Archive for March, 2006

The problem isn’t with Islam, but with wackos

March 30, 2006

I wish every Christian in America could have heard what I heard the other night. Two of the nation's most learned and respected religious scholars came to Memphis to talk about Islam and civic responsibility, two topics that don't always seem to go together. Honestly, don't you sometimes wonder — even the most open-minded and big-hearted among you — if there's some inherent flaw in Islam?

Honestly, don't you sometimes wonder — even the most open-minded and big-hearted among you — if there's some inherent flaw in Islam?
Something in the Koran that turns devoted believers into homicidal maniacs? Something about "Allah" that turns faithful followers of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, into terrorists and suicide bombers and angry mobs?

"There are a lot of crazy Muslims out there," one of the scholars acknowledged the other night.

"Wacky" was the word the other scholar used.

Such comments might have seemed inflammatory, except that they came from Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir, both American-born converts to Islam, now two of the West's most influential Islamic scholars.

Before 9/11, both men were outspoken critics of American policy. Since then, both men have become two of the strongest and sanest Islamic voices for peace and civilized discourse.

Yusuf, 45, who grew up as Mark Hanson, a Greek Orthodox kid in suburban California, has become an adviser to President Bush.

"We Muslims have lost theologically sound understanding of our own teaching," Yusuf told The Guardian during the recent cartoon controversy.

"Islam has been hijacked by a discourse of anger and the rhetoric of rage. We have lost our bearings because we have lost our theology."

Shakir, 49, who grew up Baptist in inner-city Atlanta, served four years in the Air Force before his conversion.

"If we Muslims are going to contribute to changing how Islam and our Prophet are viewed in the West, we are going to have to change what we ourselves are doing to contribute to the caricaturing of Islam," Shakir wrote last month in a widely distributed essay.

"That change can only be affected by sound knowledge coupled with exalted practice, and reviving the lofty ethical ideal of our beloved Prophet."

Both men spoke extensively about the ethics of Islam the other night at the program sponsored by Muslims in Memphis.

They said the Prophet Muhammad would abhor the violence that is committed in the name of Allah. They called on true believers to defend the faith with love, compassion and humility, not anger, hatred and violence.

"The disgraceful behavior of many Muslims is a failure of adherence to the faith, a failure to live up to the true ideals of Islam," Yusuf said.

They referred often to the sayings of Muhammad, which include: Love for humanity what you love for yourself.

That's how most Muslims here and around the world practice their faith. There are more than a billion Muslims in the world. Nearly all of them are good, decent, kind, sane, faithful and law-abiding folks.

Yes, there are some crazy, wacky Muslims out there. The world has known more than a few crazy, wacky Christians, too. So-called Christians who sicced dogs on black children or lynched black men, who burned crosses or fellow Christians at the stake, who massacred Jews or annihilated native civilizations.

The inherent flaw in Islam is the same inherent flaw in all religions.

Divine instructions must be interpreted and applied by mortal beings.

(David Waters: Commercial Appeal) 

German Muslims ignoring government help?

March 20, 2006

In Germany billions of Euros have been poured into work and education programs for immigrants — without much success. The daughters of the 4 million Turks are often prevented from taking advantage of the free higher education that the German state still lavishes on its citizens. Even if the parents grew up in Germany, they still speak Turkish at home. Their children often have difficulties in school as many do not know sufficient German to follow the lessons. More than one-third leave school without even the lowest certificate. With a 10 per cent unemployment rate in Germany you do not need a lot of imagination to foresee the dangers. Even in sheltered and peaceful Austria 53 per cent in a recent survey declared that they expected a clash between the Christian world and Islam. [read the entire article]

Relevancy of fiqh

March 19, 2006

Fiqh is not merely a question of picking up rulings recorded in old texts and throwing them down on new realities. Rather, the application of fiqh, especially on more sophisticated matters, requires a sophisticated understanding of the texts of the fuqaha, as well as the primary sources, the general foundational principles and goals of the Shariah, and, very importantly, the time, place, and people the fiqh will affect. This is why fuqaha such as Imam al-Haskafi stated that, “Whoever does not understand the people of his times is ignorant.” (Durr al-Mukhtar, 1: 47)

-Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Germans tolerant of Islam, ask for reciprocation

March 17, 2006

A new survey probing German attitudes towards Islam has thrown up surprising results — many Germans are tolerant towards the religion, but wish Muslims living in the country would reciprocate the feeling. A survey commissioned by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Germany to study how people here perceive Islam is set to shake the foundations of the widespread view that western societies are uncomfortable with the religion. Called “What do the Germans Think about Islam?” the study, which involved 1,000 western Germans and just as many eastern Germans, found that almost two-thirds of those questioned believed Muslims living in Germany should be allowed to practice their religion without any restrictions. [read the entire article]

A poorly written hate article or a reality check of Muslim da’wah?

March 17, 2006

Here are some excerpts from a Messianic Judaism hate article:

A couple of years ago, I was involved in an e-mail debate with a young Muslim from the UK. At first, we tried to be civil toward each other, but this soon deteriorated when he realized he couldn’t convert me to Islam. In frustration he finally wrote: “I’m trying to show you that one day the whole world will be Muslim, whether they want to, or not. People who do not convert will be killed….Carmen, neither you nor your pro-Jesus website are thwarting Satan; he’s happy he’s got you fooled and spending your energies on myths while he works to ravage the world through the people that truly count, such as Antichrist Bush, Saddam, and especially Antichrist Sharon.”

I believe that God is using the radical Muslims to bring about His end-time scenario as outlined in the Books of Daniel and Revelation. This scenario has already started, as is evidenced by the beheading of American, Nicholas Berg, in Iraq. These sadistic Muslim swines callously cut off his head and yelled, “Allah akhbar!” (God is great!) after doing their heinous deed. I don’t know whether or not Berg was a believer, but it doesn’t matter to the Muslims one way or another, as they consider all Westerners – whether Jew, Gentile, Christian, or atheist – to be heathens who need to be exterminated.

If I am a non-muslim, can I honestly deny the above claims or honestly say that he is lying? Nope, he’s telling the truth. I know Muslims myself that do not have a problem with any of the above. If our own moronic brothers are up to this stupidity, doesn’t this take the lustre off of any type of da’wah that we spend so much time on? I think we honestly need to seperate ourselves from wackos that live in places that support this kind of mentality because if we don’t, we risk becoming labelled and thrown in to the same pot as people who propogate ignorance and hate under the guise of Islam. The majority cannot be silent and North American Muslims have to seperate themselves not doctrinaly but ideology wise from such extremists. My non-muslim friends should be so well aware of this dynamic that if they see Daniel Pearle’s head being chopped off, they can succintly say ‘who are these so-called muslims that are bastardizing the dignified religion that we know.’

The religion is easy and whosoever will deal with religion harshly, it will defeat him. So be straight, follow the middle course, give good news and seek help by moving in the morning or the evening or part of the night .” (Al-Bukhari 38)