Mar 31 2009

Whose God and Religion? Controversy over Bus ad.

Ad for Islam on Broward bus may lead to a ban

Here we go again.  An ad by CAIR  (Cauncil on American-Islamic Realions) advocating tolerance with the aim of starting a dialogue and thinking process  is turned into an offense towards other religions:

Joe Kaufman, who organized protests against the ads for Americans Against Hate, said: “We were not concerned about whether Muslims or Jews or Christians put religious messages in advertising. We were concerned that the ad was offensive and demeaning to other religions.

Ad on Broward bus2009

One of the county’s 290-bus fleet is seen here in the downtown area near the main bus terminal. The ad says: “ISLAM: The Way of Life of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.” (Sun Sentinel/Lou Toman / January 14, 2009)

Quote: In the wake of controversial bus ads saying Jesus followed the principles of Islam, Broward County Click here for restaurant inspection reports commissioners are considering a ban on advertising religious messages on public transportation and all other government property.

The new policy would still permit churches and other religious organizations to place general ads promoting activities such as services or fairs. An ad saying “Jesus Saves” would be prohibited, but one publicizing the annual festival at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Fort Lauderdale Is your Fort Lauderdale restaurant clean? – Click Here. would be allowed.

Broward has had no advertising standards that apply across the board at the port, airport, parks, libraries, government buildings and mass transit. County commissioners will consider the proposal Tuesday, but both sides in the January dispute believe it goes too far.

“This is a knee-jerk reaction from our elected officials to small voices of extremism,” said Altaf Ali of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which bought the ads.

Joe Kaufman, who organized protests against the ads for Americans Against Hate, said: “We were not concerned about whether Muslims or Jews or Christians put religious messages in advertising. We were concerned that the ad was offensive and demeaning to other religions.”

The target of the protest was a $60,000 ad that ran from November to January on 50 buses. It proclaimed, “ISLAM: The Way of Life of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.” …


There is no way denying that Islam is following the same principles of humanity like all the Prophets of Christianity and Judaism (of course)  including Jesus, who is a Prophet to Muslims. One cannot be a Muslim without believing in all of them!  The birth of Jesus was miraculous one as we can read in the Quran with a minor difference to the story in the Bible:  in the Quran Jesus is told to be born under a palm tree.

Why should I  struggle convincing my readers with my limited English,  when we can read it ourselves in the Quran (topic no. 7 on the right panel) and I quote, sorry for the length of it, but it is necessary to prove my point:

About Jesus:
“Say: ‘We believe in God, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ismael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord; We make no difference between one and another of them, And we submit to God.” (Qur’an 2:136)
Muslims believe that Jesus (p.b.u.h.) was a messenger of God whose birth to his mother Mary was miraculous and that he was able to do miraculous deeds, very much in accordance with the Bible.

“When the angels said: ‘God gives you good tidings of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah Jesus, son of Mary; high honoured shall he be in this world and the next. Near stationed to God. He shall speak to the men in the cradle, and of old age, and righteous he shall be.’ ‘Lord’, said Mary, ‘how shall I have a son seeing no mortal has touched me?’ ‘Even so’ he said, ‘God creates what He will.’ When He decrees a thing He does but say to it, ‘Be’, and it is.”
(Quran 3:45-7 and also Q.3:37, Q.19:22-23, Q.19:34-5, Q.3:59, Q.4:171-3, Q.5;116-19, Q.3:45-51, Q. 61:6)

“And God sets forth, As an example to those who believe, the wife of Pharaoh: Behold she said: ‘O my lord build for me, in nearness to you, a mansion in the Gardens, and save me from Pharaoh and his doings and save me from those who do wrong.’ And Mary the daughter of Imran who guarded her chastity and We breathed into her body Our spirit; and she testified to the truth of the words of her lord and of His revelations and was one of the devout” (Qur’an 66:11-13)

“The Christians say, ‘The Messiah is the Son of God’ ..God assail them ! How they are perverted !.. They were commanded to serve but One God; there is no God but He.” (Q.9:30-31)

“And for their unbelief, and their uttering against Mary a mighty calumny, and for their saying, ‘We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God’, yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him, only a likeness of that was shown to them. Those who are at variance concerning him surely are in doubt regarding him, they have no knowledge of him, except the following of surmise; and they did not slay him of certainty, no indeed; God raised him up to him; God is Almighty, All-wise. There is not one of the people of the Book but will assuredly believe in him before his death, and on the Resurrection Day he will be a witness against them.” (Qur’an 4:156-9)

This teaching can also be found in the Christian-Gnostic Tradition, f.e. Johns Records 97, 99 , 101, 102; Basilides Simon of Kyrene was crucified in the place of Jesus. According to the Qur’an Jesus (p.b.u.h.) did not die on a cross.

Qur’an 22:40 “Those who have been expelled from their homes without a just cause except that they say: Our Lord is GOD. And had there not been God’s repelling some people by others, certainly there would have been pulled down cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques in which God’s name is much remembered; and surely God will help him who helps His cause; most surely God is Strong, Mighty.”

Christianity, Judaism:
“There is no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clearly from falsehood; whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks and God is All-Hearing and All-Knowing.” (Qur’an 2:256)…

“God forbids you not, with regards to those who fight you not for (your) faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them; for God loves those who are just.” (Qur’an 60.8) … “Truth comes from your Lord. Let anyone who will, believe, and let anyone who wishes, disbelieve.” (Qur’an 18.29).

“And certainly We gave the Book and the wisdom and the prophecy to the children of Israel, and We gave them of the goodly things, and We made them excel the nations. And We gave them clear arguments in the affair, but they did not differ until after knowledge had come to them out of envy among themselves; surely your Lord will judge between them on the day of resurrection concerning that wherein they differed.” (Q.45:16-17)

“And most certainly We gave Musa (Moses) the Book and We sent apostles after him one after another; and We gave Issa (Jesus), the son of Mariam (Mary), clear arguments and strengthened him with the holy spirit, What! whenever then an apostle came to you with that which your souls did not desire, you were insolent so you called some liars and some you slew. And they say: Our hearts are covered. Nay, God has cursed them on account of their unbelief; so little it is that they believe.” (Q.2:87-88)

“O children of Israel! call to mind My favor which I bestowed on you and that I made you excel the nations. And be on your guard against a day when one soul shall not avail another in the least, neither shall intercession on its behalf be accepted, nor shall any compensation be taken from it, nor shall they be helped.” (Q.2:47-8)

“And they say: None shall enter the garden (or paradise) except he who is a Jew or a Christian. These are their vain desires. Say: Bring your proof if you are truthful. Yes! whoever submits himself entirely to God and he is the doer of good (to others) he has his reward from his Lord, and there is no fear for him nor shall he grieve. And the Jews say: The Christians do not follow anything (good) and the Christians say: The Jews do not follow anything (good) while they recite the (same) Book. Even thus say those who have no knowledge, like to what they say; so God shall judge between them on the day of resurrection in what they differ.” (Q.2:111-113)

“And they say: Be Jews or Christians, you will be on the right course. Say: Nay! (we follow) the religion of Ibrahim (Abraham), the Hanif (”true in faith”), and he was not one of the polytheists. Say: We believe in God and (in) that which had been revealed to us, and (in) that which was revealed to Ibrahim (Abraham) and Ismail and Ishaq and Yaqoub and the tribes, and (in) that which was given to Musa (Moses) and Issa (Jesus), and (in) that which was given to the prophets from their Lord, we do not make any distinction between any of them, and to Him do we submit. If then they believe as you believe in Him, they are indeed on the right course, and if they turn back, then they are only in great opposition, so God will suffice you against them, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing. (Receive) the baptism of God, and who is better than God in baptizing? and Him do we serve. Say: Do you dispute with us about God, and He is our Lord and your Lord, and we shall have our deeds and you shall have your deeds, and we are sincere to Him. Nay! do you say that Ibrahim and Ismail and Yaqoub and the tribes were Jews or Christians? Say: Are you better knowing or God? And who is more unjust than he who conceals a testimony that he has from God? And God is not at all heedless of what you do.” (Q.2:135-140)

“And thereafter We said to the Children of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land. And when the last warning will come to pass, we will gather you together in a mingled crowd,’” (Qur’an 17:104)

“And thus have We sent it down an Arabic Quran, and have distinctly set forth therein of threats that they may guard (against evil) or that it may produce a reminder for them. Supremely exalted is therefore God, the King, the Truth, and do not make haste with the Quran before its revelation is made complete to you and say: O my Lord ! increase me in knowledge. And certainly We gave a commandment to Adam before, but he forgot; and We did not find in him any determination. And when We said to the angels: Make obeisance to Adam, they made obeisance, but Iblis (did it not); he refused. So We said: O Adam! This is an enemy to you and to your wife; therefore let him not drive you both forth from the garden so that you should be unhappy; Surely it is (ordained) for you that you shall not be hungry therein nor bare of clothing; And that you shall not be thirsty therein nor shall you feel the heat of the sun. But the Shaitan (Devil) made an evil suggestion to him; he said: O Adam! Shall I guide you to the tree of immortality and a kingdom which decays not? Then they both ate of it, so their evil inclinations became manifest to them, and they both began to cover themselves with leaves of the garden, and Adam disobeyed his Lord, so his life became evil (to him). Then his Lord chose him, so He turned to him and guided (him). He said: Get forth you two therefrom, all (of you), one of you (is) enemy to another. So there will surely come to you guidance from Me, then whoever follows My guidance, he shall not go astray nor be unhappy; And whoever turns away from My reminder, his shall be a straitened life, and We will raise him on the day of resurrection, blind.” (Q.20:113-124)

“Ibrahim (Abraham) was not a Jew or a Christian; but he was true in faith, and bowed his will to God’s (= was a Muslim) and he joined not gods with God. Without doubt, among people, the nearest of kin to Abraham are those who follow him, as are also this apostle (Mohammad) and those who believe. And God is the protector of those who have faith.” (Qur’an 3:67-68)

“And who is your Lord, O Musa (Moses)? He said: Our Lord is He Who gave to everything its creation, then guided it (to its goal).” (Q.20:52)

“And certainly We sent Nuh (Noah) to his people: Surely I am a plain Warner for you: That you shall not serve any but God, surely I fear for you the punishment of a painful day. But the chiefs of those who disbelieved from among his people said: We do not consider you but a mortal like ourselves, and we do not see any have followed you but those who are the meanest of us at first thought and we do not see in you any excellence over us; nay, we deem you liars. He said: O my people! tell me if I have with me clear proof from my Lord, and He has granted me mercy from Himself and it has been made obscure to you; shall we constrain you to (accept) it while you are averse from it?” (Q.11:25-28)

“Say, we believe in God and that which has been revealed to us, and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes and that which was given to Moses and Jesus and to other prophets, from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we submit.” (Q.3:83)

“When Allah will say: O Issa (Jesus) son of Mariam (Mary)! Remember My favor on you and on your mother, when I strengthened you I with the holy Spirit, you spoke to the people in the cradle and I when of old age, and when I taught you the Book and the wisdom and the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Bible); and when you determined out of clay a thing like the form of a bird by My permission, then you breathed into it and it became a bird by My permission, and you healed the blind and the leprous by My permission; and when you brought forth the dead by My permission; and when I withheld the children of Israel from you when you came to them with clear arguments, but those who disbelieved among them said: This is nothing but clear enchantment.” (Q.5:110)

“People of the Book (= Jews and Christians), go not beyond the bounds in your religion, and say not as to God but the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only the Messenger of God, and His Word that He committed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him. So believe in God and His Messengers, and say not ‘Three’. Refrain; better is it for you. God is only one God. Glory be to Him – that He should have a son.” (Q.4:171)

“And before it the Book of Moses (Musa) was a guide and a mercy: and this is a Book verifying (it) in the Arabic language that it may warn those who are unjust and as good news for the doers of good. Surely those who say, Our Lord is Allah, then they continue on the right way, they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve. These are the dwellers of the garden, abiding therein: a reward for what they did.” (Q.46:12-14)

“Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in God and the Last day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.” (Qur’an 2:62)

“Certainly you will find the most violent of people in enmity for those who believe (to be) the Jews and those who are polytheists, and you will certainly find the nearest in friendship to those who believe (to be) those who say: We are Christians; this is because there are priests and monks among them and because they do not behave proudly. And when they hear what has been revealed to the apostle you will see their eyes overflowing with tears on account of the truth that they recognize; they say: Our Lord! we believe, so write us down with the witnesses (of truth).”(Q.5:82-83)

“And if your Lord had pleased, surely all those who are in the earth would have believed, all of them; will you then force men till they become believers? And it is not for a soul to believe except by God’s permission; and He casts uncleanness on those who will not understand.” (Qur’an 10:99-100)

Let us open our minds at least a little bit, there is no other way than sharing this planet in Peace!

Mona

 


Mar 10 2009

Grandma punished

Yesterday we celebrated the International Woman’s Day.

IWD poster 2009

The following news article, once again, one cannot read without wondering and getting really upset. This is NOT  Islam!

Saudis order 40 lashes for elderly woman for mingling

(CNN) — A Saudi Arabian court has sentenced a 75-year-old Syrian woman to 40 lashes, four months imprisonment and deportation from the kingdom for having two unrelated men in her house, according to local media reports.

According to the Saudi daily newspaper Al-Watan, troubles for the woman, Khamisa Mohammed Sawadi, began last year when a member of the religious police entered her house in the city of Al-Chamli and found her with two unrelated men, “Fahd” and “Hadian.”

Fahd told the policeman he had the right to be there, because Sawadi had breast-fed him as a baby and was therefore considered to be a son to her in Islam, according to Al-Watan. Fahd, 24, added that his friend Hadian was escorting him as he delivered bread for the elderly woman. The policeman then arrested both men.

Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam called Wahhabism and punishes unrelated men and women who are caught mingling.

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, feared by many Saudis, is made up of several thousand religious policemen charged with duties such as enforcing dress codes, prayer times and segregation of the sexes. Under Saudi law, women face many restrictions, including a strict dress code and a ban on driving. Women also need to have a man’s permission to travel.

Al Watan obtained the court’s verdict and reported it was partly based on the testimony of the religious police. In his ruling, the judge said it was proved that Fahd is not Sawadi’s son through breastfeeding.

The court also doled out punishment to the two men. Fahd was sentenced to four months in prison and 40 lashes; Hadian was sentenced to six months in prison and 60 lashes. In a phone call with Al Watan, the judge declined to comment and suggested the newspaper review the case with the Ministry of Justice. Sawadi told the newspaper that she will appeal, adding that Fahd is indeed her son through breastfeeding…

Please read on the right Panel also my other topics, like Women and Islam.

In Islam there is a punishment for adultery which must be witnessed by four people, a practical impossibility. But even then it is not a death penalty, or corporal punishment:

“And as for those who are guilty of an indecency from among your women, call to witnesses against them four (witnesses) from among you; then if they bear witness confine them to the houses until death comes close to them or God opens some way for them.” (Q.4:15)

The punishment by flogging comes from the Hadith’s and as my readers must know by now,  I am quite critical about  them.

Therefore modern scholars argue that Islam does not favor a harsh punishment, which was practiced before Islam. Like stoning to death was common as it was in  Christian Palestine, too.  We all are responsible for our deeds on the last day, when our good deeds are weighed against our bad deeds. Grandma mingling with two boys who go shopping for her is not a grave sin, in my humble opinion (sorry my sarcasm, cannot help it!)

BUT:  there is a hash punishment for accusing chaste women, and I wish these religious fanatics will get their share on the last day:

Qur’an 24:23: “Surely those who accuse chaste believing women, unaware (of the evil), are cursed in this world and hereafter, and they shall have a grievous chastisement.”

Qur’an 24:2-4: “Those who accuse married women of adultery, then fail to produce four witnesses, you shall whip them eighty lashes, and do not accept any testimony from them; they are wicked.”

Qur’an 33:58: “And those who speak evil things of the believing men and the believing women without their having earned (it), they are guilty indeed of a false accusation and a manifest sin.”

While reading this article I had to think of the gravest sins in Islam:

an invention (which is NOT based on the Quranic teaching) to the practice of faith is one of them.

I cannot imagine that God would not allow women to drive or grandma to send her neighbor’s boys for shopping or stopping by for a chat -   a case like this, where she knows him all his life. In fact I believe the reason for not allowing women to drive  has not so much to do with them but much more with men, who harass women  – it is quite common in Saudi Arabia.

I pray to God to guide Muslims back to the right path!

HE gave us a free will and the ability think, and we should use that gift.  Common sense is all I wish.

Salaam


Dec 07 2007

Teach not our children the undeniable falsehood!

If You have read other topics on the right you may have noticed, that I am quite critical about the Hadiths – the reports from the early Muslim community and the years thereafter. They were collected, sorted out and written down ca. 250 years after the death of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.).

They reflect the customs and beliefs of that time and should not always be taken literally.

Science today has a more accurate picture f.e. of the universe than people had 1400 years ago. In some hadiths astronomical phenomena are explained in clearly unscientific manner, from falling stars to the moon splitting in two. People around the Prophet narrated these and for centuries they were taken literally.

Even if the Prophet did make all these statements, then they must be seen as his sincere belief what he thought was right. After all he was an ordinary man, as He himself stated on numerous occasions.

Please read also on the right panel the topic No. 8 Hadiths (reported Sayings by The Prophet) and No. 7 What the Qur’an says about… - The Creation of the Universe.

 

Cat’s Eye Nebula

 

 

“O, assembly of the jinn (spirits) and the men! If you are able to pass through regions of the heavens and the earth, then pass through; You cannot pass through but with authority”(Q.55:32-37)

(Hubble space telescope image ‘Cat’s Eye Nebula”, an exploding star, NASA Oct.31st 1999 at:http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap991031.html)

Unfortunately, very often the Hadiths take a more important role than the Quran itself in the daily life of the believers when it comes to practical decisions.

The holy Quran was revealed to the Phophet in a dream or in a dreamlike condition and Muslims believe it to be the Word of God, literally. Until today researchers have not found any scientific inaccuracy in it.

Ref. The Bible, The Quran and Science. By Maurice Bucaille

A Student to his father: Today, my science teacher brought a mobile model of our Universe with its Sun, Moon and the Planets in our class room. It was fun to watch our Earth spinning on its own axis and at the same time also around the orbit of our Sun. When our side of the Earth faces the Sun we have the Day, and the people living on the other side of the Earth have Night. This alternating Light and Darkness within a Day has been the eternal Law of the Nature. A Muslim students dialogue with his parents.


Nov 15 2007

The Last Sermon of Prophet Muhammed

Tag: Education,Islamic values,Women IssuesMona @ 8:20 am

The Farewell Pilgrimage of the Prophet Muhammed (p.b.u.h.) was a significant historical event in the Muslims life. Although thousands of Muslims witnessed the Farewell (last) Sermon given by the Prophet Muhammed (p.b.u.h.), the Hadiths books reported at least three versions of the same Sermon.

For an event witnessed by over 10,000 people an accurate narration should have been available, but it has not.

In the Shiite version of the Sermon it is narrated “the book of Allah and my family”, while in the Sunnite version it is “ the Book of Allah and my Sunnah”.

Only the version that talks about QURAN ALONE is the only one that does not contradict the QURAN and does not have any political motive behind it. It is the version ignored by the sects of the Sunnites and Shiites because it does not support their political agenda.

Here are the references to the three versions of the Sermon:

1) I leave with you Quran and Sunnah, Muwatta, 46/3
2) I leave with you Quran and Ahl al-bayt (meaning the family of the Prophet) , Muslim 44/4, Nu2408; ibn hanbal 4/366; darimi 23/1, nu 3319.
3) I leave for you the Quran alone you shall uphold it. Muslim 15/19, nu 1218; ibn Majah 25/84, Abu dawud 11/56.

Sunni-Muslims count ca. 90% of the beleivers while the Shia-Muslims are less than 10 %, the rest belong to smaller Sects.

Needless to say, that this has has opened the door to interpretations, which clearly contradict the Quran. And here we find the main reason for the dividing elements in Islam.

And it is the Hadith books, where extremist find justifacation for their attacks on civilians and innocent bystanders while the Quran clearly forbids such actions. And suicide is strongly prohibited in Islam. Please read more on the right panel under the topic No. 7 What the Qur’an says about… and No. 8 Hadiths (reported Sayings by The Prophet)

“… and do not aggress; God dislikes the aggressors.” (Q.5:87)

“You shall not kill any person – for God has made life sacred – except in the course of justice, and whoever is slain unjustly, We have indeed given to his heir authority, so let him not exceed the just limits in slaying; surely he is aided.” (Q.17:33)

“If they seek peace. Then seek you peace. And trust in God for He is the One that hear and know all things.” (Q.8.61)

“.. Therefore, if they leave you alone, refrain from fighting you, and offer you peace, then God gives you no excuse to fight them.” (Q. 4:90)

“.., we decreed for the Children of Israel that anyone who murders any person who had not committed murder or horrendous crimes, it shall be as if he murdered all the people. And anyone who spares a life, it shall be as if he spared the lives of all the people.” (Qur’an 5:32)

” That (shall be so); and he who retaliates with the like of that with which he has been afflicted and he has been oppressed, God will most certainly aid him; most surely. God is Pardoning, Forgiving.” (Q.22:60)

“…You shall resort to pardon, advocate tolerance, and disregard the ignorant.” (Q. 7:199)

“…… You shall not kill – God has made life sacred – except in the course of justice. These are His commandments to you, that you may understand.”(Q. 6:151)

**********************************************

The following is the first – the Sunni-Muslim version of the Last Sermon (it was Delivered on the Ninth Day of Dhul Hijjah 10 A.H. in the Uranah Valley of Mount Arafat ):

O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I don’t know whether, after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today.

O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your lord, and that He will indeed reckon your deeds. Allah has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligation shall henceforth be waived…

Beware of Satan, for your safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.

O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have right over you. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to commit adultery.

O People, listen to me in earnest, worship Allah, say your five daily prayers (salah), fast during the month of Ramadhan, and give your wealth in zakat. Perform hajj if you can afford to. You know that every Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. You are all equal. Nobody has superiority over other except by piety and good action.

Remember, one day you will appear before Allah and answer for your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.

O People, no prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand my words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Qur’an and my example, the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray.

All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness O Allah that I have conveyed your message to your people.

 


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