Islamic Renaissance now


By Hamid Golpira

The Islamic world is at the crossroads — either we have an Islamic Renaissance now or we will experience many years of backwardness.

The Islamic world has been in decline for over five centuries.

Once we experienced a golden age, and there is good reason to mourn its loss.

But the Moor’s last sigh shouldn’t last 500 years.

Something must be done to rectify the problem now.

It seems that we need a bit of etherealization, which is an expression used by historian Arnold Toynbee to describe what takes place when a civilization is flourishing.

So how do we etherealize the Islamic world?

Well, first we have to understand what we got right in the golden age.

To start an Islamic Renaissance, we have to return to our roots, but this does not mean returning to the past as Taleban-type elements would like to do.

We have to balance modernity and tradition.

And this is what we got right at the advent of Islam and during the golden age.

We understood and adapted to the times we lived in while maintaining our religious ideals.

We had spirituality and also academic scholarship and science.

Muslims never had a great Dark Ages where science was superstitiously rejected like the Europeans experienced.

However, we are in the middle of a 500-year decline that is like a dark age.

We Muslims have to understand that we live in the Information Age.

Yet, we must learn how to balance Information Age modernity and Islamic tradition.

We should not become materialists with little or no spirituality, like the Westerners, but we should also not try to become spiritual people disconnected from the times we live in.

Everything is in the balance and we must learn to strike that balance.

The new Islamic Renaissance must be an Information Age Islamic Renaissance because this is the era we live in.

The beauty of Islam is that it is adaptable to every era.

When the Europeans were in the middle of their Dark Ages, the Islamic world reached the heights of art, culture, science, philosophy, literature, architecture, and many other fields.

Many historians say the Islamic civilization actually inspired the European Renaissance.

So what went wrong in the Islamic world?

The answer is obvious.

We forgot who we are. We lost our identity.

We lost sight of that beauty of Islam which is adaptable to every era.

Most of the Islamic world was colonized by the Europeans, and our identity crisis became exacerbated.

After the colonial era ended, we became the victims of neocolonialism.

Even the minds of most Muslims have become colonized in the ongoing cultural war.

South African revolutionary Steve Biko once said: “The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”

The Muslims broke up into different groups.

One group is influenced by the Westerners and tries to be secular materialists like them. They are sometimes called moderate Muslims but most of them are not very Muslim at all in reality.

Another group rejects the West and has adopted a form of Islamic traditionalism that is sometimes called fundamentalism but which is really not fundamentalism because they are out of touch with the modern world, whereas the fundamental teachings of Islam require Muslims to be in tune with the times we live in.

A third group rejects both of these approaches and opts for a form of Islamic mysticism disengaged from the world, which is not really Islamic mysticism because true Islamic mystics are engaged with the world and seek to help people, especially the oppressed masses and those who are spiritually lost.

All of these groups are going in the wrong direction, but each of them also has a piece of the answer.

We Muslims must synthesize these three approaches to regain our identity and start the new Islamic Renaissance.

We must utilize Information Age technology, but avoid getting lost in materialism.

We must hold fast to the Islamic tradition and the Islamic law, the sharia, but avoid stiff interpretations of the law, arrogant self-righteousness, and intolerance.

And we must understand mysticism and live the mystical life, but avoid selfish individualism and narcissistic fantasy.

If we can do this, we can reconnect with the beauty of Islam which is adaptable to every era, balance modernity and tradition, regain our Islamic identity, and start the new Islamic Renaissance.

Advertisements

Fears for daughters’ rights lead some Sunnis to adopt Shiaism

Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Fears for daughters’ rights lead some Sunnis to adopt Shiism
Vast difference in inheritance formulas causes many couples to convert – and not everyone approves
 
By Agence France Presse (AFP)

 

Ines Bel Aiba

Agence France Press

BEIRUT: Nada had no choice. The Sunni Lebanese woman decided to become a Shiite because that branch of Islam guarantees that her daughters will one day be her sole heiresses.

“If I became a Shiite it was not out of conviction,” Nada told AFP. Had she not converted, the girls’ uncle would receive the bulk of her inheritance when she died, in line with Sunni laws.

Shiites, a minority community in Islam, have sometimes been at odds with the Sunnis in the Arab world, but in Lebanon conversions between the two branches are easy and mostly done for practical purposes.

In Lebanon, religious tribunals rule on marriage, divorce and inheritance. For both Sunnis and Shiites, women receive one-third and men two-thirds of an inheritance.

Problems arise when a Sunni couple only has girls. They would inherit just a small part of the assets, while the larger part of the inheritance would go to the closest male relatives – grandfathers, uncles or cousins.

One solution for Sunni couples in such a situation is to become Shiites, as the sect’s religious regulations allow daughters to be the sole heiresses in the absence of male offspring.

Sunni couple Hassan and Sana Tawil became Shiite about 30 years ago because they had two daughters.

“We saw atrocious things happening in the family, such as an uncle who wanted to take everything from a cousin. It made an impression on us when we were children,” Hassan said.

They may be Shiites on paper but the Tawils remain deeply Sunni in practice.

 “I stayed profoundly Sunni,” said Sana, confirming that she raised her daughters “in line with Sunni values.”

“Even famous Sunni politicians became Shiites for the same reason,” she explains, citing Riad Solh, who was prime minister at the time of Lebanon’s independence in 1943 and who had five daughters.

In line with Lebanon’s confessional political system, the country’s prime ministers are Sunni – although at least four of them became Shiites because they did not have sons.

Like other couples in the same situation, the Tawils went to a Shiite court, where they converted before a sheikh who, they said, seemed to be very aware of the real motives behind their conversion.

“The sheikh looked at me and asked: ‘Do you have children?’ I said yes,” recalled Sana.

“He said: ‘How many?’ I said two. He asked: ‘Boys?’ I said no.

“Then he just looked at me and nodded. And I became a Shiite,” the 63-year-old woman said with a smile.

Sheikh Mohammad Noqari, director general of Dar al-Fatwa, the highest Sunni religious authority in Lebanon, confirmed that some Sunnis were becoming Shiites – but expressed disapproval.

“It is true that some Sunnis are doing this,” he said. “But if someone converts from one Muslim confession to another for material reasons, it is not really correct.”

But for Sheikh Jaafar Fadlallah, from the Shiite Sharia Islamic Institute, converting is “an issue of personal choice.”

“Nothing should prevent a Muslim from converting to the  branch that suits him best,” Fadlallah said.

Shiite authorities say that about 350 Sunnis become Shiites every year.

According to sociologist Marlene Nasr, the ramifications of such decisions are not always pleasant. “There are sometimes cases where people are ostracized” after converting, she said, “but not by the religious authorities – rather by their own families.”

Talal Khodari, a lawyer specializing in family legal affairs, said such conversions were “common,” although often “not accepted and not taken very well” in Lebanese society.

He also said that the issue sometimes causes additional family problems because male relatives feel that they are being accused, by implication, of being willing to take what rightfully belongs to their female relatives.


Copyright (c) 2007 The Daily Star

The original sin in Islam

According to Wikipedia

Unlike Christianity, which teaches that all the children of Adam are sinful for Adam’s sin, Islam teaches that all humans are innocent by birth and they become sinful only when they consciously commit a sin. Islam regards the concept of “original sin” and the need for atonement by God Himself – via dying on the Cross – as a pure invention of those who came after Jesus Christ, declaring themselves as Christians.

Another important point to bear in mind about the Islamic concept of sin is that one man’s sin cannot be transferred to another; nor can the reward due to a person be transferred either. Every individual is responsible only for his or her actions, for God is never unjust. This is made clear in the following in Surah 17, verse 25:

  • {Who receiveth guidance, receiveth it for his own benefit: who goeth astray doth so to his own loss. No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another: nor would We punish until We had sent a messenger [to give warning].}*

[edit] Excerpts from Qur’an

Is it certain that it was Adam and not Eve who was tempted? Irrespective of this, both are forgiven together, the concept being that Man and Woman were created equally, by God, of the same material and therefore have equal rights to redemption.

This episode is mentioned in the Qur’an in several places. Amongst them are:

  • But the Satan made them both fall from it, and caused them to depart from that (state) in which they were; and We said: Get forth, some of you being the enemies of others, and there is for you in the earth an abode and a provision for a time. 2:36
  • But the Shaitan made an evil suggestion to them that he might make manifest to them what had been hidden from them of their evil inclinations, and he said: Your Lord has not forbidden you this tree except that you may not both become two angels or that you may (not) become of the immortals. And he swore to them both: Most surely I am a sincere adviser to you. Then he caused them to fall by deceit; so when they tasted of the tree, their evil inclinations became manifest to them, and they both began to cover themselves with the leaves of the garden; and their Lord called out to them: Did I not forbid you both from that tree and say to you that the Shaitan is your open enemy? They said: Our Lord! We have been unjust to ourselves, and if Thou forgive us not, and have (not) mercy on us, we shall certainly be of the losers. 7:20-23

Adam and Eve are forgiven by God after they repent:

  • Then Adam received (some) words from his Lord, so He turned to him mercifully; surely He is Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful. 2:37

Therefore, the idea that the sin propagates to their offspring is categorically refused by Muslims, citing verses such as:

  • Say: What! shall I seek a Lord other than Allah? And He is the Lord of all things; and no soul earns (evil) but against itself, and no bearer of burden shall bear the burden of another; then to your Lord is your return, so He will inform you of that in which you differed. 6:164
  • Allah does not impose upon any soul a duty but to the extent of its ability; for it is (the benefit of) what it has earned and upon it (the evil of) what it has wrought: Our Lord! do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake; Our Lord! do not lay on us a burden as Thou didst lay on those before us, Our Lord do not impose upon us that which we have not the strength to bear; and pardon us and grant us protection and have mercy on us, Thou art our Patron, so help us against the unbelieving people. 2:286

That is to say, all children are born without sin in the state of purity.

WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF Tazkiyyah?

WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF Tazkiyyah?

Tazkiyah means The purification of one’s heart and the soul.

“Allah conferred indeed a great favor on the believers when He sent among them a Messenger (i.e., Muhammad-sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) from among themselves reciting unto them His Verses (i.e., the Qur’an ) and purifying them (from sins by their following him) and instructing them in the Book (i.e., the Qur’an ) and Wisdom (i.e., the Sunnah), while before that they had been in manifest error.” – The Qur’an 3:164.

The Qur’an and Sunnah are the only sources for tazkiyah. The Prophet Muhammad- sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam-is the purest of mankind in soul and his character was that of Qur’an. There is none who approaches him in this. For this reason he is the model for tazkiyah. Allah says: “Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow…” – The Qur’an 33:21.

The Prophet’s Companions and the rest of Salaf-us-Saliheen are also, as a whole, a fine model to follow in tazkiyah. There is no way of drawing closer to Allah except by adhering to what the Prophet Muhammad-sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam-came with.

The Prophet-sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam-has said: “If anyone introduces into this affair of ours anything which does not belong to it, it is rejected.” – Al-Bukhari and Muslim. Continue reading “WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF Tazkiyyah?”

Are men and women equal in God’s judgment?

Women in Islam (Submission)


Are men and women equal in God’s judgment?

The answer is different when it comes to God compared with traditional Islam. Every Westerner thinks that Islam is very chauvinistic and oppressive towards women. In Islam of today as practiced by most traditional sectarian Muslims, this is very true. However, in true Islam (Submission), as revealed in the Quran, nothing could be farther from the truth.

God treats men and women as spiritual equals., Quran 3:195 tells us :

“Their Lord responded to them: “I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you MALE OR FEMALE, YOU ARE EQUAL TO ONE ANOTHER………”

Many of the Muslim countries who claim to follow Islam are treating women as a second class citizens, and some of these women accepted this situation thinking that is what Islam (Submission in English) is advocating. As mentioned previously, God, in the Quran made a complete spiritual equality between men and women, See 3:195. Continue reading “Are men and women equal in God’s judgment?”

IN DEFIANCE OF THE QUR’AN AND The SUNNAH

IN DEFIANCE OF THE QUR’AN AND SUNNAH

The following are excerpts and quotations from well-known Sufi works presented along with corresponding beliefs from outside the fold of Islam. Relevant texts from the Qur’ân and the Sunnah are also quoted for the sake of comparison, so that Muslims may judge for themselves whether Sufi beliefs are Islamic or not. Each quotation is footnoted with the reference from which it is taken.

The Sufis claim: “The ways unto God are as numerous as the number of creatures in the world”. Ibn Mas’ood, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s) made a straight line on the ground with his hand, then he said, ‘This is the straight way of Allah.’ Then he made (short) line on each side of the straight line; then he said, ‘These (short) lines, each one has a Shaytaan inviting people to it.’ Then he recited the verse: meaning, ‘And this is My path straight. So follow it, and do not follow (other) ways, lest they lead you away from My path.’ Continue reading “IN DEFIANCE OF THE QUR’AN AND The SUNNAH”

Muslims fooled by April Fool’s Day Internet Urban Legend- Answered

Sister Anisah of South Dakota

Recently a Young Sister’s Group passed on a questionable story to my daughter in which the claim was made that Fool’s Day had to do with the unthrowing of the Muslims of Spain. Being that my husband and I are history buffs & I have studied the history behind holidays we knew this “claim” to be false.

It is sad that it is “dangerous” for our young Muslims to even enter in to “religious” discussion on supposedly serious Muslim chat groups (even gender-segregated) due to the rampid gossip that is spread under the cloak of “truth”. This story is a clear example of how willing many Muslims are willing to make a “boogy man” out of others, rather than face the fact that the Loss of Spain was due to the corruption of the MUSLIMS who fought amongst themselves, as is often the case today in the Ummah. Continue reading “Muslims fooled by April Fool’s Day Internet Urban Legend- Answered”

Secularism

History of the word Secularism

The meaning of the word secularism is not shrouded in any mystery. It is not an ancient or archaic word having been used by Chaucer or Shakespeare.A beginning may be made with the dictionary. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED Vol.IX 1978) states that Secularism is the doctrine that morality should be based solely on regard to the well-being of mankind in the present life to the exclusion of all considerations drawn from belief in God or in a future state. OED further points out, rightly, that it was George Holyoake (1817-1906) who gave this name to the definitely professed system of belief.

Earlier OED gives the meaning of the word ‘secular’ as: “belonging to the world and its affairs as distinguished from the Church and religion“.

George J. Holyoake, to whom has been credited the coinage of the word secularism, was an Owenite and had founded in 1846 a weekly called “Reasoner” for the propagation of Owenism. In an issue of “Reasoner” in 1851, he issued a statement of secularist doctrine proclaiming:

  1. science as the true guide of man;
  2. morality as secular, not religious, in origin;
  3. reason the only authority;
  4. freedom of thought and speech;
  5. that owing to the ‘uncertainty of survival’ we should direct our efforts to this life only.

There was, in the latter part of 19th Century in England, a debate as to whether atheism, the denial of the existence of God, was an essential element of secularism. It may be mentioned here that Holyoake himself was not a theist. In 1841, in a public meeting, provoked by a heckler, Holyoake had asserted that England was too poor a country to have a God and that it would not be “a bad idea to put Him on half-pay” (i.e. retire him) and had been for this blasphemous utterance sentenced to six months’ imprisonment. Continue reading “Secularism”

US pushes strategy of sowing discord among Muslims – Iranian official

Published: Jan 10, 2007
Text of report in English by Iranian news agency IRNA website

Tehran, 10 January: Head of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization (ICRO), Mahmud Mohammadi Araqi, said here Wednesday [10 January] that the US is currently pushing the strategy of sowing discord among Muslims to reach its ominous goals in the Middle East.

Mohammadi Araqi made the statement while speaking to IRNA in an exclusive interview.

“Following failure of the US policies in the Middle East region and victory of the Islamic Resistance Movement in Lebanon against Israeli invasion (July-August, 2006), the US has currently pressed ahead with strategy of causing discord among Muslims,” he said. Continue reading “US pushes strategy of sowing discord among Muslims – Iranian official”

The war for Islam

Osama bin Laden may go down in history not only as the murderous criminal who declared holy war on the United States, but also as a radical figure in what has come to be called the Islamic Reformation–the epic struggle to define the faith of over a billion people

Osama bin Laden (left). At right, Cairo's revered Al-Azhar mosque, the traditional center of Islamic scholarship.
Osama bin Laden (left). At right, Cairo’s revered Al-Azhar mosque, the traditional center of Islamic scholarship. (AFP File Photo at left)

ON JULY 6TH, 2005, in an unprecedented display of intersectarian collaboration, 170 of the world’s leading Muslim clerics and scholars gathered in Amman, Jordan, to issue a joint fatwa, or legal ruling, denouncing all acts of terrorism committed in the name of Islam.

This belated attempt by the traditional clerical institutions to assert some measure of influence and authority over the world’s Muslims was surely one of the most interesting developments in what has become an epic battle to define the faith and practice of over a billion people. Never before in the history of Islam had representatives of every major sect and school of law assembled as a single body, much less come to terms on issues of mutual concern.

Yet what made the Amman declaration so remarkable was not its condemnation of terrorism-since Sept. 11, 2001, similar statements have been issued by countless Muslim organizations throughout the world, despite perceptions to the contrary in the West. Rather, it was the inclusion of an all-encompassing fatwa reminding Muslims that only those who have dedicated a lifetime of study to the traditional Islamic sciences-in other words, the clerics themselves-could issue a fatwa in the first place.

This statement was a deliberate attempt to strip Islamic militants like Osama bin Laden of their self-proclaimed authority to speak for the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims. Continue reading “The war for Islam”

PAGANISM-Druids:-Functions and Powers

1. Druids: their Functions and Powers

Druidism

No trustworthy information regarding the religion of the pagan Irish comes to us from outside : whatever knowledge of it we possess is derived exclusively from the native literature. There were many gods, but no supreme god, like Zeus or Jupiter among the Greeks and Romans. There was little of prayer, and no settled general form of worship. There were no temples: but there were altars of some kind erected to idols or to the gods of the elements (the sun, fire, water, &c.), which must have been in the open air. The religion of the pagan Irish is commonly designated as Druidism: and in the oldest Irish traditions the druids figure conspicuously.

All the early colonists had their druids, who are mentioned as holding high rank among kings and chiefs. There were druids also in Gaul and Britain; but the Gaels of Ireland and Scotland were separated and isolated for many centuries from the Celtic races of Gaul; and thus their religious system, like their language, naturally diverged, so that the druidism of Ireland, as pictured forth in the native record differed in many respects from that of Gaul.

In pagan times the druids were the exclusive possessors of whatever learning was then known. They combined in themselves all the learned professions: they were not only druids, but judges prophets, historians, poets, and even physicians, There were druids in every part of Ireland, but, as we might expect, Tara, the residence of the over-kings of Ireland, was, as we are told in the Life of St. Patrick, “the chief seat of the idolatry and druidism of Erin.” The druids had the reputation of being great magicians; and in this character they figure more frequently and conspicuously than in any other. In some of the old historical romances we find the issues of battles sometimes determined not so much by the valour of the combatants as by the magical powers of the druids attached to the armies. Continue reading “PAGANISM-Druids:-Functions and Powers”

The Thinning Veil- Samhain

The Thinning Veil by Copperlion

To the ancient Celts, the year had two “hinges”. These were Beltaine (the first of May) and Samhain, (the first of November), which is also the traditional Celtic New Year. And these two days were the most magical, and often frightening times of the whole year.

The Celtic people were in superstitious awe of times and places “in between”. Holy sites were any border places – the shore between land and water (seas, lakes, and rivers), bridges, boundaries between territories (especially when marked by bodies of water), crossroads, thresholds, etc. Holy times were also border times – twilight and dawn marking the transitions of night and day; Beltaine and Samhain marking the transitions of summer and winter. Read your myths and fairytales – many of the stories occur in such places, and at such times.

At Samhain (which corresponds to modern Halloween), time lost all meaning and the past, present, and future were one. The dead, and the denizens of the Other World, walked among the living. It was a time of fairies, ghosts, demons, and witches. Winter itself was the Season of Ghosts, and Samhain is the night of their release from the Underworld. Many people lit bonfires to keep the evil spirits at bay. Often a torch was lit and carried around the boundaries of the home and farm, to protect the property and residents against the spirits throughout the winter.

Many Irish and Scottish Celts appeased their dead with a traditional Dumb Supper. On Samhain Eve, supper was served in absolute silence, and one place was set at the head of the table “for the ancestors”. This place was served food and drink without looking directly at the seat, for to see the dead would bring misfortune. Afterwards, the untouched plate and cup were taken outside “for the pookas”, and left in the woods. In other traditions, this is the night to remember, honor, and toast our beloved departed, for the veil between the living and the dead is thin, and communication is possible on Samhain Eve
Continue reading “The Thinning Veil- Samhain”

BELIEFS of Druidism

BELIEFS

One of the most striking characteristics of Druidism is the degree to which it is free of dogma and any fixed set of beliefs or practices. In this way it manages to offer a spiritual path, and a way of being in the world that avoids many of the problems of intolerance and sectarianism that the established religions have encountered.

There is no ‘sacred text’ or the equivalent of a bible in Druidism and there is no universally agreed set of beliefs amongst Druids. Despite this, there are a number of ideas and beliefs that most Druids hold in common, and that help to define the nature of Druidism today:

 
Theology

Since Druidry is a spiritual path – a religion to some, a way of life to others – Druids share a belief in the fundamentally spiritual nature of life. Some will favour a particular way of understanding the source of this spiritual nature, and may feel themselves to be animists, pantheists, polytheists, monotheists or duotheists. Others will avoid choosing any one conception of Deity, believing that by its very nature this is unknowable by the mind.

Monotheistic druids believe there is one Deity: either a Goddess or God, or a Being who is better named Spirit or Great Spirit, to remove misleading associations to gender. But other druids are duotheists, believing that Deity exists as a pair of forces or beings, which they often characterise as the God and Goddess.

Polytheistic Druids believe that many gods and goddesses exist, while animists and pantheists believe that Deity does not exist as one or more personal gods, but is instead present in all things, and is everything.

Whether they have chosen to adopt a particular viewpoint or not, the greatest characteristic of most modern-day Druids lies in their tolerance of diversity: a Druid gathering can bring together people who have widely varying views about deity, or none, and they will happily participate in ceremonies together, celebrate the seasons, and enjoy each others’ company – realising that none of us has the monopoly on truth, and that diversity is both healthy and natural.

Nature forms such an important focus of their reverence, that whatever beliefs they hold about Deity, all Druids sense Nature as divine or sacred. Every part of nature is sensed as part of the great web of life, with no one creature or aspect of it having supremacy over any other. Unlike religions that are anthropocentric, believing humanity occupies a central role in the scheme of life, this conception is systemic and holistic, and sees humankind as just one part of the wider family of life.


 
The Otherworld

Although Druids love Nature, and draw inspiration and spiritual nourishment from it, they also believe that the world we see is not the only one that exists. A cornerstone of Druid belief is in the existence of the Otherworld – a realm or realms which exist beyond the reach of the physical senses, but which are nevertheless real.

This Otherworld is seen as the place we travel to when we die. But we can also visit it during our lifetime in dreams, in meditation, under hypnosis, or in ‘journeying’, when in a shamanic trance.

Different Druids will have different views on the nature of this Otherworld, but it is a universally held belief for three reasons. Firstly, all religions or spiritualities hold the view that another reality exists beyond the physical world, rather than agreeing with Materialism, that holds that only matter exists and is real. Secondly, Celtic mythology, which inspires so much of Druidism, is replete with descriptions of this Otherworld. Thirdly, the existence of the Otherworld is implicit in ‘the greatest belief’ of the ancient Druids, since classical writers stated that the Druids believed in a process that has been described as reincarnation or metempsychosis (in which a soul lives in a succession of forms, including both human and animal). In between each life in human or animal form the soul rests in the Otherworld.
Continue reading “BELIEFS of Druidism”

Christianity and Druidry, strange bedfellows or a match made in heaven?


by David Lindholm

“In the beginning God created heaven and earth” (Genesis 1:1)

Being a Christian myself I know full well that the above quote is not one that has enjoyed any greater degree of attention during the last millennia of Christian faith. This is very unfortunate and has created a tension that has estranged most of the modern western world from a natural life and a connection to the natural world and her cycles and rhythms.

I joined OBOD in the roaring 90’s (Imagining being able to say that!) and worked my way through to the Druid grade. It was a transforming journey and the diploma (don’t know if that is an accurate term, but it will do) hangs over my desk where I work daily. Druidry changed my outlook on life drastically and fundamentally in a way that was profound. How does this connect with the title above? Well I have been close to the Christian tradition all my life. My grandfather was a priest and later converted to the Catholic Church with his wife, my dear grandmother. At their knees I heard all about the lives of saints like St. Francis, George, Dominikus and more like them. But I also heard at the age of five the tales of Arthur and his knights from my grandfather, and when the tales were told and I asked for more, he wrote more stories for me to enjoy about these immortal heroes. These were magical and held within them a Christian message, but a bit different from what I later snapped up at the services. It was a Christianity that was filled with good men and women, very few priests and even fewer churches.

These tales stayed with me and I read even more as I grew older, and I learned to read English books at the age of 13 for this very reason. I continued to go to church now and then but felt estranged; all this talk of sin, the badness of the body and the general ugliness of things material rhymed very poorly with what my grandfather had told me. Then I discovered sexuality, and we do not need to go into the general church policy on that issue.
Continue reading “Christianity and Druidry, strange bedfellows or a match made in heaven?”

Christianity and Druidry, strange bedfellows or a match made in heaven?


by David Lindholm

“In the beginning God created heaven and earth” (Genesis 1:1)

Being a Christian myself I know full well that the above quote is not one that has enjoyed any greater degree of attention during the last millennia of Christian faith. This is very unfortunate and has created a tension that has estranged most of the modern western world from a natural life and a connection to the natural world and her cycles and rhythms.

I joined OBOD in the roaring 90’s (Imagining being able to say that!) and worked my way through to the Druid grade. It was a transforming journey and the diploma (don’t know if that is an accurate term, but it will do) hangs over my desk where I work daily. Druidry changed my outlook on life drastically and fundamentally in a way that was profound. How does this connect with the title above? Well I have been close to the Christian tradition all my life. My grandfather was a priest and later converted to the Catholic Church with his wife, my dear grandmother. At their knees I heard all about the lives of saints like St. Francis, George, Dominikus and more like them. But I also heard at the age of five the tales of Arthur and his knights from my grandfather, and when the tales were told and I asked for more, he wrote more stories for me to enjoy about these immortal heroes. These were magical and held within them a Christian message, but a bit different from what I later snapped up at the services. It was a Christianity that was filled with good men and women, very few priests and even fewer churches.

These tales stayed with me and I read even more as I grew older, and I learned to read English books at the age of 13 for this very reason. I continued to go to church now and then but felt estranged; all this talk of sin, the badness of the body and the general ugliness of things material rhymed very poorly with what my grandfather had told me. Then I discovered sexuality, and we do not need to go into the general church policy on that issue.

As I grew older I ventured through all kinds of spiritual paths, never feeling at home or being able to believe in what they said. It was all a bit too glib, if you understand my meaning. So by the time I got to Druidry I felt quite disillusioned with the whole idea of spirituality, no matter what flavour, to be frank – and ordinary churchgoing was not an option. But as I worked my way through the coursework I discovered several things. The most important thing for me in retrospect was that there had existed a different Christian tradition, one that was really the Good News, rather then the depressing and life denying rigmarole that you get served on Sundays. I also learned that the nature that I love, man and woman, and the whole Universe had been and could again be viewed in a totally different light.

I read about St. Patrick, Columba, Brendan, and the unjustly wronged Pelagius, the Celtic church and its venerable age and its efforts in spreading the Good News when the world grew darker and colder. This rekindled a hope in the possibility of finding again a Christianity that was indeed Good News to all, not just to a select and isolated few. I am a trained historian and archaeologist with the Middle Ages as my specialty so I know full well that the tradition as such is dead and gone. Or is it?

I went back to the original sources in the years after I completed the coursework. I read the desert fathers, gospel of Thomas, apocrypha, Gnostic works, orthodox works, the remains of the Celtic church in the form of missals and prayers. I read and read and read. Then I went again to the most important work of all, The Gospels themselves and actually tried to read what they said, not what I have been taught that they were supposed to mean. It was a rewarding read my friends. I then turned to those writers of today that are striving to if not resurrect but bring to life a faith that does somersaults of joy for life itself. Some are of a more Celtic vein, others like Matthew Fox more modern. I read Thomas Merton and Willfred Stinnissen, good Christians all with bright ideas.

A new birth is taking place, and it must be so. The old church is dying, literally, only the old are churchgoers today and the reason is that we feel in our hearts that what is preached from the pulpit is simply not true. The tragedy is that even if we want to believe in the Good News, the very institution of the Church kills that longing in the heart oh so quickly. And it was then that I thought again about Druidry. Christianity needs to be reinterpreted in the light of existence; I mean seriously, God himself in Genesis says that creation is GOOD! That he is pleased! How can the church go against that, after all is he not the Boss? Well they can’t and neither can they twist the Good News anymore if you do not let them.

There is a very important little secret that the church does not want you to know. Jesus said “Whenever two or more of you are gathered, I will be among you” and he also said “I will be with you until the end of time”. If you read the Good News and Acts it is quite plain that God is not asking for churches, altars, robes, chandeliers, crosses in gold, and churchgoing once a week. Our Lord is a stern taskmaster he asks for nothing less than your whole life. Period. But the catch is that you must live his words everyday in your daily life, Jesus has some very severe words for the hypocrites that visit him once a week and then act like demons out of hell the rest of the week.

The truth is that if you live his words, you do not need any church at all. Whenever we gather together it should be in joy and simplicity, very much like the early Celtic church. This is where Druidry comes in. There is a great interest in the early Christianity of the British isles and it is not possible to understand it without an understanding of its pagan roots. We need to find our way back to a veneration of God in all things, Panenthesim as Matthew Fox coined it. God is in all things, but things are not God and God is more than them. Druidry stands astride both traditions, Christianity and Paganism, and if Christianity is going to flourish again it must find its way back to the simple life and we must learn to learn from each other.

For too long Christianity has persecuted those who do not agree with them – there is not much love in that. “Do unto others as you want others to do unto you” the Lord said. Well if we Christians mean what we have done, we have a very long and unpleasant reckoning to expect. It is my belief that it is both possible and necessary to come together outside of the established churches. Let them wither as they will, and let us come together, Christian and Pagan as Good Friends that hope for the same things but choose to understand them differently. It is my belief that God in his love (I say his although I believe that God is neither man or woman, or maybe both. Who knows? I sure don’t!) does not really care so much about where we choose to worship, but that we are good men and women. We must become good brothers and sisters to each other, and then we will be doing the Lord’s bidding. To do this we must turn to the Mystical, to experiencing God personally, not settling for a second-hand account once a week. I can think of no better way than to conclude with a short prayer that is one of the most beautiful ever written.

Christ ever with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me
Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me
Christ to my right side, Christ to my left side
Christ in his breadth, Christ in his length, Christ in depth
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks to me
Christ in every eye that sees me
Christ in every ear that hears me.

David Lindholm
Stockholm, Sweden April 2005

Virtues of Madina

Virtues of Madinah

Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Book 30:

Volume 3, Book 30, Number 91:

Narrated Anas:
The Prophet said, “Madinah is a sanctuary from that place to that. Its trees should not be cut and no heresy should be innovated nor any sin should be committed in it, and whoever innovates in it an heresy or commits sins (bad deeds), then he will incur the curse of Allah, the angels, and all the people.” (See Hadith No. 409, Vol 9).

Volume 3, Book 30, Number 92:

Narrated Anas:
The Prophet came to Madinah and ordered a mosque to be built and said, “O Bani Najjar! Suggest to me the price (of your land).” They said, “We do not want its price except from Allah” (i.e. they wished for a reward from Allah for giving up their land freely). So, the Prophet ordered the graves of the pagans to be dug out and the land to be levelled, and the date-palm trees to be cut down. The cut date-palms were fixed in the direction of the Qibla of the mosque.

Volume 3, Book 30, Number 93:

Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, “I have made Madinah a sanctuary between its two Harrat (Volcanic Land).” The Prophet went to the tribe of Bani Haritha and said (to them), “I see that you have gone out of the sanctuary,” but looking around, he added, “No, you are inside the sanctuary.”

Volume 3, Book 30, Number 94:

Narrated ‘Ali:
We have nothing except the Book of Allah and this written paper from the Prophet (where-in is written:) Madinah is a sanctuary from the ‘Air Mountain to such and such a place, and whoever innovates in it an heresy or commits a sin, or gives shelter to such an innovator in it will incur the curse of Allah, the angels, and all the people, none of his compulsory or optional good deeds of worship will be accepted. And the asylum (of protection) granted by any Muslim is to be secured (respected) by all the other Muslims; and whoever betrays a Muslim in this respect incurs the curse of Allah, the angels, and all the people, and none of his compulsory or optional good deeds of worship will be accepted, and whoever (freed slave) befriends (take as masters) other than his manumitters without their permission incurs the curse of Allah, the angels, and all the people, and none of his compulsory or optional good deeds of worship will be accepted. Continue reading “Virtues of Madina”

Ruling on using the masbahah (prayer beads)

Ruling on using the masbahah (prayer beads)

Question:
What is the ruling on using the masbahah (prayer beads)?

Answer:

Praise be to Allaah.

Some scholars say that it is permissible to use the masbahah, but they say that it is preferable to do tasbeeh on one’s fingers; others say that it is bid’ah (reprehensible innovation).

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in al-Fataawa (22/187): “Some of them might show off by putting their prayer-mats over their shoulders and carrying their masbahahs in their hands, making them symbols of religion and prayer. It is known from the mutawaatir reports that neither the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) nor his Companions used these as symbols. They used to recite tasbeeh and count on their fingers, as the hadeeth says: “Count on your fingers, for they will asked, and will be made to speak.” Some of them may count their tasbeeh with pebbles or date stones. Some people say that doing tasbeeh with the masbahah is makrooh, and some allow it, but no one says that tasbeeh with the masbahah is better than tasbeeh with the fingers.” Then he (may Allaah have mercy on him) goes on to discuss the issue of showing off with the masbahah, saying that it is showing off with regard to something that is not prescribed by Islam, which is worse than showing off with regard to something that is prescribed.

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (al-Liqa’ al-Maftooh, 3/30) was asked whether using the masbahah for tasbeeh is bid’ah, and his reply was: “It is better not to do tasbeeh with the masbahah, but it is not bid’ah, because there is a basis for it, which is the fact that some of the Sahaabah did tasbeeh with pebbles. But the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught that tasbeeh with the fingers is better, as he said, ‘Count with the fingertips, for they will be made to speak.’ Doing tasbeeh with the masbahah is not haraam or bid’ah, but it is better not to do it, because the one who does tasbeeh with the masbahah has shunned something better. Using the masbahah may also be contaminated with some element of showing off, because we see some people carrying masbahahs that contain a thousand beads, as if they are telling people, ‘Look at me, I do a thousand tasbeehs!’ Secondly, those who use the masbahah for tasbeeh are usually absent-minded and not focused, so you see them doing tasbeeh with the beads, but their gaze is wandering all over the place, which indicates that they are not really concentrating. It is better to do tasbeeh with one’s fingers, preferably using the right hand rather than the left, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to count his tasbeeh on his right hand. If a person counts his tasbeeh using both hands, there is nothing wrong with that, but it is better to use the right hand only.”

Shaykh Muhammad Naasir al-Deen al-Albaani said in Al-Silsilat al-Da’eefah (1/110), where he quotes the (weak) hadeeth “What a good reminder is the subhah [masbahah],”

“In my view, the meaning of this hadeeth is invalid for a number of reasons:

Firstly, the subhah [masbahah] is bid’ah and was not known at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). It happened after that, so how could he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) have encouraged his Sahaabah to do something that was unknown to them? The evidence for what I have said is the report narrated by Ibn Waddaah in Al-Bid’ wa’l-Nahy ‘anhaa from al-Salt ibn Bahraam, who said: ‘Ibn Mas’ood passed by a woman who had a [masbahah] with which she was making tasbeeh, and he broke it and threw it aside, then he passed by a man who was making tasbeeh with pebbles, and he kicked him then said, “You think you are better than the Sahaabah, but you are following unjustified bid’ah! You think you have more knowledge than the Companions of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)!”’ Its isnaad is saheeh to al-Salt, who is one of the trustworthy (thiqah) followers of the Taabi’een.

Secondly, it goes against the guidance of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr said, ‘I saw the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) counting the tasbeeh on his right hand.’”

He also said (1/117): “If there is only one bad thing about the masbahah, which it is that it takes the place of the Sunnah of counting on the fingers, even though all are agreed that counting on the fingers is preferable, then that is bad enough. How rarely I see people counting their tasbeeh on their fingers!

Moreover, people have invented so many sophisticated ways of following this bid’ah, so you see the followers of one of the [Sufi] tareeqahs wearing the masbahah around their necks! Or some of them counting with the beads whilst talking or listening to you! Or another one – the like of whom I have not seen for some time – riding his bicycle through a street crowded with people, with the masbahah in one of his hands! They are showing the people that they are not distracted from the remembrance of Allaah for even an instant, but in many cases this bid’ah is a cause of their neglecting what is obligatory (waajib). It has happened many times – to others as well as myself – that when I greet one of these people with salaam, they answer only by waving and not by saying the words of the greeting. The bad results of this bid’ah are innumerable, and no one can say it better than the poet:

‘All goodness is in following that which went before (the salaf)

All badness is in the innovations of those who came later.’”

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

Abortion is Murder, No ifs or buts…

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

 

 

Abortion is Murder, No ifs or buts…

 

———–

[Editor’s Note: This is a reply to an article by Mr Edip Yuksel called “Abortion is Murder if……” in which the author expressed his opinion that abortion should be permitted in the first three months of pregnancy.] “Have you noted those who claim that they believed in what was revealed to you, and in what was revealed before you, then uphold the laws of idolatry? They were commanded to reject such laws. indeed, It is the devils wish to lead them far astray 4:60.

The abortion issue has always been a hot topic. For the last 1400 years, the majority of the Muslims were misled by their scholars into believing that abortion in the first three months of pregnancy is permissible. While disregarding the clear orders in the Quran, these Muslims built their conclusion on fabricated hadiths. Some of these hadiths claimed that the soul of the fetus does not enter the body until the fourth month of gestation and therefore killing the fetus is permissible.

It was God’s blessing that we were guided back to the Quran by the messenger of the covenant who strongly refused the fabricated hadiths and clearly indicated that the Quran certainly condemns the killing of both the born and the unborn children.

As we learned from history, after the departure of every messenger, some people will distort the message and confuse the others. Now we hear the call to go back to the laws of ignorance and allow the killing of the unborn children during the first three months of pregnancy. This call comes from those who are confused, misled, misinformed and misguided.

“Losers are those who killed their children foolishly, due to their lack of knowledge, and prohibited what God has provided for them, and followed innovations attributed to God. They have gone astray, they are not guided.” (6:140)

Abortion, what is it ?

Webster’s dictionary defines abortion as the expulsion of a non-viable fetus during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Remember that, in the abortion performed today, the abortionists induce the expulsion of a viable fetus, or in other terms kill the living fetus to bring him/her down. What is the stand of the Quran on the abortion issue ? Let us find out.

Quran, the first revelation:

The believers know that every word, letter, name, number and gesture in the Quran is chosen deliberately. It should not surprise us to find out that the name God chose for the first revelation of the Quran, was not Muhammed, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, The Sun, the Moon, the Iron, the winds, the stars, the night, the people, or the Jinn..etc. The name God chose for His first revelation was “The hanging embryo”, Sura 96. This hanging embryo stage starts about 6 days after the fertilization of the ovum, not after three months of pregnancy. How significant or insignificant is this choice, it is up to you to ponder. Let us keep this in mind while studying the rest of the Quran that deals with this issue.

Killing the soul or the body !!

Some argued, on no basis but fabricated hadiths, that the fetus in the first four months do not have a soul yet and therefore it is permissible to kill him/her. They do not realize that the soul has nothing to do with abortion. In abortion you are dealing with the physical body and its life, you are destroying the physical body of the fetus not the soul. We cannot kill the soul even if we try. Whether the soul entered the fetus body in the first minute of life or after four months of pregnancy is irrelevant to the abortion issue.

Killing, condemned:

Killing any person is strongly condemned in the Quran. God has made life sacred. Killing the children is specifically condemned as they are the helpless victims in every society.

“You shall not kill any (Nafs) person – for GOD has made life
sacred – except in the course of justice…….”(17:33)

“You shall not kill your children due to fear of poverty. We provide
for them, as well as for you. Killing them is a gross offense”(17:31)

“Say, “Come let me tell you what your Lord has really
prohibited for you: You shall not set up idols besides
Him. You shall honor your parents. You shall not kill
your children from fear of poverty – we provide for you
and for them. You shall not commit gross sins, obvious or
hidden. You shall not kill any (Nafs) person – GOD has made
life sacred – except in the course of justice. These are His
commandments to you, that you may understand.”
[6:151]

What does the word “Children” in the verse include ?. This word “Children” is the translation of the Arabic word “Awlad”. “Do not kill your (Awlad) children..”.

One author of an abortion article claims that, the Webster’s dictionary defines a child as “Young human being” which is true but is also half the truth. The dictionary also defines a child as ” the unborn or recently born person”. That author used this half truth to support his opinion that killing the unborn children is not covered by these verse, 17:33 and 6:151

Again the same author has been misinforming the reader by claiming that the word “Awlad (Children)” and “Walad (Child)” in Arabic are used ONLY for the born children. He concludes that the order in 71:31 and 6:151 applies only to the killing of born children.

The truth of the matter is that both the words, Children in English and Awlad in Arabic are used for both the born and unborn children in their prospective languages. The order in 17:33 and 6:151 applies to both born and unborn children.

A simple and extra effort by that author would have saved him and those who believed him the big confusion. The Arabic dictionaries describe the unborn child as “Walad in the mother’s womb”. The born child in Arabic is called “Maolood”. “Walad” in Arabic like the word child in English can be used for both the born and the unborn. Although the word “Walad” is derived from the root “Walada” (to give birth), it does not mean that “Walad” has to be born but rather related to the process of birth. The word “Walid” in Arabic is used for father, only because he was a partner in causing this birth to happen and not because he was born or gives birth. God used the word Maolood in the Quran, (31:33). Had God willed, he could have said, “Do not kill your Maoloods” (born children) to specify this category of children.

In 17:31 and 6:151, God is ordering us, not to kill the born or the unborn children.

God cares about the first three months of pregnancy:

The sincere student of the Quran will find out that God is telling us in 2:226 and 65:4 that the first three months of pregnancy are so important that a divorced woman will have to change her life plan if she found herself pregnant. The matter is no more of her own concern, but it is God’s concern. God’s concern is for the pregnancy and specifically for these first few months of pregnancy. Women who get divorced have an interim of three months before getting married again. This is done MAINLY to see if they are pregnant or not. God then orders them to forget their own wishes and plans and respect the new life created in their wombs. If the first three months of pregnancy were not important God would have told these women not to wait and to have abortion and keep their life plans as they wish. If a married woman get divorced before having a full marital relationship with her husband, she dose not have to wait for three months, 33:49. She would have no interim. Since there is no chance of her being pregnant , the matter is only of her concern.

God cares about the whole three months of early pregnancy as much as we can see from the Quran’s treatment of the divorce cases. God named his first revelation after the hanging embryo, not by accident. This hanging embryo, is a stage that starts in 6 days after the fertilization of the ovum.

The New Creature:

“Then we developed the drop into a hanging (embryo), then
developed the hanging (embryo) into a bite-size (fetus),
then created the bite-size (fetus) into bones, then
covered the bones with flesh. We thus produce (Anshaa) a new
creature. Most blessed is GOD, the best Creator.” [23:14]

In verse 23:14, God described the creation of the human being from a tiny drop until he produced a new creature. The advocates of abortion in the first three months of pregnancy, consider the way God described the production of a new creature in this verse (by using the Arabic word Anshaa`) as their proof of the time when the soul joins the body of the fetus. On this basis, they claim that it is OK to kill the fetus before that, since he/she does not have a soul. They are missing many points here. First, abortion has nothing to do with the soul as we explained before. In abortion you kill the physical body of the fetus. You do not and cannot kill the soul. Therefore the time the soul joins the physical body is not important and irrelevant, and God never elaborated on it in the Quran. Second, the word (Anshaa`), in 23:14, is used exclusively in the Quran for the production or construction of a physical being, human or non-human, e.g. the humans, the trees, the clouds, communities..etc. Please see 23:14,19,31,42; 6:141; 11:61 and 53:32. This word (Anshaa`) or its derivatives have never been used by God in the Quran to describe anything that has to do with the soul. To assure the believers, God used another word (Nafakha) repeatedly to describe the joining of the soul and the physical body. See 3:49, 5:110. 15:29, 21:91, 32:9, 39:72 and 66:12.

The use of the word (Anshaa`) to describe the new creature is referring to the physical body of the developing fetus and not to the soul. The fetus will look completely different then, compared with the way it started as a tiny drop. Check any embryology book to appreciate this vast difference.

Note also that God used the word (Anshaa`) four times in sura 23, to give the sincere believer the clue he/she needs.

Abusing the Quran and the Mathematics:

Abusing verses 31:14, 46:15 and 2:233, the author of an article about abortion claims that the last six months of pregnancy are the only important months in the life of the unborn child and therefore it should be permissible to kill the child in the first three months of pregnancy.

Let us study these two verses. Verse 46:15 tells us that the total period for both pregnancy and nursing is 30 months. We know that this is an average estimate and the verse does not define which part of these 30 month is the pregnancy and which is the nursing time. Verse 2:233 tells us that nursing the newborn can be extended as long as two years for those who want to continue nursing. It does not define nursing as obligatory 24 months. It does not say nursing for two months, three months or 20 months is not permitted. In other words the period of nursing is maximum of 24 months but can be as short as one day.

Making an equation from these numbers, the author of the abortion article claimed :

30 months ( average of pregnancy and nursing) – 24 months ( maximum of nursing) = 6 months

He concluded that only 6 months of the pregnancy period are important and they have to be the last 6 months.

Any one who does not realize that the two numbers in the above equation are variables will be easily deceived. You cannot deduct one variable from another and come up with a fixed number. To make such a serious conclusion from this false equation is a sign of misguidance.

More to our surprise, was that the author concluded that it is the last 6 months (not the first 6 months) of pregnancy that are the important ones. Without any equations or calculations, any intelligent human being can realize that children born after only 6 months of pregnancy can survive and live to be mature adults. Children born after 6 months only of pregnancy can be nursed up to 24 months to complete the 30 months if they need to. Children born after 7,8 or 9 months may need less nursing time as we all know. If we are to make any conclusion from the above numbers we should know that, God is showing us that the first and not the last six months of the pregnancy are the important months for the life of a healthy child. To have it backward is a clear sign of confusion. The above equation is wrong, misleading and inappropriate.

31:14 states, “We enjoined the human being to honor his parents. His mother bore him and the load got heavier and heavier, It takes up to two years of intensive care until weaning…”.

This expression “up to” (fee)(in Arabic) or “within” has been missed by those who do not understand Arabic. The word (fee) in Arabic can be used for place or time, if used for a place it will mean “in” and if used for time it will mean “within”.

The confirmation of this period comes from God In 2:233 when God teaches us that mothers shall nurse their Infants two full years if the father so wishes. Which also means if the father has no objection, the mother can nurse them any period of time shorter than or longer than two years.

Which, What, Who, or Whom:

A question was raised about the use of the Arabic pronoun “Ma” in the Quran to describe the unborn child. The writer tried to imply that “Ma” which is translated as “What” or “which” as used in (2:228) and (3:35) signify that an unborn child is a non-person. While this typically demonstrates to us what God means in verse 3:7, it clearly reflects how God can control the teaching of the Quran as stated in 55:1-2. The use of the pronoun “Ma” has no significance regarding whether the unborn child is a real person or a nonperson. First in (2:228), God states that He knows what He created in the womb, and this covers the whole period of pregnancy, whether the unborn child is one month or nine months old. It does not make a difference, age wise. Second in (3:35) the use of the word “Ma” again carry the same meaning as in (2:228). God clarifies this more in the next verse (3:36) when God uses the same pronoun “Ma” for the born child “God was fully aware of what she bore”. It is more interesting to see that verse (22:2) was used twice in arguing the abortion issue but the author failed twice to recognize the simple “Ma” that God used in that verse for the nursing infant. So, “Ma” has been used in the Quran for born and unborn child without discrimination. To imply that God used the word (MA) for the unborn child because of the insignificance of the fetus is naive and dangerous especially when added to the ignorance of the author with the proper Arabic language.

A question to produce confusion among the people is as innocent as the wolf denying his preying on the little lamb while his teeth are still stained with his blood.

The Misfortune:

No description of a misfortune surpasses God’s revelation In (63:1-3).

“When the hypocrites come to you they say, “We bear
witness that you are the messenger of GOD.” GOD knows
that you are His messenger, and GOD bears witness that
the hypocrites are liars.
Under the guise of their apparent faith, they repel the
people from the path of GOD. Miserable indeed is what
they do  This is because they believed, then disbelieved. Hence,
their minds are blocked; they do not understand. ”

The misfortunate person has to be the person who is following his own ego. In (45:23). God warns us:

“Have you noted the one whose god is his ego?
Consequently, GOD sends him astray, despite his
knowledge, seals his hearing and his mind, and places a
veil on his eyes. Who then can guide him, after such a
decision by GOD? Would you not take heed?” [45:23]

The Exception:

As we all know, every rule has an exception including the religious laws. After all attempts are made to save both the mother and the unborn child, and under unusual situations, abortion may be allowed to save the mother’s life. This is permitted, not only during the first three months of pregnancy, but during any time during the pregnancy. Cases of rape have no place in this discussion. Women who are victims of rape have enough time (as much as 6 days) to use available medical treatments to avoid any possible pregnancy. If the rape victim waited until she finds out that she is pregnant, it is too late and she has no excuse to kill the child created in her womb.

In Conclusion :

(1) Quran condemns the killing of born and unborn children (6:151, 17:31,6:140,60:12), i.e. abortion is murder.

(2) The messengers of God deliver the message, they do not distort it.(3:20, 5:92, 5:99….)

(3) History repeats itself. The followers of the messenger are the ones who usually distort the message. Their excuse has been, “our intentions were honorable and righteous”. (61:4)

(4) All claims of religious knowledge should be subjected to the utmost scrutiny to avoid falling in the same trap of previous generations, (17:36).

(5) Knowledgeable people recognize their mistakes (7:23). ignorant people by mistake, recognize their knowledge (7:30.19:104, 59:18).

A Pig’s Tale

A Pig’s Tale

Millions of dollars are spent each year to understand which foods are healthy and which are not. Did you know that this information was documented millennia ago?

BY BRADFORD G. SCHLEIFER

Each day, millions of people consume three square meals, intended to power their bodies throughout the day. In the hustle and bustle of our modern society, these meals are increasingly becoming more processed and less natural than at any time in history.

How is this affecting society’s overall health? The result can be seen in the explosion of sickness, disease and overall lack of good health. But most never make the connection between what they eat and how they feel-and are doomed to a lifetime of illness and fatigue.

Much of the problem is directly tied to a social ignorance of health, diet and our bodies. Modern science has not helped. While having a discussion relating to health and diet, one nutritionist, who develops menus for high schools, stated that the link between what one eats and how one feels has been blown out of proportion. She went on to state that the origin of sickness is unknown, and that this is the reason we have doctors.

But what have doctors and medical science been able to accomplish? Very few illnesses and diseases are actually cured, and fewer still are prevented! Western medicine has been designed to react to an illness and not help one prevent illnesses and maintain health.

It is interesting to note that most recognize what poisons do to the body. They understand that if one consumes cyanide, he will die. Conversely, many parents tell their kids to “eat your vegetables.” Yet, a broader connection to diet is never established.

There exists a book written millennia ago that details what mankind should and should not eat to maintain health and avoid disease. That book, man’s overall Instruction Manual on how to live, is the Bible. As you will see, science continues to prove the laws contained in its pages! However, mankind has ignored this book as a source of knowledge and has spent the last 6,000 years trying to “figure out” what was already written.

In the second book of the Bible, a very detailed set of dietary laws are established. These set the basis for what creatures were designed to be eaten and which ones were created for other purposes. Leviticus 11 describes each of these animals in detail, but in this short article, we will cover only the most popular. We will look at the science of the matter, and show that the Bible has been right all along.

The body of evidence is vast and it may change what makes up your three square meals forever.

“The Other White Meat”

Without a doubt, the most popular of these animals are pigs. This pug-nosed “treat” is served in backyards as pork chops, at breakfast tables as bacon or as delicacies in five-star restaurants. Supporting its consumption are powerful organizations that push its health and safety in the media and political lobbies. The result is that swine comprises a large portion of the North American menu.

But is it as safe and healthy as some would have you believe?

Much insight into the pig can be ascertained by how they are raised and what they will eat. Many have heard the expression, “you are what you eat,” and what a pig will eat is shocking. We will also look at how pigs digest their food and how they differ from many other meats.

A pig’s digestive system-unlike a cow’s-is not designed to filter toxins from its system. These toxins work their way through the pig and are deposited in the animal’s flesh-especially in its fat deposits. The pig itself is actually able to sustain very high levels of toxins in its system. As such, it can eat just about anything. So much so that it has actually been reported that in an effort to keep feed costs down, pig farmers will purchase garbage, such as rotting meat and vegetables from restaurants, to feed their pigs-and the pigs can be sustained on it. However, there is nothing in the pig’s digestive system, or the processing of the meat, that removes these toxins.

Farmers have even reported pigs chewing and eating the cancer of other animals!

More interesting still is the time it takes for such things, like the garbage and cancer described above, to become flesh. For most animals, this is a much slower process, taking about 12 hours. This gives the animal’s digestive system time to filter toxins, poisons and deadly parasites from entering the bloodstream and being deposited in its flesh. Also, because most food is turned into muscle, more time is required for that muscle to form.

The same is not true for the pig. Much of what it eats quickly turns into flesh in just four hours. Not only does this mean that toxins are not filtered, but most of the flesh takes the form of fat!

Even in humans, body fat is where most toxins are stored. Typically, when the body does not know how to deal with a substance, it surrounds it with fat and stores it to keep the rest of the body safe from that substance. The same is true in pigs. While they have other methods to dump the extremely deadly toxins from their system, the highest concentration will be in the fat tissue.

This is why a March 1950 Reader’s Digest article stated that pork contains “myriads of baffling and sinister parasites.” But this should not be a surprise.

Cleaners-Not Clean Meat

Pigs are designed as natural vacuum cleaners. They will eat just about anything-garbage, carcasses or even their own urine and feces. Most of this consumption causes no harm to the pig. They were designed to do such things. They are so efficient at the task that when land is cleared for a golf course, pigs are let loose to eat all the poisonous snakes-with no harm to the pigs.

Every animal has its purpose. Scavengers, such as the pig, are designed to clean-not to be eaten! Some of the “cleaning” features of the pig are remarkable.

One such feature is located under its hooves. Often referred to as poison ducts or running sores, these “sores” act as a conduit for poisons to ooze from the pig’s body. This is one reason pigs can eat poisonous snakes that would kill other creatures and not be affected themselves. However, these ducts will often become “plugged” from the amount of toxins pigs must excrete from their bodies. If this becomes the case, a farmer must quickly have the pig slaughtered and sent to the market before it dies. As you may well imagine, the meat from such an animal is riddled with parasites and toxins.

One case-in-point: A mink farm in New Holstein, Wisconsin ordered beef livers to feed their minks. The supplier accidentally shipped pig livers instead. The result? Every mink that ate the livers died!

The toxicity of the animal is not just limited to meat and organs! Even the saliva of the pig can be horribly infectious. In fact, one disease, called “mad itch,” will cause a cow to rub all the skin from its mouth-to the point of suicide. All that is required for cows to contract this disease is to come in contact with a pig’s saliva residue in shared food supplies!

Worm Civilizations

Inside the animal is a myriad of worms and parasites. For instance, a pig can sustain 19 different kinds of worms inside its body. Some have very minor effects in humans, but others have much more long-lasting effects.

One such organism is the worm responsible for trichinosis. This is also the most widely published of the worms found in pork that affect humans.

Like most organisms found in pork, this worm is contracted when one consumes meat containing trichinae larva. Once in your intestine, these larvae hatch from their protective cysts and grow into adult roundworms. These roundworms then produce offspring that can burrow through your intestinal wall. From this point, they enter your lymphatic system and can move throughout your body via the bloodstream. They then implant themselves in tissues that allow them to grow.

Studies have shown that their larvae have been found in heart, diaphragm, lung and brain tissue. Those infected with trichinosis can experience a wide range of symptoms-abdominal discomfort, cramping, diarrhea, muscle pain (especially muscle pain with breathing, chewing, or using large muscles) and fever. If the damage to the tissue is severe, the long-term problems are never-ending.

And this is just one of the 19 parasites found in pork!

SYMPTOMS OF TRICHINOSIS

Many assume that trichinosis is uncommon in the modern day. This is mostly due to the fact that this disease is extremely hard to detect in humans.

Trichinosis is often misdiagnosed as any of the following: Arthritis, acute alcoholism, conjunctivitis, food poisoning, lead poisoning, heart disease, laryngitis, mumps, asthma, rheumatism, rheumatic fever, rheumatic myocarditis, gout, tuberculosis, angioneurotic edema, dermatomyositis, frontal sinusitis, influenza, nephritis, peptic ulcer, appendicitis, cholecystitis, malaria, scarlet fever, typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever, undulant fever, encephalitis, gastroenteritis, intercoastal neuritis, tetanus, pleurisy, colitis, meningitis, syphilis, typhus and cholera.

UNDER FINGERNAILS: Trichinosis, as shown here, can be manifested by splinter hemorrhages under the finger nails.

PHOTO: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

MICROSCOPIC VIEW: This micrograph reveals developing Trichinella cysts within human muscle tissue. After exposure to gastric acid and pepsin, the larvae are released from the cysts and invade the small bowel mucosa where they develop into adult worms. After one week, the females release larvae that migrate to the striated muscles where they encyst.

PHOTO: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<

This is why Dr. Maurice C. Hall, Zoology Chief at the U.S. Public Health Service, stated, “It appears to be a legitimate demand that, when a man exchanges dollars for pork, he should not do it, on the basis that he may be purchasing his death warrant.” This statement was made many years ago, leaving some to wonder if the pork purchased today is much leaner and healthier (as asserted by suppliers).

So-called experts will argue that properly cooking pork at 167 degrees Fahrenheit will destroy all the bacteria and worms in it. But studies have proven this not to be the case. One university heated trichinae-infested pig meat to an incredibly high temperature (nearly 500 degrees Fahrenheit) to test this theory. Even when the meat reached temperatures that could not be viably reproduced in one’s home, it still contained living worms. Simple organisms like these worms are remarkably resilient, and thoroughly cooking the pork does not make it safe.

And some of these parasites, like trichinosis, can be incredibly hard to detect. Former chairman of the New York Trichinosis Commission, Senator Thomas C. Desmond, stated, “Physicians have confused trichinosis with some 50 ailments, ranging from Typhoid Fever to Acute Alcoholism…That pain in your arm or leg may be arthritis or rheumatism, but it may be trichinosis. That pain in your back may mean a gall-bladder involvement, but it may mean trichinosis.”

Body’s Response

Another interesting fact about pork is related to how the human body digests animal fat. The process is called hydrolysis. Studies show that when you eat animal fat, it undergoes a conversion process that changes it from beef fat, for instance, into human fat-the form in which it is stored in the body. This allows the body to remove some of the toxins and to create tissue that is able to be converted into energy when needed.

Yet, pork is not subject to hydrolysis. Anytime you have pork chops or sausage, its fat is stored in the body as PORK FAT! As we have seen, fat stores much of the toxins. Therefore, you are storing the most toxic form of the animal!

As previously stated, when the body does not know how to deal with something-like toxins-it isolates it. In the case of toxins, it stores them in fat. Since your body was never designed to ingest swine fat, it does not know how to do deal with it. So it isolates it, unchanged as pig fat on your body!

And this tissue is not even useful for energy. To convert these pork fat deposits into usable energy, the body must burn up large amounts of glucose-an essential element of brain function. This can lead to a feeling of chronic hunger, which leads to the consumption of more meat-and the vicious cycle continues.

Studies have also shown that those who regularly eat pork are more prone to ulcerous skin infections. This should not be surprising, because ulcerous skin infections are COMMON on living pigs and, as we have seen, cooking does not kill all the worms and parasites in pork.

Other Deadly Creatures

We have focused on the most popular of unclean meats, but there are many reasons why certain birds, seafood and other creatures are also unhealthy. One example is that of clams and oysters. Typically, these shellfish are eaten raw. It has been found that 50 to 70% of all clams and oysters are contaminated with salmonella. Not only that, but such bottom-feeding creatures are typically saturated with heavy metals, such as mercury.

Another example would be that of armadillos. Not only are these creatures unclean to eat, but studies show they may even be dangerous to handle, as they may serve as reservoirs for leprosy.

One final study also bears some investigation. Though it was conducted many years ago, a modern “update” of this study, with a more exact toxicology analysis, would show similar results. A 1953 study published in the “Bulletin of the History of Medicine,” and written by Dr. David Macht, M.D., tested a variety of biblically clean and unclean animals for levels of toxicity. His finding confirmed everything covered so far. Every animal that the Bible declared as clean was found to be non-toxic. Conversely, each animal declared as unclean was found to be toxic and inedible based on these tests. Keep in mind that this study took place in a much less toxic society, so the same animals would be much more toxic today! It took mankind 6,000 years to determine this fact that has always been in the pages of the Bible!

Time and time again, study of these scavengers show that they are well-designed to clean, but they are not clean to eat. Just as you would not go into a sewage plant for dinner, you should not eat these natural sewage processors!

It takes very little investigation to learn why the Bible teaches what it has for thousands of years. God declares certain animals unclean and they are designated as such for a reason!

The Bible itself has never wavered on these teachings. If you look at the first book of the Bible-Genesis-you will find that Noah was instructed to take seven pairs of clean animals and one pair of unclean. Even then, God wanted mankind to eat what was created to be food and not to eat things that would poison him.

This is particularly important in the context of the account of the Flood. God was cleansing the world to start anew. He could have easily allowed for anything to be eaten if that was His choice. But He inspired this grouping of animals and the recording of it in Genesis as a lesson for us today.

For centuries, the Bible has been discounted as either a book of “stories” or some “good concepts”-it is not believed for what it says! Man ignores its plain teachings-including that of clean and unclean meats. You have seen that before science could prove it to be true, God’s Word told the truth. And this truth is only the tip of the iceberg. If you follow the laws that God set forth regarding diet, not only will you be pleasing the Creator of the universe, but you will enjoy bounding energy and solid health. Continue to dig deeper-what you may discover will most certainly surprise you!

(To learn more about the biblical teaching of clean and unclean meats and how to live a healthier lifestyle, you may read our article “Are All Animals Good Food?” and our booklet “God’s Principles of HEALTHFUL LIVING”.)