Archive for ‘Islam’

August 1st, 2011

Did God Institute the Fast during Ramadhan?

Muslims have started their annual fast during the Islamic month of Ramadhan as of dawn this morning. One of them asked me yesterday, “Have you spotted the new moon yet?” I told him it was only 1:30 p.m. my time, perhaps by nightfall. Then I asked if he knew there are places in the United States where the sun doesn’t set. He laughed it off.

Muslims fast because the Qur’an commands it. As important as this fast is to Islam, it wasn’t even practiced the first decade after the advent of Islam.

The Qur’an strictly puts the fast as from dawn to dusk. Why would a supposedly all-knowing God give a command that depends on the sun when Muslims these days live in areas where the sun in some months doesn’t rise or set? For example in the United States, Barrow, Alaska, today the sun rose at 3:04 a.m. and will set 23 hours later at 1:59 a.m. There is twilight for the hour the sun appears set. How could a Muslim in Barrow break his or her fast?

Some Muslims argue in modern times clocks replace the sun, which doesn’t make any sense because the Qur’an clearly says “seek what Allah Hath ordained for you, and eat and drink, until the white thread of dawn appear to you distinct from its black thread; then complete your fast Till the night appears.” The Qur’an envisaged the fast to be strictly according to the position of the sun.

Several reasons exist to show that the Muslim fast did not originate from God Almighty:

1.      The command to fast is specific to Arabia where lengths of nights and days don’t vary greatly throughout the year. The Qur’an says fasting wasn’t institute to be burdensome but Muslims in Alaska would fast for as little as zero hours to as long as a few months because the sun doesn’t rise or set during certain months. You think Moses and Jesus Christ going without food or water for 40 days hold the record? Alaskan Muslims would have to go longer.

2.      The Qur’an states that the sun sets “in a spring of murky water.” It tells a story of a man who traveled and “reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water.” “God” in the Qur’an was limited to seeing the sun “going down” into the horizon, hence instituted the fast according to that knowledge.

3.      Muslims fast during the month of Ramadhan because the Qur’an claims the Qur’an was revealed during this month. However, even non-Muslims know Prophet Muhammad started receiving the Qur’an in 610 A.D. If this month were so sacred, why was the fast to celebrate its sacredness invented 14 years after the fact?

4.      Prophet Muhammad did not have a problem with observing the Jewish fast even after the Islamic calendar was invented in 621 A.D. Here is what happened:

a.      When Prophet Muhammad migrated to Medina, he encountered Jews who were fasting and asked them why they were fasting. He learned from them they fasted due to Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). And he observed their fast.

b.      Then he commanded Muslims to observe the Jewish fast. In the Qur’an “Fasting is prescribed to you as prescribed to those before” refers to the Jewish fast.

c.      Then Prophet Muhammad had a fallout with the Jews in Medina. He concocted fast during Ramadhan but he did not make it compulsory. Verse 184 of Suratul Al-Baqara (chapter 2 of the Qur’an) clearly shows Ramadhan was optional. The Hadith shows it as well.

d.      He made the Jewish fast optional.

e.      Then when he had further fallout with Jews, he banned Muslims from observing the Jewish fast and made Ramadhan compulsory

Fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadhan was not from God Almighty. It only came into existence when Muhammad did not get along with the Jews of Arabia. That explains why the fast doesn’t make any sense in Polar Regions.

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.