Archive for September, 2010

September 29th, 2010

Is the Islamic Deity the same as the Judeo-Christian God?

The idea of God in Islam is derived from the Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah (sayings and deeds). Both these sources show how “God,” “Allah” in Arabic, differs from the Judeo-Christian God. There is plenty of evidence in the Qur’an and the Hadith that the idea of  “God” in Islam is of Muhammad’s invention. Here are a few.

Allah in Islam who Muslims consider omniscient confuses Mary the Mother of Jesus with Miriam the sister to Aaron and Moses in the Bible. This doesn’t make sense when even Muslims know Mary and Aaron cannot be siblings because they lived several centuries apart. Muhammad—Allah’s Apostle—confirmed in the Hadith that Mary, Aaron, and Moses shared the same father. Apparently he believed it because Allah told him so. The story even gained some traction among Muslims of Muhammad’s days. The Hadith shows it only took a Christian to correct Muhammad years later in Medina. Unfortunately the error is still in the Qur’an because Allah—the all knowing—has not issued a correction yet.

Muhammad invoked Allah’s name to get his desires and wishes. There are instances in the Qur’an, proven by narratives in the Hadith, where when he had a desire for something he got it with a “revelation.” He never failed to get his way, especially after he became a political and military leader. Here are a few cases:

1. In Surah (chapter) 33 of the Qur’an, Prophet Muhammad admired Zainab, the wife of his adopted son Zayd bin Haritha. The Hadith shows he went to Zainab’s house and saw her scantly clad. He desired her as a wife. Then he got a “revelation” from Allah which forced Zayd to divorce Zainab. Then Muhammad—who had at least five wives at that time—married her.

2. Muslim women only began wearing veils in Islam because Prophet Muhammad was concerned men would seduce his new wife Zainab. The Hadith shows how they were milling around Zainab’s new home and even visiting her in Muhammad’s absence. He became quite concerned. One day, he pulled a curtain and a new verse was revealed. Mark you; the “revelation” came after he had already pulled the curtain. Shouldn’t it be the other way around had God been speaking to Muhammad? “Allah” also required that men should visit Muhammad’s home on invitation only. Poor Zayd. He did not enjoy the same privilege. From that time on, men had to talk to Muhammad’s wives behind a curtain. So much for Muslims telling the world veiling is for modesty.

3. A typical Muslim man can marry up to four wives. How about Muhammad? Allah “told” him via a “revelation” he could marry as many as he wished. Those who rivaled him, Muhammad forced them to divorce some of their wives to get to the “maximum” four.

4. A Muslim cannot interrupt another Muslim’s prayer. Muhammad broke that rule. Even a Muslim asked him why he did it, he said, “Didn’t Allah say “Give your response to Allah (by obeying Him) and to His Apostle when he calls you.”” He was above the rule. How convenient! Just another case of “Allah” in Islam is of Muhammad’s invention.

There are many other references in the Qur’an where a Muslim must obey Allah and Muhammad. Surprisingly, none of these verses was from the period when Islam was its nascent stage, Muhammad was powerless. The Hadith shows Muhammad concocted them to cater to his own desires. (Absolutes are rare in Islam. The only absolute with certainty is Islam’s opposition to the Trinity—a concept even “Allah” did not understand and falsely accused Christians of worshipping god the father, mother and son. Many Muslim still believe Christians worshipped these three gods even when it is patently false.)

It is obvious in the Qur’an and the Hadith “Allah” catered to Prophet Muhammad’s desires. Why can’t some Muslims discern it? Is it because Allah forbade them from asking questions? He said in the Qur’an, “O you who believe! Do not put questions about things which if declared to you may trouble you, and if you question about them when the Quran is being revealed, they shall be declared to you; Allah pardons this, and Allah is Forgiving, Forbearing.” This “revelation” was yet another convenient revelation for Muhammad. This time he declined to answer a question on pilgrimage to Mecca. Pagans observed annual Hajj to Mecca before Muhammad instituted and made it compulsory for Muslims just before death. Prior to that, Muslims observed various pilgrimages (umrah) throughout the year. A Muslim had asked how often Hajj in a year should be observed. Apparently, both Muhammad and “Allah” did not want to tackle that controversy.

There are many more examples that show the Qur’an was an invention of Muhammad to live a convenient life. He dubbed it a “revelation” from “Allah” to dupe his followers. The Islamic deity Muhammad preached couldn’t be the same as the Judeo-Christian God because the “Allah” Muhammad preached pandered to Muhammad. Even Muslims in Malaysia who abide by the Sharia agree the deity in Islam is not the same as the Judeo-Christian God. The New York Times reports they burned Catholic churches over Malay Christians’ use of “Allah” in publications. Muslims know better who their “God” is. He is not the same as the Judeo-Christian God!

September 9th, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque’s Imam and Tauriyya

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero, has started writing and speaking about his project. When I heard about the man and read he was a “Sufi” Muslim, I had wondered how a Sufi could make such explosive political statements as “Osama bin Laden was made in USA,” US “was accessory to the crimes” of 9/11 or “that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims.”

For starters, Sufi Muslims are apolitical and pacifists and they hate confrontations of any kind. A prominent Sufi Muslim and scholar Dr. Alan Godlas says “the Sufi surrenders to God, in love, over and over; which involves embracing with love at each moment the content of one’s consciousness (one’s perceptions, thoughts, and feelings, as well as one’s sense of self) as gifts of God or, more precisely, as manifestations of God.” Sufi Muslims live a busy life of meditation. They care about God and abhor drawing any attention to themselves. Imam Abdul Rauf lacks traditional Sufi traits because he draws attention to himself, most notably, taking credit for President Obama’s speech in Cairo. You can hear him here.

Sufi Muslims hate a confrontation of any kind yet this Imam wrote in the New York Times, “We are proceeding with the community center, Cordoba House. More important, we are doing so with the support of the downtown community, government at all levels and leaders from across the religious spectrum, who will be our partners.” Sufi Muslims are humble. They listen to concerns of people who disagree with them. Has this Imam considered the voices of 911 families? Most of them are definitely opposed to his project. Why is he so confrontational and defiant? A Sufi wouldn’t have come this far offending people.

He continued, “The very word “islam” comes from a word cognate to shalom, which means peace in Hebrew. The Koran declares in its 36th chapter, regarded by the Prophet Muhammad as the heart of the Koran, in a verse deemed the heart of this chapter, “Peace is a word spoken from a merciful Lord.”” This is verse 58 of chapter 36 and refers to Muslims in paradise. Imam Abdul Rauf is really good at misleading the public. He quotes a verse, which to unsuspecting non-Muslims sound really reassuring but very frightening if they actually know what it means. This is a very important chapter in Islam and it is recited for the dead or those close to death. Verses 59 to 63 are about unbelievers (those who did not believe Prophet Muhammad’s message: Christians, Jews, etc) in hell. The chapter was revealed in Mecca when Islam was in its nascent stage. At that time, alcohol and pork were halal (permissible to Muslims). Prophet Muhammad had only one wife. Wife beating was unheard of. Islam was about peace because Muslims were minority and were being persecuted.

Fast-forward to Qur’an chapters revealed later in Medina. The definition of Islam was established and it means “submission” or “surrender.” Muslim scholars who translated the Qur’an translated “Islam” as “submission” or “surrender.” “Muslims,” followers of Islam are “the submitted/surrendered.” All translations of the Qur’an have “Islam” as “submission.” Muslims would have objected had there been problems with these translations. I am pretty sure the translation of the Qur’an Imam Abdul Rauf used for his quote contains a similar definition for “Islam.” Qur’an, 3:19, “The Religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His Will): Nor did the People of the Book dissent there from except through envy of each other, after knowledge had come to them. But if any deny the Signs of Allah, Allah is swift in calling to account.” In the same chapter, verse 85, “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good).” Where did Imam Abdul Rauf get “Islam” means “peace”? Perhaps he is exercising Tauriyya (deliberate lying which is permitted in Islam). Where did he get his message of “inclusiveness” in the Qur’an, where Allah has had an unequivocal message in the latter revelations and Prophet Muhammad carried out his message? I bet he is among majority of Muslims who are ashamed of publicly defending Islam because it is what manifests itself publicly. Most present-day Muslims practice Islam of pre-622 A.D. where none of these Islamic tenets was in place: shahada (creed), fasting during the month of Ramadhan, pilgrimage to Mecca, zakkat and Muslims faced (qiblah) the Jewish temple in Jerusalem for the daily prayers.

Here is the climax of his misleading statements. He claimed “moving the project to another location would strengthen Islamist radicals’ ability to recruit followers and will increase violence against Americans.” The sad thing with this statement, most Muslims consider Sufism—a sect that Imam Abdul Rauf claims to be affiliated with—as bidah (innovation). Radical Muslims kill Sufis. Since when has there been an alliance of all Muslims? Here is a story out of Pakistani where Muslims killed 42 Sufis in July this year. So much for moving a location of a Sufi mosque in the United States increasing “violence against Americans.” Maybe radical Muslims know he is not a Sufi!

Imam Abdul Rauf also has close ties to the former Malaysian Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who even some Malaysian leaders consider racist because of his views on his Malay ethnic group he considers superior to other Malaysians. Imam Abdul Rauf still associates with Dr Mohamad and has not publicly repudiated him for his stance.

Imam Abdul Rauf has some explaining to do with this statement unfitting of a Sufi Muslim:

For my fellow Arabs I have the following special message: Learn from the example of the Prophet Mohammed, your greatest historical personality. After a state of war with the Meccan unbelievers that lasted for many years, he acceded, in the Treaty of Hudaybiyah, to demands that his closest companions considered utterly humiliating. Yet peace turned out to be a most effective weapon against the unbelievers.

A Sufi Muslim does not take the words of Allah or Prophet Muhammad literally when interpreting the Qur’an or Hadith respectively. Imam Abdul Rauf does. In a letter to the New York Times in 1977, he reminded his “fellow Arabs” (Where is the inclusiveness?) in Palestine what Prophet Muhammad did in order to conquer Mecca. He did not recant his views when Wall Street Journal contacted him a week ago.

In the letter he was “referring to a treaty in the year 628 that established a 10-year truce between the Prophet Muhammad and Meccan leaders and was viewed by Muslims at the time as a defeat. But Muhammad used that period to consolidate his ranks and re-arm, eventually leading to his conquest of Mecca. Imam Rauf seems to be saying that Muslims should understand Sadat’s [Egyptian President] olive branch in the same way, as a short-term respite leading to ultimate conquest.” [Bracket Mine.]

Imam Abdul Rauf is among many prominent Muslims who deliberately mislead non-Muslims about Islamic teachings. For example, members of the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association hosted a panel discussion last week. One panelist, Dr. Azizan Al-Hibri, “lamented the false information that she says is fueling American ignorance about Islam. She claimed, “The Koran is a freeing document that even incorporates the principles of the First Amendment.” She went further to say, “Historically Islamic communities have practiced religious tolerance. This is nothing new. It did not start with the United States.”

Dr. Al-Hibri “continued by suggesting that it is fathomable that the Founding Fathers, specifically Thomas Jefferson, took into account some of the principles in the Koran when they were building the legal framework for the United States.” She referred to verse 256 of the Qur’an in Suratul Al-Baqara claiming, “there is no compulsion in religion — that is the freedom of action.”

Dr. Al-Hibri does not tell her audience that this verse (most Muslims quote to show how Islam is about religious freedom) was abrogated. It was revealed in Medina when Prophet Muhammad had just migrated from Mecca. Tafsir (Islamic scholar’s interpretations) show this verse was revealed to Muhammad when the Ansar—Arabs of Medina who had embraced Islam—tried to convert their sons to Islam by force. Later, when two Muslims apostatized and Prophet Muhammad heard about their apostasy, he recited the same verse and also said, “’May Allah banish both of them. They are the first to disbelieve.’”

The first Muslims who apostatized were treated well. They had religious freedom because Prophet Muhammad had no military power to force them revert to Islam or be killed. This is proof the verse most Muslim scholars quote to tout Islam’s provision for religious freedom has been abrogated because later Prophet Muhammad required non-Muslims to embrace Islam and established the law of apostasy that requires the death of apostates. Why would prominent Muslim scholars and organizations mislead the public?

Imam Abdul Rauf strives to modernize Islam. His Asma Society’s Shariah Project, “requires a nation to care for its citizens’ welfare, provide religious freedom, offer educational opportunities, protect minorities, and allow citizens to participate in their own governance.

He knows Shariah Law and religious freedom is an oxymoron. He doesn’t want the public to know. Why would he try his pilot project in the United States while he can do the same in Saudi Arabic where, even minority Muslim sects, let alone non-Muslims, have no religious freedom? He should travel the Muslim world and lecture on protecting “minority rights.” He should take his “education opportunities” to Afghanistan where Taliban has been destroying schools and killing children. No Islamic country, a country governed through Shariah Law, has allowed its “citizens to participate in their own governance.”

Imam Abdul Rauf is trying to modernize Islam and exercising Tauriyya. Here is the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre of Jordan on Islamic modernism:

Islamic modernism is a reform movement started by politically-minded urbanites with scant knowledge of traditional Islam. These people had witnessed and studied Western technology and socio-political ideas, and realized that the Islamic world was being left behind technologically by the West and had become too weak to stand up to it. They blamed this weakness on what they saw as ‘traditional Islam,’ which they thought held them back and was not ‘progressive’ enough. They thus called for a complete overhaul of Islam, including—or rather in particular—Islamic law (sharia) and doctrine (aqida). Islamic modernism remains popularly an object of derision and ridicule, and is scorned by traditional Muslims and fundamentalists alike.

Muslims have every right to build mosques in the United States. However, I am concerned about Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and the proposed location of his “community center.” His recent statements show he knows Islamic teachings but he is exercising Tauriya. There is no such thing in authentic Islam as what he is trying to achieve. His public statements have made it very evident he is not a Sufi Muslim. He has been using Sufism as a cover. This man knows very well no one who embraces the Qur’an’s teachings and adheres to Prophet Muhammad’s sayings and deeds can build a bridge with people who believe in human rights and religious freedom. He doesn’t believe in these ideals, just maximizing them to advance his cause of spreading Islam in the West. In the words of a prominent Muslim scholar who, unlike Imam Abdul Rauf, is unashamed of Islamic teachings, “‘Democracy, freedom, and human rights have no place’ in Islam.”

September 3rd, 2010

The Qur’an’s Take on the term “Mosque”

Someone on Twitter who goes by the handle “Counterwording” constantly tweets, “Did you know that Park51 [new name for the center] is not a mosque…?” [Bracket Mine.] This person claims that the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero would not be a mosque. I wonder if “Counterwording” knows what a mosque is. The word “mosque” is derived from Arabic word “masjid,” which means a “place of worship.” Why would this person argue the proposed center couldn’t be classified as a mosque? It is not like Muslims would not be worshiping there at least five times a day. The term “mosque” is not exclusive to a Muslims’ place of worship. In Suratul Al-Isra, chapter 17 of the Qur’an, verse 1 and 7, Allah said:

YUSUFALI: Glory to (Allah) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless,- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things).

PICKTHAL: Glorified be He Who carried His servant by night from the Inviolable Place of Worship to the Far distant place of worship the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, that We might show him of Our tokens! Lo! He, only He, is the Hearer, the Seer.

SHAKIR: Glory be to Him Who made His servant to go on a night from the Sacred Mosque to the remote mosque of which We have blessed the precincts, so that We may show to him some of Our signs; surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing.

YUSUFALI: If ye did well, ye did well for yourselves; if ye did evil, (ye did it) against yourselves. So when the second of the warnings came to pass, (We permitted your enemies) to disfigure your faces, and to enter your Temple as they had entered it before, and to visit with destruction all that fell into their power.

PICKTHAL: (Saying): If ye do good, ye do good for your own souls, and if ye do evil, it is for them (in like manner). So, when the time for the second (of the judgments) came (We roused against you others of Our slaves) to ravage you, and to enter the Temple even as they entered it the first time, and to lay waste all that they conquered with an utter wasting.

SHAKIR: If you do good, you will do good for your own souls, and if you do evil, it shall be for them. So when the second promise came (We raised another people) that they may bring you to grief and that they may enter the mosque as they entered it the first time, and that they might destroy whatever they gained ascendancy over with utter destruction.

In these verses, a Jewish temple—not a Muslim place of worship—was called a “mosque” during the time of Prophet Muhammad.

Muslims in minority Muslim countries sometimes refer to their mosques as Islamic centers. A mosque doesn’t have to have a minaret to qualify as a mosque. The proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero, even with additional facilities and without a minaret, is a mosque. “Counterwording” should stop playing with words.