what does a Christian scholar have to say about the crucifixion of the Christ?

What did a Christian scholar find out?

A Christian scholar doubted a dominant belief to Christians which is that Jesus the son of Mary died of crucifixion and said there was no evidence that the Romans crucified prisoners before 2000 years.
British daily telegraph quoted the theologist Goner Samuelson that the “legend of the execution” of the Christ peace be upon him is based on the traditions of the Christian church and the pictures of the painter more than it is based on the old transcriptions.
Gutenberg university’s researcher in Sweden claims that the bible has been misinterpreted; there were no solid grounds for using nails and crosses, instead; the Christ was holding a wooden stick on his way to mount Calvary; which is the place he was crucified.
Samuelson said in his 400-pages composed thesis which he wrote after studying the original transcriptions; the problem is in the old literatures which didn’t contain attentively of any mentioning of the crucifixion operations.
He added that the sources that one expects to find what supports a deep understanding of the crucifixion event do not say anything as a matter of fact.
He pointed out that Greek, Latin, and Hebrew literatures from the time of Homer to 1st century AD are full of arresting punishments but they don’t contain any phrases like “crucify” or “crosses”.
The college professor sees that the modern understanding to the crucifixion as being a kind of punishment could be rebutted strongly, pointing that the new testament (Christian’s holy book) doesn’t mention a lot of “what we would want to believe.
Samuelson who claims that he’s still a committed Christian says that the narrations of the modern transcriptions of the incident; especially the Latin parts of it; used phrases that are extremely mysterious.
He also added that the evidences of Jesus left to die while fastened by nails on a cross are only existing on a distributive, and attentive way in the old transcriptions before the Christ, the Torah literatures and the bible equally.
He went on in saying that the description of the incident of the Christ’s crucifixion was only existing in the four bibles.

translated from the Arabic Aljazeera portal which had the British daily telegraph as a source.

Islam is your birth right…

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Mankind and the universe were not created by accident or chance, but according to the plan of the Creator, who is known as Allah (lit.: the one God) in Islam. The Qur’an states that it is the duty of all individuals to learn about Allah and to live according to His will. As we cannot accomplish this be ourselves, Allah has sent messengers and prophets to guide humanity All of these chosen individuals have brought the same message and have served as examples to their people of how Allah desires all human beings to live. Through these selected people, we have been told why mankind was created, what will happen to us after death, and what Allah expects of us. But most importantly, we have been told that Allah is unique-He has no partners, no sons or daughters, and no competitors, as so many other man-made religious systems have postulated. This message always remains the same, whereas the laws laid down for a particular might show some slight differences.

Muhammad, the last of Allah’s prophets, was sent to present Allah’s revelation in its final form and for the last time. This was necessary because the message delivered by the previous prophets and messengers had been corrupted or distorted by their followers. They had been mixed with philosophical speculations, superstitions, myths, and neglect. Therefore, Islam is not a new religion-it is a restatement of the original religion of Allah in its purest form and is designed to provide humanity with the uncorrupted message of Allah.

Islam is an Arabic word that denotes submission and obedience to Allah. It also means “peace,” for it brings peace of mind as well as peace on the individual and the social levels.

THE FIVE PILLARS OF ISLAM

In Islam, the term “worship” covers any action that one does in accordance with the will of Allah. It can be mental, physical, spoken, or otherwise. All such actions will be rewarded.

There are five acts of worship that are so fundamental that the Prophet grouped them together as the five pillars of Islam. Every Muslim is expected to fulfill these obligations. They are:

THE DECLARATION OF MONOTHEISM:

Recognizing and acknowledging the monotheistic nature of Allah stands at the core of Islam. This consists of a public affirmation that “there is no god but Allah (God), and Muhammad is His Messenger.” One cannot be a Muslim until he states this fact in the presence of Muslim witnesses.

PRAYERS:

A Muslim must perform the five daily prayers. These must be performed at specific times, corresponding roughly with dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset, and nightfall. The prayers can be made in any clean place, but it is preferable to pray them with others in a mosque, for this communal undertaking acts as a reminder that all Muslims are equal. When many people are praying together, it becomes clear that color, economic status, social position, and all other artificial distinctions have no importance to Allah, for all Muslims are commanded to stand together, shoulder to shoulder, and prostrate themselves before Him. There are no exceptions. Prayers also elevated the individual to a higher level of morality, purifies his heart, and helps him to resist his desire to engage in forbidden activities.

FASTING THE MONTH OF RAMADAN:

Every year during the Muslim month of Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food, drink, and sexual activity from dawn to sunset. While this gives the body a much needed rest and improves ones health by getting rid of excess weight, it also increases ones commitment to Allah, develops his social conscience, and reminds him of how the less fortunate live every day In addition, it strengthens one’s patience, self-restraint, will power, and sincerity.

CHARITY (Zakat):

Every Muslim whose net annual savings are above a certain specified minimum must pay an annual

amount of 2.5% to the poor and needy This action purifies one’s accrued wealth, fosters the quality of sacrifice, and rids him of selfishness and greed. It also helps to reduce resentment and envy between a society’s poor and rich classes.

HAJJ (Pilgrimage to Makkah):

Hajj is an act of worship that is to be performed at least once in a lifetime, provided that one is physically and financially able to do so. During this time, Muslims meet from all corners of the world in an international congregation for the sole purpose of responding to the call of Allah. It also reminds the participants that all Muslims are equal, irrespective of their geographical, cultural, or racial origins.

THE ARTICLES OF FAITH

All Muslims believe in:

. The oneness of Allah. Allah has no partner, son, daughter, helper, or competitor. There is nothing that even remotely resembles Him, for He is unique.

. All of the messengers and prophets of Allah. The Qur’an states that each people has received revelation from Allah in its own tongue so that all individuals know what is required of them. The Qur’an mentions twenty-five of them by name, among them Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Issac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon, John, Jesus, and Muhammad. There are, however, many others who are not named. Muhammad, the last prophet, was sent with a universal message meant for all of humanity The message revealed through him is the Qur’an, which is Allah’s final presentation of the original revelation received by mankind in its purest form. A Muslim must accept all of Allah’s prophets and messengers as legitimate, for denial of one means denial of all. For western readers who are not convinced that Muhammad is a prophet of Allah, proof of this claim can be found in the Bible (Deut. 18:15-18, 33:2-3; Isaiah 29:12; Songs of Solomon 5:16;John 14:1516, 16:12-14) as well as in the biographical accounts of Muhammad’s life, which was lived in full view of his contemporaries.

. The original messages revealed through Allah’s various prophets and messengers. The purest of these is the Qur’an, for it was recorded during the lifetime of the Prophet and under his direct supervision. The revelations mentioned in the Qur’an as having been received by other prophets, such as the Suhuf of Abraham, the Torah of Moses, the Zubur (Psalms) of David, and the Injeel (Bible) of Jesus, have all been either lost or corrupted.

. The existence of angels as part of the unseen world. They are spiritual beings who have no need for food, drink, or sleep.

. The Day of Judgment. The Qur’an teaches that life is a test for each individual, for everyone must choose whether he will or will not follow the commands of Allah. On this day, a person will be resurrected and asked to account for what he did while he was alive. Those with good records will be rewarded and enter paradise, while those with bad records will be punished by being sent to hell. This belief develops within the individual an awareness of Allah’s presence and a desire to obey His laws sincerely and voluntarily

. A Muslim believes that nothing happens without the knowledge and permission of Allah. While we may not understand why certain things happens, it is part of the divine plan for our lives.

MUSLIMS: THE MODERATE NATION

Islam does not divide life into “spiritual” and “secular” realms. As all of life is thus unified and interconnected, Islam avoids the dangers of the extreme ritualism, secularism, or materialism that is found in other civilizations. Activities are not classified as belonging to the state or the individual, religion or daily life, but as belonging to Allah alone, Who has provided guidelines for individuals. These are to be followed in every aspect of their lives: individual, social, governmental, political, economical, spiritual, and otherwise Reflecting this moderation, the Qur’an has entitled the Muslims the “moderate nation. “

SOURCES OF ISLAMIC TEACHINGS

The Islamic way of life is based on the teachings and laws found in the Qur’an and the example (Sunnah) of the Prophet Muhammad.

The Qur’an is the word of Allah and was revealed in potions to Muhammad, via the Angel Gabriel, over a twenty-three year period. Each portion was recorded in writing by his official scribes and memorized by thousands of his followers. After his death, the written collection was given to Abu Bark, the first caliph, who oversaw its collection into one volume. The third caliph, Uthman, prepared several copies and sent them to different Muslim territories. Ever since that time, the same version has been used by Muslims. The wording, order, and language have never been altered in the slightest manner. No other book claiming to be a divine revelation can make this claim, and no one has ever been able to refute the claim of the Qur’an to complete authenticity

The Sunnah consists of the teachings, sayings, and actions of Prophet Muhammad. This information was meticulously reported and collected by his Companions. It is essentially an elaboration of the Qur’anic verses that shows how they are to be implemented in one’s daily life.

ISLAM: THE RELIGION OF EQUALITY

Islam recognizes no man-made artificial distinctions based on color, tribe, race, nationality, or otherwise. As all people come from the original couple-Adam and Eve-they are all one family and therefore equal before God. What distinguishes people from each other is their commitment to Islam: “The most honored in the sight of Allah is (he who is) most righteous.” (Qur’an 3:86).

ISLAM IS YOUR BIRTHRIGHT

Islam states clearly that everyone is born a Muslim and is therefore monotheistic by nature. We read in the Qur’an that humanity has been created with the natural disposition towards the unity of God. This is to be expected, for Allah, who has breathed His spirit into each of us, is Himself the example of perfect unity. In the words of the Prophet Muhammad: “Every person is born with the innate religious faith (to submit to God Almighty).” Thus when an individual accepts Islam, he is not turning his back on any prior revelation but rather is returning to the original and true revelation of Allah and to his own nature as a creation of Allah. This being the case, Islam is your birthright-other religious or ideological systems are either corruptions our outright denials of Islam.

CRITERIA FOR TRUTH

How do you know if your belief system is true? Take a moment to look at the following list.

. Are the teachings of your belief system rational? Do they conform to the norms of human reason and intellect?

. Is the creator of your belief system perfect? Allah, the creator of Islam, is. . Does your belief system contain superstitions or myths? Islam presents humanity with only true knowledge.

. Can your belief system withstand the discoveries and claims of modern science? Islam can and does.

. How accurate are your belief system’s prophecies and predications? Islam’s are always completely accurate.

. Could a person have devised your belief system? No one has ever been able to imitate the Qur’an, although many have tried over the centuries.

Islam is not a new religion founded by Muhammad, but a final restatement of the original revelation that has been conveyed to humanity by messengers and prophets sent by Allah for that very purpose: “This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” (5:3). As the Qur’an is the final revelation and Muhammad is the final prophet, humanity is obligated to accept it: “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost all spiritual good” (3:86).

THE CHOICE IS YOURS TO MAKE!!!

WAMY Series on Islam No. 14

Islam…

What is Islam ?
Islam is not a new religion, but the same truth that God revealed through all His prophets to every people. For a fifth of the world’s population, Islam is both a religion and a complete way of life. Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy, and forgiveness, and the majority have nothing to do with the extremely grave events which have come to be associated with their faith.

A Moroccan in prayer Muslims praying in Jerusalem outside
the Dome of the Rock
Who are the Muslims?
One billion people from a vast range of races, nationalities and cultures across the globe – from the southern Philippines to Nigeria – are united by their common Islamic faith. About 18% live in the Arab world; the world’s largest Muslim community is in Indonesia; substantial parts of Asia and most of Africa are Muslim, while significant minorities are to be found in the Soviet Union, China, North and South America, and Europe.

What do Muslims believe?
Muslims believe in One, Unique, Incomparable God; in the Angels created by Him; in the prophets through whom His revelations were brought to mankind; in the Day of Judgement and individual accountability for actions; in God’s complete authority over human destiny and in life after death. Muslims believe in a chain of prophets starting with Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elias, Jonah, John the Baptist, and Jesus, peace be upon them. But God’s final message to man, a reconfirmation of the eternal message and a summing-up of all that has gone before was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through Gabriel.

How does someone become a Muslim?
Simply by saying ‘there is no god apart from God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.’ By this declaration the believer announces his or her faith in all God’s messengers, and the scriptures they brought.

What does ‘Islam’ mean?
The Arabic word ‘Islam’ simply means ‘submission’, and derives from a word meaning ‘peace’. In a religious context it means complete submission to the will of God. ‘Mohammedanism’ is thus a misnomer because it suggests that Muslims worship Muhammad rather than God. ‘Allah’ is the Arabic name for God, which is used by Arab Muslims and Christians alike.

Why does Islam often seem strange?
Islam may seem exotic or even extreme in the modern world. Perhaps this is because religion does not dominate everyday life in the West today, whereas Muslims have religion always uppermost in their minds, and make no division between secular and sacred. They believe that the Divine Law, the Shari’a, should be taken very seriously, which is why issues related to religion are still so important.

Do Islam and Christianity have different origins?
No. Together with Judaism, they go back to the prophet and patriarch Abraham, and their three prophets are directly descended from his sons Muhammad from the eldest, Ishmael, and Moses and Jesus from Isaac. Abraham established the settlement which today is the city of Makkah, and built the Ka’ba towards which all Muslims turn when they pray.

What is the Ka’ba?
The Ka’ba is the place of worship which God commanded Abraham and Ishmael to build over four thousand years ago. The building was constructed of stone on what many believe was the original site of a sanctuary established by Adam. God commanded Abraham to summon all mankind to visit this place, and when pilgrims go there today they say ‘At Thy service, O Lord’, in response to Abraham’s summons.

Who is Muhammad?
Muhammad, was born in Makkah in the year 570, at a time when Christianity was not yet fully established in Europe. Since his father died before his birth, and his mother shortly afterwards, he was raised by his uncle from the respected tribe of Quraysh. As he grew up, he became known for his truthfulness, generosity and sincerity, so that he was sought after for his ability to arbitrate in disputes. The historians describe him as calm and meditative.

Muhammad was of a deeply religious nature, and had long detested the decadence of his society. It became his habit to meditate from time to time in the Cave of Hira near the summit of Jabal al-Nur, the ‘Mountain of Light’ near Makkah.

How did Muhammad become a prophet and a messenger of God?
At the age of 40, while engaged in a meditative retreat, Muhammad received his first revelation from God through the Angel Gabriel. This revelation, which continued for twenty-three years, is known as the Quran.

The Mountain of Light
where Gabriel came to
Prophet Muhammad.
As soon as he began to recite the words he heard from Gabriel, and to preach the truth which God had revealed to him, he and his small group of followers suffered bitter persecution, which grew so fierce that in the year 622 God gave them the command to emigrate. This event, the Hijra, ‘migration’, in which they left Makkah for the city of Madinah some 260 miles to the north, marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar.

After several years, the Prophet and his followers were able to return to Makkah, where they forgave their enemies and established Islam definitively. Before the Prophet died at the age of 63, the greater part of Arabia was Muslim, and within a century of his death Islam had spread to Spain in the West and as far East as China.

The Prophet’s Mosque, Madinah,
the dome indicates the place where
his house stood and where he is buried.
How did the spread of Islam affect the world?
Among the reasons for the rapid and peaceful spread of Islam was the simplicity of its doctrine – Islam calls for faith in only One God worthy of worship. It also repeatedly instructs man to use his powers of intelligence and observation.

Taj Mahal, India. Hui Shen Mosque, China,
Built in the 7th Century.
Within a few years, great civilizations and universities were flourishing, for according to the Prophet, ‘seeking knowledge is an obligation for every Muslim man and woman’. The synthesis of Eastern and Western ideas and of new thought with old, brought about great advances in medicine, mathematics, physics, astronomy, geography, architecture, art, literature, and history. Many crucial systems such as algebra, the Arabic numerals, and also the concept of the zero (vital to the advancement of mathematics), were transmitted to medieval Europe from Islam. Sophisticated instruments which were to make possible the European voyages of discovery were developed, including the astrolabe, the quadrant and good navigational maps.

What is the Quran?
The Quran is a record of the exact words revealed by God through the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad. It was memorized by Muhammad and then dictated to his Companions, and written down by scribes, who cross-checked it during his lifetime. Not one word of its 114 chapters, Suras, has been changed over the centuries, so that the Quran is in every detail the unique and miraculous text which was revealed to Muhammad fourteen centuries ago.

Arabic English

This opening chapter of The Quran, the Fatiah, is
central in Islamic prayer. It contains the essence
of The Quran and is recited during every prayer.
What is the Quran about?
The Quran, the last revealed Word of God, is the prime source of every Muslim’s faith and practice. It deals with all the subjects which concern us as human beings: wisdom, doctrine, worship, and law, but its basic theme is the relationship between God and His creatures. At the same time it provides guidelines for a just society, proper human conduct and an equitable economic system.

Are there any other sacred sources?
Yes, the sunna, the practice and example of the Prophet, is the second authority for Muslims. A hadith is a reliably transmitted report of what the Prophet said, did, or approved. Belief in the sunna is part of the Islamic faith.

Examples of the Prophet’s sayings
The Prophet said:

‘God has no mercy on one who has no mercy for others.’

‘None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.’

‘He who eats his fill while his neighbor goes without food is not a believer. ‘

‘The truthful and trusty businessman is associated with the prophets the saints, and the martyrs.’

‘Powerful is not he who knocks the other down, indeed powerful is he who controls himself in a fit of anger. ‘

‘God does not judge according to your bodies and appearances but He scans your hearts and looks into your deeds.’

‘A man walking along a path felt very thirsty. Reaching a well he descended into it, drank his fill and came up. Then he saw a dog with its tongue hanging out, trying to lick up mud to quench its thirst. The man saw that the dog was feeling the same thirst as he had felt so he went down into the well again and filled his shoe with water and gave the dog a drink. God forgave his sins for this action.’ The Prophet was asked: ‘Messenger of God, are we rewarded for kindness towards animals?’ He said, ‘There is a reward for kindness to every living thing.’

From the hadith collections of Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi and Bayhaqi

What are the ‘Five Pillars’ of Islam ?
They are the framework of the Muslim life: faith, prayer, concern for the needy, self-purification, and the pilgrimage to Makkah for those who are able.

1) FAITH
There is no god worthy of worship except God and Muhammad is His messenger. This declaration of faith is called the Shahada, a simple formula which all the faithful pronounce. In Arabic, the first part is la ilaha illa Llah – ‘there is no god except God’; ilaha (god) can refer to anything which we may be tempted to put in place of God – wealth, power, and the like. Then comes illa Llah: ‘except God’, the source of all Creation. The second part of the Shahada is Muhammadun rasulu’Llah: ‘Muhammad is the messenger of God.’ A message of guidance has come through a man like ourselves.

The Shahada inscribed over entrance to Ottoman
Topkapi Palace (the museum contains a mantle
worn by the Prophet, among other treasures),
Istanbul.
2) PRAYER
Salat is the name for the obligatory prayers which are performed five times a day, and are a direct link between the worshipper and God. There is no hierarchical authority in Islam, and no priests, so the prayers are led by a learned person who knows the Quran, chosen by the congregation. These five prayers contain verses from the Quran, and are said in Arabic, the language of the Revelation, but personal supplication can be offered in one’s own language.

Prayers are said at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and nightfall, and thus determine the rhythm of the entire day. Although it is preferable to worship together in a mosque, a Muslim may pray almost anywhere, such as in fields, offices, factories and universities. Visitors to the Muslim world are struck by the centrality of prayers in daily life.

A translation of the Call to Prayer is:

God is most great. God is most great.
God is most great. God is most great.
I testify that there is no god except God.
I testify that there is no god except God.
I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.
I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.
Come to prayer! Come to prayer!
Come to success (in this life and the Hereafter)!
Come to success!
God is most great. God is most great.
There is no god except God.

Adhan
New Mexico, U.S.A. Prayer call from Abiquiu Mosque.

Courtyard of Great Mosque, Herat, Afghanistan.
3) THE ‘ZAKAT’
One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The word zakat means both ‘purification’ and ‘growth’. Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need, and, like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth.

Each Muslim calculates his or her own zakat individually. For most purposes this involves the payment each year of two and a half percent of one’s capital.

Zakat keeps the money
flowing within a
society, Cairo.
A pious person may also give as much as he or she pleases as sadaqa, and does so preferably in secret. Although this word can be translated as ‘voluntary charity’ it has a wider meaning. The Prophet said ‘even meeting your brother with a cheerful face is charity.’

The Prophet said: ‘Charity is a necessity for every Muslim. ‘ He was asked: ‘What if a person has nothing?’ The Prophet replied: ‘He should work with his own hands for his benefit and then give something out of such earnings in charity.’ The Companions asked: ‘What if he is not able to work?’ The Prophet said: ‘He should help poor and needy persons.’ The Companions further asked ‘What if he cannot do even that?’ The Prophet said ‘He should urge others to do good.’ The Companions said ‘What if he lacks that also?’ The Prophet said ‘He should check himself from doing evil. That is also charity.’

4) THE FAST
Every year in the month of Ramadan, all Muslims fast from first light until sundown, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations. Those who are sick, elderly, or on a journey, and women who are pregnant or nursing are permitted to break the fast and make up an equal number of days later in the year. If they are physically unable to do this, they must feed a needy person for every day missed. Children begin to fast (and to observe the prayer) from puberty, although many start earlier.

Although the fast is most beneficial to the health, it is regarded principally as a method of self purification. By cutting oneself off from worldly comforts, even for a short time, a fasting person gains true sympathy with those who go hungry as well as growth in one’s spiritual life.

5) PILGRIMAGE (Hajj)
The annual pilgrimage to Makkah – the Hajj – is an obligation only for those who are physically and financially able to perform it. Nevertheless, about two million people go to Makkah each year from every corner of the globe providing a unique opportunity for those of different nations to meet one another. Although Makkah is always filled with visitors, the annual Hajj begins in the twelfth month of the Islamic year (which is lunar, not solar, so that Hajj and Ramadan fall sometimes in summer, sometimes in winter). Pilgrims wear special clothes: simple garments which strip away distinctions of class and culture, so that all stand equal before God.

Pilgrims praying at the mosque in Makkah.
The rites of the Hajj, which are of Abrahamic origin, include circling the Ka’ba seven times, and going seven times between the mountains of Safa and Marwa as did Hagar during her search for water. Then the pilgrims stand together on the wide plain of Arafa and join in prayers for God’s forgiveness, in what is often thought of as a preview of the Last Judgment.

In previous centuries the Hajj was an arduous undertaking. Today, however, Saudi Arabia provides millions of people with water, modern transport, and the most up-to-date health facilities.

Pilgrim tents during Hajj.
The close of the Hajj is marked by a festival, the Eid al-Adha, which is celebrated with prayers and the exchange of gifts in Muslim communities everywhere. This, and the Eid al-Fitr, a feast-day commemorating the end of Ramadan, are the main festivals of the Muslim calendar.

Does Islam tolerate other beliefs?
The Quran says: God forbids you not, with regards to those who fight you not for [your] faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them; for God loveth those who are just. (Quran, 60:8)

It is one function of Islamic law to protect the privileged status of minorities, and this is why non-Muslim places of worship have flourished all over the Islamic world. History provides many examples of Muslim tolerance towards other faiths: when the caliph Omar entered Jerusalem in the year 634, Islam granted freedom of worship to all religious communities in the city.

Islamic law also permits non-Muslim minorities to set up their own courts, which implement family laws drawn up by the minorities themselves.

ABOVE: Mosque of Omar and Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem. When the caliph Omar took Jerusalem from the Byzantines, he insisted on entering the city with only a small number of his companions. Proclaiming to the inhabitants that their lives and property were safe, and that their places of worship would never be taken from them, he asked the Christian patriarch Sophronius to accompany him on a visit to all the holy places.

The Patriarch invited him to pray in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, but he preferred to pray outside its gates, saying that if he accepted, later generations of Muslims might use his action as an excuse to turn it into a mosque. Above is the mosque built on the spot where Omar did pray.

RIGHT: According to Islam, man is not born in ‘original sin’. He is God’s vicegerent on earth. Every child is born with the fitra, an innate disposition towards virtue, knowledge, and beauty. Islam considers itself to be the ‘primordial religion’, din al-hanif, it seeks to return man to his original, true nature in which he is in harmony with creation, inspired to do good, and confirming the Oneness of God.

What do Muslims think about Jesus?
Muslims respect and revere Jesus, and await his Second Coming. They consider him one of the greatest of God’s messengers to mankind. A Muslim never refers to him simply as ‘Jesus’, but always adds the phrase ‘upon him be peace’. The Quran confirms his virgin birth (a chapter of the Quran is entitled ‘Mary’), and Mary is considered the purest woman in all creation. The Quran describes the Annunciation as follows:

‘Behold!’ the Angel said, ‘God has chosen you, and purified you, and chosen you above the women of all nations. O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him, whose name shall be the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, honored in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near to God. He shall speak to the people from his cradle and in maturity, and shall be of the righteous.’

She said: ‘O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me?’ He said: ‘Even so; God creates what He will. When He decrees a thing, He says to it, “Be!” and it is.’ (Quran, 3:42-7)

Jesus was born miraculously through the same power which had brought Adam into being without a father:

Truly, the likeness of Jesus with God is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, and then said to him, ‘Be!’ and he was. (Quran, 3:59)

During his prophetic mission Jesus performed many miracles. The Quran tells us that he said:

I have come to you with a sign from your Lord: I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it and it becomes a bird by God’s leave. And I heal the blind, and the lepers and I raise the dead by God’s leave. (Quran, 3:49)

Neither Muhammad nor Jesus came to change the basic doctrine of the belief in One God, brought by earlier prophets, but to confirm and renew it. In the Quran Jesus is reported as saying that he came:

To attest the law which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden you; I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear God and obey Me. (Quran, 3:5O)

The Prophet Muhammad said:

Whoever believes there is no god but God, alone without partner, that Muhammad is His messenger, that Jesus is the servant and messenger of God, His word breathed into Mary and a spirit emanating from Him, and that Paradise and Hell are true, shall be received by God into Heaven. (Hadith from Bukhari)

Why is the family so important to Muslims?
The family is the foundation of Islamic society. The peace and security offered by a stable family unit is greatly valued, and seen as essential for the spiritual growth of its members. A harmonious social order is created by the existence of extended families; children are treasured, and rarely leave home until the time they marry.

What about Muslim women?
Islam sees a woman, whether single or married, as an individual in her own right, with the right to own and dispose of her property and earnings. A marriage dowry is given by the groom to the bride for her own personal use, and she keeps her own family name rather than taking her husband’s.

Both men and women are expected to dress in a way which is modest and dignified; the traditions of female dress found in some Muslim countries are often the expression of local customs.

The Messenger of God said:

‘The most perfect in faith amongst believers is he who is best in manner and kindest to his wife.’

Can a Muslim have more than one wife?
The religion of Islam was revealed for all societies and all times and so accommodates widely differing social requirements. Circumstances may warrant the taking of another wife but the right is granted, according to the Quran, only on condition that the husband is scrupulously fair.

CLOCKWISE: Muslims from Turkestan, Scotland, Saudi Arabia. Denmark, Egypt.

Is Islamic marriage like Christian marriage?
A Muslim marriage is not a ‘sacrament’, but a simple, legal agreement in which either partner is free to include conditions. Marriage customs thus vary widely from country to country. As a result, divorce is not common, although it is not forbidden as a last resort. According to Islam, no Muslim girl can be forced to marry against her will: her parents will simply suggest young men they think may be suitable.

How do Muslims treat the elderly?
In the Islamic world there are no old people’s homes. The strain of caring for one’s parents in this most difficult time of their lives is considered an honor and blessing, and an opportunity for great spiritual growth. God asks that we not only pray for our parents, but act with limitless compassion, remembering that when we were helpless children they preferred us to themselves. Mothers are particularly honored: the Prophet taught that ‘Paradise lies at the feet of mothers’. When they reach old age, Muslim parents are treated mercifully, with the same kindness and selflessness.

In Islam, serving one’s parents is a duty second only to prayer, and it is their right to expect it. It is considered despicable to express any irritation when, through no fault of their own, the old become difficult.

The Quran says: Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and be kind to parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, do not say ‘uff to them or chide them, but speak to them in terms of honor and kindness. Treat them with humility, and say, ‘My Lord! Have mercy on them, for they did care for me when I was little’. (17:23-4)

How do Muslims view death?
Like Jews and Christians, Muslims believe that the present life is only a trial preparation for the next realm of existence. Basic articles of faith include: the Day of Judgment, resurrection, Heaven and Hell. When a Muslim dies, he or she is washed, usually by a family member, wrapped in a clean white cloth, and buried with a simple prayer preferably the same day. Muslims consider this one of the final services they can do for their relatives, and an opportunity to remember their own brief existence here on earth. The Prophet taught that three things can continue to help a person even after death; charity which he had given, knowledge which he had taught and prayers on their behalf by a righteous child.

What does Islam say about war?
Like Christianity, Islam permits fighting in self-defense, in defense of religion, or on the part of those who have been expelled forcibly from their homes. It lays down strict rules of combat which include prohibitions against harming civilians and against destroying crops, trees and livestock. As Muslims see it, injustice would be triumphant in the world if good men were not prepared to risk their lives in a righteous cause. The Quran says:

Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not transgress limits. God does not love transgressors. (2:190)

If they seek peace, then seek you peace. And trust in God for He is the One that heareth and knoweth all things. (8:61)

War, therefore, is the last resort, and is subject to the rigorous conditions laid down by the sacred law. The term jihad literally means ‘struggle’, and Muslims believe that there are two kinds of jihad. The other ‘jihad’ is the inner struggle which everyone wages against egotistic desires, for the sake of attaining inner peace.

What about food?
Although much simpler than the dietary law followed by Jews and the early Christians, the code which Muslims observe forbids the consumption of pig meat or any kind of intoxicating drink. The Prophet taught that ‘your body has rights over you’, and the consumption of wholesome food and the leading of a healthy lifestyle are seen as religious obligations.

The Prophet said: ‘Ask God for certainty [of faith] and well-being; for after certainty, no one is given any gift better than health!’

How does Islam guarantee human rights?
Freedom of conscience is laid down by the Quran itself: ‘There is no compulsion in religion’. (2:256)

The life and property of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred whether a person is Muslim or not.

Racism is incomprehensible to Muslims, for the Quran speaks of human equality in the following terms:

O mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may come to know one another. Truly, the most honored of you in God’s sight is the greatest of you in piety. God is All-Knowing, All Aware (49:13)

University Mosque of Al Azhar – a center of learning since 969 AD.

Mosque in Iran. Mosque in Mali.
Islam in the United States
It is almost impossible to generalize about American Muslims: converts, immigrants, factory workers, doctors; all are making their own contribution to America’s future. This complex community is unified by a common faith, underpinned by a countrywide network of a thousand mosques.

Muslims were early arrivals in North America. By the eighteenth century there were many thousands of them, working as slaves on plantations. These early communities, cut off from their heritage and families, inevitably lost their Islamic identity as time went by. Today many Afro-American Muslims play an important role in the Islamic community.

Mosque in New Mexico, U.S.A.
The nineteenth century, however, saw the beginnings of an influx of Arab Muslims, most of whom settled in the major industrial centers where they worshipped in hired rooms. The early twentieth century witnessed the arrival of several hundred thousand Muslims from Eastern Europe: the first Albanian mosque was opened in Maine in 1915; others soon followed, and a group of Polish Muslims opened a mosque in Brooklyn in 1928.

In 1947 the Washington Islamic Center was founded during the term of President Truman, and several nationwide organizations were set up in the fifties. The same period saw the establishment of other communities whose lives were in many ways modeled after Islam. More recently, numerous members of these groups have entered the fold of Muslim orthodoxy. Today there are about five million Muslims in America.

The Islamic Cultural Center, Washington DC.
The Muslim World
The Muslim population of the world is around one billion. 30% of Muslims live in the Indian subcontinent, 20% in Sub-Saharan Africa, 17% in Southeast Asia, 18% in the Arab World, 10% in the Soviet Union and China. Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan comprise 10% of the non-Arab Middle East. Although there are Muslim minorities in almost every area, including Latin America and Australia, they are most numerous in the Soviet Union, India, and central Africa. There are 5 million Muslims in the United States.

O mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may come to know one another. Truly, the most honored of you in God’s sight is the greatest of you in piety. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Quran, 49:13)

Acknowledgments:
This page was incorporated from the book, Understanding Islam and the Muslims, prepared by The Islamic Affairs Department, The Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Washington DC., Consultants The Islamic Texts Society, Cambridge, UK, 1989.

Let’s pray for them…

The winners.

by Ezdehar Al-Sa’adi

Our dear brothers and sisters are suffering from occupation along with the other Palestinians in the holy land of dear Palestine , for more than half a century they haven’t lived a normal life, children are deprived from childhood, unable to live a normal life, happiness is a word they might never experience in their life time, while other children around the world grow and develop normally, socially, mentally, and physically, but in Palestine ,especially in dear Ghazza they suffer continuously, a new day would only mean new death, new suffering, new fear.

People in Ghazza are deprived from the smallest requirement of a normal life, Ghazza is isolated like a sick diseased person from the rest of the world, it is amputated like an unwanted part of a human body, though it carries on its lands the most humble and heroic people among Allah’s human creatures.

People there live days with nothing to eat or drink, they sleep cold nights with nothing to cover them up neither safety nor freedom nor a cheap blanket. They get ill like us but are unable to reach cure and medicine, they have no one left of humans, they’re left with Allah’s mercy and no one else’s. It’s like their life is a dictionary with no word but pain ,may Allah compensate them with the spacious paradise and everlasting happy and joyful life.

There’s no getting in or out from there, a rooted wall is about to be built in an ugly way to separate them completely from us, they didn’t know our hearts and minds are forever attached to them. We truly are jealous of you dear Ghazza. We envy you for constantly gaining a higher rank in heaven, for your faith that gets stronger in each time Allah (swt) examines how long you can hold your breath and for the written reward which to be received in the hereafter. Congratulations for your great victory!

Hijab:fabric,fad or faith?

by RiMoLei on Sun Aug 10, 2008 2:45 pm

HIJAB: Fabric, Fad or Faith?

“Yeah, I just got on the bus and I’m on my way home. Okay, Mum, Wa’alaikum Assalam.”

I slip my cell into my bag. A girl in a yellow tank top and dark blue cut-offs plops into the seat beside me.

“Ugh, I hate taking the bus, especially in this heat,” she says.

I nod and smile.

She raises her eyebrows at my full-length dress and the cloth wrapped around my head. “Aren’t you hot in that?” she asks.

I contemplate my answer. The girl shoots another question. “Why do you wear that thing on your head anyway?”

I fiddle with the clasp on my bag. I wonder what I should say. Why do I wear Hijab?

Why the Hood?

It’s tough to explain, isn’t it? Hijab relates to the basic faith that there is only one God worthy of worship. As Muslim women we want to submit to God and obey all His commands. Since Hijab is a clear commandment of God (see Quran 24:31), we choose to do it to please Him. If we wear Hijab for any other reason, we may fulfill an obligation without gaining the reward for it.

Aisha (The wife of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him) said, “May Allah have mercy on the immigrant women (from Makkah). When Allah revealed ‘that they should draw their veils over their juyubihinna*,’ they tore their wrappers and covered their heads and faces with them.” [Bukhari]

The female companions of the Prophet gave up the traditions and norms of their society and covered up immediately to respond to Allah, before they knew the proper method.

Only a Head Covering?

“And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their Juyubihinna* and not display their beauty except to…” [Quran 24:31]

The word *Juyubihinna, according to most scholars, refers to the head, ears, neck and chest. To fulfil the minimum requirements of Hijab, a Muslim woman covers her entire body, except her face and hands. Once Asma, daughter of Abu Bakr, entered upon the Prophet wearing thin clothes. The Prophet turned his attention from her. He said, “O Asma, when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this,” and he pointed to his face and hands. [Abu Dawud].

Proper Hijab means loose and opaque clothes. Clothes should not be alluring or similar to the clothing of men. What about guys? Islam outlines a modest dress code for men and women. The requirements are different based on the obvious physiological and psychological differences between the two genders.

Hijab does not apply only to clothes. It is a state of mind, behaviour, and lifestyle. Hijab celebrates a desirable quality called Haya (modesty), a deep concern for preserving one’s dignity. Haya is a natural feeling that brings us pain at the very idea of committing a wrong. The Prophet said: “Every religion has a distinct call. For Islam it is Haya (modesty).” [Ibn Majah].

What’s in it for Me? Five Advantages of Hijab

* I can’t be messed with! Hijab protects me – Hijab identifies a Muslim woman as a person of high moral standards to reduce her chances of being harassed.

“O Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons: that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested.” [Quran 33:59]

As Dr. Katherine Bullock (a Canadian convert and community activist) observes, “The point to covering is not that sexual attraction is bad, only that it should be expressed between a husband and wife inside the privacy of the home. A public space free of sexual tensions is seen as a more peaceful place for human beings, men and women, to interact, do business, and build a healthy civilization.”

* I am liberated from slavery to ‘physical perfection’ – Society makes women desire to become ‘perfect objects’. The multitudes of alluring fashion magazines and cosmetic surgeries show women’s enslavement to beauty. The entertainment industry pressures teens to believe that for clothes, less is better. When we wear Hijab, we vow to liberate ourselves from such desires and serve only God.

* I don’t let others judge me by my hair and curves! – In schools and professional environments, women are often judged by their looks or bodies—characteristics they neither chose nor created. Hijab forces society to judge women for their value as human beings, with intellect, principles, and feelings. A woman in Hijab sends a message, “Deal with my brain, not my body!”

* I feel empowered and confident – In contrast to today’s teenage culture, where anorexia and suicide are on the rise, as women attempt to reach an unattainable ideal of beauty, Hijab frees a woman from the pressure to ‘fit in’. She does not have to worry about wearing the right kind of jeans or the right shade of eyeshadow. She can feel secure about her appearance because she cares to please only Allah.

* I feel the bond of unity – Hijab identifies us as Muslims and encourages other Muslim sisters to greet us with the salutation of peace, “Assalamu Alaikum”. Hijab draws others to us and immerses us in good company.

Heard These Before? Three Misconceptions About Hijab

* Hijab is a symbol of ‘male dominance’
If you think Hijab is an act of submission, you are right! It is a way to submit to God. Like any other act of worship, the rewards of Hijab come only when it is done for Allah alone.

* Hijab is a ‘cultural thing’
From remote villages to cosmopolitan mega cities, women all across the world, from every ethnic background, wear Hijab. Do all of these women cling to old cultural practices? Hijab, the internal and external aspects, take understanding, training and determination. Since the purpose of Hijab is to please Allah, doing it for tradition is wrong.

* Hijab is a ‘challenge to the political system’
While Hijab may have political implications, as evident in the banning of Hijab in certain countries, Muslim women who choose to practice Hijab are not doing it to challenge the political system. Islam encourages men and women to observe modesty in private and public life. Hijab is an individual’s act of faith and religious expression.

Are you Ready? Six Obstacles to Overcome

Thinking about wearing Hijab? Here are some tips to help you overcome obstacles that may get in your way:

* Yourself –Not sure if you’re ready? Remember that Iman (faith in Allah) includes submitting to Allah’s will. Research, understand the reasons and talk to girls who have gone through it. Ask Allah to help you put your beliefs into action. Prophet Muhammad related that Allah said, “if [My servant] draws near to Me a hand’s span, I draw near to him an arm’s length; if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
* Your Friends – Worried about how your buddies will take it? Your friends should accept your decision and be proud of your courage. Give them time and be patient. Be conscious of Allah, not the girls or guys.
* Your Parents – It’s difficult to do things when the people closest to you oppose it. As Muslims, it’s our duty to please our parents, unless their wishes go against the command of Allah. As much as your parents do for you, their love and mercy could never compare to that of your Creator. Ease your parents into your decision and pray that it becomes easy for them to understand.
* At School –It takes courage to be different. You are likely to hear, “what is that thing on your head?” or “who made you do it?” Questions aren’t bad. Know your reasons and explain why you chose to wear Hijab.
* At Work – The United Nations states that, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion” (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18). Most countries in the world abide by this declaration and have their own laws that protect an individual’s freedom of religious practice at work.
* At the Gym – What about swimming or basketball for sporty sisters? Obeying Allah and wearing Hijab does not limit your physical activity. Organize sisters-only sports events. This encourages true sports-womanship. When you play, it’s about the love of the game, not the glory (or the guys watching!).