Nov 26 2008

Feedback – ”Quite a terrible site..”

 

Receiving Feedback

I should mention a short Email I received the other day from a reader:

”Quite a terrible site, may Allah guide you back to the truth.  Regards M. “

When looking closer I found out, that it came from a very conservative corner of Islam. My recent argument (about stoning punishment) probably hit a sensitive nerve, because that is exactly what I always ask from my Creator – to show me the right path.  And I am confident.

I think Islam’s image in the rest of the world is so tarnished and misinterpreted, that we cannot bury our heads in the desert sands. We must confront the accusations and look at the things like they are, and yes, it can be painful. There is no other way.


Nov 16 2008

Where lies the Problem?

The Problem is not Islam.

While reading latest comments to the Queen Rania’s award winning Youtube Video one of them made me think, is he/she right or wrong?

zeppelinsteen In Malaysia where I come from, there is approx. 60% Muslims. We have a lot of Christians as well. But the Muslims here are totally different from the Middle East. For example we don’t have any problem with women rights or whatsoever. Yet, other religions are going well with Islam. I think it’s not about challenging stereotypes, it is changing attitudes of the ARABS! “

Yes, he or she is right: the Problem is not Islam.

The problem is, that some Muslims do not realize that what they believe to be Islamic teaching is in fact tradition. The Hadith’s (traditions) sometimes clearly contradict the Holy Quran. The best example is the stoning of adulterous women as it still happens in some areas  in the Middle East. It was common practice before Christianity, which Jesus abolished (pls. read the article below “Stoning of a child” ).  

In the Quran there is NO mentioning of it but a sura, that cannot be misinterpreted:

“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.” (Quran 4:15)

They somehow manage to distort the Original Message of  Righteousness, Tolerance and Humanity. It was Islam,  that introduced 1400 years ago all these virtues to then pagan Bedouins, who were warring each other in bloody tribal conflicts.  And it is not solely the problem of the Arabs, who count only around 15 % of  the Muslims worldwide.

The reason  is that many preachers still prefer the Hadith’s,  even if there are clear instructions of tolerance, forgiveness, human rights, even animal rights and  “do not kill” in the Quran.

Please read the passages of the Quran on the right panel, No. 7  “What the Quran has to say..”

Traditions change last, unfortunately.


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.”

 

 


Apr 11 2008

Queen Rania: “Send me your stereotypes”

 

 

 

“Send me your stereotypes”

Another woman among the 100 most powerful women in the world is

HM Queen Rania of Jordan

She is an outspoken advocate of women rights and well loved and respected in her home country. She is a new idol of an Arab woman, wise, family oriented and sympathetic.

And as so many of us she is frustrated over the ongoing misinformation and stereotyping of Muslims and especially Arabs and Arab women. She is introducing herself now on Youtube, where the youth of the world is communicating and is reaching out for dialog.

YOUTUBE EXCLUSIVE:  Send me your stereotypes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFf897bUW2Y&eurl=http://www.play.jo/home.php

And as I was reading what kind of response she is getting (some of it is not worth discussing) I watched one remarkable video, that I want to share with you, too :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOeDIj40WxM&feature=related

There is no other way!

 

Queen Rania in Davos

Queen Rania at the 2008 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland

 


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