This week the depate question in one of my courses was concerning the ethnicissity of the terrorist cell on the TV Show 24. The show portrayed a family of middle east nationality as a terrorist cell. One result was very important. I beleive it is important to ALL AMERICANS. Since 9/11 I have no doubt that the people of middle east decent have become the target of fear and misunderstanding. Since I was born and raised in the United States, I don't have a lot of knowledge about other countries and their religions.
What could this possibly have to do with a lady tramp working in Las Vegas.
One of my roles is electrician, another one of my role is Seeker of Spiritual Experiences. I had the pleasure of gaining knowledge about Muslims. I want to share that with anyone that visits my blog. The information I received could change American's perceptions. I have posted this information in the extended entry. Thank you to my Muslim classmates.
Topic: Week 4 Date: February 10, 2005 9:14 PM
Subject: Cliffnotes Islam 101 For Dummies (TM) Author: Alam, Jubaer
Last edited on: February 10, 2005 9:14 PM
As this is an opportune time and place to talk about this as any, this thread will seek to explain to the uninformed or curious what Islam is about, for those who may be interested or seek clarification. This is all in my own words, and since I myself am a Muslim, I believe I know what I'm talking about. The Mohammed(s) and others knowledgeable in this matter may feel free to correct me or update their own information.
Basically, Islam considers itself one of the three main branches of religious subservience to the One True God. The other two branches are Christianity and Judaism. Apparently, there's a lot of misconceptions amongst some Americans, who wrongfully think that Allah is some kind of "Other God." But in truth, "Allah" is only the Arabic word meaning "God." In reality, Jews, Christians, and Muslims all worship the SAME god, he who is the ONE TRUE GOD. Whereas Christians may refer to Him as "God," and Jews may refer to Him as "Jehovah," Muslims refer to him as "Allah."
Muhammed is the name of the last Prophet of Allah, who is believed to be one of the last messengers. As you know, there is scientific evidence that a man named Jesus Christ existed, as well as evidence of the existence of a man named Muhammed. I don't know too much about Moses, but let's assume he existed as well. Basically, there were three main prophets on Earth as mandated by the will of God. These three were Jesus, Moses, and Muhammed, in that order, I believe.
There are some notable differences between Christians and Muslims. As my own knowledge of Christians is secondhand, you must correct me if I'm mistaken. But is not true that Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, while also being god himself, or something like that? Muslims do not share this particular belief. In our religion, we respect Jesus Christ as the first Prophet of God, but we do not believe that he is the Son of God. But we also respect your beliefs at the same time.
Muslims believe, "There is no God but Allah. Muhammed is the messenger of Allah."
Which is said in the Arabic prayer, "La Ilaha Ill-Allahu, Muhammadun Rasul Ullah."
However, this does not connote that Allah is a separate entity. Our God is the same as your God. Basically, "There is no God but Allah," means we are praying to the ONE TRUE GOD. I believe the reason for this prayer is because in the days before Muhammed united and essentially gave birth to the Muslim community, the indigenous desert Bedouin of Arabia worshipped hundreds of statues.
Muhammed knew not of the Prophethood meant for him until one day he was meditating on a mountaintop overlooking the Holy city of Mecca. It is said that the ArchAngel Gabriel appeared to him in the form of a man, and told him that he was the last Prophet of Allah.
Muhammed came to Mecca and was preaching the will of Allah, but was branded as a radical threat and was forced to flee when the Bedouin tribes together ousted him. This flight from Mecca was known as the HEJIRA, and is a holy legend amongst our people. Several years later, he gathered his strength and returned with force to storm the city of Mecca. This action was known as the JIHAD, the Holy Strife. His forces, the Warriors of Jihad, are called the MUJAHIDEEN. They circled the Kaaba shrine seven times, and then went inside and smashed all the statues of the false idol gods. He then established Mecca as his base and preached the will of Allah to the commonfolk. It is theorized that he received revelations from Allah in the form of epileptic seizures. These revelations were written as poetic verses that were later organized to become the Qu'ran (Al-Koran), the Holy Book of Islam.
Muslims feel that Allah cannot be objectified or deified. This means that no statue likeness can be made of Him, as no Mortal can know what Allah looks like, or if Allah even has a tangible or coporeal form. No picture or drawing can be made of him, which is why the Qu'ran is decorated with Arabic calligraphy instead of biblical paintings of people or animals. This is also why the film The Matrix Reloaded was banned in Egypt (it really was) because of its portrayal of the character The Architect as a god-like figure. But personally I think the Egyptians are just being hard-assed about it, and should be able to suspend their secularism briefly if only to enjoy American cinematic entertainment.
Unfortunately, this means that the majority of Muslims may regard Bhuddists and Hindus as INFIDELS. In the broadest and least offensive definition possible, an Infidel is defined as someone that does not adhere to one of the three main branches of religion, i.e. Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. By this definition, Atheists are considered grand infidels because of their unwillingess to accept the existence of Allah. Bhuddists are considered Infidelic because they worship a statue. Hindus are also considered thus because they also worship statues such as Rama, Vishnu, etc. There is a history of animosity between Hindus and Muslims in Bangladesh and India. A while ago some Hindus destroyed an Islamic Mosque (by bombing it) because they believed that it was the birthplace of one of their gods, Rama.
After Muhammed's death, Islam split into two branches: Sunni and Shi'ite (or Shi'a). Shi'ite Muslims are steadfast in their belief that only those who are descended from the bloodline of Muhammed himself (the Abassids tribe) may become clerical and religious leaders of Islam. Whereas Sunni muslims, such as myself, believe that you don't have to be descended from Muhammed to become a leader of an Islamic community or nation.
Unfortunately, it is true that Saddam Hussein is a Sunni Muslim. I too am a Sunni Muslim, but doesn't mean I support him. Saddam Hussein was a bastard, in lieu of a more befitting string of adjectives, who killed his own people by whim. No one will deny that deposing him was a boon to the world, although continued military action in Iraq may be viewed as questionable by some. And yes, it is very unfortunate that the insurgents causing trouble in Iraq also happen to be of the Sunni branch, which is why it’s sometimes called the Sunni insurgency, and there is a “Sunni Triangle” in Baghdad. But again, insurgents and terrorists don’t represent me or the rest of the good Muslim citizens in America, just like the KKK does not represent what all white people feel towards colored folk.
Concerning Islamic prayer and rituals, many practicing Muslims pray five times a day, facing the direction of Mecca, where the Kaaba stone and the Dome of the Rock are located. The Kaaba stone is said to be a fragment of black glass from an ancient comet, possibly WYRMWOOD, which has some biblical significance. It is theorized that Wyrmwood was the comet that killed the dinosaurs, and that it will return in the future to cleanse the Earth of human life, which is effectively known as JIHADGEDDON, or the end of the world, according to some abounding theories. Muslims are supposed to pray five times a day in symbolization of the Five Pillars of Islam. Although some, such as myself, are not always able to do this simply because we don’t have the time or space. Muslims are also required to make the HAJJ, the pilgrimmage to Mecca, at least once in their lifetime.
I find it really ironic that women are treated so badly in the Middle-East, yet our religious folklore is different from Christian origin stories in that it favors women. For example, correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve heard that in the Christian version of the Adam and Eve story, Eve, the woman, is responsible for the downfall of mankind from the Garden of Eden, as it was she who allowed herself to be seduced by the serpent. However, in the Muslim version of this same story, the serpent tricks Adam into taking a bite out of the apple. But Eve, being smarter than Men and realizing that the apple is poison, at the last minute grabs Adam by the throat and chokes the apple out of him, thus redeeming Mankind. This is supposed to explain why Men have that lump in our throats, which is called the “Adam’s Apple.” But of course, Allah still banishes Adam and Eve to Earth as punishment for their arrogance, sin, and vices.
Also, the Qu’ran itself does not explicitly say that Women should be treated inferior to Men. Nowhere does it say that Women should be forced to wear veils, or HIJABS, to cover their faces while in public or in the presence of a Man who is not their spouse or relative. Yet, this is the prevailing custom in the Middle-East and elsewhere, and I believe it’s nothing more than a misogynistic system created by the men to keep the women “docile,” or under their dominion and control. And personally, though I’m not a Feminist, still I feel this system of dominance is wrong, and definitely outdated, and not to mention wrong, or did I already mention that?
If you want to see how badly women are treated in the Middle-East, you should see the MGM film “Osama.” No, it’s not about Bin Laden. It’s about a girl in Afghanistan in the Taliban era, who has to masquerade as a boy to work and support her mother and grandmother. The men of the family were killed by the Taliban, presumably. It’s a really sad movie, and does not have a happy ending. I believe it should convey to you how lucky you are to be an American woman.
As for Judaism and Jews, good Muslims should have nothing against Jews. The Palestinians are prejudiced against Jews because they feel that the Israelis are usurping their land, much like the White people who took over the Native American’s land in colonial times. But Muslims from other countries, such as myself, should hold no prejudice against the Jews. Also, the term ANTI-SEMITISM applies to Jews as well as Muslims, in case you didn’t know.
I feel that I should also talk about terrorism, although it is something I know little about. Before 9/11, I’d never even heard of the terms, “Jihad,” or “Mujahideen.” I learned about those terms from reading the Star Tribune. Basically, a concept known as “Fundamentalism” is what drives Radical Islamic thought, which leads to terrorism. Fundamentalists are all really ignorant racists in nature. These are the ones that describe America as “The Great Satan.” Terrorists are no different from Nazis, in my opinion. Terrorists believe in a “Convert-Or-Kill” policy. They don’t seek peaceful coexistence with Jews and Christians. They want to Convert everyone to Islam, moreover their perverted notions of it, or kill them. It’s sad, wrong, and SACRILIGIOUS that they justify their actions by the Qu’ran, the Holy Book. They are probably referring to a handful of verses about “Jihad ,” but these verses do not mention bombs or hostages or killing. The terrorists are idiots who twist the words of the verses to try and justify their criminal deeds. In reality, the Arabic word for Jihad means “to strive,” or “to struggle,” and can even be likened to “Holy Strife.” But it does not necessarily mean “Holy War,” which the Middle-Eastern terrorists and the Western Media now associate it as. Any kind of struggle can be termed Jihad. Going to College is a kind of Jihad, for example. But the bottom line is that anyone who uses religion as a means to justify murder is really nothing more than an insane criminal, or as an American General said about radical Iraqi cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr’s Mujahideen, that they are nothing more than “thugs,” and I agree with that assessment.
Overall this is only a brief glimpse that does no justice to the history or teachings of Islam. But there are other, more elaborate sources for those. I just wanted to give y’all a brief primer on the gist of it.
In conclusion, I will end with some phrases of Islamic prayer:
La Ill-yaha, Il-Allahu
There is no God but Allah
God is Great
Muhammedun Rasul Ullah
Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah
Bismillah al Hamdu lil Laah
Blessed Be, all Praise belongs to God
Rabbi il aalamiina
Lord of this World and all others that may be
ar Rahmaan ar Rahiim
The Compassionate, Most Merciful
Ihdinaa as Siraat al Mustaqim
Show us the straight path
Salla Allahu Alaihi wa Sallam
Peace and Blessing of Allah Be Upon You
Asalaam Alaykum / Walaikum Asalaam
Islamic greeting and response, which means, “Peace be upon you.”
Yarhamu ka Allah
May Allah have Mercy on you
Glorified be Allah
By the Will of Allah
Whatever may be the Will of Allah
I ask Allah’s forgiveness
I seek refuge in Allah
Ahlan Wa Sahlan
Welcome and be comfortable
La Hawla Wa La Quwwata Illa Billah
There is no Force and no Power except the Power of Allah
Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaihi Raji’Un
Indeed we Belong to Allah and to Him we shall return
For more information, you might consider visiting the University Muslim Student association.
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Cliffnotes Islam 101 For Dummies (TM) Alam, Jubaer February 10, 2005 9:14 PM
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Posted by carl1259 at February 11, 2005 5:19 PM