Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dear Jihad Travelers


Firstly, I apologize for the English. I'm using English, because most people have some knowledge of English. And not everybody masters Arabic or other languages, and I may not know your native language. I'll try to keep this short.

You've been told, that jihad for Islam is rewarding, and compulsory if the Ummah is in peril. And in Syria and Iraq, Muslims seem to be in danger of persecution and death. But what happens next? A group of people, former Iraqi and Syrian military personnel, and former intelligence workers, trained by the CIA, graps power over several cities and roads in Iraq and Syria. They establish a state that should become a legitimate Islamic Khilafah, ruled with Shariah law. And, so it seems, start a media campaign to attract Muslim immigrants. And, worse, start another media campaign displaying their conquests on the battle field. In practice, the latter is open display of public executions of 'ennemies'. Especially decapitation of Westerners is their fav item. Now, even Islamic Westerners aren't spared. Maybe it's understandable, if former torturers from the Iraqi or US army receive this treatment. But why Muslims are now beheading other Muslims, sometimes caregivers and business people, who sometimes converted to Islam with the best of intentions, is an issue beyond my comprehension. It resembles a cheap cartoon show: Westerners decapitating other Westerners for the sake of Islam in Iraq, and often they both present themselves as Muslims. In many cases, the best young people of a nation now travel to f★¿ IS, and risk decapitation, nevertheless. Well-educated people with high integrity. Doesn't that seem like utter wastry? Wastry for a case with, to foreigners, many unknowns. You don't know the local situation. In how far does it justify Islamic retribution, and who is IS really? how Islamic is their behavior?

A few things you should know, before you leave your home for jihad: You're not allowed to oppress, torture, or persecute people. You're not allowed to go on jihad, if your parents are still alive. They have more right over you than a war in a strange environment. Your death will cause them grief for the rest of their lives. Is that what you want? You're certainly allowed to fight for your own home, family, and land, but fighting for other people's land is, naturally, a different matter. And you're not allowed to kill women and children. IS mocks precisely those issues, which are important to Muslims and everybody else. So do yourselves and everybody else a favor, and do not interfere in what isn't your business or expertise. Here are some Qur'anic verses and some ahadith:

'And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his punishment is hell; he shall abide in it, and Allah will send His wrath on him and curse him and prepare for him a painful chastisement.' Qur'an 4:93

' If Allah were to punish men for their wrong-doing, He would not leave, on the (earth), a single living creature: but He gives them respite for a stated Term: When their Term expires, they would not be able to delay (the punishment) for a single hour, just as they would not be able to anticipate it (for a single hour).'Qur'an 16:61 

'Seest thou not that We have set the devils on the disbelievers to confound them with confusion? So make no haste against them, for We but count out to them a (limited) number (of days). Qur'an 19:83,84

'Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just. Allah forbiddeth you only those who warred against you on account of religion and have driven you out from your homes and helped to drive you out, that ye make friends of them. Whosoever maketh friends of them - (All) such are wrong-doers.' Qur'an 60:8,9 

Hadiths transmitted by Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 84, Number 61: 
Narrated 'Aisha:   A group of Jews asked permission to visit the Prophet (and when they were admitted) they said, "As-Samu 'Alaika (Death be upon you)." I said (to them), "But death and the curse of Allah be upon you!" The Prophet said, "O 'Aisha! Allah is kind and lenient and likes that one should be kind and lenient in all matters." I said, "Haven't you heard what they said?" He said, "I said (to them), 'Wa 'Alaikum (and upon you).
Volume 9, Book 84, Number 68: 
Narrated Yusair bin 'Amr: I asked Sahl bin Hunaif, "Did you hear the Prophet saying anything about Al-Khawarij?" He said, "I heard him saying while pointing his hand towards Iraq. "There will appear in it (i.e, Iraq) some people who will recite the Quran but it will not go beyond their throats, and they will go out from (leave) Islam as an arrow darts through the game's body.' "
Volume 9, Book 88, Number 180: 
Narrated Abu Huraira:
I heard the truthful and trusted by Allah (i.e., the Prophet ) saying, "The destruction of my followers will be through the hands of young men from Quraish."
Volume 9, Book 88, Number 184: 
Narrated 'Abdullah and Abu Musa: The Prophet said, "Near the establishment of the Hour there will be days during which Religious ignorance will spread, knowledge will be taken away (vanish) and there will be much Al-Harj, and Al-Harj means killing."
Volume 9, Book 89, Number 257: 
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:
The Prophet said, "If somebody sees his Muslim ruler doing something he disapproves of, he should be patient, for whoever becomes separate from the Muslim group even for a span and then dies, he will die as those who died in the Pre-lslamic period of ignorance (as rebellious sinners). (See Hadith No. 176 and 177)

Volume 9, Book 89, Number 329: 
Narrated Jabir bin Samura: I heard the Prophet saying, "There will be twelve Muslim rulers (who will rule all the Islamic world)." He then said a sentence which I did not hear. My father said, "All of them (those rulers) will be from Quraish."
Hadiths by Sahih Muslim, Book 019, Number 4320:
It is narrated by Ibn 'Umar that a woman was found killed in one of these battles; so the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) forbade the killing of women and children
Book 032, Number 6184:
Abdullah b. 'Anir reported that a person came to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) and sought permission (to participate) in Jihad, whereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Are your parents living? He said: Yes. Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: You should put in your best efforts (in their) service. 
Book 032, Number 6248:
Jabir b. Abdullah reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Be on your guardagainst committing oppression, for oppression is a darkness on the Day of Resurrection, and be on your guard against pettimindedness for pettimindedness destroyed those who were before you, as it incited them to shed blood and make lawful what was unlawful for them.

Book 032, Number 6327: 
'Urwa reported on the authority of his father that Hisham b. Hakim b. Hizam happened to pass by some people in Syria who had been made to stand in the sun and olive-oil was being poured upon their heads. He said: What is this? It was said: They are being punished for (not paying) the Kharaj (the government revenue). Thereupon he said: Allah would punish those who torment people in this world (without any genuine reason).
Finally, there's some rumor about a hadith said to have predicted, perhaps, ISIS:

Abu Abdullah Nuaim Ibn Hammad on a chain of transmission on the authority of Al Zuhari who said " The black flags will come from the East, led by mighty men, with long hair and beards, their surnames are taken from the names of their home towns (i.e. Khosti or from Khost etc.) and their first names are from a "Kunya"
(Asmal Masalik Lieyyam Mahdiyy Maliki Li Kull-id Dunya Biemrillah-il Malik, Qalda bin Zayd)

I'm not sure how reliable it is, but want to mention it anyway.

Source:
University of Southern California USC-MSA Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement (Compendium of Muslim Texts) http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Photos of ISIS, real or fake?





















Please look at both pictures... they show us the same slope, apparently taken near Kobani, the Kurdish city just outside Turkey, now under ISIS siege. I will keep this brief. Just this question:

Who are these guys, standing on the hill top, on the upper photos?

They must be about twenty meters tall. No wonder, why IS is unstoppable. They thank their victory to the help of giants.

And where is the second hill, behind the one with the IS-warriors on it? Where did it go?

This must be Divine intervention. The Almighty is undoubtedly with the Khilafah Islamiyah. That we live to see miracles, in our down-to-earth-days of transparent science. Science leaves no room for exceptions. Or is it rather, that either science, or the Almighty has granted us the blessings of computer applications, such as Adobe Photoshop? Who, which of the many parties involved has or have spread these photographic miracles, and why? I can think of a million reasons, but I will deny myself any speculative filling-in of possible expanations. Just this: The bottom photo is a realistic, long-focus-lens photo. The top photos may be pure propaganda. That's all.

Sources:
First pic must be taken by Lefteris Pitarakis, Associated Press, please also see articles about Kobani at Mashable.com and at Huffingtonpost.com
Second pic was taken by Lefteris Pitarakis, Associated Press, seen at Mashable.com
Third pic, from Getty, was seen at Independent.co.uk

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Intimate Relationships with Muslim People




This isn't the easiest topic to deal with, because it meets controversy. But when we dare to honestly look at it, more is possible than meets the (traditional) eye. It's helpful to ask yourself these questions: Where do I place myself, on the large field of spirituality, religions and philosophic ideas? And where precisely on this field does the mate of my choice stand? What does the law say? If indeed we look honestly, we can reach only one conclusion: Only myself and my partner can answer these first two questions. An imam, religious leader, family member, or friend can't answer this, they can only help in general, but usually not on the specifics. Personally, I regret, that orthodoxy in Islam still tries to prevent free partner choice, because it isn't as necessary as some people think. And it's a lot simpler than that it's being made to look like. When it comes to selecting a partner, these are the very first basics, that all Muslim people must consider, according to the Qur'an:
O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom ye claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bare you). Lo! Allah hath been a watcher over you. Give unto orphans their wealth. Exchange not the good for the bad (in your management thereof) nor absorb their wealth into your own wealth. Lo! that would be a great sin.  And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice (to so many) then one (only) or (the captives) that your right hands possess. Thus it is more likely that ye will not do injustice. And give unto the women (whom ye marry) free gift of their marriage portions; but if they of their own accord remit unto you a part thereof, then ye are welcome to absorb it (in your wealth). Give not unto the foolish (what is in) your (keeping of their) wealth, which Allah hath given you to maintain; but feed and clothe them from it, and speak kindly unto them. Prove orphans till they reach the marriageable age; then, if ye find them of sound judgment, deliver over unto them their fortune; and devour it not by squandering and in haste lest they should grow up Whoso (of the guardians) is rich, let him abstain generously (from taking of the property of orphans); and whoso is poor let him take thereof in reason (for his guardianship). And when ye deliver up their fortune unto orphans, have (the transaction) witnessed in their presence. Allah sufficeth as a Reckoner.
Qur'an 4:1-6

Lo! Those who believe (in that which is revealed unto thee, Muhammad), and those who are Jews, and Christians, and Sabaeans - whoever believeth in Allah and the Last Day and doeth right - surely their reward is with their Lord, and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. Qur'an 2:62

Do not marry unbelieving women (idolaters), until they believe: A slave woman who believes is better than an unbelieving woman, even though she allures you. Nor marry (your girls) to unbelievers until they believe: A man slave who believes is better than an unbeliever, even though he allures you. Unbelievers do (but) beckon you to the Fire. But Allah beckons by His Grace to the Garden (of bliss) and forgiveness, and makes His Signs clear to mankind: That they may celebrate His praise.
Qur'an 2:221

He hath revealed unto thee (Muhammad) the Scripture with truth, confirming that which was (revealed) before it, even as He revealed the Torah and the Gospel. Qur'an 3:2

O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and those of you who are in authority; and if ye have a dispute concerning any matter, refer it to Allah and the messenger if ye are (in truth) believers in Allah and the Last Day. That is better and more seemly in the end. Qur'an 4:59

This day are (all) good things made lawful for you. The food of those who have received the Scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them. And so are the virtuous women of the believers and the virtuous women of those who received the Scripture before you (lawful for you) when ye give them their marriage portions and live with them in honour, not in fornication, nor taking them as secret concubines. Whoso denieth the faith, his work is vain and he will be among the losers in the Hereafter. Qur'an 5:5

The adulterer shall not marry save an adulteress or an idolatress, and the adulteress none shall marry save an adulterer or an idolater. All that is forbidden unto believers. Qur'an 24:3

And argue not with the People of the Scripture unless it be in (a way) that is better, save with such of them as do wrong; and say: We believe in that which hath been revealed unto us and revealed unto you; our Allah and your Allah is One, and unto Him we surrender.  In like manner We have revealed unto thee the Scripture, and those unto whom We gave the Scripture aforetime will believe therein; and of these (also) there are some who believe therein. And none deny Our revelations save the disbelievers. Qur'an 29:46,47

And there are hadiths saying that a woman can't marry without consent of a male relative. This has led to controversy, as Qur'anic verses 2:230, 2:232, 33:50, and 60:8-10 clearly state that women can marry irrespective of male consent, even more so but not exclusively if they have been married before. The Hanafy School of Law, therefore, gives sane, adult women the possibility to marry without male consent, though sometimes not in case of her first marriage. Countries and scholars differ in their approach, however, most Islamic countries allow women to seek a marriage guardian outside their family, should they otherwise be stopped from a suitable marriage for no good reason. And mostly, marriage without wali approval is allowed for widowed and divorced women. There's a lot of information online on this topic, showing that in some countries fathers are even allowed to marry off their virgin daughters without the daughter's consent. Truth is also, that women themselves can propose to a man, and nothing indicates, that it isn't allowed in Islam. The Prophet himself received wedding proposals:


Volume 7, Book 62, Number 24:

Narrated Sahl bin Sad As-Sa'idi:

A woman came to Allah's Apostle and said, "O Allah's Apostle! I have come to give you myself in marriage (without Mahr)." Allah's Apostle looked at her. He looked at her carefully and fixed his glance on her and then lowered his head. When the lady saw that he did not say anything, she sat down. A man from his companions got up and said, "O Allah's Apostle! If you are not in need of her, then marry her to me." The Prophet said, "Have you got anything to offer?" The man said, "No, by Allah, O Allah's Apostle!" The Prophet said (to him), "Go to your family and see if you have something." The man went and returned, saying, "No, by Allah, I have not found anything." Allah's Apostle said, "(Go again) and look for something, even if it is an iron ring." He went again and returned, saying, "No, by Allah, O Allah's Apostle! I could not find even an iron ring, but this is my Izar (waist sheet)." He had no rida. He added, "I give half of it to her." Allah's Apostle said, "What will she do with your Izar? If you wear it, she will be naked, and if she wears it, you will be naked." So that man sat down for a long while and then got up (to depart). When Allah's Apostle saw him going, he ordered that he be called back. When he came, the Prophet said, "How much of the Quran do you know?" He said, "I know such Sura and such Sura," counting them. The Prophet said, "Do you know them by heart?" He replied, "Yes." The Prophet said, "Go, I marry her to you for that much of the Quran which you have."

The Scripture, also called the Book, is traditionally seen as the monotheistic trilogy of Torah (Tawrah), Bible (Ingil), and Qur'an. The Qur'an doesn't exclude, nor does it by name include, scriptures of other creeds. That doesn't mean, that those have no chance to be recognized as genuine religious works, revealed by God. We simply don't know. As we see, the Qur'anic texts don't always specify which religious scripture is meant in a verse. Anyway, traditional scholars have always said, that Islamic men can marry Islamic, Jewish, and Christian women, and that Islamic women can marry Islamic men only. Marriage with a polytheist, staunch atheist, or a known sex offender or adulterer, is forbidden to all Islamic people. Hadiths exclude such marriages and other important ties from inheritance:

Volume 8, Book 80, Number 756:

Narrated Usama bin Zaid: the Prophet said, "A Muslim cannot be the heir of a disbeliever, nor can a disbeliever be the heir of a Muslim."


Truth is, however, that there is a large gray area here of in-betweens, that traditionalists close their eyes to. Truth is also, that there are three authorities Muslim people have deal with: Traditional scriptures and fatawat; the law of the country or countries they are bound by; and, most of all, their own conscience. Only you can decide, if the man you desire to marry, thinks and lives by the same religious standard as you do. And: if you are not strictly religious, then why marry a religiously strict man? You may make each other's life hell. A father or an uncle can't decide of foresee that for you. However, they have an advantage over female relatives, because they may know the candidate from social life among men. This is one of the reasons, why male guardians have been considered important for especially young women.

Qur'anic verses 2:62 and 5:69 expand the category of 'believers' to those who believe. No more and no less. Without specification of scriptures, scholars, or other religious traditions that 'believers' may adhere to. That can be understood very widely. Clearly, a staunch Muslim would encounter many challenges with an orthodox Jew or puritan Protestant. However, very similar challenges may arise between a Muslim traditionalist and a modernist, liberal Muslim. Therefore, why not look further, and if you're a liberal, modernist Muslim (m/f), why not also include believers outside Islam in your search for the perfect partner? A reason to include them lies in modern times and legislation in many countries that liberated women from male authority, where in the past, religious laws that gave men authority, made part of the country's law. This is the case in the West mainly. In the past, a Muslim woman would give up too much of her own freedom, if she would marry a Christian man. Therefore, that wasn't a wise thing to do, and the ulema have tried to protect us from such choice. Nowadays, we can afford to look at both the Qur'an and the country's law, notice that it allows men and women equal rights, and as Muslim women, consider men who believe in God but don't belong to the Islamic umma. Why don't people grant each other freedom, when the Qur'an and today's law do so. To illustrate the point, look at these Biblical verses:

And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
Genesis, Chapter 3:14-17 This is the most classical story of man listening to his wife's undisciplined speech, leading to the original sin. Man from then on had to rule over woman, in all matters.

The Biblical Book of Numbers, Chapter 27, explains how women were excluded from inheritance, unless there was no son. This rule doesn't exist in Islam, as shown in Qur'anic verses above.

And the same Biblical Book of Numbers, Chapter 30, explains that women are not bound by their promises, unless their father or their husband allows them to make such, or stays silent. Another rule that doesn't exist in Islam and that made it for Islamic women possible to do business, acquire property, or work.

But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
1 Corinthians 14:34,35

The Islamic woman, however, is allowed to speak and teach. Everywhere. The only exception is, that she can't lead men in prayer.

 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

These Biblical verses didn't lead to a happy, content, and workable society. That's why they're gone now. Not from the Bible, but from everyday life.

Also here, it's easy to turn this into a battle between the scriptures. There's no need to change other nations--a thought that should set free. It's best to stick to Qur'anic verses 2:62, 5:69 and 4:59: Allow believers more freedom outside tradition, and stick to the law of the country. How hard can it be, after all.

Sources:
University of Southern California USC-MSA Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement (Compendium of Muslim Texts) http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje
Marrying without a Wali http://mathabah.logicsoft.ca/20120809733/hanafi-marriage-nikaah/marrying-without-a-wali-guardian-hanafi.htmlThe Official King James Bible Online http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Male & Female and what Islam says about it's existence



If ever a topic in Islam gets people's attention, it's this: The relation between men and women. At some moment, it's unavoidable. But where to start... and where to finish. It's tempting to enter worn out, overly treaded routes, too, and resort too much to other commentators, which is not always helpful in today's much changing world. It's best to start with the most obvious topics,

How, firstly, are we described in the Qur'an, as men and women?


'O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom ye claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bare you). Lo! Allah hath been a watcher over you'. Qur'an 4:1

'O mankind! if ye are in doubt concerning the Resurrection, then lo! We have created you from dust, then from a drop of seed, then from a clot, then from a little lump of flesh shapely and shapeless, that We may make (it) clear for you. And We cause what We will to remain in the wombs for an appointed time, and afterward We bring you forth as infants, then (give you growth) that ye attain your full strength. And among you there is he who dieth (young), and among you there is he who is brought back to the most abject time of life, so that, after knowledge, he knoweth naught. And thou (Muhammad) seest the earth barren, but when We send down water thereon, it doth thrill and swell and put forth every lovely kind (of growth).' Qur'an 22:5

Lo! men who surrender unto Allah, and women who surrender, and men who believe and women who believe, and men who obey and women who obey, and men who speak the truth and women who speak the truth, and men who persevere (in righteousness) and women who persevere, and men who are humble and women who are humble, and men who give alms and women who give alms, and men who fast and women who fast, and men who guard their modesty and women who guard (their modesty), and men who remember Allah much and women who remember - Allah hath prepared for them forgiveness and a vast reward. Qur'an 33:35

'He created you from one being, then from that (being) He made its mate; and He hath provided for you of cattle eight kinds. He created you in the wombs of your mothers, creation after creation, in a threefold gloom. Such is Allah, your Lord. His is the Sovereignty. There is no Allah save Him. How then are ye turned away?' Qur'an 39:6

'And all things We have created by pairs, that haply ye may reflect.' Qur'an 51:49

'Was he not a drop of fluid which gushed forth?

Then he became a clot; then (Allah) shaped and fashioned

And made of him a pair, the male and female.' Qur'an 75:37-39

These verses could describe the very first human beings. They also describe us as individuals, who receive in the human growing process qualities that make us man or woman, and ready to be the partner of another woman or man. Many commentators, among who Harun Yahya and Maurice Bucaille, wrote extensive works emphasizing how these verses comply with today's scientific knowledge about the human pregnancy and procreation. The verses themselves, however, give little detail and no hierarchy between men and women. The Qur'an does mention the first humans, too:

'And when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am about to place a viceroy in the earth, they said: Wilt thou place therein one who will do harm therein and will shed blood, while we, we hymn Thy praise and sanctify Thee? He said: Surely I know that which ye know not. And He taught Adam all the names, then showed them to the angels, saying: Inform Me of the names of these, if ye are truthful. They said: Be glorified! We have no knowledge saving that which Thou hast taught us. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Knower, the Wise. He said: O Adam! Inform them of their names, and when he had informed them of their names, He said: Did I not tell you that I know the secret of the heavens and the earth? And I know that which ye disclose and which ye hide. And when We said unto the angels: Prostrate yourselves before Adam, they fell prostrate, all save Iblis (Lucifer, Satan). He demurred through pride, and so became a disbeliever. And We said: O Adam! Dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden, and eat ye freely (of the fruits) thereof where ye will; but come not nigh this tree lest ye become wrong-doers. But Satan caused them to deflect therefrom and expelled them from the (happy) state in which they were; and We said: Fall down, one of you a foe unto the other! There shall be for you on earth a habitation and provision for a time. Then Adam received from his Lord words (of revelation), and He relented toward him. Lo! He is the relenting, the Merciful We said: Go down, all of you, from hence; but verily there cometh unto you from Me a guidance; and whoso followeth My guidance, there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. But they who disbelieve, and deny Our revelations, such are rightful Peoples of the Fire. They will abide therein.' Qur'an 2:30-39

What do these verses tell us? Firstly, Qur'an mentions in several verses the polarity in nature, 'everything was created in pairs'. Some of these verses deal with gender--not only in humanity--and some deal with other kinds of polarity in nature. Secondly, man and woman were created equally, without hierarchy, and each person is personally responsible for his, or her, relationship with Allah, God. And Adam, most likely, was the first human and scholars also see him as the first prophet. Several Qur'anic verses refer to mankind as 'Adam's Children', too:

'O Children of Adam! We have revealed unto you raiment to conceal your shame, and splendid vesture, but the raiment of restraint from evil, that is best. This is of the revelations of Allah, that they may remember. O Children of Adam! Let not Satan seduce you as he caused your (first) parents to go forth from the Garden and tore off from them their robe (of innocence) that he might manifest their shame to them. Lo! he seeth you, he and his tribe, from whence ye see him not. Lo! We have made the devils protecting friends for those who believe not. Qur'an 7:30,31.

True, hadiths mention creation of woman from 'a rib'. Nothing of its provenance is said. It could be anything; the X-chromosome, or even a metaphore:


Volume 7, Book 62, Number 114:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should not hurt (trouble) his neighbor. And I advise you to take care of the women, for they are created from a rib and the most crooked portion of the rib is its upper part; if you try to straighten it, it will break, and if you leave it, it will remain crooked, so I urge you to take care of the women."


If you're a non-Muslim and would like to know more about Islam, it's helpful to also read the scriptures of your own creed--if you have one. If you live in a predominantly Christian environment, you may compare these Qur'anic verses with applicable Biblical verses. (There's nothing wrong in doing this anyway, considering the similarities between both, and their intertwined history.) Bible Book Genesis, Chapter 2 and 3 describes the creation of man and woman, and their expulsion from the garden. The first man was created first from the soil. He was allowed to live in the garden of Eden. Then the animals were created to help and accompany him. Adam was the one to give the species their names. Finally, for the same purpose, the first woman was created from the man's rib. Chapter 3 describes how the woman was seduced to eat from the tree, which led to the downfall of humanity from the garden. Their life would from now on consist of hard work, worry, and man would rule over woman.

Now you may say 'what does it matter' what those books say. I think it matters, even if only indirectly. The image men and women have of their own status in the bigger picture, has been determined by religious scriptures. These have had their impact on legislation, and on general ideas of male and female capabilities and roles. The Bible primarily blames woman for the original sin, and her entire posterity will be tainted ever since, especially her female posterity. Islam doesn't share this thought. It's true, that we don't know which is right. This may be a reason to avoid the temptation to turn this into a contest. All we can say here is, that Islam gives no details about the creation of man and woman. And Islam does give details about human pregnancy and growth that fairly well approach real life. Islam has an advantage here. Let's at least admit that much.

The reason I took up writing these articles, is my hope to show where Islam reaches out to people of all creeds. People travel more today, the world has become a global village. Many people, me included, have friends and family members with different religions. Islam deserves to be seen as s free, happy religion that promotes love. Especially gender is a topic that left too many people in a situation of limitation, where it isn't needed. I'm convinced of that. Read the scriptures, think about them. It gave me new perspectives on this topic.

Sources: 
University of Southern California USC-MSA Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement (Compendium of Muslim Texts) http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje  
The Official King James Bible Online http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Islam & Entertainment such as Music




Somehow, music has a controversial name in religions, especially in Islam. It's associated with uncomplicated fun not focused on Divine worship, and some consider that waste of energy. Or it's associated with social, sexual and alcoholic abuse. Sometimes this is true. But, does Islam truly forbid music?

The Qur'an mentions prophet Dawud as singer of praise with the birds. Dawud is King David in the Bible; the Biblical book of Psalms is named after him. He is supposed to be their writer, and he is the Bible's best known musician. Dawud, King David, received a divine scripture and prophetic wisdom, which is mentioned in the Qur'an:


017.055
YUSUFALI: And it is your Lord that knoweth best all beings that are in the heavens and on earth: We did bestow on some prophets more (and other) gifts than on others: and We gave to David (the gift of) the Psalms.

021.079
YUSUFALI: To Solomon We inspired the (right) understanding of the matter: to each (of them) We gave Judgment and Knowledge; it was Our power that made the hills and the birds celebrate Our praises, with David: it was We Who did (all these things).
034.010
YUSUFALI: We bestowed Grace aforetime on David from ourselves: "O ye Mountains! Sing ye back the Praises of Allah with him! and ye birds (also)! And We made the iron soft for him;-

038.017
YUSUFALI: Have patience at what they say, and remember our servant David, the man of strength: for he ever turned (to Allah).

038.018
YUSUFALI: It was We that made the hills declare, in unison with him, Our Praises, at eventide and at break of day,

038.019
YUSUFALI: And the birds gathered (in assemblies): all with him did turn (to Allah).


Music is very well part of human knowledge and as such appropriate for religious worship, too. Somehow, however, it lost most of its place in Islam. Also hadiths do not forbid music; there are enough stories of people singing in the prophet's presence, and he didn't say anything against it. The bottom two hadiths are transmitted by Sahih Muslim, the other ones by Sahih Bukhari:

Volume 2, Book 15, Number 70:
Narrated Aisha: Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h) came to my house while two girls were singing beside me the songs of Buath (a story about the war between the two tribes of the Ansar, the Khazraj and the Aus, before Islam). The Prophet (p.b.u.h) lay down and turned his face to the other side. Then Abu Bakr came and spoke to me harshly saying, "Musical instruments of Satan near the Prophet (p.b.u.h) ?" Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h) turned his face towards him and said, "Leave them." When Abu Bakr became inattentive, I signalled to those girls to go out and they left. It was the day of 'Id, and the Black people were playing with shields and spears; so either I requested the Prophet (p.b.u.h) or he asked me whether I would like to see the display. I replied in the affirmative. Then the Prophet (p.b.u.h) made me stand behind him and my cheek was touching his cheek and he was saying, "Carry on! O Bani Arfida," till I got tired. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) asked me, "Are you satisfied (Is that sufficient for you)?" I replied in the affirmative and he told me to leave.

Volume 2, Book 15, Number 72:
Narrated Aisha: Abu Bakr came to my house while two small Ansari girls were singing beside me the stories of the Ansar concerning the Day of Buath. And they were not singers. Abu Bakr said protestingly, "Musical instruments of Satan in the house of Allah's Apostle !" It happened on the 'Id day and Allah's Apostle said, "O Abu Bakr! There is an 'Id for every nation and this is our 'Id."

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 155:
Narrated 'Aisha: Allah's Apostle came to my house while two girls were singing beside me the songs of Bu'ath (a story about the war between the two tribes of the Ansar, i.e. Khazraj and Aus, before Islam.) The Prophet reclined on the bed and turned his face to the other side. Abu Bakr came and scolded me and said protestingly, "Instrument of Satan in the presence of Allah's Apostle?" Allah's Apostle turned his face towards him and said, "Leave them." When Abu Bakr became inattentive, I waved the two girls to go away and they left. It was the day of 'Id when negroes used to play with leather shields and spears. Either I requested Allah's Apostle or he himself asked me whether I would like to see the display. I replied in the affirmative. Then he let me stand behind him and my cheek was touching his cheek and he was saying, "Carry on, O Bani Arfida (i.e. negroes)!" When I got tired, he asked me if that was enough. I replied in the affirmative and he told me to leave 

Volume 5, Book 59, Number 336:
Narrated Ar-Rubai bint Muauwidh: The Prophet came to me after consuming his marriage with me and sat down on my bed as you (the sub-narrator) are sitting now, and small girls were beating the tambourine and singing in lamentation of my father who had been killed on the day of the battle of Badr. Then one of the girls said, "There is a Prophet amongst us who knows what will happen tomorrow." The Prophet said (to her)," Do not say this, but go on saying what you have spoken before." 

Volume 8, Book 73, Number 229:
Narrated Anas: The Prophet was on a journey and a slave named Anjasha was chanting (singing) for the camels to let them go fast (while driving). The Prophet said, "O Anjasha, drive slowly (the camels) with the glass vessels!" Abu Qilaba said, "By the glass vessels' he meant the women (riding the camels)."  

Book 023, Number 4879:
'Ali b. Abu Talib reported; There fell to my lot along with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) an old she-camel from the spoils of Badr. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) granted me another camel. I made them kneel down one day at the door of an Ansari, and I wanted to carry on them Idhkhir (a kind of grass) in order to sell that. There was with me a goldsmith of the tribe of Qainuqa'. I saught to give a wedding feast (on the occasion of marriage with) Fatima with the help of that (the price accrued from the sale of this grass). And Hamza b. 'Abd al-Muttalib was busy in drinking in that house in the company of a singing girl who was singing to him. She said: Hamza, get up for slaughtering the fat she-camels. Hamza attacked them with the sword and cut off their humps and ripped their haunches, and then took out their livers. I said to Ibn Shihab: Did he take out anything from the hump? He said: He cut off the humps altogether. Ibn Shihab reported 'Ali having said: I saw this (horrible) sight and it shocked me, and I came to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) and there was Zaid b, Haritha with him and communicated to him this news. He came in the company of Zaid and I also went along with him and he went to Hamza and he expressed anger with him. Hamza raised his eyes and said: Are you (not) but the servants of my father? Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) turned back on his heels (on hearing this) until he went away from them. 

Book 030, Number 5743:
Anas reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) had in one of his journeys his black slave who was called Anjasha along with him. He goaded by singing the songs of camel-driver. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Anjasha, drive slowly as you are driving (the mounts who are carrying) glass vessels 

In the forlast hadith, number 4879, another topic is introduced: Alcohol. Alcohol is known to be forbidden for Muslims, however, in the Qur'an it is also granted some good qualities. Drinking isn't a sin that makes one leave Islam, yet, performing prayer when intoxicated, isn't allowed. A believer who drinks or trades alcoholic drinks, will be deprived of alcohol in the hereafter. Alcohol is the reward in Paradise for those believers, who abstained from it during their lifetime. Islam sees alcohol as an issue that believers need to abandon, yet, it's known, that many won't. It's an undesirable, complicating part of life for Muslims--yet, perhaps, no unforgivable sin. However, Muslims shouldn't gamble on their future.


002.219
YUSUFALI: They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: "In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit." They ask thee how much they are to spend; Say: "What is beyond your needs." Thus doth Allah Make clear to you His Signs: In order that ye may consider-


004.031
YUSUFALI: If ye (but) eschew the most heinous of the things which ye are forbidden to do, We shall expel out of you all the evil in you, and admit you to a gate of great honour.


004.043
YUSUFALI: O ye who believe! Approach not prayers with a mind befogged (intoxicated), until ye can understand all that ye say,- nor in a state of ceremonial impurity (Except when travelling on the road), until after washing your whole body. If ye are ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from offices of nature, or ye have been in contact with women, and ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth, and rub therewith your faces and hands. For Allah doth blot out sins and forgive again and again.


004.048
YUSUFALI: Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin Most heinous indeed.


005.090
YUSUFALI: O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan's handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper.


005.091
YUSUFALI: Satan's plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain?


016.067
YUSUFALI: And from the fruit of the date-palm and the vine, ye get out wholesome drink and food: behold, in this also is a sign for those who are wise.


047.015
YUSUFALI: (Here is) a Parable of the Garden which the righteous are promised: in it are rivers of water incorruptible; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes; rivers of wine, a joy to those who drink; and rivers of honey pure and clear. In it there are for them all kinds of fruits; and Grace from their Lord. (Can those in such Bliss) be compared to such as shall dwell for ever in the Fire, and be given, to drink, boiling water, so that it cuts up their bowels (to pieces)?


And there are many hadiths about drinking alcohol. Believers were ordered to throw away alcoholic beverages, not to use them as medicines, and not to produce or sell them.


Volume 7, Book 69, Number 481, Sahih Bukhari:
Narrated Ibn 'Umar: Allah's Apostle said, "Whoever drinks alcoholic drinks in the world and does not repent (before dying), will be deprived of it in the Hereafter."

Volume 7, Book 69, Number 484:
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "An adulterer, at the time he is committing illegal sexual intercourse is not a believer; and a person, at the time of drinking an alcoholic drink is not a believer; and a thief, at the time of stealing, is not a believer." Ibn Shihab said: 'Abdul Malik bin Abi Bakr bin 'Abdur-Rahman bin Al- Harith bin Hisham told me that Abu Bakr used to narrate that narration to him on the authority of Abu Huraira. He used to add that Abu Bakr used to mention, besides the above cases, "And he who robs (takes illegally something by force) while the people are looking at him, is not a believer at the time he is robbing (taking) 

Volume 7, Book 69, Number 487:
Narrated Ibn 'Umar: 'Umar stood up on the pulpit and said, "Now then, prohibition of alcoholic drinks have been revealed, and these drinks are prepared from five things, i.e.. grapes, dates, honey, wheat or barley And an alcoholic drink is that, that disturbs the mind. 

Book 023, Number 4892, Sahih Muslim:
Wa'il al-Hadrami reported that Tariq b. Suwaid a-Ju'fi asked Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) about liquor. He forbade (its use) and he expressed hatred that it should be prepared. He (Tariq) said: I prepare it as a medicine, whereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: It is no medicine, but an ailment. 

Book 023, Number 4961:
Abu Burda reported on the authority of his father: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) sent me and Mu'adh to Yemen saying: Call people (to the path of righteousness) and give good tidings to the (people), and do not repel them, make things easy for them and do not make things difficult. I (Burda) said: Allah's Messenger, give us a religious verdict about two kinds of drinks which we prepare in Yemen. One is Bit' which is prepared from honey; it is a fermented Nabidh and is strong and turns into wine, and (the second is) Mizr which is prepared from millet and barley. Thereupon, Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him), who had been gifted with the most eloquent and pithy expressions, said: I forbid you from every intoxicant that keeps you away from prayer.

Book 023, Number 4975:
Yahya Abu 'Umar al-Nakhai reported that some people asked Ibn Abbas about the sale and purchase of wine and its commerce. He asked (them): Are you Muslims? They said, Yes. Thereupon he said: Its sale and purchase and its trade are not permissible. They then asked him about Nabidh and he said: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) went out on a journey and then came back and some persons amongst his Companions prepared Nabidh for him in green pitcher, hollow stump and gourd. He commanded it to be thrown away, and it was done accordingly. He then ordered them (to prepare it.) in a waterskin and it was prepared in that by steeping raisins in water, and it was prepared in the night. In the morning he drank out of that and on that day and then the next night, and then on the next day until the evening. He drank and gave others to drink. When it was morning (of the third night) he commanded what was left of that to be thrown away. 

Source:

University of Southern California USC-MSA Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement (Compendium of Muslim Texts) http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje

Monday, September 29, 2014

Do I want to distance myself from ISIS?




This Summer, the western world was shaken by two conflicts, one in Europe, Ukraine, and one, again, in Syria and Iraq. The latter, caused by the arrival of 'Islamic State', a new caliphate, raised some interesting questions to Muslims and those who care for Islam.

Truth is, firstly, both Sunni and Shiah traditions promise the return of a final Khilafah, which will restore justice and bring peace. Another truth is, that, also in Islam, every people has a basic right to found a new state according to its own founding principles, and every person may be elligible for high leadership, as described in Qur'anic verse 3:26. There's no exception to this rule for Islamic peoples. The first topic of interest is, whether it is indeed the promised final, infallible khilafah. Scholars of all main schools of thought in Islam agree, that the Imamah of infallible caliphs belongs to descendants of the Saudi tribe of Quraish. The caliph of Islamic State, however, is Iraqi and the Caliphate is situated in Syria and Iraq. Doubtful therefore is, that IS is the final khilafah as prophesied in the ahadith.

Now the second issue. The media report, that Islamic State kills those of its inhabitants who don't want to convert to Islam. Contrary to popular belief, Islam does not allow Muslims such killing. These ahadith reported by Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim (the two at the end) testify as such:


Volume 5, Book 59, Number 628:

Narrated Salim's father:

The Prophet sent Khalid bin Al-Walid to the tribe of Jadhima and Khalid invited them to Islam but they could not express themselves by saying, "Aslamna (i.e. we have embraced Islam)," but they started saying "Saba'na! Saba'na (i.e. we have come out of one religion to another)." Khalid kept on killing (some of) them and taking (some of) them as captives and gave every one of us his Captive. When there came the day then Khalid ordered that each man (i.e. Muslim soldier) should kill his captive, I said, "By Allah, I will not kill my captive, and none of my companions will kill his captive." When we reached the Prophet, we mentioned to him the whole story. On that, the Prophet raised both his hands and said twice, "O Allah! I am free from what Khalid has done."


Volume 5, Book 59, Number 687:

Narrated Jarir:

The Prophet ordered me during Hajjatul-Wada'. "Ask the people to listen." He then said, "Do not become infidels after me by cutting the necks (throats) of one another. "


Volume 9, Book 84, Number 61:

Narrated 'Aisha:

 A group of Jews asked permission to visit the Prophet (and when they were admitted) they said, "As-Samu 'Alaika (Death be upon you)." I said (to them), "But death and the curse of Allah be upon you!" The Prophet said, "O 'Aisha! Allah is kind and lenient and likes that one should be kind and lenient in all matters." I said, "Haven't you heard what they said?" He said, "I said (to them), 'Wa 'Alaikum (and upon you).


Volume 9, Book 84, Number 68:

Narrated Yusair bin 'Amr: I asked Sahl bin Hunaif, "Did you hear the Prophet saying anything about Al-Khawarij?" He said, "I heard him saying while pointing his hand towards Iraq. "There will appear in it (i.e, Iraq) some people who will recite the Quran but it will not go beyond their throats, and they will go out from (leave) Islam as an arrow darts through the game's body.' "


Volume 9, Book 88, Number 184:

Narrated 'Abdullah and Abu Musa: The Prophet said, "Near the establishment of the Hour there will be days during which Religious ignorance will spread, knowledge will be taken away (vanish) and there will be much Al-Harj, and Al-Harj means killing."


Volume 9, Book 89, Number 329:

Narrated Jabir bin Samura: I heard the Prophet saying, "There will be twelve Muslim rulers (who will rule all the Islamic world)." He then said a sentence which I did not hear. My father said, "All of them (those rulers) will be from Quraish."


Book 032, Number 6327:

'Urwa reported on the authority of his father that Hisham b. Hakim b. Hizam happened to pass by some people in Syria who had been made to stand in the sun and olive-oil was being poured upon their heads. He said: What is this? It was said: They are being punished for (not paying) the Kharaj (the government revenue). Thereupon he said: Allah would punish those who torment people in this world (without any genuine reason).


Book 032, Number 6328:

Hisham reported on the authority of his father that Hisham b. Hakim b. Hizam happened to pass by people, the farmers of Syria, who had been made to stand in the sun. He said: What is the matter with them? They said: They have been detained for Jizya. Thereupon Hisham said: I bear testimony to the fact that I heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Allah would torment those who torment people in the world.

Al Khawarij are those who think, that rebellion and revolution against leaders is allowed in Islam. Islam, however, asks us to consult with each other in a peaceful manner, as prescribed in Qur'anic verse 42:38, and to obey leaders, even if those aren't always just, as prescribed in verse 4:59.


More importantly, Qur'an itself forbids Muslims random killing of those who reject Islam or left it. Please see one of my previous entries on this blog, The Basics of Islam's Outward Boundaries. Qur'an as reference of judgement in Islam precedes any other scripture, unless explicitly stated otherwise... which isn't often the case. Unbelievers and apostates may be killed only if they kill and persecute believers themselves and neither offer peace nor enter Islam.

We could ask ourselves, if indeed #IS has the right to call itself an 'Islamic' State, if it radomly kills those who live in its newly conquered lands and don't want to convert to Islam or pay 'jizya' tax. How violent has the relation of local Muslims, Christians, Yezidi, and other groups been? If it wasn't violent, then IS has no case.

There's a third question of interest: Is any party allowed to retaliation? The answer to that one isn't simple. Islam allows the faithful retribution for those who were killed, according to these Qur'anic verses:


002.178 Surah 2 Verse 178

O ye who believe! the law of equality is prescribed to you in cases of murder: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the woman for the woman. But if any remission is made by the brother of the slain, then grant any reasonable demand, and compensate him with handsome gratitude, this is a concession and a Mercy from your Lord. After this whoever exceeds the limits shall be in grave penalty.


002.179 Surah 2 Verse 179

YUSUFALI: In the Law of Equality there is (saving of) Life to you, o ye men of understanding; that ye may restrain yourselves.


002.194 Sura 2 Verse 194

YUSUFALI: The prohibited month for the prohibited month,- and so for all things prohibited,- there is the law of equality. If then any one transgresses the prohibition against you, Transgress ye likewise against him. But fear Allah, and know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves.


017.033 Surah 17 Verse 33

YUSUFALI: Nor take life - which Allah has made sacred - except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand qisas or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the Law).


The law of equality prescribes, that any retaliation against other people's harmful behavior must be of equal value, law which may also be applied to offenses slighter than killing. This issue, however, touches the history between Islam and the West. IS may have a point, when it triumphantly announces killing of the British, American, and other western journalists or workers they captured. There's a long line of killing and retribution of killing in our joint western and middle eastern histories; recent history has shown a revival since the US-presidencies of the Bush family, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. And the Middle East has been of the receiving end, mostly, and grossly. Against the killing of every American or European, we've seen at least 10,000 Iraqi, Afghani, and other killings in the Middle East by western armies. And journalists or workers may be an interest party in this war. The temptation to retaliate may have been less, if the West had paid better compensation for the suffering and loss of property during colonial occupation, during bombardments, etc. Not without reason, Islam offers a way out of retaliation with forgiveness. At some time, the cycle of retaliations should end.

Then there's a fourth, final question, not a slight one either. None of us can effectively act, unless we know who we are dealing with. Rumor has it, that IS may be fake. There are plenty of videos circulating, saying that the beheadings of journalists are fake. Therefore, I looked at mainstream footing as these:

http://www.reuters.com/video/2014/08/20/islamic-state-says-beheads-...

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/remembering-james-foley/


Don't worry--the images aren't scary, no one is actually beheaded in these videos

In this case, James Foley, I find the accusation credible. I see two different people here; obviously their voices and their facial movements differ. So what really happened to James Foley? And why the fake? Is IS real, at all? Why was its initial name changed, a name that reminded of forgotten Egyptian goddess Isis? I find the thought tempting, that this group may not at all be a Muslim group. They may be a group of provocateurs, enabling some parties a new war. What if the USA, Iran, any other country, have a hand in that? What must happen to all their military personnel, should war be over? Military personnel may suffer the same trauma as jihad travelers do, after all. Not to mention the tempting shine of the oil. The strangest aspect of it, is the anonymity of thousands of casualties resulting from bombardments versus the flagrant cruelty of one, or a few, beheading(s) of a journalist, who has a name and a face. It does make those 10,000 seem equal to this one person. And that fact, on the other hand, is exactly what Muslim extremists are fighting against, and they have a point here, too. The question is, really, who is the extremist here. The Americans and other westerners have dug themselves deep into the Middle East with their warfare. It's not easy to stop that. One may wonder, if the west is really fighting itself, before any one else.

Is there a solution to this latest problem? The only solution may be a full lock-up of the area occupied by IS, so that no one may enter or leave it, and aid and shelter for the many refugees. IS will have to leave the area, or it has to isolate itself. This will probably leave the least damage.


Source: 
University of Southern California USC-MSA Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement (Compendium of Muslim Texts) http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje