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Refugees Lullaby – Washing Ashore Was Our Humanity

Beautifully written:

Muslim Words

I used to write poetry to clear my mind. I haven’t done it in a very long time. After a hiatus – I wrote what I felt is a piece living the last few days, and tried to share some of the emotions of what it mean for me to be a refugee, living in a generation of struggling to overcome our cultural dichotomy. I hope it speaks to you, too.

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Abraham, Christian, Christianity, Interfaith, Islam, Islamic, Islamophobia, Judaism, Misquotes, Muslim, Philosophy, Quran, Religion

The word ‘Allah’. 

I was reading through the blogs with Islam used as a tag, and as usual I saw a couple of them that raised a flag in my head. Let`s take the usage of the name ‘Allah’: 

In a blog a Christian friend wrote about muslims I noticed they made a special emphasis to use the word ‘Allah’, to refer to God of muslims. Incidentally, the word ‘Allah’ is the only arabic word they used in their article, which is otherwise written in English. Most often no one thinks there might be seeds of a misunderstanding or misuse here. However, there is: the temptation to use the word ‘Allah’ when referring to ‘God of Islam‘ is the result of a very common misconception that assumes `Islamic God is not God, it is Allah`. This is entirely wrong. 

In arabic, Allah simply means God. The God of Jesus, Moses and Abraham and of others. I really mean The God! So, why write the arabic translation of the word’God’ when writing an article in the English language? 

 In case this is hard to digest here is a fact

If you go to any arabic country and visit a church of Christianity and listen in, you will hear two things that is worth mentioning here: 1) They speak in arabic to pray and lead the worship. 2) They use the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God. Why? Because arabic is their native language, and they continue using arabic when referring to God. This is because God means Allah in arabic, for anyone. 

The two conclusions from this are, 1) arabic is not the holy language of Islam; 2)’Allah’ is the arabic translation of the word ‘God’ and vice versa. 

Should christian arabs have made an exception here and refer to God in English, just to be on the same page with English speakers? No. English speakers should not make that exception either. 

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Islam’s Real Face to Me

Below please read this insight about Islam by a fellow christian blogger. To my muslim friends I say, make a good example of yourself, and the rest follows… Happy reading. 

Probably the two biggest influences for me regarding my views of Muslims has been personally knowing some Muslims and reading scholarly books about Islam, not to mention reading the Qur’an for myself. Like knowing someone who is LGBT, it’s pretty difficult to demonize an entire group of human beings when you have a familiar face […]

https://jessedooley.wordpress.com/2015/08/18/islams-real-face-to-me/

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The Central Node of God`s Religion: Abraham – Supplement

This is a supplement to the previously published article with the same title: 

The Central Node of God`s Religion: Abraham | It is not Islam-ic.

https://itisnotislamic.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/the-central-node-of-gods-religion-abraham/

These are verses from the Quran that contain the word “hanif”, within their context. 

2:130-136

And who would be averse to the religion of Abraham except one who makes a fool of himself. And We had chosen him in this world, and indeed he, in the Hereafter, will be among the righteous. When his Lord said to him, “Submit”, he said “I have submitted to the Lord of the worlds.” And Abraham instructed his sons and Jacob, “O my sons, indeed God has chosen for you this religion, so do not die except while you have submitted.” Or were you witnesses when death approached Jacob, when he said to his sons, “What will you worship after me?” They said, “We will worship your God and the God of your fathers, Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac – one God. And we are in submission to Him.” That was a nation which has passed on. It will have what it earned, and you will have what you have earned. And you will not be asked about what they used to do. They say, “Be Jews or Christians you will be guided.” Say, “Rather, [we follow] the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth (hanif), and he was not of the polytheists.” Say, [O believers], “We have believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are in submission to Him.”
3:64-67

Say, “O People of the Scripture, come to a word that is equitable between us and you – that we will not worship except God, and not associate anything with Him and not take one another as lords instead .” But if they turn away, then say, “Bear witness that we are submitting to Him.” O People of the Scripture, why do you argue about Abraham while the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed until after him? Then will you not reason? Here you are – those who have argued about that of which you have some knowledge, but why do you argue about that of which you have no knowledge? And God knows, while you know not. Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward truth (hanif), a submitter to God. And he was not of the polytheists.
3:95

Say, ” God has told the truth. So follow the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth (hanif); and he was not of the polytheists.”
4:124-125

And whoever does righteous deeds, whether male or female, while being a believer – those will enter Paradise and will not be wronged, even as much as the speck on a date seed. And who is better in religion than one who submits himself to God while being a doer of good and follows the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth (hanif)? And Allah took Abraham as an intimate friend.
6:74-79

Abraham said to his father Azar, “Do you take idols as deities? Indeed, I see you and your people to be in manifest error.” And thus did We show Abraham the realm of the heavens and the earth that he would be among the certain in faith. So when the night covered him, he saw a star. He said, “This is my lord.” But when it set, he said, “I like not those that disappear.” And when he saw the moon rising, he said, “This is my lord.” But when it set, he said, “Unless my Lord guides me, I will surely be among the people gone astray.” And when he saw the sun rising, he said, “This is my lord; this is greater.” But when it set, he said, “O my people, indeed I am free from what you associate with Allah . Indeed, I have turned my face toward He who created the heavens and the earth, inclining toward truth (hanif), and I am not of those who associate others with Allah .”
6:161-163

Say, “Indeed, my Lord has guided me to a straight path – a correct religion – the way of Abraham, inclining toward truth (hanif). And he was not an idol worshipper .” Say, “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for God, Lord of the worlds. No partner has He. And this I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims.”
10:104-105

Say, [O Muhammad], “O people, if you are in doubt as to my religion – then I do not worship those which you worship besides God; but I worship God, who will take your life. And I have been commanded to be of the believers and ‘Direct your face toward the religion inclining to truth (hanif), and never be a polytheist.
16:120-123

Indeed, Abraham was a leader, devoutly obedient to God, inclining toward truth (hanif), and he was not a polytheist. He was grateful for His favors. God chose him and guided him to a straight path. And We gave him good in this world, and indeed, in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous. Then We revealed to you, [O Muhammad], to follow the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth (hanif); and he was not a polytheist.
30:29-30

But those who wrong, follow their desires without thinking. Then who can guide one whom Allah has sent astray? And for them there are no helpers. So [O Muhammad] direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth (hanif). Adhere to the primordial human nature upon which He has created all people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah . That is the correct religion, but most of the people do not know.

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Abraham, Christianity, Commentary, Contemporary, Hanif, Interfaith, Islam, Islamic, Judaism, Philosophy, Quran, Religion

The Central Node of God`s Religion: Abraham

Abraham is the key figure of all monotheistic religions. Some may say he is the father of monotheism. If you ask my father, who was jewish, Abraham is no doubt a jew. If you ask your local christian priest, you may hear them say Abraham was a pivotal figure in christian ideals. If you ask your muslim buddy, Abraham was of course a muslim. Here is what Quran says about Abraham`s religion:

3:65-67 O People of the Scripture, why do you argue about Abraham while the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed until after him? Then will you not reason? Here you are – those who have argued about that of which you have some knowledge, but why do you argue about that of which you have no knowledge? And God knows, while you know not. Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward truth (hanif), a submitter to God. And he was not of the polytheists.

As you can see Quran criticizes all people of the scripture, including muslims that they argue about Abraham`s religion. It declares that he submitted to God, he was not a polytheist, and his path was of a hanif. The word hanif is originally a hebrew word, and is used in arabic as well. In hebrew it means a wicked, impious, godless person/a person who has stood up against the mainly accepted religion (see The New International Encyclopedia Vol 16 online). The latter meaning makes a person wicked or godless because when you exit the mainstream religion in your society, your society will call you wicked or godless. Interestingly, many definitions of the word hanif is now opposite of this original meaning: to incline towards the right state or tendency . This is not surprising, because Abraham was a wicked, godless person in his own polytheist society, but the religion he chose was the right one. So, he was hanif as in he picked the right path according to the view of monotheism. As he was probably the first monotheist, he was the wicked one according to the polytheistic society he was in. Mohammad – the prophet of Islam- was also in a polytheistic society and he also followed a monotheistic religion. If we extrapolate, we would also have to call him hanif. This is not surprising, because Quran`s worry about non-believers is at an absolute minimum. Whom Quran really fights against are polytheists of all shapes. Before making big conclusions, let`s see what Quran says about this:

10:104-105 Say, [O Muhammad], “O people, if you are in doubt as to my religion – then I do not worship those which you worship besides God; but I worship God, who will take your life. And I have been commanded to be of the believers and ‘Direct your face toward the religion inclining to truth (hanif), and never be a polytheist.

16:120-123 Indeed, Abraham was a leader, devoutly obedient to God, inclining toward truth (hanif), and he was not a polytheist. He was grateful for His favors. God chose him and guided him to a straight path. And We gave him good in this world, and indeed, in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous. Then We revealed to you, [O Muhammad], to follow the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth (hanif); and he was not a polytheist.

6:161-163 Say, “Indeed, my Lord has guided me to a straight path – a correct religion – the way of Abraham, inclining toward truth (hanif). And he was not an idol worshipper .” Say, “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for God, Lord of the worlds. No partner has He. And this I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims.”

According to Quran (and history) It is clear that Mohammad was also hanif, as Abraham was. You could probably say the same thing for Jesus and Moses as well. Quran verses above clearly orders Mohammad to follow the religion of Abraham, but in addition he is also the first of the Muslims (note capital letter. Here Muslim is used as a private name, as in follower of Islam. Otherwise muslim [lower case] literally means “submitter to God”). This means, according to the Quran even though Mohammad is to follow Abraham`s religion, he is also first member of a new religion. This new religion Islam, follows the same principles and in fact is the same religion that Abraham followed. We would expect the same God, to always have the same religion. Can you imagine the same God, creator of the heavens and the earth, introducing essentially different religions to different people? No. This would have to follow that Judiasm and Christianity or at least the religion of Moses, and of Jesus and of Abraham, and of Mohammad were essentially the same. Again before making big conclusions, let`s see Quran: 

2:130-136 And who would be averse to the religion of Abraham except one who makes a fool of himself. And We had chosen him in this world, and indeed he, in the Hereafter, will be among the righteous. When his Lord said to him, “Submit”, he said “I have submitted to the Lord of the worlds.” And Abraham instructed his sons and Jacob, “O my sons, indeed God has chosen for you this religion, so do not die except while you have submitted.” Or were you witnesses when death approached Jacob, when he said to his sons, “What will you worship after me?” They said, “We will worship your God and the God of your fathers, Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac – one God. And we are in submission to Him.” That was a nation which has passed on. It will have what it earned, and you will have what you have earned. And you will not be asked about what they used to do. They say, “Be Jews or Christians you will be guided.” Say, “Rather, [we follow] the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth (hanif), and he was not of the polytheists.” Say, [O believers], “We have believed in God and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are in submission to Him.”

As we can see here Mohammad is ordered by the Quran to tell believers (this implies anybody who believes in God, usually means monotheists) that we (followers of Mohammad) believe in all the prophets and the religion they brought to their societies, and that we make no distinction and the essence of our religion is submission to God with no trace of polytheism. This of course begs the question: why did we need so many prophets or why did we need a new religion – Islam?

The answer is rather plain: Information age. In the past most of God`s religion was made known locally, from word of mouth by a prophet. Some of those prophets are listed in the verse above. Quran declares that all societies were sent a prophet. We have accounts for many, but not for all. Let`s take Noah, we know of his religion not through an immense mass of written books or movies left from his time. No doubt he was a prophet of God, and received instructions for a monotheistic religion, and he declared this to his society. He was of course declared wicked, and persecuted by his society, just like Abraham. We know about Noah only through scripture: from the followers of Moses (Torah), Jesus (Gospel) and Mohammad (Quran). This is only becuase these three prophets came late enough in history to allow for written documents, which have been passed through generations. This is how we know about Noah, Abraham and other prophets. As we know Judiasm is a tribal religion. You have to be born to a jewish mother to be a jew. So, if Moses’ religion is the only true religion, what about other people who are not born to a jewish mother? That`s why Jesus came. He invited all to the monotheistic religion of God. However, for some reason he also did not leave a written document. History tells us that his followers (ex. St. Paul) wrote the Gospel after his death. Many Gospels were written, 4 was chosen by committees many years after Jesus had come. This always remains an uncertainty. Which bible was better explanation of Jesus? Could it be one that was not chosen by the committee? What if the writers of the Gospels were wrong in some instances? That is why Mohammad came. He came late enough in history to be the only prophet who left before he died a written book of God`s religion. We have the same written document he left us before he died. Let`s not make a mistake, he brought essentially the same religion as Moses and Jesus did, except that his document (Quran) is the only one we can trace back to the source. There are also many signs and indicators that the Quran we have now is the same word by word as the book Mohammad had shortly before he died. In addition, according to Quran Mohammad is the last prophet, and Islam is the last of God`s revelation. Why? Because, God has completed his responsibility to leave people with a direct written source of his religion, as opposed to a religion that is propagated through prophets’ own example when they were alive and after the prophets, word of mouth or secondary written sources alone. Quran, as the only direct written source will be available as far as the humanity as we know it exists. 

Please note that I picked the above mentioned verses only because they all have the word “hanif” in them. There are 9 verses in the Quran that has this word. As an appendix to this article, I will publish a supplement that has the translation of all these verses within their context. This way the reader can go and read these without my comments in between, and decide what they may mean for themselves:

The Central Node of God`s Religion: Abraham – Supplement | It is not Islam-ic.

https://itisnotislamic.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/the-central-node-of-gods-religion-abraham-supplement/

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ISIS Strikes Turkey, Suicide Bomber Kills 30 via Holger Awakens

Boudica2015

ISIS Strikes Turkey, Suicide Bomber Kills 30

Even Turkey isn’t immune.

The story comes from Times of India.

Suicide bomber kills 30 in Turkey, attack blamed on ISIS

ANKARA: A suicide bomber attacked on Monday a cultural centre hosting anti-Islamic State activists in a Turkish town near the border with Syria, killing 30 people in an “act of terror” blamed on the jihadist group.

The blast ripped through the centre in Suruc, a town opposite the Syrian flashpoint of Kobane — which was itself later hit by a suicide car bombing.

Most of the dead were university students who had been planning a mission to help Kobane residents, according to a pro-Kurdish party official.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on a visit to northern Cyprus, condemned the attack as an “act of terror”.

“On behalf of my people, I curse and condemn the perpetrators of this brutality,” he said. “Terror must…

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Commentary, Contemporary, Interfaith, Islam, Islamic, News, Philosophy, Quran, Ramadan, Religion

Fasting … the aftermath. 

Distanced yourself from food, drink, sex, bad thoughts for a month, then woke up one morning and all of those are suddenly allowed again. Not only that, it is a celebration, eat and drink in abundance, in good company and don’t forget the desert and other pleasures as well. 

How does one feel? It has become a cliche to say that fasting is so that we understand how less fortunate, or hungry people feel. This is just a made up reason. It is a fast-a-thon jargon. To me, that sounds secondary. The primary reason is to thame oneself, and come closer to God. Less food, more God?

This morning when I woke up, I did not feel like eating anything at all. Knowing full well that I could eat whatever I wanted within my reach. I sat and took time to soak in a few short moments. I felt good because I was supposed to take on the day to celebrate, and be festive. If I told people I felt good as today was the day after Ramadan, I would find acceptance. I logged on to Facebook and posted for everyone to see “Eid Mubarak!” and I took out the USPS forever stamps with Eid Greetings and a nice calligraphy, and took a picture to accompany my message. I secretly felt proud and thankful for living here. 

So what now? I can have more coffee or more honey. I could sip tea from a warm mug as I listen to the news, and soak in the morning sun. I could wait a little, and go for an open buffett brunch or check out sexually explicit content on the internet. This was allowed. I felt thankful for what I had been having. It is the day of the festival after all. But, I did not want to eat anymore. I was overwhelmed with the variety of options before me. The more I tasted, the more I wanted. It was getting out of my control. I could eat more or do more. Little voice inside me kept asking what more could I have? What more could I do? There was nothing to stop me.  

Right there and then, what fasting was for became as clear as the brisk morning sun. No more did I have to put aside my indulgences. No more did I have to protect myself from excess. I did not have to choose dignity over bad thoughts. I suddenly felt like I had lost a very close friend. Goodbye the Month of Power. Until next year, but who knows if I am to reach you again. Who knows if I am healthy enough to fast again. I glanced at the warm mug I was holding. I was no longer thankful for that. I was thankful I had just spent the whole month fasting, focused on how I ought to be: more human, less animal. This is how the representative of God is ought to be. Goodbye my good friend…until next time. 

 

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