Archive for May, 2011

May 20th, 2011

Islamophobia and a Christian: Is it a Sin?

The term islamophobia isn’t in the dictionary yet. In a matter of time, it will find its place. Even though this term should exclusively deal with an irrational dread, fear or hatred of Islam, Muslim organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have broadened it to include muslimophobia—irrational fear of Muslims. Why would an organization as organized as CAIR jumble these terms? Not especially when it wants to end them. We shouldn’t confuse islamophobia with muslimophobia. We can only effectively fight any kind of phobia if we know what it is.

I was saddened to read in the news two Muslim clerics who were headed to an islamophobia conference were deplaned two weeks ago. Why should these clerics miss their flight when they were subjected to and passed all airport security screening twice. Apparently, some passengers were uncomfortable with their mere presence on the flight and the pilot decided against having them aboard. This is a classic example of muslimophobia.

Islamophobia is also a problem and it is not endemic just to non-Muslims. Even Muslims suffer from it. Most Muslims who make media appearances in the West quote mostly abrogated verses of the Qur’an perhaps fearing their audience might not accept authentic Islam’s message. Even one of the Muslim clerics who was a victim of muslimophobia exhibited some signs of islamophobia in ensuing media interviews.

Imam Masudur Rahman, a professor of Arabic at the University of Memphis, in an interview with the Charlotte Observer said, “We need to tell people the truth about Islam: It is a religion of peace, a religion of justice, a religion honoring other people, regardless of color or religion.” He continued to say, “The Quran says: You practice your religion, I practice mine. There should be no compulsion in religion.” [Emphasis Mine.]

Imam Rahman quoted two verses from the Qur’an and totally misled reporter Tim Funk and every person who read his statement. Surah 109 verse 6 reads, “You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion.” All commentaries of the Qur’an agree this verse was revealed when Prophet Muhammad was dealing with idolaters in Mecca when Islam was in its nascent stage and had just a few followers. However, later on when Muhammad gained more followers “he was commanded to wage war [against the idolaters].”

I wish Muslims who quote verses from the Qur’an would tell non-Muslims the meanings behind them. So much for Imam Rahman claiming Islam leaves non-Muslims to have their own religions. Contrary to what this verse remotely portrays, Prophet Muhammad ended up eradicating all religions that preceded Islam from the Arabian Peninsula and then declared, “Two deens [religions] shall not co-exist in the Arabian Peninsula.” Whatever happened to freedom of religion in Islam Imam Rahman claimed to exist!

Another part of Imam Rahman’s quote in the interview addresses Surah 2 verse 256 which wholly reads, “There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower.” The Imam once again did not tell Mr. Funk this verse—CAIR and most Muslims in the media quote to show how Islam is about religious freedom—was abrogated. It was revealed in Medina when Prophet Muhammad had just migrated from Mecca and Islam still had only a few followers. Qur’an commentaries show this verse was revealed when the Ansar—Arabs of Medina who had embraced Islam—tried to convert their sons to Islam. The commentaries further show later, when two Muslims apostatized and Prophet Muhammad heard about their apostasy, he recited the same verse and said, “May Allah banish both of them. They are the first to disbelieve.” The founder of Islam cursed the first Muslims who apostatized because he did not have the power to kill them. He decreed later three times here, here, and here, every Muslim who apostatized should be killed. Muslims are required to obey Muhammad’s commands. Allah said twenty-nine times in the Qur’an a Muslim must also obey Muhammad. How could Islam be (quoting Imam Rahman again)  “a religion honoring other people, regardless of … religion,” when the command against apostasy is very explicit?

Imam Rahman and CAIR spokespersons exhibit symptoms of islamophobia. How else would someone as knowledgeable as he or an organization as organized as CAIR mislead reporters about the meaning of verses of the Qur’an they quote?

We can only deal with islamophobia candidly if we can separate it from muslimophobia. The latter is unmerited. It is a sin for a Christian to hate a Muslim. We are called to love even our enemies. Most Muslims are peaceful and would not harm anyone. There is no point of being afraid of them. On the other hand, Islam is an ideology and the violent kind as practiced by “extremists” is authentic Islam. There is nothing wrong with a Christian raising an alarm about the violent aspect of Islam, especially when prominent Muslims aren’t brave enough to acknowledge it, instead call any critic of Islam a bigot.

Let us end muslimophobia and leave islamophobia to Muslims. Perhaps when Muslims agree with Irshad Manji and Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser there is a dire need for reform in Islam and publicly distinguish islamophobia from muslimophobia, then maybe islamophobia might face its demise as well.

 

 

 

Hussein Hajji Wario is a former Kenyan Sunni Muslim. He is the author of Cracks in the Crescent. He blogs regularly here. You can listen to his testimony here or read it here.

May 11th, 2011

Jesus Prayed to the Father; to Whom Did Allah Pray?

What started out as a simple tweet of what I was doing, turned it into a conversation. Thanks to a Qur’an advocacy group. I was texting back and forth with a friend of our family yesterday evening when I tweeted, “Conversing with a dear friend and sister in Christ who is of Muslim background. Praying the Lord’s direction for her and her family.” Within 5 minutes @Get_a_Quran_Day on Twitter responded with:

@HusseinWario is becoming brother in Christ by worshiping the prophet of God instead of God?

And I responded including his or her quotes:

RT @Get_a_Quran_Day @HusseinWario is becoming brother in Christ by worshiping the prophet of God instead of God? //Jesus is God ->John 10:30

The Muslim responded:

@HusseinWario so Jesus is God u’re saying, r u absolutely sure? Did Jesus create heaven and earth?

To which I responded:

@Get_a_Quran_Day Yes, I am absolutely sure Jesus is God and He created heaven and earth. John 1

The Muslim responded:
@HusseinWario and to whom did Jesus pray?

And I responded with his quotes included:
RT @Get_a_Quran_Day @HusseinWario and to whom did Jesus pray? // Jesus prayed to the Father. To whom did Allah pray in Surah 33 ayah 56?

The Muslim responded:
@HusseinWario that’s salat ‘Ala, upon & not 2! Allah, the creator Blesses his prophets & orders us 2 send blessing upon them not pray 2 them

@HusseinWario so u were saying Jesus IS God & now that Jesus prayed to the Father??!! we pray to the One that Jesus & all prophets prayed 2

My response:
@Get_a_Quran_Day  In Surah 33:56 Allah prayed blessings upon his prophet. Even Tafsir Ibn Kathir shows. I know you don’t want to admit.
@Get_a_Quran_Day If you admit Allah prayed blessings in Surah 33:56, then you have to answer “to whom did Allah pray?”

@Get_a_Quran_Day No prevaricating whether Jesus prayed in the Bible. The Jesus of Islam was not divine is not the same the one of the Bible.

@Get_a_Quran_Day The Jesus of the Bible came to show us the Way to the Father. He was God and Human. Now that He is in Heaven, He is GOD!

I haven’t heard from this Muslim since my final response. I would like to continue discussing with him or her. There is no doubt Allah prayed in Surah 33 verse 56. Even Islam’s premier commentary of the Qur’an Tafsir ibn Kathir admits Allah prayed. It doesn’t answer to whom Allah prayed though. You can access it here.

If you would like more details about whether Allah prayed in the Qur’an, Sam Shamoun of Answering Islam website has some detailed articles. He goes into details using authentic and authoritative Islamic sources. You can find his articles here and here.

Muslims employ every scheme they stumble upon and attempt to use it to discredit the Jesus of the Bible. One of their arguments, since Jesus prayed He couldn’t be God. Little do they know even Allah prayed for Prophet Muhammad. Please, pray for Muslims, especially this person who is behind this Tweeter account, so that their quest to discredit Jesus Christ leads them to the Truth.

 

Hussein Wario is a former Kenyan Sunni Muslim. He is the author of Cracks in the Crescent.

May 4th, 2011

Was Osama bin Laden a Muslim Leader? Qur’an’s unpopular and politically incorrect Verdict

إِنَّمَا ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ بِٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ ثُمَّ لَمۡ يَرۡتَابُواْ وَجَـٰهَدُواْ بِأَمۡوَٲلِهِمۡ وَأَنفُسِهِمۡ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِۚ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلصَّـٰدِقُونَ

“The (true) believers are those only who believe in Allah and His messenger and afterward doubt not, but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah. Such are the sincere.” (Al-Hujraat, 49:15, Pickthall).

There has been a lot of chatter this week whether Osama bin Laden was a Muslim leader. Muslims and non-Muslims have equally dismissed him. Even US President Barack Obama when announcing his death clearly said bin Laden “was not a Muslim leader.” The Qur’an is the highest authority in Islam and the Hadith—saying of Prophet Muhammad—the second. Only these two sources can show whether bin Laden was a Muslim leader.

The Qur’an verse I quoted above is from a chapter of the Qur’an people who engage in interfaith dialogue and reconciliation erroneously quote. Verse 13 of the same chapter starts with “Oh Mankind.” Muslims have used to draw even Christians into dialogues. That is a topic for another time. This verse has nothing to do with non-Muslims but everything to do with Muslims. I engaged two Muslims: a Saudi and a Moroccan; and an American Christian and renowned international expert on Islam Carl Medearis discussing this verse. Please read the exchange under the post “Reconciliation: The choice of peacemakers.” It might help you understand the context of this Qur’an chapter.

The above verse shows one rank of Muslims. Yes, you have read it correctly. Allah ranks Muslims. Muslims are ranked in categories called darajat. They are Muslim, Mu’min and Muhsin. Muslim doesn’t necessarily mean someone who has embraced Muhammad as a prophet. Jesus disciples were called Muslim. Mu’min means “believer” in Arabic. Dr. Sayyed Hossein Nasr is Professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University explained the darajat:

Not everyone who is a Muslim is a mu’min and not everyone one who is a mu’min is a muhsin, but a muhsin must also be a mu’min and a mu’min a Muslim… In any case, throughout Islamic history there have been the ordinary believers, or Muslims, or those of intense piety, m’umins, and those who have sought God here and now, or muhsins.[1]

Muhsin is the highest rank of a Muslim. He or she believes in everything that is written in the Qur’an and acts upon it without wavering. Those Muslims who fought alongside Prophet Muhammad were muhsin. They did not doubt the message of the Qur’an or what Muhammad said in the Hadith. Though the message was at times equivocal and unpopular or even politically incorrect, they heeded it. Unlike mainstream Muslims, they strove “with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah” because they were “the sincere,” muhsin.

Who are ordinary Muslims to question whether Osama bin Laden was a Muslim, let alone a Muslim leader? He used his wealth and gave life for the cause of the Qur’an. He even spurred other Muslims to do the same. Let not some Muslims and non-Muslims mislead you. Although Osama bin Laden preached unpopular message, he was not only a Muslim leader but also a leader of the muhsin. This is the verdict of the Qur’an. It just shows another Crack in the Crescent.


[1] Seyyed Hossein Nasr, The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 2004), 62.

May 2nd, 2011

Why did it take so long to find Osama bin Laden? Islam Prohibits…

Have you wondered why it took more than nine years to get Osama bin Laden? Only the Hadith—sayings of Prophet Muhammad—can explain it. He said, “A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim. So he should neither oppress him nor hand him over to an oppressor.” US Special Forces killed him without the help of the Pakistani government. According to ABC News, his hideout was a mere 1000 yards from Pakistan’s main military installation and he lived there for six years before he was killed. Why did it take this long? There is no doubt someone in the Pakistani government provided him with this hideout.

I am not making a political statement but just underscoring how militant Muslims abide by Prophet Muhammad’s teachings in waging terror against infidels and renegades and Pakistan, in this case, was playing by the rules. I had quoted this Hadith in a post on February 20, 2010 when the Associated Press reported the Pakistani government had refused to hand over Taliban militants to the United States for prosecution.