Friday, Mar. 23, 2007 By AP/MARIA CHENG
New “landmark” research finds that alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous than some illegal drugs like marijuana or Ecstasy and should be classified as such in legal systems, according to a new British study.
In research published Friday in The Lancet magazine, Professor David Nutt of Britain’s Bristol University and colleagues proposed a new framework for the classification of harmful substances, based on the actual risks posed to society. Their ranking listed alcohol and tobacco among the top 10 most dangerous substances. Continue reading “Study: Alcohol Worse Than Narcotics”
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:
- science as the true guide of man;
- morality as secular, not religious, in origin;
- reason the only authority;
- freedom of thought and speech;
- 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”
Ellison: Lawmaker Goode- has ‘a lot to learn about Islam’
POSTED: 9:30 p.m. EST
, December 21, 2006
• NEW: Keith Ellison implores colleague to learn about Islam
• NEW: Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, called for tolerance
• NEW: Virginia Rep. Virgil Goode doesn’t want Quran used in swearing in
• Goode refuses to apologize
WASHINGTON (CNN) — The Virginia lawmaker criticized for writing an “Islamophobic” letter to his constituents would be wise to learn more about Islam, the first Muslim elected to Congress said Thursday.
Minnesota Rep.-elect Keith Ellison told CNN that he is not angry about a letter Virginia Rep. Virgil Goode wrote that said Ellison should not be allowed to place his hand on the Quran during his unofficial swearing in ceremony.
“I think the diversity of our country is a great strength,” Ellison told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “It’s a good thing that we have people from all faiths and all cultures to come here.” (Watch Ellison play down Quran flap )
Goode wrote that to “preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States,” an immigration overhaul was necessary to avoid “many more Muslims elected to office demanding the use of the Quran.”
Defending his statements Thursday, Goode, a Republican, told Fox News he wants to limit legal immigration.
He also said he wants to do away with “diversity visas,” which he said allowed people into America “not from European countries” and “some terrorist states.”
Ellison responded to Goode’s sentiments by saying that he would like to meet with Goode to talk about Islam and find some “common ground.”
“We all support one Constitution, one Constitution that upholds our right to equal protection, one Constitution that guarantees us due process under the law, one Constitution which says there is no religious test for elective office in America,” Ellison said.
Blitzer asked the new lawmaker-elect directly if thought Goode is a “bigot.”
But Ellison refused to partake in what he characterized as “name calling.”
“I don’t know the fellow and I’d rather just say he has a lot to learn about Islam,” Ellison said.
The congressman-elect said he looks forward to meeting Goode.
“What I’d tell him is that there might be a few things about Muslims that he might want to know,” said Ellison. “He might want to know that Muslims — there are about 5 million in the country — that they are here to support and strengthen America.
“They are nurses, doctors, husbands, wives, kids, who just want to live and prosper in the American way and that there’s really nothing to fear,” the new lawmaker said. “And that all of us are steadfastly opposed to the same people he is opposed to, which is the terrorists, so there is nothing to be afraid of.
“And, that what we should do is to tell our constituents — we should reach to each other and not be against each other and we should find ways for common ground.”
Ellison then said he’d like Goode to reach out to leaders at mosques and synagogues to encourage understanding and tolerance of the country’s variety of religions.
The ‘Virgil Goode’ position
Meanwhile, Goode said at a news conference at the Franklin County Courthouse in Rocky Mount, Virginia, that he feels he said nothing inappropriate.
“I will not be putting my hand on the Quran,” Goode said.
Goode, who represents Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, said he is receiving more positive comments from constituents than negative.
“One lady told me she thinks I’m doing the right thing on this,” he told Fox News. “I wish more people would take a stand and stand up for the principles on which this country was founded.”
In his letter, Goode wrote that strict immigration polices are necessary “to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America.”
“The Muslim representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Quran,” he wrote.
Virginia’s senior senator, Republican John Warner, said in a statement Thursday that he respects the right of congressional members to freely “exercise the religion of their choice, including those of the Islamic faith utilizing the Quran.”
Rep. Rahm Emanuel, an Illinois Democrat who is Jewish, said Thursday that he hoped Goode would meet with Ellison.
Emanuel said he would “see what I saw: a good American with good values of a different faith who’s trying to do right by the people he represents.”
An ‘Islamophobic’ letter
The Council on American-Islamic Relations had asked Goode to apologize, saying the remarks sent “a message of intolerance that is unworthy of anyone elected to public office.”
“Rep. Goode’s Islamophobic remarks send a message of intolerance that is unworthy of anyone elected to public office,” the council’s Corey Saylor said in a statement. “There can be no reasonable defense for such bigotry.”
Ellison, a Democrat from Minneapolis, was born in Detroit and converted to Islam in college.
His decision to use the Quran at his ceremonial swearing-in next month prompted criticism from conservative talk radio host Dennis Prager.
The American-Islamic relations council has called for Prager’s removal from the board of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Copyright 2006 CNN.
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Ruling on using the masbahah (prayer beads)
What is the ruling on using the masbahah (prayer beads)?
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.
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
ERRORS IN HAJJ AND KAFFAARAH
Errors which happen during Hajj are called Jinaayaat. There are two types of jinaayaat:
(1) Omission of the Waajib acts of Hajj.
(2) Commission of the Hajj prohibitions.
- The prohibitions of Hajj are of two kinds:
(1) The prohibitions of Ihraam.
(2) The prohibitions of the Haram Shareef (the Holy Place).
Nine errors pertain to Ihraam and two errors to Haram. Thus, there are altogether eleven errors regarding the prohibitions of Hajj. These are as follows:
(1) To apply perfume.
(2) For men to wear sewn clothes.
(3) To cover the head and f ace.
(4) To remove lice from one’s body.
(5) To kill lice.
(6) To remove hair from the body.
(7) To cut nails.
(8) To indulge in sexual relationship.
(9) To hunt or molest game (wild animals on land).
(10) To hunt in the Holy Precincts.
(11) To cut the grass or trees of the Haram.
There are several principles governing the errors committed. These will now be explained to facilitate better understanding of the errors.
FIRST PRINCIPLE: There are four ways in which the prohibitions of Hajj are committed:
(1) The prohibition is committed fully but because of a valid reason.
(2) The prohibition is committed partially but because of a valid reason.
(3) The prohibition is committed fully but without valid reason.
(4) The prohibition is committed partially but without valid reason.
The Hukm (effect and rule) of each of these four ways of commission is
different. The ruling applicable to each one is as follows:
(a) If the prohibition was committed fully, but because of a valid reason, Dum or Fasting or Sadqah becomes Waajib.
(b) If the prohibition was committed partially, but because of a valid reason, either Fasting or Sadqah is Waajib.
(c) If the prohibition was committed fully, but without valid reason, only Dum is Waajib. In this case there is no choice.
(d) If the prohibition was committed partially, but without valid reason, only Sadqah is Waajib. Again, here is no choice.
SECOND PRINCIPLE: Dum is one goat or one sheep or a seventh share of a cow or camel.
THIRD PRINCIPLE: A whole cow or a whole camel is incumbent on only two occasions, as follows:
(1) Making Tawaaf-e-Ziyaarat in the state of Hadth-e-Akbar, i.e. the greater impurity or janaabat.
(2) To indulge in sexual intercourse after Wuqoof-e-Arafaat, but before shaving the head.
FOURTH PRINCIPLE: All conditions and requirements applicable to Qurbaani animals apply to the Dum animals as well.
FIFTH PRINCIPLE: Sadqah in this context is half a Saa’ (approximately 2,5 kg.) of wheat or the amount which is usually paid as Fitrah.
SIXTH PRINCIPLE: The Qaarin who commits jinaayaat in Ihraam before making Umrah is liable for two penalties since he is in two states of Ihraam. The Mufrid is liable for one penalty since he is in the state of one Ihraam. However, if the Qaarin entered the Meeqaat limits without Ihraam, only one Dum will be Waajib on him.
SEVENTH PRINCIPLE: Regarding the jinaayaat of the Haram and in the penalty pertaining to game on land, there is a choice of three ways of discharging the penalty. These are:
(1) The wild animal is to be valued and if a sacrificial animal (Dum) is available for this value or price, an animal will be purchased and slaughtered.
(2) This amount may be given in charity.
(3) One may fast instead.
Any one of these three penalties will suffice. If the option of fasting is chosen, one should consult an Alim for ascertaining the method of calculating the number of fasts to be kept. This number differs.
EIGHTH PRINCIPLE: Kaffaarah (penalty or compensation) is obligatory
even if a prohibition of Ihraam is committed on account of a valid reason.
NINTH PRINCIPLE: If any act among the Waajibaat of Hajj is omitted without valid reason, penalty is incumbent.
TENTH PRINCIPLE: If any act among the Waajibaat of Hajj is omitted on account of valid reason, penalty is not obligatory.
ELEVENTH PRINCIPLE: penalty is not incumbent on a minor nor on an insane person. However, if one became insane after having entered the state of Ihraam and later regained sanity, then penalty is obligatory for any omission of Waajib acts which had occurred.
TWELFTH PRINCIPLE: If one is unable to discharge the penalty immediately, payment at a later date will be valid.
Deliberate commission of jinaayaat is a grave and major sin. Hajj is not accepted if jinaayaat are committed deliberately.
Discharging the penalty of Jinaayaat does not set one free from the sin. After payment of the penalty it is essential to make taubah (repent) and seek forgiveness from Allah Ta’ala.
(1) If one enters the precincts of the Meeqaat without Ihraam, Dum is Waajib. If the Ihraam is adopted after entering the Meeqaat, one Dum is Waajib. However, if one returns to the Meeqaat and dons Ihraam there, then the Dum penalty falls away.
(2) One who enters the Meeqaat without Ihraam, may return to the Meeqaat as long as one has not entered Makkah Mukarramah and commenced the acts of Hajj. Until such time that one Shaut of Tawaaf has not been rendered, one may return to the Meeqaat and recite the Talbiyah there. In this case the Dum penalty falls away.
(3) The penalty of a camel or Sadqah does not apply for the omission of any Waajib act of Umrah. In this case only a sheep or goat is obligatory. However, since the Ihraam of Umrah and the Ihraam of Hajj are the same, commission of the prohibitions of Ihraam will make Sadqah incumbent.
(4) If the Tawaaf of Umrah, the whole of it or part of it, even if it is just one Shaut, was performed in the state of either Hadth- e-Akbar (janaabat) or Hadth-e-Asghar (without wudhu), then Dum is Waajib.
(5) If Tawaaf-e-Qudoom, Nafl Tawaaf or Tawaaf-e-Wida’ were performed without wudhu, the Sadqah penalty is half Saa’ wheat (the amount of Sadaqatul Fitr) for every Shaut of the Tawaaf rendered without wudhu. If the amount or value of the Sadqah for all the Shauts is equal to the price of a Dum, then slightly less than the price of a Dum should be given as Sadqah. This same rule applies to less than half of Tawaaf -e-Ziyaarat made without wudhu.
(6) If the whole or the greater part of Tawaaf -e-Ziyaarat is made in the state of Hadth-e-Akbar (janaabat), the penalty is a camel or a cow.
(7) If less than half of Tawaaf -e-Ziyaarat or the whole of Tawaaf-e-Qudoom or Tawaaf-e-Wida’ or Tawaaf-e- Nafl is made in the state of Hadth-e-Akbar, the penalty of one goat is Waajib.
(8) If Tawaaf Ziyaarat was made in the state of janaabat and Tawaaf Wida’ was made in the state of tahaarat (purity) during the days of Nahr (10th, 11th, 12th), then this Tawaaf Wida will be considered to be Tawaaf Ziyaarat. Tawaaf Wida’ will have to be repeated. If it is not repeated, Dum is Waajib.