In the Name of Almighty God, The Merciful, The Compassionate

بسم لله الرحمان الرحيم

Salaam Aleikum (Peace be with you)! I hope you may gain some insight from my work here. Remember, I'm not a scholar and don't claim to be. I only claim to be a person who has a passion for both Islam and this great republic in which I live and wish to share my thoughts with others. Remember that anything good you find in this blog is from Allah, and anything wrong or bad is from my own flawed self.

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The Holy Ka'aba

The Holy Ka'aba
The House of God built by Abraham (peace be upon him)

The Pledge of Allegiance

The Pledge of Allegiance
take out the 9th line, and it would be haram (forbidden) to say this.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Response to an Islamist Cleric on Democracy and Islam

In the name of Almighty God/Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. To give an example of how Islamists "refute" the ideals of democracy, or at least of true democracy, here is an Islamist cleric named Sheikh Salman al Oadah, a Saudi Wahhabi cleric who is widely read around the Muslim world. To the issue of democracy and its compatibility with Islam, he says this,

To this I offer this rebuttal.

What this Islamist cleric misses, as do so many others, is that Allah says in the Quran "let there be no compulsion/coercion in matters of religion" (2:256). Governments only exist for the sole purpose of coercion. Governments create and enforce laws, and the only way to enforce laws is through coercion. That being the case, the very nature of Shariah, or Islamic Law, as per the above verse, is such that it CANNOT be implemented as the law of the land, over the masses, because that would involve religious coercion. Using the Qur'an as a governmental constitution is insulting to the divine nature of the Qur'an, and is indeed insulting to Allah Himself. The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, ruled the city-state of Medina under the "Charter of Medina". In this charter there is not ONE verse of the Qur'an. Not ONE religious or spiritual 'law'. It established the city-state based on its citizenry, declared all citizens accountable to each other for support and defense, established a union between the various tribes of Medina, and established equality under the law regardless of religion. There was a large Jewish community in Medina at the time, and the charter specifically said, "To the Jews be their religion, and to the Muslims be theirs".

Shariah, or Islamic Law, is only law in the sense that it is the spiritual law that exists between the individual Muslim and Allah. It is what compels me to not eat pork, or not drink alcohol, or to pray 5 times a day, or to fast during Ramadan, etc. It is not and can never be imposed on others, regardless of whether they are Muslim or not. There are many different widely respected interpretations of Islamic Law including that of the Shia, Sunni, Sufi, Salafi, and many sub-groups within each of those. If Islamic Law is imposed as the 'law of the land' it is and will always be according to the interpretation of the predominant group. After all, if you speak to any hard liners within any of these groups they will tell you there's only ONE Islam and only ONE proper interpretation. So this majority will always inevitably oppress minority theological groups under any kind of "shariah law" based government. This has been the proven result in nations that profess to rule by "Islamic Law" such as the Wahhabi Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (where this particular cleric is from), the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Afghanistan under the Taliban or the Islamic Courts in Somalia, just to name a few.

Muslims need to wake up and think before blindly following hack clerics. The brother is correct in his quoting of Allah, "The rule is only for Allah. He commands that we worship none but Him", and also, "Is it the rule of the times of ignorance that you desire? Who is better than Allah at ruling for a people who have certainty of faith". This is not an order to establish theological government, but it is to say that those who govern should themselves be personally and spiritually governed by Allah. It's no different than John Locke who speculated that an athiest should not be allowed to hold public office, because they are not accountable to anyone (ie God), and it was John Locke who was a primary influence of Thomas Jefferson, an American founding father and particularly the father of the American concept of separation of church (or mosque) and state.

Allah encourages Muslims to think for themselves and not to just blindly follow so-called scholars. Yes, scholars' opinions should be respected because they are people who have dedicated their life to studying our scriptures, however there is NO official magistrate or priesthood in Islam. Every individual Muslim is accountable to Almighty God directly and to no other. Allah says to not be like some of the Christians and Jews who took their priests and rabbis as lords besides God. The prophet explained that they did so not by praying to these people, but by blindly following what they say as the divine will of God. Muslims need to think for themselves, read, study and contemplate God's word in their own minds and hearts. God is nearer to us then our jugular vein, so why must we treat Him as if he is so distant and unattainable by the "lay" Muslims mind.

...And Allah Knows Best...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Liberty in the Middle East

In the name of Allah, Almighty God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Many of us have been captivated in recent days by the protests happening throughout the Middle East. Most people are encouraged by the events and welcome the overthrow of fascistic dictators. Still, some are only cautiously optimistic. The fear is that even though these calls for democracy are good, there is reason to worry that whatever comes up in place of these fascist dictators may be no better or even far worse.

Most Muslim majority countries, for the past hundred years or so, have been divided between one of two political camps. Either they are nationalistic/fascist dictatorships like Egypt under the current regime, Iraq under Saddam Hussein, or Tunisia, Algeria, or even to some extent Turkey. Or, if not nationalist/fascists, you have theo-fascists like those in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan under the Taliban, Pakistan, or Iran under the Ayatollah.

The nationalist/fascist movement in the Muslim world derived from influence from European colonialist activity. In essence, these regimes took their ideas from European ideas of nationalism, fascism, and imperialism. In these regimes they largely subvert public displays of religion, for example banning Muslim women's headscarves.

Theo-fascist regimes come from movements such as the Wahhabi movement in what is now Saudi Arabia or movements like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, founded upon the teachings of Sayyid Qutb (one of the people who Osama Bin Laden cites as a primary influence). This ideology rose in part out of a rejection of 'foreign' influences (ie the European colonial influences that gave rise to nationalism/fascism), but also in part because of a relatively new and deviant theological ideology that basically claims that, "because the whole of the Earth belongs to God, it is God's right that it be governed by His law, i.e. "Islamic law". It is this ideology that has given us much of what we now know as Islamic terrorism.

Given that these two ideologies have been basically the only two choices that people in the Muslim majority countries have had, it is no surprise that we have such turmoil. In many ways, The Middle East today is very much like Europe prior to the Enlightenment. Europe during the "dark" ages was basically a rotting cesspool of violence and tyranny at the hands of imperialistic monarchs and corrupt and intellectually dead churches. In the Middle East today, we have the same thing, only instead of monarchs we have tyrant dictators, and instead of intellectually dead churches, we have inept, moronic 'clerics' who's only apparent credential is that they have a long beard and wear a turban. So what is the answer? Well, those who don't learn from the mistakes of the past, are doomed to repeat them. So, maybe we should look to what brought Europe out of the dark ages and into the enlightenment.

One of the primary things that brought about what we know today as the enlightenment was the American Revolution. In particular, it was the ideals embodied in that revolution. The great American experiment was essentially, "can man rule himself?". Throughout the entirety of human history, man had always been ruled by either kings or the church. The American founding fathers had the bold idea that man is created to be subservient to no other but God, and that the church did not necessarily represent that. Many of the founding fathers spoke extremely harshly about traditional Christianity as it had been practiced by the Catholic and Protestant churches of Europe. Thomas Jefferson was so full of vitriol for the "church" that if he spoke today he would NEVER be elected. The way that the founding fathers saw it was that every individual is responsible for their relationship with God, and thus, every individual was responsible and endowed with the unalienable right to pursue their life according to their own terms, and to understand their purpose on this Earth on their own terms. This meant that a government that embodied this idea, had to be a minimal government, with as little power over the lives of men as possible. Thus, the US Constitution was born, and to date, America has become the most prosperous, just, charitable and diverse nation in the history of human civilization.

Muslims in the Middle East can and need to learn something from this. Allah, God Almighty says in the Qur'an, "let there be no compulsion/coercion in matters of religion" (Qur'an 2:256). Governments exist only for the purpose of coercion. This may seem odd to some but the fact is that government exists to create and enforce law; that's all. Governments never produce anything, they don't effectively "take care" of people as the failure of communism proved, the only thing that a government exists to do is to coerce people to obey the law. This type of coercion is necessary otherwise you'd have chaos. Therefore, this verse of the Qur'an leaves only ONE feasible option for legitimate government, and that is a government that governs best, is the government that governs the least (roughly a Ronald Reagan quote).

Many Muslims would say that, "in Islam there is no separation of religion and politics" or that "Islam is a complete way of life". They are right in a sense, but often not in the sense that they think. People who say this are usually "Islamists" or people who have been unwittingly influenced by "Islamists"( people who's political ideology is the establishment of Islamic religious law as the law of the land). They are right in the sense that the Islamic scriptures, often known as 'shariah', do mention concepts of government. They mention them in the sense that shariah dictates, as per the above Qur'anic verse, that religious law CAN NOT be imposed as the law of the land. If governments only purpose is to coerce in the name of upholding rule of law, then "matters of religion" or "shariah" cannot be law. Therefore, according to "Islamic law", you cannot make a law that says Muslim woman MUST wear a headscarf. You cannot make a law saying that people must pray. You cannot make a law stating 'Islam' as the state religion or otherwise inhibiting the practice or display of other religions.

This is why "shariah law" based political movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia are illegitimate and actually "un-Islamic". Likewise, if there cannot be any compulsion or coercion in matters of religion, as per the Qur'an, then the PROHIBITION of any aspect of religion would also be equally un-Islamic. So making laws banning women's headscarves, or prohibit people from praying, etc, are also equally wrong and "un-Islamic". So that means that the nationalist/fascists regimes are also not acceptable.

In reality, the American concept of "can man rule himself?", is in all actuality the basis of worldly life in the Islamic tradition. Allah also says in the Qur'an, "Say..Shall I seek a Lord other than God, when he is the creator of all things? Every soul draws the mead of its own actions, and no bearer of burdens bears the burden of another. In the end your return is to God, and he will judge between you in that which you disputed" (Qur'an 6:164)

This verse tells us that not only 'can' man rule himself, but he indeed 'must' rule himself. It is for this reason that I would now implore my brothers and sisters from Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon and all over the Middle East to reach the conclusion that I did, which is that America, embodied in its Constitution, is probably the most "Islamic" nation every to have existed on Earth since the time of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. I believe that despite the fact that the American founding fathers were Christians, Allah worked through them in profound ways that even they, as brilliant as they were, didn't truly realize. I believed Allah favored them because they were people who utmost concern was justice, and Allah tells us that He will always support a nation wherein there is justice. To all my brothers and sisters out there in Egypt and other nations who are now rising up to shake off these tyrannical regimes, PLEASE, read the US Constitution, read the federalist papers if you can, understand that the cause of liberty is not just some arbitrary 'American' idea, but it is a universal idea and it is an Islamic idea. Don't rely on anyone else to solve your problems and at the same time do not sit on your hands and do nothing. Don't blame everyone else for your problems, hold yourselves accountable and take your futures and your liberty in your own hands. May Allah guide us all and protect us from evil around us and the evil within our own selves.

...And Allah Knows Best...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Sick Tragedy of Tuscan, Arizona

In the name of Allah, Almighty God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. My heart felt prayers go out to the victims of the tragedy that befell the "Congress on Your Corner" rally in Tuscan, Arizona, organized by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). The congresswoman was presumably the target of an assassination attempt and took a bullet to the head, but lived. Six others did not, including a 9 year old girl and a federal judge. These events are a tragedy for not only Arizona, but indeed for our entire nation. The gunman, was by all accounts, a deranged individual who was a chronic marijuana user, an occultist, and generally a person paranoid about government mind control and other non-sensible rambling ideas.

As if this tragedy wasn't enough, I was utterly horrified, disgusted and appalled by the reaction of main stream media and particularly liberals. Almost immediately, efforts are made to tie this nut-case with the Republican Party, and the likes of Sarah Palin and the TEA Party. First of all, such links are complete fiction. All evidence indicates that if anything, he was an extreme LEFT-WING nut-case, however he wasn't affiliated with ANY political party or political ideology. His own writings indicate that he was a fan of Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and the "Communist Manifesto" by Karl Marx. He had built a cult like shrine in his parents back yard, and reportedly disliked any form of mainstream religion. All of these things are the polar opposite of right-wing nuts, or TEA Party activists.

This reaction actually started with the reaction from the complete hack that is the Sheriff in this jurisdiction in AZ. Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik immediately seemed to point blame at "vitriolic rhetoric" in our nation today and in particular, talk radio. When asked if there was specific evidence for such claims, he admits, "that is my opinion". He may be a registered Democrat, however a law enforcement official such as him, the top official in the midst of an investigation of such magnitude, is obliged to stick to FACTS when briefing the press on the investigation. This man's comments are NOTHING but pure political rhetoric that despicably tries to politicize a tragedy that is rooted in no such political ideas, but is instead only rooted in the deranged, paranoid ramblings of a sick man. This man should be REMOVED from this case by the FBI, so that REAL law enforcement officials can proceed with the investigation. This Sheriff is clearly incompetence, and unfit to serve the position he currently holds, and the governor of AZ should demand that he step down.

For those of you who seek to try to link Conservatives and talk radio to this incident, need to check yourself. Such accusations are completely despicable when the evidence is clearly against them. The Fort Hood shooter, who was a Muslim, had clear ideological links to Islamist such as Anwar Al Awlaki, yet when these things were pointed out, all of you on the left were quick to say, "don't jump to conclusions". How about you take your own advise?! In fact, the evidence thus presented, seems to allow us to draw the logical conclusion that this man was nothing more than a NUT! Shame on ALL OF YOU who make such ridiculous accusations, just to try and get in a political "sucker-punch" on those of us with Conservative values that "shellacked" you in November. I've never seen such sore losers. Unfortunately I know many brothers and sisters in Islam who would identify themselves as "liberals". To you brothers and sisters, I remind you of what Almighty God says in the Qur'an...

"Oh you who believe! Stand out firmly for God, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others cause you to swerve and depart from justice. Be just, that is next to piety, and fear God, for God is WELL ACQUAINTED WITH ALL THAT YOU DO!! (Qur'an 5:8)

You wanna have an open and honest debate about liberal vs. conservative political principals, I welcome such debate, but you are a coward and a hypocrite of you stoop to such a level to defile the legacy of so many heroes of that tragedy, by trying to politicize it for your own sick advantage. It is sick. Just plain SICK! What did Rohm Emanuel say (former Obama chief of staff), "Never let a serious crisis go to waste...its an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before". You people really are sick. I know I'm being a little harsh and not as polite in my criticism as I usually am in my opinions, but I simply cannot be politically correct or polite about this. This sick, vile and pathetic political rhetoric needs to be called out and spit on for what it is.

May God bless those men and women who stopped this man, and may that man be tried and punished to the full extent of the law (hopefully death), and may God bless and comfort the families of those victims, including the father of that 9 year old girl, who's response to the event literally brought tears to my eyes.

....And Allah Knows Best....

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New 112th Congress to Open with Recitation of the US Constitution

In the name of Allah/Almighty God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. With Speaker of the House John Boehner (R. Ohio) at the helm, the 112th Congress will open with a complete recitation of the entire United States Constitution. Some call this a stunt, some call it political theatre, some even say that "these crazy conservatives have a fetish for the Constitution". I think its brilliant! It was reported by the media that the Constitution has never actually been read aloud in the history of the Peoples' House. I find this stunning.

With the shift of power many people are talking about "compromise" and the need for Republicans to work with Democrats on key issues. I would say this...

We can debate, find common ground and compromise on issues that are within the bounds of the Constitution (as widely recognized as such by Constitutional scholars, judges and law professionals) however we CAN NOT "compromise" on the legitimacy of the Constitution itself nor can we tolerate any legislator, judge or president trying to circumvent it or twists its obvious meanings and intent. This goes for both Republicans and Democrats but truth be told most of the Constitution bashing comes from the left (i.e. liberal Democrats). Another good start was the House rules bill set forth by Eric Cantor (R-VA) in which it states that in the 112th Congress, every bill presented must demonstrate its Constitutionality. Definitely some good steps forward already.

As I have said, as a Muslim, I respect and revere the US Constitution because it embodies the principals that I also find at the core of my faith. Becoming Muslim six years ago made me a much more patriotic American than I was before because it is that document that ensures that no one in this country will ever be able to tell me that I'm not welcome in this country because of my faith, and that it is that document that secures the God given blessings of liberty to me and my posterity; the liberty to worship God as I see correct, to live in peace and security and allows me the right to protect myself from those who would do me or my family harm, and the liberty to live equally under the law as any other Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist or Atheist American. No, we cannot, we WILL NOT compromise on that.

I was delighted to see Nancy Pelosi kicked out of the Speaker position. I only hope that John Boehner will give the position the dignity that it has been so long starved of. My guess is that in the half day that he has served he's already given the position 10 times the dignity that the "wicked witch of the west" ever did. Ding Dong Nancy! Ding Dong!!!

...And Allah Knows Best...