, what did the public want? A change of course, what else? But why the spontaneous demand of the change? May be the public waited for something to happen and it became apparent to them that it would never happen unless those in power take initiative to do so, but they never did. But here is the more serious question. Who is in power? Is it Governments? Those who rule are people from the public and are “produced” by the public regardless of the method that was used to choose them. Most of them are sound average Muslims from the general public. The public rebelled against itself indeed. Those in power use the same faith tools that the public uses to rationalize things and run a government. They are not Marxists neither are they liberalists. They are Muslims like you and me. The truth is that the public didn’t know where to turn to object and rebel. A little deeper insight into the problem points to the faith establishment as the weak point in the game. The public as well as the governments are claiming full compliance to the establishment. Isn’t true that there are government institutions that are specifically designed to deal and comply with the rules of the faith-establishment, be it the local branch of it?

 

Starting a violent rebellion has always proven to have disastrous ends. Military cues will only create another dictatorship as well. Take our prophet’s new faith movement as our example. I think we should make a serious talk to our faith establishment to initiate an elaborate study of the cause problems that led to the Arab spring and a serious attempt should be made by the establishment to fairly treat the public before the public seriously undermines it for good. The faith-establishment should strengthen the bond by allowing the public to have a share in the decision making process in the establishment. The ruling regimes are part of the establishment just like the public is. This triad of the rulers, the faith establishment and the public should work together and understand each other. The public believes in the establishment and so do governments. But the establishment works independently, conserving and magnifying its mistakes. The members of the establishment are not immune from making mistakes. Let’s expose their mistakes to themselves so they will be able to correct them. Let’s build an establishment that has a self-correcting feature.

 

Let’s start with the ruling process. Does the faith have to be included? Yes indeed, since everything is faith in our belief. Is it included already? Yes indeed. There are faith institutions that have to be consulted and their rules and decisions are obeyed most of the times blindly. A good example is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. So what is the problem then?

 

The Muslim youth in the year 2017, and after the failure of the “Arab Spring”, will realize that the path for a change starts with the freedom from many shackling issues in the faith-establishment itself that drives the youth to rebel. Those same shackling matters also twist the minds of many elderly and even solid faithful people and shake the supposedly peaceful nature of many Islamic political movements and turn them into violent ones instead. Those shackling matters mainly confuse personally opinionated decisions with faith facts. Of great importance are those of “Jihad” nature. A chapter is dedicated for the concept of Jihad in Islam. The rulers themselves sometimes use those shackling matters to quash any youth move to quest for further “social freedom” as defined by the faith itself but probably found missing by the public. Indeed, those shackling matters are the motivation for Muslim youth to rebel, the Muslim rulers to resist youth-moves to adapt “foreign-values”, and for the secular western world to sound the alarm of danger fearing violence and instability of their securities for fear of twisted-faith terrorism.

 

It is solidly confirmed by Muslims and non-Muslims who truly know the “untwisted” Islamic faith that the faith is basically peaceful in line with the fact that the Islamic religion is one in the Abrahamic chain of religions. I will cite one expat visiting Oman, a Muslim country south east of the Arabian Peninsula. (BBC- Travel Feb 16, 2017) “Living the world’s most welcoming countries”, “In these five spots, expats will likely be greeted with a warm welcome, a helping hand and a friendly smile.” She quotes her experience in visiting Oman, “Oman as one of the sunniest countries in the world, Oman also has friendly residents who reflect the warm climate. A welcoming culture rooted in faith also leads to openness with newcomers. “Traditionally speaking, Omanis are very hospitable to strangers. With their strong Islamic background and belief, they love to help their neighbors or those in need, and will easily bring a stranger or new person into their home for coffee or dates or fruit.

 

But where does violence come from? In the Muslim world, violence may originate on the streets and spread to faith. This is especially because faith is totally integrated with all aspects of life. Again, anything in Islam is faith. So, it is a big challenge for the religion to counteract violence on the streets in its entirety unless the faith regulates life toward a path of peace. Believe it or not, the Islamic faith dismisses violence totally in all of its tasks. It actually stresses peace all the way. It suffices to cite this Hadith to show it all: A man asked the Messenger of Allah “Which act in Islam is the best?” He replied, “To give food (to the poor), and to greet everyone (the Islamic greeting is ‘peace be upon you’), whether you know or you don’t (know the person). ” [Hadith- accepted by all scholars] But if that is so, then why the Muslim world is plagued with violence? We really need to dismiss the accusation from some parties outside the Islamic faith shell that the religion is violent and free our faith from the outside incitement and work on it from inside the faith-shell as we Muslims strongly believe that the faith is very peaceful. We need then to figure out what went wrong in our understanding in some of the important corners in our religion that incites the youth for violence. Also, the outside incitement is one of the religion's greatest hurdles for the religion to “collect” itself because it pushes its youth toward hatred of others, opposite to the religion's teachings, which builds a highway to extremism. The wall of misunderstanding that blocks interfaith bridges of trust should be demolished.

 

Internally we should open up and extend our hands to other thoughts of belief. I particularly cite the important adverse consequences when it comes to differences in the faith between Sunni and Shiite. Coming from the Sunni side, I see a lot of enclosure among us Sunni for the same fearful attitudes from other beliefs. If we are very confident of our claim as our path is the right path, why are we afraid of opening up to others? It is always that we don’t want our youth to be exposed to damaging attributes by others! We are not protecting our youth at all. They will definitely learn of it by other means, with all the available online technology. Let them know of it and we “the grownups” help do the correction as we see it right! Also, mutual cooperation to lessen the impact of misunderstanding is always feared for that it might imbalance the benefit in favor of the other side! Here is an example of Dr. Al-Qaradawi’s response (the chair of world Muslim scholars) of a question by a reporter I have seen in an interview: why the cooperation between Sunni and Shiite stopped shortly after it was launched? This was on the side of an inter-relational faith conference. His reply was, sorry, but they took all the benefit as the money we put aside for them (the Shiite) has been used to build more and more of their Hussyneyat (a place where Shiite youth and scholars indulge in their faith activities). Clearly here is our quest to correct the other ended with unacceptable misjudgment. But that is their share of the money. Aren’t they supposed to use it the way they want? We cannot tell them how to use their money. Obviously, Dr. Al-Qaradawi means that many of their unaccepted practices by the side of the Sunni are being practiced at the Hussyneyat they build, and there is a fear of higher level of influence on our Sunni youth. Remember, our goal is to advice and not force our opinions on others. Believe me; everyone sees his opinion is the correct one. Also, the desire to control the others and impose your own rules on them is a repelling element that creates a dividing wall that we have to avoid if we wish to understand each other. Fearful of the other “ill-intention”, though to be maximally watched out, is unjustified and undermines the sought objective of opening doors in the walls of our faith-shell for others to peek in.

 

The call for war (war-Jihad) is the thing that may be seen from outside the shell as pertaining to violence, but it is not individualized in Islam and it is completely separated from all other faith tasks. Meaning, when you do Hajj, or pray, you don’t involve the call for war. Yes you should gather people to incite them to prepare to defend themselves in the case of war. That is all of what it is. Individualization of the notion of war-Jihad brings about the path of taking matters into own hands. In other words, radicalized youth do what they think is right bypassing the establishment. Extremism that may be followed by twisted-faith terrorism arises then and extends beyond the authorities as well as the faith-establishment to place it under control.

[] The Ten Commandments Islamically-Oriented

In Islam, the Ten Commandments are not numbered as in Christianity but they, and their derivatives, do constitute basic rules with some of their counterparts in Christianity as faith oriented. I will list (Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:4-21) those that are direct translation and derive the most important ones that are almost a copy from Christianity to the Islamic faith.

 

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p<>{color:#000;}. I am the Lord thy God

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p<>{color:#000;}. Thou shalt have no other gods before me

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p<>{color:#000;}. Honor thy father and thy mother

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p<>{color:#000;}. Thou shalt not kill

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p<>{color:#000;}. Thou shalt not commit adultery

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p<>{color:#000;}. Thou shalt not steal

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p<>{color:#000;}. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor

 

Number one and two make the top and most important faith “pillars” in Islam without which, one is considered to be non-Muslim. The main pillars are the following: Pillar 1. It is the declaration of the faith. That is to bear witness or testify that there is no God except one God (Allah) but it adds; Muhammad is his prophet and messenger. The rest of the commandments are embedded under many other derived rules, but all of them are highest on the importance scale. Pillar 2. Salat (Ritual Prayer); It is the five daily prayers are performed at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and night time. The prayers are offered in Arabic language during which you have to face toward the direction of Mecca. Pillar 3. Zakat (Alms Tax); It is giving 2.5% of one's wealth to the poor and the needy when your wealth is “static”, meaning not used on the market to generate more wealth. Basically, Islam wants you to invest your money or else spend two and a half percent of your money on a yearly basis for the poor and needy if the capital remains not invested in a business for a whole year. Also, generally, 2.5% of your profit of your investment, but not of your capital, is deducted for the poor if the money is not static. In other words, if you put your money in the safe for a whole year then 2.5% is to be deducted to the poor. Pillar 4. Fasting; It is fasting during the daylight hours in the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar called Ramadan. Ramadan is an opportunity to study the faith and practice self-discipline. Pillar 5. Hajj (pilgrimage); It is making a pilgrimage to the grand mosque in Mecca and performing special related rituals for at least once in a lifetime. The Kaaba is believed to have been built by Ibrahim (Abraham) and Ishmael, one of his sons as the first house to worship God was located, as believed by Muslims. Prophet Muhammad restored it to worship Allah as believed to reflect the essence of the Abrahamic faiths.

 

Those five pillars define the Muslim character. They define the faith. You have to observe them as long as you live. The rest of what constitutes the religion is derived rules to follow and observe as well. Those rules pertain to almost every aspect in your life as a Muslim. They range from highest on the importance scale to lowest. As mentioned, the rest of the commandments constitute rules of highest importance. One of the highest of the highest on the importance scale is number four; thou not to kill; You Shall Not Unlawfully Take the Life of a Human Being. The importance of the rule is repeatedly mentioned in the Quran of which God repeatedly reminds people to reserve lives and never take a life unlawfully, and if so happens then the unlawfully killed is only but the Lord Himself will be justly siding with him and taking action against those who are aggressors. Read please, “and who ever has been unjustly killed, then we (Allah) have made available for his justice seekers a great power ” [Quran- The Israelites 17:33]. Another rule that is placed very high on the scale is the peaceful nature of the faith. It is engraved in all of the religion rituals and is a character of the true Muslim. There are many verses in the Quran that imply the peaceful nature of the religion. Also, many Hadiths imply it as well as directly order it. Many characteristics of the faith do explicitly express that nature, most notably the name of the faith “Islam: to submit to God peacefully” and how Muslims greet others “Peace be upon you”.

[]No Monasticism in Islam

In Christianity, monks would want to elevate to a level of spiritual perfectness by adopting monasticism. This is derived from the Bible, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect .” (Bible- Mathew 5:48) and “ If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. ” (Bible- Luke 9:23) But the Bible clearly orders against it though, read, “ who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth ” (Bible- Timothy 4:3) It is indeed troubling if the religion requires seclusion from what life is intended to be. That is one big troubling issue; be a monk or a nun and don’t get married is squarely against religion as a way of life as seen by Muslims. The prophet says, “Monasticism has not been ordained on us.” [Hadith-Ahmad] It means just live your life however fits your way naturally. It is also reported that, a group of people announced that they would devote themselves to faith; one said he would fast forever, the other one said he would never get married and the third one said he would pray and never stop; the prophet reacted angrily to them and said, “I am most knowing among you of God, and I marry women, fast and break my fasting and pray and quit.” [Hadith- accepted by all scholars] As a matter of fact, five of the prayer times as in Islam is a good reminder to work out life to utmost productivity, especially one of them is at dawn. It tells you, hey, wake up and do something. It is a new day. Make it please as daylight for work and night time for taking a rest. Have fun with your wife and kids. It doesn't bother to set aside five to ten minutes for a prayer. Another incident reported when the prophet heard that some young men wanted to “remove their testicles” to be able to concentrate on responding to the call for Jihad by not get sexually distracted. He got angry and ordered against it. The prophet used to take one of his wives with him when he traveled. Life should go as it is designed by nature and religion backs that up. Here is the Quranic verse that prohibited monasticism, “ Then We made Our messengers to follow in their footsteps; and We made Jesus, son of Mary, to follow, and gave him the Gospel, and placed compassion and mercy in the hearts of those who followed him. But monasticism they invented – only seeking God’s pleasure, We ordained it not for them, and they observed it not with its due observance. We therefore gave the believers among them their reward; and many of them are transgressors. ” [Quran- The Iron 57:27]

 

Five Prayers per Day

Is praying five times a day too much? Well, let’s not answer this question. But the question that should be asked is; are Muslims complaining? The answer is, not really. There is a great deal of leniency in performing the prayers. As for all obligatory tasks, they should always be performed at ease and with peace of mind. They go along with your daily routine not the opposite. So the tasks are made as easy as possible. For example, if traveling, group prayers, if sick and can’t do them standing, do them the way you are comfortable with, even if you just murmur them in your mind if you can’t move your body due to some illness. Of course, the credit that you earn is proportional to the level of commitment. So, you get more credit if you perform the prayers on time and in congregation. For example, you get more credit doing the prayers on time, at the mosque with other people than you do them at home or at your place of work. In the Muslim world you will notice that there is a little mosque almost at every corner in town and at every mall and even at every gas station, so you may do the prayers in group and get more credit if you want. It seems that the idea is to stay connected with God in all what you do and the daily tasks that are ordained on you by faith are smoothly integrated with your life. If you ever entered a mosque you will notice the difference between how Christians perform their Sunday sermon in the church and how Muslims pray. There are no chairs to sit on like in the church and that is because you need to bow and prostrate your forehead on the floor as part of the ritual to glorify the Lord; that is why the floors of the mosques are usually carpeted. In Christianity there is prostration in some services and in Judaism prostration was once very common.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can rest leaning your back against a wall while waiting for prayers

 

 

 

You can pray on a wheel chair

 

 

The call for the prayer strictly is made by saying loudly an announcement which instructs people to come for prayer. This is made every time before prayers and reads, more or less; People: Gather for prayer, gather for success.

 

The question is; does integrating the faith tasks with daily routines involve any violence? For the five prayers, does performing them five times a day, and may be in groups at the mosque, incite any violence, or do people leave the mosques peacefully? I have not witnessed in my life so far that people dispersing from a mosque after performing prayers indulge in any act of violence even though many of them do the prayers five times a day in groups at the mosque. Meaning, people who go to the mosques, go primarily to pray and not to perform any different act as instructed by the faith to perform the prayer very peacefully for it to be fully accepted by God. They should enter the mosques, as instructed by the prophet, peacefully and they should disperse peacefully. The prayer itself requires peaceful piece of mind to bring about a great deal of ordinance and spiritual attention to prepare to meet with the Lord, thus any state of violence in the Mosque disrupts this state of mind. On the other hand, it was sometimes the habit that the prophet would ask people who came to the Mosque for prayer if they had any questions or any concerns that he may answer for them. Since faith and life go together, people would ask the prophet questions regarding their daily worldly matters. The prophet would not ask people to gather at the mosque for some group activity other than performing the prayers. But people have the habit to use the mosque sometimes for social activities, which was not the trend at the time of the prophet. And indeed some Imams may use the Friday ceremony to pass on their opinion to the congregation. I cite Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s declaration of the birth of a new Caliphate and assigning himself the Caliph, the so called “Islamic State” group. The incident was by far not the norm though to use the mosque for political gains. Of course, that is the smart, devilish move as he feeds on the hearts of devoted and confused Muslims who found in the “crevice” of founding a Caliphate-ruling system as a must-do “pillar” of the religion. One can only ask; where was the establishment from all of this? The establishment was as confused as the public. The form of the governing system as should be ordained by the religion is one of the issues that greatly divides the Islamic world. Let’s blame then whichever fatwa-institute that made the claim of a Caliphate-must be the governing system, currently or in the past. Only when it was obvious that the “Islamic State” group condones violence some fatwa institutes declared it a terror group! It was too late though as the group had already made its way towards the hearts of many enthusiastic people and militarily gained ground in the already war-shattered Iraq.

[] Hajj: Pilgrimage to the Holiest Site

Hajj is the fifth pillar in the faith. It is a series of rituals that implicates the union of the creator with human, his intelligent creation, of which the human displays utmost devotion of belonging by body and spirit to the Lord, a bond of obedience and total submission. The Lord wants his intelligent creation to show him devotion once in a lifetime. In that regard, Hajj pilgrimage is an obligation ordained by the Lord, unlike the Christian pilgrimages that were made to glorify Christian shrines commemorating biblical events in the holy land and elsewhere which ordained by the church. The Hajj pilgrimage was not ordained by the prophet nor by his companions (apostles) but by the Lord to commemorate an event happened at the time of Abraham when he sent his wife Hager and her baby son Ismael to the desert in Arabia by the order of the Lord and commemorate the suffering they endured as well. In the Sunni understanding of pilgrimage it is un-Islamic to perform pilgrimage other than the Hajj- pilgrimage. That is one of the main differences between Shiite and Sunni where Shiite perform pilgrimage to different cities to commemorate important Shiite-events. In Sunni tradition, the pilgrimage is only reserved to Mecca-Hajj exactly as the prophet ordained. Any other pilgrimage is just plainly rejected and even branded as a sinful act. Many people visit the graves of renowned scholars and even visit the prophet's relatives' graves as well as the prophet's grave claiming a pilgrimage-like visit, but they are all rejected strongly as unlawful in Sunni tradition.

 

In the pilgrimage ceremony, the pilgrim wears white Ihram clothing which is made of two unsewn sheets to cover the body, but the soul is wide open to the sky. The term Ihram in Arabic means to enter a state of prohibition, state of purity of the soul that you need to demonstrate your commitment to complete submission to the Lord and in a state of peace that you reflect on the surrounding. This is a state of peace with the self and with the Lord that you prove it by abstaining from taking any life of the Lord’s creation by not killing any living thing. You are not allowed to participate in any act that pertain to the leisure of this life, including having sex or even wearing make-up or perfume. The Lord wants you to be as close as you are as a new-born human without any modification, so you are not allowed even to cut your hair or trim your nails. Once you are done with the Hajj ritual, you are a new born, free of sin. Start over then and try not to sin this time.

Mecca is the holiest land for the Muslims. To visit Mecca and see the historical landscape, where the prophet fought furiously to deliver the message of Allah, is the utmost wish any Muslim would want in his lifetime. In many Muslim countries people can’t perform the obligated Hajj out of financial inability mostly. People even can perform the ritual for their deceased loved ones, if it happened that they couldn’t do it themselves in their lifetime.

 

About 30 km from Mecca, pilgrims start their Hajj ritual by taking off their clothes, taking a shower, and entering in a state of Ihram (the intention to be solely pure and dedicated to meet the Lord) by making intention to perform Hajj and wearing their white Ihram cloths. You cannot take off your Ihram clothes until you end the rituals of Hajj, but you may change them. No sex while in the Ihram state. You can’t kill any living being intentionally, not even an ant, but exception is given for animals that bring harm, such as a snake. You also can not even trim any of your hair or your nails until you finish the Hajj rituals by cutting pieces of your hair and taking off the white Ihram clothes. The Ihram clothes are two pieces of white clothes, unsown. You rap the first one around your waste to cover the bottom part of your body, and the other one around your shoulders to cover the top part, hanging loose. You don’t wear underwear. So, basically you are almost naked, may be because you need to feel humble and humiliated before the Lord during the ritual. The cloths you are supposed to wear are two Must-be-unwoven pieces, a top and a bottom one. Unwoven for simplicity as you are here to meet Lord in the state He created you in as much way as possible. Here, you almost feel naked under a ripped sky. It is that feeling of being violated that makes you realize how weak you are and how fast passing this life is. That is when you feel you are so humbled and you are willing to remove any ill-feeling toward any person and replace it with love. Satan has no place in your heart there. Therefore, part of the ritual is to pick seven marble-size stones and throw them at a site representing Satan as a sign of recognizing that any devilish intentions should be removed from the heart. Here is a picture I have taken of pilgrims performing Omrah (simplified Hajj) within the main lobby where the Kaaba is located.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unsewn two sheets to cover the body, but the soul is open to the heavens

 

I know why the violation to the self, or more, the humiliation on the way to meet with Allah. I understand why people cry there. It is the true feeling of being subordinate when connecting with the reality of the supreme Lord. You see, Allah wants you to meet with Him uncovered, no protection at all, no cover. It is only you and Him, nothing in between. Allah wants to tell you; when you meet with Me, you will be totally helpless. Just like in the state when I created you. Now you are Mine, you and I, no protection, no power by your side. I Am the ultimate power. I want you to have a taste of that before I call on you to die, powerless. Now taste it to prepare for it. When you do Hajj, you meet with Me the way I want and still your call as when to do it. But remember, when it is time to die, it is My call for you to meet with Me unprotected and “naked” just like when I created you. So, prepare for it and feel My utmost power by being helpless in front of Me.

 

The Omrah (a shortened Hajj that you can perform any time in the year) is only about two hours or so from start to end. After all the “humiliation” on the way, you feel very peaceful within the Haram of the Grand Mosque. This is how peaceful pilgrims seem when they are about to enter the grand mosque and are heading to start their first ritual;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy arrival at the holy site in Mecca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peace at the holiest site

 

Together, people are performing their rituals in harmony. Males and females are together, in the same spot, praying and praying and only paying attention to perfect their rituals. Life is completely behind them. They are dead serious. It is like; this is it, we don’t care if tomorrow will be the day of resurrection. I am done and if I have to die soon, let it be now. It is a sincere feeling and it is indeed very peaceful within the Haram.

 

To return to the state of daily affairs of life, you need to clear off from Hajj rituals by taking off your Ihram clothes. You can do that after cutting little pieces of your hair or shaving your head. Now you are off Ihram and you have completed your Hajj. You can go back to your daily matters now, born new from sin. So, start clean.

[]Faith Rituals

Some people claim that they don’t need to perform any ritual to follow a faith. When confronted they would say, look, I have more faith than you do and I don’t have to keep prostrating and bowing for God every day. I don’t steal and I am probably the straightest person at work. They reject the notion of faith identification through expressible means. But don’t you really need to express your faith in communicable means to reveal your identity so people will recognize your behavioral character so they will respect it? How is this possible if you don’t express your faith via ritual means? Wearing little cap on the head or compiling complicated wound turban may suffice for people to identify you, so people will respect your behavioral differences toward a specific subject, not eating pork for example. When at work in a meeting then, you will respectfully not be offered pork. But that is not all of it. Faith rituals have deeper inner satisfactory needs for a person. You belong to a faith you need to prove it to yourself. Hidden and public rituals are indeed needed, public ones to keep reminding the others to respect my choice of faith and hidden ones to remind myself in a satisfactory manner that you belong to this school of thought and you got to qualify. This qualification comes with a price. Sometimes you have to fast a whole month to prove it to yourself, or may be praying five times a day. Hard to do, but sometimes you need to work hard to gain your own respect and others’.

[] No Music in Islamic Rituals

Unlike Christianity, Islam forbids music while doing rituals. It looks like that the faith wants to reserve its own poetic and rhetorical “music” when conducting faith rituals. When it comes to music, it is only the rhetorical “music” of the words of the Quran that has to be accounted in rituals only. Any other music may be damaging to the Quranic rhetorical music in the sense that the verses lose one of their important aspects of spiritual influence on the reciter as well as the listener. The Quranic-music (many don’t like to call it music) adds an inseparable impact of the meaning of the verse itself. Spiritually, recitation of the Quran is complete only with its own music, no outside musical interruption. In a sense, outside music deforms the Quranic music. Muslims feel it when they recite the Quran properly with its special “musical” tone when sounding the words themselves. For example, if the verse talks about hell-fire and the hardship people will endure in it you feel like you are boarding the ship of fear and sailing with the music of the words of the verse heading there. You feel the happy sailing also if the verse is talking about the enduring happiness heading to paradise, all but just tuning with the verse’s music of the words. You will see many people get carried out and cry while reciting or listening to the recitation of the words of God mostly out of fear or happiness by living the verse temporarily. That is why it is important that the music be only a divine element to feel the meaning of the words and any external music effect will deform the inner feeling of the words. It is also important to keep the language that the book was designed of, for the same reason. A translation of the book to a different language definitely diminishes the divine music of the words and may not convey the exact spiritual meaning of the verse as was intended by the Lord. The effect on the self of reciting the book or listening to its recitation should be perfect, and what is more perfect than the Lord’s words themselves.

[] The Greatest Rift; Shiite vs. Sunni

Indeed, any ruling system has to define an “anthem” that should unite people under its jurisdiction. It is a social must. Mostly that the “anthem” is signified by the person of a leader. The Romans for example had a Caesar who was to be crowned by blood as Caesar. People only united under his Caesar-ship and it was always seen that Rome will be no more if there was no Caesar. And Caesar is Caesar by blood. That is probably inherited from “prophet-hood” systems. In the Abrahamic religions, prophets are related by blood. It is actually a sign of royalty to one’s belief. But when prophet-hood is declared as terminated by Islamic faith, should prophet-hood-like leadership still be the “anthem” of leader-ship?

 

From day one after the prophet’s death, a great division among people surfaced as who should succeed him for power. The Shiite believe that belligerent and antagonistic followers, mostly defined later as the Sunnis, digressed from fulfilling the prophet’s promise that commanded for the prophet’s cousin’s (Ali) leadership and appointed instead the prophet’s companion, Abu Bakr; and therefore current Sunnis are great sinners because they believe otherwise. Mostly, the great Imam to Shiite Muslims is as the pope to the Catholic Church. The Sunnis insist that the prophet appointed no body and therefore the leadership should be appointed by a vote conducted by the community leaders. Right after the prophet’s death most of the prophet’s companions gathered and cast their votes to appoint a leader. Abu Baker won the vote as he was the closest to the prophet and he was the prophet’s father in law and the loved longtime friend. Abu Baker also was mentioned in the Quran as “the all friend of the prophet”, who endured great hardship along with the prophet particularly when both had to abandon their childhood city of Mecca and head on foot to the city of Medina leaving behind their livelihood and belongings in what was known as the first migration for the sake of Allah’s word. Abu Bakr was a wealthy man and had a better chance to win the battle to leadership for many attributes pertaining to his loyalty to the new faith. Ali, on the other hand, was the little boy who was raised by the prophet and was the prophet’s cousin as well as his son-in-law, and learned all ethics from him, but he didn’t attend the appointment gathering and did not cast his vote as he was greatly busy with the prophet’s funeral. It is claimed by the Sunni that when Ali later learned of what happened, he acknowledged the appointment of Abu Bakr as a leader. The Shiite regarded that a conspiracy, while the Sunni regarded it as a legitimate power transition. The Sunni argue that if the Shiite’s conspiracy allegation was truly what happened, why Ali wasn’t vocal against the appointment, and he was a person to listen to? Did he not hear of his appointment of leadership by the prophet? Also, those who gathered to appoint the new leader were most of the prophet’s companions who were most loyal to him in his life time. If they were not credible to go ahead with the appointment vote as the Shiite allege, as they always had been accredited by the prophet for their righteousness in his lifetime, who would be then? Shiites say, Ali was not vocal to avoid division out of nobility as he would rather lose his right than to incur division in the Muslim body. Well, if that was so, he already then made a great division when Shiite claimed what they claimed. Indeed, this disagreement is the cause of an unforgivable sin and a “curse” that always brought destruction in the Muslim body till the present day.

[] Love of “Ahlul Bayt: People of the Prophet’s House”

Who does not love the family of the prophet, whoever is included in the family? And, what does the love of them have to do with the succession of the prophet in power? Here is how the Shiites regard Ali. “Ali is regarded as the first Imam and is considered, along with his descendants, to be one of the divinely appointed successors of the prophet Muhammad who are considered the only legitimate religious and political leaders of the Muslim community. Like the rest of his household, Ali is considered infallible and sinless and is the first of twelve infallible Imams from the household of Prophet Muhammed; all have linage to Imam Ali and his son Imam Hussein who was murdered during his appointment as Caliph.” But, from our Abrahamic faith history, no such divine appointment was reported. It was only “divine” prophet-hood. If prophet-hood ceased, as we claim as Muslims, does that mean we have to follow similar pattern of divinity? Sunni say; we have not known of such divine instructions by the prophet. Shiites take as a sign that one important Hadith, “Hadith Khum creek”, where the prophet addressed many people and “clearly” appointed his cousin Ali as his successor. Let’s go beyond this dispute between Shiite and Sunni over the appointment of Imam Ali as the successor of the prophet and discuss the matter of the ruling system by appointment. First, a matter of this importance may be clarified on more than occasion, not by virtue of just one Hadith. If it was not mentioned that rulers have to be from the prophet’s family side earlier than the last days of the prophet’s life nor was it mentioned or implied by the Lord in the Quran, I guess the system of how Muslims should choose their rulers may be just a matter of choice by Muslims and not a divine one. The ruler is a human being and can be tempted and may err, we have seen it all the time. But Shiites want the ruler to be an infallible Imam who doesn’t sin and who will be guided by Allah, a continuation of the prophet-hood process. From their resources, the idea probably was borrowed from Hebrew literature and basically it is a papacy system. So, problem solved for the Shiite. Sorry, to be infallible is a prophet’s identity, not anybody’s, not Imams’, and not popes’.

 

I think what may be more important for the faith is the fate of the male descendants of the prophet who relate to Abraham by blood via Ismael, to continue the deliverance of the Abrahimic faith. Here is a pause on this subject: It is documented by both Sunni and Shiite that the prophet-hood was terminated with the Islamic faith as the final revelation in the Abrahamic chain and globally. Of course Shiites relate this verse chronologically with the appointment of Imam Ali. We all know that Prophet Muhammad had no surviving sons. The three sons he had died in his lifetime. It means that the importance of the linage drops since there is NO MORE DIVINE REVELATION till the day of the judgment as Muslims believe since prophet-hood was only ordained on the male side of the children of Abraham. The early deaths of the prophet’s sons are an obvious sign that his succession should not be based on family inheritance from him. No female prophet was documented in the Abrahamic faith. Still though Shiite do take linage issue (Ahlu Elbyt) as an important aspect of the faith and certainly from the female side of the prophet since all of his sons died. And of course, there is no prophet after Muhammad as we Muslims believe. But then the concept of “infallible Imams” can be projected to have the same level of importance as the prophets. Then, why do you think the door of prophet-hood was closed for ever if the door of “infallible Imams” is to open? There shouldn’t be a difference between the two in terms of passing the word of Allah if Imams were to be infallible.

 

Here begins the big rift. The most immediate males from the prophet’s linage are Imams Hasan and his brother Imam Hussein through the prophet’s daughter Fatima and his cousin Ali. First, prophets descend from the male side of the prophet-hood linage, and Hasan and Hussein are from the female side, unless you want to take the linage of prophet-hood, or Muslim appointed ruler by extrapolation, by “Talib” the father of Ali, rather than by “Abdul Allah” the father of Muhammad. You make then seem like they are infallible and can do the trick of son-linage of the “Ahlu Elbyt-people-of the house of the prophet”. But even not all Ahlu Elbyt people are pious ones which drops the concept to derive infallible Imams from their linage within the people of the house. Example is Abu Lahab, an uncle of the prophet of whom Allah said condemnation words in the Quran and promised him hell fire for his devilish acts. Second, Imam Ali qualified naturally as a successor for power and indeed was appointed as the fourth Caliph. So, of all of the so many qualified companions he naturally obtained the leadership by merit. Third, we Muslims agree that NO PROPHETS NO MORE and it is unlikely that it was ordained that, divinely, appointing rulers is a prophet-hood-like valid process. Again, if so, then no need to terminate the prophet-hood system. Fourth, religion is completed by the prophet, as agreed by Sunni and Shiite, so we need no more of prophets and not even “infallible Imams” to continue the deliverance of the faith. The package of religion was completely finalized by Prophet Muhammad and sealed off. No addition to it. Fifth, if what the Shiite are doing for the murdering of the great Imam Hussein, the grandson of the prophet from daughter side, is more or less mourning his death and not mourning the loss of a big chunk of the faith, then what they are doing is not really proportional to mourning some loved one who died some 1300 years ago. It has become in the Shiite school of faith that mourning Imam Hussein is faith itself. I compare it to the cross for Christians. They believe that Jesus died on the cross as a process for redemption; people carry the cross with them as a ritual part of their faith. Shiite carry the mourning of Imam Hussein with them as ritualized redemption from sin by expressing their ultimate disgust of what happened to Imam Hussein. It became a “pilgrimage” ritual for them. The saying, “O Hussein, for you my soul is to be wasted” became for the Shiite as the cross for the Christians. We didn’t even mourn any close to what they do of the death of the prophet Muhammad himself, and we love the prophet more than anything else that we pray for him in every prayer, five times a day, and we even bear witness for his true prophet-hood every time we bear witness of God as one God by saying, “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger”. Credit may be given here to Sunni school whose scholars are keen to stress that we should only perform rituals exactly as was reported by the prophet, no more and no less. As a matter of fact, they consider it a sin to make any slight changes. Let’s ask ourselves as Muslims; what would have happened differently had Imam Hussein not been murdered? Is there any thing missing in the faith that he would have completed? Is our faith incomplete then, other than the system of Imam-ship of course? Remember that the faith had been completed by the order of Allah. The prophet sealed it just as the prophet-hood was sealed by his arrival. If we are looking for something in the faith, let’s just open its “pages” and look for it. Also, making the mourning of a great Imam as one ritual added to those of the faith is an unjustified addition to the faith for the same reasoning, the faith has been completed and the prophet didn’t make it a faith-ritual to mourn his grandson! Note also the similarity between rituals that commemorate the history of prophet’s acts in the path of the faith and those of “great Imams” added in the faith to commemorate them. This is to illustrate the tendency for us to continue with prophet-hood ideology in leadership (Imam-ship) even after prophet-hood itself has been clearly terminated by Islam. Shiite commemorate the unjust murder of the greatest Imam Ali in A’shoora ceremony which indicates the hardship times for Muslim people to be remembered under the umbrella of the faith itself, while a parallel event in prophet-hood is one important ritual in the Hajj ceremony, that is when Hagar, the mother of Ishmael, is remembered when she was distressed searching for water for her baby Ishmael, running back and forth seven times between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah. To commemorate this great hardship of the mother of the prophet of this act, as ordained by the lord, Muslims run between the same hills as part of the Sa’yee ritual during Hajj. The analogy that we can draw is that Muslims are still in the mood of continuing the prophet-hood process in a different shape, as Imam-ship, so the element of divinity will be there to encompass Imam-ship. Again, if that is the trend, there is really no need to discontinue the prophet-hood in the first place.

 

Finally, let’s be honest with ourselves as Muslims and give the issue of leadership-appointment a little deeper insight by removing the exaggerations that have been built on the issue all along since it is the most dividing issue in the Muslim faith and indeed the cause of internal disputes and hatred. We Muslims have suffered most terrorist casualties by internal terrorism. Look at how easy it is for a faith-driven “Muslim” terrorist (all be it twisted-faith) to blow himself up in a place where crowds of “Muslims” are gathering for simple daily livelihood activity, such as a marketplace or even at a place of worship like a mosque! Why are our souls so cheap to each other? The answer is, simply because we do accuse each other of infidelity by not following each other’s schools of thought. Let’s respect each other’s opinions.

[]The Establishment

In the introduction I defined the establishment as the system that comprises the “few” top scholars and the way they handle rule-making process pertaining to the faith, aside from the long established solid faith root-laws that have been repeatedly reexamined for the last 1300 years. The majority of Muslims, Sunni Muslims, don’t have within the faith establishment a dogma that centers on infallibility of their faith leaders, but they indeed act upon it as if they do! The Shiites though do have that dogma. As a matter of fact, that is about all of what there is when counting differences between Shiite and Sunni. The Shiite acquired the dogma through similar reasoning with that of the Catholic Church which appoints a pope in virtue of the promise of Jesus to Peter. The pope is preserved from erring. His supreme apostolic authority allows him to define a doctrine concerning faith to be held by the church. The appointment of the pope is a continuation of the promise of Jesus to Peter, to whom Jesus is supposed to have given the keys of heaven, likewise the appointment of the grand Imam of Shiite belief is a continuation of the dogma that the prophet, as stated in the Shiite belief, appointed his cousin and his son-in law “Ali” for leadership before his death. The Shiite believe that twelve of infallible Imams, all linked to the prophet by kinship, should have succeeded the prophet to lead the Muslims after his death. The last one disappeared and they are awaiting his return to establish justice. It is uncertain to many Muslims whether the twelve succeeding Imams were truly foretold by the prophet? We should know how and who reported it! Again, the Hadith about Imam Ali is the legitimate successor of the prophet in leadership is totally interpreted differently by Sunnah and Shiite. The most important thing is that neither Sunnah nor Shiite, when they talk about that Hadith, talk about infallibility of twelve Imams! It seems that the Hadith just talks about a righteous succeeding twelve Imams! I searched for the variant versions of the Hadith and I didn’t see the word divine said by the prophet. Does the mere appointment of someone for leadership by the prophet means a divine nature of the appointee? Where are the “keys of heaven” in the Hadith? Here are variants of the Hadith, “For this nation, there will be Twelve Custodians who will never be influenced by those who will frustrate them.”, or, “From Quraysh ‘the prophet’s tribe in Mecca’, there will be Twelve Custodians who will never be injured by the enmity of their opposites.” Again, it is compelling to wonder why there was a termination of the prophet-hood if there would be divine Imam-ship. Another narration goes like this: “This affair will be kept in excellence until there will be twelve princes…”

 

Good leaders come and go, bad leaders come and go, but the solid faith remains. We worship God, not the prophet or any succeeding person, however he reigns or is appointed. Why would it not be an easy job for the prophet just to appoint his successor? He didn’t die a sudden death! In battlefield, he appointed army leaders, if the first one is killed in action, let be so and so the next leader. So, if in the battlefield it is important to appoint leaders according to qualification, why wouldn’t be the leader of the whole Muslims, frankly and plainly appointed by the prophet? He didn’t mention who or the method by which his successors should take place (except for the claim by the Shiites that he did appoint Ali of which the appointment was not clearly and agreeably took place; see the big rift between Shiites and Sunni section above. Then let’s choose the best method. That is what naturally happened right after the prophet’s death! Ironically, the way leaders were chosen after the prophet’s death by public-appointment was not even the way the Arabs used to do it before the prophet. They didn’t do it by merit, but mostly by the person’s status in the clan with elders taking the lion’s share. This means the appointment of the prophet’s successor was learned naturally from the way the prophet dealt with the issue or similar issues; with a large margin of choice and by merit of qualification as in the battlefield, no kinship and no friendship, just qualification. It is indeed unrealistic to put it down to divine-leadership as until when then? Even for twelve infallible Imams, what is then after the twelfth? Oh, I see, the last one disappeared and will come back as the Messiah. Only then there will be no more Imam-ship because the Messiah will expose the true face of the religion. Sorry, are you suggesting that the prophet didn’t? What then until he comes back? Who should rule? Well, they say, let it be righteous, knowledgeable and pious ones. OK, then let it be like so in the first place, no infallible Imam-ship. That is what the appointment process was. The leader doesn't have to be divine. Divine-ship is only for PROPHETS, period. The Hadith of the twelve Imams didn't even state it clearly, “succeeding Imams”! It could be then those Imams at any time after the prophet! Ironically, Omar, the second Caliph, who was accused of stealing the leadership from the divinely appointed one, the prophet's cousin, Ali (who was the fourth one as naturally by virtue of merit), said the following in his final hours before his death when he was asked to appoint someone after him. He said: “Had one of those two men been alive, I would have certainly delivered him this position with quite tranquility and satisfaction—Abu-`Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah or Salim the slave of Abu-Hudhayfah!” [Hdith- Majma al-Zawa]. Omar only nominates though his successor, but does not appoint! But look what he would nominate had he been alive, a former slave! I wonder why the fourth Caliph, Ali, whose leadership was stolen from earlier as claimed, didn't straighten out the issue after he became the leader of the Muslims and pushed for the Imams-hip dogma? Oh, he was about to, but unfortunately he didn't have enough time to do it as he was assassinated by the Sunni monsters! Let's all remove the monster-ship from our hearts.

In general though there is not much of a difference between the Shiites and the Sunnis in faith other than what stems from that dogma of Imam’s infallibility, and thus their veneration, and whatever the grand Imams have decreed differently all along. Ironically, the Sunnis themselves seem to be following a similar dogma without Imams’ appointment through the institutionalization of faith-views of the “few” as part of their faith superiority. This might be a great deal sometimes. It is safe though to say that differences between the Sunni and Shiite are only magnified in the realm of the ruling method, and generally if you talk about any issue pertaining to Islamic faith it should most probably be applicable to both.

[] What is Important in the Faith?

Most important matters in Islam are clearly stated in the Quran and the Sunnah, the main two sources that contain all what is needed to define the religion, as the prophet said, “I have left among you two matters by holding fast to which, you shall never be misguided: the Book of Allah and my Sunnah.” [Hadith- Muslim] The first one is the book of Allah and the other one is its explanatory teachings by the prophet. The most important of all that a person won't enter the faith without is the declaration of the oneness of a supreme entity; Allah . If this is acknowledged, four next in importance are to be practiced as acceptance of Allah’s ordinance on you as a Muslim. They are; five prayers daily, zakat; a religious tax, fasting a month every year and the pilgrimage once in your lifetime if you afford it. What come next in importance are all other issues you can imagine that humans face in a regular business day. Islam completely integrates secular matters with spiritual matters that pertain to the faith, and therefore regulates them in every single move a believer makes in his life. It categorizes them from the most important to the least and rewards who adhere to the rule and penalizes violators accordingly. I herein call the scale that they are categorized against, the importance scale. Like most divine faiths nevertheless, Islam opens the door open for repentance and categorizes it as high on the importance scale. You are forgiven your sins no matter grave they are if you repent. But Allah forgives not, “to associate a partner with him” as He reveals in the Quran. That is the sin of all sins, period.

 

Also, Islam strongly preserves lives and the issue is taken very seriously if this rule-of-thumb is violated. On the other hand, apparently, some Islamic communities seem to enforce Shariah law in various venues in what seems to be a direct violation of some important rules, on top of which is the rule of preserving lives, to the point that they resort to extremism, and killing of innocent lives may become the norm for some radicalists. One can ask, is it then the ambiguous drafting of the Shariah law, which supposedly strongly stresses the rule of preserving lives. What went wrong in the understanding of this important rule of preserving lives by some people? Are there rules higher on the importance scale that nullify it? How are Shariah rules classified by the Shariah law scholars? May be misunderstanding of some rules are the ones that drove some people to extremism. Trying to open avenues for scholars to look into crevices that may influence the make-up of some of the rules is one of the main themes in this book. I hereby claim no certainty though of the righteousness of the selected crevices, neither I claim a sufficient Shariah knowledge in them. The attempt here is to only open the door for knowledgeable scholars to follow similar pattern in the extrapolation of the Shariah law.

 

One unavoidable question when trying to understand the Shariah law is to ask if there is some kind of a rift in extrapolating some rules by different Islamic schools of thought or even by scholars under the umbrella of the same school of thought. The main two subs of the religion, Sunni and Shiite, do share common venues of probable misunderstanding of some of the rules of the religion for many of the faithful believers.

 

No doubt that extremism stems from the tight mechanism of executing Shariah laws that are placed high on the importance scale which are sometimes subject to erroneous interpretation of the originally extrapolated ones. This behavior might reach its apex for a principle rule of thumb, as preserving-lives-rule, to be gravely breached. An example is the heinous execution of rivals by burning them alive as a show of seriousness for the role in the path for dominance. One can ask then, does being deadly serious justify such a cruel act? From where then they came up of such an act? How is this embedded in the Shariah law? I think, mistakenly, from extreme interpretation of some verses such as, “The only punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive to adopt corruption in the land is that they should be murdered, or crucified, or their hands and their feet should be cut off from rear, or they should be banished.” [Quran- The Food 5:33] They take it as they are carrying the word of God and teaching of his prophets, so those who fight them are waging war against Allah and His Messenger. But one can ask, is it for you to interpret what level of corruption in the land entitles the perpetrator to face this kind of severe punishment? Second, you take it literally and institutionalize it? If the word is to be taken literally, when is the burning alive punishment ever carried out by the prophet? Or, those who did it ruled that at the prophet’s time Muslims never faced a “corruption of that level” for the prophet to order such severe punishment? It is well known that it was the prophet’s time when Muslims faced atrocities that may amount to “high degree of corruption” status that rivals any other time. The prophet ordered none of such severe punishment. So, one can ask, is there a true rift of extrapolating Shariah law in the first place? We know that there have been respected scholars who were specialized in Shariah law and drafted for us a true righteous principles of our faith that we can continue on to draft more with the passage of time as claimed that Islam is ever alive and fits all places and times. But perhaps it is the modern drafting of more continually ever rules and laws that may be ambiguously drafted. Basic ones have no room to question their full validity and are easy to see by extrapolating from what the prophet ordained. The big civil gap between modern societies and that at the time of the prophet places many challenges to correctly extrapolate laws. Mostly, some new ones though which are built on old basic ones do have plenty of room to speculate their completeness and may be erroneous stipulation. That is not concerning main facets of the faith such as praying, fasting, charity etc. It is the extrapolation of modern religious issues versus secular ones. For example, praying on a train, which is easy to extrapolate as the prophet did pray while riding on his camel, and placing them on the scale of importance and drafting punishment for their violators if there is any, etc., versus secular ones such as waging wars and reading a book. It is in no means to stand inert and watch some Shariah law-high rank scholars differ in their opinions over some newly drafted Shariah laws, in their extrapolation and therefore creating a rift in the Islamic understanding of, most importantly, the rules that pertain to life and death! We all agree on the source of the Shariah law as the book and the Sunnah of the prophet, but if things are clear cut in all Shariah venues, why is then the deep differences that sometimes exist over the Shariah law interpretation that includes placing them on the importance scale. After all, Islam is for all to implement and of no less importance to interpret. Yes the basic rule of thumb is knowledge of the subject matter to give your say. But if you know of the subject, please use your head as you will be judged alone of your own deeds. No one will take punishment of your own misbehavior but yourself. Here we should not point fingers or try to influence any change of how handling extrapolation of new rules for Shariah law, but to only open the eyes on some areas in the understanding of a great religion like Islam and look for crevices that might exist in understanding the strategies appointed to draft Shariah laws. Those strategies were put by early, much respected scholars and “revered” as untouchable, but it is of utmost importance to do a comparison study by open minded current scholars who may find it imperative to “amend” some rules such as those of current global issues of concern to the whole Muslim nation as well as the world at large. We only need to look for possible sources of crevices that may have led to confusion and may have led to some of our youth to break off from the grip of the establishment and taking laws into their own hands by executing their own sway understanding of some Shariah laws. In other words, those crevices that created an easy affinity toward extremism which scholars have to identify and eliminate.

[]Islam as a Way of Life

Islam is a faith that greatly integrates daily livelihood with spiritual aspects and therefore fulfills a basic human need of constant spiritual connection throughout one’s life as seen by the faith. That is the true identity for any divine religion all be it that religions do differ mostly in style and the degree of divine connectivity with worldly matters. But if a religion disengages greatly from worldly matters it becomes distinctively only spiritual in nature and practically ineffective in most cases. An example is Christianity which mostly became no more than a set of expressions of no practical meaning. Disagree on this? Show me a case where the pope’s opinion on a matter that concerns an important issue that actually had an impact on politicians. In the Muslim world though, politicians do listen to and reckon to the faith-establishment opinions, only matters are sometimes contentiously disputed with the establishment. There will always then be skirmishes where one side, either the ruling party or the establishment, will have the final say. This synchronicity must be maintained; otherwise a great rift will occur and will cause too much sorrow in a religious society.

 

The deep involvement of the faith in the people’s worldly matters allows many venues of weak crevices for extremism to grow. The integration is magnified to the point that almost no activity may be passed without a spiritual connection. If this issue is misused though, or overdosed, it can drive many to extremism and it did indeed.

 

Many outside the faith think that Islam obligates on its people tough rules and regulations that it may be classified as “extremist” religion in nature. Muslims strongly disagree in that regards. The faith just slips very smoothly with daily life activities. I heard a person speaking of cruel starvation to people when observing fasting. Muslims abstain from eating and drinking anything completely during fasting, sometimes happened to be long periods of time during summer time. This is to be observed from sunrise to sunset during the lunar month of Ramadan. A lunar period is important as the fasting will rotate during the life time; it could be for example in the summer time or in the winter time or any time in the year, then you will fast during different weather conditions of the year, sometimes hot weather and sometimes mild, so you taste all of different “sufferings”. Islam makes its followers abstain from eating or drinking anything during the daytime when fasting is observed. That is the crucial part that others accuse Muslims of making people unnecessarily suffer and deprives them from essential nutrient. But look at this latest research; this is the latest study into the health benefits of the “fasting-mimicking diet”. “Fasting diet regenerates diabetic pancreas”, Dr Valter Longo, from the University of Southern California, said: “Our conclusion is that by pushing the mice into an extreme state and then bringing them back – by starving them and then feeding them again – the cells in the pancreas are triggered to use some kind of developmental reprogramming that rebuilds the part of the organ that’s no longer functioning.” There were benefits in both type-1 and type-2 diabetes in the mouse experiments. Further tests on tissue samples from people with type-1 diabetes produced similar effects.” Also, the prophet said in a “weak” Hadith, “Observe fasting and you will gain health.” [Hadith- weak narration] : You can never count the endless bounties you may find in a faith. That is for Sean if he wonders if believing in God has any beneficial impacts on humans other than “fake” spiritual satisfaction as he claims!

[]Moderation Vs Extremism

The prophet plainly warned of faith extremism and always stressed moderation. Here is what he said, “Beware of extremism in religion. Those who were before you nothing destroyed them except their extremism in religion.” [Hadith- Ahmed] There are many Quranic verses and hadiths which emphasize the moderation of Shariah laws when extrapolated. One Hadith is that the prophet said to his wife Aisha once “Allah loves gentleness in everything in this life and in his religion, either in tongue or in deed.” and another Hadith, “Allah loves kindness in all matters” and another, “Religion is easy, and no one overburdens himself in his religion but he will be unable to continue in that way. So do not be extremists, but try to be near perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded. Gain strength by worshiping in the mornings and afternoons and during the last hours of the night.” [Hadith– Bukkharil and Muslim] Those Hadiths and many others clearly describe Islam as an easy religion to go with.

[] Rulers are Representatives of the People

Shiites claim that state-rule can only be awarded to specific individuals with specific faith merits; divine ones. As well known, the issue of who should rule and how should the ruler be appointed has been the main rift between Sunni and Shiite Muslims that started right after the death of the prophet. A ruler who is appointed by his people; that is his people agree on his appointment as their boss, mainly is a signer to contracts made by the “people” and an enactor to the policies of a system agreed upon by the people as well and derived from Islamic rulings. It may not be an important issue of what the mechanism of how the leader has been appointed as long as the people truly agree on his appointment. But a mechanism should be made to overturn a ruler’s decision if the public is displeased of it, meaning the ruler’s signature may be revoked and any document the ruler signs should be invalidated if he “deviates” from the rule of law of the system. That is an Islamic doctrine, even for the “prophets” who may deviate if they ever do, at least as a reminder for rulers. Read please what Allah says, “And it is not for a prophet to act dishonestly. And whoever acts dishonestly will bring his dishonesty on the day of Resurrection. Then shall every soul be paid back fully what it has earned, and they will be not wronged. ” [Quran- The Family of Amran 3:161]. Also, we pray for God's acceptance in His mercy of our prophet day and night and in every prayer. Is it not true that it was reported that our prophet has been forgiven all of his sins? And if he is not to err, since he is infallible, why all of this prayer for him and why would God forgive his sins if he is infallible? It is a reminder for everyone, including prophets who are of course “infallible by divine care-but not by human nature”, to beware of sinning. In the case of a possible erring of a “prophet”, since prophets are nothing but humans, correction is instantaneous by a divine intervention; for example, divine verses may be revealed. Erring is a human nature and prophets are nothing but humans, read please, “ Say, O prophet to people; I am only a human like yourselves, but revealed to me that your God is one God. So whoever hopes to meet his Lord, he should do good deeds, and join no one in the service of his Lord. ” [Quran- The Cave 18:110] Also read, “ And if We had not made thee (the prophet) firm, thou mightest have indeed inclined to them a little; Then We would have made thee taste a double (punishment) in life and a double (punishment) after death, and then thou wouldst not have found any helper against Us .” [Quran- The Israellites 17:74-75]. The prophet then is only a human being who is inclined to err except that a divine care prevents him from erring. But where in the Quran or the Sunnah it is said that this is the same for anybody other than him, the prophet? Now, how can we correct “infallible Imams” if they err since the divine direct intervention has ceased by the completeness of our book as stated by the Quran itself? Our inclination to “come up with stuff” to be able to continue on the path as we learned it from the book of Allah and His prophet’s teachings is a great danger that always led us to err. There is one instant mentioned in the Quran where Allah ruled different than what the prophet had ruled. That is when the prophet turned his face away from a blind man who came to him hoping to learn of Islam at a time of a crucial meeting between the prophet and some high-status people in the society in Mecca whom the prophet wished they would accept the new faith. A whole chapter in the Quran named “He Frowned” discussed how it is not for the high-status people to accept the call of Allah or a blind man. It is for whoever opens the heart to accept. The meaning of the chapter is this; read please, “He frowned (the prophet) and turned away; Because the blind man came to him (to learn of the new faith); And what would make thee know that he might purify himself, Or be mindful, so the Reminder should profit him? As for him who considers himself free from need; To him thou dost attend. And no blame is on thee, if he purify himself not; And as to him who comes to thee striving hard, And he fears — To him thou payest no regard” [Quran- He Frowned 80:1-10] Did the prophet err? Well at least he didn't choose what the Lord would want him to choose. But look for the immediate divine intervention to teach the prophet and people the faith. What happens when there is no more instantaneous divine intervention as our religion is the last one and the series of prophet-hood ended there? Well, some say, OK, Imams will do the job. Imams are infallible. Or, the establishment is infallible. Are we not lying to ourselves now? The truth is that the establishment is not but a body of people who may err, and sometimes big time.

 

The fear of extremism has shaken up the stability of regimes all over the world and negatively affected the welfare of their citizens. But the world is still tackling the problem inadequately and equivalently inappropriately. The problem is only tackled militarily whenever a threat is imminent and ignored otherwise. For many westerners the problem is seen erroneously as rooted in the faith itself, and of course you cannot fight a great religion like Islam with the world’s Muslim population soon surpassing the Christian one.

The claim that the public sharing of the faith rule-making process of which Shariah law stems from may be the right move to crackdown on radicalism may not be widely shared among scholars. Some emerging Islamic movements claim that there is no clear opposition of the faith of Islam with the principles of sharing rule-making decisions, and the only probable reason that Muslims should fear of “democracy” is that secularism, a facet of democracy, is a direct threat to the religion and constitutes a grave violation to its principles and may eventually lead to the destruction of the faith, or the least weaken it. Others argue that it could even strengthen the faith because secularism is part of the Islamic religion in the sense that Islam defines all moves in one’s life and also that Islamic principles respect greatly one’s freedom of choice and speech including choice of religion itself. We should differentiate between sharing rule-making with the faith establishment, which is the intention here, and sharing it with the ruling regime. The latter is defined broadly by the democratic process as defined in the west. We should never try to convert regimes to democratic ones by force as democracy as it stands now is not Islamically oriented. That approach is disastrous. Some regimes, like Islamic ones, as many see it, advocate democratic values by the nature of the system itself. Democratic tools as used by the west in their systems are not the only tools to advocate democratic values. Here are the core democratic values which are the fundamental beliefs and Constitutional principles of American society as expressed in the United States constitution,

 

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p<>{color:#000;}. Life: Each citizen has the right to the protection of his or her life.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Liberty: Liberty includes the freedom to believe what you want, freedom to choose your own friends, and to have your own ideas and opinions, to express your ideas in public, the right for people to meet in groups, the right to have any lawful job or business.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Pursuit of Happiness: Each citizen can find happiness in his or her own way, so long as he or she does not step on the rights of others.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Justice: All people should be treated fairly in getting advantages and disadvantages of our country. No group or person should be favored.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Common Good: Citizens should work together for the good of all. The government should make laws that are good for everyone.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Equality: Everyone should get the same treatment regardless of where their parents or grandparents were born, their race, their religion or how much money they have. Citizens all have political, social and economic equality.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Truth: The government and citizens should not lie.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Diversity: Differences in language, dress, food, where parents or grandparents were born, race and religion are not only allowed but accepted as important.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Popular Sovereignty: The power of the government comes from the people.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Patriotism: This means having a devotion to our country and the core democratic values in what we say and what we do.

 

Those democratic values do not need to only be derived from the so defined “tools” of democracy as in the west. Clearly, many systems including some “religious” ones do advocate most of those values.

 

We have to take an example of our prophet. When he had an upper hand over the people of Mecca, those same people who persecuted him and drove him out of his own town just because he demanded more civil and social rights, specifically the right of free speech, he let them free when he entered the city with his mighty army some years later. They are still non-believers of the new faith by then. But the prophet set an example for us that the roof of the new faith is to give shade to everyone, including the “nonbelievers” at some stage, even the atheists so they can hear the word of the truth when they are at peace with themselves. The Islamic message is clear, take it or leave it.

 

Some argue that the “take it or leave it rule” is only valid during the establishment period of the religion, but after the faith was completed, the rule applies no more! Obviously, the rule runs for ever as long as there are people who don’t know of the religion, and there will always be such people. Examples are everybody else other than the Muslim world! Do you think that America, Europe or South East Asia truly know Islam? Those of them who don’t identify themselves as Muslims only know the dark side of the twisted side of it!

 

In all cases, when a ruling system in a predominately Muslim population country is made, people should in principle watch out for the fact that all matters of one’s life indeed integrate with the faith, but should allow for minorities to practice their own beliefs. But of course, the minorities have to obey “federal” general rules. Within closed doors, do what you like, the “privacy” rule protects you, but publicly you need to respect the general rules. For example, if you are a Christian living in a Muslim country, you can’t eat in public during the fasting daytime period but you can always close your doors on yourself and eat as much as you want.

[] Islam Didn’t Outlaw Slavery!

It has been argued that Islam didn't do much to eliminate slavery in totality as there is no rule that outlawed it. That is completely true. Islam though considered slavery as an ugly practice. Here is what the prophet of Islam said, “Not one of you should (when introducing someone) say ‘This is my slave’, ‘This is my concubine’. He should call them ‘my daughter’ or ‘my son’ or ‘my brother’.” [Hadith- Ibn Hanbal] Not to outlaw slavery while at the same time ferociously fight social inequality to attain social justice, slaves included, is indeed not understood to many. But Islam effectively eliminated slavery in a record time by the elimination by cumulative moves to uproot the practice over time through pay back to society. That is a very smart move indeed. That was mostly the trend to eliminate social problems. Slavery is a social problem with a devilish dark side. In contrast, Islam, all be it gradually, outlawed the consumption of Alcohol by stating its prohibition in the Quran, be it gradually but the practice ended prohibited by the say of the Quran! First, Muslims were instructed not to come to prayer while they were drunk and finally it was totally prohibited. But, there is not a mention in the Quran or the Sunnah that ordains that slavery should not be outlawed! In Saudi Arabia, slavery was abolished in 1962. If you are caught practicing slavery you will be prosecuted. But how slavery was quickly eliminated in the early days of Islam? It happened naturally by ordaining rules that required sinners to free slaves. In a very short time, all slaves were liberated and the society was very quickly free of the ugly practice. This is then an ongoing effective practice and a good method to invest socially. Nobody is immune from sinning, and sometimes big time. Pay your duty then by freeing a slave. No more slaves to repent of your sins? That is good. That is the goal. Slavery is history then. There are many other bad practices that people may incur that are highly ranked sins on the importance scale. There we go. Pay back over there as well to repent of your sins. By time then, all bad practices defined by the faith as bad will be eliminated. You cannot get rid of the bad practice by simply outlawing every one of them as those will always exist, if not in open, in the black market then! Name them all if you can! But those which prominently stand out should be definitely outlawed, and slavery is one of them.

 

There are many different types of human slavery; there is slavery where you unlawfully and completely “own” a soul, or partially own it, such as, work slavery, sex slavery, you name it. Outlaw them and they will still exist somehow, somewhere probably in the most remote island on the planet. Pay the society your debt to clean it up through repentance of your sins, behind closed doors or in open if you will. It doesn’t mean that we should not draft laws to outlaw them, as people still transgress and do illegal stuff. Merely identifying a payback policy of high price for slavery you are morally outlawing it. In other words, people do outlawed stuff still. Pay your debt to society-policy proved very effective in eliminating unhealthy practices. Similar practiced example in the west, a judge, may order you to do a community sentence over some minor violation, as doing unpaid work in your local community. Remember, the minor violation is a violation of an already outlawed act. Here also lies a crevice where people use faith to accept in their heart the disgusting and ever devilish act of slavery. The so called Islamic State relied on this crevice and tried to revive the practice of slavery in the territories they claimed. In the movie of “Django Unchained”, I remember the seine where the guy tied the “slave” girl to a tree, holding with one hand a whip and with the other hand the Bible and murmuring some Bible scripture before he was ready to whip the poor girl! It is just so sickening of the heart to use the words of the Lord to legalize slavery. The movie turns very, very violent toward the end, but it goes along with the monstrous nature of slavery and the bloody path for freedom. So, please skip the blood scenes. The hero in the movie is not Django, remember the D is silent, but it is the German guy. After all, Germany accepted more refugees than any other country, long live Chancellor Angela. The sea swallowed a great number of them as well. Those refugees were civilian slaves of the warring triad; the twisted-faith parties, the arrogant totalitarian leaders and the fighters for freedom from both.

 

Slavery is tied to the political-civil system. Imagine that the US enslaved all Japanese people after winning the Second World War. All Japanese girls would be slaves to the Americans! It is a very different political-civil system, right? It is a bad and ugly system that was the norm 1400 years back. Islam didn’t change much the political system during its founding period, but it did change the civil system a great deal. On the other hand, the consumption of alcohol has no ties with the political system. For example, if you win a war you don’t ask all the bottles of wine to follow you home. So, it looks like Islam solved the civil-problem of slavery and kept the political side subject to be optimized by the legal system. May be this is so because Islam didn’t identify a specific political system where such a disease called slavery should be abolished when a political system is “ripe” enough to go that far. But the ethics, here a divine ones, include the outline to abolish it. This is obvious if you study the history of slavery abolition in the US and elsewhere. A highly structured political system with good ethics (legal system) will have the will to abolish slavery. It is also a lesson for Muslims that a political system in Islam has not been fixed by the Islamic doctrine but left to be optimized aided by “divine” ethics. Based on that, may be it is time to drop the Imam-ship political systems as part of Islamic doctrine.

[] The Role of the Woman in Islam

It is always claimed by Muslims, but seen otherwise by non-Muslims, that women have been given their full rights as productive individuals in the Islamic society. This claim is always heard across the Muslim world. External observation though of the claim strongly is in disagreement with western values sometimes. So, is it the western values vs. Islamic values that makes the distinction, or, is there a deeper misunderstanding of the problem in the faith? I want to quote Churchill’s critique here, cited earlier, before I continue. Churchill criticizes what he sees as the oppression of women in Islam. He was quoted as saying “The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.” You will find almost all Muslims disagree with this statement, especially as the woman is man’s slave! Again, just like in the issue of slavery above, women’s status are also bound to a specific political system. Islam frees the woman from social oppression by defining civil ethics to protect her. But it is for the political system to define women’s role in the the society as well as in the political system abiding with their civil rights. For example, a woman needs to wear hijab to gain her freedom to go around places without feeling that she is the subject of sexual abusers, whether this issue is agreed by psychologists or not. In other words, this maximizes her safety while maintaining her civil rights. Now, a political system should define her political participation in the system, undefined by Islamic doctrine, in accordance with her civil rights that are defined by Islamic doctrine. Those ethics obligate her to wear the hijab.

 

The Islamic faith strongly emphasizes that both men and women belong to each other, but, to many, women have lesser civil rights. That may not be true though as they still have equal civil rights with some distinctions biased for the male-side. But truly this has nothing to do with slavery, albeit, even many Muslims mistakenly are overtaken by this difference of classification of women’s duties and obligations in the society when compared to men’s. It all has to do with the physical distinction only between the two genders. While there is no mental distinction at all between them, Islam ordains different duties on them depending on their capabilities. Just as slaves are not obligated to bear responsibilities of something they can’t do because of their lack of their free will to execute, women are also not obligated in that sense out of mostly physical inability. What about when women are pregnant, don’t they need time out from the outside hassle for the sake of the baby? I have a pair of budgie birds in my house, male and female. When they started nesting and the female laid eggs, the male would not let the female leave the nest most of the time even for food. Food and water is just a meter down on a plate. The male would feed the female mouth to mouth to let it remain in the nest incubating the eggs. That is the work of the genes. It is nature. Of course, other species male and female share incubation, but male-humans don’t have wombs to carry their little ones.

 

On the other hand, men and women are totally mentally equal. That leads to equal responsibilities when the prospected task is totally mentally designated. For example, if a woman steals or commits adultery she is to be punished equally as the man for the same sin. But when in a battlefield for example, she is not obligated to carry a sword and fight, only if she can she may. Women were reported to carry swords in the battlefield. Women joined in the battle field with their physical ability as much as they could provide. Khadija, the prophet’s first wife, was a wealthy and very successful businesswoman who traded imported goods with local ones. She supported the new faith financially and stood side by side with her husband. Many businesses need mental ability only. So, in Islam, woman’s right of ownership is equated with that of the man. The claim that the man owns his women is completely false and the status of the woman as subordinate to the man is usually unsubstantiated with facts and confused, sometimes by Muslims themselves, in many instances.

 

The issue of subordination of women in Islam being linked to some type of slavery by the man is mostly derived from the fact that Islam in some social matters imposes more social responsibilities on the man due to the socially imposed physical incapability of women. But when the physical restriction is removed, the distinction should be naturally removed. That is indeed not recognized in most of the Islamic literature concerning the civil rights of women. That is deeply rooted in the way some corners of the Shariah law are extracted abstractly only. Such crevices may be recognized and rectified if and only if the hierarchical construct of the faith-establishment allows a wider domain of input, especially by the “knowledgeable-public”.

 

In Islam it seems that women are interdependent socially but independent economically. But how can you be independent economically and yet interdependent socially? This is not a riddle though. It is a proof that women’s social interdependence is only a societal necessity that may be revoked if the society ordains otherwise, perhaps by the ever-going advancement of technology. Just like in the case of slavery, when the legal system is ready to remove the restriction, slavery should be outlawed, and so may be most of the restrictions imposed on women. In other words, most of the cultural traits that oppose the general equality for all should be eliminated once the legal system ordains it. For example, in most of the Muslim world, the husband assumes the role of financial provider in the family. This distinction between husband and wife in assuming financial responsibility is recognized as religiously ordained rather than societal. First, the “financial provider husband” concept made the husband the master and the rest of the family members more like subordinates. Second, it made females unproductive and therefore reduced family’s income significantly. In the Islamic world, it is mostly reasoned that women are actively productive since they assume the role of raising the children. Well, does that mean the husband is not sharing the responsibility of raising his children? If so, then why not women bearing financial responsibility as well? But can women be as productive financially as men if the physical restrictions of women removed? It is indeed so, cultivating all the technological advancement around us. It is not by all means that women may not be able to observe divine ethics, for example, dropping wearing of the hijab in public, or the female-male etiquette of ethical behavior. If so, can the financial burden on the husband removed? This is obviously misunderstood in many Muslim societies and women there are unfortunately sometimes deeply mistreated. Here lies an obvious crevice; misinterpretation of some of the basic Islamic rules concerning societal rights of women. It seems that the husband’s financial responsibility is a rule-making dependent issue and may be adjusted as seen fit by the legal system to amend rules when restrictions that gave rise to them are removed. Perhaps this is why the religion left it to the legal system to abolish slavery while the religion itself abolished the societal side of it by “pay back to the society” scheme. But where is the establishment to see and correct when applicable of all of this?

[]Hitting as Punishment

Islam legalizes hitting as punishment; whipping for example whether you are a man or a woman as a redemption process from specific sins. All actions are to be under the eyes of a court of law, and not individualized, as it is the individualization of the global rules by nature that opens a pathway to extremism. The judge’s final ruling is what counts.

 

“Hitting” a woman as a type of legal punishment may seem cruel, but if that is the punishment of misconduct, then where is the harm? The man as well is subject to the same type of legal punishment. First let me start with this, the prophet says “The most complete of all believers in terms of their manners and faith are the best of them to their wives.” [Hadith- Ibn Hibban] So, as a husband, you will be a true believer if you are best to your wife. But there is a verse in the Quran which is always seen by the outsider as an indication to the cruelty of how Islam deals with women, because it seemingly legalizes using “violence” against woman! Here is the verse. Read please, “Men are maintainers of women (their wellbeing), with what Allah has made some of them to excel over others and with what they spend out of their wealth. So the good women are obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded. And (as to) those on whose part you fear (moral) desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the beds and chastise them. So if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Surely Allah is ever Exalted, Great. ” [Quran- The Women 4:34] The call for “hitting-punishment” of women is not for the husband or the family, it is for the state, the rule of law, and the hitting conviction for her is for her moral misconduct as clearly seen in the verse. A judge should first give her a lecture of “how moral conduct of a straight individual should be”; meaning, she should be reminded of her wrong moral conduct before a punishment of “hitting” to be imposed. A man may even get the same conviction for the same moral misconduct. More yet, a judge may order the husband to imprison her in her house; not to leave t for some time. That is even less cruel than doing time in a state prison full of drug dealers. At least she remains in her house with dignity. As a matter of fact, Islam in many rulings, especially in the case of a divorce, proclaims her right to stay in her house after divorce. One punishment, as seen from the Quranic verse, may be ordained by the judge is for the husband to desert her in bed (not sleep with her); that could be a reminder for her that the issue is very serious. It may be seen out of context that hitting a woman is a cruel act. The verse only says that, one of the punishments for her moral misconduct could be “hitting”. Of course, hitting is further explained by the prophet, in a Hadith, “not hitting of harming nature”. Scholars described some of it as, no hitting on the face, no hitting on sensitive places, not extensive hitting, use of objects for hitting to physically harm is not allowed, etc. So, it means the act of hitting is more of psychological effect as a reminder mostly. And of course, nothing is individualized. Meaning any verdict is to be substantiated by a court of law. The husband should not accuse or set up a home-court of which he is the sole judge and hence executes the hitting punishment. Hitting in general is not allowed. It is reported that Imam Ahmad recorded that Aisha (the prophet's wife) said, “The Messenger of Allah (Mohammad) never struck a servant of his with his hand, nor did he ever hit a woman. He never hit anything with his hand, except for when he was fighting in the cause of Allah. And he was never given the option between two things except that most beloved of the two to him was the easiest of them, as long as it did not involve sin. If it did involve sin, then he stayed farther away from it than any of the people. He would not avenge himself concerning anything that was done to him, except if the limits of Allah were transgressed. Then, in that case he would avenge for the sake of Allah.” [Hadith- Ahmad] The issue of abusing women by hitting as a punishment is an obvious crevice that some men interpret to their own favor, and yes in the Islamic world it is a widespread practice to use violence against women with the husband backing his decision to “hit” his wife misinterpreting that Quranic verse. That is the backlash of “individualization” of rules; see section for individualization below. On the other hand, you will find women hitting their husbands as well. Family abuse must be prohibited by both genders.

It seems that the husband mostly ordains for himself the upper hand over his wife’s affairs since he is obligated to spend on household matters but the wife is not, even if she has her own source of income as Islam gives her financial freedom. It is widely accepted in the Islamic societies that the duty of household provision is the husband’s responsibility only. This might seem unfair though and unrealistic. Here is the verse from the Quran that may indicate that, “Have the rich man spend according to his means ” [Quran- The Divorce 65:7]. If God does not mention the woman in the verse, does that mean the “rich” woman should not spend of her money? The saying of the prophet in that regard is this; “You are obliged to spend on them and clothe them according to what is reasonable.” Of course, if they have no income, but if they have income why only the husband has to spend on the family and what would the wife do with her money? Pile it up in the bank? For many though, the verse and the Hadith are no solid indication that the spending on the household is the sole responsibility of the husband.

[]Arranged Marriage

Arranged marriage is very common in many Muslim countries especially in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. The practice somehow is less severe in the Arab world though as it is customary to have the family to help find a suitable bride for their sons. So, families arrange pre-visits between the girl and the boy. Much of the time the girl or the boy just passes it, as one of them may have not liked the other. That is totally perfect. The girl says, sorry, I don’t like the guy. End of the story then. The guy’s family keeps looking until their son finds a suitable bride. If the girl is forced into marriage, that is arranged marriage. That is illegal in Islam, and is a crime. Also, even if it was not arranged and it happened that the wife didn’t want the marriage to continue, the wife can ask for a divorce and should be granted it. Unfortunately, judges in the Muslim world are almost always biased to the man of the house in that regard! The judge will ask the wife to bring a convincing reason for divorce, and not liking the husband is not one of them. For the husband he can choose to divorce right away, no questions asked, and even without resorting to the judge, he can divorce the wife orally then he can initiate it officially, no need to see a judge. Here is a great Hadith that says it all, “A woman came to the prophet complaining, ‘My father made me marry his nephew because he is a rich man, and I did not like this match. I do not wish to accept what my father has arranged. The prophet said 'Then this marriage is void if you wish, go and marry whomever you wish.' The woman then tells the prophet, “I have accepted what my father has arranged, but I wanted all women to know that fathers have no right in their daughters' matters (they have no right to force a marriage on them). [Hadith- Bukhari] This Hadith also gives the wife the right to divorce her husband if she chooses simply out of dislikeness to her husband. Another Hadith is, “ A previously-married woman should not be given in marriage until she is consulted, and a virgin should not be given in marriage until she is asked for her permission.” People said, “How will she express her permission?” The Prophet said, “By keeping silent (when asked for her consent). ” [Hadith- Bukhaari and Muslim] I wonder what “ crevice” has been used by some scholars to reject dis-likeness of the partner as a valid reason for divorce and gave the right for judges to reject a request for divorce by the wife in that regard! Arranged marriage remains one of the thorniest issues in the Muslim world and the cause of many honor killings when the girl revolts against the family’s wish.

[]Underage Marriage

Underage marriage is much disputed in Islam. Pre-Islamic tradition in Meccan society allowed it. The trend though continued with the coming of the Islamic faith to the Meccan society. There is not clear prohibition of the practice in Islamic law. But as the tradition ordained, Muslims are ordered to wed with their under-aged brides only when they are sexually ready, mainly when they attain puberty and got their first period. But even though is she ready for marriage yet? Is underage marriage a forced marriage since it is mostly “arranged marriage”? Indeed there lies a great crevice there. Muslim countries though place a minimum age for marriage, usually 16-18 yours of age. The continuing practice of some controversial traditions from pre-Islamic era well into the light of Islam is an issue to be re-examined by the faith-establishment. As with slavery, underage marriage as well as arranged marriage are great injustice placed on the women and can be clearly removed by the legal system and by the say of the religion itself. In the case of slavery, Islam placed a sin-redemption tool of pay back to the society debt, and likewise underage marriage can be religiously outlawed by many restriction rules ordained by the religion.

 

[]Instant Divorce by Man

Here is a fresh news from India, BBC- May, 2017, “ Triple talaq (Triple instant oral divorce): India top court reviews Islamic instant divorce- India’s Supreme Court has formally opened hearings into a number of petitions challenging the controversial practice of instant divorce in Islam. The court said it would examine whether the practice known as “triple talaq” was fundamental to the religion. India is one of a handful of countries in the world where a Muslim man can divorce his wife in minutes by saying the word talaq (divorce) three times. But activists say the practice is “discriminatory”. Many Muslim groups have opposed the court’s intervention in their religious matters, although the move has the backing of the current Indian government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” Here is the rationalization in the faith: a man can willingly divorce his wife whenever he wishes by orally saying to her “You are Divorced”. He has religiously divorced her now, meaning, he can’t make love to her. Legally though, he has to process that in a civil court. Conversely, a woman cannot religiously divorce her husband by uttering the mentioned words, but legally in principle she should be able to process divorce in a civil court if she wishes as the Sunnah of the prophet clearly gives her the right to do so. Islam though gives the couple three times only to be religiously divorced and get back to each other as married couple again each time they are divorced. After the third divorce, they can only get back together if the divorced woman marries another guy and willingly gets divorced from him and she wishes to go back to her first husband. The condition there is that the new husband must have made love to her before he divorces here, meaning, if they got married legally but he didn’t make love to her; the move to go back to her first husband is illegal. The crevice here is that a man may not religiously and instantly divorce his wife by uttering “You are Divorced” three consecutive times and instantaneously. Very few scholars consider the act to count as three divorces and the couple may not reunite unless the divorced wife marries another guy.

 

The right for one of the couples, either the wife or the husband, to decide on ending the marriage relationship is fundamental and it stems from the free will to choose rule. But practically, in most of the Muslim countries, the woman faces much social pressure which alters the course of the divorce process as mostly she is much dependent on the man financially and her decision for a divorce may be detrimental to her life. For that, most of women abstain from doing legal divorce via courts. Add to that the decision by many judges to reject the woman’s demand for divorce under different reasoning and demanding “reasonable” explanations by which the wife should rationalize her request for divorce. Many do not accept the mere disliking of the wife to the husband as one of the reasons, an unfair treatment between male and female in court! Most of the judges also would send the wife back to her home rejecting the divorce request and rationalizing that the woman may be financially incapable of taking care of herself.

[] Honor Killing

Here is what honor killing is; it is a murder felony, in which a person is killed for his immoral act specifically when marital infidelity is involved. In some Muslim countries even a refusal to submit to an arranged marriage or demanding a divorce by the wife may be perceived as deserving an honor killing. This act of taking a life outside the court to many Muslims is a legitimized act. So, the individual, or even the whole tribe, takes matters into their own hands and execute what they think is a verdict. Of course the case is always oriented in favor of the perpetrator’s family and crevices are always found to rationalize a “murder”. Mostly the victims are women and mostly murdered by their own families. It is ironic how the highest sin on the importance scale is belittled to the point that it is even reversed and becomes an obligation to perform. We should identify and eliminate those crevices by which people can rationalize such heinous acts of killing. But, if honor killings are clearly identified and are solidly announced illegal by a centralized establishment, then people won’t be encouraged to rationalize it via faith.

 

Ironically, to prevent social injustice laid on women in many Muslim countries, reasoning most of the time by the claim that they are acting by the Shariah law, the legal system makes absurd rules. For example, in Jordan the system allows the rapist to escape punishment if the perpetrator marries the victim! The reasoning is that if the rapist marries his victim it lowers the voices from the girl’s family side to take revenge or even commit an honor killing homicide. They say; this protects the girl from being taken revenge against! Don’t they see that what they are doing is imprisoning the girl in the house of the rapist who will keep raping the victim all her life! The legal system legalizes such heinous act because of their inability to distinguish between rape and consent sex! The law has been very recently repealed. Many even see it “faith” that the wife has to give herself in willingly to the husband any time the husband would like to have sex even at times when the wife is refusing for whatever reason, interpreting that as the right of the husband on the wife for what he paid as a dowry for marriage! Of course there is always a Hadith to cling to legitimize an act. Here is a Hadith in that regard; the prophet says, “If a husband calls his wife to his bed and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.” [Hadith- Bukhari] She should be condemned out of being rebellious if there is no reason to refuse, but what about if she is sick, tired or even not in the mood? And this should be both ways as well. But one can ask; how could this be legitimized by the religion? How does the establishment rationalize handing the victim to the perpetrator?

  • * Physical Distinction and Social Role of Men and Women

To illustrate the overlap between the physical distinction between women and men and their social role, let’s look at the women’s natural progress in social life up to the representation in parliaments of modern western systems, where the woman has complete free will to act regardless of physical restrictions. If there is then no role of physical distinction of women in the hierarchy of state power, then we should be able to cite parliaments of equal numbers of members of both genders. Why is it almost always the case that western parliaments are overwhelmingly male? Women are capable and have reached high levels of power as presidents and ministers, but again the ratio remains extremely small and the contribution of women to state power is much limited. Why that is the case even though women have been given equal rights in all social aspects? Still women have not progressed to share with the man state power at equal footing even though western democracies have been flourishing for long by now. Pondering there, it must be that there is something that hinders the woman to fully compete with the man to climb up the ladder of state power. Everybody, including most of Muslim scholars, rule that it is not mental inability that is at stake here. What is it then? Obviously, the ladder of state power requires parallel progress on the ladder of social power which, to some extent, is hindered by the woman’s physical ability to compete with man. Even modern technology may not fully help the woman to compete fairly with man in many avenues. A woman may be able to drive a truck to do business, but not all women are physically able to do that while almost all men can. The path for women to climb up the power ladder is greatly then hindered by her physical inabilities. It is to be noted that women in most of the Islamic world, by virtue of religion, keep their surname when they get married and don’t take their husbands’ surnames. This is because Islam acknowledges women’s identities in the society as a member with full membership.

[] Two Women Witnesses for One Man

Two women witnesses in place of one man witness in courts in Islam may seem weird at first glance. First, there are instances where a woman has full testimonial rights as a man, Allah says, “And those who accuse their wives and have no witnesses except themselves, let one of them testify four times, bearing Allah to witness, that he is of those who speak the truth. And the fifth (time) that the curse of Allah be on him, if he is of those who lie. And it shall avert the chastisement from her, if she testifies four times, bearing Allah to witness, that he is of those who lie. And the fifth (time) that the wrath of Allah to be on her, if he is of those who speak the truth .” [Quran- the light 24:9] By this verse, both husband and wife have the same weight of testimony since there are no other witnesses and the legal number of required witnesses has to be met in a court of law. Outsiders quickly accuse the religion of demeaning the woman and treating her as incompetent and unequal to man. Muslims usually try to defend this position toward women by reasoning that the woman has the tendency to forget as derived from the verse in the Quran, “…And get two witnesses out of your own men. And if there are not two men (available), then a man and two women, such as you agree for witnesses, so that if one of them (two women) errs, the other can remind her…” [Quran- The Cow 2:282 ] Since the Lord mentions the reason (restriction) why the rule was imposed, does not that mean the rule may be abrogated by another rule if the restriction is removed? But let's look where the restriction is. In the west, even though there has been legal equality between the two sexes in all matters for so long, still the woman falls behind the man in terms of financial capabilities due their physical incapabilities, therefore the restriction has not been fully removed. It would be fair to give the woman less testimonial responsibilities because of her less physical presence on the streets and therefore less social duties. What the verse particularly says, find two male witnesses if you can only find one then find two women who have witnessed the incident for the missing second male-witness. It is not that women are made to forget more often than men. At the time of the prophet, the society obligated no house-hold financial responsibilities on the woman by virtue of unique societal attributes, and by social status, women didn’t go out for work often. It was mostly the man who went for work. So, when women went out on the streets, they didn’t go lonely; as for socialization events. That means the chance that a woman witnesses an incident, another woman most probably has witnessed it along with her. Hence, social customary presence of women to be on the streets by pairs or groups reflects also in court. If you go back to most of the scholars’ interpretation you will notice the input of physical inequality between the two genders in terms of memory incapability as the reasoning for two women for one man in court, a clear crevice, even though the verse talks about erring and not forgetting. The reasoning though is off logic and scientifically baseless for the woman have to less memory capability than the man. Good that the law is stated in the Quran. Had it been a law by extrapolation then the chance to err is even more prominent. That is why we still need more opinions to help decide on issues of disputable nature. In modern societies though, women may be present individually on the streets by larger numbers and in sole presence, then it may be up to the judge to consider a full testimony for women in court if he chooses to do so in a particular situation. This is a task for the establishment to decide on though, or is the ruling final? In Shariah law, the Quranic clear divine order that has no two sides for interpretation is final. But there is always the distinction between a reasoned prohibition and an absolute one. Our scholars understand that and they implement it in their rule making process. The absolute prohibition is final when the law is a clear cut and permits no other interpretation as, for example, is the divorce is final after the third divorce occurs. There is no reasoning mentioned in the divine order as why the Lord ordained the sequence of divorce-reunion in marriage policy, so the policy is final. That is an example of absolute rule. But if the reasoning is mentioned, then interpretation of the reasoning may define a restriction for the rule. If the restriction is removed, so may be the ruling. Another clear-cut absolute ruling is the order to perform prayer, “…And that perform the prayers…. ” [Quran- The Cattle 6:72]

 

But there were verses that were totally abrogated, all be it very few, and the same for Hadith as well. The question is, can the establishment abrogate here if it finds a compelling reason to do so as in the fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence)? May be Allah left abrogated verses in the Quran to recite them to teach us that jurisprudence of Islamic law can be abrogated in some extreme cases if it becomes apparent to the legal jury that that must be the case. A good example in that regard is the abolishing of slavery. No body disagrees on that the abolishing of slavery is a must even though that is not mentioned in the Quran or the Sunneh. It follows that all rules pertained to continuing slavery should be abolished as well. The remaining traces of unabolished slavery rules are crevices that drive some to extremism, at least subconsciously. Did we not hear that the so called Islamic State terror group tried to revive the whole concept of slavery?

[] Women Inherit Half of What Men Do-is it Injustice?

The third chapter in the Quran is named “The women”. It is a very long chapter that deals in many verses with women’s affairs. For inheritance, the general rule is that woman inherits half of what the man does, but not in all cases. The verses of inheritance are complicated. They give the brother double of that of the sister only when she is an inheritor together with her brother(s) of the same parents. There are cases where the woman gets the same as the man. There are cases where women get two-thirds of all the inheritance such as if the person that has died has only daughters (at least two). If the person that has died has only one daughter, she will receive half of the inheritance [6], and a man or a woman is entitled to the whole estate in cases where he or she is the sole heir. The estate remains within the borders of the family unless there are no survivors to inherit. Islam deals with proportionality when distributing wealth. It is fair to say that the wealth should be distributed proportional to the amount of imposed expenses on the two genders in the family. For the same reasoning above, the work force for men opens up more doors for men than women due to physical capabilities, which means more men would need more money than women to open up a business for example since the man is the financial provider in the family, as defined by a particular society as per that at the time of the prophet, whenever that is the case as a societal restriction. I guess it is easy to verify that. Count the billionaires in the world and you will find that almost all of them are males. So, the man will be in a position to bear more expenses than the woman. I guess he deserves more portion of the inheritance than the woman to use the money in the workplace. Besides that, in such a society, the woman has no financial responsibilities when she is married. This is very clear in the Quran. Here is part of a verse mentioned earlier in that regard, “Men have the word over women for what they have been favored of (physical ability to earn money), and for what they have spent from their wealth…. ” [Quran- the women 4:34]. Here, the restriction that mandated the rule is also mentioned, so if the restriction is removed, should the rule be abrogated or amended? It means that men have the word over women, in the case of financial responsibilities, because of their physical capabilities and for what they spend from their wealth on the family. Their physical capability points to bearing more financial responsibilities since they can make more money than women. This verse explains why there is preference for men over women, as in the case of inheritance. But if a time comes when we can completely remove the restriction for women to be at equal footing in making money in the society, if it ever comes, can the rule be amended?

[] Women and Men Stand Together

The truth is that Islam does not “segregate”, but “regulate” between men and women. Men and women always work together, in the family, in the market (best example is the prophet’s first wife, Khadija), at school, at the airport, even they may pray together in the same hallway. Regulating is to lessen the impact of full “intermingling” of both sexes. This integration in many of the western societies is completely unrestricted which led to countless number of undesired problems that cost them a lot of pain and money.

 

In Islam, physical presence of the woman is required when performing faith rituals in as much as the man most of the time. Together men and women may perform rituals of the faith. Only because of the physical distinction between both genders, the faith eased some requirements on the woman when performing some rituals. In Hajj, women and men do all rituals side by side in a mingled presence. In prayers, women used to go to the mosque at the time of the prophet and pray in the same prayer hall behind the prophet who is leading the prayer; rows of men first followed by women and children. To eliminate cases of unwanted “outside the pristine mental state of praying to God”, women were instructed to enter the prayer hall from their own separate door. What we need to beware of is that this extra step of introducing a partition between women rows and men rows in prayer halls that the partition became a wall and the wall became a separate hall or even separate building may be unnecessary. Actually, too many extra steps open doors to create crevices to dwell and for extremism in some religious aspects to grow. Ironically, nowadays, you will rarely see that women pray in the same prayer hall as was done by the prophet. Instead they always do it in a separate hall. Complete segregation is indeed not what the prophet ordained. If you asked the scholars for the reason, their answer would be; it is safer for the woman. Who knows more what is safer for the woman, them or the prophet? The prophet could have done that if he saw it was safer. Indeed, this level of segregation between men and women that is mostly seen in the Muslim world was not Islamically ordained. I have only seen women pray in the same hallway as men in the west. Probably because there, people take what they find written of what the prophet did in books rather than the opinions of current scholars. This is an example of one’s own opinion overpowering that of the prophet’s with unconvincing justification! We always tend to favor our own opinions over those of others, but this should be only if all opinions perceived as equally weighted. In this particular subject, complete segregation of women is not at equal footing as regularization of the common physical presence of men and women when they come in close contact with each other. This is like saying, fasting for long time boosts our immune system, then let’s fast for very long time. But then we will die from starvation. There resides a great crevice when we push matters to the extreme, which indeed opens doors to faith-extremism. That is why Islam ordains on Muslims to only perform moderate faith rituals; the easier the ritual the more rewarding it is.

 

But let’s look at what is happening at high schools and universities in the west. Look at all of the negative consequences that resulted from the complete “free intermingling” of young boys and girls there without any reservation! To name few; illegal drug abuse, young girls pregnancy, uncontrolled violence, sexually transmitted diseases that caused us billions of dollars to tackle, disintegration of the family that was once seen as solid as a rock, and many others. So, I guess at least put girls in separate rows in the class room. Our job is to regulate positively rather than completely segregate the two sexes.

[]Witchcraft

What catches the eye is that witchcraft and sorcery or black magic or anything in that nature where one supposedly uses “evil” power to harm others is characterized by performing rituals to get the job done. Parallel to it is religion where you also do rituals to conform to a divine doctrine. Many Muslims believe that you can fight bad rituals of magic with good rituals of faith. For example, if you are hit by an “evil eye”, fight it with “wodua” which is the ritual of ablution before performing the prayer. Some people who claim knowledge of the science of “repelling evil” use “repelling-faith-rituals” to counter act a magic spill for example. Of course, none of all that was actually reported that the prophet had done which actually casts doubt on the whole science of repelling black magic. Witchcraft is acknowledged by many Muslim scholars to exist as an evil practice [7] and Islam clearly fights witchcraft and sorcery by all means to the point that it regards who practices it, performers or receivers, as great sinners. Islam also teaches that witchcraft is a path of destruction to the self for those who practice it. It is also mentioned in the Quran with a great deal of repulsion. But its mere mentioning in the Quran is considered by many as an acknowledgment of its effectiveness. That is disputed though as some scholars do interpret the Quranic verses differently, with some interpretations as only a warning message not to perform it and not as acknowledgment of its effectiveness.8 In reality, Islam wants its followers to be dead serious in their actions and only to take the fruitful path and to avoid the destructive path. Still many Muslims do perform sorcery and it is deeply engraved into their mental state of mind. They rely on the few Quranic verses and the few Hadiths that prompt them to avoid practicing it to actually rationalize doing it. That is exactly how extremists rationalize and legalize for themselves their actions by taking the weak links of the Quranic verses and Hadiths or by twisting their meanings. They take every chance for themselves by finding a crevice to build on it their actions.

 

But the question is; does Islam truly acknowledge that sorcery can actually cause harm at all? In the Quran, the one chapter that talks about magic is a five-verse-chapter, the one before the last in the Quran. So, almost everyone remembers it by heart, and that is why it is stuck in the minds of people. Here is the Chapter: “Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of the dawn, from the evil of that which He has created, and from the evil of intense darkness, when it comes, and from the evil of those who cast in firm resolutions, and from the evil of the envier when he envies .” [Quran- The Day Break 113:1-5] In Arabic language the verse “ from the evil of those who cast in firm resolutions”, reads very similar to: and from the evil of those who blow in knots, more like black magic. Another translation I found is straight magic, “and from the evil of the witches who blow on knots”. But does the verse imply magic? The majority of people understand it this way and “magically” many scholars do understand it this way as well. That may be a great misleading interpretation which indeed created one of the biggest crevices. There is only one Hadith that I know of that talks about knots, but it does not imply any magic though, “Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, ‘During your sleep, Satan ties three knots at the back of the (person’s) head …. when he prays, all the knots are undone, and he gets up in the morning lively and in a good mood, otherwise he gets up dull and gloomy’. ” [Hadith- accepted by all scholars] This is more like when the prophet described the lazy person who didn't wake up on time in the morning for dawn prayer, he said, “that guy, Satan peed in his ear.” Blowing on knots in the Quranic verse is like the Satan peeing in the ear of the person who skipped the dawn prayer!

 

Believing in effective sorcery and practicing it is like drowning reality in toilet. And that is exactly why the faith fights it by all means. Also, look how the Quran describes magic when telling the story of Moses and his stick becoming a serpent that swallowed all the snakes’ like magic of the Pharaoh’s magicians. Read please, “He said: Nay! Cast you down. Then lo! their cords and their rods — it appeared to him by their enchantment as if they ran. So Moses conceived fear in his mind. We said: Fear not, surely thou art the uppermost. And cast down what is in thy right hand — it will eat up what they have wrought. What they have wrought is only the trick of an enchanter, and the enchanter succeeds not wheresoever he comes from.” [Quran, 20: 66-69] Obviously, magic is nothing but tricks. In the verse above, “it appeared to him”, meaning unreal, and “only the trick of an enchanter”, means it has nothing to do with physical reality.

  • * People of the Book-Christianity in the Eyes of Muslims

The Jews in the town of Medina, where the prophet migrated and established the religion, were an example of “people of the book: people of earlier revelations” who followed strict rules. The Muslim converts of Medina used to ask the prophet about their daily affairs and compare it with the Jewish faith, so he would approve some and disprove some. One example was; what if someone made love with his wife during menstrual period, as the Jews in Medina were reported to abstain from dealing with women during menstrual period, such as abstaining from sharing food with them or making love with them. The prophet’s response to the inquiry was; do anything with them as normal, except abstain from penetration when making love.  Here is the verse from the Quran in that regard, “They ask thee concerning women’s courses (during ministerial period). Say: They are a hurt and pollution (unclean), So keep away from women in their courses, and do not approach them until they are clean. But when they have purified themselves, ye may approach them in any manner, time, or place ordained for you by Allah. For Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean .” [Quran- the Cow 2:222]

 

Let's start with the birth of Jesus as described in the Bible; “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, 'Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!' But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.' Then Mary said to the angel, 'How can this be, since I do not know a man?' (Bible- Luke 1:26-34). Strikingly, this scripture is almost exact replica of what the Quran describes of Jesus in a dedicated long chapter in the Quran, named Mary. But the Quran does not give names of places in the story. Gabriel, the angel, who was sent to Virgin Mary foretelling her of bearing a child with no father, thereby Mary, being described as virgin in both, the Bible and the Quran. The Quran describes the whole event as “the word” of God; the word (the will) by God for anything to be and it will come into existence, as a direct intervention by God, so Jesus came into existence. Read please, “ When the angels said, ‘O Mary, Allah gives you the good news of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, distinguished in the world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (to Allah). [Quran- The Family of Amran 3:45] God also in the Quran makes a parallel method of creation of Jesus as He did for Adam. Read please, “The likeness of Jesus with Allah is truly as the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then said to him, Be, and he was .” [Quran- The Family of Amran 3:59] The Bible though mentions angel Gabriel as the messenger who appeared to Zechariah and the Virgin Mary, foretelling the births of John the Baptist and Jesus, respectively (Bible- Luke 1:11–38). People are in great need for a divine comfort to precede an event such as a human being to come into existence without a father! In both cases of John and the Virgin Mary, Gabriel came with the word to foretell of the unnatural event, so people would not panic and throw accusations. Similarly, the story of John the Baptist is almost a replica in Quran to that in the Bible. Ironically though, terms such as the “the holy spirit”, “spirit”, and the “word” are interpreted in Christianity as part of the Tri-God, the deity himself. See, John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”, and, John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us”. Indeed, the Trinity concept is an obvious contradiction to Islam. In the Quran, the term spirit is used in a number of verses, and in all of them it implies “the making of life-using the spirit-entity”, except when God uses the term to refer to the Archangel Gabriel. That is clearly understood when God says, “My Spirit”, as something He made and belongs to Him. Very much like when you are proud of your invention and you go like; “it is mine, I made it”. The same Arabic term is also used by Muslims to describe the soul (when a living has to possess to be alive). Please see the appendix for the translations of the verses that used the term “spirit” in the Quran [10]

 

In Judaism, what the Hebrew Bible calls “Spirit of God” and “Spirit of Elohim” is called in the Talmud “Holy Spirit”, which is equivalent to the expression “Spirit of the Lord”, and described to be composed of light and fire. In Quran, “the spirit” is the divine “entity” that was used to make life such as the one used to breathe life into the womb of Mary thereby Jesus came into existence. The use of the word “spirit” as “breath” or “wind” in Hebrew suggests that in Judaism it is a kind of medium like the wind. Again, the concept of “spirit” in Islam is close to that in Judaism and it is far from being the divine God.

 

In the Quran, the “words in the book” are claimed to be the exact ones said by the Lord in the language of humans but written down by humans. In Christianity, the words of God are authored by humans as understood by humans. In Islam, “oh who have believed, do believe in Allah and His prophet and the book He descended on His prophet and the book He descended before ” [Quran-The women 4:136]; the book He descended before is the book of the Christians, Jews, etc., the Abrahamic faiths. Allah orders the Muslims to believe in Christianity and only deny what he revealed as must be rejected from it, as there is no need for a revised book if not so; that is the Trinity concept and its derivatives as is stated in many places in the Quran. By its derivatives, as it is understood, anything that is related to the subject. It is clear in Islam that it rejects the reasoning that a person has to be pure in this life time to enter paradise as pure, and therefore the Trinity-salvation concept. In Islam people who go to paradise will do so pure as well, but the salvation is a different approach. God at the Day of Judgment cleanses most of the bad deeds of people with the good ones. You are pure then if your good deeds wipe out your bad ones by merely weighing higher on the judgment scale. To enter paradise, you need to be pure and live pure according to the Islamic faith. That is why God ordered Adam and Eve to descend from it after they had shown signs of impurity by eating from the forbidden tree. For God to incarnate himself as a human in the person of Jesus and to die on the cross to make who follow him pure “in this world” so they will enter paradise as pure in the hereafter is not needed in Islam as they will enter paradise pure if their good deeds over-weigh their bad ones, with the bad ones wiped out with the good ones. The purpose of purity in heaven is fulfilled by other means and therefore the concept of God “killing” Himself is rejected in Islam. It is more like a student passes a course and gets to the next level. He doesn't have to make “purely” 100% in the course. He will pass the course as well if he gets some “impurity”, but of course he has to get a passing grade. The passing grade in Islam is that the person has to have more good deeds than bad deeds; 50.0001 % passing grade will do. Just remember that God, part of His love to human, multiplies good deeds many times. So, may be you do little of good deeds, after multiplication you still pass, a really good bargain. God loves his human-creation and does not need to have His “son” killed to save this imperfect human! God shows that imperfection does not mean incompetence. It is by this argument when God asked Adam and Eve to descend to earth, the angels made and argument with the lord hoping to be chosen, instead of human, to go to earth; read please, “ what about us? We don’t disobey, human does. God replies, I will show you. God taught all ‘names’ (thought to be names of everything in his creation) to Adam, then God showed the names to the angels and said to them, tell me of them if you are truthful (the names: a sign of knowledge and wisdom). They said oh Lord, we don’t know of them, we only know of what you taught us, then the Lord replies, did not I tell you that I know of all secrets of heavens and the earth? ” [Quran- The Cow 2:31-33] By this argument, it is Islamically predictable that “humans” will eventually choose wisdom over disagreement to straighten out the world's crises and come to a common code of understanding for the advancement of life on earth regardless of all challenges. But hopefully that won't come about accompanied by a great cost before humans realize that wisdom is the way to go and decide to leave their differences behind. What could be a greater cost than the destruction of the only habitable planet within our reach; global warming, or the race for stockpiling weapons of mass destruction? To claim the nonexistence of such threats is president Trump's biggest blunder which he will never admit but the world will always regret. In the years to come, he will learn a great deal.

 

It is important to note that Islam calls the Abrahamic books as “the book” and equates it with the book of Muslims but considers the last one, the Quran, as the “modified” lasting version. In it there are commandments included in the Christian-Jewish-Old Abrahamic books but distinctly Islamically oriented. Accordingly, people of the book, Christians and Jews, are treated as “belonging” to the faith. Therefore, mostly any “secular” issues in the faith are maintained equally on them as on Muslims. Notably, Muslims are permitted to marry from them and eat their food. Read please, “This day (all) good things are made lawful for you. And the food of those who have been given the Book is lawful for you and your food is lawful for them. from among the believing women and the chaste from among those who have been given the Book before you, when you give them their dowries, taking (them) in marriage, not fornicating nor taking them for paramours in secret. And whoever denies faith, his work indeed is vain; and in the Hereafter he is of the losers.” [Quran- The Food 5:4-5] Furthermore, people of the book are to keep their faith in entirety however they believe their faith is; that of course requires protection of their places of worship, churches and synagogues by the Muslims. This is what Omar, the second Caliph, said in a letter drafted to the people of Jerusalem before the Muslim army entered the city, “I give the people of Jerusalem my word that their churches and crosses will be protected and not harmed. None of them shall be forced into Islam.”

 

In that line, as mentioned before, a Muslim’s Christian wife is allowed to fully practice her faith, such as going to church and practice her right to express her belief. In that regard, the Christian wife can keep a Bible in the house if she wishes. Of course, children will pick up things from mom just like they do from dad. What faith then the children would be? Let them decide on their own when they get older? Parents may compete then to educate their children of their faith. The union of Muslim-Christian family members is not really a big deal since Christianity is nothing but an older version of Islam as viewed by Muslims. Islam didn’t put rules for a Muslim who wishes to marry a Christian. The prophet himself was married to a Christian as well as to a Jewish woman. Here is how the prophet once defended his wife who was once Jewish before she converted, read from Wikipedia, “Regarding Safiyya’s (the prophet’s Jewish wife) Jewish descent, (prophet) Muhammad once said to his wife that if other women insulted her for her “Jewish heritage” and were jealous because of her “beauty”, she was to respond, “Aaron is my father, Moses my uncle, and Muhammad my husband.” [9] In fact, Muslims see of Christians and Jews as nothing but an extension of themselves. It is reported that the last words of the prophet on his death bed were, “I entrust the people of the book (Christians and Jews) to your hands.” He reminds people that the people of the book should be taken care of no less than Muslims themselves.

 

But you hardly see any scholar make this close comparison between Muslims and the people of the book. That is a crevice we need to unpin and straighten out. Here is an online fatwa on Muslim-Christian intermarriage inquiry from New York [11]; Q. “When it comes to marrying a Christian or a Jewish girl or boy the Muslims youths argue that the Holy Quran has allowed such a marriage. Since we are living in the midst of Jews and Christians, we preeminently need to know the correct and precise Islamic position in this respect. Please provide the guidance and oblige.” Here is the fatwa response, “Shariah has allowed Muslims to marry a Christian or Jewish girl only where there is no apprehension that the husband or his children may come under her influence in religious matters. (I wonder how this is possible if the children see their mom holding a Bible or going to church? she has the right to do that) In the early days of the Islamic history every Muslim was duly equipped with adequate knowledge of his religion and had an unshaken commitment to the Islamic principles. (Sorry, this is very demeaning to us who live nowadays) Therefore, there was no apprehension that he would be misled by any foreign influence. Rather, he was supposed to convince his wife in religious issues. Therefore, if a Muslim is fully confident that his marriage with a Christian or a Jewish girl will never affect the religious life of himself or of his children, then there is no bar against such a marriage. But if he is not so confident, then, he must avoid marrying a non-Muslim girl.” I don’t see any of this in the Quranic verse where the Lord permits intermarriage, see the verse above. The only condition is you should be “not fornicating nor taking them for paramours in secret.” That is an example of how one’s own repulsive attitude affects his judgment. According to the scholar who issued the above fatwa , you have to make sure you will be on the safe side, or else you are not permitted to marry a Christian girl! To be 100% safe is not to get married in the first place! Or, then don't let her go to church! Or, don't let her have a Bible in the house! Meaning, don't let her freely practice her religion! What is then the purpose of permitting eating their food and marrying their women? Our tendency to strict ourselves from doing wrong for fear of sinning, forms a repulsive personality towards the other and builds a wall of mistrust. This wall of mistrust is the faith-shell that we hide in. We think that the shell is our defensive lines from the devilish intentions by the others. This shell prevents building a communication line between us, Muslims, and the rest of the world. Unless we open doors in the shell and let others peek in we will always have others look at us with suspicion. That is what made people like Mr. Trump to accuse our great religion of terrorism.

[] Shariah Regulation-Understanding Islamic Law

Shariah law of Islam is not cutting off hands and stoning people, but it is discipline and ethics. What to be noted as the spirit of the faith is that Islamic rules make room for other faiths to derive and observe their own rules. Here is a verse from the Quran that just states that, Allah says, “[_…If they do come to you, either judge between them or decline to interfere ...” [Quran- The Food 5: from 42] So, in making the constitution we should allow room for minorities to rule according to their own beliefs, thereby creating a society for all. _]

 

Since it is the intention here to introduce the Islamic religion and understand Shariah law as a simple and mainly conceptual package away from complicated terminology to suit the non-Muslim reader, here I “copy and paste” the definition and explanation of the core principles of the Islamic law from the “Islamic Supreme Council of America” [7] because it says it all. It is recommended that the reader checks its site for further details and references.

 

[Islamic civilization, since the time of Prophet Muhammad until now, is firmly founded on the concept of ‘rule of law.’ For that reason, the law is published and known, and citizens and courts are expected to uphold it. In addition, Muslim citizens must adhere to Islamic law – Shariah. If a Muslim citizen commits a religious violation, he is judged according to Islamic law. A non-Muslim citizen is judged in religious issues by the laws of his own faith.

 

Invoking Divine Principles and Human Reason-Islam is a complete package – a complete message and way of life. To fraction it into its component, then examine them individually, will yield little or no understanding of Islam’s holistic whole. Inevitably aspects of Islam examined separately, without a wide-ranging grasp of its totality, will be taken in a fragmented context, in which case aspects may take on the appearance of extremism.

 

Islam as a Complete Package – Three Aspects: Islam is a complete way of life, sent by Allah in the form of revelation by means of Prophet Muhammad. As such it covers the three essential needs of human life: physical, intellectual and spiritual. These three aspects of the faith are known individually as: 1. Islam – Divine law 2. Imān – Belief 3. Iħsān – Ethics and moral character.

 

Bases of Shariah– Revelation and Reason: The bases of Shariah are four: two are revelatory, coming from Allah, and include the two core sources, the Qur’ān, Islam’s holy book, and the Sunnah (the practice and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad); and two are based in rational endeavor, consensus (ijma) and analogical juristic reasoning (qiyās).

 

Shariah is the Islamic Law – the disciplines and principles that govern the behavior of a Muslim individual towards his or herself, family, neighbors, community, city, nation and the Muslim polity as a whole, the Ummah (Muslim nation). Similarly Shariah governs the interactions between communities, groups and social and economic organizations. Shariah establishes the criteria by which all social actions are classified, categorized and administered within the overall governance of the state.

 

*Fiqh*–Application of Shariah in Real Life: The Shariah, based primarily on texts from Qur’ān and Sunnah, embodies broad, general rules that are immutable, not unlike today’s modern societal rules: the sanctity of life, security and freedom of expression, and the inviolability of these rights. The adaptation of law according to time and circumstance is necessitated by changes in society, and the influx of various cultures and material conditions. Islam first came to one people with one lifestyle. As the religion spread and the borders of Muslim lands expanded, all of the different civilizations, each with their own codes of law, traditions and cultures, had to be incorporated into the Islamic polity. This was not achieved overnight and took great foresight on the part of Muslim jurists, being most elegantly brought out in the development of fiqh, the jurists’ law.

 

Detailed Objectives of the Law (Maqasid ash-Shariah): Schact, in describing the purpose of the Law writes: In the field of penal law, it is easy to understand that the Quran laid down sanctions for transgressions, but again they are essentially moral and only incidentally penal, so much so that the Quran prohibited wine-drinking but did not enact any penalty, and the penalty was determined only at a later stage of Islamic law. The reasons for Quranic legislation on all these matters were, in the first place, the desire to improve the position of women, of orphans and of the weak in general, to restrict the laxity of sexual morals and to strengthen the marriage tie, to restrict private vengeance and retaliation and to eliminate blood feuds altogether; the prohibition of gambling, of drinking wine and of taking interest are directly aimed at ancient Arabian standards of behavior. [12]

 

Letter Versus Spirit of the Law- The intent of Islamic law is not punitive, as much as corrective and reformative. Therefore before applying the death penalty for a capital offense, the entire case must be investigated by the judge (Qadi). In such case the family pardons the killer, per the Quran’s recommendation, the court may reduce the penalty from capital punishment, to prison or exile. The only other grounds for capital punishment are terrorism (al-ħirāba; corruption) highway robbery and rape – acts which are critical threats to public security. Laws were revealed to the prophet due to real-life situations requiring a judgment. Today the same method is followed in issuing fatwa. Therefore the ‘reasons for revelation’ (asbāb an-nuzūl) are essential to understanding Qur’ānic revealed laws and the objectives (maqāsid) behind them. For example, the rules of hijab, the covering of women, were revealed in a time when the hypocrites were ridiculing Muslim women in the streets of Madina in the intent to harm them.]

  • * Islamic Religion is to Set Rules and Draft Laws-Islamic Jurisprudence

Islam is a religion that sets rules to everything pertaining to peoples’ lives. Anywhere you go, anything you do, you have to observe God in it as ordained by the religion. The rules are used to extract laws. Rules that are extracted from Quran and Sunnah are in the form of authoritative teaching, instruction, or guidance only. People should follow the laws that are extrapolated from the rules. Laws are made to follow at ease. You don’t need to understand the rule sometimes, but the law is simply put for a judge to rule with or you as an individual to watch out for. A good example is the use of liquor. It is prohibited to consume liquor in the Islamic religion. It has been mentioned by name in the Quran. “They ask you concerning wine and gambling. Say, ‘There is a great sin in both of them, and some profits for the people, but their sinfulness outweighs their profit .’....” [Quran- The Cow 2:219] and read “ O you who have faith! Indeed wine, gambling, idols and the divining arrows are abominations of Satan’s doing, so avoid them, so that you may be felicitous. ” [Quran- The Food Table 5:90] Accordingly liquor is prohibited. But are liquor's derivatives prohibited as well? If I take a little of it, is that prohibited? Now, a law has to be drafted by parallel reasoning of the cause of the prohibition. The scholars set a wider rule then by declaring “anything that makes you absent minded is prohibited”. But is the use of all of the cannabis for example prohibited? Some scholars stated, only if you use in large quantities that makes you absent minded. Scholars widened it further by saying, “the consumption of any small amount of any substance is prohibited if the consumption of a large amount of it makes you absent minded.” That definition is by the say of the prophet himself; accordingly all of cannabis plants are prohibited. This means, if I use it over and over, all day long but not get absent minded or “drunk”, then it is legal! According to that, most people in Yemen and many Sub Saharan countries in Africa do consume the “Khat” narcotic plant, which is listed as a Schedule 2 dangerous drug in Queensland, England, in the same category as cannabis and has been likened to both coffee and cocaine, on a regular basis, day and night! They don’t get absent minded, so it is not prohibited in Islam. They feel that sense of strength and higher than above mental state awareness as reported. But does the drug affect them in any other way? Research says that it does as on the long run it deteriorates mental and physical health. Now, the rule is overlapping with other rules to watch out for; here it is the “no destruction of the self-rule”. So, the decision on making wider rules that encompasses all subordinate rules dictates. It is sometimes a complicated network of rules that the scholars in the faith-establishment have to make into laws. The laws should be then simple and straight forward but should be extracted from the complicated network of rules. The consumption of Marijuana is also prohibited under the same category. The common individual does not necessarily need to know why and how the law was drafted from the network of rules as long as scholars have passed it as a law. The set of codes that makes the law is then “the constitution”. But scholars do come up with laws that seem to be illogical or sometimes self-inconsistent, and there should be no harm to remind our scholars of some crevices that might reside in there. Here is an extrapolated law that might seem illogical. If you are traveling it is permitted to group your prayers and break your fasting as the prophet did so. The scholars set the standard for the hardship in traveling as the “distance of travel” and assigned for it 80 kilometers as minimum. But, the issue here is the magnitude of hardship that you face in your travel. If you travel in your air conditioned car eighty kilometers, can you still break your fasting and group your prayers? The scholars said yes. But that defies the reasoning behind the rule that is to ease your travel for the extra hardship you get by fasting while traveling! If there is no hardship in the first place, even if you are traveling the assigned distance, why you should break your fasting? If the rule was made before the invention of the AC in cars and airplanes, isn’t it time to revise the rule?

 

[] Who Should Rule?

Historically, the Sunni side, which mostly reined the throne of Islamic world from the start, adopted a legal system of who should rule based on the appointment of a successor to the prophet. The successful legal system was called the Caliphate. Regardless of how the Caliph, the leader, was appointed, democratically or not, the Caliph was to listen to by all and therefore a leader to all. His ability to effectively rule stemmed from the fact that the ruler has to be obeyed as instructed by the religion and therefore that was imprinted in the heart of every Muslim. But there was no specific method by which the legal system maintained its love in the hearts of its followers, only the love of the faith which preached to trust and obey the leader so long he did not deviate from the right path. That proved to be problematic indeed as it created a rebellion in the body of the Islamic State as the faith itself allowed rebellious acts against the ruler if he did deviate from the “right path”! Omar, the second Caliph, declared it clearly and announced, “Do fight me with the sword if you find me deviate from the right path”. But what is the right path by which a leader can be challenged if he deviates from? Is it any thing, little or big? This was an open thread for some to rebel, and it happened many times indeed. It is like, the democrats taking arms to fight the U.S. army as a response to the Russian intervention of the election in behalf of Trump, or Trump’s provocative “probably seen as illegal” views against many of the faith values (democratic values), such as his anti-women and illegal immigration agenda, and his offensive street language when addressing a problem. But it seems, no matter what the president does, the anti-Trump people will never take arms against the legal system, except of course when African Americans feel the humiliation from the white supremacy and take to the streets to express their anger. That is simply because the legal system, the faith (democracy) does not allow it! That is not the case in Islam, because Islam is not a democracy of course.

In the news, “Trump picked a controversial figure, Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, for attorney general and the appointment was confirmed by the senate. The confirmation followed a series of divisive hearings during which Democrats attacked Mr. Sessions’ record on civil rights…” Believe me, it doesn’t matter who Trump assigns to be the chief of justice. It doesn’t matter who is the head of the white house. What matters in the end is the mechanism by which the government rules as well as a mechanism that restricts the ruler to build absolute power for him. Whoever the appointed person is, he will abide with the rules and regulations. That what rules; the system. Even if the guy errs, there are mechanisms to straighten him up. Take an example the appointment of the prophet of the 18-year-old, Usama ibn Zayd, the son of Zayd ibn Harithah, the prophet’s freed slave, whom the prophet adopted as his son, on the top of the army just before he died. The prophet started to mobilize a great Army to Syria ‘Byzantine Empire’, under the command of Usama ibn Zayd. This was the last expedition in the prophet’s life. He had ordered his followers to go with Usama and obey his commands. The prophet knew that he would succeed as he was surrounded by all the experts in the army and he would listen and pass suggestions from them. With all the heart-objections for his appointment, Abu Bakr, the first caliph, passed it even though he may have not known the wisdom of appointing a 18-year-old on top of the Muslim army to fight the “Byzantine Empire”. He blindly obeyed and passed the prophet’s decree. In comparison, the one important, controversial and thorny aspect of who-to-govern between Shiite and Sunni seems to unnecessarily take its toll on the Muslim nation. The Shiite claim that most of the top people surrounding the prophet purposely appointed Abu Bakr as the successor of the prophet to avoid the claimed appointment by the prophet of Ali as the successor. The Sunni say it was ethically impossible that that could have happened as all of the top people who convened to appoint a successor where most of the prophet’s close companions and the most loyal to him and no way that they would betray him after his death had they knew of his appointment to Ali as a successor. Secondly, it really didn’t matter who rules as he would go by the rules of the system any way. It is the system what matters! Thirdly, as mentioned above, the appointment of Abu Bakr of Osama Ibn Zayd, a 18-year-old young man for the top position of the army, plainly dismisses the Shiite claim and proves that the prophet’s companions who follow his orders blindly would have not betrayed him by appointing a person the prophet had not picked as a successor.

[]Shariah-Research Rules

Shariah-research rules are set as most important rules and have been developed to lay out the basis for extrapolation of Shariah law. Yet there may be seen a missing ingredient, that may be the cause of the confusion and disagreement by some scholars drafting laws. If you disagree with that statement, why then the contradictory rulings on some matters, all be it few, but some are of high importance, like rules concerning Jihad? The rules that make up the Islamic law have been repeatedly regulated by scholars after the death of the prophet. Currently, most of the laws are viewed as “basically” final with little or no room for “amendment”. In the following section, I will state briefly few “main” rules that have been extrapolated by scholars but I will try to be concise and express them in a very simple language. Those rules are only representative to selected subjects but they are not inclusive.

[]Most Obvious Rules

The many rules that the Islamic religion constitutes are overwhelming to include here. The intention is just to display examples of some important principle-rules that define more or less some important corners of the religion. *Those rules are believed to characterize all divine religions._ Where applicable, some *crevices may be uncovered that are hiding within the context of the rules. Some solutions to clean up the crevices are suggested whenever is appropriate, but others are left for the reader to contemplate and may be to come up with his own opinion. Neither the author’s opinion nor the reader’s opinion is abiding. As it is overly suggested, the public opinion is only an enlightening one for the establishment to take into consideration. The way we are thinking about how rules are constructed here is in no way a break-away from the establishment’s doctrine of legal extrapolation of the _Shariah law, nor is it a modernization of any of the Islamic doctrine principles. It is only the author’s point of view of how the laws may be simplified and drawn so the common people, especially non-Muslims, may easily follow at ease.

[]Don’t Commit Injustice

This is the rule of all rules. Within the limits of this rule lie the roots of every other rule where good deeds and bad deeds define one’s fate. Basically, all rules are derived from this basic rule. Here are some verses from the Quran that stress the rule; “*O you who believe, be persistently standing firm in justice as witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. Follow not your desires, lest you not be just. If you distort your testimony or refuse to give it, then Allah is aware of what you do._][ ” [Quran- The Women 4:135] and “ [_Verily, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and He forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.] [ [Quran- The Bees 16:90] and “ Verily, Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due and when you judge between people to judge with justice. Excellent is that which Allah instructs you. Verily, Allah is ever hearing and seeing. ” [Quran- The Women 4:58]. Here is what the prophet says in that regard, “from among the sayings he relates from His Lord that He said, 'O My servants (all humans), I have forbidden wrongdoing (oppression) for Myself and I have made it forbidden for you. Therefore, do not wrong (oppress) one another.....” ] [[*]Hadith Muslim]

[]Worship the Lord

That is the purpose for the whole creation, the Lord explains. Read, “And I haven’t made Human and the “Jin” but to worship me. I need no sustenance of them nor food. ” [Quran- The Scatterers 52:56]. In other words, worship me, I Am the Lord and don't think at any point of time that I will be in need of your service. Abstain from thinking that you have it and I Am in need of it, you are here to worship Me. Plainly said.

[] Preserving Human Lives-Rule

Highest on the importance scale is preserving human lives. This rule is one of the most venerated and most punishable of a crime if violated. Read what Allah says, “And kill not the soul which Allah has forbidden except for a just cause. And whoever is slain unjustly, We have indeed given to his heir authority — but let him not exceed the limit in slaying. Surely he will be helped .” [Quran- The Israellites 17:33] It is clear from the Quranic verse that all souls are forbidden. Part of protecting a life is making it by lawful means in the first place. So, it goes both ways, making a soul or taking it. For example, a severe punishment for an act of making a life unlawfully may be incurred on the perpetrator as part of Islam's way of protecting life itself. The severity of the punishment of a sin parallels its importance on the scale. For example, making out a life unlawfully, by getting pregnant outside the marriage establishment, is considered a high violation on the importance scale. But the execution of a punishment, most importantly the severe ones, is greatly scrutinized to the point that it may be nullified under special circumstances. Many examples can by cited by the prophet in repelling the execution of taking a life. A popular one is the pregnant lady who came to the prophet to ask him to issue a decree to carry out a cleansing punishment for her from the sin of adultery that got her pregnant. The prophet discourages her deeply and asks her to go home and have her baby born and taken care of it first, as she is responsible of the baby's wellbeing at that stage. Even though the baby was the result of a shameful act outside marriage, the prophet explains that there is no right for the baby's life to be endangered under any circumstances, and therefore the mother must be immune from prosecution until she completes her social responsibility of taking care of her own baby. Many other examples clearly show how Islam pushes for preserving lives of humans to the utmost level. One saying of the prophet in that regard explains it all “It is in the eyes of God that the whole world is to perish but not one “believing” life to be taken unlawfully”.

  • * Murder-Accepting Blood Money (Diyah) Instead of Retaliation (Qisaas[*)*]

Here is the verse from the Quran that sets retributive justice in Islamic jurisprudence for the punishment of a murder offense. Allah says, “O who you believe! Al-Qisaas (the Law of Equality in punishment) is prescribed for you in case of murder: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. But if the killer is forgiven by the brother (or the relatives) of the killed against blood money, then adhering to it with fairness and payment of the blood money to the heir should be made in fairness. This is an alleviation and a mercy from your Lord. So after this whoever transgresses the limits (an example; the relative kills the killer after taking the blood money), he shall have a painful torment”. [Quran- The Cow 2:178] But how much is blood money? It is equal to 100 “camels”-worth of money chosen from the average in the market. Please see reference [16] for a concise discussion of blood money by a university professor from Saudi Arabia. That is about “one hundred thousand Saudi Riyal” on average. It can be noted that there is blood money for abortion. Also, blood money is determined half for women than for men, which parallels inheritance! So, to preserve lives, Islam made it hard to compromise for taking a life unlawfully. If the legal guardian of the dead accepts Diyah, then let it be a hundred thousand riyal. If not, then eye for an eye is unavoidable. I heard of a story of a Saudi prince who murdered a person. The guy who was telling the story was showing that there was no mercy on carrying the Shariah law. The prince begged for his life in return for blood money. For the whole time in the court and the prince’s father was appealing for blood money but the father of the murdered son refused but the “Qisaas”, until finally the prince was executed for his murder crime.

[] Free Will to Choose Rule

This rule recognizes the freedom of mankind to choose in line of the basis of God’s creation of self-run universe. Even though those who don’t recognize a supreme being should be left free to ponder and seek answers to their questions but they should not be left free to disrupt the peace on earth. The main principle is the freedom to choose as the main avenue for competing schools of thoughts to recognize each other and express their own believes. Otherwise, how certain schools of thought will find the opportunity to convince others of their views?

[] Freedom to Choose Faith

Those who have a religion should be given freedom to worship their deity. Here is a Quranic verse in that regard, “There is no compulsion where the religion is concerned .” [Quran- The Cow 2: 256] And, “ God does not forbid you from being good to those who have not fought you in the religion or driven you from your homes, or from being just towards them. God loves those who are just .” [Quran- The Tested Woman 60:8]

[] Different Faith Protection Rule

It means that if you are a non-Muslim you should not be converted to Islam by force and your faith is totally recognized and protected. The rule protects and recognizes other faiths as part of the rule of freedom of faith choice. This rule is derived from the free will rule. The crevice here is that many simply overpass this rule under various unconvincing reasoning.

When making the constitution, this rule has to be maximally fulfilled. Jews and Christians and others should have complete freedom to practice their religion. The prophet, when moved to Medina, never influenced how the Jewish minority practiced their religion as they had their own schools and synagogues. The best example of the “different faith protection rule” is the prophet’s covenant granting protection and other privileges to the Christian monks of Saint Catherine’s Monastery; part of the wider Eastern Orthodox Church, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in the Sinai Peninsula, at the mouth of a gorge at the foot of Mount Sinai (where Moses received the Ten Commandments), in the city of Saint Catherine, Egypt. [13] Here is a concise translation of the letter, “This is a message from Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by God! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their churches are declared to be protected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).”

[] No-Sin Rule of Unintentional Acts

It is not hard for us to decide whether it is illegal to peel an orange in the clockwise direction or counter clockwise direction! We have minds too. Since we do Tawaf around Kaaba in the counter clock direction in the Hajj ritual and the Solar System as well as our Milky Way galaxy rotate counter- clockwise, then it is only legal for us to peel the orange in the counter clockwise direction! I hope though that if someone mistakenly peeled it clockwise to be forgiven under the no-sin rule of unintentional acts. I am joking here of course, but truly, there are many similar rules which make you a sinner, may be not high on the importance scale, but still there is sinning there and people want to observe that. Such rules are derived from the saying of the prophet “eat with your right hand” and similar sayings. So, does that mean using your left hand when eating makes you a sinner? Well, it is there though for some people. Why did God create the left hand then? Or the left hand was one of the many mistakes of evolution? Have you heard of those people who had to ask the guy sitting next to them if he could cooperate to use both of their right hands only to trying to cut a piece of meat to avoid using their left hands? Please use your left hand when possible. Also, use a spoon when eating and don’t use your bare hands, it is much healthier. Yes the prophet scrolled his hand in the pot reaching for food, but when did he advise against using a spoon? And please, when you have to use your bare hands make sure you have washed them with soap before eating and after you had used the toilet the last time you went to the bathroom.

[]Corruption Rule

Corruption is classified as highest on the importance scale. Faith-driven corruption infests the life of the public in many of the Islamic communities. Most types of corruption are clearly identified by the faith establishment, but the public mostly ignores the establishment’s repeated warnings. This is simply due to the public’s devaluation of the sin on the importance scale backed by misinterpretation of some basic rules, sometimes by the establishment itself.

 

It is ironic that western countries manage to fight corruption in an unprecedented way, while Muslim countries are plagued with corruption even though the faith fiercely fights it. Most of political systems mange to better fight corruption than pure faith would do if faith acts alone. While most religions ordain rules to regulate human affairs, it seems they fail to fully actuate them. That may be either because no political system fully integrates a religion as a ruling tool or no religion is fully compatible politically. The construct of Islam is made to be fully integrated in human affairs, including politically. Theoretically, corruption should be eliminated in an Islamic political system by placing it very high on the importance scale, but corruption still infests the Muslim world like never before! Therefore, there must be a missing link integrating the religion with the political system. The missing link is mostly associated with the faith-establishment rather than the political system itself.

[]Soul Corruption

Soul corruption is also not a faith-specific. Examples are, in the Catholic church, the issue of priests’ child molestation, which surfaced lately at the top level in Rome! The perpetrator in this case is a priest! One wonders, how can the two extremes coexist in a person, piety and soul corruption? Muslims also are not immune from soul corruption. Did you hear of the top Quran reciter who was accused of child molestation in Iran? The establishment and the public were in a state of shock as how a top figure in piety can commit such a horrible crime by all means. It is common in the Islamic world to reason such acts as the work of Satin under a weak faith-state of the mind from the side of the perpetrator at one point of time. I wonder though how Satin is to be blamed for repeated crimes of this nature? The perpetrator then has a weak faith! How come though and he is a high ranking individual in the establishment. How could he be of such a weak faith and he is the “priest” for example? The answer is simple; in faith, the punishment is not immediate since mostly you have to wait until the day after death for the Lord to evaluate your deeds. If you can hide your crime, most of the time it works then. But in a state system, you go to prison may be tomorrow if not now if you are taken to court; an immediate and solid response to the crime. In the faith-punishment type, the perpetrator has a lot of time to repent and may be forgiven, so the punishment is not solid as of yet, only if death comes before repentance. Islam drafts laws for immediate punishment for that exact reason.

[] Take it or Leave it Rule

Take it or leave it rule, is a principle rule in Islam. It is stemmed from the rule of complete free will to choose. If you don’t choose Islam as a way to worship God, it is completely fine; we will protect and provide all means to make it easy for you to practice your belief in a free manner! Live with us and your Churches and Synagogues are our duty to protect. We protect your faith because we implement this basic rule. The confusion though comes from within the Muslim faith itself. The question is, can I let you choose out of free will “as a Muslim” or should I enforce rules of the Islamic religion on you since I see them the most perfect ones for humanity? Actually, it doesn’t make sense at all that I demand the same from others and deny it from our side. Also, what should I do if I find a Christian disobeys one of the basic rules of his own? Should I prosecute him? And if so, according to what scheme of rules, ours or theirs? If you choose theirs, then that is what is meant by federalization in the rule of democracy. And indeed this is in the Quran that Christians and Jews are allowed to go by their book; see reference [14]. States have their own rules that may not necessarily be the same as their neighboring state. But, don’t we have to agree on common rules? Like, if you end the life of a person illegally, isn’t it a crime in both of the faiths, Islam and Christianity? So, Federal law should be imposed. Likewise, since Islam is a comprehensive way of ruling for humans as it is proposed by Muslims, then “federal” agreement on issues of common outcomes should rule how minorities practice their own believes that might be different than the majorities. Take it or leave it rule in Islam ensures this democratic practice of faiths. Laws should be drawn accordingly and minorities should be consulted before the laws should be passed for them or else laws of their own should be passed for them. It is clear then that Islam, in principle, does not reject democracy as totally un-Islamic, but we Muslims think that we do have it in our religion in an oriented way such that all negative outcome of the “western” democracy, such as the much disgusted homosexuality, is dismissed as a valued quality of human behavior. It is not then that Islam rigidly rejects a specific form of a legal system but it does impose restrictions on any legal system in such a way that it should follow its ethics and lets it evolve by the choice of its people’s culture as Islam did not define a specific ruling system! Historically, when Islam entered a land it never changed the culture but only later the culture would be naturally oriented to abide by Islamic ethics.

 

Internally, Muslims agree as a priori on the free will to choose rule. Meaning, you are given the free will to choose on many basic issues in the Muslim societies. Remember, anything in Muslims’ lives is faith. Driving on the highway is faith; the way you drink water or eat Kebab is faith; the way you slaughter an animal to eat its meat is faith; the way you talk and behave is faith; the way you walk is faith; the way you go to the bathroom is faith; the way you sleep is faith; the way you make love is faith. Isn’t time to regulate all that? Well, it has been under regulation and re-regulation by imposing the ethics of the faith all along, since the prophet came up with most of it. The question is, should I impose how a Muslim should breathe, or is it a matter of taste? I guess the process of breathing is a natural process of survival and you shouldn’t influence how nature works, only unless you are hoping to expedite nature’s natural selection rule. In that regard, please don’t forget to use your left hand freely to do anything you like just as you do for your right hand; that is not to say you are not going to use your right hand more regularly if you are right-handed. For example, immunization against diseases short-cuts the natural selection process for optimization. We are not going to wait a thousand years until the human body figures out how to tackle measles for example. We are smart. We figured a short cut. That is perfect. Let’s do then “smart” evolution.

 

It seems like some of what early scholars have regulated should be passed as matter-of-taste-rules; by take it or leave it rule. A good example is the male’s beard. The prophet said, “Trim mustaches and grow beards.” [Hadith- Muslim] Isn’t this a matter of taste? Some scholars do regard violators to this command as sinners. And worse yet, some regard violators as big sinners since they violated a direct command of the prophet. Had they placed it under take it or leave it rule, they wouldn’t have confused the public on minor issues. The prophet used to grow his hair sometimes and braid it and sometimes he would dye it (with henna, since henna was a popular dye). Also, he used to put mascara (eyeliner). What do we think of a male who does this in our Muslim cultures now? Sinning, because that is a girl’s thing! Why scholars have not issued a sinning status for those who don’t do that? As a matter of fact, you will find it odd for a guy to grow or braid his hair in most of the Muslim world. You may notice though, the dye is not treated as so, but the scholars added, only if it is henna dye! If the prophet dyed his hair, it means he dyed his hair. It doesn’t mean that he would only henna-dye his hair!

 

Another example of regulation of rules that might unnecessarily put burden on a Muslim is the regulation of how you sleep! Yes it is with much low level of attention on the importance scale, but hey, people do observe everything in their daily routine as belong to the faith and should be followed. It was reported that the prophet used to sleep on his right side; by the simple “chose the right over the left-rule”. Some even insisted that you should start your sleep on your right side all along during your sleep. It means to sleep solid with no movement. That is way too much. Try it; it is a killing process. Sleeping is meant to relax your body. You will have nightmares as constantly you want to remind yourself of that during your sleep! Every time you “naturally” want to switch sides, you resist it! You wake up tired and unproductive! Those who want to observe such a sleep behavior even report better sleep just because they followed the prophet’s “recommendation”! It is even mentioned in the Quran that the natural sleep is to constantly switch sides to relax. In the story of the people of the cave, who were believers of God but fled persecution and slept at the door steps of a cave for about three hundred years. God says, “And thou mightest think them awake while they were asleep, and We turned them about to the right and to the left, with their dog outstretching its paws at the entrance. If thou didst look at them, thou wouldst turn back from them in flight, and thou wouldst be filled with awe because of them (their sleep-awake state).” [Quran- The Cave 18:18]

[] Behind Closed Doors-Privacy Rule

Free of monitoring behind closed doors actions by the privacy rule is of great importance in Islam. Only if it is concluded “by the authority” that behind the closed doors there is a violation of another rule, then the privacy rule is revoked. The prophet says, “Whoever peeks into a house without its people's leave (permission), they may put out his eye.” [Hadith- Muslim] In other words, you deserve what you got because you violated the privacy rule. But if another rule is violated behind doors, related to corruption rule, for example doing drugs, then the privacy rule is breached and violators can be prosecuted. But please get a warrant before you raid people’s houses and disrupt their privacy.

[]Common Interest Rule

If the consequence of a certain behavior of a Muslim individual is totally or partially shared by the rest of the community, it is not characterized under the privacy rule and the individual’s behavior should be monitored by the perspective authority on that particular issue because the rest of the society shares the consequences.

  • * Globalization vs. Individualization – Rule of Thumb for Survival

There are things that have to be performed individually and others in groups and others can be performed in either way. For example, prayers can be done both ways. Hajj can be done both ways as well. Fasting is strictly between you and the Lord and is performed individually. Of course socialization may push you to break your fasting in groups. So, in every act you do you have to watch for the rules that govern it. This is ethically driven when the act is done individually. You may violate all rules if you like and nobody can figure it out. But if the consequence of an act affects only the individual and if the act is totally prohibited, because you get away with it under the privacy rule, people then may do it at their own privacy by hiding their acts; but they will be watching out and looking over their shoulder all the time. But the harm may extend out to the society then it is no more a private matter as it is a concern for all. The privacy rule then drops. The prophet says, “An example for a pious individual who is constantly watching the rules of Allah is like those folks who are boarding a ship, some took the higher level and others the lower level. If for those on the lower level said we will make a hole in their portion (the lower level -to get water) were not banned from doing so by those on the higher portion of the ship, they would all perish.” Meaning, if the consequence of an action extends beyond the privacy rule, the common interest rule outlaws it.

 

Individualization of some global rules, such as the call for war-Jihad, is probably the most serious path that opens doors for extremism. Some people may decide on their own to whether to open or close a door for Jihad. They are then prone to being recruited by terrorist groups, who usually form a break-away group from the Muslim body to practice their own rule-interpretation ideology according to their agenda and raise the flag of “we answer the call of Allah”, which mostly means Jihad. Individualization of otherwise must be “global rules” is one path for extremism. This could be the establishment’s most troubling issue and a globally centralized monitoring is mostly needed.

[] No Destruction to the Self-Rule

The Lord says, “And spend in the way of Allah and cast not yourselves to perdition with your own hands and do good (to others). Surely Allah loves the doers of good. ” [Quran- 2:125], which means, don't throw yourself into destruction financially. The scholars generalized the term of destruction to include any harm that can be avoided. In other words, don't put yourself in a position where you are susceptible to harm in any way on purpose; that is a sin. The scholars have no clear say on killing the self in war though. Is that prohibited by this verse? Or is it martyrdom? Most scholars called it martyrdom. That may be a crevice because extremists take actions into their own hands and individualize Jihad and kill themselves by blowing themselves up. (See the call for war-Jihad down) Another Hadith in that regards; Abu An-Nadr, Omar’s clerk and a former slave, narrated, “I read in a letter sent to the commander in chief of the army, that Allah’s Apostle in one of his military expeditions against the enemy, waited till the sun declined and then he got up amongst the people saying, ‘O people! Do not wish to meet the enemy, and ask Allah for safety, but if you face the enemy, be patient, and remember that paradise is under the shades of swords.’”

[] Non-Muslim’s Human Life is to be Spared-Rule

This rule is part of the Preserving Human Lives-Rule discussed above as one of the highest on the important scale. The rule is to be especially watched out when you are bound by a treaty with others; the prophet said, “Whoever kills a person who has a truce with the Muslims will never smell the fragrance of paradise.” [Hadith- Muslim]

[] No Hardship in Worship-Rule

This rule has been discussed in Moderation Vs Extremism section above. Rules are made to be followed with ease. May be an easy way to look at it is; follow any rule and if you find life is not smooth as normal, like you get up in the morning, take a shower, pray the morning prayer, have a cup of coffee and a doughnut, drive to work, then you may have overdone a rule. We are supposed to live with the rules at ease, no change of plans, no change of the norm. Since everything is worship, total integration of faith, this rule must be implemented in its entirety and regulated, but must be also individually-oriented. This is clear as you are being asked to ask your heart if the rule is overwhelming you. An example is the response of the prophet of that sick man carried to the mosque by his two sons as he wished to attend the prayer; the prophet addressing people said, “Allah is not in need of this man’s punishment upon himself.” [Hadith- Bukhari] Another example is that guy who was suffering greatly because he wouldn't break his fasting in a very hot day. The prophet told people around him that everybody else “who broke their fasting” were better than him.

 

You can do whatever you want to do for your life and the faith is oriented with it, if you abide with faith-ethics. The prophet says, “Religion is easy, and no one overburdens himself in his religion but he will be unable to continue in that way.” [Hadith – Bukkhari and Muslim] If any contradiction occurs, the faith tells you, it is me which you don’t understand. While traveling, for example, you don’t need to stop the “camel” from rolling in the desert, you can pray riding. Hard still, OK, don’t pray now. When you get to your destination group prayers, it is easier. Not only that, got home exhausted? Then chop the prayer in half. But don’t forget to pray. In general, if you find a conflict between daily livelihood matters and faith, you must have not oriented the faith correctly as instructed. It is that easy. Here another Hadith in that regard; it is narrated that Mihjan ibn al-Adra’ as saying: I came with the Prophet, and when we were at the door of the mosque, we saw a man who was praying. He said: “Do you think he is sincere?” I said, “O Prophet of Allah, this is so and so; he is one of those who pray the most of the people of Medina.” He said, “Don’t let him hear you lest you be doomed” – two or three times – “You (the people) are a community for whom I want ease.”  According to another report, “The best of your religion is that which is easiest.” [Hadith- Ahmad].

[]Slandering-Rule

Slandering, or accusing an innocent person of wrong doing is a great sin on the importance scale. It is sufficient to cite one Quranic verse to realize the graveness of the slandering sin; “And those who accuse women (of adultery) and bring not four witnesses, flog them (with) eighty stripes and never accept their testimony (in court), and those are the transgressors. Except those who afterwards repent and act aright; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. And those who accuse their wives and have no witnesses except themselves, let one of them testify four times, bearing Allah to witness, that he is of those who speak the truth. And the fifth (time) that the curse of Allah be on him, if he is of those who lie. And it shall avert the chastisement from her, if she testify four times, bearing Allah to witness, that he is of those who lie. And the fifth (time) that the wrath of Allah to be on her, if he is of those who speak the truth .” [Quran- the light 24:5-9]. Important to note here is that for married couples, accusation of one partner to the other is a special case and it needs not four witnesses in court as mentioned in the “Two Women Witnesses for One Man” section above. Instead, one partner, as a witness, equals four witnesses in court, but the other partner (the accused) can simply avert punishment if she testifies under oath that the other partner is a liar. Important also to note that family disputes in Islam should be taken to court to be resolved and not as many think that the husband or the wife can take matter into their own hands and serve justice as they see it fit. See sections up on women.

[] Any Rule May be Broken-Rule; the Rescue Rule

Under grave situations, any rule must be broken to avoid grave consequences, such as deterioration of one's health if the rule is implemented. For example, you are sick and if you fast you may fall in an unpleasant health situation, you have to break fasting then because the “no destruction of the self- rule” dictates that you desert the rule of fasting under that circumstance. The prophet clearly asserts that rule when he said, “Do from the deeds only what you can do (physically or mentally).” [Hadith- Bukhari and Muslim] Meaning, when it comes to facing a hardship then there is always an easier alternate rule you may follow. Here is another saying of the prophet that substantiates that, “ Make things easier, do not make things more difficult, spread the glad tidings, do not hate. ” [Hadith- Bukhari] In other words, Allah loves it when a person chooses the easiest task over the harder or even when he drops the task all together if doing so is justified. But usually if the act is to be dropped, there is always a community-service obligation in return. This rule is extremely important to preserve lives. A good example is to save lives when a human organ fails and needs to be replaced. In Islam this act is permitted, so no harm to donate your organ for the needy. But, in some countries, illegal human organ trade flourishes when people don't find organ donors due to religious restrictions. In Islam, even if there is faith restriction, you can drop it under this rule if the action is justified.

 

  • * Always Clean up with Water Rule— Start with the Body to Cleanse the Heart

Water is the means of physical cleaning and spiritual cleansing in many religions. In Christianity, babies are baptized using water once in a life time. The baby is ready then to accept Jesus. In Islam though, you face cleansing with water five times a day before every prayer. The frequency of using water for cleansing goes with the fact that rituals in Islamic faith are deeply integrated with the daily lives of Muslims. Water is the cleaning medium if you have to clean before executing a ritual or after you have done some worldly act as a cleansing method. For example, you have to take a shower after making love with your wife before you will be able to pray your regular prayers. Also, before you pray, and that is five times a day, you have to do some cleansing ritual where you have to wash your hands, your face, your arms and your feet with water. But five times a day that is a lot of loss of water in a land where water is scarce in the Arabian Peninsula. This was invented; meaning it was not the norm before the prophet ordained on the believers to do so. Obviously, the faith invaded the minds of people to the extent that they were willing to blow up the source of survival, water. But, indeed, the rescue rule is there. If you can’t go ahead with any one rule, the rule itself is overturned or alleviated to a lessor one. If you can’t find water there is another “cheap” way to get ready to line up spiritually with the Lord by praying. Read please, “…And if you are sick or on a journey, or one of you comes from the privy, or you have had contact with women (made love) and you cannot find water, betake yourselves to pure earth and wipe your faces and your hands therewith (a little contact by the hands will do). Allah desires not to place a burden on you…” Thanks to the rescue rule of “Any Rule May be Broken-Rule” under hardship.

[]No Interest Rule

As understood by Muslims, dealing with interest is a way of harming people. It may be placed under the rule of “No destruction for the self”. The self as for the person who borrows money since everybody borrows money out of need, for example, student loans, poor people who borrow to cover unexpected health needs, etc. But if you borrow money to put it in a business, that is a different story, that is business. In Islam, that is not called borrowing, it is more of a business deal, but Islam wants it to be done only cooperatively. Meaning, not to give me the money and I will pay you back with interest, but instead, give me the money and engage with me in a business partnership. You put your money on the line, and I put mine or maybe I put my time and expertise, but when the business goes bankrupt we both face the consequences. Islam does not want the poor to borrow money and, under the predicament of debt, remain poor while the rich to lend and just keep accumulating wealth via interest and keep getting richer, especially when the borrowed money goes for personal expenses. The rule, as far as the scholars explain it is that, borrowed money for fixed interest is illegal even if the borrower wants to put it in business. Big financial institutions will multiply their capital without being subjected to loss by lending with interest. Many of them avoid engaging themselves in high risk businesses and mostly depend mainly on lending money to the average person who will take all the loss. They get bigger and bigger while small businesses may lose their money and go bankrupt. To make the economy grow, governments lower interest rates for that reason, basically to encourage people to borrow and do business. That is mostly what capitalism is. But in Islam, all business partners have to claim both loss and gain from the business. A lender should only lend with zero interest as an “act of charity” or just engage in business with partners and take the risk along with them. In other words, money is a tool for the economy to grow on an equal footing for both the poor and the rich.

 

In Islam, the bulk of the capital money in an economy should not be within the hands of the rich only. Economic rules should ensure money change hands between poor and rich. In other words, the rules should ensure circulation of the capital among all people, rich and poor. That policy also widens the middle class in the society by allowing access to the capital without restrictions by the rich. This is what this verse means, “Whatever Allah restored to His Messenger from the people of the towns (capital money for the state), it is for Allah and for the Messenger, and for the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, so that it be not circulated by the rich among you. ” [Quran- The Banishment 59:9]. It means whatever capital to be added to the economy, it should not be circulated among the rich only with the market to become a rich-monopoly.

[] Exception to the Rule-Prophet’s Own Rule

Sometimes the prophet would do something that seems to be against a major rule. That can be put as exception to the rule and may only pertain to the prophet himself. Meaning, it is his and his alone. This is especially when the Quran mentions the prophet in person when discussing the rule. Those rules have been realized by the scholars who most of the time would clearly assign an exception to some rules as only pertains to the prophet by virtue of his divine assignments. If a rule is assigned only to the prophet, it means it is a special case and no one else should follow it.

[]Call for War-Jihad

Call for war-Jihad has a number of rules under it and it is of utmost important status. War-Jihad is the general call to defend the Muslim nation, and therefore it is a call of repelling enemies. Not so much different than the call for any country to pack up for war to defend the country from external danger. War-Jihad is not individualized in Islam. Meaning, who calls for war-Jihad is an assembly body for making decisions regarding waging war. The opinion on whether Muslims should spread the faith by sword and therefore open a door for war-Jihad or by preaching the faith by words and character only has always been an excuse for extremists to choose the hard line. Those who take force as the means to spread the faith by the sword open a door for violence. They mostly rely on this Hadith, the prophet said, “I have been ordered to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshiped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform that, then they save lives and property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning will be done by Allah.” [Hadith- Ibn Umar] But the opinion of the scholars is that “people” here does not mean anybody and everybody. Many scholars told of only the unbelievers of Mecca who openly declared their animosity to the new faith. Remember, the prophet conquered Mecca and left its people to asses and choose as no repulsion in religion. He never forced them to adopt the new faith, nevertheless they did. Ibn Tymeyah, who was a renowned scholar, “the Imam of all Imams”, interpreted the “people” in the Hadith as those who fight the Muslims only. Some scholars interpreted it as those who deprive the Muslims from freedom of speech. There is an obvious crevice here which opened the door for extremists to initiate Jihad-war until people declare they have adopted the faith. Other extremists understand the Hadith as “fight until Caliphate is founded”. They don’t care who to fight! You will always find them fight Muslims mostly as they see their ruling systems as illegitimate. It is obvious though that the Hadith does not mean to fight until “people” get to choose the faith, because it was never reported that the prophet actually did it. The final word of the one-institution-establishment is what is dearly needed in that regard to block twisted-faith views such as this one from developing to violence and terrorism.

 

It is extremely important to make clear that the opinion of the majority of Islamic scholars is plainly contrary to that of the extremists’ one which always plays by the Jihad card but with a twisted-faith element. For example, Grand Sunni cleric Sheikh Ahmad Al Kubaisi declares Jihad against the Islamic State terror group. The clear cut opinion is extremely important.

 

There is a strong and deep desire in the heart of the Muslim to spread the Islamic faith to the world as a faith of understanding, tolerance and love. Let’s compare the opinion of the Majority of the scholars, represented by the chair of the International Muslim Scholars Counsel, Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi, and that of the radicalists. Here is what Shaikh al-Qaradawi states in that regards, “Some people say to us that you desire to have discussions with the Christians and others in order to arrive at what you call ‘World Peace’? So we reply to them ‘Yes, and why not?’ They (other people) say because the basis and foundation concerning the relationship of the Muslims to those besides them is Jihad and it is not just peace. And this view actually exists, yet we do not subscribe to it.”

 

The scholar Al-Qaradawi wants to dismiss what others say that Jihad is fighting non-Muslims on the basis that they have different ideology. He continues, “The issue of Jihad in the path of Allah for defending the land, the honors (of people) and the sanctity is a matter in which there is no further discussion. But as for defense for the sake of attacking the rest of the world, as some people imagine, is not a matter that is mentioned (in the literature). And we actually base our position and build upon it based upon what the contemporary scholars of the Muslims have held as their position, the likes of Shaikh Abu Zahrah...he named a number of them, and all of those are of the view that Jihad in Islam is for the sake of defense of the religion and the state, the sanctity, the land and the honors of people…. And it is not for military expeditions as some of the people imagine…" (Book- al-Islaam wal-Gharb: Islam and The West, p.16, Yousef Al-Qaradawi).

[]We Fight who Fights us

Muslims fight mostly to defend themselves. For that, Muslims fight back if they are attacked and if initiated a fight it is mostly to defend themselves as preemptive tactic. We fight who fights us, that is the Islamic “slogan”. Read please, Allah says, “Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly .” [Quran- The Woman Who is Examined 60:8] This is mostly the opinion of most contemporary scholars. But this opinion is not the prevailing one especially with the youth. Here is what the contradicting opinion has to provide; the purpose of Jihad is to make the “word” of Allah, that is all of His commands, portrayed in the Quran and Hadith, prevailing. The word of Allah is to worship Him with no partner, basically the tenets of the faith. The means to spread that is Jihad as they see it. Here is what they mostly rely on from the Quran, “ Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (Islam) from those among the people of the book (of scripture), until they pay the Jizyah (their prescribed tax) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued (to the rule of the state)." (Quran- The Imunity 9:29] This verse tells you to fight against “the people of Mecca” who believed not in Allah; meaning the new faith that made all their Gods one, and of those of the “people of the book” who refused to pay their prescribed “tax”. Since they are not supposed to pay the state Islamic tax (2.5% of income) because they are not Muslims, Islam prescribed upon them, and in general “Non-Muslims” a tax in return for civil and other services by the state. It means if Muslims refuse to pay their share of tax “Zakat” or non-Muslims refuse to pay their share of tax “ Jizyah”; then fight them. Abu-Bakr fought those Muslims who refused to pay Zakat “Islamic tax”. Note that the verse says from those of ‘the people of the book’, not all of them; only those who refuse to pay their share of the tax. Obviously, fighting is not generalized, only those of them who fight you or who don’t recognize your own ruling within your own state. The initiation of the fight is not random nor is it by choice of likeness. Meaning, Muslims will not fight others for their religions, it is “Give us the right of free speech” and “the right of free choice-of own beliefs” and “take it or leave it” is what Muslims fight for. That is very obvious from “Say: O disbelievers, I serve not what you serve, Nor do you serve Him Whom I serve, Nor shall I serve that which ye serve, Nor do you serve Him Whom I serve. You have your own faith and we have our own faith. ” [Quran- The Disbelievers Chapter-109] This chapter is probably made very short to be easily memorized by Muslims so it can be recited easily in their prayers; total freedom to choose, especially the faith. The people of Mecca fought the Muslims, and the Muslims must fight back. Of course, the Jyziah is a tax for the non-Muslims who live within the Muslims’ state and enjoy the same services as the Muslims. It is then rationalized that fighting “people of the book” who refuse to pay their share of the tax as a non-religious war.

 

Here is a verse that is always misunderstood by extremists, “Fight in the way of God those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors; And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah (persecution) [_ is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram ] (Kaaba Grand Mosque) _until they fight you there. But if they fight you (there), then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.” [Quran- The Cow 2:190-191] The verses commands Muslims to “fight those who fight you” as a self-defense, and commands them not to transgress as well. Also, it explains that “killing” here is directed against those who expel people from their home land.

 

Here is how the terror group Islamic State answers a question [15] Q: What is the goal of Jihad and why do we wage Jihad? A: The principle aim of Jihad is to make people worship God alone, and move people away from servitude to men towards servitude to the Lord of men. God Almighty has said: “And fight them until there is no more fitna (persecution) and religion is for God, and if they cease, there is no enmity except upon the wrongdoers " [Quran- The Cow 2:193]. Unfortunately this is a twisting of the meaning of the verse in time and place. Traditional scholars understand the term ‘ fitna’ as to force Muslims to disbelieve in the new faith as worse than killing, a generalized meaning. But the verse was directed to the early Muslims who were persecuted because of their adoption of the new faith of Islam as the people of Mecca forced them to abandon the new faith.

 

Besides the Jihad as the call for war, there are many avenues of Jihad in a Muslim’s life that the term is applicable for, and that is by the prophet’s definition. One, Jihad of the self, is to strive to attain purity regardless of all obstacles. For example, if you cannot afford to get married and start a family you need to learn how to restrain yourself from committing adultery by abstaining from sexual acts and staying away from sexual attractions. That is a great Jihad of the self and highly rewarded. Another example is to learn to abstain from eating and drinking when fasting and train the “self” to bear hardship. This type of Jihad is individualized. War-Jihad cannot be individualized as it is a call to repel a danger to the general public. Confusion between the two types of Jihad is very common and is a major concern. For example, an individual may declare War-Jihad in an individualized manner, so he decides to take matters into his own hands, may be out of frustration, and carry out an individualized War-Jihad. Since war-jihad is to take arms, the individual will take an individualized war-like action such as blowing himself up, backed up by the eagerness to carry out a faith-task and a sense of obligation to do so aided by own fatwa to carry out the attack outside the establishment’s authorization. The establishment forbids terrorism and random killing and describes it as a great sin especially if civilians are involved, but it does not have a clear say in the details which opens up a scary crevice for the twisted-minded to venture. For example, it doesn’t seem to clearly forbid individualized action in that regard. It means that individuals, or even break-away factions, may take matter into their own hands as necessary and declare their own war-Jihad. The regimes of the Muslim countries fight it strongly and many openly consider it an act of twisted-faith terrorism that may pose danger to the Muslim country itself.

[]Twisted Faith?

Hurting the self until we see blood is a great suffering and it teaches us to reflect blood-suffering unto opponents. That is a path for extremism as well, made through teaching the soul to accommodate torture and seeing human blood in the path of reaching out to the faith! Some people faint when they see blood! Blow yourself up in a crowded market and see much blood! You are dead of course, but other extremists enjoy it! So, can terrorism be learned from twisted-faith? If I can do it to myself and be happy, certainly I can do it to others and be happy. Have you seen terrorists burn people alive in cages while smiling?

In Islam some verdicts should be conducted in public, death penalty for example, mostly to let people know that the verdict has actually taken place on one hand and be witnessed by the public, and on the other hand to remind criminals of the end result of their bad deeds. Children and weak-heartened people are not to watch. Nobody is forced to watch. The killing though should not be cruelly conducted but instead should be as quick as possible to lessen suffering as much as possible. The prophet says, “If you kill (an animal, and only for food or to block a danger, like a wolf, or prevent a disease like a mouse), lessen the suffering to the most.” In another saying the prophet orders to sharpen the tool before conducting the slaughtering of the animal to avoid torturing. Meaning, no intentional torturing is allowed. Compare that to all the torture that prisons are filled with, conducted on people, not animals. For those who advocate violence to resolve disputes, cruelty is faith rationalized in most of the cases. Crevices litter some corners in the faith and extremists by-pass even the principle rules, to indulge in a twisted-faith acts, much of enjoying watching blood shedding from sufferers. Ironically, some “add-on rituals” that are not originally ordained by the faith, feed into blocking the heart for extremism to grow. Those rituals, ordained by some Muslim groups, teach people to accommodate blood scenes. Much like violent Hollywood movies that teach people violence, some add-on rituals, such as whipping the self until blood gushing from the body, teach people how to accommodate seeing blood and reflect that on others!

[]Abusing the Faith

There is a fine line between abusing the faith and twisting it. While both acts are undeniably faith driven, in the case of twisting the faith, there is a criminal element in it where the person potentially may indulge in a violent act, while abusing it is an innocent negative move by the dedicated person. But this negative move might be detrimental in some cases. Faith abuse is mostly derived from the desire to follow an ordained act regardless of any logical or illogical measures. You may find people want to fast and not stop or pray day and night to get as much credit as possible. But by overdoing it they may get sick and even die out of hunger or exhaustion. The prophet decried that strongly.

  • * Extremism: Why Radicalists have the Potential to Become Extremists? Is it the Path for Twisted-Faith Terrorism? Is Extremism a Self-Destructive Movement?

Who is affected worse by twisted-faith-terrorism? Let's read a fresh news from Afghanistan, BBC- April 22, 2017, “' Afghan casualties in Taliban Mazar-e Sharif attack pass 100’: More than 100 Afghan soldiers were killed or wounded in a Taliban attack on an army base on Friday, the defense ministry has confirmed. Fighting lasted for several hours near the city of Mazar-e Sharif in northern Balkh province. Insurgents targeted those leaving Friday prayers at the base’s mosque and others in a canteen, the army said. The Taliban said in a statement they had carried out the attack, using suicide bombers to breach defenses.” Why would Taliban, an Islamic movement, kill Muslim people leaving Friday’s congregation?

 

What is with ISIS, the so called Islamic-State distrusted movement that has terrorized the globe? They want to establish Caliphate? What else? They want to rule by Shariah law? What else? They want to uproot wrong and establish right? What else? They want to straighten out people because everybody around them is bad? Then, terrorism is the tool? They straighten out people by terrorizing them and burning them alive! Is that a twisted-faith or no? Is it not a blow to the face move for establishment which constantly derides such groups and preaches against their ideology? But why the establishment could not stop them? There lies a deep rift in that regard. It is simply that the establishment is weakly designed to fight their rise. But also, what’s with Bashar Al-Assad, the tyrant of Syria who is responsible of crimes against humanity by killing and torturing hundreds of thousands of his own people? Did he not play on patriotism and fearing terrorism to tell his people and the world; its either me or terrorism. I guess he was able to do it only because he found a weak establishment to play with and he could tell the world; look everyone, terrorism is at your door steps. Fear terrorism but spare me! Of course the world is full of opportunists who could help him. OK, but what is with America dropping nuclear bombs on two Japanese cities during World War II, all be it to end a devastating war by killing civilians? During World War II, President Roosevelt used the slogan “Arsenal of Democracy” by which the U.S. would deliver arms to its allies without actual intervening in the war by U.S. military. When it didn’t work out, weapons of mass destruction was used. Is this twisted-faith terrorism? Their faith is democracy of course. In democracy you can’t kill civilians, can you? But justification is always there. Collateral damage, be it wiping out cities and opening the doors of hell on civilians. Isn’t this what Bashar al-Assad has been doing in the Syrian civil war? His faith of course is “no faith”, but to win. To do that, he twisted everything, Islam, democracy, patriotism, all types of ethics.

 

Extremism is to overdo the faith significantly and terrorism follows when you overdo it to the breaking point of no return. Overdoing is mostly aided by twisting of facts. If the tool to regulate it is broken, then there will be no upper limit and we may expect detrimental effects as the ultimate outcome. So, it is imperative, if you overdo a rule, like doing over time at work for example, not to break the tool that you function with, in this case, your ability to conduct your work in a stable physical and mental state. If you breakdown due to physical or mental degradation, you may break the machine you are operating or accidentally hurt yourself; when you unintentionally make a grave mistake for example. That is a total negative outcome and counterproductive. The machine stops with much loss in the production line. You need to replace the operator as well as get the machine fixed. In an actual production line, you should have monitors to monitor the line. If a machine breaks down, there are maintenance people to fix it on the spot. If an operator seems to be running short in breath, he is to be dealt with right away. There are also basic routine for general operators to keep them alert throughout the production process. For example, operators alternate in their positions in the production line if the routine is monotonous enough that may bring about stillness. So, different techniques may be used to regulate the production process at an acceptable pace to keep the production line operational. You may unknowingly practice extremism in some aspects of your life. It is important to pin point where extremism dwells in societies and work out solutions to stop it from nourishing. This is most important when it has the greatest impact on societies such as twisted-faith extremism.

 

For Islam, the faith wants you to be deadly serious in what you are doing but always observe ease in what you are doing as much as possible. That is why a faithful person strives to achieve excellence. Likewise, extremists strive to achieve excellence. But with their twisted faith, their path is nothing but a leading door to terrorism. Extremists don’t recognize their path is a wrong one. They, by heart, feel devotion to their religion. They are compelled to achieve excellence for maximum reward. What could be a maximum reward more than martyrdom? With many “infidels” around who deserve to die, then terrorism is rationalized to them.

 

Extremism is a negative infestation that characterizes an ideology when twisted and it is not specific to any one faith in particular. It is a self-destructive movement though since it usually forms a splinter group from the main body and therefore is subject to rejection by the main faith. But it may grow at an uncontrollable pace until the natural process of recognition and self-retrograde mode occurs, causing a great damage. The extremist individual is totally mentally blocked. A potential terrorist is an extremist whose mind is stacked with uncontrollable twisted-faith contaminated immoralities. The world may be gravely affected when all of the people of a certain group or sect are classified as faith extremists. This is extremely dangerous to the stability of the whole world. It is not much so within the body of the Islamic world in general. But the religion, like any other religion, is not immune from extreme twisted-faith ideology to grow with the absence of a centralized entity with the power to globalize laws. Recently though, it has been noticed that the internal feeds to twisted-faith terrorism increased beyond control where the main sects of the Muslims, Shiite and Sunni, increased their mutual accusation regarding some faith-related disputed issues pushing the major internal rift to uncontrollable limits. The phenomenon at the individual level is dangerously more effective. If the phenomenon is exported outside the Islamic world, only individualized cases may surface. Nevertheless, when extremism is centralized, it is easily spotted and dealt with. Movements that adopt extremism as their ideology are easily spotted and isolated. In the Muslim world we need an extensive overhaul of the way the faith establishment operates to make genuine control of issues concerning the faith. The spectrum of weak crevices within the network of Islamic rules has to be identified and the sub-rules that are individually derived from those crevices should be untwisted. In Christianity, many examples of twisted-faith terrorism can be cited. Among those are sects that adopt beyond-rationally-accepted faith venues such as the well-known David Koresh who was the American leader of the Branch Davidians religious sect; believing himself to be its final prophet. Ironically, we Muslims believe that prophet Muhammad to be the final prophet. But sadly we Muslims adopted similar political tactics that mimics prophet-hood leadership, specifically, infallible Imam-ship, which brings about the same exact dispute of divine-leadership. David in a well-orchestrated confrontation with the authorities in his home town, Waco, TX, ended his life along with the members of his sect. That is an example of a self-destructive faith-movement characterized by faith-twisted extremism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David Koresh was the leader of a self-destructive religious sect

 

Extremism has too many facets in a twisted-faith, the worst that is placed highest on the importance scale is blow yourself up and kill innocent people, thereby committing an act of terrorism. Another is, the slip of the tongue cursing of another faith or even your own including cursing the Lord; the slang language of cursing the Lord. Religious slang-cursing is a very high on the importance scale-sin in Islam as part of the “slandering-rule” of other or own religion sin. It is odd and disturbing when extremism becomes culture and even contradicts the basics of the faith. When it turns cultural, the mind is totally blocked to see it as wrong. Extremism also has been practiced against Muslims due to faith hatred and by ethnic cleansing as well. This type of religious persecution occurred in both medieval and modern history. Prominent examples are the crusades and Mongolian invasion to parts of the Islamic world. Extremism that is being practiced by Muslims is no different and must be tackled internally by a centralized Islamic establishment that draws the faith laws.

 

Controversial acts by some Muslims characterized by extremism regarding faith issues may persist and may be passed unnoticed in Muslim communities. For example, while extreme vocal disrespect of the supreme entity “God” is an unequivocally a sin ranked very high on the importance scale, yet in some Muslim communities it is simply passed without much interest to tackle as a social problem. A kid might be ordered by his dad to go to the mosque for a Friday prayer while he might be involved in a heinous sin of cursing the Lord as part of a slip of the tongue-slang that street kids’ talk and even adults’ talk alike are infested with. Such language disgrace must be tackled efficiently by the establishment where it thrives in parts of the Muslim world. The question is, how can such an extremely important issue be spiritually passed in some conservative Muslim communities and how can Muslims belittle the legal faith consequence of it as it is a grave violation of rule-number-one, that is the veneration of the Lord? How can the cultural-side of the faith develop a trend to elevate low-importance matters to high ones on the scale and enforce their execution while do the opposite with highly important matters? The establishment recognizes that distinction but has no authority over some communities which mostly follow a rhythm drawn from cultural attributes. The establishment plays no distinctive role to make noticeable corrections because of its ineffectiveness in that regard. It stresses some issues of high importance to be executed and sometimes unintentionally downplays others, which leaves some communities running low on morals. Low morals can nest in the heart and propagate to include some issues characterized as high on the importance scale such as the controversial heinous acts of terrorists like burning a person alive and even showing it on TV for kids to watch.

  • * Too Many “Extras” or Individualized Solo-modes Lead to Radicalization-Serious Crevices

In the “Women and Men Stand Together” section I explained how extremism may arise by additions of “extra” steps to an application of a rule and draft a law that governs the application. One example is when husbands abuse their wives by practicing violence against them, or vice versa. They use verses from the Quran, and they usually add some “extras” to rationalize the act. This is most of the time unintentional, but it has grave consequences as how extremism starts with naive steps to mount to acts at the criminal level. A seemingly benign act ends up in the extremists’ hands to draft laws for themselves to abuse women to the farthest extent. Look at what the west branded Muslims of in terms of women’s rights. The fact that Men have a “controlled” upper hand over women within the family is “faith-twisted” to rationalize criminal acts. Muslims know that husbands do abuse that right much. We can find too many crevices simply because of the naive additions we impose on Islamic rules. Also, the opposite of that attitude of doing exactly what the prophet did or said to do, no less, no more, like those of the Salafi doctrine, creates rigidness and unwillingness to adapt and accommodate others’ school of thoughts. For a typical Salafi attitude, this means that you shouldn’t in principle, for example, board an aircraft, unless you are out of options, because there were no commercial planes at the time of the prophet and your attitude is to add no extras in fear of faith-twisting! That attitude towards rigidness to change has created many obstacles to adopt modernization, especially it made Salafi people not to like to add to what they strictly learn from the prophet, and that they are mostly free of inputs that add, as seen by them, unnecessary extras to the rules. Therefore Sufis, a branch of Salafis, are described as very non-adaptive. The tradition of most of the contemporary Muslim scholars is to be extra careful in that regard, because any extra input in the wrong direction might be detrimental as too many extras allude to the legalizing the forbidden or at least seeking venues of twisted but heart-accepted matters. On the other hand, solo-modes restrict thinking and open one-way venues which lead to opposing openness and rejecting input from others. Both ways are paths for radicalism. With that in mind, solo-modes of one single set of opinions are the way to go, if and only if the set of single opinions is globalized. This requires a global organization, the establishment that clears extras and sorts out globally accepted opinions.

[] Violent or Peaceful-Path for Extremism

Is the word terrorism mentioned in the Quran? The word terrorize is indeed mentioned in the Quran describing the same subject, that is terrorizing the enemy! May be those verses influence extremist groups and drive them to violence. Those verses were revealed to inspire the early believers of the new faith (Islam) to prepare the needed power to fight the people of Mecca; that is driven by resisting religious persecution of course. The people of Mecca simply persecuted Prophet Mohammad and his followers mostly for their new theological ideology and mostly because Mohammad made the many Gods of theirs one God. The Quran uses the term “kuffar”, meaning, disbelievers, for the people of Mecca who worshiped the idols. The confusion comes from this; because the Quran also uses the same term “Kafar”, the verb, for those who adopt the concept of Trinity. Now, the call to fight and terrorize is for the people of Mecca who persecuted the Muslims and not everybody who adopts different faith ideology. As a matter of fact, Islam deals with the people of the book, Abrahamic faiths, as brothers in faith as discussed earlier in the book. So, the fight is against those who persecute the Muslims on religious grounds and not for those who have different faith ideology. Extremists take it as; fight those who don’t align with the Islamic ideology because they are Kuffar. This means, fight everyone else, starting with Christians and ending up with Buddhists and Sikhs as they are all “disbelievers” of the Islamic faith. It means even fight the Muslims who don’t align with the extremists’ ideology as now they are Kuffar and not any more Muslims. In other words, it means fight the whole world. That is exactly what the extremists groups do. Violence became their ideology.

 

Islam is no different than any ideology that if it does not leave room for the other competing schools of thought, it indulges in self-seclusion. This state of belief alienates its followers, leading sometimes to extremism. Fortunately, in essence, Islam is a faith that recognizes free choice as a basic constituent of the belief, even the free choice of other faiths, meaning other ideologies. Examples of ideologies that turned to violence and extremism are Nazism and Fascism which rejected other ideologies such as liberalism and Marxism. Nazism advocated Socialism and can be described as a social Darwinism movement that attempted to apply the scientific concepts of survival of the fittest in human society but dug deep into extremism to achieve its goals. That is an example of how ideologies of racial nature can copy from science and also it is an example of the evil side of science, very much like nuclear-weapons vs nuclear power to light up streets.

 

How extremism feeds and grows is a quality of any ideology but, to the west, most notably, and wrongly, a quality of Islam! Internally, Muslims do not usually recognize extremism until reminded with it by an external examiner. The faith-establishment does not recognize this fact as well. This usually happens when you are deeply occupied in perfecting some faith issues to maximal priority leaving some open crevices that extremism may feed on. You are doing it and heading to your target in a one way path, disregarding all alternate possibilities as if hypnotized. You put all of your resources into it. Like, either you should finish the task or nothing. You don’t look behind. You may act irrational sometimes. If reminded that your path may not be optimized, and crevices are left behind, you are completely then absent-mind and in a state of rejection. All you see is finishing the task. One may look at it as a case of hypnotized personality.

 

In reaching the state of no return, extremists approach a state of “it us me and nobody else”. That is the starting point of a mental state of which the person resorts to violence. Basically, any person of a state of mind that legalizes violence is mentally ready for acts of terrorism and, if pushed further, he will do illogical stuff, like blowing himself up in a busy market, or blowing himself up in a gathering of a wedding event. That tops the violence in twisted-faith terrorism.

 

Mr. Erdogan, the President of Turkey, very uncomfortably expressed his objection to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany when she discussed with him “Islamic terrorism”. Muslims strongly agree with him as no religion of pure nature endorses terrorism and this is specific of a peaceful religion like Islam. But what is it with those who blunder around in the name of Islam and kill civilians? For that we should probably use the term “twisted-faith terrorism”. No doubt that those who indiscriminately kill in the name of a faith truly are misguided and have their faith twisted.

[] Killing the Self, is it Legal?

Many of the top scholars have made it legal for people to “kill the self” in the state of war but illegal in other times. Meaning, if you are in the battle field, can you dodge the enemy’s defensive lines with your tank and blow it up to kill yourself along with as many enemy forces as possible? The answer is yes, that is called martyrdom. Some top scholars legalize this act even though it is against the rule of “No destruction to the self”. Many also regard that all enemy’s personal are regarded as military-personal since most of them have served in the army at some point of time and will carry arms when instructed, so they are not characterized as civilians. In that line of reasoning, blow yourself up in a market busy of people who don’t carry guns is legal because they are all military personnel. What is the difference then between this act and that of a soldier who dodges his tank in the enemy’s defensive lines and blows his killing vehicle up? Both are acts of martyrdom. But what about women and children in the market you blow up? Are they military-personal? The truth is that it is completely off line reasoning and in the terrorist’s heart those people in the Market are “disbelievers” and simply deserve to die!

  • * Brutal Totalitarian Authorities-is it Twisted-Faith Terrorism?

One wonders why brutal regimes constantly imprison, torture and take lives of civilians, mostly from the opposition side, without any remorse. This happens during the state of peace as well as in the state of war. How can hate of the other lead to such brutality? Here is breaking news leaked by Amnesty international about the brutal treatment of prisoners in Saydnaya prison, in Syria, in the middle of the Syrian civil war, where thousands were hanged.

 

BBC- Feb 7, 2017 “As many as 13,000 people, most of them civilian opposition supporters, have been executed in secret at a prison in Syria, Amnesty International says. A new report by the human rights group alleges that mass hangings took place every week at Saydnaya prison between September 2011 and December 2015. Amnesty says the alleged executions were authorized at the highest levels of the Syrian government. …UN human rights experts said a year ago that witness accounts and documentary evidence strongly suggested that tens of thousands of people were being detained and that ‘deaths on a massive scale’ were occurring in custody.” The report describes the brutal torture and the military trials convicting the detainees whether their answer to the question of whether the convict relates to the opposition was yes, or no. The report continues describing the execution process, ‘They kept them (hanging) there for 10 to 15 minutes. Some didn’t die because they are light. For the young ones, their weight wouldn’t kill them. The officers’ assistants would pull them down and break their necks.’”

No sane human can imagine a brutal killing at this scale by “manually” breaking the neck of a civilian victim can actually occur in real life! What are those people? How can a heartless human being do that and still go to his home in the evening and play with his children? On top of that, they know in their heart that they are doing it mostly to protect the regime from whom they probably drew some benefit for themselves, and they know that many of the tortured and executed people are simply innocent of the charge. The motive for this brutal act is total hatred of the other that grew to a “blocked state of mind” for revenge. But what does this have to do with religion? Well, if hatred is sourced by or incited by religion, then it must be religion-related. There is no other explanation. In the case of Syria, religion indeed plays a big role in it. Alawite people, from whom the president is descended, do resent Sunni by faith, and vice versa. Obviously the Sunni resent the Alawite for their, according to the Sunni, distorted belief of Islam! The Alawite believe in a divine triad, comprising three aspects of the one God (one wonders if this was borrowed from Christianity?) These aspects appear in human form throughout history. The last emanations of the divine triad were impersonated with Ali, Muhammad and the Persian companion of the prophet, Salman al-Farisi (from Persian origin). Alawites were persecuted for these beliefs by the Sunni Muslim rulers throughout history. On the other hand, Alawite resent the Sunni because of the well-known “Ali” struggle for Caliphate, since Alawites are considered a sect of Shiite group. So, it is basically the regular Shiite-Sunni deep ditch. In other words, they hate each other and they do have no remorse to kill each other by faith whenever there is a chance. But, from history, without incitement nothing had happened to them for many years. They all lived side by side with Sunni and other faiths. What happened then that changed all of the peace suddenly? The truth is, the chance to show off came along. You hurt me before but I could do nothing. Now I can. You deserve to die. And guess what? You deserve to die by cracking your neck! Obviously, religion turns remorse into brutal revenge. Even though most religions, and especially Abrahamic religions, are peaceful. If one shows signs of violence, it is just a twist of the religion. Abrahamic religions plainly adopt peace that is scripted in the main tenets of the religion. Isn’t it time to untwist our religions?

If you see indiscriminate mass killing, that is absolutely not pure faith, but most probably a criminal act. Criminal acts may be legitimized under any twisted-ideology and it is resisted under faith by heart as long as the faith is globally guarded. But what is this all of the shedding of blood in the name of the faith? Some Christians like to crucify themselves and love to see blood gushing off their body to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus! Shiite Muslims do self-flagellation with knives attached to chains to commemorate the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the prophet. It seems like seeing blood alleviates their anger! Muslims also slaughter a goat or a cow and distribute its meat to the poor as a ritual and they feel real happiness when they see the blood flow from the animal. I guess they satisfy their quest to please God. For killing an animal may be it is not a big deal to see its blood as we do it all the time for food. But why we punish ourselves until we see blood “pouring” from our body and consider it faith. That is really troubling. If it is easy to hurt the self in the name of faith, it may be easy to hurt others in the name of faith, an extremist gesture toward terrorism.

The phrase “Allahu Akbar: God is great” is now mostly associated with Islamic twisted-faith terrorism. That is twisted-faith violence. Those who carry violent attacks seek inner spiritual satisfaction by reminding themselves that their act is ordained by the Lord. To kill is justified then by faith!

Breitbart News- online, 2016: “ In graphic reenactments of the crucifixion of Jesus on Good Friday, at least 17 men have been nailed to wooden crosses in the Philippines in an extreme act of devotion, one of whom said he offered his penance for peace in Belgium after Monday’s jihadist attacks.” A Christian guy suffers on the cross and calls for divine intervention in regard of a “Muslim” jihadist attack. It is like, all evil pours from Muslims across the globe and the love of a divine Christian intervention will rescue the world; but love means “blood” has to gush from the body of a human!

Bloody suffering of crucifixion of some faithful Christians

There is always logic behind any action taken by the violence committer, unless he is insane. There is always a drive to commit the act, an excitation of the inner self that grows to anger, which usually derives from the feeling of either injustice or self-pride. People mainly kill for survival. We kill for food; for example an animal. Killing for pleasure is something deplored indeed. In Islam, killing an animal for pleasure is prohibited. Again, we see tyrants as well as terrorists kill while laughing! Is this a pleasure-kill? But people may kill, be it in a state of extreme anger or extreme fear with some loss of sanity, if they are deeply hurt somehow. In other words, you hurt me much somehow, you deserve to die! The path to kill may be greatly softened if it finds justification in the faith. Faiths mostly adopt the path to kill to repel harm or hunger only. The logic of tyrants to mass kill to preserve collective lives, otherwise thought to be lost lives, is never a straight faith path. It must be a twisted-faith one.

[] “Takfirism[* ”- Declaration of Apostasy *]

The term “Takfirism” is derived from “Kafar” in Arabic, which means became a disbeliever. As for the extremist, everybody outside the faith is a disbeliever and should be fought and brought by force to believe. It is important to stress here that that is opposite to the religion’s values and what it calls for, freedom of religion. The Islamic religion literally preaches by only peaceful means. Read please, “Call to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in the best manner. Surely thy Lord knows best him who strays from His path, and He knows best those who go aright. ” [Quran- The Bee 16:125] Radicalists commonly overturn the meaning of this verse and rationalize their actions by citing the following verse, “ If anyone seeks a religion other than Islam (submission to God), it will not be accepted from him; he will be among the losers in the Hereafter. ” [Quran- The Family of Amran 3:85]. The word “ Islam” in the verse means the religion of submission to God, which is the religion of Islam as well as all divine religions. Remember though, submission to God is the main attribute of all Abrahimic religions. Extremists though reject that and mostly call believers of other faiths disbelievers which makes them Kafir and deserve to die. Islamic faith does treat all Abrahimic religions as stemming from one source religion as discussed earlier. Also, the verse says “he will be among the losers in the Hereafter”, where in the verse does it say that it is the job of the “extremists” to straighten them out by fighting and killing them if they refused to submit to God? On the contrary, Allah asks His prophet to tell those who wouldn’t accept his invitation of the faith of submission to God that he has done his job by clearly informing them of it, read please, “And obey Allah and obey the Messenger; but if you turn away, the duty of Our Messenger is only to deliver (the message) clearly. [Quran- The Manifestation of Losses 64:12] That means, it is for the prophet to do as instructed by the Lord and not to worry who submits and who refuses, but worry more about whether you have done your job adequately. Also read, “ Say: Obey Allah and obey the Messenger. But if you turn away, he (the prophet) is responsible for the duty imposed on him, and you are responsible for the duty imposed on you. And if you obey him (the prophet), you go aright. And the Messenger’s duty is only to deliver (the message) plainly. [Quran- The Light 24:54] And read, “ And obey Allah and obey the Messenger and be cautious. But if you turn back then know that the duty of Our Messenger is only a clear deliverance of the message. ” [Quran- The Food 5:92] Yes delivering the message requires fighting for it, but does that mean, killing, blundering and blowing the self-up for it?

 

For the extremists, it is time to sort out who is a disbeliever and force him to either accept their way or face killing. It turns out even Muslims within the faith itself, who are not aligned with their ideology, are “Kuffar: disbelievers and they should be considered enemies.

 

Twisted-faith extremists who have formed a structural sect mostly believe more or less in a rule structure built on appointing a Caliph, at least those from the Sunni side that is not to say that a Caliphate rule is not a righteous rule. So long no Caliphate is being sought by current scholars, those extremists take matter into their own hands and with their violent nature they fight the world to establish a Caliphate, including those who carry their own faith. Didn’t Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, of the Islamic State group, started off by declaring himself a Caliph?

 

It is important to remember that in the “three points of Amman message”, where Muslim scholars from all over the world defined who a Muslim is, “takfirism:accusation of disbelief” was forbidden between Muslims and freedom of religion was particularly stressed as a principle of Islam. Accordingly, those groups who adopt takfirism are in obvious violation of the unanimously agreed theological principles of the religion.

[]Kill the Infidels

Kill the infidels “the unfaithful” is one avenue for external and internal terrorism. The term infidel is pejorative term used to describe those who do not believe in the central tenets of the religion, or may be are members of another religion since they do not follow the same tenets. The crevice here comes from the confusion by some people who don’t recognize the protection rule of other faiths or more precisely who consider protection as legitimate for Muslims only. Another crevice there is the generalization of similar terms such as idolatry or polytheism and relating them to the Christian theology of Trinity and other facets of other religions. Particularly it is derived from fighting the polytheist pagan Arabs. In some cases the scholars do set firm rules that seem to be untouchable since they are directly derived from the Quran, but can be easily twisted to generate hate and extremism. For example, read, “when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters (polytheists), wherever you find the….. ” [Quran- The Immunity 9:6] This verse abrogated a number of other verses that played softly with the Arab idolaters previously unless they did not break an indenture that they had signed with the Muslims. This was after all the animosity they had made with the Muslims and that they had refused to sign peace pacts with them and actually hardheartedly sided with the anti-new faith alliance in Mecca. Some scholars made the rule to fight the idolaters valid at all times as opposed to valid only for the Arab idolaters or at a particular era to serve a particular purpose at one point of time. Extremists then make use of this verse to rationalize violence.

[] [* Extremism and Terrorism -Western Point of View *]

This is a quote from the British government site that defines extremism and terrorism;

 

Extremism is the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and respect and tolerance for different faiths and beliefs. We also regard calls for the death of members of our armed forces as extremist.

(Source: Counter Extremism Strategy, October 2015)

Terrorism is the use or threat of action designed to influence the government or intimidate the public which is done for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause and which endangers or causes serious harm to people or property, or seriously disrupts or interferes with an electronic system. (Source: Terrorism Act, 2000)

The site also further addresses the issue by defining some terrorist groups. Not only the government recognizes Muslim extremists as a threat but also local extreme right-wing groups as well; in other words, Christian rooted terrorist groups.

One of our greatest current challenges is the global rise of Islamist extremism and the threat posed by Daesh (ISIS). Daesh’s terrorist activity and its social-media output have led to an unprecedented number of attacks carried out in its name, exporting the threat to countries with little or no history of terrorism; they have also encouraged young British people to travel to conflict zones

We also face a threat from numerous extreme right-wing groups, such as Britain First and EDL, who share an ideology based on intense hostility to minorities and a belief that violence between ethnic and religious groups is inevitable. Alongside antisemitism and racism, hostility to Islam has become a common element of these groups.

It is to be noted that Britain First was founded by Jim Dowson who is a Scottish Christian fundamentalist. Other extremist national groups in the UK, such as Pegida UK are simply an anti-Islamic organizations.

[] Who is an Extremist-Islamic Point of View?

Is a person who prays five times a day at the mosque or observes fasting extra days beyond the fasting month an extremist? I guess not, those who observe their faith tend to abide with the path of the faith as outlined by the book of Islam and the teachings of the prophet. That is said, the faith observer will end up following step by step the faith requirements. No doubt that the faith observer will find himself heading toward the designed peaceful path of the faith, with calm and vigilant personality, as described by most of faith observers. They tell you, if somebody curses you out of the blue, your response should say something like, “Allah yehdeek”, which literally means, “may Allah guide you to the right path”, as cursing and aggressiveness is not their attitude. This is highly noted in the Abrahamic faiths. This is more enforced during the fasting period, in the Month of Ramadan for example. So, faith observers show the true signs of complete peacefulness. In some faith rituals, you are even forbidden to utter a mere “hush” to your neighbor. For example, when in a Friday prayer and while the Imam is delivering his sermon, you have done misconduct if you tell your neighbor, hush, when your neighbor talks to another during the delivery of the ceremony speech by the Imam. In Hajj ritual, you are prohibited to kill any living being, even an ant, as a sign of observing life as meant to be by the rules of nature with no intervention by human. Muslims are instructed to preserve all lives, for example, you are not allowed to purposely bring down a tree or hunt for pleasure, only you can do that for food. Those who do organized crime are doomed for a severe punishment, the death penalty in many cases if their crime amounts to destruction of nature, including the peaceful passage of life of humans and other living beings; that punishment is under the corruption rule. The list goes on.

 

But what is it with those who resort to violence? What makes them deviate from the main stream? This is not a complicated question as many people may think. Simply, they are saturated with misinterpreted twisted-faith attributes. In other words, crevices in the faith are being wrongly manipulated to suit their desires to achieve their goals. For example, if the goal for some to get a degree, he will find a crevice to legalize bribes, a high on the scale sin. Crevices need to be cleaned up by a centralized establishment.

[] What are Signs of Faith Extremism?

Many signs in a community may show the degree of extremism. A community where the bribe is faith-legalized is a common sign. Honor killing is another sign where taking a soul is faith-legalized by conducting a counter-act of an unclaimed right that otherwise may be claimed through legal means. This is where the perpetrator initially may have lost faith in the legal system. Honor killing is popular in many Islamic cultures. Female circumcision is another one. Even though female circumcision is mostly described as cultural rather than religious, you will find individuals who practice it insisting that it is part of the faith. Does that mean extremism is popular in some Muslim cultures? Indeed it is, opposite to Islamic teachings.

[] Radicalism Turns to Extremism

Extremism may be defined as the tendency of a radicalist to actuate his off-main stream radical views. Radical views may remain dormant until the circumstances allow its actuation mainly if the radicalist foresees a future punishment for his act may be unattainable. Extremism is an open pathway to terrorism.

[] Use of Extremism to Counter Extremism

The use of extremism to counter extremism is a path of destruction. An apparent example is George W. Bush waging crusade war in Iraq in response to the unprecedented extremists’ act of terrorism by blowing the world trade center in New York in September, 11 of 2001. Whether you like it or not, the US military invasion to remove a regime that may have promised the development of weapons of mass destruction indeed was an extreme measure that resulted in a humanitarian disasters as well as it paved the way for local terrorism to flourish later on. Also, to a force regime change without military intervention proved to be as disastrous. When the leaders of the free world fail the world it is by far a failure to their political systems.

 

By practicing counter extremism, Mr. Bush opened the door of hell in the Middle East. All the wars in the Middle East since then are characterized by significant terrorism propagation across the borders to the west and are a direct consequence to Mr. Bush’s fighting terrorism with counter-extremism. The truth of the matter is that the hasty decision of Bush’s administration aided by some short-sighted attitudes of some western powers, particularly Britain, to wage the war was the outcome of the practice of counter-extremism by the U.S. Administration. The lies behind weapons of mass destruction that Saddam was about to possess was the tool to administer counter-extremism. Ironically, Bush’s successor, Obama, realized his predecessor’s counter-extremism and dealt with the credible threat of the nuclear-weapons of mass destruction of a neighbor of Iraq, Iran, differently. Had he not done that, he would have stirred a larger extremism-counter-extremism war in the region. Who knows how would the world look like then? He also shortsightedly initialized the removal of another tyrant in Libya in a move resulted in similar chaos as in Iraq. Are all these moves twisted-faith ones, a departure from the faith of democracy, or is it indeed a failure of democracy itself? One wonders what is wrong with democracy!

 

The war of twisted-faith-extremism-counter-extremism had always infested the region. Indeed, Saddam’s oppressive regime and his suppression of his own people as well as his much hated aggressiveness towards his neighbors should have not been tolerated, but a wiser approach by the US government should have been sought, with a military intervention as a last resort. The U.S. Bush’s participation in the war made it global. One wonders also if dominating the source of energy that drives the U.S. economy was a motive as well. Is this the final frontier of the ethics of the faith called “democracy”? Earlier external intervention of the ongoing war did not have the same terror face until George Bush’s attempt to “re-crusade” the Middle East. May be Bush had an ethic distorted identity and confused the ethics of Christianity and the ethics of democracy. The four years of the new U.S. President, Mr. Trump, may not be as bad as those of the George’s time in office as he doesn’t seem willing to act much out of faith extremism, but there are signs that he is willing to practice hate-extremism though. Look at his campaign for presidency. It was plagued with hate-extremism; the Mexican wall and the mass extradition of illegal immigrant promises he made. Of course, there will always be rationalization of extremist acts, in his case, protecting the U.S. economy and national security, of course driven by the ethics of democracy. Also, Trump’s inexperience in politics may have prompted him to issue “executive orders” of “extremist” nature. He has a lot to learn yet. It is probably true that his level of extremism will soon attenuate. By now, first year in his presidency, he has learned that the problem of extremism falls also on tyrants who feed it. He slightly softened his heart towards the Syrian refugees and delivered a hurtful strike against Bashar al-Asad forces simply because he was moved by the scenes of the children on the streets in Syria who suffered brutal chemical gas attack by the Syrian government forces. He understands now that twisted-ideology terrorism includes heads of states.

[]Fighting Extremism

We should admit that the spread of twisted-faith extremism in our Muslim societies is a reality before we are able to fight it. People in the Islamic world are in self-denial and do not admit the fact that extremism infests the Islamic world, and indeed it is stemmed from overdoing “loose” rules. Let’s be rational and deal with the problem from the roots. It is indeed an Islamic principle to recognize other people’s schools of thought. It is not wise to fight extremism with counter-extremism. Fighting terrorism may be achieved internally by shoveling off weak crevices upon which radicalism can build. It should be made possible for the traditional scholars in the general public, apart from the establishment’s tight mind, to identify those crevices and propose solutions for them to be able to help. Further, those fatwas by the proposed centralized establishment should be then institutionalized in the Shariah. The time for the “illiterate” public that should be neutralized in the decision making process of the faith-establishment should be removed from the public understanding of the faith. The prophet himself was illiterate, but he was way far from being ignorant of matters around him. He was the master of all knowledge and wisdom. The public is not ignorant. Even the illiteracy of the prophet was a strong argument against the claim that he stole the great “literature” of the book of Islam from earlier revelations he knew of, or the words of the book were his own invention as he never did poetry in his life neither was he a known public speaker.

[] The Establishment is Incomplete without the Public

No one will be asked for a person’s opinion on whether five prayers a day should be reduced to four or the month of Ramadan should be fasted every other year. One of the negative attributes of the current establishment is the inability for the conventional scholars within the mass to share power regarding decision making issues in the faith. Remember Islam is a way of life and that the faith greatly regulates life in totality. The public can help the establishment identify weak crevices that may have given rise to decisions that may have been ill made. The faith has been perfected as Allah proclaimed, “….This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor to you and chosen for you Islam (submission to God) as a religion. But whoever is compelled by hunger, not inclining willfully to sin, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. ” [Quran- The Food-table 5:3] The rest of the matter is for the knowledgeable public to express opinions regarding existing concerns. It is in the heart of the Islamic faith to have the public share knowledge of the faith. The basics of the faith have been safely, as promised by Allah, reserved in a strongly guarded book made by Allah Himself, the QURAN and explained by the teachings of his prophet. What is the establishment afraid of? The public will only scrutinize, synthesize and suggest corrections. We all have minds and the establishment as it stands today is not “INFALABLE” of making mistakes. Islamic faith is strong by its believers and by the basic principles and morals it holds and can never be shaken by the intervention of the public. Nobody can miss up with or alter any part of the Quran and the Sunnah, period. Allah promised to immune His everlasting religion from ill intentions of the few in the society. The establishment should open up to the public. Allah did not put every little worldly matter in His book, nor did the prophet in the Sunnah, as this is not practically possible. Also, the “guardians” of the current establishment are not immune from making grave mistakes. The science of Islamic fiqh is supposed to close the gap. But there is science and there is technology. The outcome of the fiqh is the technology that should be perfected by the public.

 

Let’s really make the establishment “infallible” by including the opinion of everyone who knows of his faith. If you know little, then share your little knowledge and if you know a lot, and there are many who do, share your valuable knowledge. This will strengthen the establishment by correcting errors by a simple proven scientific process; collective recognition of error followed by a process of elimination. The intervention of the public ensures that the establishment may never act as an infallible entity and most importantly it makes the public feel that it is part of the establishment. This limits enthusiastic opinions for “outspoken” extremists to minimum and may be the only way to eliminate extremism. If those who backed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi have had ears by the side of the establishment, they wouldn’t have resorted to backing an extreme and violent movement such as the Islamic State. The very technologically and ideologically complicated modern societies need ears, hearts, and minds from the public to offer their wide range of opinions to help advance the decision-making policies of the establishment.

Currently, the establishment itself is gravely divided. I know what is in your mind now. You are saying, and who are you to have your say in the subject? Believe me, you and I should be respectfully allowed to have our say in the subject. We are not asking the scholars at the top of the ladder in the establishment to adopt our opinion. We are asking them to have a look at the public opinion and still they have the right to reject it as they are the supreme decision makers in the establishment. Either that or the establishment-scholars will always live in a closed shell with their mistakes constantly overgrowing. We want to help correct their mistakes. Basically, the public is to enlighten the establishment with bright ideas. Consulting the public is a self-correction tool. If you say that the establishment is standing on solid grounds with very bright and greatly knowledgeable people and does not need external help, please, think again. You are very wrong. Why all of this contradictory fatwas here and there then? The prophet consulted people, even with his divine screening from making mistakes. But he was seeking missing info and bright judgments that are not necessarily on his mind at the time. Not all bright ideas in every matter in life would be passed by a divine path as there is no room for all the bright ideas. All humans are vulnerable to making mistakes. Unless we all do our share, it will always be the case that the few get away with their mistakes. The laws the establishment drafts will always be infested with the mistakes they unintentionally make. Remember, they are humans. This is the first step of identifying weak crevices and closing all back doors on the black market that radicalism feeds on.

  • * [* My People will not Go Wrong if Convened- “Public-Jury-Process” *]

Let’s remember an effective legal system in some countries in the west, the jury system. All you need to have to qualify to say your mind is a sane person, who has lived among the public long enough to differentiate between right and wrong in the legal system; in other words an adult, and most importantly an unbiased number of people, which means he or she who joins the jury has no prior judgment on the issue in hand. It is the jury system that has been developed by some societal evolution in the west and has been effective so far. Remember that the jurors only make a decision or findings of facts, which then direct the actions of a judge to decide on the ruling. Again, the judge is just a human and sometimes needs help, an enlightening opinion. The number of people in the jury, as opposed to the one person of the judge, ensures that the one opinion of the judge is ramified so to include enlightening other opinions of the jury of which the one that is closest to be the most righteous will be cracked out. Meaning, if one opinion is a mistake, the rest will straighten it out by a vote, a group-work of which we are trained as Muslims to do all along. How about if the number of jurors is the whole public body as suggested here? The public will not go wrong. Remember the prophet’s opinion in that matter, “My people will not go wrong if convened”. If you say, yes indeed, but that is not for religion. This is only for daily-affairs! Wait, isn’t true that our religion is inclusive and engulfs all our worldly matters. For religion, let’s have the establishment hear the people’s voice and not just the voice of the few handy scholars within the establishment.

 

[] Add the Best of the Best to our Legal System

We should not be afraid to add to our legal system from external sources of the establishment of what we think may strengthen it. Remember the prophet’s saying about joining an allegiance of good to end a ravaging war that lasted for many years among the Arabs before the light of Islam has cracked the minds of the narrow minded people who called for war at the brick of every state of anger. Borrowing is the corner stone for success, or else, let’s just abandon riding on airplanes and just stick with riding camels. Riding while traveling is also faith for us! Faith means to observe the prescribed ethics in all matters.

 

  • * More Than One Opinion; Choose One and Institutionalize it

Following different opinions is the “gravest mistake” we ever encountered in our religion as Muslims. It is the distracting agent that dismantles our unity. At the time of the prophet, we followed one opinion and one opinion only; that is that of the prophet. At the time of the first four Caliphs, we did the same. The Caliph’s last saying was the one. Only later on when things slipped out of hands and everyone had his say, there started the deep division and the dissociation of what once was one community. The leader should have the final say, so should be the centralized faith-establishment. Whenever you have more than one opinion you will always find people who will take the opinion of that one different than the system’s, and there will always be rebellion, a path for radicalism. It is one religion, one community, one opinion no less, no more.

 

If we turn the subject of people’s affairs totally to the public, what is left for the establishment then? The establishment’s role is the most important. It is the establishment that passes laws. It is the one that gives the fatwas. It is the head of the legal faith system. For example, a judge in the establishment still issues ruling as sees fit. But so far we have to realize that our Islamic “constitution: Islamic law” is not set to produce only one ruling for each inquiry and conflicting fatwas are imminent. Therefore, the constitution should be amended by only one ruling to be derived from the Quran and the Sunnah as the sources to derive the laws to chart the constitution. The establishment is to sort out elements of the book-of-rules; the constitution. The norm in the Islamic world is that the average Muslim should firstly act upon the fatwa of a scholar that he follows. That is the opinion of the scholar which might not be a unique one. As Sunnis, we have the four Mathhabs (schools of thought) that stem from Quran and Sunnah that we follow. The average Muslim is not required to ask the scholar whether his fatwa conforms to one of the four Mathhabs or not. In fact, Muslim scholars have been issuing their fatwas and opinions that they believed to be most likely the correct ones even if they were contrary to the four Mathhabs. That is a crevice that drives people to indiscriminately deduce their own fatwas of which radical groups may rely on to pursue their own opinions. All what we are doing is adding more fataws (extras) which add more to the confusion of the average Muslim. Some well-known scholars like Ibn Taymiyyah, issued fatwas contrary to those of the four Mathhabs. With time though, fatwas pile up and even those which pertain to the same subject be confusing to many. Besides that, piling of fatwas complicates matters much. In principle, the Muslim is allowed to deduce rulings on different fiqh issues directly from the teaching of Quran and Sunnah. But the average Muslim is far from qualified to issue rulings regarding major matters like Jihad which if misunderstood can be identified as the path for radicalization. Some scholars have indeed recognized the danger of the pile up of fatwas on the public, such as Ibn Rajab, and made it a must to follow only one of the four schools. That is the way to go, and yet even the four schools need to be unified in one. When referring to a disputed matter, only one opinion should prevail and should be followed. That is the role of the establishment; to make the once one religion, one religion again.

 

We have to always remember that our faith is totally integrated with the way we conduct our lives to the point that a country of the greatest importance in the Muslim world, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, adopts “Islam” as state’s “constitution”. Meaning, why would we make a constitution when our religion provides answers to any question. That is our constitution then. That is very sincere and a righteous path. Let’s then make the law international by globalizing it. Of course we will say that it is already so; it is the Shariah law, and it is up to those who want to adopt it to consider the matter seriously. The truth is that it is not the basic law that Muslims dispute. Let’s globalize the disputable ones. You may think that those are side ones with low importance. The truth is that it is exactly what confuses the public and drives some to extremism. Our law is complete and “small-as described” issues should not be dismissed as unimportant.

 

If you look up almost any matter online you will almost always find different opinions on it, excluding sometimes the basic ones. Mostly you will find the scholar who is giving his say distinguishing between the four Sunni school of thought, Shafi, Hanafi, Maliki and Hanbali and sometimes others, most of the time he will give at least three or four different opinions. We cannot say any one of them is wrong, or even one is less right than any of the others. It is the fact that there is four or more of them right. This is the greatest crevice in the rule-making process. We have got to choose one of them and go by it. Of course if the system of one country adopts only one figh from the four main ones, it works great for that country only. But we need to globalize it. Remember, the issue of twisted-faith is a global one. Pockets of twisted-faith roam the globe in every Muslim country. What we need is globalization of our rule-making process. What works here, should work everywhere.

 

We need a long breath-taking silent pause with ourselves and a great deal of self-reevaluation and recognition of inputs by others, including from those outside the shell. It is always best to listen to the other point of view, and worst ever is to dismiss it at hand as unacceptable without even looking into its validity simply because it came from outside the faith shell. We will always be dwarfed then within our shell. After all, no one will force us to adopt any other opinion but the one we recognize as best for us and for our religion. That is the only way to globalize our religion. Isn’t it true that what our religion is all about is; a religion for all humanity. Let others determine if it suits them by opening up to them. Let’s ask them of their opinion. The faith is solid-steel and cannot be shattered by ill intention from the outsiders. What are we afraid of? Remember the faith has been preserved by the Lord. Let’s open up to the world. If our shell is transparent, “North Korea” will be closer to the faith than ever!

Yes Islam is a way of life, but the religion in some occasions is either loosely put out by the general people or strictly put out in accordance to some scholar’s input which displays the scholar’s own opinion. It is also a common belief among the scholars that the differences in opinions of scholars pertaining to some issues are a “touch of mercy” for the believers. That is one of the greatest ever crevices. The meaning of that, since there is more than one opinion regarding some issue, then choose what suits you and you will be OK. This is really naive. That is exactly what the problem is. A law is a law. It should only be straight forward and a one way path. How can be conflicting opinions on the same matter be easier for people to follow and a touch of mercy? Different opinions mean differences in the faith and that leads to divisions. Don’t you see, for Shiite, performing a visit to the city of Qarbalaa may be second, if not first, in importance to visiting the Kaaba! The “valid” more than one opinion issue is the killing bullet in the heart. It leaves crevices that we should seek to pin point and eliminate any misunderstanding, and accordingly lay out a solid and one and only one interpretation of the issue in hand. So, we need to lay out a unanimous “Islamic Constitution”, and surely the religion is so rich of ethics and truly it covers it all. It is just a matter of reformatting, reshuffling and laying out the skeleton of the Islamic Shariah law in a modern constitution-like format after eliminating disputed crevices. It should not be so hard since we already have the bulk of it agreeable by all. All we need is to eliminate the crevices that might be hiding when we draft laws. We only build on the existing skeleton as we have our religion standing on solid grounds. Yes Islamic law is what that is indeed, but we need to widen it to involve all opinions concerning any one matter formatted as one law and leaving no crevices behind for alternate interpretations.

  • * The Role of the Public vs. the Role of the Establishment

It is imperative for people and those outside the Islamic shell to realize that it is within the science of fiqh, where scholars present the most disputed matters. That is where the public should educate itself to help the establishment pinpoint crevices for correction. The public should mainly present itself as an aid to the establishment rather than a replacement.

 

A judge will not assign a jury to have their say on the constitution itself. The constitution is set by the panel of judges who may constitute the higher entity of the justice department and should go through the rigorous legal way of the institutionalization process. The public role is an enlightening opinion to straighten out disputed matters, and we are infested with them, much like the role of the jury. Why does the judge abstain from issuing a ruling in the first place and decides to assign a jury? Is it because he is not capable of delivering a ruling or he is not a scholar in the legal system? It is simply because he needs an enlightening opinion as the matter is overwhelming to him. Everybody is qualified to help. The knowledgeable public is qualified to help. Let’s help our establishment.

 

We cannot alienate our own group by claiming ours has the only correct opinion and the right way to go. The establishment will have the role to block any change of those specific “back-bone” rules. Basic tenets of the religion are to be blocked of course; who dares to talk about touching them? The establishment then has the authority to block any request in that regard. One important role of the establishment could be to pass a request for a public opinion much like a judge decides to put the matter into the hands of a jury for deliberation. Remember, some important issues are disputable since, again our religion is embedded deeply in our livelihood affairs. No one in the public will tell you, we shouldn’t pray five times a day. Those basic rules are not open for discussion or re-judgment, not by the public, nor by the establishment. A general guideline has to be put in place to regulate the role of the public in the rule-making process. We take example from the first Caliph, Abu Bakr, who dealt with those people of ill-intention who refused to pay their share of the tax with resolution and determination. He fought them until they submitted to the order of the Lord once again and paid their share. The backbone of the faith is not a matter of opinion. It is take it or leave it faith. Don’t take it and we are still happy with you, but of course it is a package, your choice. That is one of the backbone rules in our faith. The establishment should absolutely shun all attempts to tamper with the faith. Look at those people in the Catholic Church who called for the pope to implement a new controversial dogma that Mary, the mother of Jesus, to be a co-redeemer. So, the concept of the Trinity, the main tenet of Christianity, would be a theme of Quartet; Four Gods in One. Mary is one of them. Please, that is just insane. Tenets should be untouchable, period. If God is Three, let Him be so and not Four or Five, to include Paul the Apostle then. Basis of the religion should not be an evolving branch of science. In the public-jury process proposed here, we are only looking for an enlightening opinion to clear up disputable matters that have been built on crevices in the religion.

[] No Body is Infallible but the Public

No human is infallible. The prophet is meant not to tell wrong as he conveys the Lord’s words, for if he does, then he will be endangering his divine credibility and therefore trustworthiness. A reliable source of the Lord must be credible. Beyond the prophet’s state of “absolute credibility”, no one is infallible but the public, as by the prophet’s saying himself. Yes, we learned this from the prophet. There is no harm to mention that over again. He said, “My people will never agree on the wrong if convened”, which literally means, if the public is consulted it never goes wrong. When the prophet consulted the public he never disqualified any one. He used to address everyone. It is obvious. That is what we call “Ijma” in Islamic jurisprudence. But we always decline it from the general knowledgeable public and restrict it to our “highly” knowledgeable few scholars of the establishment. Here is how the great Imam of one of the main four schools of thought that Sunni people adhere to, Imam al-Shafii, defines the ijma;“The adherence of the congregation of Muslims to the conclusions of a given ruling pertaining to what is permitted and what is forbidden after the passing of the prophet, peace be upon him.” Yes his definition does not plainly ensure the participation of the public in the decision making process of the establishment, but how would you make the public adhere to disputed matters? His definition though does not restrict the decision making process to the few highly knowledgeable scholars in the establishment. Ijma goes like this; if one makes a mistake the other one corrects him and the third one agrees on the correction, as long as everyone agrees on the jury-process of extracting public opinion. Many opinions on a subject guarantee its success. It is not to the public interest for the establishment to ignore this rule.

 

But why let the public decide if grand Imams are infallible? Worse yet, with the establishment not acknowledging the public contribution in decision making, crevices multiply in number and size and radicalism feeds on them. Even when “infallible Imams” are not part of the establishment as in the Sunni groups, only highly ranked scholars are allowed to give a say (fatwa). That is not much different than the infallible Imam-ship doctrine. Since faith encompasses all avenues of life and the power of rule-making is in the hands of a handy number of people, the chance to recognize and correct a mistake is reduced greatly. A bias in the recognition process that defines the solution chart of a problem will always persist depending on the capabilities of those in power to recognize it. The bias should of course be recognized and rectified. If the bias is extremely steep, the solution of the problem in hand will be way off. Yes the chart follows variables defined by the faith, but the construction of the chart and the reading of it is human understanding-dependent. The bias will be recognized much easier if the arbitrators are the public. The very few of the high ranked scholars in charge or the one person of the Imam in charge may not recognize the bias at all, or even worse, their only opinion may be the source of the bias. Their decisions become faith and the public has to abide and obey, or else you will be sinning! Even though fatwas are not abiding, still people are always on the look for answers to their concerns. They simply don’t want to sin. It is ironic to tell people in the general public that they are disqualified to have a say in matters of concern to issue their own fatwas on one hand, and on the other you tell them you will sin if you don’t choose as you should beware of only two pathways ahead of you, either hell-fire or heaven. The public is greatly confused by the conflicting fatwas or at least the many fatwas to choose from for the same subject.

 

Extremism is the end result of a “negative” bias of a chart that has not been recognized and has been passed on as a law that may have constructed an important corner of the religion. Let's learn from science; BBC-22 February 2017 “Most scientists 'can't replicate studies by their peers', 'According to a survey published in the journal Nature last summer, more than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist's experiments.', 'The trouble is that gives you a rose-tinted view of the evidence because the results that get published tend to be the most interesting, the most exciting, novel, eye-catching, unexpected results.'” That is what simply called a bias in the system. Here is the conclusion that the researcher came with, “What I think of as high-risk, high-return results', 'It's about a culture that promotes impact over substance, flashy findings over the dull, confirmatory work that most of science is about.” The researcher says, “It is about the funding bodies that want to secure the biggest bang for their bucks, the peer review journals that vie to publish the most exciting breakthroughs, the institutes and universities that measure success in grants won and papers published and the ambition of the researchers themselves.” The researcher adds, “Everyone has to take a share of the blame,” she argues, “The way the system is set up encourages less than optimal outcomes.” Of course, with all of the badly directed bias in doing science, science has advanced incredibly and provided greatly for technology to advance, and so did religion. But the bias caused a lot of loss of research money. If you look deeper you will see that most of the produced scientific published papers are nothing but to add more research “unexciting” papers on the shelves to advance the researcher's C.V. You will see a researcher with two and three hundred published papers but only very few of them are indeed of good value. The rest is nothing but lost research money. You mix stuff, prepare your sample, and run the machine, waiting on a breakthrough! The sample is made in the same way as in the previous publication, and sometimes the same ingredients, but you send it to a different journal. Sometimes you get a different result, and here you go, hey that is a breakthrough! It turns out it was just a misinterpretation of the data! Of course, it is bad policy from the policy maker, just as the researcher concluded. In comparison to Islamic faith, no matter how much you express your gratitude to those earlier and contemporary scholars who contributed greatly to the religion, you won't give them what they deserve of respect. On the other hand, the bias has done great damage to our understanding of some of the corners in our religion, especially the way it should be presented to the others and the way we internally handle it. Great divisions are the imminent outcomes. The quarrels between Shiite and Sunni over what supposed to be “non-major issues” will exacerbate to the point that it will drive our Muslim nation to extension if crevices that led to the differences are not identified and straightened out.

 

Faith is faith. It means obey or sin. Here is an example of a “scholar” who insists on avoiding sinning as everybody would strive to do. I was listening to him explaining, very strangely, that rabbit meat is prohibited in Islam and insisting that is the case no matter how hard you are trying to convince him otherwise. His argument was that the rabbit is from the “insect” category of the animal kingdom. Insects are prohibited for human consumption under the faith and therefore must be the rabbit meat. That is insane. His argument plainly defies logic. Even a three year old kid can identify the rabbit as at least not an insect. Yet this scholar fails to do so. That is simply because he does not want to sin. What could he do? The rabbit had been identified as an insect in some problem solving process proclaimed by a handful number of decision-making high ranking scholars who were not able to identify the bias in the chart, and became a law! To be honest, the scholar was from Shiite side. But even the Sunni side scholars make similar decisions. Some of the blame can be placed on the fact that we are inclined to always side by faith even if what is reported plainly defies logic or science. We, of course, should blindly obey and submit, but on the other hand, we should actively eliminate all crevices first. For example, if a story is being told that carries a faith element but an unnatural phenomenon is included, we tend to take the story as one hundred percent accurate. Yes the story tells of an account concerning the prophet, and yes the narrators of the event have been authenticated, but the unnatural phenomenon sticks out prominently and still we don’t question it. Here is a story I heard on TV, told in a religious program by one of the prominent Imams from the Sunni side, Sheikh Ahmad Al Kubaisi. He wanted to stress the rule that a believer (in God) is not to be killed no matter what. The story goes; “The prophet was told of a believer fighting a disbeliever in some battle. When the believer overpowered the disbeliever and while he was making the last swing of his sword to kill him, the disbeliever said loudly the words of ‘sanctuary’ from killing by announcing that ‘God is one’. Yet the believer killed him. The prophet said to the believer, you killed him after he said it (the sanctuary word)? The prophet said that three times. So, the next day the believer died of his wounds and was buried. But the next morning “his body was found floating above his grave! So, people bury him again three consecutive times every time deeper in the soil, but still his body would be found floating above the grave. ‘The prophet’ and the rest of the people were astonished. The prophet said the earth is refusing to accept him because he killed a person who had declared the oneness of God. The prophet orders the body to be thrown in the valley, in the open, since the earth is not taking him.” OK, so I know what you are thinking; that cannot happen. But the story is being told by one prominent Imam. The story defies logic, but people still take it as true story any way. If the unnatural phenomenon was made by the prophet, the act would be one of his miracles. But where is the miracle here? Like the Shiite cleric who declared a rabbit meat is prohibited because it was authentically approved that the rabbit was an insect, likewise Sheikh Ahmad Al Kubaisi spoke of the body-floating incident as true because the story’s narrators were authenticated. Could it be that the story was true up until the body floated?

[]Institutionalization

Partial institutionalization is not enough to repel twisted minds. Full institutionalization closes the doors on growing radicalism. Crevices should be identified and nullified. The road should be smoothly paved and the full constitution should be presented to the public for each individual to learn his responsibilities as a member in the society. Constitutions derived from Shariah law, as “our constitution is Islam”, are very successful as it blends life with ethics and recognizes science and innovations by working out logic and rejecting mystification and monasticism. That is great, but, have we identified and eliminated all crevices in our understanding of the faith? Does our process of elimination include recognition of every possible bias? Have we truly exploited all options to scrutinize all aspects of the religion? It doesn’t seem like so, simply because we have not all reached a state of satisfaction over the system regardless of our different opinions and we will never do unless we institutionalize everything in the faith under a globally accepted establishment. If not, our approach is not scientific and Sean will be mad, or happy, I don’t know! No matter how much you push to prevent breaking the law by mere dependence on piety, we won’t repel crime. If punishment is not institutionalized, crime will flourish. Religion itself should be fully institutionalized then for it to be effective in repelling crime. Complete separation of faith from state-ruling may not be as effective as we want it to be as it kills the spirit. On the other hand, integration of the faith with the lively-hood of people represents a challenge. In Islam, faith is integrated with people’s livelihood extensively, supposedly though with a great freedom. It is at this point where great difference of opinions occurs when scholars extrude laws. The process of institutionalization ensures full adherence by the public to the establishment’s decisions that pertain to the religion.

[] Realizing the True Value of Religion

In Islam, everything is lawful by nature as a priori, except when it crosses a guideline. So, basically, you don’t need to think as a priori whether a thing is lawful unless you are prompted to check it out if you feel it crossed the guideline. In that case, it could be either lawful or unlawful. The prophet says, “check your heart if you have a doubt.” Allah also says, “Ask those of knowledge, if you don’t know. ” [Quran- The Bee 16:34] Those of knowledge are those who have proved their knowledge is worthy, and have knowledge of the Quran. Those are NOT only the few and highly knowledgeable scholars. “Those” does not imply one of “them” who may identify himself as the all knowledgeable and the infallible. If “those” are “all”, then that is what is meant by the establishment. The establishment is everybody who knows.

 

Human-made laws are subject to improvement, mostly by “smart” natural selection via our own experience. It is hard to convince many people that religion by nature is only a guideline of morals. Since morals are well integrated in everything you do, religion is then indeed a moral guideline for everything you do. The rest is your job to discern. Those guidelines are inclusive in Islam. When it comes to science, religion tells you, look, good you find your improvement in science, but observe moral guidelines. That is all what religion is all about; two parts, morals and that part of dedicating some time to the Lord alone for worship. The last part you really need dearly as it cleanses your sins. It is also made so integral to the first in Islam. It is like, the Lord tells you, OK, worship me and make it such that you conduct your life the way you find best for yourself; no hardship in religion. It is basically like this; ask yourself a question: is the matter in concern a worship type or is it a moral type? If it is a worship type, you can do nothing about it and just do exactly what the prophet ordained but observe ease in conducting it. If it is otherwise, then do whatever you want except watch out for the divine moral guidelines. Generally, divine moral guidelines may be understood from direct orders to outlaw an obvious immoral conduct. Some Arab pagans, for example, used to kill their female infants or in the modern times, some Pakistani dad kills his own daughter for refusing a family order of arranged marriage! It is only when confusing the two types that conflicts arise, most dangerously when a terrorist blows up all morals and burns up people alive or blows up a market confusing a moral type with a worship type. A moral type is consciously discerned but a worship type is physically and ritually assigned. When the prophet says “ask your heart” it is mostly when moral guidelines are confused. For those who are atheists from the scientific community, all what the religion tells you is, do science but observe ethics, and before you dislike religion’s ethics and want to make your own, don’t judge as a priori that religion ethics don’t fit science! As for the other part, worshiping God, nobody is forcing you to do so, but still don’t judge “as a priori” that there is no God. You have your own “religion”, that is science; we have our own, which includes science. If science answers moral questions, then be it. Look deeper into religious morals and you will find it no different. It is just a code of ethics. Let us know which religious morals that you dislike.

[] Separation of Religion and the State

Really! Let’s NOT agree to disagree! If religion asks you to observe a set of ethics and does not force you to worship a deity, then there is no need to mention the separation of religion and state notion! Worship God the way you want or don’t, but rule under a set of agreeable ethics. That is what a religion is. Who appoints who and what and how you rule with is not much of a problem as long as you follow the agreeable set of ethics. What is better ethics than “who thy shall not kill”? It really does not have to be a Caliphate rule or a west-democracy rule as long as you allow me to worship my God and not force my little girl to take off her hijab when she goes to school. I see it unethical to deprive my little girl of what she feels comfortable with to contain herself in a public high school that she is forced to go to, where kids around her bully her all the time! Religion is nothing but a guideline for ethics that I want to be applied on me, part of my freedom to choose. You don’t have to choose them for yourself, use another set of ethics if you like.

[] Divine Words or own Opinion, a Deeper Insight

In Islam, words that came out directly from the Lord and passed by the prophet were compiled to make the book of Muslims, the Quran. On the other hand, Prophet Mohammad’s own words and actions were taken most of the time literally as untouchable. Those are narrated by the prophet’s companions and passed on to people generation after generation. The prophet’s words and actions are defined as the Sunnah and regarded as complementary and explanatory of the Lord’s words in the Muslim’s book.

 

The prophet’s own words as opposed to the words of the Lord were only compiled later, some 100 years after the death of the prophet while those of the Lord, as reported, were safely written down by the prophet’s own designated scribes and “book-keepers” and not just passed on by the people who memorized it. This happened mainly because the prophet ordered not to write his words, so his words would not be confused with Allah’s words in the Quran. Here is what he said, “Do not write on my authority and whoever wrote anything from me other than the Quran must erase it.” [Hadith- Muslim] About 90 years after the prophet's death when Omar Ibn Abdulaziz, a new Muslim ruler, wrote to the mayor of Medina to collect Hadith. Only then people took it seriously and started collecting Hadith. He said, “ gather the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him and put it in a single collection for I fear the disappearance of knowledge circles and passing of scholars.” [Mentioned in Bukhari] Considerable effort was put by many early Islamic scholars who traveled the globe to collect and archive the prophet’s sayings and acts. They would characterize the Hadiths according to their possible falsehood by studying the major parts of them; the Matn, the body of “script” they contained and the Sanad (the reported truthful serial successive narrators of them up to the prophet as the main preacher). Even though conflicting words were reported, the vast majority of the collected prophet’s words and acts were self-agreeable and were categorized and grouped according to specific subjects that covered most of the prophet’s uttered words and acts he made, starting from his historical biography, throughout his prophet-hood time which included everything he did or rejected or said; the wars he raged, the peace pacts he joined, the description of how his people may follow of their own livelihood matters or their relationship with other communities and most importantly the way they should worship their Lord, until the time of his death.

 

Prophet Mohammad on some incidents of waging war would be asked about his opinion regarding issues of interest; mainly when the public around him realized that it may not be a divine order but instead it could be the prophet’s own opinion vs consultation with the public, they would be a little hesitant to ask. But when one of them asked the prophet whether it was his own opinion or a divine order, the prophet would identify the matter as one of the two. If it was his own opinion, it meant that the subject was open for consultation, and not divine. One incident was when the prophet chose a location to camp in preparation for war when one of the companions, out of experience, asked him, “is this a place you chose or is it that Allah ordered it?” The prophet replied, my own opinion. When the companion suggested a better location and rationalized for it, the prophet’s response was immediate recognition. Another example is when the prophet was invited for food one time. He didn’t eat from the food that was presented for him; it was some animal meat that the prophet didn’t like. So, one of the companions asked; is the meat of it prohibited? The prophet’s answer was “no, but it is not of my own favorite and I dislike it.” It is important to note that had someone not asked the question the issue would probably have been left the way the prophet reacted to the food, out of his own taste, and then passed by scholars as a prohibition. It is unlikely that all matters of this sort were divinely resolved such that if it was the prophet’s own opinion it would have been surely exposed. So, the confusion between the two was a big deal and obviously wasn’t a trend to keep asking the prophet whether his act was his own opinion or a divine order. If it was the latter, no one would raise his voice for a different opinion than the prophet’s. But the truth of the matter is that they would remain silent out of being extra polite in front of the prophet as they were commanded by the Lord in the Quran to do so. The whole subject would be in the hands of the prophet anyway, only when people felt a strong urge to express their opinions when they wanted to make sure it was not a divine order, but may be the prophet’s opinion instead, which could be challenged by better opinions if any. That occurred when things were happening in a grave manner that people feared for their lives or livelihood; for example, when a war is proposed, or their livelihood is at stake. A good example was when the prophet was asked if people could pollinate the palm trees manually or just let nature take its course. He replied to let nature take its course. But when the harvest was assessed, it was found that it was actually a better bet to pollinate manually. When that was reported to the prophet he told people to do whatever they choose better to maximize the harvest. On the harvest issue, he plainly told them that they knew better than him on such an issue and they should choose what was best for their livelihood. (That is to tell Sean that a smart evolution fits human better then apes evolution, therefore we should reject homosexuality) That was not belittling of the prophet’s holy halo or his credible source to deliver the revelation from the Lord. Indeed, it was indicative of the lay out of the basic Islamic research rules of Shariah. This incident and other similar ones clearly show that people have to realize the difference between the words that came out of the prophet’s mouth that indicated a divine command and those words that meant to be told out of his own opinion. This issue had a profound impact on different subjects that affected the Muslim communities throughout history and was a dividing factor between various “warring” Islamic parties. Much of the dividing issues stemmed from the inability to sometimes recognize and subsequently define alternating Shariah laws that stem from whether it was a prophet’s own opinion or a divine command, and consequently sometimes conflicting laws. One most important Hadith in that regard which split the Muslims in two major groups, Shiite and Sunni, was the famous Hadith of Ghadeer Khum. Shiite report it with a great weight siding by a divine order by the prophet for his cousin’s Ali’s succession in power, but Sunni report it in a non-divine manner with a “shallow” interpretation that meant for Ali to be a person to listen to as opposed to a person to “inherit” a prophet-hood-like system of power transfer. We all recognize that most of what the prophet gave orders on was divine, but there were acts and sayings of his that might not be divine and they just pertain to his own opinion or mostly a misinterpreted meaning. Of course this was not absent from the minds of the early and contemporary scholars who recognized it as an important defining matter when extrapolating laws. But the subject may not have been given utmost importance when laws are being drafted. This may have left crevices to clear up.

To elaborate more on the subject, when the prophet talked about or did something, it could have been simply his own opinion or an act out of his own taste which leaves a lot of room for input from the community. The prophet would not keep mentioning or reminding people every time he spoke to beware of the distinction of his speech between the two issues. But when the subject of his speech is directed to a definite route and may be solidified by Allah’s specific words in the Quran, people would recognize that the case is set and no room for any other opinion. In subsequent collecting of the prophet’s Hadiths, that subject later would shape much of the religion. Many narrators usually took every saying or every uttering or every act of the prophet as literally a command that should be followed and should have no other alternate explanation but should be done exactly as was done by the prophet. This trend of reporting from the prophet had a positive impact on keeping the Prophet’s Sunni alive to date but on the other hand it also confused some of the scholars reporting on what was an opinion and what was a divine command. With all of the long scholarly studies of the Sunnah, this issue remains a thorny one that always needed to be restudied and restated in some of the corners of the Islamic Shariah. In some occasions, this issue remains one of the prominent problems that divide the Muslim nation.

[] [* One Way Thinking- Reject Rigidness *]

This is how almost every Islamic publication is laid out: This is what we are; this is the faith; it is a very sweat faith and very peaceful, etc.; take it or leave; you are wrong and we are right. Not much of appreciation to the other. Never like, we love you even if you adopt a different approach to God and we will completely respect your choice. It is most of the time like, beware, you are going to hell fire if you deviate from the right path, which is only our path. Not only that, sometimes, we will fight you if you don’t follow our righteous path. That one way of preaching and thinking only leads to rigidness, which is a door of closeness. No matter how the establishment puts forward to the world a beautiful faith, like that of Islam, very few will be tempted to open a nice book or a nice publication about it. We need a door in the establishment shell to open up to the world before any one will want to peek through it. The door is really there, but we Muslims insist in locking it for fear of many unjustified reasons; one of which is the fear that other thoughts will invade our kids’ lives and play with their minds. The answer to that is, our faith is solid, not to worry. We need to open up more by unlocking the unnecessarily locked doors in the establishment shell that most of the time has been locked with weak justifications.

 

[] FINAL WORDS

 

Why God did not reveal His entity so we would solidly believe in Him and obey and submit as Sean probably wonders? In Christianity though He did reveal Himself, but He was too kind and killed Himself out of love for His creation! It is not the case in Islam. As well known, that is mostly the main difference between Christianity and Islam. The problem is that when God revealed Himself as Christianity proclaimed, He didn’t come to discuss science as Sean wants. He wouldn’t bother, because science is there, you figure it out as Sean is actively doing. He discussed love, purity, sacrifice; that is faith.

 

I want to end my book as I started it, by extending the argument with Sean. I came to know about Sean’s atheism by chance. I was watching one of his good scientific lectures on YouTube when I noticed after I finished watching, another one, from its title, that the guy seemed to be looking for God. So I clicked it up, and I said, Yahoo that is something. I started my book with it. Now by chance I also saw another one of his; titled, “Those 7 Times Sean Carroll Went Beast Mode on William Lane Craig.” Obviously it was a dialogue of some kind. I watched it and I liked it. Still he didn’t convince me of his opinion that science alienates the “bad” idea of a “good God”. On the contrary, the dialogue to me explicitly revealed the existence of God. I won’t comment on them this time, but I want to mention another brilliant and unparalleled physicist, a professor of theoretical physics at Stanford University; Leonard Susskind, whom I always enjoyed much when I watched his purely “scientific” lectures. I was watching one of his videos and he was discussing something, I forgot what it was, but he wanted to express his opinion that God was there, or may be was not there, I don’t know. Anyhow, he said more like; don’t ask me how “the thing was there”, it must be God. He mentioned God by saying “He is up there, pointing his finger up to the ceiling, or down there, pointing his finger down to the floor, I don’t know where, he continued and kind of laughed.” But the guy seems to believe in God. It was like, if you are stuck, then it is the work of God. I know where some scientists in general get stuck. It seems like the universe is running by itself, and if there were God there, then where is His signature? There should be abnormalities and anomalies all over the place and God should keep fixing them. My response to that is, if that is the universe, then it is not a perfect one. As a matter of fact, it is the opposite of what should constitute the signature of God that is the universe being perfect. That is simply because God created the universe with the “laws” that keep making it perfect at all times. Respected scientists are fascinated with how well tuned the universe is. For anything to work perfectly it should be well-tuned. To do that, you need to make available the rules to make it well-tuned, so must be anything that is perfect, not the least a faith. Those rules are the laws of nature. Examples are; Newton’s and Einstein’s laws of physics. Those who argue that God does not exist just stop short to understanding that the creator created the universe and along with it the laws to keep it intact and running perfectly. Some argue that those laws may be emergent from others which are in turn may emerge from yet other laws and so on. I am sorry, an emergent law is nothing but a sub-law, but when you identify the “mother law”, that’s it. You also need to distinguish between a mother law and a parallel law that happens to fit the data better. For example, General Relativity is parallel to Newtonian gravity but better because it fits the data better. A sub law is a law that concealed itself by “changing its face” due to a change of phase. For example, the molecular dynamics of a solid is different than that of a fluid or that of a gas for the same compound. But the mother law is the electromagnetic one, which is final. To get from solid to liquid, a change of phase should occur; just add heat to the system.

 

Here is the problem with scientists that they sometimes don’t want to admit. They think they are distinguished from other philosophers by sticking with fitting the data and therefore they had it all. Reality is theirs only! Believe me they don’t do much different than theologians in many cases. There will always be a time when you need to bypass logic or break one rule or another to fit the data. Take for example General Relativity. Physicists want to stick with it just because it fits the data well even though two of its tenets pertaining to space-time are self-contradictory. You have to give space-time a physical attribute so it can respond to the presence of energy-momentum and deform, but at the same time you should not attribute to it a physical meaning such as that of normal matter. Why? Because data from other experiments denies space-time a physical property! So, if space-time is not a physical object, why do you give it a physical attribute (that mimics gravity)? It is faith only then that brings us closer to reality. It is faith in the truthfulness of GR. Of course, Sean will say, look, it fits the data. I “believe” in it, let’s just move on! It means Sean “believes” it is better to move on because magically GR fits the data; but when it comes to the existence of GOD, he will tell you, “only if He materializes in front of me and I see Him, I will “believe in Him!” That is opposite to the attitude of the founder of GR. Einstein’s belief in GOD led him to an inner instinct of space-time as an active object that responds to “material” objects by deforming regardless whether it belongs to a mystical entity or not, later space-time was identified as the gravitational field. There is a touch of divine belief. Einstein also is reportedly invoked the belief in GOD when he dismissed (proven to be a misjudgment by him later) the validity of the great science of Quantum Physics, by saying “God does not play dice”.

 

In one of the arguments that belong to Sean in a dialogue, he makes a comparison between naturalism and theism. He again dismisses the creation of the universe to be an act by God in favor of naturalism where things just go by the rules. WHO SAID THAT GOD DOESNOT PLAY BY THE RULES? Believe me in Islam God doesn’t want you even to breathe without following rules. The rule there is, don’t hold your breath to suffocate yourself, by then if you die you have killed yourself and murdering the self is a crime that is way high on the importance scale, because you unlawfully took a life. In other words, you went opposite to the “naturalism” of God’s creation. So, naturalism is God’s first step for perfection.

 

In conclusion, I iterate the bulk of the problem and quote the same paragraph discussed earlier; “Indeed, corruption tops our lives and fighting it needs an alternate intervention by the faith-establishment that should defy the normal way we approach the subject. Let the youth and those of knowledge help the establishment decide. You will be surprised how much they know. The German individual has much higher productivity than the Muslim one because the public decides stuff. In the Muslim world, the establishment decides, and no role for the public exists. The public opinion is completely eliminated, and don’t tell me it is the political regimes that are to blame for corruption. The establishment has a big share of it. People in the political regimes like everybody else are finding crevices to rationalize what they are doing by consulting their own faith-establishment. It is not fair to ask the people in a political regime to reconsider some of their decisions on corruption allegations before the faith establishment takes steps to reform. In the Muslim world, most of political regimes are inclusive to the faith establishment, either directly as in some countries or in the hearts of their peoples. It is one of two; either complete separation between faith and regimes as in the west or the faith-establishment shares decision-power with the public. Why faith didn’t make the corrupted employee to quit his corruption. You may notice that much manipulation of Islamic rules is the norm for many people so that most employees may accept bribery accordingly. Students at universities want to pass and get a degree. They are willing to pay for it. If you tell them, that is bribery, a high on the importance scale sin, why are you doing it? Their normal response is, be cool man, it is OK. Not a big deal. Believe me, peek deeper and you will find that they have compromised it within the faith itself. Rules overrule others. Choose the coolest rule, and it is then cool, not a big deal. Did corruption become the norm? We never asked ourselves, may be some rules are not properly “regulated” to self-adjust. Among those of most importance and improperly regulated rules are those pertaining to the hierarchical structure of the establishment itself, namely, the Imam-ship doctrine on one side and the need of a super, Einsteinian scholar to give a say on the other side.

 

The remedy to the problem of the establishment dictating the power of rule-making is the globalization of the process to include the knowledgeable public. What really infests our minds as Muslims three things, first, the fear that the faith will be “ruined” if the number of minds that are working on the faith issues go viral and increase in an uncontrollable way! This way the faith may not be contained as it will disseminate and diminish to smaller sets of rules and the Islamic world will be then divided into ever smaller and smaller sects of contradictory beliefs. Well, I don’t think that the faith will ever be more divided than it is currently. The second mistake that the establishment falls in is its inability to recognize the importance of the sharing of ideas and the sharing of the power of mind. The larger input on an inquiry the better its chance of success. The third one is the establishment’s fear of the ill-intention of “bad” people in the public. I am sorry, but that one is pure speculation and a sign of weakness of one’s heart and against Islam itself. The previously mentioned Hadith; “My people won’t go wrong if Allah convenes them (to decide), and God’s ‘hand’ is with the public.” suffices to tell it all.

 

Finally, we should “ritualize” the process of rule-making in the religion and we should treat it as one of the many processes that require every individual’s effort in the community. Like prayer, we all perform prayers every day, five times, and sometimes we go to the mosque and perform prayers in groups. This goes peacefully across the whole of the communities of more than a billion Muslim individuals distributed across the globe. We do it in groups. Also, another good example is the Hajj ritual. We do it in one group very peacefully. Every year a group of around three million Muslims from all backgrounds gather to do the ritual as one body in a sequential manner. They are all happy. When it comes to the faith, we should exclude the ill-intention of the very few people that might exist in the community as their participation in the rule-making process will weigh very little and their opinion will definitely be excluded by the process of elimination. The public is enlightenment to the establishment. What is the establishment afraid of? What will it lose? They will decide to pass or not pass opinions including that of the public. The establishment should be “the parliament” of the faith where decisions are put forward by the public for a vote only by the parliament members who will be comprised of the most highly knowledgeable scholars in the religion. Within the public are all of the scholars in the Muslim nation and the rule-making decision will no more be made only by the few scholars who comprise the whole makeup of the establishment. There is nothing wrong with constructing a parliamentary system for the establishment to be made of representatives from across the Muslim world for the purpose of decision making.

 

Indeed, it is not for the illiterate to do poetry. You need to solidly “know” to qualify to issue a “fatwa”. We just need to emphasize the fact that most of the people who know are outside the establishment and we are deprived of their knowledge and advice because they are teachers without authority to rule on matters. They only tell you Imam Ahmad said and Imam Malik said, etc., but most of them are afraid to tell of their own opinion on the matter in hand because they have demeaned themselves. If any one of them ruled different than what is in the literature, the plain response would be; who are you to tell of your opinion and go against 1400-years of solid “smart-evolution” of faith-knowledge? It is within the establishment that mistakes are not being rectified simply because the contribution from outside the establishment’s shell is not being recognized. That is an outcome of the closure nature of how the establishment is constructed.

 

The establishment should institutionalize the mechanism to issuing fatwas to include the missing voice outside the establishment’s shell. In other words, it is not the exclusive and absolute right of the grand “Muftis” in the establishment to issue fatwas. Reconstruction of the establishment to include a “parliament” that will only pass or block a “fatwa” may be the second most important matter for Muslims after Amman message where “the public” defined who a Muslim is. There should be no grand scholar where his power is absolute as if he is infallible and can outweigh the total smartness of one and half billion minds of Muslims in the whole globe! May be one of the influential and a person to be reckoned with, such as his Majesty King Salman of Saudi Arabia, or his Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan can initiate the second most important step in the faith after Amman’s Message and announce the establishment of the “global” faith-establishment and call on all the Muslims around the world to participate and send representatives for its parliament. This step will be hard on Sunni because that is indeed a little out of the norm for them since they will have to give up some local liberties. But it will be tremendously hard on the Shiite side as well since they may have to work out the “infallibility” issue to line up with a global establishment; a tough approach. Shiite can keep that “tenet” if they wish, it is perfectly fine. Keep your own rules within the sub-establishment of the Shiite doctrine but please have your say in a global entity and send your representatives to its parliament. In the parliament there should only be members, who will be chosen from all over the Islamic world, and the speaker of the parliament who will run the parliament. No grand Imams, no infallible people, just high ranking scholars from around the world issuing unanimous fatwas. We only have the words of the Quran and the teachings of our prophet and we need people of knowledge to decipher their meanings mostly in disputed issues, and only by merit and not by infallibility. That is only a call to reshape the internal house of the Muslim body and to expose crevices that internal disputes feed on.

 

We should be against a unitary rule-making theme as well as against an open theme where everyone is authorized to issue fatwa. In the first theme, the mistakes of the few reside and grow while in the other one different and conflicting fatwas divide the body of the Muslim people. What is happening currently in the establishment is that the first theme is dictating the arena and the other theme is rebelling and causing trouble! We should combine both in one. The second theme is only camouflaged by a weak thread that connects the establishment with the public. We need to strengthen it by building highways between the two entities; the knowledgeable public and the establishment. The establishment’s scholars that constitute the establishment-parliament should be true representatives of the establishment-public. The parliament members should be the judges.

 

Also, we should allow those of knowledge in the public to give voice to a specific subject through local representatives. The local representative scholars will make their “local” decisions that in turn will be sent as an “enlightening opinion” of what could the fatwa be to the higher council in the parliament whose function is to sort out fatwas and give it to the speaker to convene the parliament to make a decision on the validity of the fatwa. The parliament may then reject the fatwa by the public under sound grounds of faith reasoning. Sounds like democratic parliamentary faith-system? Not exactly though! In democracy everything is on the table for discussion even institutionalizing gay marriage or legalizing alcohol and marijuana! Here, faith tenets are divinely immune.

 

With the negative halo that surrounds the Islamic faith, people from outside the faith do not find solid grounds to learn about it. Those who believe in interfaith dialogue should remove all blocking doors for such constructive dialogues. You may have heard of the mosque in England which opens its doors to non-Muslims 24 hours a day to come in to explore the faith. That is a good move. Let’s ask ourselves a question; as a Muslim, why you never thought to explore Christian faith further? Because the one tenet of the faith that completely shuns you off. You don’t believe that God is Three. Why do you think non-Muslims may not want to explore Islam? It is simply because they already know enough to keep them away. They see many of those who blow themselves up and kill innocent people are Muslims! Keep telling them, no they are not Muslims, because they broke important rules of the faith that define who a Muslim is, and they won’t believe you. The last thing those people say before they blow themselves up is “Allahu Akbar: God is great!” Read what the new elected president of the mightiest country, Donald Trump, unjustly describes Shariah law and accordingly rules to ban Muslims access to the American land.

 

DONALD J. TRUMP STATEMENT ON PREVENTING MUSLIM IMMIGRATION (New York, NY) December 7th, 2015,

 

-- Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on. According to Pew Research, among others, there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population. Most recently, a poll from the Center for Security Policy released data showing "25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad" and 51% of those polled, 'agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah.’ Shariah authorizes such atrocities as murder against non-believers who won’t convert, beheadings and more unthinkable acts that pose great harm to Americans, especially women.” First, the president should be ashamed to talk about women. But, second, the president is really ill-informed of the true rulings of Shariah laws and teaching of the great religion of Islam, and that is not his fault, it is ours, it is the establishment’s fault. For all that, we really need to invent other ways to attract non-Muslims to explore the religion. We need that because we want them to understand that Islam is really peaceful and they should demolish the wall they built to exclude themselves from the twisted-faith radicalism and open up for the pure religion. But firstly, we need to identify crevices on which twisted-faith rulings were built on and eliminate them. What is a better way to do that than a representative establishment that rules by the true and untwisted meanings of the words of the Lord and the teachings of His Abrahamic messengers?

 

It is always claimed that the reason why some of our youth head for radicalism is that they, unlawfully, come up with their own fatwa. Being unqualified, they make grave mistakes. Sorry, if there was a clear fatwa from a globally trusted scholarly side on what some of the youth do fatwa on, they won’t do it. Why then they do it? First, the lack of trusted fatwa source, and secondly, many available fatwas from many available scholarly sources are either non-convincing or simply self-conflicting or redundant. The youth do resort to their own fatwas especially if the subject is an important one for the youth. Current split-movements use this as the primary move to prove their point of view. A good example is the Islamic Caliphate. All what a “group” has to say, come join us, we are the true Caliphate!

 

Why anybody may participate then in a fatwa process? The answer is simply, it opens a door of dialogue and share of opinions even among the non-Muslims. The differences that exist is only due to the ignorance of the other side’s intention. If we are all open for dialogue, differences will eventually disappear. That is the case even for non-Muslims. We claim that our religion is universal, and it is indeed. We should open the door then to the non-Muslims to peek inside our shell, may be by inviting them to give their say. It means that the non-Muslim will dig deep to understand the religion to be able to give his say in a specific issue. It is indeed the best way of preaching for our religion. After all, he is not going to apply his own faith rules. If invited, he will use Islamic reasoning and submit his opinion according to Islamic ordinance; then the non-Muslim may find comfort to peek further. That approach will also open doors of trust. It will show the other that our religion is indeed universal, peaceful and open for anyone to explore.

 

Allah says that, “permission has been granted to those who were oppressed to fight; those who were driven out of their homes without any right, unjustly, except they would say, Our Lord is Allah. ” [Quran- The Pilgrimage 22:39] Permission to fight, explains the wisdom to grant permission to fight. That is not the same “wisdom” that is being used to fight in the Muslim world today. Allah also says, “ Those who are driven from their homes without a just cause except that they say: Our Lord is Allah. And if Allah did not repel some people by others, temples, and churches, and synagogues, and mosques in which Allah’s name is much remembered, would have been destroyed. And surely Allah will help him who helps Him. Surely Allah is Strong, Mighty .” [Quran- The Pilgrimage 22:40] As can be seen from the verse, Allah Does not only care about mosques, He also cares about other places of worship at the same level of importance. It means Allah wants the Christians to still go to churches, and Jews and the “Sikhs” to still to go their temples and worship him. There is nothing unique in the Islamic faith that completely wipes out earlier revelations. Islam complements and amends earlier revelations. It is obvious from the verse that people should defend other people of different faiths if they were denied their right to practice it. If a Christian asks for your help to defend his church it is obligated on you to do so as a Muslim. We learned it from the prophet. See the letter the prophet sent to Saint Catherine's Monastery where he granted protection and other privileges to the Christian monks of the monastery. For a translation of the letter, see reference [13].

 

If you can look up all of the prophet’s Friday sermons, you can see that he wouldn’t talk about politics. He would mostly talk about straightening out the religion. Prayers and rituals pertaining to prayers are solely time out for God only. Politics is not part of it. Politics is people’s affairs, so it stays out of places of worship. So, we shouldn’t indeed be worried that violence would come from mosques or churches. People assemble there to conduct their rituals in peace and depart in peace. That is why Allah ordered an absolute peace at the grand mosque during Hajj and ordered not a fight to be waged over there what so ever. The house of Allah is called “Bait Allah Alharam: The sanctuary house of God.” Let’s make our faith the true universal, peaceful “word of God” by reshaping the establishment to include everyone; Muslims by virtue of faith and non-Muslims by heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[] The Public Wins

The public opinion is completely eliminated, and don’t tell me it is the political regimes that are responsible of corruption.

The faith establishment has a big share of it. People in the political regimes like everybody else are finding “crevices” to rationalize what they are doing. It is not fair to make the people in the political regimes to share power with the public before the faith establishment does so. In the Muslim world, political regimes are inclusive to the faith establishment, either directly as in some countries or in the hearts of their peoples. It is one of two; either complete separation between faith and regimes as in the west or the faith establishment

shares decision-making power with the knowledgeable public.

MUSLIMS WILL CHOOSE

THE LATTER.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[]References

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Quran: “Forbidden to you is that which dies of itself, and blood, and flesh of swine, and that on which any other name than that of Allah has been invoked, and the strangled (animal), and that beaten to death, and that killed by a fall, and that killed by goring with the horn, and that which wild beasts have eaten — except what you slaughter; and that which is sacrificed on stones set up (for idols), and that you seek to divide by arrows; that is a transgression. This day have those who disbelieve despaired of your religion, so fear them not, and fear Me. This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor to you and chosen for you Islam as a religion. But whoever is compelled by hunger, not inclining wilfully to sin, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. ” [Quran -The Food 5:3]

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Quran: “He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah . But whoever is forced (by necessity), neither desiring (it) nor transgressing [its limit], there is no sin upon him. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful .” [Quran- The Cow 2:173]

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM.

#
p<>{color:#000080;}. [+ http://www.islamicsupremecouncil.org/understanding-islam/legal-rulings/52-understanding-islamic-law.html+]

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Houston, Christopher, “Islāmīsm, Castoriadia and Autonomy”, Thesis Eleven, Number 76, February 2004, p. 56.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Quran: “Allah enjoins you concerning your children: for the male is the equal of the portion of two females; but if there be more than two females, two-thirds of what the deceased leaves is theirs; and if there be one, for her is the half. And as for his parents, for each of them is the sixth of what he leaves, if he has a child; but if he has no child and (only) his two parents inherit him, for his mother is the third; but if he has brothers, for his mother is the sixth, after (payment of) a bequest he may have bequeathed or a debt. Your parents and your children, you know not which of them is the nearer to you in benefit. This is an ordinance from Allah. Allah is surely ever Knowing, Wise. ' [Quran- The Women 4:11]

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Hadith: “Prophet Muhammad, advised Muslims to avoid the seven destructive sins. ‘Making anyone or anything a partner with God; practicing sorcery ; killing a living being without justification whose life has been declared sacred by Allah; practicing usury; misappropriating the property of an orphan; running away in a battle; and slandering chaste, innocent, believing women.'” [Hadith- Bukhari and Muslim]

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Quran: “And indeed they knew that the buyers of it (sorcery) would have no share in the Hereafter. And how bad indeed was that for which they sold their own selves, if they but knew .” [Quran- The Cow 2:102]

 

#
p<>{color:#000080;}. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safiyya_bint_Huyayy

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. ---- “ And verily we gave unto Moses the Scripture and We caused a train of messengers to follow after him, and We gave unto Jesus, son of Mary, clear proofs (of Allah’s sovereignty), and we supported him with the Holy Spirit. And verily We gave Moses the Book (Scripture), and followed him with the apostles, and We gave unto Jesus, the son of Mary, manifest proofs (of Allah’s sovereignty), and supported him with the Holy Spirit…. ” [Quran- The Cow 2: 87] Here, the Holy Spirit is the angel Gabriel.

 

---- “ Of those messengers, some of them We have caused to excel others, and there are some unto whom Allah spake, while some of them He has exalted in degree; and We gave Jesus, son of Mary, clear proofs (of Allah’s sovereignty) and We supported him with the Holy Spirit.” [Quran- The Cow 2: 253] Here, the Holy Spirit is the angel Gabriel.

 

---- “(The day) when God saith: ‘O Jesus the son of Mary! Recount My favor to thee and to thy mother. Behold! I strengthened thee with the Holy Spirit, so that thou didst speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. ” [Quran- The Food 5:110] Here, the Holy Spirit is the angel Gabriel.

 

---- “ Say: the Holy Spirit has brought the Revelation (to you Muhammad) from thy Lord in Truth, in order to strengthen those who believe, and as guidance and glad tidings to Muslims.” [Quran= The Bee 16:102] Here, the Holy Spirit is the angel Gabriel.

 

---- “ When I have fashioned him (Adam; in due proportion) and breathed into him of My Spirit, fall ye down (the angels,) in prostration unto him. ” [Quran- Al-Hijr 15:29]] Here, My Spirit is “the divine entity to make life.”

 

{color:#000;}
p<>{color:#000;}. ——????“ (remember) her who guarded her chastity: We breathed into her of*Our Spirit* ” [Quran- The Prophets 21:91] Here, Our (God's) Spirit is “the divine entity to make life.”

{color:#000;}
p<>{color:#000;}. ---- “ But He fashioned himin due proportion, and breathed into him of*His Spirit* (the faculties of) hearing and sight, and the heartslittle thanks do ye give!

{color:#000;}
p<>{color:#000;}. ——Of highranksthe Lord of the Throneby His Command doth He send*the Spirit*to any of His servants he pleases, that itmay warnof the Day of of Encounter.

{color:#000;}
p<>{color:#000;}. ——Thou wilt not find any people who believe in God and the Last Day, loving those who resist God and His Apostle, even though they were their fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred. For such He has written Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with*a Spirit*from Him.

{color:#000;}
p<>{color:#000;}. ?? ---- “ ?? (her womb) of Our Spirit; and she testified to the truth of the wordsof her Lord and of His Revelations, and was one of the devout

#
p<>{color:#000080;}. http://muftitaqiusmani.com/en/?p=11092

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Schact, J., Cambridge Encyclopedia of Islam, vol. II, pt. VIII/chpt. 4, pg. 539.

 

#
p<>{color:#000080;}. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashtiname_of_Muhammad

 

 

 

 

The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Monks of Mount Sinai, Translation to English by: Anton F. Haddad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“This is a letter which was issued by Mohammed, Ibn Abdullah, the Messenger, the Prophet, the Faithful, who is sent to all the people as a trust on the part of God to all His creatures, that they may have no plea against God hereafter. Verily God is Omnipotent, the Wise. This letter is directed to the embracers of Islam, as a covenant given to the followers of Jesus the Nazarene in the East and West, the far and near, the Arabs and foreigners, the known and the unknown. This letter contains the oath given unto them, and he who disobeys that which is therein will be considered a disbeliever and a transgressor to that where unto he is commanded. He will be regarded as one who has corrupted the oath of God, disbelieved His Testament, rejected His Authority, despised His Religion, and made himself deserving of His Curse, whether he is a Sultan or any other believer of Islam. Whenever Christian monks, devotees and pilgrims gather together, whether in a mountain or valley, or den, or frequented place, or plain, or church, or in houses of worship, verily we are (at the) back of them and shall protect them, and their properties and their morals, by Myself, by My Friends and by My Assistants, for they are of My Subjects and under My Protection. I shall exempt them from that which may disturb them; of the burdens which are paid by others as an oath of allegiance. They must not give anything of their income but that which pleases them—they must not be offended, or disturbed, or coerced or compelled. Their judges should not be changed or prevented from accomplishing their offices, nor the monks disturbed in exercising their religious order, or the people of seclusion be stopped from dwelling in their cells. No one is allowed to plunder these Christians, or destroy or spoil any of their churches, or houses of worship, or take any of the things contained within these houses and bring it to the houses of Islam. And he who takes away anything therefrom, will be one who has corrupted the oath of God, and, in truth, disobeyed His Messenger. Jizya should not be put upon their judges, monks, and those whose occupation is the worship of God; nor is any other thing to be taken from them, whether it be a fine, a tax or any unjust right. Verily I shall keep their compact, wherever they may be, in the sea or on the land, in the East or West, in the North or South, for they are under My Protection and the testament of My Safety, against all things which they abhor. No taxes or tithes should be received from those who devote themselves to the worship of God in the mountains, or from those who cultivate the Holy Lands. No one has the right to interfere with their affairs, or bring any action against them. Verily this is for aught else and not for them; rather, in the seasons of crops, they should be given a Kadah for each Ardab of wheat (about five bushels and a half) as provision for them, and no one has the right to say to them 'this is too much', or ask them to pay any tax. As to those who possess properties, the wealthy and merchants, the poll-tax to be taken from them must not exceed twelve drachmas a head per year (i.e. about 200 modern day US dollars). They shall not be imposed upon by anyone to undertake a journey, or to be forced to go to wars or to carry arms; for the Muslims have to fight for them. Do no dispute or argue with them, but deal according to the verse recorded in the Quran, to wit: ‘Do not dispute or argue with the People of the Book but in that which is best’ [Quran- The Spider 29:46]. Thus they will live favored and protected from everything which may offend them by the Callers to religion (Islam), wherever they may be and in any place they may dwell. Should any Christian woman be married to a Muslim, such marriage must not take place except after her consent, and she must not be prevented from going to her church for prayer. Their churches must be honored and they must not be withheld from building churches or repairing convents. They must not be forced to carry arms or stones; but the Muslims must protect them and defend them against others. It is positively incumbent upon every one of the follower of Islam not to contradict or disobey this oath until the Day of Resurrection and the end of the world.”

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Quran: “And how do they make thee a judge and they have the Torah wherein is Allah’s judgment? Yet they turn away after that! And these are not believers. Surely We revealed the Torah, having guidance and light. By it did the prophets who submitted themselves (to Allah) judge for the Jews, and the rabbis and the doctors of law, because they were required to guard the Book of Allah, and they were witnesses thereof. So fear not the people and fear Me, and take not a small price for My messages. And whoever judges not by what Allah has revealed, those are the disbelievers. And We prescribed to them in it that life is for life, and eye for eye, and nose for nose, and ear for ear, and tooth for tooth, and for wounds retaliation. But whoso forgoes it, it shall be an expiation for him. And whoever judges not by what Allah has revealed, those are the wrongdoers .” [Quran- The Food 5:43-45]

 

#
p<>{color:#000080;}. http://www.meforum.org/5668/islamic-state-fatwas

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. “Sheikh Ibrâhîm Rahîm”, a professor at al-Imam University, Qasîm Branch: http://en.islamtoday.net/node/1606

 

“There is disagreement among the scholars as to the asset that must be used in the determination of the blood money (diyah); whether it must be gold, silver, or camels, or a combination thereof. This results in a tangible disagreement in the amount that must be paid.

It could be calculated using gold as the determining asset. In his case, a man’s diyah is one thousand dinârs of gold. Each dinâr weighs 4.25 grams. Hence, the diyah in modern terms would be equal to 4250 grams of gold. This would then have to be converted into its value in the local currency in order to be paid in cash.

Using the camel as the determining asset is in compliance with the decision of the Supreme Council of Scholars in Saudi Arabia. It is as follows: The diyah of a man is 100 camels, (which has been calculated to approximate roughly one hundred thousand Saudi riyals). The diyah for a woman is half of that. With regard to the blood money in the event of an abortion or induced miscarriage, the determination is as follows: The fetus will be either delivered dead or delivered alive and then die. If someone criminally induced an abortion or miscarriage and the fetus is still alive upon delivery and dies as a result of this action, then the payment of full blood money (diyah) will be required. It would be same as the diyah of an adult man or woman. If it is delivered dead, a compensation known as ghurrah must be paid. This amount has to be paid regardless of whether or not the fetus had been endowed with a soul (by passing four months from conception). However, payment of ghurrah will not be obligatory if the fetus has yet to take on the semblance of a human form.

The nutfah (when the embryo is in the form of a coagulated drop) has no ruling pertaining to it whatsoever. Al-Qurtubî relates that this is a point of consensus in Islamic Law. The same is the case with the `alaqah (a leech-like clot) and the mudghah (when it resembles a morsel of flesh which is not formed yet). Determining whether full formation of the fetus has taken place must be decided by trustworthy doctors after they examine the fetus. If the fetus has taken on the semblance of a human form and is delivered dead, then the ghurrah must be paid. The estimation of ghurrah which was mentioned in the Hadîth as being equal to that of a slave boy or girl. It is estimated as being equal to one tenth of his mother’s diyah or one twentieth of a man’s diyah. If we determine the ghurrah on the basis of a diyah of one thousand dinârs or 4250 grams of gold, we take one twentieth of that, which would 212.5 grams of gold. This would then have to be converted into its value in the local currency in order to be paid in cash. Using the camel as the determining asset where the diyah of the man is 100 camels, the ghurrah will equal the value of five camels.”

 

 

169

 


Islam: From Purism to Extremism of Misled Some Muslims

This book is made primarily to present the Islamic faith at the elementary level, but particularly to illustrate why some Muslim youth may be “pruned” to see the path to “faith-extremism” as lit by bright light and planted with flowers. In order to see that, Islam should firstly be presented naturally without the due restrictions of the standardized and complicated Islamic Shariah books. Much of the complication apparently comes from the repeated input by the scholars over the course of time. Here, I shed light on Islamic issues that can be pushed for a degree of “normalization” in the Islamic religion pertaining to issues that define a fine line between keeping a pure faith and being driven into extremism. Those issues are simply treated as peripheral to the faith since the core-faith matters are in-divisively agreed upon. You may find yourself know much of what is being discussed here if you are of a Muslim background. The language of the book is mostly simple words. The content mostly relates current concerns that pertain to the faith and the actively discussed global matters, most importantly the issue of youth radicalization. The faith is discussed from within the Islamic culture, but organized in a simple way for a non-Muslim to follow at ease. Sometimes the same issue is mentioned more than once throughout the book to stress the intended point. You will find the approach to how arguments are introduced and discussed unique and different than those of a standard textbook of the subject, suiting those of concern to the western individual. Even though the book is not a textbook of the Islamic law, some of those of current concern are discussed. The book is not all inclusive, only I choose specific subjects and rules to make my case, stressing a degree of rationalization of the rules and sometimes the reason behind passing them. In general, the book is not strictly conceptual. It is in no way proclaimed that claims made throughout the book are remedies to existing struggles in understanding the faith from outside its shell, but the book exposes some hidden issues that might help those inside and outside the faith-shell to more understand external and internal struggles, and hopefully more effectively fight radicalism. Many may disagree with parts of the book which may be rejected by some people as only pertaining to the author's opinion and not necessarily unanimous. That is the purpose of the book, a critical and hopefully constructive opinion. In much of the Islamic world, to express your opinion in some “specific matters” concerning the faith is a taboo as most of the faith issues are in the hands of the very few of those classified as highly faith-knowledgeable scholars that grant them the right to issue rulings “fatwas”. I call the system that comprises those “few” scholars and the way they handle rule-making process pertaining to the faith throughout the book as the “establishment”. I will put forward my understanding of the faith as an average Muslim understands his faith and cite references mainly from the Quran or the prophet's (prophet Muhammad) teaching directly rather than cite opinions of others. I took this freedom to express my opinion with extreme caution only to reflect how an average Muslim understands his religion, but I don't hesitate to affirm what I see as misunderstanding by others even if they were highly respected scholars. The free will to criticize is the ultimate gift by the Lord to the human being. We also should not be afraid to make mistakes in the path of our quest for the truth and we should be willing to accept counter-criticism and correction. That is the only path to correct our mistakes and collectively achieve self-satisfaction in all avenues in our lives, most importantly our faith-differences.

  • Author: kamalbarghout
  • Published: 2017-10-03 16:20:26
  • Words: 110846
Islam: From Purism to Extremism of Misled Some Muslims Islam: From Purism to Extremism of Misled Some Muslims