Our Announcements

Not Found

Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn't here.

Archive for category ISLAMIC CRESCENT

5 Reasons You Should Recite Surah Rehman Daily by Maham Rizwan,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 5 Reasons You Should Recite Surah Rehman Daily

by

Maham Rizwan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surah Rehman is one of the most beneficial surahs of the Holy Quran. It comes with the solution to many diseases. In a way, it brings healing balm for you not just physically but emotionally; it is a great source of emotional healing.

This surah consists of seventy-eight verses in total. It is not very lengthy and is easy to memorize. According to the well-known Hazrat Imam Jaffar (As), you get very high rewards if you make a habit of reciting Surah Rehman every day after offering your Fajr salah.

It is also known as Surah-Ar-Rehman.

 

  • General benefits of recitation of Surah Rehman

This particular Surah eliminates pietism from the heart of a living being. In the event that it is recounted before the evening, it is said that an angel will protect the person recited it until nightfall and on the off chance that you recite it after the Maghrib, so your Creator will send a heavenly attendant to monitor you until you are awake.

In the case, you write Surah Rehman on the dividers of your home so that it will keep a wide range of family issues away.

 

  • Surah Rehman in Death

Additionally, Hazrat Imam Jaffar (AS) said that whoever discusses this specific Surah and bites the dust is viewed as a saint. What else do you need from the Quran? This surah will protect you in your death as well and will make it all easy for you.

 

  • Eye Disease

An amazing thing about this Surah is that it cures all your eye afflictions. Even people who suffer from eyesight issues must recite this Surah daily, and they will see the difference with the help of Allah.

 

  • Surah Rehman for Marriage

It is said that if you recite this Surah every day for twenty-one days for yourself or your daughter, sister, anyone who wants to get married, Allah will have mercy and with the help of the Almighty, you will get married. You must read this Surah with reciting the Darood-e-Pak before and after Surah Rehman.

 

  • Surah Rehman for Patients

This Surah is the arrangement of all issues and illnesses that include diseases like depression, hypertension, diabetes, and some very serious issues like cancer. We allude to recount the Surah Rehman treatment to control the psychic issues like anxiety and depression, more often than not with the end goal of enhancing ordinary working.

Each and every chronic disease can be cured with the help of Surah Rehman. If an ill person listens to this surah, it is more than treatment for him, and with the mercy of Allah Almighty, he will be cured in no time.

Always remember that the Creator of the universe Allah, only he can take decisions of life and death and no one can cure you of any disease but Allah.

 

  • Therapy for the Soul

If a man listens to Surah Rehman daily, it mends the injuries of his spirit. It will make you all fresh and will make you feel great about yourself.

 

Make this your routine, recite Surah Rehman daily and have a good time in the world and hereafter.

About the Author:

Maham Rizwan is a writer and copywriter who has worked with New York Times bestselling authors and personal development organizations such as Productive Muslim and Mindvalley. She regularly blogs at http://quranacademy.io/

, , , ,

No Comments

I never regretted embracing Islam By Prof. Khadijah Watson


Prof. Khadijah Watson, formerly Sue Watson, was, as she admits, “a radical Christian fundamentalist,” accepted Islam when she found consistencies in the message, she said in the following narrative:

WHAT happened to you?” This was usually the first reaction I encountered when my former classmates, friends and co-pastors saw me after having embraced Islam. I suppose I couldn’t blame them, I was a highly unlikely the person to change religions. Formerly, I was a professor, pastor, church planter and missionary. If anyone was a radical fundamentalist it was I.

I had just graduated with my Master’s Degree of Divinity from an elite seminary five months before. It was after that time I met a lady who had worked in Saudi Arabia and had embraced Islam. Of course, I asked her about the treatment of women in Islam. I was shocked at her answer. It wasn’t what I expected; so I proceeded to ask other questions relating to God and Muhammad (may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him). She informed me that she would take me to the Islamic Center where they would be better able to answer my questions.
Having taught Evangelism, I was quite shocked at their approach, it was direct and straightforward. No intimidation, no harassment, no psychological manipulation, no subliminal influence! I couldn’t believe it. They gave me some books and told me if I had some questions they were available to answer them in the office. That night I read all of the books they gave. It was the first time I had ever read a book about Islam written by a Muslim, we had studied and read books about Islam only written by Christians. The next day I spent 3 hours at the office asking questions. This went on every day for a week, by which time I had read 12 books and knew why Muslims are the hardest people in the world to convert to Christianity. Because there is nothing to offer them! In Islam, there is a relationship with God, forgiveness of sins, salvation and promise of eternal life.
It is interesting to note that there were bishops during the first 300 years of the Church that were teaching as the Muslim believes, that Jesus (may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him) was a prophet and teacher! It was only after the conversion of Emperor Constantine that he was the one to call and introduce the doctrine of the Trinity. 
He introduced a paganistic concept that goes back to Babylonian times. Space, however, does not permit me to go into detail about the subject, but God willing, we will another time. Only, I must point out that the word Trinity is not found in the Bible in any of its many translation nor is it found in the original Greek or Hebrew languages!
 
I was fired from my job as I was teaching in two Bible Colleges at that time, ostracized by my former classmates, professors and co-pastors, disowned by my husband’s family, misunderstood by my adult children and suspected by my own government. Without the faith that enables man to stand up to Satanic forces I would not have been able to withstand all of this. I am ever so grateful to God that I am a Muslim and may I live and die a Muslim.
“Truly, my prayer, my service of sacrifice, my life and my death are all for God the Cherisher of the Worlds. No partner has He, this I am commanded. And I am the first of those who bow to God in Islam.” (Qur’an, 6:162-163)
 
 

,

No Comments

A Sunni’s Muharram Lamentation

14868-sunnishiacoexistance-1353653082-606-640x480

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Sunni’s Muharram lamentation

 

by OBAID ZIA on OCTOBER 21, 2015

 

 

I am a Sunni. My family is Sunni. We love Abu Bakr (ra), Uthman (ra), Umar (ra), Ali (ra). We believe in their Rightly Guided Caliphates. The Commanders of the Faithful. We believe in Aisha (ra) as a wife of the Prophet ﷺ and a role model. A Mother of the Faithful. This is our belief. We are not Shia.

 

As part of being Muslim, we love the Prophet ﷺ and love all that which he loves. For what is beloved to the Prophet ﷺ is beloved to God. This includes love of the people he loved. The Prophet ﷺ loved his wives, his friends, his companions, and his family. We wish peace upon the Prophet ﷺ and his family in every Salaat, just like every other Muslim in the world does without regard to madhab.

 

Of the Prophet’s family ﷺ, there exist two names shadowed in an eternal passion, kept alive by billions of lovers for over a millennium. The beloved sons of Fatima az-Zahra (ra), daughter of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, and her husband Ali ibn Abi Talib (ra): Hasan (ra) and Hussain (ra). The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ confided with humanity that indeed his favorite two children in all of creation would be the leaders of the youth of Paradise. The two sons of the House of the Prophet ﷺ would grow up to be great leaders, as prophesized by the Holy Messenger ﷺ, and find themselves murdered by their grandfather’s followers for their sacred ancestry ﷺ.

 

Why is it that, growing up, the names “Hasan and Hussain” brought the images of children to my mind? Why is it that I, and many other youth in America, are not taught much about Hasan and Hussain when they grow up? All that most know about them is that the Prophet ﷺ loved and kissed them and that they would bring him his blessed slippers. That’s it. They’re our role models to be the perfect children. We, as Sunnis, have forgotten that they’re really models through our death and afterlife.

 

We never learn that Hasan and Hussain grow up to be Imam Hasan and Imam Hussain. We don’t learn of the prophecy of Imam Hasan being a “great sayyid” through whose hands “Allah shall bring peace between two parties.¹” We don’t learn about him succeeding his father as the entitled fifth Rightly Guided Caliph, a rank we are taught is posthumously bestowed upon Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz. We aren’t taught that he gave up his right to the caliphate to fulfill that very Muhammadan Prophecy ﷺ. We never learn that Hasan and Hussain grow up.

 

We never learn about the murder of the Prophet’s ﷺ grandsons at the hands of his Ummah. We never learn about the betrayal from a son of Bani Ummayah. We never learn about the theft of khilafat from the righteous. We never learn about Muawiyah’s warning his son to not “meet God with his [Imam Hussain’s] blood.” We never learn about the gross disobedience to his father, his soul’s nature, his sense of inhumanity, to the Prophet he claimed to love ﷺ.

 

We feel from our parents and elders that Muharram is sacred for reasons other than literal translation, but don’t know why. We get lost in confusing debates about not marrying during Muharram. Elders argue over engagements being jaa’iz before and/or after 10th Muharram. We get even more confused when an aunty says marriages shouldn’t be held until Rabi’ al-Awwal. Why does it matter? we ask. We aren’t Shia, we iterate. Few parents are willing to explain. Maybe the pain of which there is to speak is too deep. Maybe they’ve become confused, in the melting pot that is Muslim America, on the validity of their beliefs. However, I’m not writing this to criticize the pseudo-salafi influence in America throwing off 1400 years of orthodox Sunni scholarship. I’m writing this because I was (and still am, obviously) a confused Sunni youth in America wondering why the hadith and scholarly quotes about the Ahl al-Bayt are an open secret, why the poems of Imam Shafi’ are hidden, why our elders and teachers are content in letting an entire generation grow up without knowing that Islam could have died barely 60 years in. How can an imam talk about the erroneous “fitnah of women” when we don’t even know about the fitnah that almost killed the religion of our beloved Prophet ﷺ?

 

We, as a generation and a new culture are confused because we don’t know about Karbala. I educated myself. I read about the Ahl al-Bayt. I read about Orthodox Sunnism. I picked up where the Sunday school textbooks left off. I read about what our Shia brothers believe about the Battle of Karbala. I read about what the Orthodox Sunni scholars say about it. I read the accounts. I feel the shared pain between the lines—an ancient remorse, the feeling of shame. When you realize the scholars who speak about Hussain are the scholars that are here to be the heirs of the Prophets ﷺ, you see how much we share across these sects. You see how sects become madhabs. We aren’t united by the shahadah. We aren’t united by love of a single God. We aren’t united by love for the Prophet ﷺ. We are united by all that and the love of the Ahl al-Bayt. In Muharram, we share the deep grief for the events at Karbala. When you see what both traditions of scholars, Shia and Orthodox Sunni, say about the emotions of Muharram, you see why we are brothers.

 

We are brothers because when a tyrant stole the caliphate of the Muslim Ummah and abused it, Imam Hussain stood up for you and me and the nation his grandfather built with his blood, sweat, and many tears. He marched himself to his death for the sake of survival. On that day in Karbala, he was undoubtedly on the side of Islam, the side of his father, the side of his grandfather ﷺ, the side of righteousness and truth.

Imam Hussain came to the battlefield not as a Shia to fight Sunnis, or a Sunni to fight Shias. He was there as the inheritor and rightful successor of his grandfather ﷺ to continue the Prophetic crusade against injustice and darkness. It wasn’t “Sunni succession vs. Shia succession.” The knowledgeable of the Ummah had already designated Imam Hasan and Imam Hussain as caliphs. No. That day in Karbala, the battlefield was Haq vs. Kufr.

Bloodshed was to ensue. Brother slaughtered brother. Imam Hussain came with a message of diplomacy, of amnesty, of civility. He was faced with an army who claimed to be from the Ummah of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. They were a people who claimed to pray and fast. An army who venerated the grandfather of the man they were ordered to murder ﷺ, an army who claimed to love God and His messenger ﷺ as the ultimate reality.

An army who claimed to be on the path of Islam, an army who claimed to love the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, was about to slaughter his holy family before leaving their dead bodies to rot for three days. They took the words of the kalima, chewed them up, spat them out, and trampled them with their horses. When Sayydina Abu Bakr “would rather do good to the family of the Prophet ﷺ rather than to [his]own family,²” the army at Karbala didn’t even spare thirsty infant Ali al-Asghar crying in the arms of Imam Hussain. They couldn’t spare a drop of water for the progeny of the Prophet ﷺ they claimed to love. Their hearts had already traded God for the pleasures of this world. Words cannot describe the revolting lapse of conscience, of taqwa, of basic humanity, that the murderers of the Prophet’s household had on that day ﷺ.

The story ends with Sayyid Shabab al-Jannah, the Leader of the Youth in Paradise, the Prince of the Prophet’s household ﷺ, becoming the final casualty. Having watched all 72 of his followers and most of his family slaughtered, beheaded, and disfigured, he charged into the army of thousands, fighting valiantly despite his severe wounds. After the final blow to the Prince of the Martyrs, his head was cut off, and placed on a silver platter to be presented to the general of the army, who “started playing with a stick at the nose and mouth of Al-Hussain’s head and saying something about his handsome features.³” The army, who claimed to be Muslims, would then place the heads of their victims and Imam Hussain on the tips of spears and march 600 miles to Yazid—championing their victory.

I mourn in Muharram. I mourn in my own way, and always look to do better in honoring our Imam, but for at least the first ten days of every year, I remind myself of Imam Hussain.

If only this was the whole story, yet this much is enough to make anyone’s skin crawl. Such injustice was done. If Hussain had remained quiet and relented to Yazid, he and his family members would have lived. However, Yazid’s men would still have been evil. They would gutted Islam of anything good or Prophetic, and left it a shell of empty words, of sin, of corruption, of evil. If it weren’t for Imam Hussain’s sacrifice, Islam would have died. The legacy of Hussain’s selfless sacrifice lived on in the community of the Muslims under unjust rulers. The light of his fight for truth lived on in the minds of the believers, ready to reclaim the religion of the Holy Prophet ﷺ whenever opportunity presented. Imam Hussain inspired the spirit of reality in the darkness. Yazid had Imam Hussain killed, Yazid won, but Yazid still died three years later, and today he’s nothing but dust in the desert, while Hussain lives on in the hearts of billions. While Yazid won the battle, Hussain continues to win the war hundreds of years later. His death in righteousness lit the fire of truth until the truth of the battle could prevail, and continues to inspire truth in the face of injustice today.

How could I ignore the sacrifices of the Prophet’s family? How could I not grieve and mourn when recounted the atrocities at Karbala? How could I ignore the suffering of Imam Hussain, when he watched all those he loved in the world beaten, abused, slaughtered, beheaded, and molested in front of his eyes? When Imam Hussain gave up his whole world, was stabbed 33 times by spears, struck 34 times by swords, hit over 100 times by arrows, only to weep and say “I only wish for Allah to shower them with forgiveness,⁴” how can I say that remembering his suffering is a sin?

I am a Sunni, and I mourn in Muharram. I mourn in my own way, and always look to do better in honoring our Imam, but for at least the first ten days of every year, I remind myself of Imam Hussain. Mourning is not exclusive to our Shia brothers, and we shouldn’t let that cross our minds. Imam Hussain died so that all of us could be Muslim. His death enabled us all to seek the pleasure of God and the Righteous, and not this world. The family and lovers of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ faced such inhumanity from people who also claimed to love the Prophet; people who supposedly read salawat on them during every salaat. It should not be forgotten. It should always be remembered, and if you don’t even shed a tear, if you don’t start grieving just at the thought of the injustice, then you aren’t remembering like you should. When you don’t remember, when you don’t feel emotion, for the events of Karbala, when you’ve let the sacrifice be forgotten, you’ve accepted Yazid’s victory.

 

I’m a Sunni, and my heart grieves, because Sunnis do grieve for Hussain. We weep for Hussain. We have for 1400 years, just like Shias. Because Karbala wasn’t a sacrifice for Shias, it wasn’t even a sacrifice for all Muslims. It was a sacrifice for humanity.

 

“Shah ast Hussain, Badshah ast Hussain
Deen ast Hussain, Deen Panah ast Hussain
Sardad na dad dast, dar dast-e-yazeed,
Haqaa key binaey La ila ast Hussain”

“King is Hussain, Emperor is Hussain.
Faith is Hussain; the Defender of Faith is Hussain.
His head he gave, not his hand, to Yazid.
The reality is that the foundation of La ilaha ila Allah is Hussain.”

 

KHAWAJA GHAREEB NAWAZ MOINUDDIN CHISTI (MERCY BE UPON HIM)

 

and blessings be upon the Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions, and his wives.

No Comments

Ghulami aur Sarbulandi

 
 
 

مدینہ کا بازار تھا ، گرمی کی شدت اتنی زیادہ تھی کہ لوگ نڈھال ہورہے تھے ۔ ایک تاجر اپنے ساتھ ایک غلام کو لیے پریشان کھڑا تھا ۔ غلام جو ابھی بچہ ہی تھا وہ بھی دھوپ میں کھڑ ا پسینہ پسینہ ہورہا تھا ۔ تاجر کا سارا مال اچھے داموں بک گیا تھا بس یہ غلام ہی باقی تھا جسے خریدنے میں کوئی بھی دلچسپی نہیں دکھا رہا تھا۔ تاجر سوچ رہا تھا کہ اس غلام کو خرید کر شاید اس نے گھاٹے کا سودا کیا ہے۔ اس نے تو سوچا تھا کہ اچھا منافع ملے گا لیکن یہاں تو اصل لاگت ملنا بھی دشوار ہورہا تھا۔ اس نے سوچ لیا تھا کہ اب اگر یہ غلام پوری قیمت پر بھی بکا تو وہ اسے فورا” بیچ 
دے گا۔
مدینہ کی ایک لڑکی کی اس غلام پر نظر پڑی تو اس نے تاجر سے
 پوچھا کہ یہ غلام کتنے کا بیچو گے۔ تاجر نے کہا کہ میں نے اتنے میں لیا ہے اور اتنے کا ہی دے دوں گا۔ اس لڑکی نے بچے پر ترس کھاتے ہوئے اسے خرید لی۔ تاجر نے بھی خدا کا شکر ادا کیا اور واپسی کے راہ لی.

مکہ سے ابو حذیفہ مدینہ آئے تو انہیں بھی اس لڑکی کا قصہ معلوم ہوا۔ لڑکی کی رحم دلی سے متاثر ہوکر انہوں نے اسکے لیے نکاح کا پیغام بھیجا جو قبول کرلیا گیا۔ یوں واپسی پر وہ لڑکی جس کا نام ثبیتہ بنت یعار تھا انکی بیوی بن کر انکے ہمراہ تھی اور وہ غلام بھی مالکن کے ساتھ مکہ پہنچ گیا۔
ابو حذیفہ مکہ آکر اپنے پرانے دوست عثمان ابن عفان سے ملے تو انہیں کچھ بدلا ہوا پایا اور انکے رویے میں سرد مہری محسوس کی۔ انہوں نے اپنے دوست سے استفسار کیا کہ عثمان یہ سرد مہری کیوں!!۔ تو عثمان بن عفان نے جواب دیا کہ میں نے اسلام قبول کرلیا ہے اور تم ابھی تک مسلمان نہیں ہوئے تو اب ہماری دوستی کیسے چل سکتی ہے۔ ابو حذیفہ نے کہا تو پھر مجھے بھی محمد صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کے پاس لے چلو اور اس اسلام میں داخل کردو جسے تم قبول کرچکے ہو۔ چنانچہ حضرت عثمان رضی اللہ عنہ نے انہیں نبی کریم صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کی خدمت میں پیش کیا اور وہ کلمہ پڑھ کر دائرہ اسلام میں داخل ہوگئے۔ گھر آکر انہوں نے اپنی بیوی اور غلام کو اپنے مسلمان ہونے کا بتایا تو ان دونوں نے بھی کلمہ پڑھ لیا۔
حضرت ابوحذیفہ رضی اللہ عنہ نے اس غلام سے کہا کہ چونکہ تم بھی مسلمان ہوگئے ہو اس لیے میں اب تمہیں غلام نہیں رکھ سکتا لہذا میری طرف سے اب تم آزاد ہو۔ غلام نے کہا آقا میرا اب اس دنیا میں آپ دونوں کے سوا کوئی نہیں ہے۔ آپ نے مجھے آزاد کردیا تو میں کہاں جاؤں گا۔ حضرت ابو حذیفہ رضی اللہ عنہ نے اس غلام کو اپنا بیٹا بنا لیا اور اپنے پاس ہی رکھ لیا۔ غلام نے قران پاک سیکھنا شروع کردیا اور کچھ ہی دنوں میں بہت سا قران یاد کرلیا۔ اور وہ جب قران پڑھتے تو بہت خوبصورت لہجے میں پڑھتے۔
ہجرت کے وقت نبی کریم صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم سے پہلے جن صحابہ نے مدینہ کی طرف ہجرت کی ان میں حضرت عمر رضی اللہ عنہ کے ساتھ حضرت ابوحذیفہ رضی اللہ عنہ اور انکا یہ لے پالک بیٹا بھی تھا۔

مدینہ پہنچ کر جب نماز کے لیے امام مقرر کرنے کا وقت آیا تو اس غلام کی خوبصورت تلاوت اور سب سے زیادہ قران حفظ ہونے کی وجہ سے انہیں امام چن لیا گیا۔ اور انکی امامت میں حضرت عمر رضی اللہ عنہ جیسے جلیل القدر صحابی بھی نماز ادا کرتے تھے ۔
مدینہ کے یہودیوں نے جب انہیں امامت کرواتے دیکھا تو حیران ہوگئے کہ یہ وہی غلام ہے جسے کوئی خریدنے کے لیے تیار نہ تھا۔ آج دیکھو کتنی عزت ملی کہ مسلمانوں کا امام بنا ہوا ہے
اللہ پاک نے انہیں خوش گلو اسقدر بنایا تھا کہ جب آیاتِ قرآنی تلاوت فرماتے تو لوگوں پر ایک محویت طاری ہوجاتی اور راہ گیر ٹھٹک کر سننے لگتے۔ ایک دفعہ ام المومنین حضرت عائشہ رضی اللہ عنہا کو رسول اللہ ﷺ کے پاس حاضر ہونے میں دیر ہوئی۔ آپ ﷺ نے توقف کیوجہ پوچھی تو بولیں کہ ایک قاری تلاوت کررہا تھا، اسکے سننے میں دیر ہوگئی اور خوش الحانی کی اس قدر تعریف کی کہ آنحضرت ﷺ خود چادر سنبھالے ہوئے باہر تشریف لے آئے۔ دیکھا تو وہ بیٹھے تلاوت کررہے ہیں۔ آپ ﷺ نے خوش ہوکر فرمایا : اللہ پاک کا شُکر ہے کہ اُس نے تمہارے جیسے شخص کو میری امت میں بنایا ۔
کیا آپ جانتے ہیں کہ یہ خوش قسمت صحابی کون تھے؟۔ انکا نام حضرت سالم رضی اللہ عنہ تھا۔ جو سالم مولی ابو حذیفہ رضی اللہ عنہ کے نام سے مشہور تھے۔ انہوں نے جنگ موتہ میں جام شہادت نوش کیا۔

اللہ کی کروڑ ہا رحمتیں ہوں ان پر ۔
📒السیرۃ النبویۃ(ابن ہشام)، الطبقات الکبریٰ (ابن سعد)

,

No Comments

Watch the Young Turks video on Islam Bashing in USA : An Open Letter to Moderate Muslims

Watch the Young Turks video on  Islam Bashing in USA
Opinion:
This Writer is interpreting without giving any references and doing so what fits his arguments. There are 5 Principles of Islam, which capture the essence of faith. But, there are 5 million interpreters of faith masquerading as “Scholars,” xs Muslims.  The Meaning of The Glorious Qu’ran is evident as one reads it. Also, Books like Adil Salahi’s are definitive works with references from the time of the Prophet(PBUH). Why Christianity lost its hold over Minds & Bodies of Christians, because it allowed newer version of Bible every century. In Qu’ran not a single word has been changed in 1400 years!: So, the Open Letter is another attempt to fit Islam to the writers thinking, not what it really is, reinterpretation of faith for expediency is bordering on hypocrisy.
 

An Open Letter to Moderate Muslims

 

 

 

 

 

MOSQUE SILHOUETTE

Let’s start with what I’m not going to do.

I’m not going to accuse you of staying silent in the face of the horrific atrocities being committed around the world by your co-religionists. Most of you have loudly and unequivocally condemned groups like the Islamic State (ISIS), and gone out of your way to dissociate yourselves from them. You have helped successfully isolate ISIS and significantly damage its credibility.

I’m also not going to accuse you of being sympathetic to fundamentalists’ causes like violent jihad or conversion by force. I know you condemn their primitive tactics like the rest of us, maybe even more so, considering the majority of victims of Islamic terrorists are moderate Muslims like yourselves. On this, I am with you.

But I do want to talk to you about your increasingly waning credibility — a concern many of you have articulated as well.

You’re feeling more misunderstood than ever, as Islamic fundamentalists hijack the image of Muslims, ostentatiously presenting themselves as the “voice of Islam.” And worse, everyone seems to be buying it.

The frustration is evident. In response to comedian Bill Maher’s recent segment ripping liberals for their silence on criticizing Islam, religious scholar Reza Aslan slammed him in a CNN interview. Visibly exasperated, he ultimately resorted to using words like “stupid” and “bigot” to make his points. (He apologized for this later.)

We’ll get to Aslan’s other arguments in a bit. But first, let’s talk about something he said to his hosts that I know many of you relate to: that moderate Muslims are too often painted with the same brush as their fundamentalist counterparts. This is often true, and is largely unfair to moderates like yourselves.

But you can’t simply blame this on the “ignorance” or “bigotry” of non-Muslims, or on media bias. Non-Muslims and the media are no more monolithic than the Muslim world you and I come from.

The problem is this: moderate Muslims like you also play a significant role in perpetuating this narrative — even if you don’t intend to.

To understand how, it’s important to see how it looks from the other side.

***

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

(1) A moderate Muslim states that ISIS is wrong, they aren’t “true” Muslims, and Islam is a religion of peace.

(2) A questioner asks: what about verses in the Quran like 4:89, saying to “seize and kill” disbelievers? Or8:12-13, saying God sent angels to “smite the necks and fingertips” of disbelievers, foreboding a “grievous penalty” for whoever opposes Allah and his Messenger? Or 5:33, which says those who “spread corruption” (a vague phrase widely believed to include blasphemy and apostasy) should be “killed or crucified”? Or 47:4, which also prescribes beheading for disbelievers encountered in jihad?

(3) The Muslim responds by defending these verses as Allah’s word — he insists that they have been quoted “out of context,” have been misinterpreted, are meant as metaphor, or that they may even have been mistranslated.

(4) Despite being shown multiple translations, or told that some of these passages (like similar passages in other holy books) are questionable in any context, the Muslim insists on his/her defense of the Scripture.

 
 

Sometimes, this kind of exchange will lead to the questioner being labeled an “Islamophobe,” or being accused of bigotry, as Aslan did with Maher and his CNN hosts. This is a very serious charge that is very effective at ending the conversation. No one wants to be called a bigot.

But put yourself in the shoes of your non-Muslim audience. Is it really them linking Islam to terrorism? We’re surrounded with images and videos of jihadists yelling “Allahu Akbar” and quoting passages from the Quran before beheading someone (usually a non-Muslim), setting off an explosion, or rallying others to battle. Who is really making this connection?

What would you do if this situation was reversed? What are non-Muslims supposed to think when even moderate Muslims like yourselves defend the very same words and book that these fundamentalists effortlessly quote as justification for killing them — as perfect and infallible?

Like other moderates, Reza Aslan frequently bemoans those who read the Quran “literally.” Interestingly enough, we sort of agree on this: the thought of the Quran being read “literally” — or exactly as Allah wrote it — unsettles me as much as it unsettles Reza.

This is telling, and Reza isn’t alone. Many of you insist on alternative interpretations, some kind of metaphorical reading — anything to avoid reading the holy book the way it’s actually written. What message do you think this sends? To those on the outside, it implies there is something lacking in what you claim is God’s perfect word. In a way, you’re telling the listener to value your explanations of these words over the sacred words themselves. Obviously, this doesn’t make a great case for divine authorship. Combined with the claims that the book is widely misunderstood, it makes the writer appear either inarticulate or incompetent. I know that’s not the message you mean to send — I’ve been where you are. But it is important to understand why it comes across that way to many non-Muslims.

If any kind of literature is to be interpreted “metaphorically,” it has to at least represent the original idea. Metaphors are meant to illustrate and clarify ideas, not twist and obscure them. When the literal words speak of blatant violence but are claimed to really mean peace and unity, we’re not in interpretation/metaphor zone anymore; we’re heading into distortion/misrepresentation territory. If this disconnect was limited to one or two verses, I would consider your argument. If your interpretation were accepted by all of the world’s Muslims, I would consider your argument. Unfortunately, neither of these is the case.

You may be shaking your head at this point. I know your explanations are very convincing to fellow believers. That’s expected. When people don’t want to abandon their faith or their conscience, they’ll jump on anything they can find to reconcile the two.

But believe me, outside the echo chamber, all of this is very confusing. I’ve argued with Western liberals who admit they don’t find these arguments convincing, but hold back their opinions for fear of being seen as Islamophobic, or in the interest of supporting moderates within the Muslim community who share their goals of fighting jihad and fundamentalism. Many of your liberal allies are sincere, but you’d be surprised how many won’t tell you what they really think because of fear or political correctness. The only difference between them and Bill Maher is that Maher actually says it.

Unfortunately, this is what’s eating away at your credibility. This is what makes otherwise rational moderate Muslims look remarkably inconsistent. Despite your best intentions, you also embolden anti-Muslim bigots — albeit unknowingly — by effectively narrowing the differences between yourselves and the fundamentalists. You condemn all kinds of terrible things being done in the name of your religion, but when the same things appear as verses in your book, you use all your faculties to defend them. This comes across as either denial or disingenuousness, both of which make an honest conversation impossible.

This presents an obvious dilemma. The belief that the Quran is the unquestionable word of God is fundamental to the Islamic faith, and held by the vast majority of Muslims worldwide, fundamentalist or progressive. Many of you believe that letting it go is as good as calling yourself non-Muslim. I get that. But does it have to be that way?

Having grown up as part of a Muslim family in several Muslim-majority countries, I’ve been hearing discussions about an Islamic reformation for as long as I can remember. Ultimately, I came to believe that the first step to any kind of substantive reformation is to seriously reconsider the concept of scriptural inerrancy.

And I’m not the only one. Maajid Nawaz, a committed Muslim, speaks openly about acknowledging problems in the Quran. Recently, in a brave article here right here on The Huffington Post, Imra Nazeer also asked Muslims to reconsider treating the Quran as infallible.

Is she right? At first glance, this may be a shocking thought. But it’s possible, and it actually has precedent.

***

I grew up in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, before the Internet. We had an after-school tutor who taught us to read and recite the Quran in classical Arabic, the language in which it’s written.

My family is among the majority of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims — concentrated in countries like Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Turkey and Iran — that doesn’t speak Arabic. Millions of us, however, can read the Quran in Arabic, even if we don’t understand it.

In most Muslim households, the Quran is physically placed at the highest place possible. In our house, it was at the top of a tall bookshelf. It cannot be physically touched unless an act of ablution/purification (wudhu) is first performed. It cannot be recited or touched by menstruating women. It is read in its entirety during the Sunni taraweeh prayers in the holy month of Ramadan. In many Muslim communities, it is held over the heads of grooms and brides as a blessing when they get married. A child completing her first reading of the Quran is a momentous occasion — parties are thrown, gifts are given.

But before the Internet, I rarely met anyone — including the devoutly religious — who had really read the Quran in their own language. We just went by what we heard from our elders. We couldn’t Google or verify things instantaneously like we do now.

There were many things in the Quran we didn’t know were in there. Like Aslan, we also mistakenly thought that harsh punishments in Saudi Arabia like decapitation and hand amputation were cultural and not religious. Later, we learned that the Quran does indeed prescribe beheadings, and says clearly in verse 5:38 that thieves, male or female, should have their hands cut off.

Now, there are also other things widely thought to be in the Quran that aren’t actually in there. A prominent example is the hijab or burka — neither is mentioned in the Quran. Also absent is stoning to death as a punishment — it’s mentioned in the hadith (the Sunnah, or traditions of the Prophet), and even in the Old Testament — but not in the Quran.

Neither male nor female circumcision (M/FGM) are found in the Quran. Again, however, both are mentioned in the hadith. When Aslan discussed FGM, he neglected to mention that of the four Sunni schools of jurisprudence, the Shafi’i school makes FGM mandatory based on these hadith, and the other three schools recommend it. This is why Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, mostly Shafi’i, where Aslan said women were “absolutely 100% equal” to men, has an FGM prevalence of at least 86%, with over 90% of families supporting the practice. And the world’s largest Arab Muslim country, Egypt, has an FGM prevalence of over 90%. So yes, both male and female genital cutting pre-date Islam. But it is inaccurate to say that they have no connection whatever to the religion.

***

That is the kind of information I could never reliably access growing up. But with the Internet came exposure.

Suddenly, every 12-year-old kid could search multiple translations of the Quran by topic, in dozens of languages. Nothing was hidden. It was all right there to see. When Lee Rigby’s murderer cited Surah At-Tawbah to justify his actions, we could go online and see exactly what he was talking about. When ISIS claims divine sanction for its actions by citing verse 33 from Surah Al-Maaidah or verse 4 from Surah Muhammad, we can look it up for ourselves and connect the dots.

Needless to say, this is a pretty serious problem, one that you must address. When people see moderates insisting that Islam is peaceful while also defending these verses and claiming they’re misunderstood, it appears inconsistent. When they read these passages and see fundamentalists carrying out exactly what they say, it appears consistent. That’s scary. You should try to understand it. Loudly shouting “Racist!” over the voices of critics, as Ben Affleck did over Maher and Sam Harris last week, isn’t going to make it go away.

(Also, if you think criticizing Islam is racist, you’re saying that all of Islam is one particular race. There’s a word for that.)

Yes, it’s wrong and unfair for anyone to judge a religion by the actions of its followers, be they progressive Muslims or al Qaeda. But it is appropriate and intellectually honest to judge it by the contents of its canonical texts — texts that are now accessible online to anyone and everyone at the tap of a finger.

Today, you need to do better when you address the legitimate questions people have about your beliefs and your holy book. Brushing off everything that is false or disturbing as “metaphor” or “misinterpretation” just isn’t going to cut it. Neither is dismissing the questioner as a bigot.

How, then, to respond?

***

For starters, it might help to read not only the Quran, but the other Abrahamic texts. When you do, you’ll see that the Old Testament has just as much violence, if not more, than the Quran. Stoning blasphemers, stoning fornicators, killing homosexuals — it’s all in there. When you get about ten verses deep into Deuteronomy 20, you may even swear you’re reading a rulebook for ISIS.

You may find yourself asking, how is this possible? The book of the Jews is not much different from my book. How, then, are the majority of them secular? How is it that most don’t take too seriously the words of the Torah/Old Testament — originally believed to be the actual word of God revealed to Moses much like the Quran to Muhammad — yet still retain strong Jewish identities? Can this happen with Islam and Muslims?

Clearly from the above, the answer is a tried-and-tested yes. And it must start by dissociating Islamic identity fromMuslim identity — by coming together on a sense of community, not ideology.

Finding consensus on ideology is impossible. The sectarian violence that continues to plague the Muslim world, and has killed more Muslims than any foreign army, is blatant evidence for this. But coming together on a sense of community is what moves any society forward. Look at other Abrahamic religions that underwent reformations. You know well that Judaism and Christianity had their own violence-ridden dark ages; you mention it every chance you get nowadays, and you’re right. But how did they get past that?

Well, as much as the Pope opposes birth control, abortion and premarital sex, most Catholics today are openly pro-choice, practice birth control, and fornicate to their hearts’ content. Most Jews are secular, and many even identify as atheists or agnostics while retaining the Jewish label. The dissidents and the heretics in these communities may get some flak here and there, but they aren’t getting killed for dissenting.

This is in stark contrast to the Muslim world where, according to a worldwide 2013 Pew Research Study, a majority of people in large Muslim-majority countries like Egypt and Pakistan believe that those who leave the faith must die. They constantly obsess over who is a “real” Muslim and who is not. They are quicker to defend their faith from cartoonists and filmmakers than they are to condemn those committing atrocities in its name. (Note: To their credit, the almost universal, unapologetic opposition against ISIS from Muslims is a welcome development.)

***

The word “moderate” has lost its credibility. Fareed Zakaria has referred to Middle Eastern moderates as a “fantasy.” Even apologists like Nathan Lean are pointing out that the use of this word isn’t helping anyone.

Islam needs reformers, not moderates. And words like “reform” just don’t go very well with words like “infallibility.”

The purpose of reform is to change things, fix the system, and move it in a new direction. And to fix something, you have to acknowledge that it’s broken — not that it looks broken, or is being falsely portrayed as broken by the wrong people — but that it’s broken. That is your first step to reformation.

If this sounds too radical, think back to the Prophet Muhammad himself, who was chased out of Mecca for being a radical dissident fighting the Quraysh. Think of why Jesus Christ was crucified. These men didn’t capitulate or shy away from challenging even the most sacred foundations of the status quo.

These men certainly weren’t “moderates.” They were radicals. Rebels. Reformers. That’s how change happens. All revolutions start out as rebellions. Islam itself started this way. Openly challenging problematic ideas isn’t bigotry, and it isn’t blasphemy. If anything, it’s Sunnah.

Get out there, and take it back.

 
 
Attachments area
Preview YouTube video Bill Maher Finds Friends In Big Bigotry Following Ben Affleck Blow Up

Bill Maher Finds Friends In Big Bigotry Following Ben Affleck Blow Up
 

Preview YouTube video Real Time with Bill Maher: Fellate Show – September 26, 2014 (HBO)

Real Time with Bill Maher: Fellate Show – September 26, 2014 (HBO)

, , ,

No Comments


Skip to toolbar