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Discussions / Hadith and Sunnah - a comment
« on: May 09, 2013, 08:10:17 AM »
Hadith and Sunnah - a comment

Posted by Felicity at Thursday, January 31, 2013
http://religionofthought.blogspot.co.uk/


I wrote this in response to a question posed to me in the comment section of a Facebook post by a friend. The post was of a video of Dr. Israr condemning the celebration of Eid Milad un Nabi as  an unlawful bid3at based on the fact that the Prophet (sw) never enjoined it's celebration. While I respect Dr. Israr, I found his view disagreeable, as well as his projection of the jihad from the heart against such acts of bid3at as hatred. My response elicited the question of what I see to be the role of the Hadith and the Sihah Sitta in deen.

When my response began to look like a book report, I chose to post it here...

My perspective on the Hadith and Sihaah Sitta is that these should be used as references if and when a subject in the Quran requires elaboration, but when the text is self-explanatory, the Quran should suffice.

The Hadith are believed to be a record of the sayings and Sunnah of the Prophet. What they really are is in fact a record of memories of people and their anecdotes regarding the Prophet and other events and persons from times past his lifetime. Most of these records were not documented in writing until almost a century after the Prophet's death, except for the narrations of Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al Aas, who, it is claimed, wrote his recordings with the permission of the Prophet himself during his lifetime. Setting aside concerns regarding the accuracy of the process of collection and compilation, it must be noted that there is, unfortunately, no evidence or suggestion that while the Prophet gave his permission, that he ever reviewed what was recorded by Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al Aas. This does not mean that we discount his recordings or any of the others simply because they are memories or because they have not been verified by the Prophet. They may well be true. However, from what I have been able to gather from what I have read in the Quran so far, any testimony regarding the Prophet, for that's what the Hadith are, must be subject to the same treatment as testimony regarding any other person, especially when considering their use to determine what is or isn't religiously lawful. This would mean that for a testimony to render legal use, it would require the witness(es) to take an oath (5:106, 24:6-9 and 3:61, which refers to testimony regarding what is truly the word of God). Such an oath would be required of each witness in the relay-chain of a Hadith, and unfortunately there is no evidence or suggestion that any of those who relayed the Hadith or were witness to them took such an oath. Thus, while the testimonies may be true, without an oath they cannot be deemed sufficient for the purpose of lawmaking or passing judgment.

The methodology employed to prove the authenticity or trustworthiness of a Hadith for the purposes of lawmaking involves placing blind faith in the character and trustworthiness of the narrators - this assignment of trustworthiness appear to be fairly arbitrary and varies between the Shia and Sunni sects - and then corroborating the account with verses from the Quran; in essence, using the Quran as a witness to the testimony - using the Word of God to bear witness to the trustworthiness of a testimony relayed years after the Quran was revealed. Regardless of ones faith in this process or the witnesses, it stands that the testimonies were relayed without oaths, which, if I understand the Quran right, I believe renders them unusable as the premise for religious law.

Moreover, the Hadith, while covering a variety of subjects, are not comprehensively all inclusive. A recording of the Prophet's words or his demonstration of an injunction of Allah could be just an example, one instance, of several possible answers or ways to accomplish the same thing... We don't know how many instances were forgotten, were never recorded or never passed down. So we cannot definitively say that because a certain action was never recorded it is not allowed, or if a certain action was recorded then that is the only way.

The Hadith of Allah however is comprehensive and complete, or so we believe. We believe the Quran was relayed to us by the Rasool exactly as he received it. We believe this because the Quran claims it to be so, saying that the Prophet was under oath to convey the message in it's true form. Now some might say, if I doubt the process of collection and the memories of people than I must doubt the Quran for it was compiled in a very similar manner to the Hadith collection, following the Prophet's death from the memories of men. To that I would say that I believe that this is an argument invented to coerce and blackmail people into blindly placing their faith on the Hadith, for the source of this information - that the Quran was compiled after the death of the Prophet - is the Hadith and those Hadith offer varying accounts and discrepancies regarding when this actually occurred. There are verses in the Quran that convince me that the Quran existed as a written compilation even as it continued to be revealed (52:2-3 and 80:11-16). I also find it difficult to believe that when God refers to the Quran as a "book" and in that Book He prescribes the writing of a Will to ensure that even in death a person is not devoid of his responsibilities (2:180), that He would allow the Prophet to leave without ensuring that the complete Message was compiled so it could be transmitted in its entirety accurately from generation to generation and to other parts of the world, given that the Message was not intended for a people of a particular time or locality, but for all of humanity - as if it were sufficient for people to only know or remember parts of the Quran and they could refer to each other for the parts they did not know, expecting that they would be around forever.

The Quran was the primary message delivered by the Messenger of Allah and hence should be the primary source source for determining what is and isn't lawful.  While I don't think many would dispute that, I think there is a prevailing assumption that the Quran requires further explanation and support from supplementary sources to be completely understood. I believe that the Quran (in verses 7:52 and11:1, 27:1, 38:29, 39:23 and 41:3) makes clear that it explains everything in detail and those who wish to understand it will find their guidance therein. To rely on another source before or alongside the Quran might be akin to suggesting that contrary to the Quran's claim (19:97, 44:58, 54:17, 54:22, 54:32), the message of Allah is in fact not easy to understand. To this end I have heard the argument that the Classical Arabic of the Quran is too difficult to be understood today as the language has evolved tremendously in 1400 years, and this adds to the difficulties faced by non-native Arabic speakers who must then rely on outside sources to understand a book that may indeed have been easy to understand for the Arabic speakers of that time. But then, the Arabic of the Hadith would technically need to be of the same era and just as difficult to understand. However, there doesn't appear to be as much resistance or hesitation regarding them.

In truth, and and as a manifestation of Allah's Power and Infinite Wisdom on ensuring that it is never too difficult to comprehend His Message, it turns out that Arabic is evolutionarily a very conservative language. James A Bellamy writes that the language of a pre-Islamic 5th century inscription (no. 8 from the slideshow menu) is closer to modern Arabic than the language of Shakespeare is to modern English (from Islamic-awareness.com)

The conservative evolution of Arabic over 1400 years and more means that the message is better preserved and remains accessible to todays population. With the growing number of resources available on the ever-accessible and faster Internet that can translate and explain the Arabic language and it's grammar for free and without the need to visit special libraries for resources, it is becoming increasingly more convenient and less difficult to decipher the language of the Quran.

What is perhaps most frustrating is that most claims about the difficulty of understanding the Quran's language are usually made without an honest attempt at reading the Book in a language that one may understand, likely because of the traditional discouragement towards making such personal attempts, which it is feared may result in a misunderstanding of the message... although one is encouraged to "recite" in the language they do not understand all they want. One cannot expect to understand a book or its subject matter simply by reading all the reviews, opinions and book reports on it and skimming over some excerpts. It could be that it is the various commentaries that produce the confusion and difficulties in comprehending the book and its message. Hence, the main source should be studied first or at least it should be the primary focal point, and everything else should be treated as supplemental. The Hadith in my opinion, would be supplemental to the study of the Quran and the determination of Islamic law.


Now I understand that the Quran, for instance, while ordaining Salah does not explain how to perform it step by step as it does the Wudhu. However it does set the following parameters about what Salat entails:

1. Remembrance 20:14 - (54:17, 22, 32, 40 show that Quran is for remembrance) 29:45, also reiterates that reciting Quran = establishing prayer = rememberance of Allah
2. Glorification 24:36, 33:42
3. For Allah 6:162
4. Seeking forgiveness for sin and exalting God 40:55
5. Standing 3:39, 4:102, 52:48, 26:219, 73:2, 20 (although this standing for prayer may be an expression and not literal)
6. Bowing 2:125, 9:122, 48.29
7. Prostration 4:102, 7:206, 15:98, 26:219, 50:40, 76:26
8. Specified times 4;103, 20:130 before sunrise (fajr) before sunset (asr) hours of the night (isha) ends/extremities of the day (at its zenith - zuhr, and when it is ending with the sun just below the horizon - Maghreb), 30:17-18
9. Orientation/ facing a particular direction 2:144, 2:149-150, 7:29

Because of the manner in which this information is relayed, it is not obvious that all of these are requisite for prayer and must be included in the salat, except where it is stated that the salat is meant for remembrance and where prostration is indicated as being part of the Salah. The Hadith would demonstrate how to pray within these parameters, although from what I understand, there are no hadith that specifically describe the prayer process even if there are references to certain postures held during Salah. Even so, had there been one or more recorded testimonies describing in detail the Prophet praying from beginning to end, it would only serve as an example of how these parameters can be met while praying; and while one may prefer to pray in the manner of that example because he desires to be like the Prophet, the example cannot be used to establish rules regarding prayer, simply because the Hadith is not verified by an oath, even if it is believed to be true and the chain of transmittance is trusted. Moreover, if a Hadith claims that the Prophet engaged in a ritual during prayer that challenges or goes against any of these parameters, then that testimony would need to be investigated and challenged, much like a law or a bill would be challenged if it went against the constitution.

The Wudhu is different (the term Wudhu does not exist in the Quran but that is of little significance) in that the steps, and in fact, the areas to be cleansed and how they are to be cleansed are explained. The text is self-explanatory and thus does not require supplemental material. However if a Hadith claims that the Prophet engaged in additional steps during Wudhu, so long as they do not counter or exclude the step laid out in the Quran, the Hadith may be followed. However, those additional steps may not be turned into requisites and added to the requisites laid out in the Quran.


My contention was chiefly that often times even when an explanation isn't necessary, the Hadith are primordially resorted to by scholars and clerics instead of what should be their principal source, the Quran. Using the Hadith as the primordial source tends to create rules where there are none. Is it that we feel that God did not establish sufficient rules for us? The parameters established by God in the Quran are sufficient. As long as a ritual does not transgress those parameters, there is no harm in it. But to outlaw something that the Quran did not outlaw, or to make compulsory something the Quran never enjoined, would be to transgress those parameters.

I would like to clarify, in case my writing created a different impression, that I am not at all dismissive of the Hadith. I do believe that some or most of the transmissions may in fact be true. However, they are not all-encompassing of everything the Prophet said or did during his lifetime as the Messenger of Allah and because there may be so much that is not documented, they cannot be use to conclusively establish or promulgate religious law; plus they were not transmitted under oath. Therefore, I believe they can only be used as supplemental reference but cannot employed in determining religious law or for the purposes of passing judgment on people or their actions.


And follow that which is revealed to you from your lord. Indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, acquainted. (33:2)

And rely upon Allah; and sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs. (33:3)

2
Discussions / Layla Mandi – Spirit of a Pioneer
« on: March 30, 2013, 05:46:57 AM »
Message from G. Waleed Kavalec
5:43pm Mar 29

Salaam and Jummah Mubarak

I have been posting this to many groups and pages, and I would ask your help in doing the same.

My wife Habiba has confirmed the facts and has spoken with sister Mandi and to those friends who are trying to help her.

Please share this as best you are able
JZAK

-------------------------


I would like to introduce you to the Canadian Muslim Convert who:

discovered and first disclosed the inclusion of pork by-products in conventional personal care and cosmetics products;
ascertained the lack of readily available suitable products for Muslim women;
developed a halal-based beauty brand to provide Muslim women with an alternative product; and
dedicated herself toward the development of a full-fledged global halal beauty industry.

Meet Sister Layla Mandi, a woman who also has lost all of her family and friends because of her conversion to Islam, and is now paralyzed and in urgent need of help to walk again.

http://www.facebook.com/l/-AQFA7_F8AQHWpDLVQXVIiGIStNG8Dw0CTBOIJ3ZJu_wPWg/www.muslimahcompass.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=507&Itemid=8
 
Layla Mandi – Spirit of a Pioneer
www.muslimahcompass.org

Muslimah Compass - dedicated to empowering the Muslimah

3
Resources and Information Portal / Re: A Text Version of Edward Lanes
« on: February 27, 2013, 11:58:45 PM »
Email shared by Joseph Islam

(from the brother that has made the text version available)


From: Naveed Ul Islam [mailto:naveedulislam@hotmail.com]
Sent: 27 February 2013 15:33
To: 'Joseph A. Islam'
Subject: RE: Lane's Lexicon

Salam,
I have just created a new website for this lexicon:

http://lanelexicon.com/

Please feel free to share the link.

The purpose of the site is to use the text as an open project and possibly try to find and eliminate the errors introduced by the Perseus Digital Library and by myself during the conversion to text process.

Regards,
Naveed

4
Resources and Information Portal / A Text Version of Edward Lanes
« on: February 27, 2013, 12:02:58 AM »
An Arabic English Lexicon converted into text.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License (Details can be found here: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/)

[Converted to text file by NAVEED UL-ISLAM & ZUNERA NAVEED. Please report errors and your suggestions to naveedulislam@hotmail.com]

Quransmessage.com and Joseph Islam accept no responsibility for the contents or any problems that may result as a consequence of following the actions below.

These instructions have only been shared in good faith and are intended to be used solely at the reader's discretion.

(1) Please RIGHT CLICK on the link below and save the text file to your hard drive. (Save link as...)

http://www.quransmessage.com/files/lane-text/lane-an-arabic-english-lexicon-v0.1.txt

(2) Please download and run the recommended free text editing software BabelPad below or an appropriate text editing software.

http://www.babelstone.co.uk/Software/BabelPad.html

(3) Please open the text file with the editor.

May God reward all those that strive in His way. Ameen.

5
General Discussions / Muqattat Letters - Study from Turkey
« on: November 23, 2012, 12:24:59 PM »

An external study submitted. Posted on the forum for perusal by wider audience.

Joseph Islam does not accept any responsibility for the contents that appear below or any reliance that may be placed on them.

http://quransmessage.com/forum/posts/m-letters.htm


6
Discussions / Why are Muslims So Boring?
« on: October 17, 2012, 11:47:20 PM »
By: Ziauddin Sardar
http://www.islaminteractive.info/content/why-are-muslims-so-boring


For the last 25 years, my wife has been doing semi-voluntary work at a special school near where we live. It is a small school for pupils with physical disability or delicate health needs who need a structured and particularly supportive learning environment.

Every year, the school holds a special assembly to celebrate the beginning of Ramadan. And every year, without fail, there is a common question: why are Muslims so boring?

The displays at the Ramadan assembly are copies of the Qur’an, a couple of prayer mats, and an odd poster. There is the standard, solemn recitation of the Qur’an. In contrast, the Dewali assembly is a riot of colour, costume, dance and music. Ditto for Chinese New Year. Not surprisingly, the pupils enjoy themselves thoroughly and, unlike the Ramadan event, look forward to them eagerly.

I sympathise with the children. We Muslims are not very good at expressing joy. We have reduced our religion to a set of rituals which we enact like robots at every occasion. When Muslims want to celebrate something, they go and offer some extra prayers! Indeed, there are some amongst us who have even outlawed all sources of pleasure and delight. Every time some unfortunate sods in the Muslim world are lumbered with an ‘Islamic government’, music is declared to be haram, cinemas are closed, dance and theatre are banned, and art and imagination are outlawed. No wonder, the rest of the world finds Muslims somewhat lacking in humanity.

No society, whatever it holds to be true, can survive without culture in all its multiple manifestations. Prayer and rituals may make us pious and righteous, but it is cultural expression that really manifests our full humanity. To say that all we need is prayer and rituals is to diminish ourselves as human beings. As human beings, we have an innate need for cultural nourishment, an innate desire to express our most sublime thoughts, emotions and feelings. Moreover, we also need to be entertained, to feel good about ourselves, to be jolted about our shortcomings, and to communicate joy and contentment. But how we do this when we look down on all forms of cultural expression?

Consider, for example, the absurd suggestion that music is haram. If this were true, than God has ordained that we should ignore and suppress something that He, in His Wisdom, choose to give us in the first place: the beauty of sound. In other words, we are being asked to overlook one of our five vital senses, one-fifth of what makes us human. The suggestion also belies Islamic history whose tributaries and valleys were alive with the sound of music. Indeed, one of the most common musical instruments, the guitar, was invented in Muslim Spain. Not to mention the role played by music in Sufism, one of the major strands of Islamic thought, where music is used routinely for mystical elevation, for getting close to God.

Equally absurd is the suggestion that Islam outlaws images. Hence, cinema and television, painting and sculpture, and other forms of art that rely on images should be banned from Islamic societies. Islam shuns idolatry. But to suggest Muslims are so stupid that they will start worshipping cinematic or sculpted images is genuinely dumbfounding. Those who insist that Muslims can exist without images in a world awash with images -  where images are the dominant and most effective way of communicating messages, portraying people and societies, and displaying power and privilege - are inviting us to commit suicide.

We need to realise that culture is power. Indeed, culture is the most prominent source of power in the contemporary world. Look at the impact of Bollywood, not just in Britain, but all over the world. Note how Hollywood maintains the domination of American culture throughout the world; and note also how Hong Kong action films and Chinese art cinema are transforming Hollywood. Consider the impact of serious and popular European fiction on the globe. Think how art has been used in so many societies to highlight their shortcoming and express dissent. Notice how music and dance bring people together everywhere.

Culture is also a source of resistance. We can only resist the proliferation of the globalised mass culture of McDonald and Coca Cola variety with our own cultural products. But if we don’t produce anything ourselves, if we shun all forms of art and architecture, film and fiction, dance and theatre, then we have nothing that could offer resistance. Except perhaps our victimhood in which we already wallow at every opportunity.

Finally, cultural expression can be a way of thanking God. When I listen to Quawwali or sitar, or watch the latest masterpiece of the Iranian cinema, or look at particularly uplifting work of art, or read an insightful novel, I cannot but exclaim: ‘Alhumdulilllah’. God, in His Infinite Mercy, has endowed us with so many wonderful ways to enlighten and enrich ourselves. And so many diverse ways to ‘see’ His signs and feel His presence.

The suppression of cultural expression is a form of ungratefulness. It is the denial of God’s grace and cultural bounty. This is why the most obnoxious Muslims you will meet are so diminished, so lacking in appreciation of culture, so constipated with their disgust and disdain of cultural expression.

At the end, we are so boring because we insist on being truncated human beings. And because we are so ungrateful to God.

7
Discussions / Re: Why are Jews so powerful and Muslims so powerless?
« on: October 09, 2012, 11:28:59 PM »
In addition to the above content, the following was also shared as a forwarded email by Mubashir.


Muslims are not happy

They're not happy in Gaza
They're not happy in Egypt
They're not happy in Libya
They're not happy in Morocco
They're not happy in Iran
They're not happy in Iraq
They're not happy in Yemen
They're not happy in Afghanistan
They're not happy in Pakistan
They're not happy in Syria
They're not happy in Lebanon
So, where are they happy?
They're happy in Australia
They're happy in England
They're happy in France
They're happy in Italy
They're happy in Germany
They're happy in Sweden
They're happy in the USA & Canada
They're happy in Norway
They're happy in almost every country that is not Islamic!

And who do they blame?

Not Islam...
Not their leadership...
Not themselves...

THEY BLAME THE COUNTRIES THEY ARE HAPPY IN

And they want to change the countries they're happy in,
to be like the countries they came from,
where they were unhappy.

Try to find logic in that !

8
Discussions / Why are Jews so powerful and Muslims so powerless?
« on: October 09, 2012, 11:22:19 PM »
External Content


Why are Jews so powerful and Muslims so powerless?
Blitz Comprehensive Tabloid Weekly
by. Dr. Farrukh Saleem
January 8 2010

URL: http://www.weeklyblitz.net/394/why-are-jews-so-powerful-and-muslims-so-powerless


There are only 14 million Jews in the world; seven million in the Americas, five million in Asia, two million in Europe and 100,000 in Africa. For every single Jew in the world there are 100 Muslims. Yet, Jews are more than a hundred times more powerful than all the Muslims put together. Ever wondered why?

Jesus of Nazareth was Jewish. Albert Einstein, the most influential scientist of all time and TIME magazine's 'Person of the Century', was a Jew. Sigmund Freud - ego, superego - the father of psychoanalysis was a Jew. So were Karl Marx, Paul Samuelson and Milton Friedman.

Here are a few other Jews whose intellectual output has enriched the whole of humanity: Benjamin Rubin gave humanity the vaccinating needle. Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine. Alert Sabin developed the improved live polio vaccine. Gertrude Elion gave us a leukemia-fighting drug. Baruch Blumberg developed the vaccination for Hepatitis B. Paul Ehrlich discovered a treatment for syphilis (a sexually transmitted disease). Elie Metchnikoff won a Nobel Prize in infectious diseases.

Bernard Katz won a Nobel Prize in neuromuscular transmission. Andrew Schally won a Nobel in endocrinology (disorders of the endocrine system; diabetes, hyperthyroidism). Aaron Beck founded Cognitive Therapy (psychotherapy to treat mental disorders, depression and phobias). Gregory Pincus developed the first oral contraceptive pill. George Wald won a Nobel for furthering our understanding of the human eye. Stanley Cohen won a Nobel in embryology (study of embryos and their development). Willem Kolff came up with the kidney dialysis machine.

Over the past 105 years, 14 million Jews have won 180 Nobel Prizes while only 3 Nobel Prizes have been won by 1.4 billion Muslims (other than Peace Prizes).

Why are Jews so powerful? Stanley Mezor invented the first micro-processing chip. Leo Szilard developed the first nuclear chain reactor; Peter Schultz, the optical fibre cable; Charles Adler - traffic lights; Benno Strauss - stainless steel; Isador Kisee - sound movies; Emile Berliner - the telephone microphone and Charles Ginsburg - the videotape recorder.

Famous financiers in the business world who belong to the Jewish faith include Ralph Lauren (Polo), Levis Strauss (Levi's Jeans), Howard Schultz (Starbuck's) , Sergey Brin (Google), Michael Dell (Dell Computers), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Donna Karan (DKNY), Irv Robbins (Baskins & Robbins) and Bill Rosenberg (Dunkin Donuts).

Richard Levin, President of Yale University, is a Jew. So are Henry Kissinger (American secretary of state), Alan Greenspan (Federal Chairman of Banking under Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush, Jr.), Joseph Lieberman, Senator, Madeleine Albright (former Secretary of State), Maxim Litvinov (USSR Foreign Minister), David Marshal (Singapore's first Chief Minister), Issac Isaacs (Governor-General of Australia), Benjamin Disraeli (British statesman and author), Yevgeny Primakov (Russian Prime Minister), Jorge Sampaio (President of Portugal), Herb Gray (Canadian Deputy Prime Minister), Pierre Mendes (French Prime Minister), Michael Howard (British Home Secretary), Bruno Kreisky (Chancellor of Austria) and Robert Rubin (former Secretary of the Treasury).

In the media, famous Jews include Wolf Blitzer (CNN), Barbara Walters (ABC News), Eugene Meyer (Washington Post), Henry Grunwald (Editor-in-Chief of Time Magazine), Katherine Graham (publisher of The Washington Post), Joseph Lelyyeld (Executive Editor, The New York Times), and Max Frankel (New York Times).

Can you name the most beneficent philanthropist in the history of the world? The name is George Soros, a Jew, who has so far donated a colossal $4 billion; most of which has gone as aid to scientists and universities around the world. Second to George Soros is Walter Annenberg, another Jew, who has built a hundred libraries by donating an estimated $2 billion.

At the Olympics, Mark Spitz set a record of sorts by wining seven gold medals. Lenny Krayzelburg is a three-time Olympic gold medalist. Spitz, Krayzelburg and Boris Becker (Tennis) are all Jewish.

Did you know that Harrison Ford, George Burns, Tony Curtis, Charles Bronson, Sandra Bullock, Barbra Streisand, Billy Crystal, Woody Allen, Paul Newman, Peter Sellers, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Douglas, Ben Kingsley, Kirk Douglas, William Shatner, Jerry Lewis and Peter Falk are all Jewish?

As a matter of fact, Hollywood itself was founded by a Jew. Among directors and producers, Steven Spielberg, Mel Brooks, Oliver Stone, Aaron Spelling (Beverly Hills 90210), Neil Simon (The Odd Couple), Andrew Vaina (Rambo's 1, 2 and 3), Michael Mann (Starsky and Hutch), Milos Forman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), Douglas Fairbanks (The Thief of Baghdad) and Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters) are all Jewish.

To be certain, Washington is the capital that matters and in Washington the lobby that matters is The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. Washington knows that if PM Ehud Olmert were to discover that the earth is flat, AIPAC will make the 109th Congress pass a resolution congratulating Olmert on his discovery.

William James Sidis, with an IQ of 250-300, is the brightest human who ever existed. Guess what faith did he belong to?

So, why are Jews so powerful?

Answer: Education!

Why are Muslims so powerless?

There are an estimated 1,476,233,470 Muslims on the face of the planet: one billion in Asia, 400 million in Africa, 44 million in Europe and six million in the Americas. Every fifth human being is a Muslim. For every single Hindu there are two Muslims, for every Buddhist there are two Muslims and for every Jew there are one hundred Muslims. Ever wondered why Muslims are so powerless?

Here is why: There are 57 member-countries of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), and all of them put together have around 500 universities; one university for every three million Muslims. The United States has 5,758 universities (1 for every 57,000 Americans) and India has 8,407. In 2004, Shanghai Jiao Tong University compiled an 'Academic Ranking of World Universities', and intriguingly, not one university from Muslim-majority states was in the top 500.

As per data collected by the UNDP, literacy in the Christian world stands at nearly 90 per cent and 15 Christian-majority states have a literacy rate of 100 per cent. A Muslim-majority state, as a sharp contrast, has an average literacy rate of around 40 per cent and there is no Muslim-majority state with a literacy rate of 100 per cent. Some 98 per cent of the 'literates' in the Christian world had completed primary school, while less than 50 per cent of the 'literates' in the Muslim world did the same. Around 40 per cent of the 'literates' in the Christian world attended university while no more than two per cent of the 'literates' in the Muslim world did the same.

Muslim-majority countries have 230 scientists per one million Muslims. The U.S. has 4,000 scientists per million and Japan has 5,000 per million. In the entire Arab world, the total number of full-time researchers is 35,000 and there are only 50 technicians per one million Arabs (in the Christian world there are up to 1,000 technicians per one million). Furthermore, the Muslim world spends 0.2 per cent of its GDP on research and development, while the Christian world spends around five per cent of its GDP.

Conclusion: The Muslim world lacks the capacity to produce knowledge.

Daily newspapers per 1,000 people and number of book titles per million are two indicators of whether knowledge is being diffused in a society. In Pakistan, there are 23 daily newspapers per 1,000 Pakistanis while the same ratio in Singapore is 360. In the UK, the number of book titles per million stands at 2,000 while the same in Egypt is 20.

Conclusion: The Muslim world is failing to diffuse knowledge.

Exports of high technology products as a percentage of total exports are an important indicator of knowledge application. Pakistan's exports of high technology products as a percentage of total exports stands at one per cent. The same for Saudi Arabia, Kuwait , Morocco , and Algeria (are all at 0.3 per cent) while Singapore is at 58 per cent.

Conclusion: The Muslim world is failing to apply knowledge.

Why are Muslims powerless?

Because we aren't producing knowledge.

Why are Muslims powerless?
Because we aren't diffusing knowledge.

Why are Muslims powerless?
Because we aren't applying knowledge.

And, the future belongs to knowledge-based societies.

Interestingly, the combined annual GDP of 57 OIC-countries is under $2 trillion. America, just by herself, produces goods and services worth $12 trillion; China - $8 trillion, Japan - $3.8 trillion and Germany - $2.4 trillion (purchasing power parity basis).

Oil rich Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar collectively produce goods and services (mostly oil) worth $500 billion; Spain alone produces goods and services worth over $1 trillion; Catholic Poland - $489 billion and Buddhist Thailand - $545 billion. Muslim GDP, as a percentage of worlds GDP, is fast declining.

So, why are Muslims so powerless?

Answer: Lack of education!

All we do is shouting to Allah the whole day and blame everyone else for our multiple failures.

Opinion expressed in this article is solely of the author.

9
Discussions / Re: Critique of Quranist Blog
« on: August 31, 2012, 02:39:31 AM »
Critique of the above Blog
By: Wakas

Shared on: http://www.scribd.com/doc/100544129/Critique-of-Quranology-Blog-Quranists

Critique of Quranology blog - Quranists

Re:
Post on 2:196 - quranology.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/ch-2-vs-196-the-completion-of-the-challenge/



Here is a list of errors/problems in your understanding. Since there were many I will list them for easier reference:

Abbreviations:
NQCR = no Quran cross-reference
NQE = no Quranic evidence
NCADR = no classical Arabic dictionary reference


1) You said – “We are to complete the challenge and fertilisation for Allah, which is to establish and grow His system in the world. Whoever is prevented should...”

Prevented from establishing and growing His system in the world? If so that would mean pretty much everyone in the world would be classed as “prevented”, because at best it would be a tiny tiny minority who could even claim to have ESTABLISHED and GROWN His system in the world.
Further, what establishing and growing means is anyone’s guess. It seems it would be subjective, and difficult to determine when this had been fulfilled, if ever.

2) You translate “al hadiy” as “progressions” with NQCR, NQE, NCADR.
Having an alternative translation for a word is fine but at least one would expect an explanation or some presentation of evidence for an unheard of word choice. Secondly, the word is actually “al hadiy” (definite noun, singular) so it should have been translated as “the progression”. The use of “al” commonly signifies that this noun and what it refers to is well known to the addressed audience. Of course, if you were to translate it in this way, it would be more awkward for you to explain.

3) Translates “raas” as “thought” with NQCR, NQE, NCADR.
Again, choosing an unusual word choice is fine if it can be backed up with some sort of reasoning/evidence, but you present none. Furthermore, it is plural, not singular.

4) Translates “mahilla” as “place of effectiveness” with NQCR, NQE, NCADR.

5) Do you expect a person with psychological issues to determine they are so and therefore fast, give charity etc? I’m very interested to know how this would be, do tell.

6) “Once they are secure” – secure from what?

7) Incorrectly imply the verse says “continue with the umra” when the Arabic actually uses a perfect verb, meaning an action done/completed, meaning “whoever benefitted/enjoyed with the umra”, thus there can be no “(that is to keep growing Gods system till it challenges oppression)” as you allege.

8] Halfway through the verse you switch “al hajj” to be in reference to challenging oppression, which is not mentioned in the context.

9) For sake of argument, if we assume it is indeed about “...continue with fertilisation towards the challenge (that is to keep growing Gods system till it challenges oppression) by keep contributing hadya/progressions. “ – but the Arabic actually says “...then what is EASY of the progression” – I never knew challenging oppression would be easy. Can we assume your view is Quran is saying only do the easy stuff when it comes to combating oppression? If it’s difficult just leave it?

10) You say “If he is unable to make progress during the period of challenge” but the Arabic simply says “so whoever couldn’t find”. Let us know what you translate “yajid (find)” as.

11) Since you view “the challenge” as establishing God’s system in the world then the vast majority would not be able to establish it, thus the period you allude to would be their lifetime, yet you now imply “the challenge” is a finite period or periods. Please explain.

12) I’d be very interested in hearing your logic behind having 3 periods of fasting during the challenge and a number of periods during the times for people. And why this is a “formula for perfect social living”? And if you have time, explain your obscure reference to 2:189 and timings and how they’d be determined practically.

13) You seemingly miss out the Arabic when it says “when you returned” -please explain.

14) You claim “3asharah kaamilah” means “perfect social living” with NQCR, NQE, NCADR.
The same word “3asharah” appears in 5:89 and using your translation would render it nonsensical.
Further, the grammar of these two words in their construction would need explained in any alternative understanding. As it stand you have not.

15) The Arabic is “al masjid al haram” which implies you are translating “masjid” as “system”. Is this how you translate “masjid” elsewhere? And therefore what about “sujud”?

16) Strictly speaking, the preposition “fee (in)” is not there in the Arabic prior to “al masjid al haram”.

17) You translate “haram” as “sanctified”, but this makes little sense elsewhere, e.g. 2:194, 5:97, 9:5, 9:36 amongst others. If we combine this with your translation of “shahr” as “situation/condition” or “obvious state”, then what are the 12 obvious states with God, and 4 of them are sanctified (see 9:36)? If they are indeed obvious, it should be easy for you to tell us what they are, and/or the logic behind them, as per Quran

To date: 19th July 2012 – all of the above remain unanswered and blocked from being posted on the site.

Background reading: www.islam-and-muslims.com/articles/Quran-2196-critical-thinking.html



10
Discussions / Critique of a 'Quranist' Blog
« on: August 31, 2012, 02:34:09 AM »
Quranology Blog
By: Farouk A. Peru

Shared on: http://quranology.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/ch-2-vs-196-the-completion-of-the-challenge/

Ch 2 Vs 196 (The Completion of the Challenge)
Posted on April 20, 2012
2:196



وَأَتِمُّوا الْحَجَّ وَالْعُمْرَةَ لِلَّهِ فَإِنْ أُحْصِرْتُمْ فَمَا اسْتَيْسَرَ مِنَ الْهَدْيِ وَلا تَحْلِقُوا رُءُوسَكُمْ حَتَّى يَبْلُغَ الْهَدْيُ مَحِلَّهُ فَمَنْ كَانَ مِنْكُمْ مَرِيضًا أَوْ بِهِ أَذًى مِنْ رَأْسِهِ فَفِدْيَةٌ مِنْ صِيَامٍ أَوْ صَدَقَةٍ أَوْ نُسُكٍ فَإِذَا أَمِنْتُمْ فَمَنْ تَمَتَّعَ بِالْعُمْرَةِ إِلَى الْحَجِّ فَمَا اسْتَيْسَرَ مِنَ الْهَدْيِ فَمَنْ لَمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ ثَلاثَةِ أَيَّامٍ فِي الْحَجِّ وَسَبْعَةٍ إِذَا رَجَعْتُمْ تِلْكَ عَشَرَةٌ كَامِلَةٌ ذَلِكَ لِمَنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ أَهْلُهُ حَاضِرِي الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ
 
This follows from the process of 195, to spend in the way of Allah (due to the ‘wa’ which denotes simultaniety). We are to complete the challenge and fertilisation for Allah, which is to establish and grow His system in the world. Whoever is prevented should send forth progressions and not let go of this thought until it reaches its place of effectiveness. Those who are ill or with psychological issues should fast or give charity or keep up their life activities. Once they are secure, they are continue with fertilisation towards the challenge (that is to keep growing Gods system till it challenges oppression) by keep contributing hadya/progressions.  If he is unable to make progress during the period of challenge (see 2/189, the period of challenge and the period for the people), he is to fast for ‘three’ periods during the challenge and a number of periods during the times for people. That would be make the formula for perfect social living (3asharah kaamilah). These are for the people whose ahl/kith and kin are not present in God’s sanctified system.

11
Discussions / Critique of Aidid Safar by Edip Yuksel
« on: August 03, 2012, 07:22:28 AM »
Link shared by reader:

http://www.yuksel.org/e/religion/arab.htm


n Aidid’s Wonderland, place of worships (masaajid) vanishes to submissions (yes, plural!); timely prayers transform to timely commitments; “worshiping God” is rejected and replaced by “serving God”; the Sacred House Ka’ba mutates into “the ‘ankles’ the sanctioned in the system” (the ankles are literally the ankles of deer and goats!); verbs and adverbs are ignored  whenever they do not conspire with Aidid against Arab Conspiracies; nouns and verbs act like transsexuals in a “fundamental” way where the meanings are freshly assigned by Aidid to justify his bizarre theories.
 
Conspiracy Against Conspiracies
or
Words in the Wonderland
 
Edip Yuksel
© yuksel.org
 
The author, Aidid Safar, in The Arab Conspiracies Against Islam, expresses his position with an eloquent and powerful argument. I agree with some of his arguments and disagree with the most. I find some of his arguments being inconsequential word choice, such as the meaning of DYN being way of life rather than religion, which I think, ultimately means the same thing. However, his argument aiming to eliminate Salaat and Hajj rituals are radical, yet fragile and unsupported. His arguments against rituals occasionally appear strong when they are compared to the traditional corrupt interpretation of some verses. In other words, the strength of his position mostly relies on the weakness of mushrik Sunni and Shiite (mis)translation of Quranic verses.
 
Currently, I do not have time nor desire to evaluate all of his arguments, since it might take a similar book to demonstrate the numerous errors, speculations, and unjustified inferences. But, I would like to briefly note the following:
 
Aidid asserts that SaLLY means not prayer, but commitment. There is some truth in this statement. The word SaLLY, when it is not used together with the verb IQaMa, usually means support and encouragement. For instance, I translated the verse 74:43 in my Turkish translation, Mesaj:  “They will say: ‘We did not support’”. Similarly I translated the verse 75:31 in Mesaj: “He neither accepted the truth, nor he supported.” I also translated the word Salla to mean support in verses 2:157; 9:99,103; and 33:43,56. Furthermore, I agree with Aidid that in verse 5:106 the word Salla may not mean the salaat ritual. However, when the word Salat is used with verb IQaMa it refers to a timely ritual preceded by ablution. His arguments on those verses are not convincing.
 
In page 19 he provides a list of words claiming that their meanings have been distorted. Though I agree with him partially, for instance that the meaning of SaLLY has been distorted in verses I listed above, and the meaning of the word MaQaM (in re Abraham) is mistranslated as footprint; however he goes extreme in his fight against the conspiracy theory and reaches to bizarre conclusions.
 
For instance, Aidid want us stop “worshiping God” and start “serving God” on the basis that God does not need our worship. But, he ignores the validity of the same question for serving God. Surely, God does not need our service either. When a wrong question is asked you can be sure that the answer will also be wrong. We worship God not because God needs our worship, but because we need it.
 
Aidid asserts that the word al-BaYT (singular form) which has been traditionally translated as THE HOUSE, usually referring to the public building raised by Abraham and his children in Mecca, should be translated as SYSTEM. He claims that HaJJ, the annual PILGRIM to the House in Mecca, should be understood as CHALLENGE OR DISCOURSE. He is suggesting new meanings to old words. I would welcome such a radical move if he had provided a substantial Quranic and logical reason to do so. The traditional meanings of the word BaYT and HaJJ explain all the verses where they occur without forcing our imagination, but the so-called "fundamental meanings" suggested by Aidid are usually beyond my imagination. Let me explain:
 
2:127 is about raising the foundation of the House. Like Aidid, I can imagine this to be about laying the foundation of a new system.
 
2:158 is about visiting the House. I cannot imagine this to be about “challenging or discourse to God’s system” (al-BaYT in the context of Hajj does not carry a negative connotation, but is associated to Abraham and God in the Quran.)
 
5:95 asks us making sure that offerings reach the KA’Ba. I cannot imagine  it to be about “to determine the ‘ankles’” or “guides maturity the ankle” meaning  “they must determine the maturity of the deer on its ankles” as suggested by the author. I do not even understand what the author means by these words.
 
5:97 tells us that God has consecrated the Ka’bah, the sacred House as a safety for people. But, Aidid wants us to understand it as “God has set the ‘ankles’ (ka’bata) the sanctioned in the system (baytil-harami) to be upheld for mankind”. If the word “ridiculous” or “nonsense” has a reference in human language and in real life, then Aidid’s translation of this phrase is one of them.
 
8:35 tells us that the prayer of the mushriks by the House was merely hypocrisy (muka) and repulsion from truth (tasdiya). But Aidid Safar wants us to understand it as “their commitment to the system,” The author does not care about INDA (nearby) or other propositions. He ignores or distorts their meaning to fit his theory.
 
17:93 informs us about the demands of disbelievers from Muhammad, including his having a luxurious/adorned house (mansion). Though Aidid does not translate this verse, according to his “fundamental meaning” we should understand that mushriks expected Muhammad have a luxurious (zukhruf) system! Perhaps, Aidid will change the meaning of ZUKHRUF too, since he does not need much justification as long as it serves his pre-conceived conclusions.
 
28:12 tells the story of Moses being returned to his home/family and quotes his sister saying “May I show you a people of a HOUSE (family/home) that can raise him and take care of him for you?” According to Aidid this is an Arab conspiracy. The “fundamental meaning” suggested by Aidid, Moses’ sister is talking about a people of a SYSTEM. In Aidid’s imagination, all the individual BaYTs (house/building) are destroyed to build a SYSTEM with no rituals. BuYuT (Houses), on the other hand, are spared. They are houses!
 
In Aidid’s fundamentally non-Arabic semantic world, Pharaoh’s wife prayed not for a place in paradise/garden (jannah) but a system in paradise (66:11). I suppose, Aidid has all the skills to change the meaning of every word in the Quran, including the word Jannah. The house of the lady transforms to the lady’s system dwelled by Joseph (12:23), and God’s system needs to be cleaned by people (2:125; 22:26). Again, according to Aidid’s dictionary, God caused the Prophet get out of his system with the Truth (8:5)! Whatever it may mean? If you do not understand Aidid, it is because you are brainwashed by Arab conspiracies.
 
In short, in Aidid’s Wonderland, place of worships (masaajid) vanishes to submissions (yes, plural!); timely prayers transform to timely commitments; “worshiping God” is rejected and replaced by “serving God”; the Sacred House Ka’ba mutates into “the ‘ankles’ the sanctioned in the system” (the ankles are literally the ankles of deer and goats!); verbs and adverbs are ignored  whenever they do not conspire with Aidid against Arab Conspiracies; nouns and verbs act like transsexuals in a “fundamental” way where the meanings are freshly assigned by Aidid to justify his bizarre theories.
 
This is another abuse and exploitation of the Quran Alone message. Aidid is not the first nor will be the last brave warrior who will use the powerful message of the Quran Alone against tradition to justify esoteric and absurd claims. In an overpopulated world any conspiracy theory and any absurd idea will find some followers. We should let the Arab conspirators and non-Arab counter-conspirators deal with each other. As long as there are wind mills there will be Don Quixotes and their admirers. Peace for all of them!  Thank God, I do not own any wind mills;-)

13
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zg0RdSurLXI

If any English translations of this video are available, please feel free to share.

Salam

QM Team

14
Discussions / Ghulam Parwez Critiqued - Literature
« on: July 04, 2012, 06:30:28 AM »

For Urdu speaking readers

Ghulam Ahmed Pervez - Shakhsiyat Aur Kirdar (www.tauheed-sunnat.com)

http://www.tauheed-sunnat.com/book/296/Ghulam-Ahmed-Pervez--Shakhsiyat-Aur-Kirdar/

If anyone has an English translation for the readership of this forum, please feel free to share.

Salam

QM Team

15
Discussions / Why I No Longer Envy Born Believers
« on: March 23, 2012, 10:47:06 PM »
By Yoginder Sikand for New Age Islam

For many years, I harboured a deep-rooted envy for people who unquestioningly believed in whatever religion they happened to be born into. Their seemingly unshakable belief gave them, or so I thought, remarkable confidence, which I sorely lacked and desperately craved for. How I wished I could have the same uncritical faith! How I agonized about why my parents had never insisted that I follow any religious tradition, including their own! Surely, with the sort of commitment that the ‘born believers’ I knew displayed, weathering the storms that I had to confront in my life—and there were many—would have been infinitely less painful. How much suffering I would have been spared—or so I used to think.
Although I tried to experiment with various religions over the years—not very seriously, I must admit—I could never arrive at the same state of belief (or what critics would call ‘blind faith’) as that of ardent ‘born believers’. Lack of sincerity and commitment was certainly one factor. That it was solace or an end to my inner suffering, rather than truth, that I was searching for was another. But, equally, the fact that I simply could not bring myself to believe in and assent to the absurd, unacceptable and immoral claims, beliefs and tenets of some of the religions that I sought to engage with ruled out the sort of faith that I so desperately craved for.

Today, after years of studying different religions and religious communities, I no longer feel the way I used to about people with seemingly unshakable belief in the religions they were born and socialized by their parents into. Indeed, I am now profoundly thankful to have been spared the ideological brainwashing that billions of ‘born believers’ throughout history have been—and continue to be—subjected to.

True religion, as I understand it, ought to provide ultimate truths concerning existence, life, death and beyond and the divine realms. Surely, accessing or realising these truths should be a matter of ultimate importance for those who claim to be religious. Nothing else, I presume, would be of greater importance to a sincere seeker. But, as I have painfully discovered, this is something that the vast majority of ‘born believers’ are simply not interested in or concerned about at all. For them, unflinching loyalty to the diktats of the religion they happened to be born into—even if what their religions teach on a range of issues may be patently absurd, unscientific or morally reprehensible —is of fundamental importance. Loyal adherence to the faith that they have inherited from their parents, rather than the desire to realize the truth as it is, underlies their religious life.

Since it is unquestioning adherence to the faith of one’s parents, rather than an honest search for truth, that drives the ‘born believer’, one can be sure that had he or she been born into a different religion instead he or she would have believed in it with equal passion. Consider the case of a born Christian, who insists that Christ is the only way to salvation and regards Mohammad as an imposter. Had the same person been born a Muslim instead, it is almost certain that he would insist that Islam was the only true religion and that Mohammad was the greatest prophet. He would also fervently believe that Christians would perish in hell for what he would consider as their disbelief. Likewise, a born Muslim might very likely believe that Hinduism is polytheistic nonsense. However, had she been born into an orthodox Brahmin household instead, she might well have regarded Islam as wholly false and considered Hinduism as the epitome of truth. Similarly, a born Muslim might regard the Sikh form of worship completely unacceptable in the eyes of God and the Sikh custom of leaving one’s hair unshorn absurd, but it is very possible that had he been born into a Sikh family instead he would have considered the Muslims’ five compulsory daily prayers as a tiresome burden and a meaningless ritual and the Islamic practice of male circumcision as barbaric.

As these hypothetical examples illustrate, most blind believers are not guided by the quest for truth at all. Indeed, they are inimically opposed to that very quest. Most such believers follow their particular inherited religion and claim it to be the best simply because they were born into it and feel compelled to defend its teachings (no matter how absurd they may be) at any cost. They have been socialized into believing that the religion of their parents is the only valid repository of ultimate or divine truth, or, at least, the most superior one. At the same time, they are also trained to believe that all other religions are perversely wrong, wicked and immoral or, at the very least, definitely inferior to their own. That is why the blind believer can never generously admit the merits and truths of other religions. If he reluctantly does so, you can be sure that he still feels compelled to insist (to himself, if not to others) that his own religion remains the best. Blind belief of this sort is at the very basis of bloody conflicts in the name of religion the world over.

Blind believers are psychologically compelled to regard that every word of their scriptures, prophets, avatars and gurus as absolute divine truths. This belief is not based on any objective examination of their religions or of the lives of the key figures of their religious traditions, but simply on unquestioning belief. For even a shadow of doubt or skepticism to emerge in the minds of such believers about their religious texts or the personalities of their founding figures is regarded as the most heinous crime possible—which, they are forced into believing, will provoke the wrath of the divine. Instigating and instilling fear of divine punishment for daring to doubt or question is how most religions manage to maintain their stranglehold on the minds of blind believers.

Many widely-revered religious scriptures abound with absurd and unscientific claims, but blind believers do not dare question them. Some such texts depict a violent, hate-driven and vengeful God, who drives his followers to declare war on those who do not accept what they claim is the sole true religion. Others are replete with stories of deities who engage in adulterous affairs or are habitual drunkards and rapists. The narratives of the founders and key-figures of several religious traditions indicate that some of them suffered terrible moral flaws and were hardly the models of virtue that their followers imagine them to have been. Some are recorded as having engaged in looting, adultery and rape, others in incest, murder and widespread slaughter—crimes that would surely have landed them into jail or into mental asylums had they been around today.
In the face of all of this, blind believers are often compelled to engage in painful struggles to retain their faith in their religious traditions. This explains the frantic efforts they are forced to make to defend, cover-up, explain away or excuse the absurd claims and immoralities which some of their religious texts themselves record and even uphold as normative. Had their religiosity been based on the quest for truth, rather than unquestioning loyalty to the religion they have been born into and blindly accept, they would have been spared this painful torment of struggling to defend the indefensible.

True seekers are the polar opposite of blind believers. A true seeker refuses to be bound by or unquestioningly accept the religion that his forefathers have cherished, for he recognizes that this can be a major fetter in his search for truth. Indeed, he is open to the possibility that most or even every religious tradition, including the one he was born into, maybe flawed, while at the same time he recognizes that truth may well be found outside the boundaries of conventional religion.

Unlike the born or blind believer, the true seeker refuses to seek truth only in what are conventionally regarded as ‘holy’ scriptures or to be bound and confined by them. For such a seeker, the whole of the cosmos, including, and most importantly, his own self, is the arena for discovering and experiencing truth. What drives the true seeker on is the quest for the truth about the fundamental questions about the divine and about life and death, and in this search he refuses to blindly accept anything in any religion—including the one he happened to be born into—that does not conform to his experience, personal realization, the confirmed findings of science and the demands of basic morality.

True seekers are few—and have always been so. The harsh reality is that the vast majority of people who consider themselves religious are blind believers, almost all believers in whatever religion they happened to be born into and reared by their families to believe in. Why this has been so is not difficult to understand. Parents would like nothing more than their children to believe as they do, and so insist that they blindly accept their religious beliefs and practices. This continues over the generations in such a way as to completely rob children of their right to believe as they want or to seek truth for themselves. By the time they have grown up, most people have been firmly brainwashed into an uncritical, robotic acceptance of the religious beliefs of their ancestors. Even if some of them harbor doubts about these beliefs, few would dare to voice them for fear of being scorned by their families and peers, ostracized from their communities, or, in some cases, even killed for their dissenting views.

Believing what one’s family insists is true is thus the infinitely easier option for most folks. It spares them the agony of searching for truth, which is a quest that inevitably entails painful struggle, including against the absurdities and prejudices that one has been reared on since childhood in the name of religion. How much more convenient it seems is it to simply acquiesce in the prejudices of one’s family and unquestioningly accept the religious beliefs that they have clung to for generations—even if this means being shackled by absurd and unacceptable beliefs and rituals! For people too petrified of the hurdles that must be crossed in the search for truth or too lazy to even think of setting out on that path, blindly accepting the religion one is born into seems a tantalizing option, and one that is too tempting to be resisted.

But succumbing to this temptation comes at a very heavy cost—at the cost of truth itself. Remaining shackled by ignorance, prejudice and burdensome beliefs and rituals is the heavy price one inevitably has to pay for choosing to be a blind believer, passively accepting what one has been socialised into believing since infancy and simply too frightened to contemplate of thinking beyond it or critically analysing it. Clinging to a belief system simply because one is born into it clearly indicates, as nothing else can, that such religiosity is in no way impelled by a quest for discovering the truth—or, to use the language of God-centric religions, of knowing or realizing God. Inevitably, then, such belief, I suspect, can never lead one to the truth—or, if you prefer the term, God.

Having realized the futility of blind belief, no longer do I now envy ‘born believers’ for their seemingly unshakable faith. I now realize that it is not truth that they seek or know, but, rather, simply the prejudices they have inherited from their families in the name of religion which they spend their entire lives worshipping and defending. How much better, then, the freedom of the path of the seeker—despite the heavy odds on the way—than the shackles of blind faith, which I once so desperately craved to be imprisoned by!

http://www.newageislam.com/spiritual-meditations/yoginder-sikand-for-new-age-islam/why-i-no-longer-envy-born-believers/d/6889

Yoginder Sikand works with the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion at the National Law School, Bangalore

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