Karen Armstrong – The True, Peaceful Face Of Islam


There are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world, and Islam is the world’s fastest-growing religion. If the evil carnage we witnessed on Sept. 11 were typical of the faith, and Islam truly inspired and justified such violence, its growth and the increasing presence of Muslims in both Europe and the U.S. would be a terrifying prospect. Fortunately, this is not the case.

The very word Islam, which means “surrender,” is related to the Arabic salam, or peace. When the Prophet Muhammad brought the inspired scripture known as the Koran to the Arabs in the early 7th century A.D., a major part of his mission was devoted precisely to bringing an end to the kind of mass slaughter we witnessed in New York City and Washington. Pre-Islamic Arabia was caught up in a vicious cycle of warfare, in which tribe fought tribe in a pattern of vendetta and counter vendetta. Muhammad himself survived several assassination attempts, and the early Muslim community narrowly escaped extermination by the powerful city of Mecca. The Prophet had to fight a deadly war in order to survive, but as soon as he felt his people were probably safe, he devoted his attention to building up a peaceful coalition of tribes and achieved victory by an ingenious and inspiring campaign of nonviolence. When he died in 632, he had almost single-handedly brought peace to war-torn Arabia.

Because the Koran was revealed in the context of an all-out war, several passages deal with the conduct of armed struggle. Warfare was a desperate business on the Arabian Peninsula. A chieftain was not expected to spare survivors after a battle, and some of the Koranic injunctions seem to share this spirit. Muslims are ordered by God to “slay [enemies] wherever you find them!” (4: 89). Extremists such as Osama bin Laden like to quote such verses but do so selectively. They do not include the exhortations to peace, which in almost every case follow these more ferocious passages: “Thus, if they let you be, and do not make war on you, and offer you peace, God does not allow you to harm them” (4: 90).

In the Koran, therefore, the only permissible war is one of self-defense. Muslims may not begin hostilities (2: 190). Warfare is always evil, but sometimes you have to fight in order to avoid the kind of persecution that Mecca inflicted on the Muslims (2: 191; 2: 217) or to preserve decent values (4: 75; 22: 40). The Koran quotes the Torah, the Jewish scriptures, which permits people to retaliate eye for eye, tooth for tooth, but like the Gospels, the Koran suggests that it is meritorious to forgo revenge in a spirit of charity (5: 45). Hostilities must be brought to an end as quickly as possible and must cease the minute the enemy sues for peace (2: 192-3).

Islam is not addicted to war, and jihad is not one of its “pillars,” or essential practices. The primary meaning of the word jihad is not “holy war” but “struggle.” It refers to the difficult effort that is needed to put God’s will into practice at every level–personal and social as well as political. A very important and much quoted tradition has Muhammad telling his companions as they go home after a battle, “We are returning from the lesser jihad [the battle] to the greater jihad,” the far more urgent and momentous task of extirpating wrongdoing from one’s own society and one’s own heart.

Islam did not impose itself by the sword. In a statement in which the Arabic is extremely emphatic, the Koran insists, “There must be no coercion in matters of faith!” (2: 256). Constantly Muslims are enjoined to respect Jews and Christians, the “People of the Book,” who worship the same God (29: 46). In words quoted by Muhammad in one of his last public sermons, God tells all human beings, “O people! We have formed you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another” (49: 13)–not to conquer, convert, subjugate, revile or slaughter but to reach out toward others with intelligence and understanding.

So why the suicide bombing, the hijacking and the massacre of innocent civilians? Far from being endorsed by the Koran, this killing violates some of its most sacred precepts. But during the 20th century, the militant form of piety often known as fundamentalism erupted in every major religion as a rebellion against modernity. Every fundamentalist movement I have studied in Judaism, Christianity and Islam is convinced that liberal, secular society is determined to wipe out religion. Fighting, as they imagine, a battle for survival, fundamentalists often feel justified in ignoring the more compassionate principles of their faith. But in amplifying the more aggressive passages that exist in all our scriptures, they distort the tradition.

It would be as grave a mistake to see Osama bin Laden as an authentic representative of Islam as to consider James Kopp, the alleged killer of an abortion provider in Buffalo, N.Y., a typical Christian or Baruch Goldstein, who shot 29 worshipers in the Hebron mosque in 1994 and died in the attack, a true martyr of Israel. The vast majority of Muslims, who are horrified by the atrocity of Sept. 11, must reclaim their faith from those who have so violently hijacked it.

Karen Armstrong has written many books on religion, including Islam: A Short History, published last year by Modern Library.

Source :  Time.com

What American expect?


What is America expectation when they come to others country with full heavy weaponry, full armed army, a load of army truck, etc?

Brief history

In last 100 years, America have put their name in every war in this world. You name it -World War I, World War II, Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War. Every continent is already infiltrate by American.

In last 20 years, American have put more and more fund in their military. The list still on going – Gulf War 1991, Afghanistan 2001, Iraq 2003. Not finish with that, now they going to make a war with Iran.

The list is not stop there, the list keep going with indirect connection such Israel war, Bosnia-Serb, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Cuba, etc.

The most popular excuse is “to bring justice to world” or “to stop terrorism”. Looking at the list of war attended by America, I do think (and most of us), they just play with others life. For them, human’s blood too cheap.

43% of world military expenditure is by America. The most biggest weapon provider in the world. The biggest weapon exporter to third world country. The list of award keep going- you just need to name it.

What is their expectation?

  • Are they going to expect a a bouquet of flowers, red carpet, when they come to infiltrate others country with tanks, helicopter, truck, etc?
  • Are they expecting a big hug from locals?
  • Are they expecting to be praise by world?

What they should expect.

Only stupid people think that they going to receive big hug or love from war.

They should expect death, pains, suffering, losses when they enter such dangerous business. For sure, there are people who keep grudge, hatred again them.

It easy to get cut, if you play with knife.

What I believe

In this context (wars), currently they are the most evil nation in this entire world. Even Nazi are evil, but they know when to stop (or being stopped).

Did they forget that they once stop Japanese by attacking Japan with nuclear weapon? What happen if others do to them as what they do to Japan. It’s not impossible.

Are they going to be willingly stop, or being stop by others?

7 type of Wealth that people forgotten


So many people who are rich but live in “poverty” life. They have abundant of money and and wealth, but cant use it or make use of it. The common excuse is for wife and family, but reality is family & kids have been abandon just for lust of money.

Quran has foreseen this problem earlier. The reason of this problem because human have abandon Allah guidance. Allah said:

The parable of those who take protectors other than Allah is that of the spider, who builds (to itself) a house; but truly the flimsiest of houses is the spider’s house;- if they but knew. (Quran 29:41)

money-main_fullImam Ibn Qayyim or his other name “Doctor of The Heart(read his bio here) (1292-1350 C.E) have stated that the problem that happen to millionaire or billionaire today because they turn their back from Allah. Imam Ibn Qayyim said :

People who love dunya (world, money, woman, lust) can not escape from 3 damage & miserable; 1.Can not release him from confusion of mind; 2. Exhaustion/Fatigue  that never end; 3. Regret for his life. (Imam Ibn Qayyim)

1. Spiritual’s Wealth – have a set of positive mind, high self-esteem, internal calmness and highly spiritual.

2. Health’s Wealth – There was no benefit if you sourcing for wealth but can not feel the food, can not taste a sugar or can not hold the spoon.

3. Relationship’s Wealth – If our relationship with our relative, families and people surround us is good, our life is become better. Relationship among family must take as priority, from there all people who we love and love us gather.

4. Legacy’s Wealth – Do some benefit that can live after we die. That what scholar always said. Do not just live normally, give some significant impact to society so our legacy can be useful after we death.

5. Career’s Wealth – Career is very important in modern day. Career is medium to show our capability and increase self-esteem.

6. Experience’s Wealth – Human spirit always hunger for new experience. Curiosity and eager to know new thing will make our life happier. We can not trap in daily routine every time. We should do good activity as; sports, tourism, humanity that give such “wealth” in our life.

7. Economy’s Wealth – Gold is not always first priority, but it still important to manage a good life. It will make our life easier without depending on others person. With money, we can help unfortunate person and this will increase our self-esteem.

Conclusion

Our heart must be clean before this wealth dome to us. It will bring happiness. Read previous post : where-is-your-heart

Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah. for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction. (Quran 13:28)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “Riches does not mean having a great amount of property; real wealth is self contentment.” [Sahih Bukhari Book 81, Chapter 15.]

Hadiths

Ibn Mas`ud (r.a) reported: The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Envy is permitted only in two cases: A man whom Allah gives wealth, and he disposes of it rightfully, and a man to whom Allah gives knowledge which he applies and teaches it.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`as (r.a) reported: A man asked Messenger of Allah (pbuh), “Which act in Islam is the best?” He (pbuh) replied, “To feed (the poor and the needy) and to greet those whom you know and those you do not know.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard Messenger of Allah (pbuh) saying: “The case of a miserly man and a generous man who gives in charity is similar to that of two persons who are clad in armour from their breasts up to their collar bones. When the generous man gives in charity, his armour expands so much as to cover his fingertips and toes. When the miser intends to spend something the armour contracts and every ring of it sticks to the place where it is (sinks into his flesh). He tries to loosen it but it does not expand.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Muhammad–The Last Sermon


After praising, and thanking God, the Prophet, may God send His praises upon him said:

“O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again.  Therefore, listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today.

O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trustReturn the goods entrusted to you to their rightful ownersHurt no one so that no one may hurt youRemember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that He will indeed reckon your deeds.  God has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligation shall henceforth be waived.  Your capital, however, is yours to keep.  You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity.  God has Judged that there shall be no interest, and that all the interest due to Abbas ibn Abd’al Muttalib shall henceforth be waived…

Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion.  He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.

O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you.  Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under a trust from God and with His permission.  If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness.  Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.  And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.

O People, listen to me in earnest, worship God, perform your five daily prayers, fast during the month of Ramadan, and offer Zakat.  Perform Hajj if you have the means.

All mankind is from Adam and Eve.  An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; white has no superiority over black, nor does a black have any superiority over white; [none have superiority over another] except by piety and good action.  Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood.  Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly.  Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.

Remember, one day you will appear before God and answer for your deeds.  So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.

O People, no prophet or apostle will come after me, and no new faith will be born.  Reason well, therefore, O people, and understand words which I convey to you.  I leave behind me two things, the Quran and my example, the Sunnah, and if you follow these you will never go astray.

All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and it may be that the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly.  Be my witness, O God, that I have conveyed your message to your people.”

Thus the beloved Prophet completed his Final Sermon, and upon it, near the summit of Arafat, the revelation came down:

“…This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My Grace upon you, and have chosen Islam for you as your religion…” (Quran 5:3)

Even today the Last Sermon of Prophet Muhammad is passed to every Muslim in every corner of the word through all possible means of communication.  Muslims are reminded about it in mosques and in lectures.  Indeed the meanings found in this sermon are indeed astounding, touching upon some of the most important rights God has over humanity, and humanity has over each other.  Though the Prophet’s soul has left this world, his words are still living in our hearts.

by- prophet Muhammad peace be upon him