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

 


Aug 30 2008

Democracy and Islam

While watching World News and Mayhem on my TV screen I have long been intending to write about Democracy because the common assumption is that Islam and Democracy do not go well together.  We should not confuse tradition with religion.

In older democracies the path to this day was long and slow. Some reached it earlier, like in Britain the first step was as early as in 1215  known as the Magna Carta Other countries have followed. Although one must sometimes wonder if democracy is the best way to govern. It is always a compromise which naturally is not the best solution to problems. And voters do not always choose the best candidate simply because of lack of knowledge and experience and they can be easily manipulated.  But there is no better way available and the rights and safety of individuals must be guaranteed.

In my opinion in the Quran  we have clear instructions for the early Muslim community to practice democracy:

“O you who believe! obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those in authority from among you; then if you quarrel about anything, refer it to God and the Apostle, if you believe in God and the last day; this is better and very good in the end.” (Q. 4:59)

“And their business is (conducted) through consultation among themselves.” (Q.42:38)

“God does not love the public utterance of hurtful speech unless (it be) by one to whom injustice has been done; and God is Hearing, Knowing.” (Q.4:148)

Traditionally, before Islam matters in the pagan Arabian Bedouin communities where already handled democratically. Clan elders discussed problems, set rules and practiced justice as they are still doing it among themselves in a smaller scale, because today we have governments and state laws. Like in almost all early human communities regardless of location worldwide.

It was much later than dictators have taken over motivated mostly by power and material gain.

It is still a long way for many, but I am hopeful that matters will improve. In my opinion the key to success is education, education, education and especially that of the women. They are the ones who educate the children and their influence on the society is tremendous.

Unfortunately in many places religion have been used to segregate women from men denying them the basic human rights the Quran guarantees them! (Please read also the Topic No.6 on the right “Women and Islam”)

As I already wrote, we should not confuse religion with tradition. I am quite critical about the Hadiths. They are orally narrated reports from the time of early Muslim community and were collected as late as 250-300 years after the death of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.). Bukhari, for example, examined 600,000 traditions of which he accepted only 7,397!

I have never forgotten an experiment we did in school, I was 11 years old (the last year before changing schools). At the beginning of class the teacher gave us a sentence or perhaps it was two sentences – a short story. We whispered it to each other and by the time bell was ringing for break the teacher asked the last pupil to tell what he had heard. We could not believe what from the story had become, it was unrecognizable!

I am not asserting, that this is the case with Hadith’s, but taken in account the time which passed (200-300 years) even the best-meaning and devoted believer can err. It is human, we are not computers that can record every word forever.

In my opinion we should put less importance on the Hadith’s (put them in perstpective) and more on the Quran, which gives us clear instructions and in this particular case we understand that Islam favors Democracy!

Quoting the late Dr. Lila Fahlman Dr Lila Fahlman

 

Founding President of the World Council of Muslim Women Foundation:

“Man-written Hadith’s have ruined Islam and do not speak to human rights or to equality for men and women, but rather favour the enslavement of women.”…   “Any Muslim who finds the Qur’an difficult to understand would do best to spend his time on the Qur’an rather then on the Hadith’s, which can never surpass the Qur’an as the Hadith is man written.”

 

 


Feb 24 2008

Hippocratic Oath


“ I SWEAR in the presence of the Almighty and before my family, my teachers and my peers that according to my ability and judgment I will keep this Oath and Stipulation.

TO RECKON all who have taught me this art equally dear to me as my parents and in the same spirit and dedication to impart a knowledge of the art of medicine to others. I will continue with diligence to keep abreast of advances in medicine. I will treat without exception all who seek my ministrations, so long as the treatment of others is not compromised thereby, and I will seek the counsel of particularly skilled physicians where indicated for the benefit of my patient.

I WILL FOLLOW that method of treatment which according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patient and abstain from whatever is harmful or mischievous. I will neither prescribe nor administer a lethal dose of medicine to any patient even if asked nor counsel any such thing nor perform the utmost respect for every human life from fertilization to natural death and reject abortion that deliberately takes a unique human life.

WITH PURITY, HOLINESS AND BENEFICENCE I will pass my life and practice my art. Except for the prudent correction of an imminent danger, I will neither treat any patient nor carry out any research on any human being without the valid informed consent of the subject or the appropriate legal protector thereof, understanding that research must have as its purpose the furtherance of the health of that individual. Into whatever patient setting I enter, I will go for the benefit of the sick and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief or corruption and further from the seduction of any patient.

WHATEVER IN CONNECTION with my professional practice or not in connection with it I may see or hear in the lives of my patients which ought not be spoken abroad, I will not divulge, reckoning that all such should be kept secret.

WHILE I CONTINUE to keep this Oath unviolated may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art and science of medicine with the blessing of the Almighty and respected by my peers and society, but should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse by my lot.” (Modern Version of the Hippocratic Oath )

Original, ca.2400 yrs. ago:  




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