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Allah, God... and more Christian/Muslim questions

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  Quote Seko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Allah, God... and more Christian/Muslim questions
    Posted: 18-Sep-2008 at 23:42
Ako, Egypt historically along with Saudi Arabia, is notorious for ignorant claims by their mufti's. As you can tell I despise such self-proclaimed leaders of religion, especially for Islam. Since there is no specified form of government in Islam, that mufti obviously shapes his (and that of his buddies, village, country or community) rationale to maintain the status quo. To such people religion comes first (their views of what religion should be) and individual rights come second. This belief is unacceotable to modern thought. That is the problem with most of the Islamic countries today. If they are not secular they will infiringe on your rights in the name of religion. Heck they still will try even if they are secular. For me they act in blashemy. They should not blame or use religion for politicial purposes. Sure there exists examples of a healthy functioning society as written in the Quran, but it should not be an example to infringe on the people at the cost of freedom of choice.
 
Society for those backwoods thinkers is their platform and twisting the Quran is their scapegoat that helps maintain positions of power that opens the doors to practicing historical superstitions. They assume self-administered titles and degrees. However, their form of Islam is a sham and fails to pass the test of a healthy functioning society. Millions may disagree with me, but more importantly to me; I disagree with those millions.Smile


Edited by Seko - 18-Sep-2008 at 23:48
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  Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Sep-2008 at 00:49
Well, I was citing him as religious leader and scholar both. I don't necessarily view his statement as ignorant -- actually, I thought it was quite insightful, especially since in the same article he gives a rather pointed analysis of gender, as well as a condemnation of terror. I find him a respectable sort. What I think he outlines in his article is a different worldview, as well as the natural ramifications of that in the modern world. Historically, the struggle in Christendom has between the Church and the State; in the Muslim world it has traditionally been between the religious and the secular. This struggle has carried over into the modern world in both faiths. Since the struggle has been historically defined primarily in terms of ideology rather than institution in Islam, we see the Muslim world splitting primarily in terms of geography and culture, while we see the Christian world splitting primarily in terms of ideology and institution. Of course the elephant in the room is the Reformation and its aftermath, which muddles things on the Christian side a bit, and is the reason we see both types of splits present in Christianity. Feel free to poke holes in this; it's actually a bit more of a spontaneous analysis than I am accustomed to giving, and I'd like to get it vetted.
 
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  Quote Seko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Sep-2008 at 02:03
According to the mufti:  In some cases, this sin of the individual may also represent a greater break with the commonly held values of a society in an attempt to undermine its foundations or even attack its citizenry. Depending on the circumstances, this may reach the level of a crime of sedition against one’s society. Penalizing this sedition may be at odds with some conceptions of freedom that would go so far as to ensure people the freedom to destroy the society in which they live. This is a freedom that we do not allow since preservation of the society takes precedence over personal freedoms. This was the basis of the Islamic perspective on apostasy when committed at certain times and under certain circumstances.

I understand your appreciation for a seemingly insightful mufti, yet he judges according to his own rules (perhaps created by the society he lives in) and calls it Islam. That is my main objection though. He wrongfully does that and throughout history, the acts of those type of muslims have created unsanctioned (un-Quranic) restrictions. He is astute enough to realize the hazzards of individualism at odds with the greater good. He is correct in analyzing the injunctions that some past and present Islamic socieities have against apostasy. Yet he is not aware of the dangers that limiting freedoms leads to while harboring such restrictions.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Sep-2008 at 04:01
I was going to ineterject a page ago, but Seko has done an outstanding job in answering to claims and to posts alike. Thus, I was browsing the net and decided to share this interview in Newsweek with Mustafa Ceric, who is the Grand Mufti in Bosnia. It interesting, and on the clerial note he seems more anti-clerical than pro, also touches upon apostasy seperates it from treson. From what read in this interview he points out that apostasy is not a punishable act, and that putting people in hell or heaven is God's job, not a temporal issue, and should never be, but something hijacked by self righteous people who believe falsely in the practice. He does say that treason should be dealt with according to the laws of the land, but I don't see him advocating that treason and apostasy are one and the same or alike, it seems rather diving the act of apostasy from something temporal as treason.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Sep-2008 at 04:02
http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/muslims_speak_out/2007/07/mustafa_ceric.html


Muslims Speak Out

Mustafa Ceric

1. What is Jihad? Under what conditions does Islam sanction the use of violence? What would you tell suicide bombers who invoke Islam to justify their actions?

There is a miracle and a puzzle in Muslim history which cannot be rationally explained. The miracle is the speed and scope of the early Seventh Century spread of Islam from a poor Arab-Bedouin perspective, into the two great civilizations of the time – the Persian and the Byzantine. And the puzzle is the rapid decline of the Islamic civilization by the eighteenth century, after it had proved its unprecedented vitality and capability. By that time, the Muslims had lost the geographical, cultural, economic and political impact on world affairs to the point of their being put to the margin of the so-called modern history. This state of affairs made the Muslims for the last two centuries struggle for their come-back to the main stream of the modern or global history. Consequently, the Muslims have been busy with two main movements aimed at regaining their place in history: the movement of secularization and the movement of re-Islamization.

We are now at the peak of the movement of “re-Islamization” of the Muslim mind because the “movement” of secularization or modernization of the Muslim mind has failed to bring to the Muslim societies the social justice, democracy, the rule of law, political accountability and economic prosperity. The rate of Muslim illiteracy today is very high, the GDP in many Muslim societies is very low, 70% percent of the world refugees are Muslims and today’s wars are conducted in the Muslim lands.

These and other accounts which are on the Muslim mind should be taken into a serious consideration when we speak about any of the Muslim issues today, including the issue of Jihad. Although the word Crusade is not a fully adequate comparison with the word Jihad, but these two words may help us understand not only the religious context of their meaning but also the sort of cultural misconceptions between the Muslim World and the West today.

The word Crusade may mean many good things in the West: “Crusade for education”, for instance, and the word Jihad may indicate to many good things in the Muslim World as well: “Jihad against one’s immorality”, for example. However, the Jihad in the West means only one thing: “Violence against the West” and the Crusade has only one meaning for the Muslims: “War against Islam”. No “western” explanation, even the President George Bush’s apology after he used it in the aftermath of the 11th of September, can persuade the Muslims that the word Crusade does not mean “the War against Islam”. And so is the case with the word Jihad: No Muslim explanation can free the Western audience from the fear of the Jihad violence. Hence, the question here is not about what is Jihad or what Jihad is not. The question here is about trust or mistrust between the two. Unfortunately, the trust between the Muslim World and the West today is at the lowest level in recent history. I believe that neither the violence of Jihad nor the aggression of the military force will regain the lost trust between the Muslim world and the West.

There cannot be any justification for the violence in the name of Islam and there cannot be rightful explanation of the killing of innocent people whether in the wartime or the peacetime by the way of suicide bombings. The violence (‘unf) was not the practice of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and suicide was not his way of life either. His was the strength of faith! His was the power of the mind! His was the compassion of heart! His was triumph of life!
The way of life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him), was not suicide in any form or content!

Therefore, the way of "re-Islamization" of the Muslim mind should be directed towards cooperation for the sake of peace in the world. For, neither the meek nor the aggressive will inherit the world, but the cooperative in peace and security of the world!

2. How does Islam define apostasy? Is it permissible for a Muslim to convert to another faith? How can laws against apostasy and blasphemy be reconciled with Qur’anic injection of “No compulsion in religion”?

The issue of apostasy is one of those issues where the Muslims should have realized the historic significance of the Qur’anic announcement of the following fundamental principles of human freedom and dignity:

1) There shall be no compulsion in religion.

If it were only for this loud and clear statement of the Qur'an, it would be enough to appreciate the venture of Islam in human history. In it a reasonable man recognizes the foundation of religious freedom which is considered today to be one of the most fundamental values of our common civilization. Should I remind you that as recently as September 27, 1480, the Spanish sovereigns Ferdinand and Isabella issued an order to establish in their kingdoms tribunals to judge cases of “heretical depravity”, to become known as the Spanish Inquisition. This fact of history Professor Benzion Netanyahu brings to our attention in this way:

The royal decree explicitly stated that the Inquisition was instituted to search out and punish converts from Judaism who transgressed against Christianity by secretly adhering to Jewish beliefs and performing rites and ceremonies of the Jews.

My intention here is not to embarrass any person or religion, but to show the significance of the testimony of Stanford Shaw the Jewish author, who has this to say about a political as well as moral legacy of Islam:

"Neither the people of the Republic of Turkey nor those of Europe and America fully realize the extent to which Turkey, and the Ottoman Empire which preceded it, over the centuries served as major places of refuge for people suffering from persecution, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, from the fourteenth century to the present. In many ways the Turks historically fulfilled the role subsequently taken up by the United States of America beginning in the late nineteenth century. "

I have quoted this witness not to justify all the actions of the Ottoman Sultans, but to demonstrate that it was due to the above mentioned short, but very powerful Qur'anic statement of the seventh century, that the Muslim scholars developed the concept of the protection of five fundamental rights of what we call today “human rights” of each and every person: the right to life (نفس), the right to religion (دين), the right to freedom (عقل), the right to property (مال) and the right to dignity (عِرْض).

It is quite regrettable that the modern Muslim intelligentsia has failed to pick up on this doctrinal and historical foundation of an Islamic avant-garde for human rights to build up social, political and moral institutions in the Muslim world that would guarantee the development of a genuine democratic system.

2) There shall be no priesthood

It was the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who challenged the monopoly of the clergy on the spiritual truth and eschatological privilege by declaring that لا رهبانيّة في الإسلام “There shall be no priesthood in Islam.” This is not to be understood though that there shall be no scholars or intellectuals to interpret Islam both as the transcendental meaning of human life and the immanent manifestation of human history, but rather it should be taken as a protest against the manipulation with human destiny in the name of religion in the sense of mediation between God and man. It is in the light of this protest against the notion of the clerical domination over the human souls that we have to appreciate the Prophet Muhammad's historic abolishment of the social and political privileges of the ancient clerics whose raison d'être had been based on a vague and doubtful mythological foundation. Bearing this in mind, is it not paradoxical, to say the least, to think of Islam as a religion of theocracy. Of course, the religion that came to cancel the institution of old theocracy cannot be accused of creating a new one.

Unfortunately, some self-proclaimed Muslim scholars and political leaders are not good witnesses to this obvious claim because of their clear tendency to subdue Islam to their narrow-minded view of a wide range of spiritual, moral as well as political possibilities that the great religion like Islam holds in its bosom. And, in spite of the fact that we are constantly reminded in the Holy Qur'an that no one, but God Almighty, is in charge of the final way to Paradise or to Hell, some irresponsible people like to play the role of God by designating some people for the Hell and some others for the Paradise. Fortunately, this kind of bigotry Islam has successfully survived in the past and it will, I am sure, survive in the future.

3) There shall be no discrimination

Finally, one of the reasons that I am in full capacity as a Muslim of the European origin is the universal declaration of equal rights that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had delivered at one of his Ceremonies on the hill of Arafat when he said:
كلكم من آدم و آدم من تراب, لا فضل لعربي علي أعجمي, و لا لأعجمي علي عربي, ولا لأبيض علي أسود و لا لاسود علي ابيض, إلاّ بالتقوي.

"You are all children of Adam, and Adam is from clay. Let there shall be no superiority of an Arab over a Non-Arab, nor shall be superiority of a Non-Arab over an Arab, and there shall be no superiority of a white over a black or a black over a white man, except by good character."

I don’t know whether the American Baptist minister and the leader of the civil rights movement Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has been aware of the above mentioned universal declaration of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), but I do know that we are all in a desperate need today to listen to those divinely inspired messages. Of course, I am aware that my power is too frail to be King's voice, but my heart is full of hope to have Martin Luther King's dreams today as his were yesterday that my three children will one day live in a world where they will not be judged by the faith of their heart but by the content of their character.

I believe that the faith of Islam is too strong in the hearts of Muslims to be obsessed and disturbed by those who lose their faith. Of course, the crime of treason should be dealt with in accordance to the just laws of the land.

3. What are the rights of women in Islam? How does Islam’s view of male-female equality differ from the Western view?

It would be a grave mistake to perceive the female’s status in the West through the image of Hollywood star women. And equally so, it would be a grave prejudice to judge Islam’s view of male-female equality through the image of an illiterate poor woman of Afghanistan.
Unfortunately, the international media is so powerful nowadays in creating such images that some people cannot but live with the notion that Islam is against male-female equality while the West is the champion of women’s rights to be followed everywhere. It is true that in some part of the Muslim World women are treated badly. However, this is not because of Islam’s view on women but because of the low culture which is against the basic teachings of Islam in the first place. Thus, the western constant complain about the women’s rights in some Muslim societies is right as far as an overall social injustice in the Muslim World is concerned, but it is not justified in regard to the Islam’s historic contribution to the women’s freedom and emancipation.
Furthermore, I dare to claim that the West has no credibility whatsoever to advise “Islam” how to treat women because it was Islam which made Adam and Eve equal in quilt as well as equal in repentance. Thus, it is Islam which taught Eve how to regain her equality before God and history after Adam’s attempt to put all the blame on her for the first sin. In addition, it was Islam which saved the innocent girls from homicide because they were born female.

With all due respect to the western achievements in last centuries regarding the women’s social rights, I do not see the current status of women in the West as an exemplary model for women’s equality and dignity.

In the same way I do not see that the current defensive approach of some Muslim groups who oppress women for their “protection” is an Islamic model to be followed.

I hope though that the women around the world will rise to proclaim their own peaceful submission to the will of God in which is the moral law of modesty in the sense that there is no women’s freedom to the extreme of pornography and that there is no women’s protection to the extent of slavery.

Dr. Mustafa Ceric

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  Quote Seko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Sep-2008 at 14:58
That was a good read es_bih. Thanks for the article.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Sep-2008 at 15:41
No problem kardes, he actually took a different route and went to finish his Islamic studies here at the Univeristy of Chicago instead of just exclusively at Egypt or SA. 
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