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“Do they not travel through the land, so
that their hearts may learn wisdom, and
their ears may learn to hear?…” 22:46
“Those who believed, and those who
were Jewish, and the Christians, and the
Sabians, and any that believe in God and
the Last Day, and work righteousness,
they will have their reward with their
Lord, on them will be no fear, nor shall
they grieve.” 2:62
I’m just returning with an interfaith group of 16 Atlantans from a one week journey to the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Window Rock, Arizona. This was another World Pilgrims venture that brings people of various faiths together to travel to interesting places which provide a backdrop for interpersonal and interfaith engagement. A distinguished group inclusive of two Rabbis, two Pastors, an Imam, and an Islamic Publisher, shared prayers, meditations, and reflections while overlooking the Rim of the Grand Canyon and contemplating the wonders of God.
There is nothing like the Grand Canyon, and to partake in it’s awe-inspiring majesty and beauty at sunrise, midday, and at sunset, with spiritually inclined people, is soul-stirring and deeply moving. Not only are the Canyon’s seven ecosystems brimming with diverse life, the Canyon itself seems to be alive as the colors, shapes, forms, and landscapes constantly change in response to sunlight and the position or disposition of the viewer. Six million years old, 277 miles long, 10 miles wide, 1 mile deep, exposed cliffs and pinnacles, expose the wonders of Earth and the Grandeur of God, while invoking humility as deep and expansive in the hearts and minds of observant human beings.Upon one of these many cliffs, we shared in an inspiring Christian worship service.
After 3 days at the Canyon, we passed through the Petrified Forest en-route to the Navajo Capital of Window Rock, Az. There we were welcomed and enlightened by a Navajo Cultural Practitioner (Medicine-man), who shared with us the sad and sordid history between the Native Americans and the U.S. Government. Nothing there for any of us to be proud of, and that wretched history continues today through the discriminative policies that dis-empower the Reservations and Indian tradition. In spite of it all, the Navajo, Hopi, and other tribes have held on to the love and reverence of nature, the earth , it’s creatures, and the human responsibility to live in harmony with the creation and to serve as caretakers, and not exploiters. Our Practitioner said if you care for the Earth, it will take care of you. To him the earth is us and it’s vegetation is our Pharmacy. It was here, under the huge oval opening in a mountainous rock that gave Window Rock it’s name, that we collectively observed the Muslim Jumuah Prayer.
The next day we traveled to Sedona to immerse in the beauty of the red rock formations that are acclaimed to be a vortex of spiritual energy. It is indeed mesmerizing, and the perfect setting for our Shabbot (Jewish Sabbath) Service. Once again, Pilgrims returned more enlightened and appreciative of the others’ faith and of their own, and more committed to interfaith collaboration for the benefit of our City and as an investment towards the renewal and preservation of our Earth and Humanity.
submitted by Plemon T. El-Amin
“Or like one who passed over a neighborhood in ruins up to its rooftops. He said, ‘How will God bring it to life after its death?’ So God caused him to die for a hundred years then raised him up. He said, ‘How long have you been here?’ He said, ‘A day or part of a day.’ He said, ‘No, you have been here a hundred years. But look at your food and drink, they show no sign of age, and look at your donkey. And We will make you a sign for humanity. Look further at the bones, how We bring them together and clothe them with flesh.’ Once this became clear to him he said, ‘I know that God has power over all things.’ ” (2:259)
For those who have gazed upon the world’s rural shacks and urban slums, and have wondered how God will bring prosperity to these communities that have no life, or at least not the life they want, imagine yourself having died for 100 years or having disappeared for 100 years, and then sudden reappearing.
Imagine having neglected your relatively prosperous communities for a century, and suddenly finding yourself in a “neighborhood in ruins up to its rooftops” of your own. Had your home not been destroyed by the passing of time but instead by some natural disaster, it would still be ruined in much the same way. So although it took a 100 years is be destroyed, it could have been a day, or part of day for all you know.
But as you look beyond the home and beyond the neighborhood what do you see? You see the natural resources and natural environment; sure it has grown wild, but it is essentially unchanged. And you notice something else, something even more important. You notice that you have not changed, and you are still capable.
Once this becomes clear to you, what would you do next? And while knowing that God has power over all things, how would you like others to assist you? The thing we would do next is the very thing we should do now to assist those for whom this imagined scenario is all too real. And through our work is how God will bring a community “to life after its death”.
Submitted by Bilal
“They ask you concerning intoxicants and gambling. Say, ‘In both of them is great harm and benefit for humanity, but the harm outweighs the benefit.’ ” 2:219
“O you who believe, intoxicants and gambling, dedication of stones and divination by arrows is the harmful work of Satan. Avoid such harm that you may flourish.” 5:90
“Satan’s plan is to incite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants and gambling, and to keep you from the remembrance of God and from prayer. Will you not then abstain?” 5:91
The verses above manage to address problems with intoxicants in general while focusing on alcohol by using the word “khamr” which can be translated simultaneously as “intoxicants” and “alcohol” (see examples). Perhaps this is done to reveal to us that we should concern ourselves with all intoxicants and especially alcohol, because not only is alcohol a gateway drug, but it is more harmful to individuals and society combined, than any other drug.
Consider the following story…
Neuropharmacologist David Nutt, MD, of Imperial College London, and colleagues rated 20 different drugs on a scale that takes into account the various harms caused by a drug. Drugs are rated on nine harms a drug causes an individual and seven harms a drug causes society.
The scale, developed by a panel of experts called the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ICSD), ranges from 0 (no harm) to 100 (greatest possible harm). It is weighted so that a drug that scores 50 is half as harmful as a drug that scores 100.
“The highest and lowest overall harm scores … are 72 for alcohol and 5 for mushrooms,” Nutt and colleagues calculate. “The ICSD scores lend support to the widely accepted view that alcohol is an extremely harmful drug both to users and to society.”
Alcohol was found to be the most harmful drug to society and the fourth most harmful drug to users.
The findings should come as no surprise: Alcohol has been linked to more than 60 diseases.
“Alcohol does all kinds of things in the body, and we’re not fully aware of all its effects,” alcohol researcher James C. Garbutt, MD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, recently told WebMD. “It’s a pretty complicated little molecule.”
Alcohol vs. Heroin, Other Drugs
Using the ICSD ratings, Nutt and colleagues rated 20 substances in terms of the overall harm they do. Their results:
|Benzodiazepines (e.g. valium)||15|
|Mephedrone (aka drone, MCAT)||13|
Heroin, crack, and crystal meth were the most harmful drugs to the individual, while alcohol, heroin and crack were the most harmful to others.
According to this “multicriteria decision analysis approach,” alcohol is almost three times as harmful as cocaine or tobacco.
Nutt and colleagues conclude that aggressively targeting alcohol harm is “a valid and necessary public health strategy.”
In an editorial accompanying the Nutt team’s report, Jan van Amsterdam of the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment and Wim van den Brink of the Amsterdam Institute for Addiction research note that the legal penalties prescribed by various nations’ drug policies are out of synch with the actual harms caused by different drugs.
“It is intriguing to note that the two legal drugs assessed — alcohol and tobacco — score in the upper segment of the ranking scale, indicating that legal drugs cause at least as much harm as do illegal substances,” van Amsterdam and van den Brink write.
The editorial and the Nutt study appear in the Nov. 1 Online First edition of The Lancet.
Submitted by Bilal
For the past two months, I have been reminded of the value of bridges in our daily lives. The City of Atlanta closed down my intown neighborhood bridge for repairs that officials claim will take 60 days. Of course, I fully support public safety, but for the past 60 days there have been no workers, no equipment, and no updates, just concrete blockades, detour signs, and traffic. Having vented, let me share some productive insights.
In our geographical reality, Atlanta is void of any major body of water (not intending to offend the ‘Hooch’), therefore we don’t have the awe-inspiring presence of a Golden Gate or a Brooklyn Bridge. Yet, we do have thousands upon thousands of non-descript, unassuming, utilitarian bridges that we cross everyday. Our bridges mostly span creeks and railroads, although our four interstate expressways give us a myriad of bridges that circumvent one another.
In our human reality, Atlanta has an enormous body of spirituality that is best seen and navigated upon the bridge of our most noble citizen, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said: “It really boils down to this: that all life is inter-related. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Dr. King further said: ” Let me suggest first, that if we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; this means we must develop a world perspective.”
Dr. King was and is a bridge to enable us to come out of our narrow confines of insular and exclusive lives. Quite a few of our faith leaders have ventured across that span as individuals, but now is the season to encourage our congregations, associations, and religious traditions to come out of the hierarchies of seclusion and trod the paths of cooperation, collaboration, and interconnectedness. All of our faiths have scriptural bridges that can enable us to cross the divide, even beyond our shared Golden Rules, but we must be bold enough to walk upon them.
Dr. King said: “People derive inspiration from their involvement”. Get involved with ’the other’ and inspiration will come. We all know we should. And Dr. King also said:”There is nothing more tragic in all of the world than to know right, and not do it.” Let us be bridges across faith, ethnic, and cultural divides, and let us remove the obstructions from the road so others can cross and be inspired as well.
“To each is a goal to which God turns you, so strive together towards all that is good,
wheresoever you are God will bring you together, and God has Power over all things.” (Qur’an 2:148)
submitted by Imam Plemon T. El-Amin
“God does not hesitate to reference ordinary things as well as the greatest of things…” 2:26
Allah’s references to post-Quran discoveries have been amply researched, argued, and referenced, and they continue to increase our faith and knowledge (see examples).
But unless Muslims think that all of the Allah’s scientific references have been discovered and understood, we should expect to continue to find important, undiscovered social and natural science in the Quran.
Then Muslim’s belief that Allah does indeed reference things before they are understood or discovered will once again be reflected in our pioneering research and discoveries.
Got any leads? Post a comment.
“It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards East or West. But it is righteousness to believe in God and the Last Day, and the Angels, the Book, and the messengers. To give of your sustenance, out of love for Him, for your family, for orphans, for the needy, for street children, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves. To be steadfast in prayer, and pay zakat. To fulfill the contracts which you have made, and to be firm and patient in pain and suffering, and adversity, and through all periods of crisis. Such are the people of truth, the realized.” 2:177.
Of late, I’ve been preoccupied with pain. Sixty-one year old knees, that crick and crack from the earlier years of youthful disregard of reasonable anatomical limitations, keep me conscious of every step. Recently, an intestinal inflammation made me even forget about my knees. Pain grabs our attention, but too many of us try to avoid confronting the cause of the pain, as evidenced by the epidemic in America of prescription drug abuse. More Americans and Georgians are dying from overdoses of prescription painkillers than from overdoses of cocaine, heroin, meth, and amphetamines combined.
Nobody sane likes pain. Pain disorients, distorts perception, induces irrationality, inappropriateness, and even destructive behavior. Pain can drive one insane, and it is not just physical pain but, perhaps even more so, emotional, psychological, and societal pain. The pains of poverty, abuse, rejection, oppression, depression, homelessness, loneliness, and grief can inflict hurt more pervasive than a physical injury or ailment.
It was so dreadfully painful this week to read about Carulus Hines, the 40-year-old mother who stabbed her 4-year-old daughter, Nalecia, to death before Atlanta Police could break through the doors of her home to stop her with a hail of 10-16 bullets (a different and deadly pain, why so many shots?). This mother, overwhelmed by her emotional, mental, and social challenges, horridly took her baby girl’s life and lost her own. We are tempted to blame her, her family, her neighbors, and/or the Family and Children’s Service for not responding to the glaring signs pointing to this eventual calamity, but we all share some blame, because Carulus was not an anomaly. We are in trying times and too many people are painfully at the brink that Carulus crossed, but our social sedation of detachment allows us to mask the pain and block out the depth of deprivation and depravity in our midst. Certainly many pains are self-chosen, but the repercussions of wars, corporate greed, joblessness, inaccessible health care, and permanent underclass status, are not chosen, rather painfully imposed.
We must not just mask or sedate her pain or society’s pain, we must treat it and ourselves. We must obligate ourselves as Dr. King did:
“On one hand, I must attempt to change the soul of individuals so that societies may be changed. On the other hand, I must attempt to change societies so that individual souls will have a chance.”
Read more by Imam Plemon T. El-Amin at highergroundgroup.org
“Encouraged for you on the night of the fast is sexual relations your wives. They are your garments and you are their garments. God knows what you used to do secretly among yourselves, but He turned to you and forgave you. So associate with them now, and seek what God has ordained for you. And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn appears to you distinct from its black thread. Then complete your fast when the night appears. But do not be intimate with your wives while you are in retreat in the masjid. Those are limits set by God; do not come near it. God makes clear His signs to humanity, that they may become realized.” 2:187
I completely understand why people think that they must stop eating and drinking well before sunrise, this is because the white thread of dawn appears distinct from its black thread well before sunrise.
But why do people think that they must stop being intimate with their spouses well before sunrise when the verse says that they can be intimate at night? Why during Ramadan do people define the word night as between sunset and before dawn or between sunset and the time of dawn when they decide to stop eating and drinking, while the other eleven months these same believers define night as between sunset and sunrise, and/or between complete darkness (Isha) and before dawn (Isha)?
Well, maybe they do not want to be intimate past the time they can eat and drink because they will be hungry and thirsty afterwards. I guess to each his own.
What do you think? Post a comment.
Obviously the reason we fast during the month of Ramadan is to increase our taqwa (2:183), consciousness, and awareness, but here is another way to think about taqwa…
Have you ever been dreaming and then realized that you were dreaming? Well that too is taqwa.
And one reason lucid dreaming is a good way to relate to tawqa is that “this life” and ” a dream” are both merely a perceived reality (3:185), while the life of the next is in fact “reality” (6:32, 57:20). For example…
You’re terrified, your heart is racing, sweat is pouring. The intense fear of death has overcome you, you feel like yelling, crying, hiding, and then suddenly, it is ok, you realize, it is just a dream (or keeping with the analogy, it is just the life of this world). Relief takes over because its only a dream, and we begin to think and behave differently when we realize that things are not as “real” as they seem. When that inkling comes to your mind that it is not real, your whole outlook changes.
And like this, when we experience terrifying challenges, if have taqwa, we feel the way we felt in that dream. And how do you feel when you realize you are dreaming? We feel relieved, grateful, focused, stress-free, in-control, fearless, ambitious, and happy, and we are also amused (6:32) that we were distressed over a mere dream. We behave ourselves (usually) but we enjoy ourselves; we feel like we are playing (6:32) No matter what unbelievably challenging thing happens to us in our dream, as long as we thikr (2:46)or remember that it is only a dream, everything will be fine. And although we are in no rush to wake up, when we do, everything will still be fine, or in the case of waking up to paradise, better.
But it takes Ramadan and taqwa to realize this (2:183).
What do you think? Post a comment.
“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that you might increase consciousness and awareness.” 2:183.
“Every soul will have a taste of death. And only on the Day of Accountability will you be paid your full reward. Only he who is saved from the fire and admitted to the garden, will have attained the object of life, for the life of the present is but stuff of illusion.” 3:185
“What is the life of the present but play and amusement? Best is the home in the hereafter, for those who are righteous. Will you not then understand?” 6:32
“Know that the life of the present is but play and entertainment, pomp and boasting, and increasing for yourselves, wealth and children. Here is a similitude, the rain and the growth which it brings forth pleases the hearts of those who plant it, soon it withers, and you will see it grow yellow, then it becomes dry and crumbles away, but in the hereafter is a penalty severe, and forgiveness from God and His grace, and what is the life of the present but stuff of illusion?” 57:20
Verse 2:260 (below) reveals that God expects us to be uncomfortable with some beliefs, because if Abraham is the intelligent in faith (3:95), the friend of God (4:125), and he whose example we are to follow (4:125), and he is, and if Abraham was not completely comfortable with all of his beliefs, and he was not (2:260), then why should we expect to be completely comfortable with all of our beliefs?
It is only when we admit that we do not understand a belief, as Abraham does in verse 2:269, that we begin to seek to understand it, and it is only when we understand our beliefs that we are truly comfortable with them, following the way of Abraham. the intelligent in faith (3:95).
What do you think? Post a comment.
“Behold, Abraham said, ‘My Lord, show me how You give life to the dead. He said, ‘Do you not believe’? He said, ‘Yes, but show me to satisfy my heart.’ He said, ‘Take four birds, and train them to return to you. Put a part of them on every hill and call to them. They will come to you with speed. So know that G-d is Exalted in Power, Wise.’ “ 2:260
“Who can be better in religion than one who submits their whole self to G-d, does right, and follows the way of Abraham, the intelligent in faith? For G-d took Abraham for a friend.” 4:125
Say, “G-d has spoken the truth. Follow the way of Abraham, the intelligent in faith. He was not of the pagans.” 3:95
The meaning of Ramadan (2:183, 2:185) and the meaning of life (2:21) are to experience taqwa or consciousness and awareness.
So as we fast, we discover and rediscover the meaning of life.
What do you think? Post a comment.
“O you people, worship your Guardian Evolver, Who created you and those who came before you, that you may experience consciousness.” 2:21
“O you who believe, abstention is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that you might increase awareness.” 2:183
“Ramadan is the month the Quran was revealed as a guide to humanity, as proof, and as the guidance and the criterion. So every one of you who are present during that month should spend it abstaining, but if anyone is ill or on a journey, the prescribed period should be made up days later. G-d intends good for you, He does not want to make it difficult for you, instead He wants for you to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him, for He has guided you, so you might be grateful.” 2:185
In the title to this post, the term threadsplitting is a play on the phrase hairsplitting and a reference to the white and black thread mentioned in 2:187. I use this term because some believers, though for different reasons, might think that any further discussion on when we stop eating and drinking during Ramadan is hairsplitting.
Some of these people simply eat when they wake up, as long as the sun has not risen, after all, what is a few extra minutes when you are fasting all day. The only problem with that is that if we eat and drink when there is no blackness to distinguish from the whiteness (2:187), then are we really fasting? Maybe, but just not the fast of Ramadan.
Anothers simply stop eating before fajr/dawn which is not a bad idea (although they often think that not doing it their way is a bad idea), unless of course if they “oversleep”, meaning (for them) they wake up during dawn/fajr. What do they do then? Deprive themselves of nourishment, or eat and drink feeling guilty?
I think a balanced approach is to simply “eat and drink until the white thread of dawn appears to you distinct from its black thread (2:187)”; for more on what this might mean click here“.
What do you think? Post a comment.
“…Eat and drink until the white thread of dawn appears to you distinct from its black thread. Then complete your fast when the night appears…” 2:187
If God did not want us to think deeply about this verse He could have revealed something like, “Stop eating and drinking before fajr/dawn”. Instead, by revealing, “eat and drink until the white thread of dawn appears to you distinct from its black thread”, He made the verse thought-provoking and enigmatic.
So contrary to popular belief, God does not want us to simply stop eating and drinking before fajr/dawn. He did not reveal, “eat and drink before dawn”, or “eat and drink until just before dawn”, God revealed, “eat and drink until the white thread of dawn appears to you distinct from its black thread”, meaning, eat and drink until we personally see some light with our own eyes. And if we are seeing light, then it is time. And if we were eating during this fajr/dawn time, it is halal, permissible, and okay.
I hear someone saying, “But what if there is an overcast and we cannot see the sky”? Good question, I think that is when we should rely on predictions, when we can only rely solely on predictions, even of the prediction is no more sophisticated than basing it on yesterday’s observation.
Finally, the real question is not how early before fajr/dawn we should stop eating and drinking, it is when during fajr/dawn should we stop eating and drinking”? And of course God anticipated this question with the answer, “eat and drink until the white thread of dawn appears to you distinct from its black thread”.
What do you think? Post a comment.
“Encouraged for you on the night of the fast is sexual relations your wives. They are your garments and you are their garments. G-d knows what you used to do secretly among yourselves, but He turned to you and forgave you. So associate with them now, and seek what G-d has ordained for you.” 2:187
If this verse is speaking about believing couples who had sex before making it official/halal, and I think it is, then we can assume that although God does not condone this behavior, He knows that it happens, and He is revealing to us that He knows that it happens.
So in the spirit of this verse, if anyone has a lover, marry them this Ramadan.
And if you do not have a lover, but you did, then what reason do you have now not to be intimate with him or her during Ramadan? Piety?
Also, if you (suspect) know someone who does, whether they are Muslim believer or other type of believer, encourage them to marry their lover this Ramadan. Let them know why it matters, and how easy it is in the Eyes of the Creator (click here to see just how easy).
Now, I understand that this notion that God is referring to believers having slept with their spouse before marriage is a little risqué, but consider the alternatives to what the phase “God knows what you used to do secretly among yourselves, but He turned to you and forgave you” could mean.
One common thought concerning what this phrase means is that early Muslim, for whatever reason, refused to sleep with their spouses during the month of Ramadan, and that God reveals in this verse that it is indeed permissible to sleep with your spouses during Ramadan. The only problem with this explanation is that it in no way addresses the phrase “God knows what you used to do secretly among yourselves”. And worse, if they were not sleeping with their wives, this faulty explanation only manages to raise the question of what great secret do they have that warrants a verse in the Quran and God’s express vow to forgive them for it? Nothing does. Because it is a bad explanation.
Another common idea which actually does address what secret activity this verse could be referring to is that early Muslims had secret relations with their spouses although they thought it was wrong. But my question is, what reason would they have to think that they could not rightfully resume having sex with their spouse when they knew that they could rightfully resume eating and drinking. And if they did believe that they should not resume relations with their spouses, then why would God need to expose them and forgive them for doing what they thought was right? The answer is, He wouldn’t. Not only because it would would be unjust, but it would not make sense. For after-all, the phase at the beginning of the same verse “Encouraged for you on the night of the fast is the approach to your wives”, effectively accomplishes the purpose of informing them that it is permissible.
What do you think? Post a comment.
“O you who believe, abstention is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that you might increase consciousness or taqwa.” 2:183
“Tawqa” is often translated “to fear God”, or “God-consciousness”, or something else with God in its definition. And while there is nothing more important than God to be conscious of, taqwa could not have God in its definition as illustrated in the following examples…
With God in the definition of taqwa, instead of 58:9 reading as…
“Be conscious of God” اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ
It would have to read…
“Be conscious of God, God”
And with God in the definition of taqwa, instead of 2:24 reading as…
“Be conscious of the fire” اتَّقُواْ النَّارَ
It must read as…
“Be conscious of God, the fire.”
I am not saying that taqwa has to be translated as “consciousness” or “awareness”, I’m just saying that “God” is not explicitly in its definition.
What do you think? Post a comment.
”Encouraged for you on the night of the fast is the approach to your wives. They are your garments and you are theirs. God knows what you used to do secretly among yourselves, but He turned to you and forgave you. So associate with them now, and seek what G-d has ordained for you…” 2:187
The word I translated as “encouraged” in the verse above is “halal”. I interpreted it this way because of the phase “so associate with them now”, and because what believer does not feel encouraged to do a thing which God has explicitly made halal, and which He has in no way discouraged?
Even if your love life is good, or even great, it can always be better. And when better to improve your love life than Ramadan; the time when we are most clear-thinking, most physically cleansed, and most spiritually attuned?
What do you think? Post a comment.
Like others, I believe God has always lived (112:1), and that He is the Most-Alive being there is (3:2, 40:65). Also like others, I would think that God’s life and existence is exceptionally good, even better than ours.
But being as Merciful as He is (55:2), He shares His Life with us (15:29, 32:9, 38:72). But since there is only one God (112:1), and since there can only be one God (17:42), then perhaps the next best thing to Allah creating us with as good a life as His, He allows us to, in addition to living our own life, live vicariously through Him. Consider the following verses…
“…the remembrance of G-d is the greatest thing without doubt (Maybe one reason the remembrance of G-d is the greatest thing without doubt, is that being aware of who God is, and what He is saying and doing, allows us, in some small way, to experience God’s life vicariously).
“O you people, worship your Guardian Evolver, Who created you and those who came before you, that you may be conscious of God (like the verse above, a possible reason why we have been created to be conscious of God is so that we can live vicariously through Him).” 2:21
”God fashioned the human being in due proportion, and breathed into him from His spirit (this breath is perhaps yet another sign of God allowing us to live vicariously through Him)…”. 32:9
What do you think? Post a comment.
“For He is the Ultimate Creator, the All Knowing.” 36:81
We believe that God forgives, but does He forget?
I cannot imagine God forgetting anything. And believing that God does not forget further discourages us from doing wrong because even though God forgives us (2:173), we still might have to live with the memory that He will not forget the wrong we did.
What do you think? Post a comment.
“Jesus said to him, “Away from me Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’
Matthew 4:10 + Commentary
“Jesus (the Word) said to him, “Away from me Satan (Satan and Satan’s behavior is an example of wrong, immoral, and unethical actions). For it is written (in the Bible and Quran): ‘Worship the Lord your God, and worship Him only (and do not worship Satan).’
“And O you in sin, get away this day.”
“Did I not enjoin on you, O you children of Adam, that you should not worship Satan, and that he was to you a sworn enemy?”
Sura 36:59-60 + Commentary
“And O you in sin, get away this day (get away on Judgement Day from appreciating the good things of paradise).”
“Did I not tell you (Through Jesus, in the Bible), O you children of Adam (O human beings, including all monotheist), that you should not worship (you should not direct any feelings which could rightfully be directed towards God) Satan (to that which is an example of wrong, immoral, or unethical behavior), and that he (and that wrong, immoral, or unethical behavior) was to you a sworn enemy (promises to be harmful)?
And O you in sin, get away on Judgement Day from appreciating the good things of paradise. For we’re you not told, O human beings, including all monotheist that you should not direct any positive feelings which could rightfully be directed towards God, to that which is an example of wrong, immoral, or unethical behavior. And wrong, immoral, or unethical behavior promises to be harmful.
Can Monotheists Unknowingly be Worshipping Both God and Satan?
Why does God explicitly direct these words about worshipping Satan to all people, including monotheist? Is it possible that people other than those who identify themselves as Satan Worshipers could be Satan worshipers? Might it even be possible for monotheists to find ourselves worshipping Satan?
I think so, here’s why.
If worship is more that bending knees or bowing, but is also praising, showing respect and showing appreciation; and if Satan and Satan’s behavior is an example of wrong, immoral, and unethical actions, then showing respect and appreciation for any wrong, immoral, unethical (or in religious terms, satanic) action can be considered worshipping Satan.
And as you too might have experienced, it is sometimes difficult for our senses to distinguish bad from good. It is much easier to distinguish right (or righteousness) from wrong (Quran 2:256). Failing to make a conscious effort to reject wrong and invite right can disrupt that person’s inner peace (Quran3:110); here are a few examples…
*Note: These example are a bit conservation, and I typically err on the side of liberalism, but I prefer not to err at all.
A monotheist may visit a museum and come across a beautiful photograph of a nude. He may appreciate the quality of the photograph, but if he would not pose for the photograph himself because of his beliefs then he should not allow himself to appreciate it. Instead he should show appreciation for the many other photographs of a non-objectionable nature.
Or a song may have a good sound but the lyrics may be of the sort that he would not repeat because of his beliefs, in this case, he should not allow himself to have an appreciation for it. Instead he should seek to appreciate and enjoy more inspiring songs.
A businessperson may be successful and may even be very giving, but his wealth may have been acquired in a way the monotheist would not have wanted to acquired it. Again, this particular businessperson should not be appreciated. Instead we should appreciate the ethical business people.
What do you think? Can you think of other examples? Post a comment?
Jihad of course has nothing to do with a holy war nor does it even have anything directly to do with religion, but has everything to do with struggling, striving and fighting for any honorable cause, including the beliefs, values and ideals of the Unites States of America, brought to us by our respected faiths.
And as Americans, some of our utmost striving and toughest fights are happening not only in our Department of Defense (Army, Navy, Air force, etc.), but in our Department of Homeland Security (National Guard, Coast Guard, Secret Service, etc.), and Justice department (FBI, DEA, ATF, etc.), and as Americans we must always elect, support, and keep accountable the most faithful, God-conscious person for President who will in turn appoint the most faithful, God-conscious people to her cabinet to lead our jihad, struggle, and fight against all the immoral, unethical criminals, both foreign and domestic, who would do us harm.
Below are a few examples of how all verses from the Quran pertaining to striving, fighting, and even war applies to all Americans no matter what our faith.
Verses from the Quran + commentary
“By those who coordinate themselves in departments, 37:1.
“And so are strong in repelling harm, 37:2
“And so proclaim the message, 37:3
“That Indeed your God is one. 37:4
“Lord of the heavens and of the earth and all between them, and Lord of every point at the rising of the Sun.” 37:5
Therefore, do not fall victim (By way of corrupt officials, agents, citizen demand, or any other criminality) to the Unbelievers (Those Muslims, Christians, Jews, and others who do not believe in goodness, morality and ethics), but jihad against them with the utmost effort (Strive and fight the wars on terrorism, drugs, corruption and all other war on crime.) 25:52
“Fight in the cause of God (Fight for our God-given, inalienable rights) those who fight you (Organized crime rings, terrorist, corrupt officials, and all other criminals) but do not transgress limits (Fight them within the confines of the national and international law), for God does not love lawbreakers (God does not love law-breakers on either side of the law). 2:190
“And slay them (destroy, extinguish their operations and there persons if necessary) wherever you catch them (On our homeland and even others’ sovereign states if they are incapable or unwilling). And drive them out from where they have driven you out (Where they ignore law and order), for oppression are worse than slaughter. But do not fight them at the Sacred Masjid (no place of worship regardless to religion), unless they attack you there, and if they attack you, slay them (Eliminate their organization my any just way necessary) . Such is the punishment of those who suppress belief (Belief in goodness, decency, and the rule of law). 2:191
“But if they cease (Always leave a diplomatic, peaceful path open to the enemy, and a path for normal relations), indeed Allah is Oft Forgiving, Mercifully Redeeming. 2:192
“And fight against them until there is no more oppression, and justice prevails, as does belief in God (Belief in Goodness). But if they cease, let there be no hostility to any except to those who practice oppression.” 2:193