Sunday, November 12, 2006

Understanding Islam

I am an atheist. Now, why do I want to understand religion? 

I started out as radical atheist, engaging people in discussions and debates, talking about God, showing people the flaws and inconsistencies in their belief systems, and I did all this just to get kicks. I was young. Now, I see religion from a different perspective. I don’t think religion can be done away with. looks like it serves a purpose for humans. From what religious people tell me, it gives hope, it gives them order, a sense of meaning to their life, answers some of the arcane and metaphysical questions. According to some others, it binds people together, brings them closer, gives them faith and confidence in times of crisis. The more I understood history, human psychology, our need for social order and structure, the more I began to become tolerant of religion and its existence. Looks like humans will create an institution similar to religion even if one were eliminate it in the present form. Hence, I attempt to understand religion.

However, religion has its own demerits. The way science and technology can be used to blow up people, make war and even destroy countries; religion can blow up people, make war and destroy countries. It all depends on humans on how they want to use it.

Islam is under question from all quarters. Many of us from non-Islamic religions are in the process of demonizing Islam, citing texts from Koran and incidents from the life of Muhammad, its history and the present events to prove how it is inherently violent and intolerant. I have read many articles that talk about texts from Koran to explain why Islam is a violent religion and how it is incompatible with other religions.

Here’s a site that gives a different perspective- The American Muslim. I have taken some articles from that site and linked it here.

Dr. Hesham Hassaballa has posted five-part series explaining how Islam does not sanction the murder of ‘infidels’; that the verses in the Koran, which tell the believers to ‘fight the infidels’, are speaking of those who were directly attacking the Muslims at the time of the Prophet Muhammad. He adds, “There is nothing, nothing, nothing in Islam that says ‘all infidels must be killed. Nothing.” He clearly mentions, “Fighting in Islam is permitted only in self-defense.” And he agrees, “Unfortunately, the definition of ‘self-defense’ has been grossly distorted to justify inhuman acts of terror and violence.”

Writing about September 11, he says, “This sort of logic was used to justify the attacks of September 11. It is evil; it is diabolical; it is twisted; it is inhuman; it is morally reprehensible. Call it what you wish, but one thing you can’t call it is Islamic. Islam does not sanction or condone the murder of any innocent human being, be he or she Muslim or non-Muslim. Islam teaches that it is wrong, and if it’s wrong, it’s wrong.”


The Grand Sheikh of the al-Azhar mosque, Sheikh Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi, who is acknowledged as the highest spiritual authority for nearly a billion Sunni Muslims, said Islam condemned terrorism in all its forms. He added,Islam considers anyone who kills an innocent person as killing the whole of humanity.” He says that in the name of Islamic law he rejected and condemned the aggression against innocent civilian people, regardless of whatever side, sect or country the aggression came from.


For example, this article says, “There is no part of the Qur’an that says that Martyrs go immediately to Paradise.”


Dr. Javeed Akhter, Executive Director, The International Strategy and Policy Institute, writes that reader of Koran should keep the context in mind. The reader ‘should study, at the least, the preceding and following verses for a sense of the immediate context.’ For example, he gives his interpretation on this verse:

"put down the polytheists wherever you find them, and capture them and beleaguer them and lie in wait for them at every ambush” (Koran 9:5).

He explains, “the immediate context is that of a ‘war in progress’ and not a general directive. It was an attempt to motivate Muslims in self-defense.” He writes:

Muslims were given permission to defend themselves just before Prophet Muhammad’s migration from Makkah (where he grew up) to the city of Madinah, which occurred in the 13th year of his 23-year mission. The danger to Muslims in Makkah at this time was extreme and there was a real possibility of their total eradication. They were permitted to fight back in self-defense against those who violently oppressed them. “Permission is given (to fight) those who have taken up arms against you wrongfully. And, verily, God (Allah) is well able to give you succor. To those who have been driven forth from their homes for no reason than this that, say ‘Our Lord is God.”

He concludes, “It is clear from even a cursory study of the Koran that Islam does not permit, condone or promote violence. Just the opposite, it abhors violence and allows it only in self-defense. A claim to the contrary is no more than bad fiction.” Writing about Bible, he says, “The critics of the Koran should remember that if the Bible were similarly quoted out of context it would appear to be an extra ordinarily violent scripture.”


Many non-Muslims ask why Muslims do not speak up against terrorism. This site lists many articles where many Muslims have raised voice against Terrorism.


Here the author contends that Islam did not spread by sword. That must be hard to prove. He cites the following reason to make his case (a bit flimsy, I would say).

  • War was an exception than a rule in Islam
  • Muslims ruled Spain for 800 years without using sword to convert.
  • 14 million Arabs are Coptic Christians though Muslims ruled for 1400 years.
  • More than 80% non-Muslims in India under Muslim rule.
  • No invasion into Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • No invasion into East Coast of Africa.
  • Koran quotes “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error".
  • Islam is the fastest growing religion in America and Europe without sword.

Muzammil H. Siddiqi, Ph.D., writes, “Jews were among the earliest converts to Islam (in Medina) and, throughout the Middle Ages, Jews found sanctuary to practice their own religion under Islamic rule.” Writing about Jews, he says, “The Qur’an speaks extensively about the Children of Israel and recognizes that the Jews are, according to lineage, descendants of Prophet Abraham through his son Isaac and grandson Jacob. They were chosen by God for a mission and God raised among them many Prophets and bestowed upon them what He had not bestowed upon many others. He exalted them over other nations of the earth and granted them many favors.”


Aisha Harris, an English Muslim lawyer, writes, “In the Prophet's time and indeed in moderate forward thinking Muslim countries today, women are respected and honored.” She adds, “The Prophet Muhammad said it was the duty of every Muslim, male and female, to be educated. He did not say females could only learn to read the Qur’an, and then stop at the age of eight years.” And writing about use of veil, she gives an example, “Indeed, in the Hajj, no woman is permitted to wear any sort of veil.”

She considers Taliban ”unbelievers, the un-Islamic, the oppressors, and the blasphemers.” According to her the Shariah law is a compassionate law. She exhorts the regimes to read the Shariah ‘and act upon it correctly, not superimpose their own interpretation.’

96 comments:

  1. Dr Hesham Hassaballa has a nic little blog that I frequent.

    http://drhassaballa.blogspot.com/

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  2. I would also recommend the site
    www.understanding-islam.com for any matters on Islam. The site is a modern intellectual interpretation of islam that challenges the traditional views on an academic front. It is fast picking up to be a major player in the muslim world. Watch out for this. This is good news.

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  3. Regarding ISLAM was not spread by sword.

    I donot agree.I believe that Islam was spread by sword to a certain extent...but how much should is the important question.

    The reasons why I believe Islam may have been spread by sword
    1.The theory put forward by the author that since 80% of India is still non muslim though muslims ruled for more that 800 years is not so convincing.
    Does the author thinks that each and every religion which has been pushed to the wall by another religion collapses?Doesnot it fight back and resist the change?Is total annihilation of a religion the obvious end??NO.It is not necessary that a religion which has been pushed will be totally annihilanated by another religion.

    2IS IT A MERE COINCIDENCE THAT IN MEDIVAL N ANCIENT TIMES IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE RELIGION OF THE RULING CLAN WHICH SPREAD THE FASTEST...Be it christianity in British Rule...Islam during most of the Mogul rule ....Sikhism during Ranjit Singh Rule.

    3.Let us try to look at the argument that Islam is the fastest growing religion in US and Europe.
    The probable reasons r-
    a.Immigrant population which acounts for a high percentage.
    b.Most of the christain countries r secular.So apostasy is acceptable.However in most of the muslim countries apostasy is punishable by death.Will Islam grow as fast in UK/US as it is growing now if the punishment for apostasy is death?The reason for Islam's high growth in europe is freedom of religion.Give freedom of religion in muslim countries and let us see.....


    The reasons why people converted to muslims r-
    1.Castism in Hinduism.Islam scores over this .Islam considers men as equal in eyes of god.Castism has crept into hinduism.This could be one of the probable reason why Islam grew fast in Medival times.Many low caste men/women may have embraced Islam.
    2.The poltical family offers various incentives to the followers of its religion through job oppurtunities in royal army,taxation on agricultural products,promotion during medival times.

    3.The ruling political family tries to unite the people by trying to make them of the same religion to aviod rebellion against them.The best tool available during those times was -Religion.The chances of people of same religion revolting gainst the ruler was considered less than people of various religious affiliates staying together.A similar example is various govts trying to promote national integration through One Language.Like Hindi in India or Urdu in Pakistan.It is believed that language is a powerful tool for integration.Therefore spread of religion cannot be ruled out and is applicable to all religions.

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  4. God and religion are misinterpreted to be the same. They are different. I do believe in God..but I do not believe in religion....

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  5. Abhishek

    Point1 weakens the argument that Islam was not spread by the sword. But how does it strengthen yours?

    Point2 is not specific to islam. So I guess, you think all religions are guilty to some extent in spreadinig by force?


    Point3b, which you seem to acknowledge as true, still does support the claim that islam even today does not spread by the sword. I agree that islam may not be the fastest growing religion. But that is a different debate altogether.

    And lastly, where is the sword in the subsequent 3 points you raised. Point1 there actuall speaks in favour of Islam as a positive change that spread. Point2 and 3 atmost point to political motives. But I don't see the sword in there.

    Regards

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  6. The last point-(The ruling political family tries to unite the people by trying ...)is the reason why I believe sword cud have been used to a certain extent.
    Although it was done with a political motive but forced conversion is a forced conversion.

    I m sure that u must have heard of Hindukush mountains(Currently a part of Afganishtan).Who were the inhabitats of this mountain range in 10 AD.Where r they now?How did the mountain got the name Hindukush?

    The rulers like gauri n Ghaznawi plundered temples,massacared hindus.Of Course!!!!It was all political motive.To win resources n land.But when thousnad r killed then people not only remember the invader but his religion as well.Further the point 3 is applicable to the dynasties which ruled till Akbar came to power.From Akbar to Shahjahan it was fine..but Ayrangzeb agained pursued the conversion policy with determination.

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  7. Just to give u an example from islamic texts
    "The temple of Somnath was demolished early in my reign and idol worship (there) put down. It is not known what the state of things is at present. If the idolators have again taken to the worship of images at the place, then destroy the temple in such a way that no trace of the building may be left, and also expel them (the worshippers) from the place." .....
    (Quoted in Jadunath Sarkar's History of Aurangzeb from Inayetullah's Ahkam, 10a, Mirat 372)

    A Persian text known as Sahifah-i-Chihal Nasa'ih Bahadurshahi written in 1707 by a granddaughter of the Moghul emperor Aurangazeb, and noted by Mirza Jan in his Urdu work Hadiqah-i Shuhada just cited. Mirza Jan quotes several lines from her work which tell us:


    “...keeping the triumph of Islam in view, devout Muslim rulers should keep all idolaters in subjection to Islam, brook no laxity in realization of Jizyah, grant no exceptions to Hindu Rajahs from dancing attendance on 'Id days and waiting on foot outside mosques till end of prayer ... and 'keep in constant use for Friday and congregational prayer the mosques built up after demolishing the temples of the idolatrous Hindus situated at Mathura, Banaras and Avadh…”

    I wud advise u to go through these books which will be available in any big library specially in middle east.

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  8. TO say Islam was not spread by sword is ridiculously incorrect. It is admirable to promote harmony in religion but to deny past and present is abominable. Just see the text by the medieval Muslim historians. There is a common myth that it was the peaceful nature of sufism which led to spread of Islam, but just consider the following lines written by Amir Khusaro, much admired by seculars.
    The whole country, by means of the sword of our holy warriors,
    has become like a forest denuded of its thorns by fire.
    The land has been saturated with the water of the sword,
    and the vapors of infidelity have been dispersed.
    The strong men of Hind have been trodden under foot,
    and all are ready to pay tribute.
    Islam is triumphant; idolatry is subdued.
    Had not the law granted exemption from death
    by the payment of poll-tax,
    the very name of Hind, root and branch,
    would have been extinguished.
    From Ghazni to the shore of the ocean
    you see all under the dominion of Islam.14

    You can see then on the links
    http://san.beck.org/AB2-India.html
    and
    and http://san.beck.org/2-8-DelhiSultans1300-1526.html

    Just compare the percentages of Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh during independance and present.
    This is not to promote hatred, but anything, even a very flowery harmony founded on falsehood would always be fragile and contradictory.

    There is no religion independent of it's followers, it is followers who constitute a religion. And one has to be really insane to say that the most murders today are not being committed by Muslims. It is true, that Muslims have the grieveances against infidels, but why they are killing themselves then? Why the separatism has crept everywhere? Why even morderate reformers like Zakir Naik, and others who condemn terrorism say openly that they would like to replace secular governments of their countries by SHaria?

    Every religion has it's faults, it's past; but while vast majority of other religious adherents have grown out of religion, Muslims have not. That is fact, can be seen, although it would be blamed every time on others.

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  9. Came here via desi pundit ...
    i had a discussion with my friend on religions and stuff ... he was talking about Islam spreading violence as Koran encourages it. Half an hour into discussion after this, i said, "Krishna told Arjuna, 'go kill you brothers'" My friend took it too personally and started arguing about it was not as blunt as you put it to be. its about fighting as a Kshatriya etc etc. I did not make this point then but now I realise that suppose thousand years from now, Hindus become terrorists, people are going to quote from Gita and say Hinduism encourages violence. It is sad that people quote Koran out of context.

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  10. Shankar:
    Thanks for bringing that up. Yes, you are right- its futile to quote some sentences from our religious texts. Even Bible, when read out of context seems to be very violent and intolerant. Polite Indian (he is on my reading list) has compiled some texts from other religions to indicate how each religion can be seen as violent from texts.

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  11. Shankar and Sujai,
    " did not make this point then but now I realise that suppose thousand years from now, Hindus become terrorists, people are going to quote from Gita and say Hinduism "

    Yes, if right from the incpetion of Hinduism (I do not know what it means) would have started killing those not ready to worship their gods, and unified just on the basis of worship of some common gods, on the basis of some common book, given the dictate that it is duty of every HIndu to kill or subdue unhindus and continued it through out the history periodically, if there was no one who could have said unequivocally that 'killing on the name of religion is wrong, or killing it self is wrong' or that 'all the religion leads to the same God' or 'Ekah sadvipra bahudha vadanti' or if there was not widespread outrage over GUjrat riots inspite of there begining being in GOdhara, if there was drastic reduction in fraction of Muslims who are Indian citizens, if there was widespread belief in only Hindus being our brother instead of "Vasudhiava Kutumbakam" and hence fighting for establishments of Hindu kingdoms, whereever HIndus are in constitute significant fraction of populations like Bali, Fiji, Carrebian islands, Nepal etc., and if there was no direction in the Hinduism about rising above the religion (dharma) thus making Mokha the prime aim of human life and not just reaching some heaven with apsaras, if there was mention of other religious followers as apes and pigs, if there was conviction that others would go to hell however virtuous and truthful they may be, if they do not follow HInduism and it is our duty of blessed HIndus to save others from the life of sin and killing them is not a sin if they do not convert, indeed, I would have been the first to call Hindus a terrorist.

    As far as Bhagvadgita is concerned, there have been at least hundreds of interpretations by various religious leaders of Hindusims, none have said that it implies 'to kill infidels', it was a war within the family, Even Krishna has gone to Duryodhana as a beggar, asking for five villages and he said point blank, I will not give even worth of a needle's tip without war. Arjuna was a warrior, he has killed thorugh out his life, and his refusal to kill was not from righteousness is very obvious. And KRishna himself was sitting in the most vulnerable position of Sarathi (who was first to be attacked and killed) and has taken a vow that he will not take arms. And no where he says in Bhagvadgita to Kill, he asks to fight in the war which was just begining despite all the efforts of Krishna and Pandavas to prevent it. If anyone reads Gita one will find that it is more with the metaphysical contemplation and KRishna is asking Arjuna to fight not with enthusiasm or taking great interest in it, but taking part in something which has come in front of one, however unpleasent it may be.
    Having said that, I do not think, and no one will think that Bhagvadgita is a historical account.
    I can go on, but without giving the impressions of 'I know and You do not know', I also used to think that all this talks of Muslim atrocities is the crap propogated by HIndu fundamentalists, and it is only when I did my research I found out what was so obvious. The very creation of Pakistan was based on what, if Islam was not a political religion. Just tell me any place on the earth where separatist movements based on Islam is not going on in countries whereever they consitute significant fraction of population.
    In INdia, anyone calling a spade a spade is lumped with Hindu fundamentalists-BJP and RSS, and that fear prevents anyone speaking their minds.
    If you guys are not still convinced ask righteous, non jihadists, moderate, peaceful Muslims, whether it is their aim as a Muslim to see India under sharia rule or not? They will say ofcourse adding the caution that only by peaceful means. THen ask the same questions from HIndus, whether they would like to see India under a HIndu rule?

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  12. "Half an hour into discussion after this, i said, "Krishna told Arjuna, 'go kill you brothers'" My friend "
    I would request you to give reference to the above. I will be very thankful, since you are using quotation marks. There is order to kill, although there is strong disapproval from running away from the battle.

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  13. Have a look at the following link
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PWIK8YTZS8

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  14. I completely agree that religious books should not be quoted.But what about historical books like what I mentioned??

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  15. Dear All

    Abshishek, I see your point now on ruler forcing conversion to avoid rebellion. I am intrigued by it though. The common masses hardly had any say in the govt then. I don't see why the govt would want to convert them for security. But yes, they may have sshown favour to converts out of their religious piety. But that is not forced in anyway. That is likely. Anyway, coming back to the point of rebellion. Whatever anticipated rebellion was possible was from deposed kings and their allies. They had their little armies to back them up. And unless they were able to form a coalition they could never have put up any rebellion. If religion were to be used with them, it would be in the context of marriage and not forced conversion.

    Abhishek, I know what HinduKush stood for. It was about a slaughter of Hindus in the region by muslim forces. I don't think the 'legend' has forced conversion stories there. It is about slaughter, isn't it?

    The excerpts you have quoted from Persian historians are about putting down Hindu religious places. I think you would agree if I say that doesn't sound directly related to conversion. Not that I condone these actions, if they really did happen. But that the motive of the muslim kings was to boost their religious credentials in the eyes of their counsellors/scholar base. I will also concede that the scholars may have supported and glorified such activities. But I really doubt if they would have supported forced conversion because the Quran goes unequivocally and directly against forced conversions.

    The verses of Amir Khusrou speak clearly of political supremacy. Yes, it is laced with religious jargon but that is the only lens the muslims had. I do not deny that Hindus were plundered and their temples broken by Ghazni and Ghaznawi. I, as a muslim, condemn such actions strongly. I would have loved to see them tried and executed if they were there in today's time. But then, I think we would be short changing Hindus to suggest that they converted out of fear. If that be the case, who are the descendents of their forced-converted hindus? Would such Hindus bring about a generation that loves Islam? I don't think the muslims in these regions hate islam. They are quite proud about it. I hope you see my point here.

    I think I know why the love for Shariah gets mistaken as hatred for Hindus. It is because (i) there is no successful model of shariah anywhere in the muslim world today (ii) even
    the academic model is scary and prejudiced against Hindus. I agree it is. I loathe the traditional model of Shariah with the jizyah, religious discrimination and the apostasy law etc. I guarantee that if ever muslims are given an opportunity to implement the traditional model of the Shariah I will be among the foremost to oppose it. The desire for Shairah is in any muslim's heart. But what the Shairah details entail can vary from muslim groups to groups. Some ideas may not be very different from is there currently. When a muslim expresses his desire for Shariah it should not be confused with a need for political supremacy. That is not what is intended. Power is not what Islam teaches, atleast to me. I'll leave it at that.

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  16. I beg to differ on the basis of following arguements.

    1.Yes,I agree that most of the texts talk about massacare and destruction by muslim rulers.It doesnot talk directly about conversions.But since you have agreed that muslim rulers did kill non muslims and destroyed temples...do u feel that those people(or their descendants for next four-five generations) could have embraced Islam voluntarily?

    If you were there in those times...let us assume the place to be delhi.Muslims invaders destroy existing temples,massacare non muslims,plunder and loot wealth and gold of the treasury as well of the local population.Dont u expect the population(including you) to develop a hatred towards those muslims invaders.Under such circumstances will you or your family embrace the religion of the invading force?Isn't it a little strange?Not only you but will the next five-six generations(at least) embrace the religion of the force which invaded them?


    2.You said that "I really doubt if they would have supported forced conversion because the Quran goes unequivocally and directly against forced conversions."

    I agree that Quran may not support forced conversions.But Quran also talks about other good things like respect other religions,donot kill innocents,donot loot the wealth of infidels(as long as they donot attack you)..but did those muslim rulers follow those rules?The answer is NO.Then why do u think that at least "this particular" rule was followed?

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  17. I wonder that if BJP starts destroying mosques across India will muslims develop a hatred towards hinduism or not?And morever will it lead to more muslims embracing Hinduism(the religion of the people who destroyed mosques) ?

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  18. >>do u feel that those people(or their descendants for next four-five generations) could have embraced Islam voluntarily?

    No, they would not have embraced islam voluntarily IF (A VERY BIG IF and THAT IS MY POINT) they did choose to follow islam. My point, Abhishek, is that the texts talk about plundering and destroying Hindus and (correct me if I'm wrong) there is no mention of Hindus being spared because they embraced islam during these plunders.


    >>But Quran also talks about other good things like respect other religions,donot kill innocents,donot loot the wealth of infidels(as long as they donot attack you)..but did those muslim rulers follow those rules?The answer is NO.Then why do u think that at least "this particular" rule was followed?

    The scholars have justified (sic) the plunder of Hindus and the temples based on tearing verses out of their context. They would not have been able to find such a verse (to manipulate and twist) to justify forced conversion of Hindus because of the presence of an unequivocal, general and direct verse against that.

    I would also ask you to think about whether Hindus would have actually embraced islam and stayed as muslims and brought up the next generation as muslims under the threat to their lives. They never would have. Plunder and destruction of the temples would have only inceased their hate of the muslims. It could not lead to a sustained conversion to Islam.

    Regards

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  19. I do not know whether the issue of forced conversion can ever be addressed inspite of overwhelming evidences, like killing of Sikh Gurus and widespread evidences in the texts given by Muslims scholars themselves. Then there is the subjugation, jijiya, living under persecution and the lure of rewards which can also be called as forced conversion. What would a weak minded Kasmiri Pandit would do except for connversion, if he has no where to run to under the threat of massacre? And once converted why he or she would not keep on enjoying the superior status, if HIndus who have undergone oppression and resisted conversion would not allow reversion? If there was no forced conversion, why would have parsees ran from Persia once it was invaded by Muslims, I think at least we can show some respect to them by at least giving an ear to them. Then there is example of Harihar Bukka, who were converted by force but could only revert under very speacial conditions.
    It is true that all the religions, I say have their shortcomings, and almost every religion have moved away from the past which was in tune with the contemporary societies, but I have always found futile to convince any ordinary Muslim of the fact. I can find almost every religious adherent to exercise reason and admit it, but I find it is almost impossible for Muslims to admit it.
    Any organized religion with political aspirations is most ugly and disastrous thing for the humanity. And I feel Islam is nothing if it is not a political religion, and so are all those religions which have a certiude of monopoly over the God, a conviction that my God is the only God, my Book is the only Book, my Prophet is the only final Prophet, my religion is the only religion and rest all are devil worshippers, Jahils on the express shuttle to hell. Imposition of Sharia even in the mildest form, and any desire (as one anonymous commentrator has expressed) means just that, non Muslims should have no political rights, they have no other alternatives but to accept to Muslim's conviction that there law should be the law of the land, they should give up all their ideas about any other form of governance, however rational it may be. THere is no compormise, there is no power sharing, and all the separatist movements, Shia Sunni war in Iraq, is the outcome of just that.
    I believe all the religion should be relegated to personal spheres, and should have no say in governance, or politics. WHen we use science universally for sustenance, why not base our society and government on the base of reason, instead of some book arising in 7th century? Hindus do not call for a Dharmic Rajya, neither Christians or Buddhists. How many Muslims can say this simple thing?

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  20. I really couldnot understand your first point.Can u pls elaborate?

    Regarding your second point ..It is just your opinion but if u check many sites u will find that forced conversion is still happening.Would u like me to paste those links.In fact I have a link of dailytimes,Pakistan which claims that many non muslim are converted by force.
    And yes..forced conversion also happened during partition of India.

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  21. Abhishek

    Pls do send me those links at vinod@singapore.com

    Satyanveshi

    If it helps in anyway, I, as a muslim would like to say that - Islam is the the only religion that made sense and worked for me. Other religions were difficult for my limited intellect to grasp. And I do not doubt the sincerity of those who follow other religions. I do not doubt that they derive spiritual benefit from it. I have seen it in sincere Hindus, Christians and Buddhists. Heck, I have also seen sincere athiests (Sujai himself) whose spirituality I do not doubt. Spirituality, for me, is about the integrity of the human being as a whole - his conscience, intentions, words and actions. I do not measure spirituality from words alone. By the way, my parents and all my relatives are Hindus. I will also add that the greatest trails of being a muslim for me have been the attitude of muslims themselves.

    I hope the above helps a little bit in creating some room in your mind to accomodate a feeble good opinion of a muslim when you encounter one in your life. At the end of all this discussion, what I pray for is that we do not harbour ill feelings by default against adherents of another faith. To me, that is of utmost importance than what one thinks of islam.

    Sujai

    Sorry to have used your blog as a discussion forum.

    Regards

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  22. abhishek m,
    If it is me whose point you did not understand, i just meant that there was forced conversion under the threat of death, and the conversion for getting jobs, wealth, security and superior status should also be considered as conversion. For example, if Kasmiri Pandits did not have rest of the India to take refuge into, and were forced to live in Kashmir, many might have converted to Islam without any direct immediate threat to life, but still that should be considered as forced conversion. We know that before 100 years, caste was everything to an Indian, every caste had there own Panchayats and coversion means loosing the caste, one's relatives and status immediately, with no chances of coming back. It is Dayananda Saraswati who started shuddhi movement then only converted Hindus could come back. So this explains the point raised by anonymous why Hindus did not reverse their conversion after three four generations. Hindus did not have any provision for reversion, once a Hindu became a Musllim and has eaten beaf, he or she was permanent outcaste.

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  23. Anonymous,
    Even Salman Rushdie is also a muslim, and there are many, most favourite poet of mine, Mirza Ghalib was also a Muslim.
    However, when I am talking, I talk about the larger population which I have encountered. I would be glad if you can find the instances within the texts, interpretation, or directives of Muslims well versed with scriptures about being good to infidels or supporting your version of spirituality. Your version of spirituality as I recognize is residual of your earlier religion. I am not a muslim, but let me tell you my friend, in Islam, only spirituality is the faith in Allah and Mohammad, rest everything is not just unspiritual but sinful and worse than animals. I would advise you to read the islamic texts available online and commentaries of various persons regarding the treatment accorded to Infidels and Muslims.
    However, the point is not about the presence or absence of religious freedom in Koran or Islamic traditions, but do we see that in today's world? What do majority of muslims beleieve? Just spread the map of the world on your table, mark with red, the regions where widespread political upheavel, human right violations, lack of democracy, violent separatist movements are going on, and then identify these regions by the religion prevalent in them. Then find out the fraction of such regions with larger population being Muslims, then decide yourself. You need not tell me or anyone the outcome, it is up to you.
    As a Hindu, I am bound to respect all the religions, but I am not a very religious person and am unhindu in my thinking, and one such thing is I consider any group of humans trying to monopolise God, and afterlife is mentally retarded. I am not claiming that Islam is such a religion, but if it is, it is also.

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  24. Hi everybody,
    Lest I should be understood against any religion, I should clarify my stand, that I am against the blind following of any scripture, and use of religion as a means of ganging up against other human beings, wherever I see that. I would also add that Islam does not have monopoly over that, there have been such instances in all religions. What is my stand is to keep our religious belief only in the personal spheres, otherwise, there beneficial effects are drastically overshadowed by the evil effects, violation of human rights as well as suppression of free enquiry.

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  25. Satyanveshi

    You asked:
    >>I would be glad if you can find >>the instances within the texts, >>interpretation, or directives of >>Muslims well versed with >>scriptures about being good to >>infidels or supporting your >>version of spirituality.

    I derive my sprituality from the Quran itself. The Quran calls its guidance 'light upon light' which, in consideration of other such verses, is interpreted to be a guidance that amplifies the guidance already there in one's own conscience. The Quran has repeatedly mentioned about the guidance that God has placed in the soul of man and how those who act on it and purify it are the ones who are successful. So, when I see a person, acting conscionably he or she is respecting a God given gift and becoming successful be acting on it.
    There is also a verse in the Quran that makes it clear that the verses which refers to fighting and hostilities with 'kuffar' (a much misunderstood word) refers only to those who are actively hostile against muslims and their practice of islam. The same verse goes on to say that for all others it commands the believers to show the highest standard of righteous conduct ('Al-Birr'). There is another verse of the Quran that pooh-poohs ritual piety and equates belief in God with humanitarian actions, regardless of colour, race, religion. The Quran has addressed entire mankind as One Tribe - The Tribe of Adam. That clearly is an expression of the brotherhood of humanity. It is so much so when the Arabs of 7th century Arabia had tribal identities as much Indians today have national identities. To a person with such notions of brotherhood, you can well imagine, what impact would the Quran have had when it addressed makind as a whole as One Tribe.

    The Quran has said unequivocally smashed claims to righteousness by virtue of association to a said religious identity by asserting that anyone who believes in God and the Last day and who does good deeds will get their reward from their Lord, be they Christians, jews or Sabians.
    The word 'kaffir' is used to refer to those individuals who opposed the Prophet and his mission, knowing quite well what the truth was. The Quran itself states that a revelation is sent to a Prophet to remove all excuses for disbelief and distinguish the believers from the knowing-rejectors (Kuffar) and to punish them.

    I leave you with the above thoughts from the Quran.

    Satyanveshi, any scripture is only a map. It is not the territory itself. The map has to be used along with the conscience - the internal compass - to guide oneself through the trials of life.


    This is my a-scriptural philosophy as I approach the Quran. I did not embrace Islam to wipe out my identity and replace it with a new one. Rather, I embraced islam as the most suitable tool to chisel away the malformed parts of my character.

    Regards

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  26. The link for forced conversions

    http://www.dawn.com/weekly/mazdak/20051203.htm

    http://www.asianews.it/view.php?l=en&art=6305

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2006%5C03%5C29%5Cstory_29-3-2006_pg3_1

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1859728,00.html

    http://www.asianews.it/view_p.php?l=en&art=763

    PS-I need to confirm the news reports of asianews.

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  27. Satyanveshi
    this may interest you -

    http://eteraz.org/?op=displaystory;sid=2006/11/25/816/79011

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  28. Dear All:
    I realize (today) that some of your comments have directly landed into my SPAM folder. I might have inadvertently deleted some of your earlier comments.

    I apologize and I know that I cannot make up for it. I have not deleted or rejected any of your comments intentionally.

    In future, I will be careful, and will also peep into my SPAM folder before I delete messages.

    Thank you for your support.

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  29. Regarding Conversion Issues

    http://www.islamalways.com/
    http://www.watchislam.com/videos/

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  30. Abhishek

    I accept that forced conversions to Islam did happen in the past and do happen in the present. But I have a problem with statements that suggest that virtually ALL of the conversion were forced or even a majority were forced. I also have a problem with the evidence that is usually purported to support the position - the Ghaznavi and Ghouri massacres.

    In the links you provided, I'll take the human rights report as the strongest evidence for forced conversion. In the other report on the hindu couple, I'm afraid it is one sided. But that is just an aside.

    Regards
    Vinod

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  31. Anonymous,
    As I said in my earlier postings, I have no complaints with the followers of any religion or atheists who are not taking the texts literally and are using their heart and mind also while dealing with them. If atheists impose dictatorship of atheism, I will be the first to oppose. As long as there is strong emphasis on acceptance of equality of all religions, there is no problem for me. I am aware of the extraordinary killings and tortures perpetrated by atheists, Stalin, Mao, to name a few, but it is ridiculous to watch religious and irreligious people hurling accusations at each other. Instead of that why don't we admit that there is deep rooted violence in us and we have used every idea, right from religion to nationalism, to racism to socialism to butcher one another, and do something about it. All the religions are divisive in nature, some may be more violent than other and so is atheism.
    But for every interpretation of Islam (or any religion) you give me, I can forward you links from the muslims themselves, claiming Islam to be the only answer for huamnity, and the struggle will continue till all the religion except Allah's are destroyed and subjugated, those who do not believe in Allah and MOhammad will burn in hell and so on. That is endless debate and arguement. If you believe in your heart that although you are a Muslim, no religion has monopoly over God and there might be other religious followers and atheists also who can reach the ultimate truth, and a person should be judged according to his actions and intentions but not whether he has accepted Koran or not, I am totally with you.


    In my opinion,truth is not something which can be told in words to anyone, it is not the outcome life style or belief in any God, and not a reward for following, it comes for those whose hearts are pulsating with ceaseless enquiry for it. All beliefs are divisive, whether they are religious or secular, and the mind living in beliefs can never sum of courage to face the truth of the existence. Truth of existence is for those who refuse to believe in any doctrine given by anyone, with respect to God, life and afterlife etc. A mind caught up in all the chilidish fantasies and imaginations regarding the existence can never be open to the reality, the extraordinary beauty that is life, immensity of existence, and unless one has known it, one would never be at peace with oneself and the other.
    How can a religion or book contain truth? Are not all religion outcome of social conditioning.

    One of the very dangerous aspect of religions according to me is that belief in divine intervention blunts our response to the challenges faced humanity, povery, violence, environmental destruction etc.

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  32. Hearing that Muslims conquered territory "from the Atlantic to the borders of China," many people reading about Muslim history often wrongly imagine that this huge region instantly became "Islamic." The rapid conquests led to the idea that Islam spread by the sword, with people forced to become Muslims. In fact, however, the spread of Islam in these vast territories took centuries, and Muslims made up a small minority of the population for a long time. In other words, the expansion of territory under Muslim rule happened very rapidly, but the spread of Islam in those lands was a much slower process

    The Qur’an specifies, "Let there be no compulsion in religion" (2: 256). This verse states that no person can ever be forced to accept religion against their will. It tells Muslims never to force people to convert to Islam. Anyone who accepts Islam under pressure might not be sincere, and conversion in name only is useless to them, and harmful to members of the faith community.

    Prophet Muhammad set a precedent as the leader of Madinah. Under his leadership, the Muslims practiced tolerance towards those of other religions. They were parties to the Constitution of Madinah and to treaties with the Muslims, discussing religious ideas with the Jews, Christians and polytheists (believers in many gods). The Qur’an records some of the questions that they put to Muhammad about Islam. Later Muslim leaders were required to be tolerant, based on the authority of both the Qur’an (in this and many other verses), and the Sunnah, or example of Muhammad. With few exceptions, Muslim leaders have adhered to it over time.

    The Process of Conversion. The Prophet Muhammad preached Islam at Makkah and Madinah in Arabia for about twenty-three years. For the first ten years (612 to 622 CE), he preached publicly at Makkah. After the migration to Madinah he preached only in his own house—which was the first masjid—only to people who came to hear him. Preaching in houses or in the masjid became the pattern in Islam.

    The first two khalifahs required most of the inhabitants of Arabia who had been pagans to affirm their loyalty as Muslims. Christian and Jewish communities were allowed to continue practicing their faiths. In Yemen there are still Jewish communities. Outside Arabia, however, the khilafah did not force non-Arabs to become Muslims. Historians are surprised that they did not even encourage them to become Muslims. Only Khalifah ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz (ruled 717–720) made an effort to encourage people to accept Islam, and sent out missionaries to North Africa and other areas. During the early khilafah (632–750), non-Arabs began to accept Islam of their own free will. New Muslims migrated to Muslim garrison cities, to learn about Islam and possibly to get jobs and associate themselves with ruling groups. Whatever their reasons their actions became more common over the years, and expanded the Muslim population. These migrants became associates, or mawali, of Arab tribes. The mawali also tried to convince their relatives and members of their ethnic group to become Muslims. Some migrant Arab and mawali families made important contributions in preserving and spreading Islamic knowledge. They became scholars of Islamic law, history, literature and the sciences. In this way, Islam spread in spite of political rulers, not because of them.

    During the years of the Umayyad khalifahs from 661–750 CE, the overwhelming majority of non-Arab population of the Umayyad—which stretched from Morocco to China—were not Muslims. Toward the end of that time, the North African Berbers became the first major non-Arab group to accept Islam.

    Within a few centuries, Christianity disappeared almost completely from North Africa—as it did from no other place in the Muslim world. Jews remained as a small minority, with many living in Muslim Spain. Iranians of Central Asia were the second major movement in the spread of Islam, beginning in about 720 CE. Both of these early groups of converts caused problems for the central government. In North Africa, Berbers set up an independent khalifah, breaking the political unity of Islam. In in Central Asia, the revolution arose that replaced the Umayyad with the Abbasid dynasty. After this time, Islam was no longer the religion of a single ethnic group or of one ruling group.

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  33. In the central lands, the gradual spread of Islam is difficult to trace. Some scholars, such as Richard Bulliet, think that in Egypt, few Egyptians had become Muslims before the year 700, and Islam reached 50 percent of the population in the 900s, three hundred years after the arrival of Islam. By about 1200, Muslims were more than 90 percent of the population. In Syria, Islam spread even more slowly. There, the 50-percent mark was not reached until 1200, nearly six hundred years after the arrival of Islam. Iraq and Iran probably reached a Muslim majority by around 900 CE, like Egypt. In much of Spain and Portugal, Islam became established between 711 and about 1250. After the Reconquista by Spanish Catholics was completed in 1492, and many Muslims and Jews were expelled from Spain, Islam continued to exist until after 1600. Islam may never have been the majority faith during the 700 years of Muslim rule. Spain, Portugal and Sicily are the only places where which Islam has ever been driven out.

    In the East, Muslim law treated Zoroastrians, Buddhists, and Hindus just as it treated Jews and Christians. Muslim rulers offered them protection of life, property, and freedom of religious practice in exchange for the payment of a tax, as an alternative to military service. In Sind (India), the Buddhist population seems to have embraced Islam over about two centuries (712–900). Buddhism disappeared entirely. Hinduism in Sind declined much more slowly than Buddhism.

    All of the lands described above were territories under Muslim rule. After the decline of unified Muslim rule, Islam spread to lands outside its boundaries. Anatolia

    (or Asia Minor), which makes up most of modern Turkey, came after 1071 under the rule of Turkish tribesmen who had become Muslims. Islam spread gradually for centuries after that.

    When the Ottoman Turks reached south-eastern Europe in the mid fourteenth century, most Albanians and Bosnians and some Bulgarians became Muslims. Beginning in the fifteenth century, however, Islam did not spread rapidly in this area, perhaps because the population resented or disliked the centralized government of the Ottoman Empire. Strong feelings about religion and ethnicity in the region may also have been a cause.

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  34. Beginning in 1192, other Muslim Turkish tribesmen conquered parts of India, including the area of present-day Bangladesh. The number of Muslims there gradually increased in India from that time. The people of Bangladesh were Buddhists, and, beginning about 1300, they—like the Buddhists of Sind—rapidly embraced Islam, becoming a Muslim majority in that region. Elsewhere in India, except for Punjab and Kashmir in the north-west, Hinduism remained the religion of the majority.

    In South India and Sri Lanka, traders and Sufis, or mystical followers of Islam, spread Islam and carried it to Southeast Asia by 1300 CE. Over the next two centuries in today’s Indonesia—the Spice Islands—Islam spread from Malaysia to Sumatra and reached the Moluccas in eastern Indonesia. Entering a land where Buddhism, Hinduism and traditional faiths of the island people existed, it took several centuries before practice of Islam became established as it was practiced in other Muslim lands. In Central Asia, Islam gradually spread to the original homelands of the Turks and Mongols, until it was the main religion of nearly all Turkic-speaking peoples. Islam spread into Xinjiang, the western part of China, where it was tolerated by the Chinese empire. Much earlier, in the 8th and 9th centuries, a group of ethnic Chinese Han had accepted Islam. These groups continue to practice Islam today. Islam spread to China through the seaports such as Guanzhou, where the earliest Chinese masjid exists.

    Before 1500, Islam spread widely in sub-Saharan Africa. The first town south of the Sahara that became majority Muslim was Gao on the Niger River in Mali before 990, when a ruler accepted Islam. Over the centuries, many rulers followed. By 1040, groups in Senegal became Muslims. From them Islam spread to the region of today’s Senegal, west Mali, and Guinea. After the Soninke of the Kingdom of Ghana became Muslims about 1076, Islam spread along the Niger River. Muslims established the kingdom of Mali in the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries, and Songhai from1465 to 1600. Farther east, Kanem-Bornu near Lake Chad became Muslim after 1100. In West Africa, like Turkestan, India, and Indonesia, it was traders and later Sufis who introduced Islam, and many rulers accepted it first, followed by others. African Muslim scholars became established in the major towns like Timbuktu, and they taught, wrote and practiced Islamic law as judges. By 1500, Islam was established in West Africa throughout the Sahel belt and along the Niger River into today’s Nigeria.

    In East Africa, traders had spread Islam down the coast by the tenth century, and it gradually developed further in the following centuries. In the Sudan, south of Egypt, the population of Nubia gradually became Muslim during the fourteenth century, through immigration of Muslim Arab tribesmen and preaching Islam, and because Christian rule became weak in the region. Muslim rule and influence, however, did not extend south of Khartoum, where the Blue and White Niles before 1500 CE.

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  35. By understanding that the expansion of Muslim rule was different from the spread of Islam among populations, we can see an interesting trend. Ironically, Islam has spread most widely and rapidly among the population at times when Muslim rule was weaker and less unified. When Muslim political regimes were weak, decentralized, disunited, or completely absent, Islam as a religion flourished and often spread to non-Muslims. Influence by traders, Sufis and influence of Muslim culture in the cities aided the spread of Islam to new areas. On the other hand, strong states like the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans during the fifteenth century, or the Sultanate of Delhi and the Mogul empire in northern India, had little success in spreading Islam, though they did gain territory. Non-Muslim populations seem to have viewed these powerful Muslim rulers negatively, and so they resisted conversion to Islam. Whoever did embrace Islam in such circumstances, if not for material gain, usually did so because of the efforts of merchants, teachers and traveling Sufi preachers, who were not part of the government. Although the conversion of rulers has often influenced other people in a society to accept Islam, these conversions were not the result of conquests. As in West Africa, East Africa and Southeast Asia, they were far from the ruling centers, but came to know about Islam through the example and teaching of traders and travelers who came in their wake

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  36. Resources for further reading:

    Khalid Blankinship, "The Spread of Islam," in World Eras: Rise and Spread of Islam, 622-1500, S. L. Douglass, ed. (Farmington, MI: Gale, 2002), pp. 230-232.

    Richard Bulliet, Conversion to Islam in the Medieval Period: An Essay in Quantitative History (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1979).

    Bulliet, Islam: the View from the Edge (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994)

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  37. bvSee the history of Islam at the web site
    http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/history/chronology/century7.html

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  38. ftftDear All and Sujai,
    All this discussion started with the main topic 'Understanding Islam'.
    Has anyone considered the question of God for oneself rather than relying on what we have been told by others. That Biblical story of Genesis, the main course dished in three of the great religions Christianity, Islam and Judaism has been thrashed squarely by the irrefutable evidences, not only the geological evidences but molecular evidences too. We all are inseparable from animals, evolved over millions of years and we are closely linked with the planet. Love the environment, save the earth from the global warming and the environmental disaster which is to come, because of our stupid mistakes, millions of species are at the risk of extinction today. But that does not matter, does that, because some mad guys told centuries ago that we are created by God just 5000 or so odd years ago and we are the favourite of God, this life is just a temporary shelter and if we follow what we are told, we will die and go to some 'heaven' and enjoy with virgins and all that. Even our heavens are so sexists, nothing for females, no one says that when virtuous females die, they will enjoy a concubine of young males, or does any scriptures say that?
    It is utterly painful to see people falling in such traps, which were invented just to control and regulate and suppress humanity through out the world. One guy said, he knows the GOd and God talks to him and threatens others to follow him, and so did many others; who is right?
    To me, without being insane no guy could say that I know God and follow me, if you want to go to heaven after death, if you do not follow me you are going to suffer in hell. How ridiculous, all this inventions of lunatics. Had there been one such guy, and whole humanity had believed, it would have been still improbable, but there have been hundreds of such guys, each claiming he si the real favourite of GOd? Who is right, Who is victorious in spreading their religion is not the criteron, for the one who prevails on the earth is one who is capable of being more brutal and more uncivilized. Any idealogy which is able to mobilize the army of killers faster wins and prevails.

    They say that violence was committed by atheists too. I understand, but at least atheists were killing for some solid thing, soemthing existent or even power, but what about those crazy lunatics who killed for some fantasy, some imaginations.

    If really GOd comes in fornt of me, I see light or I hear the voices or anything, how will I ensure that it is God, even if God displays some miracle, or anything, how would I ensure still that I am talking to God, that can be some devil, that can be anything from ghost etc. or how can I tell that I am not just hallucinating. There is primal deep seated fear in every human beings, and by appealing to that and by intimidation, greed of security and prosperity one can follow any amount of following. That even our George Bush and Osho Rajneesh are capable of doing.

    Ye all Believers! have you noticed one thing. It is not that God has created us in His image but it is 'Humans' who have created GOd in our image. Our God may not have form, but He becomes as angry when we do something unpleasent to Him or ignore him and threatens to kill us, maim us, send us to hell,and he becomes so pleased when we flatter Him by pretending to be like his slave. On the one hand he is told be great, merciful an all that non sense, on the other hand He is always ready to punish the unbeliever in the fire of hell. What type of tyrant or dictator this God is who asks his follower (Abraham) to kill his son just to show his loyalty to Him. Even an average sinner, killer and rapist has a decency to desist from this, and would come to senses sometime or the other, but our Gods and Prophets are raving lunatics, totally living in their fantasy worlds, utterly violent. Our God too reward us like feudal lord with river of alcohol and virgins. All this crap, it is in every religion.
    Why do we believe in 21st century in this? If God is almighty and all powerful why does religious people go to hospitals, why do they butcher one another with the most advanced weapons instead of just asking from their sadist and yet powerful God to kill their enemies, just by willing so?

    Can anything good, come out of fear or reward? If a person is good just because of fear or greed, even if that fear is fear of after life or hell or greed of heaven, is there any real goodness in that person? Just because majority believes so, does something becomes truth? Why do we insist to base our conduct on some centuries old ideology which is totally outdated and out of touch with reality. Today we know that even experience of God is hardwired in our brain and governed and can be artificially altered by application of electromagnetic field or molecules, on the other hand it is nothing but simple intereaction of matter. You can have very life altering vision under the unfluence of cannabis, LSD, Mescaline, peyote, Iboga and so on (Is that the reason why organized religions were always against them).
    I know all the arguments coming in your heads like who then created this world and all that stupidity carried over thoughtlessly by religious hypocrites for centuries, but all these arguments are so immature and stupid. They were talked and thrashed in to dust by Charvaks, Budhha and Mahaveer and many others, in INdia thousands of years before.
    Anyway, if I have hurt anyone, I am sorry, but for someone who is really concerned with being human and would not sell himself to neither Devil, nor God for the fear or greed of anything, seeing people fighting like spoiled brats over totally crazy ideas, while destroying the fragile environment, and everything taht is beautiful is too painful to me. Probably you guys would understand when you wake from your dead slumber, if ever you would?

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  39. Satyanveshi

    My special congratulations to you, because most of the people who believe in God are doing blind belief - the majority of the people in the world are blindly following the religion of their fathers. An atheist,like you, on the other hand, even though you may belong to a religious family, you are using your intellect to deny the existence of God; what ever concept or qualities of God you may have learnt may not seem to be logical to him.

    Another reason that I am congratulating you is because you agrees with the first part of the Shahada i.e. the Islamic Creed, ‘La ilaaha’ - meaning ‘there is no God’. With others (who are not atheists) I have to first remove from their minds the wrong concept of God they may have and then put the correct concept of one true God.

    My first question to you is: "What is the definition of God?" For a person to say there is no God, he should know what is the meaning of God. If I hold a book and say that ‘this is a pen’, for the opposite person to say, ‘it is not a pen’, he should know what is the definition of a pen, even if he does not know nor is able to recognise or identify the object I am holding in my hand. For him to say this is not a pen, he should at least know what a pen means. Similarly for an atheist to say ‘there is no God’, he should at least know the concept of God. His concept of God would be derived from the surroundings in which he lives. The god that a large number of people worship has got human qualities - therefore he does not believe in such a god.

    Francis Bacon, the famous philosopher, has rightly said that a little knowledge of science makes man an atheist, but an in-depth study of science makes him a believer in God. Scientists today are eliminating models of God, but they are not eliminating God. If you translate this into Arabic, it is La illaha illal la, There is no god, (god with a small ‘g’ that is fake god) but God (with a capital ‘G’).

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  40. Regarding
    "We all are inseparable from animals, evolved over millions of years and we are closely linked with the planet"

    I request you read the following

    http://www.harunyahya.com/c_refutation_darwinism.php

    http://www.harunyahya.com/c_refutation_atheism.php

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  41. I am tempted to accept your congratulations, but unfortunately I can not because it is misplaced. I am not atheist, to me a believer in God and the one who says there is no God, they are both the same. They are both like quarreling to prove or disprove whether someone was playing with the child of an infertile, barren woman. I am very much familiar with the arguments put by the gentleman called Dr. Zakir Naik, but these arguments as well as many other seemingly more valid intellectually were put forwarded by top scholar of the age to Buddha, Mahavir, Nagarjuna, were shown to be totally immature and irrelevant. As a consequences, Gaudpada, the prominent acharya of Hinduism (fortunately who was not adamant enough, like today’s enclosed minds) had to declare that Iswara (The term Iswara means the One Supreme God, similar to the God of Abraham and succesors) is just imagination of mind, and even SHankaracharya accepted that to some extent. And even in modern times there have been intellectual giants like Russel, David Hume and so on, who have spent their lives, thinking on these issues very independently, and they have engaged in debates. Those who are deriving money or power, reputation from people’s timid submissiveness, why would they agree to think with open mind.
    But it is not arguments which settle the issue in reality. Arguments are only for the purpose of debate; the cleverer, more articulate, more persuasive guy wins whether right or wrong. It does not mean anything in terms of reality. There are hundred of Gods worshipped by humanity, even the alien Gods ‘Xenu’ of scientology, which claims, such members like Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and they will argue to their life’s end for the validity of their Gods. Then there are Gods of the tribes, who have their own Gods, so are they stupid, and are we the lucky ones to have ended up within the families, who happened to have followed the right prophet and rest all are dumbheads and stupids. It gives a tremendous satisfaction that I belong to the people who have got it right, it is the mind playing the trick and it will refuse to admit it adamantly. Why mind craves for this ‘belonging to the right people’, is there any thing like ‘right’ people, are we not all product of our cultural conditioning, exposures and cravings of our minds? Or is it we consider whatever we identify with strongly as right.

    It is seeing the structure of the belief in God itself and what does it imply, that reveals the utter immaturity of it. What is God, how would one recognize that there is God, how would one ascertain that? Are not all beliefs ultimately concepts in our minds, and concepts, while tremendously useful in defining the material, tangible things and creatures fail, are useless when applied to psychological world. Can we have concept of something incomprehensible, about which we do not know anything at all? Are not all the concepts derived from thoughts, can we have any concept any thing not perceived by senses except by thought processes and can thought, which is the response of memory, of the past, of the learned association can that ever comprehend anything unknown to it? Is not thought just a mechanical process, involving language and images, can this process capture anything not put together by thought? And after all that, would I not be the one who will decide, which God to Worship, how will I recognize, if I already do not know? Will it not be simple matter of persuasion and my own internal fear and demands. ‘This God, or this religion suits me, satisfies me, seems to me logical and more appropriate, so I will follow this’ –does not this implies that I am doing what I feel to be right without questioning myself, my fears, the way my mind functions, my demands; and until I discover all about myself, how can I be sure what I have decided is right? Is not without self knowledge and awareness of the mind, what I feel to be right or following what I am told to follow, strengthening of ‘myself’, so ultimately I am not worshipping God, but my own imagination, my own creation, my own immature conclusions. A self assurance of oneself being right, being certain of continuity after death, being virtuous according to large number of humans, thinking oneself closer to God- all this gives a sense of confidence and authority and we clings to it so tenaciously that we refuse to face the facts as they are. But it does not matter whether one derives that satisfaction to ‘true God’ or ‘false God’, it is this tendency of mind to being slave to this satisfaction, craving and clinging to this assurance, certainty, why does mind wants it? The problem is not which one is right religion and which one is not, the real problem is asking oneself, why do I want to follow.
    If there is a real God, will that be still thinking in our languages, in the ideas of ‘me’ and ‘mine’? Do we not attribute every of our limited thoughts to God? Will God think in terms of infidels and believers? Will that God be concerned at all whether human should worship him or not? Will that God remain hidden, passing order like a tyrant monarch, through his favourite secretary and not reveal Himself to one and all? Would we be able to get closer to him as a reward for all our being a good, following what his agents say and so on?
    Can we see that the God we have fashioned is not any more different that our own stupid little selves.

    Mind starts shaping the experience according to what one thinks repeatedly. I will ask anyone interested enough to worship a can of coke for one month daily for one hour and after a month, that very can of coke will become very meaningful and relevant. Just because my foolishness is shared and supported by many others, does not mean that it is not foolishness.

    And those who have spend a lot of time in any faith, they find it difficult to admit themselves that they may be fools, even if their mind tell them sometimes. It was not in vain that Ghalib wrote
    “Ham ko maloom hai Jannat ki hakikat lekin, dil ke khush rakhne ko ghalib ye khyal achha hai’
    (We all know what is the truth of Heaven, But O Ghalib! It is a good idea to keep oneself happy)

    I have seen many claiming, oh! All science is there in Koran, or Oh! These nuclear missiles have been talked about in Mahabharat and Ramayan; Or foolish followers (and all followers are foolish, whichever religion they belong to; only person more foolish than a follower is someone who asks others to follow him), will quarrel to prove how their faith is more rational, more compassionate, more logical, and so on, like children fight among themselves how their parents are better than the others’ parents. But tell me just this simple thing, if rationality, compassion, science, logic, they are the criteria being used to tell and defend how a religion is better, why depend on the religion, and instead use the rationality, compassion, science and logic in our daily lives. But of course, then many will loose their livelihood, but does not your very religion tells something about livelihood derived from lies and falsehood, and to say something without having the first hand knowledge about that thing, is that not lie and falsehood? I consider starving while pursuing truth better than the whole eternity of pleasures and all the heaven, while pursuing and propagating falsehood and lies.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Anonymous,
    You would have been closer to truth, if instead of switching over from one religion to other, you had investigated why your mind seeks to follow, why it wants the certainty, why it wants to rely on anyone else to find out the truth of anyone, what are the unconscious motives behnind it. It does not matter whichever religion you follow, unless you understand yourself, changing whatever you do is of no value. In whatever way you have decided to switchover from one GOd to the other, however you might have contemplated, in doing so, you will only strengthen yourself, because it is 'you' who would decide it. But if you would have stopped and seen without being afraid, wihout seeking security, your the ways and demands of your own mind, you would have discovered something truly wonderful, immense freedom and in that freedom you would have found how horrifyingly destructive to human spirit following other is. Because, do whatever you can, you can never run away from your mind, it is always there. Unless one set out to take responsibility for oneself and undestanding oneself instead of finding support on some fantasy, idea, or organized religion, one will never grow, and would never discover what is love, and without love one can never have compassion and peace.
    I hope I am not sounding patronizing, I think you can understand I am not asking you to follow anyone, but to dive within your own mind and heart directly.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Usman,
    I went through the link supplied by you. What is given in that website, can fall into categories of intelligent design and anthropic priniciples. On the basis of arguments for the former, evangelical christians, whom you must be aware of knowing are how much in the power in US, filed in supreme court for teaching of intelligent design as science, and used a lot of money and power but it was ruled recently by a conservative court itself that it is not. MAternal instincts, complexity all can be very well explained by natural selection theory. I would request you to read any book by good biologists like Richard Dawkins and Daniele Dannette etc. and not by non professional religious people who know nothing about biology, theory of natural selection or know about little, who have to further their own agenda.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existence_of_God#Empirical_arguments_.28for.29
    I would advice you to read Origin of species by Charles Darwin, it contains various proofs. Just because something is written in Koran, Bible or Vedas, does not mean that is truth. If you are interested in scientific opinion about the life, talk to very good biologist, and they can tell you all about the evolution and proofs for it. It is not very complex.
    Similarly you can see critic of antropic priniciple in wikipedia.

    But more important thing is can science ever prove GOd, it can never. If science and reasons are to be used as criteria for proving God then are they not greater than God and to be followed.

    If there is God, would he be bounded by natural laws, which is science, and science is nothing except natural laws.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Satyanveshi

    I can't help sense that your past experience with religious people has strongly polarized your view of them.

    Believe it or not I have no problems at all reconciling evolution and islamic doctrine in my mind. I don't see them as conflicting at all.

    I'll leave you with this.

    Osman

    I wouldn't take my science lessons from harun yahya. He can't even distinguish between evolution and abiogenesis. Not only that, he raises a strawman for evolution and then goes on to attack it. It is a pity that most muslims have uncritically absorbed Harun Yahya. None of his works have been peer reviewed. He gets by merely by his printing and publishing prowess.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Satyanveshi

    I actually agree with the grudge that you have against religious people. They tend to argue about doctrine so much being compeltely apathetic to social and environmental conditions around them. This is a sickening trend that is present amongst muslims and perhaps among all religious communities. Religion gets reduced to parroting some lines instead of being a reformatory force within the individual. I myself have had great problems with muslims who spew this kind of rhetoric, for whom it is more important to think that God sits on a throne in the sky than to feed the poor.
    I just want to say that I do empathise with your sentiment on this aspect of the conduct of religious people.

    By the way, the usc link does not work.

    Regards
    Vinod

    ReplyDelete
  46. Osman,
    This is interesting proof of God.
    http://geocities.com/scientific_proof_of_god/Hammond5s1.html

    ReplyDelete
  47. Satyanveshi, Abhishek

    Pls take the time to see this

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RjnvQHWyLE

    ReplyDelete
  48. You are talking about Darwin's theory as though it is a fact, it's not a fact at all. There are several scientists who have spoken against Darwin's theory.

    P.P Gracis who held the Chair of Evolution Study in University in Paris, said that just to judge who our anscectors are based on few wastage's, on few fossils is absurd. And I do know that there are 4 types of phaser the Krimnoid, the 1st one they do see, the 2nd one is the homorectus, the 3rd one is the Neanderthal man and the 4th one is the cromagnol. I am aware of all this, but there is no link at all, that the human being has been created from it, or evolved from it; it's just an assumption.

    There are 100s of scientists who have spoken against Darwin's theory: Frank Salisbury, Widmit, several scientists and even recently there was a conference of scientists of the world to speak against Darwin's theory. So it's just an assumption; it's a theory, it's not a fact but because there was no other theory it took popularity.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Vinod

    Regarding "I myself have had great problems with muslims who spew this kind of rhetoric, for whom it is more important to think that God sits on a throne in the sky than to feed the poor."

    I think you may not be aware of the concept of "Zakat".Zakat is the amount of money that every adult, mentally stable, free, and financially able Muslim, male and female, has to pay to support specific categories people.

    This category of people is defined in Quran Chapter (9) verse 60: " The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarers; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is knower, Wise."

    Islamic law prescribes that every person who has a saving that exceeds the nisaab level i.e. more than 85 grams of gold, should give 2.5% of that saving every lunar year in charity. If every rich person in the world gave Zakaat sincerely, poverty will be eradicated from this world. Not a single human being would die of hunger.

    Collectively, we are a community which gives the maximum charity in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Satya

    I'm really impressed and appreciate your intellect. You have said lot of things, but i think it will be much easier if we take step by step. Shall we?

    P.S.

    You have full right to believe in what you believe ,you have full right to disagree.

    As the Qur'an say's ".. to you your way and to me mine".
    It's not about imposing views but it's about having discussion.

    God reveal about himself (there are many things He chooses not to reveal) ,to us, through
    revealations and also about Do's and Don't . He revealed just enough and has done enough for us to believe, and that's enough. Whether that's enough for you is up to you, with respect to how much you are willing to seek, see and accept.

    Every culture throughout history has been convinced that there is a higher power that watches over them. This desire to reach for that higher power is man’s search to get reconnected to God. All of these people have the idea of God
    in their consciousness because deep in their hearts they know that He is there.

    Does the absence of a tangible existence negates the existence? We see the day light sometimes instead of the sun.we see the universe in such unique symetery and scientific perfectness and we can only acknowledge this happened out of a Superior Intelligent Being. Call Him God or Creator or Allah. Look at the computer- without the chip we canot have any program but by just looking at the chip from outside you cannot tell what is the program- you need a monitor to see it. This world is the manifestation (monitor in display) of God's hidden power- the chip

    ReplyDelete
  51. Osman

    I've been a practicing muslim for 8 years now. I've also been among muslims, from all ethnicities, races and nations all these years. I know quite well the RHETORIC among muslims. Tell me, hopw many muslims know and talk against
    (i) the expulsion of Jamal Miftah from the IST mosque in Oklahoma for speaking against terrorists
    (ii) the violation of the sanctity of a temple in Pakistan
    (iii) the abduction of girls by their fathers from UL to Britain on the pretext of preserving their islam
    (iv) the death penalties given out by the clerics of Iran against the Azeri writer
    (v) the wrongs committed by the Palestinians in suicide bombings
    (vi) the wrongs committed by the Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites in killing each other
    (vii) the injustice done in the Ms Imrana case, where the ulama declard a couple dicorced because the father in law raped the daughter in law
    (viii) the fusion of rape and aultery into one offence in pakistan
    (ix) the loot and massacre of the animist and Christian Sudanese by the Arab Janjhaweed forces in Sudan
    (x) the dilapidated state of Congo
    (xi) the global child trade


    And so on and so forth. Are these talk of the muslims today of the evils within the community ad the problems generally among humanity? Or are they more concerned about where Allah sits, how he climbs the throne, the "evil Jews", the "evil West" and how women need to stay at home.

    I am fully aware of Zakat and what it is and the extent to which it is practiced among muslims. But really, be honest. Is Zakat the 'talk of the muslims'?

    On evolution as fact v theory, pls read this

    http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/gould_fact-and-theory.html

    ReplyDelete
  52. There are enough evidences for the Darwinism, and in geology concerning the age of the earth to refute the Genesis and divine creation of man in the garden of Eden. This is something, which is very clear and out. There are overwhelming evidences from the molecular biology too.
    Our very worship of more powerful, whether worldly or otherworldly, is derived from the center of reward and punishment in the brain, something which we share with so many animals. Almost all the social animals have this hierarchial structure, humans extend it to God. I am not denying the mysterious nature of the existence, but having beliefs about that mystery, denies the very understanding and breeds stupidities. Hence we say, Islam is religion of peace or Christians will go to heaven or Hindus are very liberal, and so on.
    Any conformity, following any edicts instead of understanding the whole of life as it is, always creates a struggle, a fear, and it blunts our natural intelligence, which is an insult to our 'creator' (if it satisfies you). How can we fail to see the violent nature of humans all over the earth, irrespective of their religion, race or nationality? How can we fail to see utter insensitivity to nature and fellow human beings, suppression of human rights, dictatorships, fanaticism, our eagerness to snatch the property as well as freedom of other (whether physical or psychological), our desire to inflict pain on the other as a means of resolving the conflicts, just as we prod cattles to move them? And does it work? And Christians keep on saying that Christ taught love, Muslims keep on saying it is the religion of peace and quote various sugarcoated verses from Koran, Hindus keep on insisting on seeing GOd everywhere and in everyone, though can enjoy their filthy riches, when hundreds of thousands are starving and committing sucicides, No one said more clearly than any other non to kill than Budhha, but countries like Combodia and Vietnam saw the worst massacres. We clearly see that beliefs do not work, they do no mean a single damn thing. Still blindly we keep on following some texts written centuries ago, without ever knowing what is love. We always want to sit at the right side of our God, we always struggle to be His favourite, We all strives to spread the belief of our GOd all over the earth, don't we see how immature these instincts are? Do we ever see how mechanically greedy and scared we are in following the rituals? Have we ever considered that all the belief and our imaginations about God or heaven are thoughts, and can we ever sense that which is beyond time and confinements, thorugh thoughts? Can we know anything not made by man through words, following mechanical patterns and ideas set by any book, and not all the books thoughts, bound by words.
    Words are created by humans, and can we come to something not made by man or mind by following words?

    This earth has enough for all of us, can we not learn to accept our shortcomings instead of looking for higher power? Without love in our heart, we can never communicate with fellow human beings, how we will communicate with higher power, even if there is any? And can we seek love through actions, following things of mind? Can love come in to the mind burdened with belief, those who are seeking security in beliefs, those who are filled with fear of life and even not aware of that and seeking shelter in imaginations.

    ReplyDelete
  53. OSman,
    Thanks for accepting my right to disagree, thanks to Koran, but the real question is whether you are doing it just because Koran says so or because you feel it is right?
    It is true that absence of proof does not mean the absence of something, but absence of proof also does not mean the presence of something.
    Strange are the ways of religious people. Like you said about Zakat for Muslims, Christians also sent for charities. Please forgive me, most Zakat ends up fighting the infidels while millions of earth quake victims live in miseries. Please find out how the relief materials was grabbed by those powerful 'Muslims' in Islamabad, while leaving millions of less powerful, out in cold. Find out about the relief from various countries.
    Similarly, I know, in Hinduism, there is no concept of charity, Mahabharat says that whoever claims anything other than food for oneself and one's family as personal belonging is a thief and should be punished. All the accumulation of wealth is a sinful act and 'dana' and various rituals are means to neutralize those sins. But India is the land where economic disparity is the maximum in the world.

    My view is that why do we need the support of religious scriptures for taking care of ourselves?

    ReplyDelete
  54. Regarding " most Zakat ends up fighting the infidels while millions of earth quake victims live in miseries"

    Well, I would request you to read my earlier comment on Zakat. What it is and whome it's for?

    There was a program on Islam Channel(U.K) about this. Majority of these relief organization has their own Camps or group working directly with the people(kNOWING THE CORRUPTION IN PAKISTAN). I donno what's the source of your

    arguments but i would request you to go to any Relief funds organization's(esp. FROM U.S.A ,U.K) website and you can
    see that they have their own CAMPS.

    I would really appreciate if you can elaborate on what do you mean by "fighting the infidels" .

    ReplyDelete
  55. Now, coming to your other comment about "Love","Humanity" etc...

    What's your definition of Love?
    What's your defintion of Humanity?
    What's your source of your definition ?
    Who define these definitions? who wrote this law called ‘humanity’ who wrote this law called ‘Love’ other.
    and so on.....

    Many define Love,Humanity,and publish lists of characteristics in the light of their own interests. Love, Humanity what it means to you may not be same to others.

    For ex:
    Suppose God-forbid, some one rapes your wife, your mother or your sister and you are made the judge. The rapist is brought in front of you. What punishment would you give him? What would be your definition of Love and Humanity?

    ReplyDelete
  56. Regarding
    "why do we need the support of religious scriptures for taking care of ourselves?"

    Did you ever thought why do we get manual when we buy complex machines? This manual lists the various do’s and don’ts for the machine. The manual has it's own definition of what's is Good and What's is Bad for the machine. You do not define those definition. Imagine what would be the situation of the machine if you don't follow the manual which comes with that machine.

    Similarly, We muslim believes our Lord and Creator,who has created this vast universe, has complete knowledge of His Creation, know what is good or bad for the human being. He chooses to reveal the instruction manual through choosen
    people called Prophet or messenger.Such a manual from the Creator informs and explains: (i) the purpose and objective of the existence of human beings (ii) who created them and (iii) what they should do and what they should
    refrain and abstain from in order to get eternal success.

    P.S.

    Messengers were sent to every nation

    a. To every people (was sent)A Messenger: when their Messenger Comes (before them), the matter Will be judged between them With justice, and they Will not be wronged.(Al Qur’an 10:47)

    b. For We assuredly sent Amongst every people a messenger (with the command), “Serve Allah and eschew Evil”:Of the people were some whom Allah guided, and some On whom Error became Inevitably (established). So travel
    Through the earth, and see What was the end of those Who denied (the Truth).(Al Qur’an 16:36)


    b. And there never was A people, without a warner Having lived among them(In the past).(Al Qur’an 35:24)

    c. And to every people a guide.(Al Qur’an 13:7)

    There are 25 Prophets mentioned by name in the Glorious Qur’an. Some of such prophets are: Adam, Noah, Abraham,

    Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (peace be upon them all).According to a Sahih Hadith in Mishkatul Masaabih Vol. 3 hadith

    No. 5737 Ahmad Ibn Hambal Vol. 5 page 265-266: “There were 1,24,000 prophets sent by Allah God.”
    All the prophets that came before Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) were sent for their people and nation, and the complete message they preached was meant only for that time.

    The last and final instruction manual of the human beings is the Glorious Qur’an. The ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ for the human beings are mentioned in the Qur’an.

    If you allow me to compare human beings with machines, I would say humans are more complicated than the most complex machines in the world. Even the most advanced computers, which are extremely complex, are pale in comparison to the myriad physical,psychological, genetic and social factors that affect individual and collective human life.

    The more advanced the machine, greater is the need for its instruction manual. By the same logic, don’t human beings require an instruction manual by which to govern their own lives?

    ReplyDelete
  57. Regarding

    "Our very worship of more powerful, whether worldly or otherworldly, is derived from the center of reward and punishment in the brain"

    Concept of peace and human values is useless without the concept of the reward and punishment (whether be in this life or life after death i.e. hearafter ). Islam teaches that life is a test, and that all human beings will be
    accountable before God. A sincere belief in the life hereafter is key to leading a well-balanced life and moral.

    Otherwise, life is viewed as an end in itself, which causes human beings to become more selfish, materialistic and immoral.

    For example:

    Is robbing a good or an evil act?
    Is Killing a good or an evil act?
    Is Cheating a good or an evil act?

    A normal balanced person would say it is evil. How would a person who does not believe in the reward and punishment,be it in this life or in the hearafter, convince a powerful and influential criminal that robbing, killing,cheating and so on are evil acts?

    There is no logical argument that can convince him that these things are Evil Except THAT If i convince the criminal about the existence of Almighty God. This God is more powerful than you and at the same time is also just.

    Further He may argue as to why God, if He is Powerful and Just, does not punish him.

    Each and every human being desires justice. Even if he does not want justice for others he wants justice for

    himself. Some people are intoxicated by power and influence and inflict pain and suffering on others. The same people, however, would surely object if some injustice was done to them. The reason such people become insensitive to the suffering of others is that they worship power and influence. Power and influence, they feel, not only allows them to inflict injustice on others but also prevents others from doing likewise to them.

    Every person who has suffered injustice, irrespective of their financial or social status, almost certainly wants the perpetrator of injustice to be punished. Every normal person would like the robber or the rapist to be taught a lesson. Though a large number of criminals are punished, many even go scot-free. They lead a pleasant, luxurious life, and even enjoy a peaceful existence. If injustice is done to a powerful and influential person, by someone
    more powerful and more influential than him, even such a person would want that perpetrators of injustice be punished.

    This life is a test for the hereafter. The Glorious Qur’an says:

    “He who created Death And life that He May try which of you Is best in deed;And He is the Exalted In Might, Oft-Forgiving” [Al-Qur’an 67:2]

    Further The Qur’an says:

    “Every soul shall have A taste of death: And only on the Day Of Judgement shall you Be paid your full recompense.Only he who is saved from the Fire and admitted to the Garden Will have attained The object (of life): For the life
    of this world Is but goods and chattels Of deception.” [Al-Qur’an 3:185]

    Final justice will be meted out on the Day of Judgement. After a person dies, he will be resurrected on the Day of
    Judgement along with the rest of mankind. It is possible that a person receives part of his punishment in this world. The final reward and punishment will only be in the Hereafter. Almighty God may not punish a robber or a
    rapist in this world but He will surely hold such a wrong doer accountable on the Day of Judgement and punish him in
    the hereafter i.e. in the life after death. Life on earth is a period of trial or test or examination, the result of
    which will be reaped in the Hereafter.


    So,it is impossible to prove to any person who is doing injustice, and has no conviction or belief in the reward and punishment in this life or life after death, the concept of human values and the good or evil nature of human deeds
    and actions.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Finally Regarding "....whether you are doing it just because Koran says so or because you feel it is right? ....."

    In other words 'Do we do what is good because it is good or for fear of punishment and expectation of reward. If we do it for the former, then what is the use of believing in the hereafter, and if we do it for the latter we will not
    be acting morally.

    The answer to this question depends on whether God enjoins us to do an act because it is good, or whether it is this Divine injunction which makes the action good. And it seems to me to be very clear that the goodness of an act is logically prior to its being an object of a Divine injunction. Otherwise it would be a tautology to say 'God enjoins what is good' because it would only mean God enjoins what He enjoins. But the Qur'an abounds in statements like the former, and it is very clear that they are not intended to be tautological.

    The answer to our original question then is that we do what is good because it is good. But since to give good for good is itself good, there is no contradiction in saying that one does good because the God whom he loves and in Whom he puts his trust tells him to do it, and because he expects to be rewarded by Him for doing it.

    According to the Qur'an God created man of an original nature--called fitra--which possesses what we might call a moral sense, which enables man to recognize without any external aid certain acts like telling the truth and being
    grateful as good, and by reason of which he is inclined to do good once he comes to know it. True religion is built on the basis of this original human nature. Religion strengthens nature and brings to fruition the seeds of virtue that reside in it. That is why Islam is said in the Qur'an to be fitrat-Allah and why the Prophet says that he was sent only to perfect good conduct. The Qur'an praises those in whom this moral sense is sharp and condemns those in whom it has become so blunt that the ugliness of vice becomes in their eyes the model of beauty:

    "But God has endeared to you belief, decking it fair in your hearts, and He has made detestable to you unbelief and ungodliness and disobedience. Those they are the right minded, by God's favour and blessing, God is All-knowing,
    All-wise." [Chapter 49: 7-8]

    "Say: 'Shall we tell you who will be the greatest losers in their works.' Those whose striving goes astray in the present life while they think that they are working good deeds." [Chapter 18: 103-104]

    "And when he turns his back, he hastens about the earth, to do corruption there, and to destroy the tillage and the stock; and God loves not corruption." [Chapter 2 : 205]

    So a Muslim does good because he is endeared to it, and eschews vice because it is detestable to him. But since a Muslim surrenders himself to God and loves and fears Him, and since God loves virtue and enjoins it and hates vice
    and forbids it, he does the former and avoids the latter in obedience to his Lord. And since those who do good shall--in the hereafter--live a life of bliss, the highest type of which would be the state of being near to God and enjoying His sight, while those who lead an evil life shall suffer all kinds of chastisement the most terrible of which shall be the state of being deprived from that sight

    Why should one who did good live in such bliss, one might ask? and the Prompt Qur'anic answer is:

    "Shall the recompense of goodness be other than goodness." [Chpater 55: 60]

    ReplyDelete
  59. Anonymous

    Regarding

    "Are these talk of the muslims today of the evils within the community ad the problems generally among humanity? Or are they more concerned about where Allah sits, how he climbs the throne, the "evil Jews", the "evil West"

    None of the Muslims that I know in my life or even interact with in this virtual environment subscribe to the more concern about where Allah sits, how he climbs the throne,as you have stated above. I suggest for your own benefit you find better company.

    I would request you to simply change the source of information. Let me give you an example of how the biased media is?

    On October 12th 38 highly respected and theologically diverse clerics from the Muslim world wrote what is widely considered a respectful and engaging "Open Letter" to the Pope in response to his controversial comments about Islam made during his Regensburg address in September. Not only was the letter of historical significance, but it also represented an articulate and reasoned invitation to dialogue from Muslims with the Papacy on matters of theology and faith. The signatories included top scholars from Bosnia, Croatia, Egypt, the United States, the United Kingdom, Jordan, Kosovo, Oman, Russia, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Iran.

    Around the same time, a single Muslim cleric in Australia, Sheik Taj Aldin al-Hilali, delivered a sermon to about 500 followers where he allegedly compared some women who do not dress modestly to uncovered meat being left out for a cat.

    I wonder which story received more news coverage.

    If we follow the Google news aggregator as a gauge, at the height of the news coverage of the Open Letter to the Pope, the story appeared in about 220 different news sites across the world. The only major English language news web site to carry the story on the front page was BBC. Most notably, the major US media outlets almost entirely ignored the event. With the exception of a front page story that week in the Christian Science Monitor and a small story aired on CNN, the letter came and went without much fanfare.

    As the fury over Hilali's remarks continue to gain momentum, according to Google there are currently over 800 news services carrying the story. That is quadruple the coverage of the Open Letter. I would expect this to increase before it subsides. The cleric's remarks are drawing furious reactions from around the globe, and the life of the story is likely being extended by the already tense debate over Muslim women who wear veils in the UK.

    The open letter signed by 38 scholars, who represent all eight major schools of thought in the Islam, is more representative of the global Muslim community than this one lone Australian cleric. However, judging by the prevailing media coverage any casual reader would think the exact opposite.

    When Pat Roberston or Jerry Fallwell make embarrassingly ignorant comments, they are dismissed as the ranting and ravings of old senile men. When any Muslim cleric does something similar, in the court of public opinion Islam is guilty of the offense until proven otherwise. When it comes to the media, Muslims can hardly catch a break.

    The sad reality is that if the 38 scholars who wrote the Open Letter really wanted the world to hear what they had to say, they should have first congregated in Cairo and burned an effigy of the Pope.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Osman,
    Almost all the charities given by religious people go to promote specific religious purposes. Fighting the infidels, means efforts aimed at conversion of other religion followers, or intimidation, terrorizing the public to fulfill specific religious aims, by violent means (as case with salafist jihadis) or non violent means (promotion of religious agenda by lobbying in democratic countries by evangelical christians), or mobilizing religoius movements for various political purposes (Hindu fundamentalist organizations in India, ultimately leading to hideous violence). Although all the religious charities, when start appear to have noble motives but the intrinsically divisive nature of religion makes the subsequent conflicts inevitable.
    And all this charity is some sort of tax, offering to God because of the license provided by religion to humans beings for unlimited, uninhibited ownership and acquisition of resources. Just give 2-3% and one can hoard the rest, exploit every resource of the planet for the selfish means, without giving slightest of regard for any other creature, after all we are the sole possessors of divinity. And we have 2% of adult population accumulating more than 50% of wealth. And in such societies, marred by greed and acquisition as well as corruption, what has religion done. India is a secular country, Nepal is Hindu, Pakistan is Muslim, but just tell me if there is any difference in corruption anywhere. WE have followed religion for thousands of years, and we have not solved any human problem. The self righteous pious followers start with strong belief in the divinity of their book or founder, and they move in circles, without moving an inch from there, they start with that conclusion, and then what is the use of communication.
    While any reasonable person, with thinking free mind would say that even if there are some solutions to the problems in religion, that is not enough, we need much more. But religious people always insist that their texts contain all the answers, readymade, uptodate and complete for all the generation to come. And when they use perverted, distorted reasoning like instruction manuals (which I will be taking up shortly), this itself means that they are relying on reason, then why not take up the reason to solve the problems, enquire deeply. If today it is proved beyond the reasonable doubt that God exists, and particular person was his messenger, every reasonable person will accept it. But if contrary is proved, would any religious person accept it?
    Instruction manuals are needed only when we are operating on the things outside of ourselves. When we are dealing with some instruments, with which we are not familiar. Self sufficient systems do not need instruction manuals, or we have the instruction manuals inside us in the form of genetic information. If there is some divine instruction manual, that is. If there had to be any, and if there is God, He would have put all that inside the brain, we would have been born with instruction manual memory. Living beings do not need any instruction manual. Will we need instruction manual to understand our own heart, our greed, our ignorance, our fear? Can any instruction manual give us love and peace? And even the most religious person I have seen, when they fall sick, they rely on the ‘instruction manual’ of physician, and not of Koran or Bible. All this instruction manual talk of telling other, what is good is the worst sickness of human mind. And who will interpret these instruction manuals. There are sects with ridiculously diverse interpretations quarreling for supremacy all over the world. They all agree in one thing – kill.


    About criminals, there has been some good research done in sociobiology and psychology regarding these things. You will be surprised to know that now, sex offenders can be studied, and rapes or such incidents can be prevented by psychological treatments or medical intervention.
    There are well documented studies about aggression, violence and criminal behavior and how they are regulated, but unfortunately they are not well funded. Who cares for them, when we are more interested in spending on our militaries, and we have to fight with one another to establish which religion is superior and we rely somehow on God to divinely mend everything, if we just keep on following Koran or Whatever medieval or ancient book we follow.

    You may think that fear based correction of criminals, those primitive justice systems like stoning to death or corporal punishments are the answer, but do you know about the tragedy of justice systems. High and powerful, get away with every thing, and poor and weak suffer. If religion was any cure, we would have an ideal society right now. All the fear based interventions are temporary, violence is never solution to any problem, it can only deal with the problem for short time. While the crimes are one thing, fear is even more deadly thing. And if one is even worshipping God because of fear or reward, one is not worshipping God at all, because all fear and reward are self centered, self enclosing instincts.

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  61. Osman,
    I am happy to know that there can be goodness independent of divine injunction in our opinion. But how would you call whether it is good or not? WHat determines it's goodness? Is goodness not a relative term?
    Regarding criminals, I will say that there have been tribal societies, believing in none of our mighty GOds, who have crime rate so low, that anthropolgists were surprised. One tribe called Marias of Abujhmad in India was one tribe. OFcourse, now we have contaiminated them with our civilized ideas, so I do not know.

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  62. verse 33:21 of the Koran

    Mohammed is uswa hasana al-insan al-kamil--the perfect model of human conduct for all time.

    Anyone who believes that decapitating 600 bound prisoners, raping women after murdering their husbands, marrying 6-year olds (and raping them at age 9), lying about his aggressive intentions, deceptively making and then breaking treaties in order to conquer others, raiding caravans,
    demanding 20% of the loot captured from conquered infidels, and assassinating poets and other "enemies," is the example of the perfect pattern of human behavior--that person needs medical help rather than education.

    One poster above says if a person was converted by force why doesn't he hate Islam?

    A south asian muslim would harp on his arab ancestry (Musharraf is a direct descendant of Mohammed, I dont say, dictator says himself in his book) and superiority rather than tell the truth (which he knows in his heart) that they are ex-buddhists/hindus separated by a few raped generations. Muslims today in India don't have the bile to digest this truth.

    If your forefathers WERE converted under duress(sword etc), what would you do NOW? Would you tell that your forefathers were cowards who
    converted to Islam fearing for their life? I don't think so. Simply put, denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

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  63. Anonymous

    I would really appreciate if you can give the source of your information..

    Before we can go into that discussion,Let's See What 12 Famous People Have Said About Muhammad (peace be upon him) Throughout the Centuries . . .

    1. His complete biography has been authenticated and circulated amongst scholars around the world starting while he was still alive and continuing up until today. One of the first examples i quote from is from the Encyclopedia Britannica, as it confirms:

    (regarding Muhammad) ". . . a mass of detail in the early sources shows that he was an honest and upright man who had gained the respect and loyalty of others who were likewise honest and upright men."
    (Vol. 12)

    2. Another impressive tribute to Muhammad, peace be upon him is in the very well written work of Michael H. Hart, "The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History." He states that the most influential person in all history was Muhammad, peace be upon him, with Jesus second. Examine his actual words:

    "My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular level."
    Michael H. Hart, THE 100: A RANKING OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS IN HISTORY, New York: Hart Publishing Company, Inc., 1978, page. 33.


    3. According to the Quran, Prophet Muhammad was the most excellent example for all of humanity. Even non-Muslim historians recognize him to be one of the most successful personalities in history. Read what the Reverend R. Bosworth-Smith wrote in "Mohammed & Mohammedanism" in 1946:

    "Head of the state as well as the Church, he was Caesar and Pope in one; but, he was pope without the pope's claims, and Caesar without the legions of Caesar, without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a palace, without a fixed revenue. If ever any man had the right to say that he ruled by a Right Divine, it was Mohammad, for he had all the power without instruments and without its support. He cared not for dressing of power. The simplicity of his private life was in keeping with his public life."

    4.Statements from famous non-Muslims about Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, consider this:

    "Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images; the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?"
    Lamartine, HISTOIRE DE LA TURQUIE, Paris, 1854, Vol. II, pp. 276-277.

    5. And then we can read what George Bernard Shaw, a famous writer and non-Muslim says:
    "He must be called the Savior of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it much needed peace and happiness."
    (The Genuine Islam, Singapore, Vol. 1, No. 8, 1936)

    6. Then you can find that K. S. Ramakrishna Rao, an Indian (Hindu) professor of Philosophy, in his booklet "Muhammad the Prophet of Islam" calls him the "perfect model for human life." Professor Ramakrishna Rao explains his point by saying:

    "The personality of Muhammad, it is most difficult to get into the whole truth of it. Only a glimpse of it I can catch. What a dramatic succession of picturesque scenes. There is Muhammad the Prophet. There is Muhammad the Warrior; Muhammad the Businessman; Muhammad the Statesman; Muhammad the Orator; Muhammad the Reformer; Muhammad the Refuge of Orphans; Muhammad the Protector of Slaves; Muhammad the Emancipator of Women; Muhammad the Judge; Muhammad the Saint. All in all these magnificent roles, in all these departments of human activities, he is alike a hero."

    7. What should you think about our prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, when someone with the worldly status such as Mahatma Gandhi, speaking on the character of Muhammad, peace be upon him, says in 'YOUNG INDIA':

    "I wanted to know the best of one who holds today undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind... I became more than convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet, the scrupulous regard for his pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the 2nd volume (of the Prophet's biography), I was sorry there was not more for me to read of the great life."

    8. English author Thomas Carlyle in his 'Heroes and Hero Worship', was simply amazed:
    "How one man single handedly, could weld warring tribes and wandering Bedouins into a most powerful and civilized nation in less than two decades."

    9. And Diwan Chand Sharma wrote in "The Prophets of the East":

    "Muhammad was the soul of kindness, and his influence was felt and never forgotten by those around him"
    (D.C. Sharma, The Prophets of the East, Calcutta, 1935, pp. 12)

    Muhammad, peace be upon him, was nothing more or less than a human being, but he was a man with a noble mission, which was to unite humanity on the worship of ONE and ONLY ONE GOD and to teach them the way to honest and upright living based on the commands of God. He always described himself as, 'A Servant and Messenger of God' and so indeed every action of his proclaimed to be.

    10. Speaking on the aspect of equality before God in Islam, the famous poetess of India, Sarojini Naidu says:

    "It was the first religion that preached and practiced democracy; for, in the mosque, when the call for prayer is sounded and worshippers are gathered together, the democracy of Islam is embodied five times a day when the peasant and king kneel side by side and proclaim: 'God Alone is Great'... I have been struck over and over again by this indivisible unity of Islam that makes man instinctively a brother."
    (S. Naidu, Ideals of Islam, vide Speeches & Writings, Madras, 1918, p. 169)

    11. In the words of Professor Hurgronje:

    "The league of nations founded by the prophet of Islam put the principle of international unity and human brotherhood on such universal foundations as to show candle to other nations." He continues, "the fact is that no nation of the world can show a parallel to what Islam has done towards the realization of the idea of the League of Nations."

    12. Edward Gibbon and Simon Ockley, on the profession of ISLAM, writes in "History of the Saracen Empires":

    "I BELIEVE IN ONE GOD, AND MAHOMET, AN APOSTLE OF GOD' is the simple and invariable profession of Islam. The intellectual image of the Deity has never been degraded by any visible idol; the honor of the Prophet have never transgressed the measure of human virtues; and his living precepts have restrained the gratitude of his disciples within the bounds of reason and religion."
    (History of the Saracen Empires, London, 1870, p. 54)

    13. Wolfgang Goethe, perhaps the greatest European poet ever, wrote about Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. He said:

    "He is a prophet and not a poet and therefore his Koran is to be seen as Divine Law and not as a book of a human being, made for education or entertainment."
    (Noten und Abhandlungen zum Weststlichen Dvan, WA I, 7, 32)

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  64. Satya

    What you are promoting is the idea that religion is the main reason for our problems.

    May I say something shocking? Religion is not the major cause. Almost without fail, Problem are caused by people intoxicated by power and influence and inflict pain and suffering on others. While it is very popular to blame
    religion for virtually everything these days, a simple honest look at the realities reveals that religion is not the source of the problem. Often time "Religion" is made the scapegoat.

    If you want to judge how good is the latest model of the "Mercedes" car and a person who does not know how to drive sits at the steering wheel and bangs up the car, who will you blame? The car or the driver? But naturally, the
    driver. To analyze how good the car is, a person should not look at the driver but see the ability and features of the car. How fast is it, what is its average fuel consumption, what are the safety measures, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Regarding "WE have followed religion for thousands of years, and we have not solved any human problem"

    Either you have read little history or not at all. I request you to read the Islamic History and Civilization which had changed society.Islam came as a guiding light into a dark world – a world that needed a lightning bolt to wake up from its deep slumber. It came in an age of truth-defying Jahiliya (ignorance) when the worship of one True God from China and Japan in the East to Morocco and Iceland in the West was replaced by worship of myriads of demigods. It came to a nation that boasted of its depth of corruption and debauchery in social and moral issues. Historically, Islam came after the fall of the Roman Empire and the collapse of the ‘dark ages.’ In the nearby Persian Empire, there was a lot of political bickering for power and in far-away Roman Empire, there were signs of decadence everywhere, and in Arabia, the land that was supposed to reshape the destiny of mankind, its people were devoid of compassion and moral values.

    But it was in Arabia, at the confluence of the three great continents of Asia, Africa and Europe, that Muhammad (S)
    - the Prophet of Islam, a Meccan from the illustrious family of the Quraysh, a descendant of the Babylonian Abraham,and the Egyptian Hagar - was born around 570 C.E. (or 53 B.H. of the Muslim calendar). And here it was that the Qur'an was revealed to Muhammad (S) in Arabic in the year 610 C.E. (13 B.H). Coming into a world that was marred by
    corruption and disintegration, Islam provided a unique pattern that was unknown in the entire history of man-kind.

    "Islam provided three basic elements - faith in one God (Allah), reform of self and reform of the society at large.
    Islam remained as a religious commitment, a socio-economic-political program, but above all a vehicle for the ‘continuous reform’ of the society."

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  66. All religions basically exhort mankind to be righteous and eschew evil. But Islam goes beyond that. It guides us towards practical ways of achieving righteousness and eliminating evil from our individual and collective lives.
    Islam takes into account human nature and the complexities of human society. Islam is guidance from the Creator Himself. Therefore, Islam is also called the Deen-ul-Fitrah (the natural religion of Man).

    Let me give you example of various evils things in our society and how Islam had (and will) solve the human problem.

    1. Racism

    The dictionary defines racism as “discriminatory or abusive behavior towards members of another race” or “the
    prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races”.
    The world has seen an increase in racism. Not only were people affected by this trend, but so were religions, creeds
    and ideologies. Before long Religions and creeds were justifying the superiority of some over others. An example of
    this is the religions of Judaism and Hinduism. By their very teachings, both of these ancient religions are racist.With Judaism, a person cannot become a Jew unless be/she is born from a Jewish mother. This then means that all non-Jews cannot enter Paradise, simply because they were not born into this faith!

    With Hinduism, it has also created one of the worlds most ancient forms of racism - the caste system. According to Hinduism, the higher castes originate from the upper body-parts of God, such as the chest and head, whereas the
    lower castes come from the lower bodyparts of God such as the legs and feet! This theory of degrading the Creator then justifies the oppression which happens to the lower castes. Such is this oppression, that if a higher caste
    person walks through the shadow of a lower caste person, he deems himself to have become impure and consequently has to bathe himself!

    Other religions such as Christianity, have often been used to justify racist ventures. During the age of exploration the European powers used Christianity to justify their own imperial ambitions. The infamous Spanish Conquistadors used Christianity as a pretext to wipe out the Inca and Aztec civilisations of Central and South America during the 15th and 16th centuries. Nations such as the Dutch and the British used Christianity to justify their horrendous treatment of native Africans. The notorious Trans-Atlantic slave trade saw one of the worst forms of racism ever
    implemented. This form of racism saw entire cultures wiped out and replaced with the culture of their racist aggressors. This is why even today, many of the surnames which people from the Caribbean have, are in fact the names
    of their ancestral European slave masters.

    The 20th century has also seen attempts to justify racism and its theories. During the 30's and 40's the German Nazi regime of Adolph Hitler used the credentials of the Aryan people, to legitimise his ruthless actions. The Apartheid
    regime of South Africa also used racism and racial segregation to maintain its existence. This has continued until today with many groups advocating clear White supremacy over the rest of mankind. The Ku Klux Klan, the British National Party and the Aryan Nation are examples of such groups.

    The faces of racism are many. It should not be thought that racism is only conducted by the Europeans or Whites.Racial superiority over Whites has also been advocated by Black people during this century. After centuries of oppression, the Black community in the Western world expressed its sentiments in an explosive way. The decade of the 60's saw many civil rights movements emerge. Along with these came all the radical movements who popularised slogans such as 'Black Power'. Before long there were many movements who openly advocated racism against White people. What made things even worse, was that some of the most vocal movements attached themselves to the religion of Islam - a religion which (as will be seen) destroys racism from its very root. Amongst these groups were the Nation of Islam
    and the Ansarullah. They openly advocated that the White people were devils and Black people were gods. Their open (but false) attachment to Islam helped to visualise Islam as being racist - something which could not be further from the truth.

    The Solution

    So what is the solution for this world-wide epidemic? Because humans are weak, it would be imperative that we adopt some, divine method in tackling this Devilish disease. This method is none other then ISLAM, the untainted and pure religion which came to benefit humanity through its teachings.

    Just as Islam explains the origins of racism, it also tells us how to combat it. This is firmly expressed in the Qur'an, when Allah explains the reason for our variety as different races and peoples:

    "O' mankind, We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another. Indeed the most honourable of you in the sight of Allah is the one with the most piety"
    (Surah Al-Hujjarat 49:13)

    It is clear from this verse as to how humanity should act towards one another. We have been created like one huge beautiful garden with many different types of flowers in it. Each flower is clearly distinguished from the other,yet they all belong to the same garden. This unity of the nations can only be achieved when people recognise that it
    is Islam which will bring the different peoples of the world under one banner. And it is within this banner that people can achieve true piety and thus excel themselves in the sight of Allah.
    The teachings of Islam cut racism from its very root. By looking at the sayings and actions of the last Messenger, Muhammed (saws), we can see how racism was truly obliterated with the advent of Islam. The Prophet (saws) said:
    "Indeed there is no excellence for an Arab over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab over an Arab, nor a White person over a Black one, nor a Black person over a White one, except through piety".

    A statement like this tells us that this man, Muhammed, was truly a recipient of Divine inspiration. His words were not empty like the words of so many leaders today. Rather, he was always the first to lead by example, and this is why we find that during his lifetime so many different types of people accepted Islam. From amongst the Prophet's companions we find that he had an Ethiopian companion by the name of Bilal. Bilal had been a slave before he accepted Islam, and as a result his standing in Arabian society was worse then the animals. However, upon Bilal's
    conversion to Islam, the force to combat the disease of racism, became known to all. Bilal was given a status like no Black slave had been given before. He was given the immense honour of being the first person to call the Adhaan (call to prayer) in Islam's glorious history. More importantly however, he was accepted as an equal and a brother by
    the Prophet and his companions.
    Through its teachings and practical implementation by the Prophet and his companions, Islam has spread to every corner of the known world. You will not see a more assorted group of people than the Muslims. From China to Spain,Siberia to Australia - never has there been such a wide body of people all united under one banner - the banner of Islam.

    The rites and injunctions of Islam also help to overcome racism. An example of this is the prayer of the Muslims.

    When Muslims pray in congregation, they are commanded by Islam to join together their ankles and shoulders to those next to them. Whether a man is a king, a leader, a stave, a judge or even a beggar, this command is incumbent upon
    every Muslim. Thus Blacks, Whites, Arabs, Indians, Malays and all other races: are truly united by worshipping their Creator. This unity is not only confined to the prayer, but to the whole of ones life, to the extent that Muslims
    try to fall under the saying of their beloved Prophet who said: "The example of the believers in their mutual love
    and mercy is like the example of a body; if one part of the body feels pain, then all the body suffers in sleeplessness and fever . It is evident that a Muslim follows this example set by the Prophet, when he/she
    feels distress at the situation of the Muslims around the world, be they from Africa, Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia etc. Unity amongst such a wide range of people, can only be created by Islam.

    Another rite which has helped so many to eradicate racism from their lives, is the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca), which
    is obligatory upon every Muslim at least once in a lifetime. The Hajj brings together the peoples of the world, all at one time of the year, in one place. Anyone who has witnessed this annual rite of Islam, will truly testify that
    there is nothing quite like it. The breathtaking view of millions of people gathered together, all for the purpose of worshipping Allah, is unforgettable. It was this rite of lslam which changed the life of the famous Black
    nationalist-turned-Muslim, Malcolm X. Describing his experiences he said: "Never have I witnessed such sincere hospitality and overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood as is practised by people of all colours here in this
    ancient Holy land.... There were tens of thousands of pilgrims from all over the world. They were of all colours, from Blue-eyed blondes to Black-skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a
    spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the White and non-White. America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its
    society the race problem".

    The words of Malcolm X can be added to; it is not only America which needs to understand Islam, but rather the whole world. Islam has brought so much to the lives of so many, that it is inconceivable that racism could be defeated without it. From the moment the Prophet preached his message of unity under the worship of Allah, did the light of
    hope shine forth in this World of darkness. Honour has been given to all those who have entered Islam. Throughout the ages, those who normally would have been downtrodden were rescued and dignified by Islam. Today, this is still continuing. People who were clearly racist (like Malcolm X) have been humbled and overwhelmed by the truth of Islam. British National Party members, Ku Klux Klan members, members of the Nation of Islam and many others from racist organisations, have all become united under the banner of Islam. It is now up to the people of the world to choose;
    do they want to stay in the darkness of racism or do they want to be illuminated by the light of Islam?

    Either way, Islam will still be, the ONLY solution for racism.

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  67. 2. Poverty, hunger and starvation.

    There is nothing more horrifying than the realization that as we live our happy lives here, millions of our fellow
    human beings live in hunger and face starvation. The majority of the world population today lives in poverty. It is clear that the world system we have set up today is unjust and inhumane. Otherwise, how can we allow this situation
    to continue with less than 10% of the world population controlling over 90% of the wealth and resources on this earth?

    Islam, came with the most just and easy solution to the problem of poverty, hunger and starvation in this world. If Islam is implemented in the world today, the problem of poverty, hunger and starvation would be completely
    eliminated within a year. Islam, revealed to us by Allah (swt), the most knowledgeable, wise and just, solves the problem of poverty and hunger through several methods:

    The Obligatory Zakat:

    (Let me explain you again. You have misunderstood earlier. It's not given to any organization, it's individual who gives to the particual category. IT CANNOT BE GIVEN TO FIGHT OR EVEN FOR THE MOSQUE. IF IT'S GIVEN THEN IT'S NOT ZAKAT AND SINCE IT'S OBLIGATORY ONE HAS TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR IT ON THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT)


    Optional Charity:

    As discussed earlier, the obligatory Zakat imposed by Islam can easily solve the problems of poverty and starvation
    in the world. However, in addition to that, Islam greatly encourages Muslims to give extra charity. For example, the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) once said that the person who sleeps full while his neighbour sleeps hungry is not a true believer. Islam also always encourages charity in all situations. For example, for the persons who are not able to
    fast in Ramadan, they are required to feed some poor people for each day they do not fast. And there are many such examples.

    Examples of Charity in the holy Qur'an and the Sunnah:

    Allah (swt) said: "And be steadfast in prayer and regular in charity" (Holy Qur'an, Chapter 2, verse 110).

    Allah (swt) said addressing the messenger of Allah, Mohammad (pbuh): "Of their goods take alms (charity), so that you might purify and sanctify them, and pray on their behalf" (Holy Qur'an, Chapter 9, verse 103).

    When the messenger of Allah, Mohammad (pbuh), sent one of his companions to call the people of Yemen to Islam, he asked him to tell them the basics of Islam, among which was: "... and tell them that Allah has made obligatory on them a charity that is taken from their rich and given to their poor..." (Reported by Bukhari and Muslim).

    Allah (swt) said: "So he who gives (in charity) and fears (Allah), and (in all sincerity) testifies to the Best, We will indeed make smooth for him the path to Bliss. But he who is a greedy miser and thinks himself self-sufficient,
    And gives the lie to the Best, We will indeed make smooth for him the Path to Misery; Nor will his wealth profit him when he falls headlong (into the hell fire)." (Holy Qur'an, Chapter 92, verses 5-11).

    Allah (swt) said: "By no means shall you attain righteousness unless ye give (freely) of that which you love; and whatever you give, Allah knows it well." (Holy Qur'an, Chapter 3, verse 92).

    Allah (swt) said: "O ye who believe! Cancel not your charity by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like those who spend their substance to be seen of men, but believe neither in Allah nor in the Last Day. They are in
    Parable like a hard barren rock, on which is a little soil; on it falls heavy rain, which leaves it (just) a bare stone. They will be able to do nothing with aught they have earned. And Allah guideth not those who reject Faith."
    (Holy Qur'an, Chapter 2, verse 264).

    Islam will still be, the ONLY solution for removing Poverty, hunger and starvation.

    ReplyDelete
  68. 3.Molestation and rape

    All the major religions declare the molestation and rape of women as grave sins. Islam teaches the same. What then is the difference between Islam and the other religions? The difference lies in the fact that Islam does not merely preach respect for women, or abhor molestation and rape as serious crimes, but also gives clear guidance as to how
    society can eliminate such crimes.

    Islam has a system of hijaab. The Glorious Qur’an first mentions hijaab for the men and then for the women. Hijaab for the men is mentioned in the following verse:

    "Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do." [Al-Qur’an 24:30]

    The moment a man looks at a woman and if any brazen or unashamed thought comes to his mind, he should lower his gaze Hijaab for women is mentioned in the following verse:

    "And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils
    over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers,their sons...." [Al-Qur’an 24:31]

    The extent of hijaab for a woman is that her complete body should be covered. The only part that can be seen, are the face and the hands up to the wrists. If they wish to cover, they can even cover these parts of the body.

    The reason why Allah has prescribed Hijaab for the women is given in the Qur’an in the folowing verse of Surah Al-
    Ahzab:

    "O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women,that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, most Merciful." [Al-Qur’an 33:59]

    The Qur’an says that Hijaab has been prescribed for the women so that they are recognized as modest women this would prevent them from being molested

    Suppose two sisters who are twins and who are equally beautiful, walk down a street. One of them is wearing the Islamic Hijaab i.e. the complete body is covered except for the face and the hands up to the wrists, and the other
    twin is wearing a mini skirt or shorts. Around the corner there is a hooligan who is waiting for an opportunity to tease a girl. Who will he tease? The girl wearing the Islamic Hijaab or the girl wearing the mini skirt or shorts?
    Dresses that expose more than they conceal, are an indirect temptation to the opposite sex for teasing, molestation
    and rape. The Qur’an rightly says that the hijaab prevents women from being molested

    The Islamic shariah prescribes capital punishment for a convicted rapist. The non-Muslim may be horrified at such a stringent punishment in this age. Many accuse Islam of being ruthless and barbaric. I have asked a common question to hundreds of non-Muslim men. Suppose God-forbid, some one rapes your wife, your mother or your sister and you are made the judge. The rapist is brought in front of you. What punishment would you give him? All of them said, "we would put him to death." Some went to the extent of saying, "we would torture him to death", If your wife or your
    mother is raped you want the rapist to be put to death. But if someone else’s wife or mother is raped, capital punishment is a barbaric law. Why the double standards?


    The United States of America is supposed to be one of the most advanced countries of the world. An F.B.I report in the year 1990 says that 1,02,555 cases of rape were reported. It further says that only 16% of the cases of rapes are reported. Thus, in order to know the actual number of rapes that took place in 1990, the reported figure should be multiplied by 6.25. We get a total of 6,40,968 rape cases that took place in the year 1990. If the total is divided by 365 the number of days in a year, we get an average of 1,756 rape incidents everyday.

    Later another report said that an average of 1900 cases of rape are committed in U.S.A every day. According to National Crime Victimization Survey Bureau of Justice Statistics (U. S. Dept. of Justice) in 1996 alone 3,07,000
    cases of rape were reported. Only 31% of the actual cases of rape were reported. Thus, 3,07,000 X 3.226 = 9,90,322 rapes took place in 1996. That is, an average of 2,713 cases of rape took place everyday in America in 1996. Every
    32 seconds one rape is taking place in America. Maybe American rapists got bolder. The FBI report of 1990 continues and says that out of the rape cases that were reported only 10% of the rapist were arrested, that is only 1.6% of the actual rapes committed. Out of those arrested, 50% were let free before the trial. This would mean that only 0.8% of the rapists faced a trial. In other words if a person commits 125 rapes the chances that he will get a
    punishment for rape is only once. Many would consider this a good gamble. And the report says that of those people who faced trial 50% received sentences of less than a year’s imprisonment though the American law says rape carries
    a seven year sentence of imprisonment. For a rapist, the judge is lenient to first time offenders. Imagine a person
    commits 125 rapes and the chances of being convicted is only once, and 50% of the time the judge will grant leniency and give a sentence of less than a year!

    ReplyDelete
  69. 4. Alcohol

    Alcohol has been the scourge of human society since time immemorial. It continues to cost countless human lives, and
    causes terrible misery to millions throughout the world. Alcohol is the root cause of several problems facing
    society. The statistics of soaring crime rates, increasing instances of mental illnesses and millions of broken
    homes throughout the world bear mute testimony to the destructive power of alcohol.

    The objectives of Islamic divine laws are the protection of faith (belief in one God), life ( abortion. suicide, homicide), property (ownership) and the mind (intoxicants). Normally in the brain there is an inhibitory control which tells us not to engage in shameful or wrongful acts. Any suppressant drug including alcohol will suppress this nerve pathways and take away such restraint. Ability to make a judgement, to protect the body or honor, a quality for humans is taken away under the influence of drugs.

    There are two main features of Islamic prohibitions:

    a) lslam stops the wrong at the inception and not at the end. There is nothing like safe drinking age, or safe drugs to get high. Most of the teenage alcoholics don't buy the alcohol from the store but get it at home. Islam makes equal laws for both children and parents by prohibiting completely (total abstinence), but the West does not. It is for this reason, the West has been crippled to handle the problem of drugs and alcohol, because it has made duel standards.

    b) Islam blocks all the avenues to the wrong. Therefore not only illicit sex is prohibited, but casual mixing of sexes freely is prohibited, but obscenity and pornography is prohibited, and in the same context, not only drinking wine is prohibited, but making it , selling it, keeping it, or even growing grapes for the sole purpose of selling it to winery for making wine is prohibited by the Prophet (PBUH). Some 1400 years ago, Allah(swt), our creator and sustainer, who cares for us, sent down following revelation in the following order, mentioned in Quran.

    Al Baqarah 2:219: "They ask you concerning wine and gambling." Say: "In them there is great sin, and some profit, for men, but sin is greater than the profit."

    Al-Nisa 4:43: "O you who believe! Approach not prayers, with a mind befogged, until you can understand all that you say."

    Al-Ma'idah 5:93: "O you who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divinations by) arrows, are an abomination of Satan's handiwork: Avoid such (abomination) that you may prosper."

    Al-Ma'idah 5:93: "Satan's plan is to sow enmity and hatred among you with intoxicants and gambling, and to hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. Will you not then give up."

    The above verses came over period of years and when the last verse came, Muslims threw away all the wine into the streets and stopped completely in whatever state they were in, and streets of Medina were flowing with wine.

    Sayings of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and about wine and other intoxicants.

    1. "Every intoxicant is khamr, and every khamr is haram (unlawful)- reported by Muslim.

    2. "Of that which intoxicates in a large amount, a small amount is haram" (Ahmad, Abu-Daud and Al-Tirrnizi,).

    3. "Khamar (intoxicants) is the mother of all evils". Reported in Bukhari.


    In U.S.A. The American Medical Association Monday estimated lifestyle factors and social problems add $171 billion
    to the nation's health care bill. Dr. Daniel Johnson Jr., speaker of the AMA's House of Delegates, said billions of
    dollars are spent each year on medical conditions caused by violence, drug abuse, tobacco and alcohol -- all of
    which could be avoided. An AMA study of statistics from 1988 -- the last year for which statistics are available --
    found 500,000 premature deaths annually and $22 billion in health care costs are directly attributable to cigarettes
    and other uses of tobacco. The study found 100,000 deaths and $85.8 billion linked to abuse of alcohol, with 25 to
    40 percent of hospital beds being occupied by people being treated for complications from alcoholism. The AMA
    estimated drug abuse costs the system $58.3 billion for care, treatment and rehabilitation, as well as for lost
    productivity and crime enforcement. Street and domestic violence add $5.3 billion to U.S. health costs and are the
    fastest growing public health problems, Johnson said. The study also examined communicable and sexually transmitted
    diseases and found medical care for HIV-infected patients alone will total $15.2 billion by 1995. Some 400,000
    people die annually as a result of failure to use such things as seat belts and smoke detectors, the study found.
    Other factors include failure to screen for and treat life-threatening diseases and treatable malignancies,
    dangerous recreational activities, abuse of addictive substances and engaging in unprotected sex. Other factors in
    the study include defensive medicine, which cost the system $15.1 billion in 1989. The study found per capita health
    care costs for those under the age of 65 are 72 percent of the national average, while per capita costs for those 85
    and over are 750 percent of the national average. It also found that insurance protects most Americans from the real
    costs and therefore discourages cost-conscious decisions. ``We've known for years that these factors have been
    driving health care costs up,'' Johnson said. ``We cannot sucessfully resolve our current health care crisis unless
    we are willing to alter damaging patterns of behavior.''

    and i can go on and on.
    Islam has Practical Solutions for the Problems of Mankind

    ReplyDelete
  70. You said

    " Will we need instruction manual to understand our own heart, our greed, our ignorance, our fear? Can any instruction manual give
    us love and peace?"

    if you read Quran,you will find all of your answer.

    ReplyDelete
  71. You wrote

    "And even the most religious person I have seen, when they fall sick, they rely onthe ‘instruction manual’ of physician, and not of Koran or Bible.

    I don't know which religious person you are talking about. As far as Islam is concerned, since it's complete way of life, it has every solutions to Humankind.

    It is from the principles of wisdom and justice that when you don’t know you don’t make a judgement yourself but rather consult one who is in a position to do so. In fact this is something Allaah has also commanded:

    So ask the People of Knowledge if you do not know [Surah 21:7]

    So, we muslim, when we get sick, we follow the command of God by going to the people of knowledge of medicine.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Osman,
    Tell me what is common theme behind all the following crimes.
    * In Indonesia, three Christian schoolgirls were beheaded.
    * In Iraq, a Syrian Orthodox priest was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered.
    * In Somalia, a nun was shot to death as she left the hospital where she worked, tending the sick and dying.
    * In Lebanon, just days ago, a cabinet minister was assassinated.
    * In Britain, authorities uncovered a conspiracy in which native-born Brits plotted to blow up several trans-Atlantic flights, killing as many as 3,000.
    * In Afghanistan, suicide bombers are at work again.
    * In Iraq, they never stopped. Additionally, the week before last, a group of worshippers were abducted from a mosque, doused with gasoline and burned to death in what’s described as “sectarian violence.”
    * In France, a high school philosophy teacher is in hiding after very credible death threats following publication of a September 19th commentary in Le Figaro.
    * Some 139 people died in riots in Nigeria, Libya, Pakistan, and Afghanistan – following the publication of Danish cartoons.
    * Europe is experiencing the worst wave of anti-Semitic violence since Kristallnacht. The former director of the U.S. Holocaust Museum reports there an average of 12 assaults a day on Jews in Paris.
    * In Kosovo, 90 percent of Serbs gave been ethnically cleansed from the province since 1999. The rest live in a state of siege.
    * In Mumbai, India, a series of blasts killed almost 200.
    * In Gaza, terrorists recently celebrated the latest “ceasefire” by raining more rockets on southern Israel.
    * And the leader of more than a billion Catholics received death threats and demands that he convert after giving a speech in which he called for a balance of faith and reason, and quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Osman,
    I have often wondered about the circularity of the arugements posed by religious people as well as the fanatic followers of atheistic systems like communism, socialism also.
    You tell about the problem, then you pose some solution from the Koran, claiming them to be the best. Do you see the process here, you know what is best and how it is best, you see this in Koran and therefore conclude that it is the best? Or, is it the other way; I mean you assume from the begining that Koran is the best, and then you have to argue endlessly to confirm to that conclusion, those assumptions, again and again.
    If you rely on reason, then reliance on any text to alleviate human conditions, or to guide it, is unacceptable. No relgious scriptures can know about the events occurring in future, the progress a society is going to make.
    And if you rely on any text, you are not reasoning at all.
    Every system, every religion, every organization claims the same, about themselves, arguing how that is better than the other or prevalent modern. western secular democracy.

    But Western secular democratic societies, if they feel that there is something wrong with that, they can change, they are free to adopt and evolve, people are ready to change religion, but can you say the same about the Islamic societies.

    When you cite Islam as the best relgion, you already assume that monotheism is somehow superior to polytheism, but for me, they are both same, whether you believe in one GOd or two or multiple gods and goddesses, it is same for me, because all the cases are insistent on faith and belief. There have been many tribal societies, which have survived successfully till we started ruining their homes, and exploting them in the last century, without any belief or concept of one God. THese tribes never went out like those greedy kings conquering and destroying empires, taking people slaves, raping women, looting people, taking war booty and all that.
    There is only one point I have to make, Koran may not contain all the answers, Islam may not be totally perfect system, and in all the religion there are some good things appealing to human morality, as there is honesty among the thieves, there is code of honour among the criminal gangs too. And while you are claiming that Islam is perfect, Koran is the only answer, what I am saying that be careful and open, it might not be the only answer, not there is the only point about the invalidity of all the scriptural guidelines in changing times, but what I am saying is that there is something very wrong with making any text as the perfect solution to anything.
    When I say about religious person relying on the instruction manual of physcian, I mean going to a doctor, and all and every human goes to doctor, and enjoy the fruits of modern education and research, and not some divine interference. But only religious people can be so thankless and ingrateful to the reasoning and freedom which cures them of their malady.

    Asking woman to cover themselves in order to avoid being raped is not only derogatory to females but it also demeans males also. Instead of addressing the central problem of taking advantage of weak, problem of aggression, we try to quickfix it. It is like putting woman on the subhuman status, making them like goods, or shops, or like asking for the shutting down the market place and banks so that people will not feel greedy to steal or rob the money. If these standards are applied, every family would have to live in small forts or fotresses like warlords, with their private armies to protect themselves, like there are in Arabian countries and in Afghanistan.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Osman, No one says that huamnity is witout the problems. But what you and guys like you say
    "The Solution

    So what is the solution for this world-wide epidemic? Because humans are weak, it would be imperative that we adopt some, divine method in tackling this Devilish disease. This method is none other then ISLAM, the untainted and pure religion which came to benefit humanity through its teachings.
    Islam, came with the most just and easy solution to the problem of poverty, hunger and starvation in this world. If Islam is implemented in the world today, the problem of poverty, hunger and starvation would be completely
    eliminated within a year. Islam, revealed to us by Allah (swt), the most knowledgeable, wise and just, solves the problem of poverty and hunger through several methods:"

    That is what is the root of all the evils today, starting in the way of tacking the problems over humanity. We do not want to look at the problems, but every one is with his book, written centuires ago, (I am including constitutions also in this categorY), and want to solve them according to them. It is really depressing to see the uttr lack of resposibility and basic intelligence which suggests us that problems are solved only by understanding the problems, and not by suppressing them or overlooking them or forcing something else on them. We have reached on the moon, only by understaing the things, and phenomenon and not by some blind following of some book.

    ReplyDelete
  75. All the so called 'perfect system', fixed orders are bound to fail, because human beings are living beings.
    Who said in total unambigious terms that 'killing is prohibited, even in self defence' more than Buddha, and where did we see the worse genocide than in Buddhist countries, Combodia and vietnam?
    When I say that all the religions have failed Osman talks about the golden age of Islamic empires (Every religion claims to have their golden empire), then why did it fail to sustain. If there was something perfect about that, it would have created a perfect society, which would have been resilient to all future problems. But we know that Islamic countries all over the world are most unstable societies today, controlled by tyrants and dictators. If they were good and answer to all the problems, how could something bad and ugly erupt out of them? Why do we see a situation where shia and sunnis are killing each other like vegetables in Iraq over sharing of oil revenues? It is easy to blame to US for that by Muslims across the globe, but we all know that they are killing each other.

    ReplyDelete
  76. OSman,

    See this what Muslim rulers have done just in India,
    http://san.beck.org/2-8-DelhiSultans1300-1526.html

    the 'conquests' which you are calling were peaceful and were in the name of Allah.

    "I directly gave my command for the Tawachis
    to proclaim throughout the camp that
    every man who had infidel prisoners was to put them to death,
    and whoever neglected to do so should himself be executed
    and his property given to the informer.
    When this order became known to the ghazis of Islam,
    they drew their swords and put their prisoners to death.
    100,000 infidels, impious idolaters, were on that day slain.
    Maulana Nasir-ud din 'Umar, a counselor and man of learning,
    who, in all his life, had never killed a sparrow,
    now, in execution of my order, slew with his sword
    fifteen idolatrous Hindus, who were his captives.1

    A few days later Mahmud and Mallu with 50,000 men opposed the invaders, but they were defeated; Mallu fled to Baran and Mahmud to Gujarat. The next day the Tatar army entered Delhi, and the city was pillaged of immense wealth. Then the Tatar army marched north, slaughtering, raping, and plundering Hindus. In Siwalik, Timur bragged that he won twenty consecutive victories in a month in spite of often being greatly outnumbered. He appointed Khizr Khan governor of Multan, Lahore, and Dipalpur, and in March 1399 crossed back across the Indus."

    It is just one example, I can search many and send you if you want.

    ReplyDelete
  77. SOme more about the 'perfect solution'

    The discrimination that the Muslims practiced against the Hindus and other non-Muslims in India is clearly defined in the following passage about the treatment of what they called "protected people" (zimmis) from the work of the Sufi Shaikh Hamadani, who took Islam to Kashmir:

    There is another mandate relating to those subjects who are unbelievers and protected people (zimmis). For their governance, the observance of those conditions which the Caliph 'Umar laid in his agreement for establishing the status of the fire-worshippers and the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) and which gave them safety is obligatory on rulers and governors. Rulers should impose these conditions on the zimmis of their dominions and make their lives and their property dependent on their fulfillment. The twenty conditions are as follows:

    1. In a country under the authority of a Muslim ruler, they are to build no new homes for images or idol temples.
    2. They are not to rebuild any old buildings which have been destroyed.
    3. Muslim travelers are not to be prevented from staying in idol temples.
    4. No Muslim who stays in their houses will commit a sin if he is a guest for three days, if he should have occasion for the delay.
    5. Infidels may not act as spies or give aid and comfort to them.
    6. If any of their people show any inclinations toward Islam, they are not to be prevented from doing so.
    7. Muslims are to be respected.
    8. If zimmis are gathered together in a meeting and Muslims appear, they are to be allowed at the meeting.
    9. They are not to dress like Muslims.
    10. They are not to give each other Muslim names.
    11. They are not to ride on horses with saddle and bridle.
    12. They are not to possess swords and arrows.
    13. They are not to wear signet rings and seals on their fingers.
    14. They are not to sell and drink intoxicating liquor openly.
    15. They must not abandon the clothing which they have had as a sign of their state of ignorance so that they may not be distinguished from Muslims.
    16. They are not to propagate the customs and usages of polytheists among Muslims.
    17. They are not to build their homes in the neighborhood of those of Muslims.
    18. They are not to bring their dead near the graveyards of Muslims.
    19. They are not to mourn their dead with loud voices.
    20. They are not to buy Muslim slaves.

    At the end of the treaty it is written that if zimmis infringe any of these conditions, they shall not enjoy security and it shall be lawful for Muslims to take their lives and possessions as though they were the lives and possessions of unbelievers in a state of war with the faithful.2"

    Want some more

    "..Auliya was the teacher of Amir Khusrau (1253-1325), one of the most prolific poets in the Persian language. Many of Khusrau's poems, however, glorified the bloody conquests of the Muslim rulers so that "the pure tree of Islam might be planted and flourish" and the evil tree with deep roots would be torn up by force. He wrote,

    The whole country, by means of the sword of our holy warriors,
    has become like a forest denuded of its thorns by fire.
    The land has been saturated with the water of the sword,
    and the vapors of infidelity have been dispersed.
    The strong men of Hind have been trodden under foot,
    and all are ready to pay tribute.
    Islam is triumphant; idolatry is subdued.
    Had not the law granted exemption from death
    by the payment of poll-tax,
    the very name of Hind, root and branch,
    would have been extinguished.
    From Ghazni to the shore of the ocean
    you see all under the dominion of Islam.14

    In 1290 the Khalji Jalal-ud-din Firuz became sultan in Delhi but refused.."

    ReplyDelete
  78. Osman,
    Some more in the same link
    "Orders were given that Hindus were not to have anything above subsistence; this prejudicial treatment was justified by Islamic law."
    Although all the religion have bloody history but nothing like Islam and christainity.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Sujai, you said:
    "... how each religion can be seen as violent from texts."

    Sure, fine. But, how many people of other religions in today's world are actually quoting violent texts as a justification for their deeds? Only one comes to mind.

    -Amit

    ReplyDelete
  80. Sujai,

    I'm all for love and peace among all religions, but it's a bit intellectually dishonest on your part to ignore the historical facts associated with Islam, not just around the world, but even in India. Do I have to tell you about what happened to Sikh gurus under Aurangzeb? I hope that you don't become an apologist for Islam - a bit of introspection and honesty will do it much good.

    Please keep writing.
    -Amit

    ReplyDelete
  81. Amit:
    More crimes have been committed by Christianity under the name of God- is it a violent religion?

    ReplyDelete
  82. And no one is denying that Christianity didn't have violence. There are plenty of books, discussions, open debate on it. I don't see anything like that in Islam. Any kind of discussion leads to "this is blasphemy, don't go there" kind of mentality. That's not open discussion.

    Christianity acknowledged it and moved on. Don't you think it's time for Islam to do that too which is still violent?

    -Amit

    ReplyDelete
  83. Amit:
    Yes, I agree with you that Christianity has gone through retrospection, inspection of its current ideologies, but this happened during Age of Enlightenment (or post enlightenment). None of the other religions or cultures have gone through the same.

    Therefore, none of the other religions had to look back and criticize themselves the way Western Christianity did.

    Yes, I agree that Islam may have to do it. But I am not the guy to tell them what they should be doing to themselves. I am the guy who tells ourselves what we should be doing to ourselves.

    First, lets do what we can do! (and then may be, we are in a position to preach it to others)

    Why should every discussion on introspection on Hinduism have to eventually include Islam and 'how they don't do it'?

    I am exhausted by this attitude. Any discussion on India eventually leads to- 'but they don't do it!' as if that's an excuse.

    That's how we end up having filth on the road, garbage every where!

    That's how we end up having a weird culture where it is OK for a man to show his private parts out in the open while peeing, but not OK for a couple to kiss!

    Your incessant questioning on Islam only furthers my statement - that we are Peevish.

    And my discussion on 'Why we criticize our nations' and our religions is to counter that peevishness.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Yes, I agree that Islam may have to do it. But I am not the guy to tell them what they should be doing to themselves. I am the guy who tells ourselves what we should be doing to ourselves.

    Sujai,

    We live in a world where the actions of others affect us, and vice versa. In that case, it is fine and encouraged to have a discussion and a debate about those actions, and talk about issues that affect everyone. I agree that we all have to be introspective, but I don't think there is anything wrong with being critical of others if done in a constructive manner (which I admit doesn't happen that often).

    If I start throwing all my garbage on my property next to the neighbor's wall, that doesn't mean my neighbor can't mention to me the effects of my action on him. If he waits till I'm introspective and come to the right conclusion that all that garbage is causing trouble to my neighbors, it may be too late.

    But yes, there is a respectful way to address the issue, and there is a disrespectful way to address it (which happens often).

    I am well aware that there are many negatives in Hinduism (the religion I'm most familiar with) and I am happy to discuss it and criticize it for its faults. But, I personally think that we should use the same yardsticks, and if others (like Islam, US-UK foreign policy) are at fault, then we should criticize them too. Ek haath se taali nahi bajti.

    Maybe I read only a small section of posts on your blog (unlike what you think ;)), but I saw a bias in those posts and I mentioned it. I apologize if it offended you. I don't hate you or Muslims or anyone for their actions, but I do believe that an honest discussion is needed.

    I hope you continue to write more about these issues and continue to promote discussion.

    All the best,
    -Amit

    ReplyDelete
  85. None of the other religions or cultures have gone through the same.
    Meaning? I think if you are talking about Hinduism, I can point to many reformers throughout the ages who have criticized certain aspects of religion and the religion has changed as a result. Yes, we still have lots of superstition and blind beliefs and the extremist elements are never welcome, but I think Hinduism as a religion is pretty open to change.

    Therefore, none of the other religions had to look back and criticize themselves the way Western Christianity did.

    Yes, I agree that Islam may have to do it. But I am not the guy to tell them what they should be doing to themselves. I am the guy who tells ourselves what we should be doing to ourselves.


    I disagree. We live in a democracy and one of the hallmarks of it is open discussion and debate among all. Also, when my actions affect others, it is totally fine for others to join in the debate and point out the solutions - in a constructive manner. That's why there are interfaith meetings to understand each other and promote harmony - because we do not live in a country that is all Hindu or all Muslim.

    Why should every discussion on introspection on Hinduism have to eventually include Islam and 'how they don't do it'?
    Because we live in a world where our actions affect each other. There needs to be an attempt by all.

    -Amit

    ReplyDelete
  86. That's how we end up having filth on the road, garbage every where!

    That's how we end up having a weird culture where it is OK for a man to show his private parts out in the open while peeing, but not OK for a couple to kiss!


    Excellent points, and I couldn't agree with you more, but these are not connected to the issue of violence and religion that we are discussing.

    Even if by some miracle, tomorrow, all Indians started throwing trash in proper place, and Hindutva elements encouraged couples to hold hands and kiss, the issue of violence would still be there. :)

    -Amit

    ReplyDelete
  87. Amit:
    You are going on a divergent path. All I am saying is that instead of correcting oneself, we are pointing out to others and saying, 'hey! they are not correcting themselves, why should I?'

    And my point here is that I am interested in correcting myself for now.

    Hope that makes sense.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Sujai,

    I guess we can agree to disagree and that's totally fine. :)
    We're exchanging ideas in a civil manner, and that's fun.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be saying that as a Hindu, you feel that you can/prefer to point to the shortcomings of Hindus, but not of Muslims or any other religion. And I'd like to ask you why. Doesn't that still keep the religious boundaries intact? And why can't both be done?

    In a secular democracy, we should criticize the actions, irrespective of the religion, and not just criticize the people of "my" religion. If as a Hindu, I am the first to criticize Hindu extremists, but say nothing about Muslim extremists, or defend/justify their actions, then that is dishonest on my part. Aren't we all Indians? If secularism is what we believe in, then we should be impartial and criticize extremism of any and all flavors - whether it is us or them doesn't/shouldn't matter.

    My other point is: fine, if you say that we should focus on ourselves, I see plenty of criticism (like yours) of extremist Hindus, and rightly so. I don't see a similar attempt (there are few - I don't want to say there's none) from my Muslim brothers who are as passionate as you are about criticizing the negatives of their religion, which we all know exist. People need to meet each other half-way to solve any problem.

    Cheers,
    -Amit

    ReplyDelete
  89. ANYWAYS ANSWERING TO YOUR QUESTION

    If the Option is to Convert to Islam or Kill, means then why are you still alive..
    Option-1:
    Muslims ruled India for 1000 Years, if your assumption is true means, then all the 90 crore hindus should be dead or converted into Muslim.
    Option-2:
    If the Hindus were successful in retaliating Muslim Invaders and retained Hinduism, then why there was 1000 Years of Muslim Rule ??
    Option-3:
    The last assumption is all the Hindus lived a Nomadic life and Hiding for the Muslims... This is also false... Go to any Indian City, you can see the Palace of Muslim Kings near to Hindu Settlements for Centuries..

    The Moral of the story is Nobody is compelled to change the Religion... That is why you are here alive and as a Hindu...

    ReplyDelete
  90. From Shakeel

    Dear Abhishek, Usman, Venod, Sujai and many others, I appreciate your discussion.

    I am a Muslim, but I really like the arguments of Hindus' brothers here, I find them really intellect and they have so many unanswered questions.

    We Muslims should never force any non-muslims to convert forcefully, after all, these are same like us from same father and mother, but with different ideologies.

    We should respect them. It is the love they understand not big lengthy discussions.

    Dear non-Muslim brothers, Quran is just series of advices. It says, all humans are born from one parents and Allah created them His vicegerents(Khalifa or ambassador) on earth.

    It means, Allah is the King and we all have been given some sections of His kingdom to be ruled on. Now it is our duty to rule like our King says or forget our King and seize a little section granted to us and start ruling on it with our own wills.

    Quran further says, when the time of everything is over, then there will be a Day of Judgment, in which Allah will ask each vicegerant(us), how he ruled the section of the kingdom, I granted to him. So, if we ruled it with Allah's will, we will be successful, but if ruled it with our own wills, we will be losers.

    So, now one purpose of our life is left, to seek what Allah wants from us and not to seek what we want.

    And we seek what Allah wants from us, from Quran.

    So it is my humble advice to you listen to Arabic recitation of Quran and its english translation.

    InshAllah, you will recognize the words of your Lord. Allah.

    You are His vicegerents but you are unaware of it.

    You have His representative but you have not yet realized.

    Listen Quran, Listen Quran, Listen Quran

    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  91. @ "Islam is the fastet growing religion in US and europe"

    fastest growing signifies that percentage at which it's growing. e.g. if in a country there only 10(say 5 couples) people of a particular religion. if in a year 1 child is born to every couple, then the percentage increase of the number of people in the religion will be 100%.

    So fastest growing religion in america is islam because they produce more children than others.

    -Prakash.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Sujai,

    I am not sure how yourself being an rationalist and atheist yet support Islam. Any religion based on GOD dictated doctrines is nonsense. Mohammed was a war monger who went on to any extreme to preach his faith. Yet you say Islam is non-violent. Don't be an hypocrite.

    ReplyDelete
  93. I am pretty much sure now that you are anti-hindu, anti-india propoganda which has been cleverly modify to look like rantings of a youth that has gone hayware.

    ReplyDelete
  94. To Mohammed Osman
    On the believe in God

    It’s pretty obvious you’ve not come to terms with the thinking of a rational person like, Satyanveshi. And without understanding an iota of what he has explained – and exposed – on the issue of people’s childish fixation with God, you have exposed the same childishness with the same dubious, self-serving arguments that people having been using for ages:

    “God reveal about himself (there are many things He chooses not to reveal), to us, through
    revelations and also about Do's and Don’ts.”

    “Every culture throughout history has been convinced that there is a higher power that watches over them. This desire to reach for that higher power is man’s search to get reconnected to God. All of these people have the idea of God in their consciousness because deep in their hearts they know that He is there.”

    Since you have not yet “grown up”, from where did you get the sensibility to congratulate Satya: “I'm really impressed and appreciate your intellect.”?

    I am really, really amused!

    If you can appreciate his intellect, then why don’t you learn something from him?
    And stop using “mentally retarded” arguments to justify God!

    It’s my humble believe that GOD-BELIEVERS ARE THE BIGGEST CLOWNS IN THE WORLD!

    You are another proof of that.

    “Every culture … convinced that there is a higher power…”

    Have you ever heard of the word “brainwash”, you moron?

    Even if “He is there” let him be there. Because I don’t think He does anything to alleviate and stop the miseries and violence all around us. Whether you worship Him or not things will remain as it is. Then why worry about this God? Let this All-Impotent thing stay where it is. To hell with it!

    Moronic theists like Osman are very well-known for their self-serving & fallacious & specious arguments to justify the existence of God: “Does the absence of a tangible existence negates the existence? We see the day light sometimes instead of the sun.”

    & “…by just looking at the chip from outside you cannot tell what is the program- you need a monitor to see it.”

    Since logic is alien to theists, Osman does not realize the stupidities in the above lines.

    He talks of “sun”, “chip”, “computer” and “monitor” but these are all tangible objects. Not intangible and fictitious thing like God. So why are you comparing tangible things with intangible ones?

    It seems the more you worship Gods the more brainless you become! The whole of human history bears testimony to that.

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  95. There's nothing explicit you need to do to understand ISLAM. Look at all the major conflicts in the world and you will know what it is all about.

    ReplyDelete

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