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Tough Times for Muslims

Islam symbolWith the Paris terrorist bombings and now with the mass shootings in San Barnardino, Calif atop other acts of terror carried out by extremists (I won’t call the Muslims because they are NOT!) it is rough being a Muslim in America, Europe, and even the rest of the world.  But we must not give into this hate or be a part of it because that is the absolute worst thing we could do.  In fact, giving into the hate is the worst thing anyone of any religion could do!  We must also not give into fear because that is exactly what the terrorists want us to do no matter what our chosen faith is or anything else.  That being said, today’s passage from the Holy Qur’an says,

“You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern of conduct for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of God.”  (Sura 33:21)

The example we find and which we as Muslims are to emulate in our own lives of the Prophet (pbuh) is one of compassion, mercy, tolerance, forgiveness, endurance, hope, strength, and intelligence.  These are NOT the values being emulated by the extremists of today sadly.  In fact, these extremists are emulating the exact opposite of these things.  In our lives as True Muslims ALL who claim to be Muslims MUST follow and emulate the pattern of conduct that was displayed by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and if we do not then we are in sin and this passage makes that clear from the Holy Qur’an.

“Islam” means “submission to God” but it also means peace, security, dignity, and honor.  Muslims are called to be ambassadors to wherever they happen to live.  Ambassadors of PEACE not war, not hatred, and most certainly not terrorism!  Our main responsibility in life is to live our faith daily moment to moment and to be true examples as servants of Allah in every aspect of our behavior, thoughts, and talk.  We are suppose to open channels of communications with those we live around and with and tell them about Islam and invite them to join our faith BUT without compulsion.  You cannot force anyone to become a Muslim!  You should not force anyone to become a Muslim!  The Qur’an clearly teaches that “there is to be no compulsion in religion.”  Our only obligation as Muslims is to tell people about Islam and allow them to decide if they wish to become a Muslim or not.  If they choose to do so then great!  If they choose not to do so then it becomes a matter between them and Allah and we are to leave them alone.  We are not to molest, torture, or kill them.  We are to leave them alone and let them go on their way.  Islam is the ONLY religion without forced compulsion for whoever desires to seek and find the ultimate Divine Truth.

As True Muslims we are obliged to tell people that our faith is one that esteems human life, human dignity, and human honor and respect.  Respect for fellow Muslims who are all brothers and sisters as the Prophet (pbuh) taught in his final sermon and also respect for ALL PEOPLE of ALL FAITHS.  Every person created no matter who or what they are or have been is ENTITLED to basic human respect and human rights!  Our faith grants the universal right for all to exist in peace, in safety, and in security!  Our faith does NOT teach us that we are to maim and kill.  Our faith does NOT condone acts of terror nor extremism!  Rather, our faith condones peaceful coexistence and tolerance not only for our fellow Muslims but also for ALL other people of all other faiths, cultures, and races.

Islam teaches that murder and suicide are both GREAT SINS.  In the eyes of Allah if you kill a person then it is as if you have killed the entire human race!  But, our faith also teaches that if you help to save a persons soul then it is as if you have saved the soul of the entirety of humanity!

Since Islam is a faith of security and peace it stands against all forms of aggression and oppression.  As true Muslims we are suppose to act with humbleness and we are not to oppress others be they fellow Muslims or not.  We are not to engage in acts of transgression (sin) or mischief.  We are not to engage in injustice or criminal acts such as thievery.  We are suppose to be living examples of a truly faithful people for all to see and hopefully people will be inspired by our own personal examples to submit themselves voluntarily to Allah.

As true Muslims we are forbidden from spreading or helping to spread corruption of any kind.  Allah wants us to be the best and most intelligent community of believers (Ummah).  He wants us to shine by our faith in Him for all the world to not only see but esteem.  He does not want us to wear our faith on our shirt sleeves but to LIVE it daily at all times and in everything we do.  He wants us to be thankful, merciful, forgiving, and compassionate towards others no matter what their religion, their skin color, their race, or anything else because He created ALL PEOPLE.

Muslims are suppose to forbid evil in any form.  We are suppose to correct wrongs using the means available to us and do so peacefully.  We must discharge our obligations with truthfulness, honesty, compassion, and wisdom (intelligence).  And we are to love Allah with our entire being and with all sincerity because in Him is our Hope and in Him the Faithful must put their trust because He is the sustainer and the only Hope.  Humans will always disappoint us one way or the other but Allah will not.

Muslims must realize that EVERYTHING we do is seen by Allah and that He holds us accountable for all that we do be it in public or private.  There is nothing we can hide from Allah.  There is nowhere we can go to hide from Allah. Look under a rock and He is there.  Gaze into the stars and He is there.  He is everywhere and sees and knows all things even those things we do in private or fail to do.  In worshiping Allah we form a relationship with Him, our God and our Maker.  This is why it is so important that once we establish that relationship with Him by submitting ourselves to Him that we maintain that relationship.  This works to improve our spiritual lives but it also works to improve our thinking and our social behavior.  God works on us from the inside out most often times and it is seen in our daily lives, or at least, it SHOULD be.

As Muslims we have obligations given to us by Allah.  One of those obligations is respecting and honoring our parents and doing what they way instead of fighting against them.  We must be nice and kind to our parents, to the people we live with, to our relatives, and to the people in the communities that live around us.  We must especially do so when it comes to widows, orphans, the disadvantaged, and the disabled.  And we must do so when it comes to those who live in our households.  These are all obligations of the True Muslim and if you are not doing these things then something is wrong with your faith and you need to make some corrections!  If you are filled with violence, hate, and aggression and you claim to be a Muslim then there is something wrong with you and your faith because those are the very things that Allah condemns and forbids of us!  And you need to make some corrections immediately before you find yourself burning in the fires of Hell instead of residing in Paradise!

As True Muslims we are suppose to be men and women and even children of HONOR and DIGNITY.  In everything we do and say we are to act with dignity and honor.  And we are to act with wisdom and intelligence as well.  We are ambassadors of Allah the Most Magnificent and Most High and we must always keep this in the front of our minds and act with dignity and honor not dishonor!

Allah wants us to be educated!  Not simply in the Qur’an and Hadiths but also in academics and all other areas.  He does not want His faithful to be stupid or to be idiots!  He wants us to work to improve the condition of humanity not only ourselves or those whom we care about but ALL of humanity!  We are not to mock each other nor be sarcastic with others.  And most especially we are not suppose to hate!!  Anyone! For ANY reason!!

A true Islamic society is NOT based on ruthlessness, oppression, or terror.  It is based on mutual love and respect! That is most important to keep in mind because some people including the extremists think just the opposite. Muslims are NOT to terrorize people be they fellow Muslims or non-Muslims!  We are to respect life especially human life.  We are to foster peace, peaceful coexistence, compassion, wisdom, intelligence, and humbleness.  WE are to avoid engaging in sinful things and shameful deeds.  We are to THINK before we speak and simply not rattle on!

When it comes to women in a truly Islamic society women are to be respected and honored.  They are NOT to be treated as slaves or sex slaves!  The Qur’an makes this clear over and over again.  We are to protect their rights and ensure their safety and security.  We are to protect them and act justly towards them.  And, YES, we are suppose to give them the honor of listening to them also!  We are to realize that women play a vital role in society and that they ARE important because they ARE!  Our family lives must be peaceful, respectful, and responsible.  Our family lives must be based on LOVE, understanding, dignity, and honor for EVERYONE in our family just not some!!

Fellow Muslims are obliged to treat other Muslims as brothers and sisters.  The Prophet (pbuh) made this perfectly clear in his final sermon before he passed!!  We must recognize our personal responsibility in all things and be accountable.  We are obliged by Allah to strengthen mutual love, mutual respect, and brotherhood/sisterhood in the community of believers.  We are NOT to be people who seek to create division and strife! Allah loves justice and those who act justly.  He loves those who act with fairness and equality.

Muslims must live the example set by the Prophet (pbuh).  We must live morally and ethically.  We must each the Qur’an and the Sunnah (practice) of the Prophet (pbuh) and we must seek to be perfect living examples of excellent moral behavior.  We are to show true courtesy to both Muslims and non-Muslims and we are to practice peace and tolerance in EVERYTHING that we do!  In doing all of these things Muslims will bring people to Allah and to Islam (submission to God).

We should NOT be ashamed of being Muslims!  We should NOT be afraid of being Muslims!  We should not water down our faith as Muslims!  We should feel proud to be Muslims and proud to serve Allah!  In all that we do we must NOT be ashamed or fearful that we are true representatives of the Faith of Allah.  The faith of PEACE, DIGNITY, HONOR, WISDOM, AND COMPASSION!!

These things are things that ALL MUSLIMS are obliged to do as taught in the Holy Qur’an and by the Prophet (pbuh).  If you are not doing these things then your are NOT a True Muslim and you need to make corrections in yourself, in your behavior, and in your thinking immediately!  If you don’t then you risk burning in Hell when you pass from this world and on the Day of Judgment.  Allah is very clear about what He demands of His servants.  Islam is not a complicated faith.  It is a simple faith!  Islam is not some mysterious faith riddled with uncertainty and confusion.  True Islam is a faith that is certain and very definite in what Allah expects from the True Believer in everything and every matter.

We live in very sad times.  Times in which many atrocities are being carried out in the name of religion including Islam.  Most people on this planet today have turned away from God in favor of materialism and their own egotism. All of the things of darkness and evil are esteemed while the things of light and good are detested.  As Muslims we are called to stand apart from this fallen and often evil world!  The same is so for Christians and Jews!  Did you know that?  Members of all three Faiths are called to stand apart from the evil in this world!  When we start to conform to this world we start to walk away from Allah!  This is why it is so important for the Believer not to give into the evil and horrible things we see in this world today!

Evil is running its course right now but it will not last forever because NOTHING in this world is forever!  Evil men are doing things in the name of our faith and other faiths and they will one day answer to Allah for all that they have done and of this we can be assured because Allah tells us so in his revelations and teachings to humanity.  I understand that MOST MUSLIMS are very angry by what the extremists are doing in the name of Islam today and justifiably so.  But, again, we must not give into that anger and hate!  We need to teach those who have gone astray! We need to help them make corrections.  WE must speak out and we must show people that True Muslims do not engage in nor condone the horrible things we see the extremists doing today!!  And we must be proud not ashamed in our Faith nor fearful!  Allah is our sole Sustainer and Protector!  He never charges us with more than we can handle or endure!  Right now He has charged True Believers with showing the world that the extremists DO NOT represent us!  In Allah alone, let the Truly Faithful put their Trust!!

Salaam

 

 

 

 

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What a Mess!!

It’s been awhile since I posted and the world hasn’t gotten any better, sadly.  Radicals are still going to and fro doing whatever they want mistakenly thinking that they are not engaging in sin, people are still being killed and people are still killing themselves in the name of “Allah” and sadly they don’t even realize how misguided they truly are.  And then we have ISIS that has somehow managed to quickly become a well armed and well financed army declaring a Caliphate and, sadly, it appears that outright murder….no…slaughter is the more precise term I think is the name of THEIR game.  Christians and other religious minorities in the regions they control are systematically slaughtered like cattle and meanwhile the world basically turns a blind eye.  Yes the US and others are launching attacks against them and Jordan’s King Abdullah has called for an Islamic military response to put ISIS out of commission forever, but still, the responses are minimal at best.  I can’t help but wonder just who is really funding ISIS and just how they got so far, so quickly.  What they are doing, the acts they are committing are NOT TRUE ISLAM!  Murder, suicide, and the killing of the People of the Book (Christians, Jews, Muslims) are all SINS!  The self proclaimed Caliph of ISIS seems not to know this nor does he seem to care.  And the young who blindly follow him seem not to know the TRUTH of the Holy Qur’an but only listen to him and his perverted interpretation of Islam.  In my opinion that is nothing short of absolutely disgusting!

Young people are LOST today!  And it just isn’t those joining ISIS or other radical Muslim groups.  They are found in every country, every culture, and every religion and non-religion.  Somewhere along the lines the world has committed a gross disservice to our youth.  Somewhere along the line we FAILED to teach our youth proper respect for human life, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness.  And somewhere along the line we FAILED to inspire our youth to commit CREATIVE acts and avoid destructive acts!  Our youth are our future.  Judging from the state and mind of many youth today our future, the world’s future, is looking pretty horrid!!  Have we now succeeded in raising a generation of psychopaths?  What kind of future can psychopaths give us?

The hate, the killing, the suicides, the disrespect, the ignorance MUST STOP!  We have an absolute obligation to retrain and re-educate our youth in how to be productive members of human society.  We have an absolute obligation to teach our young men and boys how to be men who are men of integrity, wisdom, intelligence, moderation, and providers for their families.  It’s PAST time for the thug image to go!  A thug should NOT be the ideal for ANYONE!  We must teach our young males to be truly MASCULINE MEN who are strong in body, mind, and spirit so that they might become men who create rather than destroy and kill.  WE as the ADULTS of human society have these absolute obligations and if we continue to shun those obligations then we can only ensure that the state of the world will grow much worse than it is even now.

And the West?  Looks to me like the West is falling apart at the seams!  Tensions between non-Muslims and Muslim immigrants are rising rapidly especially in places like Germany, France, and the UK.  In the US racial tensions are rising rapidly as while cops kill black Americans who have committed crimes.  Now people are shooting cops and even killing cops as two were killed last week in NYC.  Cops now seem to be the designated enemy of some people, sadly.  This is insane!  Black youth in America continue to be lost just like White youth, Asian youth, Hispanic youth, and all other youth.  Don’t get me wrong.  There are MANY youth who are trying to do the right thing and become positive members of human society but there are some who have gone the opposite way and those are the lost ones that we must reach out to and change.

Hate is a horrible thing!  Hate only breeds more hate!  Hate is one of the doorways to insanity and that doorway opens rather quickly when we chose to hate.  Not only do black youths need positive role models but so do all other youth.  Skin color is irrelevant!  Youth of all skin colors are looking for guidance especially male youth who are thirsting for male guidance and positive male role models after whom they can model their own lives.  This is NOT A RACIAL ISSUE nor is it a RELIGIOUS ISSUE!!  We have turned our backs on our youth and it is to our own peril as is presently being demonstrated and witnessed all across this planet today!  We need to stop the hate!  We need to stop the racism!  We as a species SERIOUSLY need to see BEYOND the color of someone’s skin and MOVE ON!!

Youth today have been handed a rotten apple and I’ll be the first to admit that.  WE have made them feel unworthy of just about anything, insignificant, and unwanted.  We have made them feel like they are unimportant and not of any value.  Yet, we are shocked when we see them committing horrific crimes are our news channels?  What did we expect they would do or did we even consider the ramifications?

I hear a lot of people say the world needs to change.  Ok fine!  Who does that change begin with? Answer….YOU….US!!  It doesn’t start with Joe Blow down the street or sitting in city hall.  It starts with every one of us!  We need to teach our youth VALUES AND MORALS that are consistent with the value for ALL LIFE!  We must begin to inspire our youth to be more than they are and to be better as human beings and citizens.  We must teach our youth how to be creators and leaders instead of allowing them to become destroyers and blind followers of some lunatic ideology!  OUR YOUTH ARE IMPORTANT AND WE MUST SEE THEM AS IMPORTANT!!

I think about the current state of the world and, frankly, it makes me sick, literally.  We as a species have come to a very BAD place.  A place we should NOT be!  A place where Allah (God) does NOT wish us to be!  Allah respects our choices and if we chose to become lost and go astray He will respect that choice too EVEN if it means we obliterate ourselves and become an extinct species.  Stop sitting around waiting for someone to come save you!  No one is going to save any of us from our own selves.  Life is about CHOICES and we make choices all of the time, known and unknown.  And we either reap the fruits of those choices OR we pay the consequences of our choices.  Right now the world is paying the consequences for some very BAD choices we’ve made in the past.  But it is NOT TOO LATE to change it and start making NEW and better choices!

I’ll be perfectly honest with you.  Sometimes I get sick of religions!  Why?  Because religions have more blood on their hands than all human wars combined in human history.  That is a sad statement of FACT!  We all proclaim peace, love, compassion, forgiveness but where are our ACTIONS?  We can proclaim anything we want but the proof comes in our ACTIONS!  Life is not only about choices but life is also about ACTION.  We need to seriously practice what we proclaim and preach no matter what our religion is.

We live in some very sad times.  The human race is in great turmoil right now.  We are sitting around waiting for someone to save us but the ONLY one who is going to save us is US!!  Don’t you think it’s about time we get up off our collective ASSES and JUST DO IT?!!  If we don’t then we can look forward to an increasingly violent and hate filled world.  A world of darkness and outright evil.  I don’t know about you but I do NOT want to live in such a world!

 

Loving the Sinner? What are Muslims suppose to do?

It is easy to whip people into a frenzy especially using religion.  Religion appeals to our emotions and most of us have some very strong emotions when it comes to our religions.  The sad thing about religion is that it has killed more people than in all human wars combined.  Religion can be used for two things.  It can be used to whip people into a frenzy of hatred and even violence by which many atrocities are committed “in the name of God” even though, let me assure you, God has nothing to do with it at all.  In such situations we sadly tend to use our religions to justify our actions and words of hate and sometimes some people even try to use their religion as justification for murder.  But there is another side to this and that is that the second thing our religions can be used for is Love.

doveIn Islam there are 99 names for Allah (God) and one of those names that is often overlooked is
“Al-Wadud” meaning “The Loving.”  In the Bible this same name or characteristic of God is put as “God is Love.”  We forget sometimes that this is another aspect of God who has many aspects yet it is one of the most important aspects of Allah.  The Koran teaches that war is to be resorted to only as a last result and only when unavoidable.  It teaches that suicide and murder are sins.  It teaches that the slaughter of innocents is a sin.  And it teaches that in war the Muslim is to observe the limits and not go beyond those limits.  That is, we are to show mercy ALWAYS.

The world today is literally overflowing with hate and I really do not think it is the job of the faithful to help increase that hate.  Yet, sadly, there are some today who are helping to increase it when they ought to be working to increase love.  Working to proclaim that great aspect of Allah known as Al-Wadud, “the Loving.” Continue reading

Unbelievers Have Already Failed the Test

“Enter the gates of Hell to abide therein,
evil then is the adobe of the proud.”
Sura 40:76

light3Don’t you ever get tired of it?  I’m talking about all of the lies, deception, and con games that some people play.  They screw each other and life for them is all about what they can get for themselves while they really don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves.  Everything is funny to them and a joke no matter how cruel, sick, or demented it is.  They love to mock others especially the faithful and they think we are weak pushovers that they can screw over on everything.  They walk about with their heads held high and their arrogance is sometimes astounding.  They act like they are the greatest thing that ever hit the planet when in fact they are the WORST!  Oh yes, and they all claim to believe in God but you’d never know it by their actions because their actions do not match their words.  Lying is no big deal to them and neither is screwing others over for what they can get.  These are the unbelievers.  These are the people going to Hell.  Oh they don’t think so and, in fact, many of them don’t even believe in Hell or Judgment Day but that really doesn’t matter as their unbelief does NOT change the FACT!  Just because you don’t believe in something doesn’t make it unreal.  You can believe that the sky is not blue yet the sky is blue despite what you believe.

There is an old bit of wise wisdom that says, “Never underestimate the enemy.”  Many a mighty army has been vanquished because they underestimated their enemy.  In this case, the enemy is the unbelievers and they must not be underestimated.  Despite how detestable they really are we must keep in mind that they are not ignorant even though they are fools.  They are what some call “street smart” and they play a good game.  They are expert con-men and con-women and their words are ALWAYS deceptive.  These are people of dishonor and their word means nothing as they’ll tell you anything they think you want to hear.  It used to be that a man’s word was his bond and that is still the case with honorable men and women.  But when it comes to the unbelievers their word is not their bond at all because they are dishonorable men and women on their way to Hell.

In every dealing that you have with these people you are the one who ends up getting screwed over!  They are pros at screwing others over.  In fact, it seems to be their favorite pastime!  Everything is a joke and everything is relative to them and nothing is really serious including their own futures in eternity.  The are incapable of seeing beyond this physical existence and, secretly, many of them are scared as hell when they try thinking about it because something deep inside of them tells them that they are on the wrong path and on their way to Hell.  But they ignore that little voice within and use their own arrogance and self-pride to silence it as they continue doing the wrong they do adding wrong atop wrong, sin atop sin.  Continue reading

NOW is the time to return to Compassion and Tolerance!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Ottoman Empire

by Rashad Hasan el-Hadiz

Before I begin this post I want to say “Merry Christmas” to all of our Christian friends in the world.  This is a blessed time of year as the birth of Jesus (blessings be upon him) is remembered and celebrated by the faithful.  My prayer now is that the peace, compassion, tolerance, and mutual respect that once existed between Christians and Muslims be restored.  Sadly, in many parts of the Middle East this season is not a good one for many Christians who are being killed by Muslim fanatics who are burning down their churches and killing the Christian People of Scripture which is absolutely WRONG according to the teachings of the Holy Qur’an!

Let me begin with a bit of Islamic history and the beginnings of the Turkish Ottoman Empire.  The empire was founded by Turkish tribes under the leadership of Osman Bey in 1299 A.D.  For hundreds of years it was one of the most powerful and advanced Muslim states in world history.  It was multinational, multiethnic, and multilinqual.  But it was also MULTI-RELIGIOUS as the empire was composed of not only Muslims but also Christians and Jews, et al.  When the Ottomans conquered an area they did NOT force the conquered people to convert to Islam but, instead, they allowed the people to continue to practice their own faith.  This administrative tactic made Ottoman rule more acceptable to the conquered peoples and minimized the threat of rebellion as the conquered peoples were not only allowed to continue practicing their own religion but they were also allowed to continue with their traditions and customs.  The Muslim Ottoman Turks did not try to force conquered people into being like them but, rather, they tolerated and RESPECTED the religion, custom, and traditions of the conquered lands.  This approach by the Ottomans was very much in line with the teachings of the Qur’an which admonishes Muslims to RESPECT the places of worship of Christians and Jews (ie:  Churches and Synagogues) and to treat them as “People of the Book” or “People of Scripture.”  Further, Christians and Jews, not just Muslims, were allowed to serve in both the provincial and imperial government and some achieved high positions with some even becoming Grand Viziers, the Ottoman equivalent to a Prime Minister or President.

The Ottoman Empire existed for an astounding 623 YEARS!  Officially, it was founded on 27 July, 1299 AD and ended at the end of WW1 on 1 November 1922 when the end of the Sultanate was declared and Turkey became a Republic under Mustafa Kamal otherwise known as Attaturk.  At the height of its power the Ottoman Empire was a global center o culture, science, invention, and philosopical endeavors.  Astounding progress was made in medicine and construction techniques that were soon adopted in Europe and around the world.  Even to our very own days today the modern world continues to feel the influences of the Ottoman Empire!

Under the leadership of Osman I the first Ottoman Sultan the Turkish tribes were mostly CHRISTIAN until they converted to Islam and that is historical FACT.  Yes, the Ottomans began as Christians who later converted to Islam.  The majority of the Ottoman Turks practiced Sufism because it did not require one to memorize the Qur’an nor to pray in a mosque.  A Sufi Muslim could simply read from the Qur’an and pray anywhere and since the Ottomans were nomads at this time they had no cities and no mosques so Sufism fit their habits and customs well as nomads.  Sufism continued to be the most influential and powerful sect of Islam during the entire 623 year rule of the Ottoman Turks over most of the Middle East and Southeastern Europe (ie: Romania, Hungary, Bosnia, etc).  Sufism is considered by some to be the “mystical arm” of Islam and there is no question that Sufism is probably the most “liberal” sect of Islam.  Today most Muslims are Sunnis or Shias (Shi’ites) which are both conservative branches of Islam.  Sufism valued tolerance and intellect and it still does today.  Sufism today continues to be much more tolerant of other faiths and Sufis feel no need to impose their beliefs on others just as they felt the same in the times of the beginning of the Ottoman Empire.

The Qur’an teaches that Muslims must respect the places of worship of the Christians and Jews (churches and synagogues) because they are People of the Book.  Together all three religions form what is sometimes termed as the “Abrahamic Faiths” because each of these three faiths trace their origins back to the Patriarch Abraham (pbuh).  Ottoman Sufis Muslims put this teaching into practice and respected mosques, churches, and synagogues which were all considered to be places in which the one true God was remembered and worshipped by the faithful (Sura 22:40).

Ottoman Sufis also practiced the Quranic teaching FORBIDDING compulsion in religion!  We find this teaching in the Qur’an in Sura 2:256 which says:

“There is no compulsion in religion,
truly the Right Way has become clearly distinct from error;
therefore, whoever disbelieves in Shaitan (Satan) and believes in Allah (God),
he indeed has laid hold of the firmest handle which shall not break off,
and Allah (God) is Hearing and All-Knowing.”
[Sura al-Baqara 2:256]

Another translation of this same verse says:

“Let there be no compulsion in religion.
Truth stands out clear from Error,
Whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah
Has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold,
that never breaks.
And Allah hears and knows All-Things.”
(Sura al-Baqara 2:256)

Thus, Islamic Ottoman rule lasted for 623 years and encompassed most of the Middle East and Ottoman rule was characterized by RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE which is very MUCH in line with the teachings of the Holy Qur’an.  And the sect or form of Islam practiced by the Ottomans was SUFISM which today is the third branch (sect) of Islam. Continue reading

Will The World Ever Change?

Someone asks me the other day if I think the world will ever change.  Of course it will because the world changes every day.  Sometimes it changes in some very big ways but most of the time it changes in small ways.  And all those small changes eventually add up to big changes.  That’s how the world changes.  Unfortunately most of us do not see the little changes because we are too busy looking for the big ones that only happen once in a while.  So in that respect we miss seeing the forest because of the trees.

The world is changing right now.  In every nation on this planet people are stirring.  Growing numbers of people are becoming restless and anxious as their frustrations grow and they begin to identify the real enemy that we all face in common.  That enemy is fear and people are growing tired of fear.  They are tired of the manner in which fear binds them and enslaves them.  More and more people have a growing desire to cast off those chains of fear and to be truly FREE.  And they will be free even if it means facing some hard times and making some hard choices.  People of all cultures and of all faiths have an innate desire to be free. Continue reading

Islam is Color Blind

In his final sermon the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said that “every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim” and he went on to say that “Muslims constitute one racesbrotherhood.”  One of the things that many people find most appealing about Islam is that it is color blind.  Race has no meaning in Islam as a Muslim is a Muslim no matter what his or her skin color.  When one attends Mosque or the Hajj one sees fellow Muslims of all races from all over the world and this point is driven home.  Skin color does not matter to God because He created all of us and we all come from Adam and Eve just as the Prophet (pbuh) proclaimed in his final sermon.

Sadly today we still have the problem of racism in Western society.  I find that very sad because judging a person on skin color robs us of ever knowing that person and what a wonderful person they might be.  That person might have become one of our best and closest friends but you’ll never know because you judged that person on skin color.  The word “prejudice” means to “pre-judge” and that is what racism is.  We prejudge a person without knowing them based on skin color.  That is most certainly not right and not just at all.   Continue reading