Jan 22 2012

What went wrong?

 

Yesterday I stopped. There was a lighthearted discussion between friends about life in general and then talk about testimony in a disagreement. Someone said jokingly  “is it enough to have two female testimonies to prove you wrong?” Something in that direction.  We all knew the history of that ruling and it was a joke after all!

How did it come that things are in such a bad shape today in many Muslin countries especially with women rights and tolerance? And why is it that they are backward in many areas despite the immense material wealth under their feet in oil, minerals, gas etc.? One could argue that this wealth have been contributing to that fact, the reasons for it are open for discussion. Why is it that some Muslim countries with very little natural wealth have progressed better in areas of human rights and social welfare than those with riches?  This could be a very interesting research topic for a student thesis!

The birth of Islam 1400 years ago was a beacon light for humanity: no racism (all are equal before God), equal rights for all and caring for the less fortunate.  For instance the ruling that two women’s testimonies are worth of that of a man was revolutionary for the pagan Bedouin tribes of Arabian Peninsula.  At that time in Europe people were living in deep superstition despite of their Christian faith. And still 1100 years later witch-hunt and burning suspect (mostly women) alive authorized by the Church was common practice.

Christianity wrong understood by the religious elite. There were virtually no women rights at time in Europe. Only in the last couple of centuries women have reached through long campaigning equal rights, although they often still do not get the same salary for the same job done even in the most advanced countries.

Why is it that in too many Islamic countries that should be in the forefront in this battle of humanity backwardness and intolerance is dominant?  And women in the most conservative corners of societies are less fortunate in many ways than in the lifetime of the Prophet (pbuh). Not necessary to mention that the first wife of Prof. Mohammed was a confident businesswoman and his employer and after his death his wife Lady Aisha was an accepted Islamic scholar and became active in politics.

How can it be that today some scholars argue that women have no right to express their opinion, no rights in many ways when it is Clearly ruled in the Quran and no believing Muslim can argue against it?  In my opinion the reason can be found in the overemphasizing of  the Hadith’s, memorized stories from the lifetime of the Prophet and the years thereafter that in some Islamic rulings overrun clear statements of the Quran.

As the late Dr. Lila Fahlman (Founder of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women ) once wrote: “Man-written Hadith’s have ruined Islam”.

Islam introduced women rights concerning her own property, inheritance and the right to choose her husband. Please read on the right panel Topic No. 8 “Women and Islam”, too. For example

Qur’an 2:228 “Women shall, in all fairness, enjoy rights equal to those exercised against them.” (This statement occurs in the context of divorce.)

Qur’an 2:282. “O you who believe! When you deal with each other in contracting a debt for a fixed time, then write it down; and let a scribe write it down between you with fairness; and the scribe should not refuse to write as Allah has taught him, so he should write; and let him who owes the debt dictate, and he should be careful of (his duty to) Allah, his Lord, and not diminish anything from it; but if he who owes the debt is unsound in understanding, or weak, or (if) he is not able to dictate himself, let his guardian dictate with fairness; and call in to witness from among your men two witnesses; but if there are not two men, then one man and two women from among those whom you choose to be witnesses, so that if one of the two errs, the second of the two may remind the other; and the witnesses should not refuse when they are summoned; and be not averse to writing it (whether it is) small or large, with the time of its falling due; this is more equitable in the sight of Allah and assures greater accuracy in testimony, and the nearest (way) that you may not entertain doubts (afterwards), except when it is ready merchandise which you give and take among yourselves from hand to hand, then there is no blame on you in not writing it down; and have witnesses when you barter with one another, and let no harm be done to the scribe or to the witness; and if you do (it) then surely it will be a transgression in you, and be careful of (your duty) to Allah, Allah teaches you, and Allah knows all things.”

Arab women gathering at the Town wall, by American Orientalist painter Frederick Arthur Bridgman  (1847-1928)

Wishing you a happy, healthy and spiritually rewarding 2012 and hoping that this little drop in the ocean could initiate some small scale awakening to the realities of the modern world!

Mona


Jun 13 2009

Mother of the Believers, Book review – II

Tag: History of Religions,Women IssuesMona @ 6:53 pm

I am reading this book very carefully and taking notes. It is a wonderfully written colorful peace of research and until page 110 I have not found any historical mistakes expect the one I would like to discuss today. History coming alive!

I trust it would be a great basis for a new movie about the birth of Islam like the well known masterpiece “The Message” by Mustafa Akkad . Since the author is an accomplished screen writer I am especially worried about this. Once a MOVIE is made about (any) events it becomes the truth to most of the people.

In the shoes of Mr. Kamran Pasha I would be really careful what to allow to be done in his name. In Islam we are accountable for our deeds and intentions, and one of the worst sins in Islam are inventions into the faith.

If there were not the ONE thing I oppose strongly since there is NO REAL evidence of the date of birth of Lady Aisha. Only one or two Hadiths, which were collected as late as 250-300 years after the death of the Prophet (pbuH). Until then they were mere traditions remembered orally. The Prophet himself discouraged writing down his every word because he feared they would be confused with the Quran.

Needles to tell my Muslim readers how Islam is portrayed on internet forums whenever the topic Islam comes up. The Prophet (pbuH) is routinely called “a pedophile caravan bundit”!

I have the strong suspicion that the author had to make a few changes, probably only one (since to book is powerful reading) to his manuscript so that it would be accepted for publication. The one about Lady Aisha’s age. It would explain hastily made changes in the text about it and the from it resulting unmatching dateline. Muslim readers know what I am talking about, the opponents do not hesitate to use all means to tarnish the image of Islam. They are mostly powerful media owners and editors in chief in major publications.

Why do I believe so?

On page 9: Aisha is claimed to be born in 613 A.D.

On page 92: is claimed that Aisha “counted over 40 most powerful men not only of Mecca but the Bedouin tribes…” at the age of tender age of 3 years?!

On page 96: in 619 A.D Aisha is claimed to be 6 years old almost 10 yrs after the 1. Revelation” in 610 A.D. when driven out of Mecca into exile

Page 105: Her sister Asma is 16 yrs old in 621 A.D when boycott ends meaning that Aisha would be STILL 6 yrs old (after spending 3 years in exile, and not 9!). Asma was 10 yrs her elder. According to Adel Salahi the boycott lasted for 3 years “Muhammad, Man and Prophet” by M.A. Salahi, page 160 (not 2 yrs as in this book) .

For other events in this novel there are surviving documents and scriptures to rely on and they are largely accepted as accurate, historically correct. The early Muslim community had many literate people who recorded events and in one of them is said that Aisha was a young girl when converting with her elder sister to Islam (among the first 80 Muslims to do so), in 610 A.D. That would make her at least 11 years old when returning home from exile from the desert outside of Mecca even if she was a newborn baby back then. And if we believe this to be correct, since it was recorded in the lifetime of the Prophet (and not 250-300 years later!) then she was at least in her late teens when marrying the Prophet!

Salaam for later commentary,
Mona


Jun 16 2008

Creation vs. Creation

Tag: Critical Thinking,History of ReligionsMona @ 10:37 am

A Joke
(everybody gets those, a.k.a. spam): A little girl asked her mother: “How did the human race appear?” The mother answered: “God made Adam and Eve and they had children and so was all mankind made.”Two days later she asks her father the same question. The father answered: “Many years ago there were monkeys from which the human race was developed.”The confused girl returns to her mother and says: “Mom, how is it possible that you told me that the human race was created by God and Papa says they were developed from monkeys.” The mother answers: “Well dear, it is very simple. I told you about the origin of my side.

 

Garden of Eden by Jacob Savery 1601

“Garden Eden” by Jacob Savery the Elder, 1601, on Copper panel

A peaceful paradise as we love to imagine it. According to Judaism and Christianity after creation God drove Adam and Eve out of Garden Eden for disobedience. Islam, although it has common ground with them, does not mention this incident. Muslims believe in all prophets of the Bible and in Jesus, who was to them a teacher and a prophet and accuse early Christians of making him the Son of God. Jews and Christians are mentioned in the Quran several times and referred to as “The People of Book” (meaning believers in the same God/Allah). Allah is the name of God in Arabic and in Aramaic and Jesus called God (=English word!) Allah, after all Aramaic was his mother tongue.

The origins of humankind has always been surrounded by mystery, faith and superstition and since Charles Darwin by controversy.

In my opinion there is no contradiction between the story of creation in the Bible or the Quran and the modern science. The origins of the faith were in Palestine and the race and language of the people were Semitic. First parts of the Old Testament were written down between the 12th and 9th century BC and in course of time then translated several times.

Please read also the topics No. 3 Short History and No. 5 Jesus, Christianity on the right panel.

From about 3rd century BC Jews in Palestine came to use Aramaic in both speech and secular writings. Aramaic is a Semitic language and was also the mother tongue of Jesus as Arabic is a Semitic language, in which the Quran was revealed.The creation of the universe is told to have happened in seven days. In Arabic (a Semitic language) the word day can also mean a long period of time. Thus we could say that the creation of the Universe took place in seven very long periods of time.

Lets imagine the superstitious people of Palestine 10000 years ago. The existence of One almighty God had to be told them in a language they could understand and thus events in the Bible are told like stories. And generations after generations told them their offspring until in the 9th century BC first scriptures were written, known as the Pentateuch.

So, there ins no problem with the stories of Creation.

 

The Darwinist theory of creation ist still not complete when it comes to humans. You may have heard the termMissing Link, a link that would connect today’s man Homo Sapiens with its primate relatives, the apes. There is a real possibility that this missing link will be discovered, but wouldn’t it be one more prove of the power of God Almighty, who “created Man from a single cell” (Quran) ??

I quote myself from the Topic No. 7 on the right panel “What the Quran has to say about Creation”

“O mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may come to know one another. Truly, the most honored of you in God’s sight is the greatest of you in piety. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” (Quran 49:13)

“Do nit the unbelievers see, that the heavens and the earth were joined together, then we clove them asunder and, We got every living thing out of water. Will they not then believe?” In another translation of the same verse: “Are then, they who are bent on denying the truth not aware that the heavens and the earth were (once) one single entity, which We then parted asunder?” (Quran 21:30)

“Moreover (God) turned to the heaven, when it was smoke and said to it and to the earth…. ” (Quran 41:11)

“And it is We who have built the universe with power, and verily, it is We who are expanding it.” (Quran 51:47)(The Theory of the expansion of the universe was developed by Albert Einstein in his Theory of Relativity and is widely accepted today.)

“And God has created from water every living creature: so of them is that which walks upon its belly, and of them is that which walks upon two feet, and of them is that which walks upon four; God creates what He pleases; surely God has power over all things.” (Guran 24:45)

 

Charles Darwin’s theory is strongly backed by these verses:

At the beginning there was smoke, Big Bang, out of which God created earth and heaven and that every living thing came out of water!

 

With greetings,

Mona


Feb 28 2008

Caricature Controversy


CARTOONS, CONTROVERSY, BIGOTRY

Here we go again!

The Islam caricature controversy hardly needs introduction, it was in prime time news all over the world in 2005. The Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten invited cartoonists to participate in a caricature contest about Islam and its Prophet. Twelve cartoons were published on 30 September 2005. One of them, a man with a black turban bomb aroused the most furious protests.

It is strange, that already half a year earlier the same cartoons appeared in an Egyptian newspaper and went unnoticed by the large public. But this time Islamic activist spread the word and organized demonstrations, called in the media that was filming live burning flags and puppets. It turned sometimes quite violent.

The Jyllands-Posten newspaper claims the idea was starting a dialog about Islam and extremism, and freedom of speech. What hardly anybody knows and even myself found out only a few days ago is, that the same newspaper refused to publish well meaning cartoons about Jesus some time earlier of fear of upsetting its readers.

Article in the British Newspaper The Guardian: Danish paper rejected Jesus cartoons

Quote: Danish paper rejected Jesus cartoons

Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that first published the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that have caused a storm of protest throughout the Islamic world, refused to run drawings lampooning Jesus Christ, it has emerged today.


The Danish daily turned down the cartoons of Christ three years ago, on the grounds that they could be offensive to readers and were not funny.

In April 2003, Danish illustrator Christoffer Zieler submitted a series of unsolicited cartoons dealing with the resurrection of Christ to Jyllands-Posten.Zieler received an email back from the paper’s Sunday editor, Jens Kaiser, which said: “I don’t think Jyllands-Posten’s readers will enjoy the drawings. As a matter of fact, I think that they will provoke an outcry. Therefore, I will not use them.” The illustrator said: “I see the cartoons as an innocent joke, of the type that my Christian grandfather would enjoy.”"I showed them to a few pastors and they thought they were funny.But the Jyllands-Posten editor in question, Mr Kaiser, said that the case was “ridiculous to bring forward now. It has nothing to do with the Muhammad cartoons.


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