Posts tagged ‘madrassa’

June 4th, 2010

Lack of Absolutes in Islam Fizzles Attacks on Ex-Muslim

Dissing is not cool even by worldly standard. “Worldly” is synonymous with “ungodly.” You know what I am talking about if you are a Christian. Muslims and some Christians are culpable of dissing Dr. Ergun Caner. There are discrepancies in his testimony; however, that does not justify some of the accusations levied against him. Review Christian articles or webcast and decide for yourself if they are justified. Both Muslims and some non-Muslims have erred in their push for the “truth.” Even Dr. Caner’s Christian brothers and sisters have failed to exercise restraint.

This entry is my final one on this matter unless of course the dissing continues. It deals with certain “absolutes” in Islam that Dr. Caner’s main detractor Mr. Mohammed Khan has capitalized on to label him as a “fake ex-Muslim.” Please feel free to challenge my explanation or any part of it.

In a letter addressed to Dr. Caner—available on multiple websites—dated August 2, 2009, Mr. Khan claimed, “I can assure you that EACH AND EVERY ERROR [sic] you have made is not due to “not following that particular tradition”, rather it is due to the fact that you were never a Muslim and do not know a single iota about Islam.” [Bold emphasis mine.] What a bold statement! I decided to analyze Mr. Khan’s letter because it contains most of his absolute statements. He has been learning about Islam from his attacks on Dr. Caner. He stumbled through his quest, fumbling Islamic teachings. Does that disqualify him as a Muslim? You be the judge. This definitely has been a good learning experience for him. Christians need to be careful because Mr. Khan is desperate. He continues in the letter:

“For your information, Ramadan is an Islamic calendar month which has up to 31 days and for you to say you were a Sunni Muslim and you fasted during Ramadan for 40 days is laughable, and this in itself is proof that you know NOTHING about Ramadan or fasting.” [Emphasis mine.] Did you read that right?

Mr. Khan claims that a lunar calendar month has “up to 31 days.” And you are reading this from a self-proclaimed devout Muslim who is attempting to prove Dr. Caner as a “fake ex-Muslim” based on about two mistakes he has made in hundreds of speeches he has given in regards to the fast during Ramadhan. Even a non-Muslim who has never heard of Islam would correct Mr. Khan’s error about how many days are in a lunar month. He wrote this letter and sent it on August 2, 2009, with this error and also posted it on his website. He copied and pasted links on Facebook countless times. Even Muslims who read it did not point out the error to him until I brought to his attention on April 28, 2010. [You can see the exchange on Ergun Caner’s Facebook fan page.] Please visit fake ex Muslims dot com and see for yourself the correction in “red.” If we label people based on errors they have made, then Mr. Khan has just proven himself a “fake Muslim” because it is haram (unlawful) to fast on Iddul Fitr, the 31st day of fasting which falls on a new month, Shawwal. Prophet Muhammad said, “No fasting is permissible on two days of ‘Id-al-Fitr, and ‘Id-al-Adha.”

He told a gullible audience on February 22, 2010, “The thing we need to understand is that I myself am not an Arab, neither am I a Turk–I am a Muslim. When it comes to certain Islamic phrases such as Salah, Shahadah, Sawm etc–there is no different way of saying these things amongst THE ENTIRE MUSLIM WORLD–so for him to come out and say these things in the most bizarre of manners made me curious.” [Emphasis mine.] This blanket statement just shows how much Mr. Khan knows about Islam and Muslims outside of his Salafi bubble.

One participant did not let him get away with his generalizations and absolute statements. “Bizarre,” he calls how Dr. Caner did not pronounce certain Arabic terms. There was a very keen woman, Lydia, who pressed him on February 23, 2010, “As to terminology that ALL Muslims would use, a quick google search came up with this, “Muslims themselves use several terms to refer to Salah depending on their language or culture.” [Emphasis mine.] Wait a minute! What would Mr. Khan say? He fooled some Reformed and or Southern Baptist folks for a little over a day that Islamic terminologies were universal until Lydia noted something was not right. What did he do? He changed his story to the tune of… “Regarding your Google search–you are totally correct.” [Emphasis mine.] How come he did not present the whole truth from the outset?

Mr. Khan said in the letter, “I can assure you that not a Muslim on earth refers to their five daily prayers as their “Rakahs”, rather we call it “Salah.” I call this another absolute statement which is very easy to debunk using Lydia’s “google search.” Rakah is a set of bowings during Salah (the five daily prayers).” Muslims refer to Salah as imunz or namāz, which essentially is equivalent to referring to their five daily prayers as rakah because imunz or namāz come from “Indo-Aryan root namas meaning ‘to bow or prostrate.’” What is very ironic is Mr. Khan himself refers to the five daily prayers as moonz—he acknowledged when Lydia intervened but does not give Dr. Caner the benefit of the doubt that Rakah could be his family’s own way of referring to Salah.

He continued in the letter, “You mentioned in ONE CLIP that you believed in a Prophet called Baruch. There is no Prophet mentioned in the Qur’an or Hadith called Bahruch [sic]. Why did you make this up?” [Emphasis mine.] This is another absolute statement and Mr. Khan is learning on the job. There are 124,000 prophets in Islam and only 25 of them are mentioned by name in the Qur’an. What happened to the names of the 99.98 percent of these prophets?

When I was attending madrassa and I was learning names of prophets mentioned in the Qur’an, I used to recite different verses of the Qur’an that mention the prophets. Suratul A-Imran verse 84 states, “Say: We believe in Allah and what has been revealed to us, and what was revealed to Ibrahim and Ismail and Ishaq and Yaqoub and the tribes, and what was given to Musa and Isa and to the prophets from their Lord; we do not make any distinction between any of them, and to Him do we submit.” [Emphasis Mine.] “Tribes” is asbat. These are the twelve tribes that descended from Yaqub (Jacob) and they are mentioned along with some of the prophets. Could it be possible that Dr. Caner employed the same tactic to memorize the names of the prophets when he was a Muslim, forgot and mispronounced asbat (not a prophet) in this interview as Bahruch? I bet Mr. Khan cannot name the 25 prophets. Most Muslims don’t even know all their names. He is making it an issue and some Christians are being duped by one mistake.

Mr. Khan continued, “Why does the picture of you in the so called Madrassa, have a girl standing next to you? Why is there a girl praying in the same line as you “in the mosque”? This does not happen anywhere [in Islam].” [Bracket mine.] There is a picture of Dr. Caner in madrassa and Mr. Khan cannot accept it because if he does that debunks his assertion that Dr. Caner was “never a Muslim.” He cannot even give him the benefit of the doubt the girl in the picture could be his half-sister, which in Islam is acceptable and cannot break tahara, which is necessary for reciting the Qur’an and also observing the salah or moonz as Mr. Khan privately calls it. This is yet another absolute statement that is not so absolute after all.

Most Islamic teachings and practices lack absolutes because they are based on the exemplary life of Prophet Muhammad who lived his life as he willed. Have you ever wondered why Muslims kill each other over their religious differences when they follow the same prophet who supposedly got revelations from only one source, Allah? (The Ahmadiyya Muslims are in the news again. 80 of them were killed on Friday last week in Pakistani during the Friday prayer.)

I tried to discuss with Mr. Khan on a blog about these absolutes and it did not take long that he cried foul and I was banned. I had brought to his attention how it was okay that Prophet Muhammad touched one of his wives—grounds to nullify a prayer—when he was praying but it did not nullify his prayer. Mr. Khan was touting these absolutes fooling gullible Christians and I was not given a chance to debunk his claims. Thankfully, a controversy, which drives my point home, rocked Saudi Arabia within a few days. Sheikh Ahmed al-Ghamdi—not to be confused with one the 9/11 hijackers—called for “easing the rules for prayer in mosques, and allowing men and women to mix freely.” This man is not your ordinary Muslim scholar. He is the head of muttawa, the Saudi religious police. He said, “Those who prohibit ikhtilat cling to weak ahadeeth, while the correct ahadeeth prove that mixing is permissible, contrary to what they claim.” There goes another absolute statement.

Dr. Caner has said a lot of things in hundreds of speeches he has given. Muslims look for opportunities to discredit ex-Muslims and even some Christians. He has given them a foothold and that should not widen the rift between Christians. It is a shame that even Christians mock Dr. Caner for mispronouncing Arabic terms or reciting “gibberish” while he converted to Christianity a few decades ago. People have no idea how much one can forget after leaving Islam. I am speaking from experience. If we use his recollection of verses from the Qur’an to justify our attacks, we are doomed. Mr. Khan has been a Muslim since birth and guess what? He says, “I myself can speak Pashto so I am familiar with some Persian and Arabic. I can read Arabic (not very well), but I did not spot any Arabic words either.” He cannot read Arabic well, which means Mr. Khan minimally understands Islam. His Arabic is probably worse than that of Dr. James White because Dr. White has a tutor. I bet it is worse than Dr. Caner’s because he could not correct Dr. Caner’s “gibberish” with his “prowess” of the Qur’an. Instead, he enlisted a recording.

Brethren, let us encourage a Muslim who comes to faith in Jesus Christ to read and memorize Bible verses. In the end, it is not his or her recollection of the Qur’an or the Hadith that matters, but “faith expressing itself through love.” Have a blessed day.

May 20th, 2010

How Devout Was Dr. Ergun Caner?

There has been a lot of discussion about Dr. Ergun Caner whether he was brought up a Muslim. He claims to have grown up as a devout Sunni Muslim yet people now doubt his testimony especially because recent court documents show his mother had primary custody of him and his brothers after his parents’ divorce was finalized in 1978. Many have questioned how she could rear him as Muslim when she had objected to their upbringing as Muslims in court documents.

Muslims and non-Muslims have wondered if she was ever a Muslim. Some have raised doubts if Mr. Caner were such a devout Muslim man, how he could marry a non-Muslim. It is worth exploring some of these assertions lest we fall victims to speculations and generalizations. Just so you know, even if she wasn’t a convert to Islam, it would be perfectly fine for a devout Muslim man to marry a Christian or Jewish woman because the Qur’an allows it in Surah 5:5. Prophet Muhammad himself had a child by a Christian woman. His son Ibrahim was by a lady commonly referred to as Mary the Copt. Therefore, it is ridiculous for anyone to claim that Dr. Caner’s father was not a devout Muslim because he married a “non-Muslim.”

Court documents show that his mother consented to Islamic education and only objected and a ruling was made in her favor in 1978 when Dr. Caner was almost 12 years old. Some madrassa students have the entire Qur’an memorized around that age. The final ruling in 1979 answers two prevailing questions. The first is whether Dr. Caner had attended madrassa and the second question is whether his mother was a Muslim. You can find the first answer on page “3” of the final ruling which states, “…the trial court erred in failing to make specific conclusions of law as to the constitutionality of an order requiring defendant-appellant’s children to continue their instruction and practice of the Islamic faith.” [Emphasis mine.] This is proof that Dr. Caner attended madrassa until he was at least 12 years old. If he didn’t, why is there “continue” in regards to Islamic education in this legal document that bears multiple signatures? The onus is on those who make it an issue. Page “4” of the same document states, “The trial court’s denial of the plaintiff’s motion to require the children to be raised in the Islamic faith by their mother.” [Emphasis mine.] This proves that Dr. Caner’s mother was a Muslim even when she was going through the divorce proceedings, because Mr. Caner asked the court if she could raise the children as Muslims.

Some have wondered how the Caner Brothers could get madrassa education when they were with their father only every other weekend and on some holidays. Most countries where Muslims are in the minority have madrassa on Saturdays and Sundays, especially where the children attend secular schools Monday to Friday. It is possible that the mosque—it doesn’t have to have a minaret to qualify for a mosque—that the Caners attended had a part-time madrassa teacher—one who also had a day job. That is not uncommon even these days in the United States.

Muslims have a penchant to dismiss ex-Muslims. They do not accept any explanation given. They label converts as “fake ex-Muslims” regardless of how young or old they were when they apostatized. At what age does a Muslim become devout? Prophet Muhammad said, “Command a boy to pray when he reaches the age of seven years. When he becomes ten years old, then beat him for prayer.” Why would a ten-year old be beaten for something that he was instructed to do for three years? Aisha married Prophet Muhammad at the age of six. She was a devout Muslim and old enough to marry Allah’s Prophet and was even a prominent figure in Islam. This youngin’ is credited with narrating 2210 aHadith. Muslims defend her marriage and also her account in the Hadith. Who has heard of a three-year-old devout Muslim girl who knows about the Hadith, especially the part about the Jewish woman who poisoned Prophet Muhammad? She is being referred to as a “devout Muslim” in the video only at the age of three. Why would anyone doubt that Dr. Caner was a devout Muslim at the age of 12? It is apparent that age matters in Islam only when the situation does not favor Allah’s religion.

Some have questioned how it could even be possible for Dr. Caner to be raised as a Muslim when his mother became “a hippy” upon moving to America. When did becoming a liberal make a Muslim a non-Muslim? Miss Michigan 2010, Rima Fakih, has just been crowned Miss America 2010. She became the first Muslim woman to win the beauty pageant. The Associated Press reports, “Fakih took top honors at the pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip after strutting confidently in an orange and gold bikini, wearing a strapless white gown that resembled a wedding dress and saying health insurance should cover birth control pills.” I never thought I would write on a beauty pageant but here we are. She wasn’t wearing a burkini. Her stance on birth control pills is against Islamic teachings. A Muslim woman, yet she espouses these unorthodox views. No Muslim has publicly decried her liberalism. In fact, even her native hometown in Lebanon is proud of her accomplishments. The AFP reports, “We are so often described as terrorists and killers, but we Shiites love life and beauty—and mainly the beauty of the soul, which is what is so special about Rima.” She wins a pageant, which by even some non-Muslims’ standards is nefarious, and yet Muslims are proud of their fellow “hip” Muslim.

A fortnight ago the US State Department sent “America’s first Muslim country singer on Middle East tour.” How conservative is Kareem Salama? I bet he is hip enough because austere Islamic teachings ban music. Even the Council of America Muslim Relations, a Muslim civil rights organization, could not resist sending out a press release about this momentous feat. I have not heard any news reports about demonstrations after Friday prayers in Bahrain and Morocco decrying this tour. Here we are labeling the Caner Brothers as either “fake ex-Muslims” or “fake ex-devout Muslims” because their mother was liberal.

These two examples of liberal Muslims show just how far some Muslims in the West have come and some have realized that austere Islamic teachings are incompatible with Western standards. They are even calling for reform within Islam. Is it possible Dr. Caner’s mother felt the same about Islam? I doubt these other Muslims send their children to madrassa.

Some also have wondered how Dr. Caner, growing up a Sunni Muslim, “could attend a Shiite Muslim Youth group.” This doesn’t surprise me because the palpable animosity between Sunnis and Shiites is evident only in countries where one group has authority over the other. Muslims are happy to meet fellow Muslims in a foreign country. I had a friend in college who was from Pakistan. K was from the Ahmadiyya sect, a sect whose teachings are considered bid’ah (unwarranted innovations) in Sunni Pakistan. This group suffers great persecutions. Some are killed. Sunni students in college were friends with K. I did not notice them arguing over their sects’ differences in a foreign country. That was perhaps the case in Columbus where Sunnis and Shiites held joint youth groups.

There is a lot of information to process in this case. Some Christians and Muslims have erred in their “fake ex-devout Muslim” and “fake ex-Muslim” accusations respectively when referring to Dr. Caner, because they failed to analyze the opposing evidence. Any careful analysis of facts would lead to a conclusion that Dr. Caner was brought up a devout Muslim.

February 9th, 2010

About Me

I am a former Kenyan Sunni Muslim who was educated in madrassa (Islamic religious school) during my formative years. (Hussein is my given first name, the name I received at birth. Hajji Wario was my father and he passed away on Wednesday, June 17, 1987. In madrassa I used to go by Hussein Hajji Wario. I legally go by Wario Hussein because the order of my name reversed with additional names added in April 1995.) Upon graduation from madrassa, I became a madrassa teaching assistant and a muadhin (a person who calls Muslims to pray) in my hometown, which is near Garsen. I converted to Christianity in August 1989 when I was 14 years old. My people group, the Orma, is one of the “unreached” people groups in the world because more than 99.98 percent is Muslim. I am only the second Orma to convert to Christianity.

My family found out about my conversion through my Muslim schoolmates at a boarding school six months later. Subsequent persecution resulted in the Kenyan government representative in my home area giving a final directive that led to my separation from my family in May 1990. I stayed in different parts of the country with various Christian families from different people groups and nationalities for about six years until I came to the United States in August 1996. I graduated from Hope College in 2000.

My faith journey is featured in my autobiography, Cracks in the Crescent. It discusses some esoteric aspects of Islam by conspicuously illustrating them throughout my upbringing as a Muslim, my conversion to Christianity and the ensuing persecution. It utilizes the Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad’s sayings, the Hadith, to make its case.

Portions of my conversion story and the subsequent persecution have been featured in a 1998 book, The Call of Africa; the Grand Rapids Press in October 1996; a nationwide radio broadcast through Radio Bible Class (RBC) Ministries’ weekend program Words to Live By in the United States, Canada and in some select countries in October 2003; and a reformed semi-monthly magazine the Standard Bearer in September 2006. I have shared my story with churches, schools, colleges, and Christian groups in Kenya and the United States.

I live to give glory to the Lord for saving me from among my people. I am grateful, among many things, for His protection from my detractors. I believe that the Lord has called me to be an encouragement to His church and also be an instrument in mitigating difficulties it faces in understanding Islam and reaching out to Muslims. Please email me at info@husseinwario.com or call me if you have any question on Islam or if you would like me to speak at any of your events. Thank you.

My autobiography, Cracks in the Crescent, is available for purchase. Free shipping. Offer ends Friday, December 31, 2010.