Saturday, September 30, 2006
The religion should get rid of your self-belittlement and limitation. It should inspire and lift you to your full human capacity. Instead of this result, you usually learn prejudice; you learn how to divide humanity; and you learn to love and hate based on belonging to certain thoughts, feelings, or practices.
... We do not even understand the basic concept in the word 'religion.' That term comes from the Latin religio. It means 'to look back at your origin.'
And what is your origin? Spirit!
And what is your end? Spirit!
So what are you fighting about?
~ Yogi Bhajan
[ Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un ]
Surely we belong to the Primordal, Ultimate Spirit (God) and surely we will return to Him. (The Quran) Pin It Now!
Friday, September 29, 2006
"Prayer takes place in the heart, not in the head.
The saints teach us that "knowing Christ through love" is much more important than "knowledge of doctrines about Christ".
To know a person differs from knowing about that person."
:: Excerpts from Rowland Croucher's book Recent Trends among Evangelicals.Pin It Now!
Thursday, September 28, 2006
We are lutes. When the soundbox is filled, no music can come forth.
When the brain and the belly burn from fasting, every moment a new song rises out of the fire.
The mists clear, and a new vitality makes you spring up the steps before you.
Be empty and cry as a reed instrument.
Be empty and write secrets with a reed pen.
When satiated by food and drink, an unsightly metal statue is seated where your spirit should be.
When fasting, good habits gather like helpful friends. Fasting is Solomon's ring.
Don't give in to illusion and lose your power.
But even when will and control have been lost, they will return when you fast, like soldiers appearing out of the ground, or pennants flying in the breeze.
poetry credit: http://rickshawdiaries.blogspot.com Pin It Now!
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
The talking about abstinence in the Upanishad caught my attention because, interestingly the original arabic word in Islam used for fasting is called "Saum" which literally means to abstain or Abstinence. Just as Saum or Abstinence or Fasting in Islam not only means abstainence from physical or food, but more and beyond; on the similar tone, the wisdom of Upanishad speaks:
1. What people call sacrifice (yagña), that is really abstinence. For he who knows, obtains that (world of Brahman, which others obtain by sacrifice), by means of abstinence.
What people call sacrifice (ishta), that is really abstinence, for by abstinence, having searched, he obtains the Self.
2. What people call sacrifice (sattrâyana), that is really abstinence, for by abstinence he obtains from the Sat (the true), the safety of the Self.
What people call the vow of silence (mauna), that is really abstinence, for he who by abstinence has found out the Self, meditates.
3. What people call fasting, that is really abstinence, for that Self does not perish, which we find out by abstinence.
The Upanishads: Fifth khanda, translated by Max Müller
In the explanation of the verses from Upanishad we find: Abstinence from all worldly enjoyments are means of obtaining a knowledge of Brahman, a knowledge of God.
Whatever we see and feel in this ephemeral world, has been shown to be false; because it consists of forms and names only; yet these forms and names have a true element in them, viz. the Sat (Haqq, the Ultimate Reality, the Truth). Before we know that Sat, all the objects we see in waking seem true; as dreams seem true in dreaming.
But when once we awake from our waking by true knowledge, we see that nothing is true but the Sat (Ultimate Reality). When we imagine we see a serpent, and then discover that it is a rope, the serpent disappears as false, but what was true in it, the rope, remains true. ... And abstinence is a path and spiritual discipline to obtain that special knowledge which ennobles our freedom.
credit: sacred texts website
Watch the presentation here. once the page loads, click play at the bottom to run the presentation.
End of the day, the message is clear: "Appreciate what you have and do your best for a better world". The video also teach that we are much more fortunate than many others in this planet. Comparing to the large amount of not-so-fortunate people earth at the moment, many of us live literally like kings. And that brings few responsibilities. One is to be grateful and to be appreciative for our condition, of our fortunates (most of which we didn't determine even) and we should extend our part to help other not-so-fortunate people around us. We have only this beautiful, green planet to share for all. We better take care of this common home of ours.
Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny? (The Quran 055.013)
Alternative link: also can watch it on youtube here.
Official website: http://www.miniature-earth.com
Related liks: Make Poverty History
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothes.
Look at the birds in the air. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them.
And you know that you are worth much more than the birds. You cannot add any time to your life by worrying about it.”
:: Matthew 6 v 25-27
Peace and blessings be upon Jesus Christ, the beautiful soul.
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Monday, September 25, 2006
the rosary of the Darvish have worn out.
Fearing the only rosary
may tear with frequent turns,
the Darvish decides to repeat
with longer sacred formula.
with each turn of the rosary beads
the Darvish starts to recite:
the Secret Most Holy Name of God.
The Darvish vanishes,
leaving behind the worn rosary,
that gives out the sweetest of sweet fragrance
of the Unknown: the fragrance of God.
© MysticSaint, Singapore
24 Sept, 2006
Dedicated to my Darvish friend & writer Irving Karchmar.
The term 'Darvish' is used to address mystics and lovers of God who turn away from the cravings of the material world and become ascetic for the sake of God, the Most Beloved.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
The intimate and personal stories of the five families are complemented with scholars from the three Abrahamic faiths. Scholars like Rabbi Robert Haas from Temple Shalom, Dr. Robert Hunt, Dr. Jamal Badawi, Dr. Muazzamul Sidiqque and Dr. Mahmoud Khan are featured in it. All of these scholars bring to light the common thread of Fasting and spiritual yearning between Jews, Muslims, Christians, and other Faiths.
An introspective view of how Muslims in America cope with their religious and cultural traditions, while balancing the western way of life, “American Ramadan” is required viewing for anyone that is an observer of humanity. This documentary does more than build bridges; it exemplifies the plight of everyone who is seeking faith and a higher spiritual understanding.
Watch the ten minutes long tralier of the the documentary here.
Here is another five minute version of the trailer.
:: Official website of American Ramadan - the documentary.
:: We are American Muslims: A short video presentation of (CAIR) Council on American-Islamic Relations
O High, O Mighty, O Forgiver, O Merciful,
You are the Mighty Lord, who has none like Him,
and He is the AllHearing, the AllSeeing.
This is a month which You have made;
ennobled and excelled over the other months.
It is the month in which You have made
fasting obligatory on me,
and it is the month of Ramadhan,
in which You sent down the Qur'an,
a guidance for mankind, having clear signs of
guidance and distinction. (2:185)
You have placed in it the night of power,
and made it better than a thousand months. (97:2)
O One who favours, and none favours You,
favour me by saving me from the fire,
amongst the ones You favour,
and make me enter Heaven,
by Your mercy, O the most Merciful.
:: Other Prayer for Ramadan
:: Ramadan Prayer Resources
:: Related post - Fasting for the sake of God
This year, once again we have the co-incidence of two very sacred month from two great faith. One is the month of Ramadan (on Muslim calendar) and another is the month of Tishrei (on Jewish calendar). Velveteen Rabbi writes in her blog, "it's neat that this year we'll be walking the path through the Days of Awe, and Sukkot, and Shmini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah, while our Muslim cousins are making their way through Ramadan."
Islam and Judaism share the common source from the great Abrahamic tradition. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are three faith of the same Abrahamic family, coming from three different time-frame. Tent of Abraham, Hagar and Sarah blog beautifully explained both the meanings of Ramadan and Tisheri - two sacred months from two sharing faith.
Rosh Hashanah is also the first of what are called the "Ten Days of Awe" and "Ten Days of Tshuvah ["Turning" or "Repentance"] " that are carried out with intense self-examination, and a turning away from misdeeds toward renewal of a holy life-path. (continues)
Credit: Velveteen Rabbi, and Tent of Abraham, Hagar and Sarah
About: Tent of Abraham, Hagar and Sarah
:: The Tent of Abraham, Hagar, & Sarah is a gathering of Jews, Christians, and Muslims who have been building a 'Tent' of shared spiritual concern for peace, justice, and healing of the earth. Arising from this effort has been a call to take part in 'The Peace of Abraham, Hagar and Sarah' (read more here).
Saturday, September 23, 2006
As fasting has spiritual dimensions, so it also has physical and scientific dimension. Fasting prescribed in different traditions of faith varies little in degree and type. in Islamic tradition, one take the last meal before the sunrise with the intention & prayer that the fasting is done only for the sake of God and asking God's acceptence. Then till the sunset one is suppose to abstain completely from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse.
But this by itself is not sufficient. One also has to abstain from all kinds of sins, like foul language, backbiting, drinking, lying, prohibited listening, and dealing in unlawful items like drugs, wine and pork - all kinds of behaviour or practice that is against the Will of God.
At sunset, the fast is broken by taking light food. fruits and water is recommened. over eating is very much discouraged after breaking the fast because that is not scientific and that also absue the spirit of fasting from spritiual point of view.
Fasting is practiced and recommended by Jesus Christ as well. and it was an integral part of earlier christian community to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and fast on a very regular, disciplined manner. The Book of Acts records believers fasting before they made important decisions (Acts 13:4; 14:23). Fasting and prayer are often linked together (Luke 2:37; 5:33).
So i welcome you again, if you are not Muslims, even then to fast on this blessed lunar month which is coming up by the current new moon. fast for one days or two days or even the whole lunar month if you can. taste the sweetness of fasting as it nourishes your soul.
Jesus Christ, the blessed spirit from God encouraged to celebrate fasting in the name of God. He forbade show up in fasting, but rather he taught that fasting be done in a spirit of joy.
"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your God, who is unseen; and your God, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" (Matthew 6:16-18).
Fasting is more than denying ourselves food or something else of the flesh - it's a sacrificial lifestyle before God. In Isaiah 58, we learn what a "true fast" is. As Isaiah tells us, fasting encourages humility, loosens the chains of injustice, unties the chords of the yoke, frees the oppressed, feeds the hungry, provides for the poor, and clothes the naked.
So beloved visitors, lets fast in the same spirit together. If you are not Muslim, yet decide to fast, pls do let us know (not for your ego, but to encourage others). God willing, it will be a great encouragement for all.
The Final Revelation, the Quran calls all belivers of God to fast in this special month when Quran was revealed as a guide to the whole of mankind. In Quran we read in the name of the Most Merciful:
"O you who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard (against evil).
Fast for a certain number of days; but whoever among you is sick or on a journey, then (he shall fast) a (like) number of other days; and those who are not able to do it may effect a redemption by feeding a poor man; so whoever does good spontaneously it is better for him; and that you fast is better for you if you know.
The month of Ramadan is that in which the Quran was revealed, as a guide to mankind and clear proofs of the guidance and the distinction; therefore whoever of you is present in the month, he shall fast therein, and whoever is sick or upon a journey, then (he shall fast) a (like) number of other days;
God desires ease for you, and He does not desire for you difficulty, and (He desires) that you should complete the number and that you should exalt the greatness of God for His having guided you and that you may give thanks." (The Quran 002.183-185)
Friday, September 22, 2006
Fasting has its spiritual and religious merits and dimensions. At the same time this practice of fasting which recommended in all faiths and religious tradition also have great scientific and medical benefits that are revealed as advanced medical science is researching on it. A short compilation of the Science of Fasting is what follows:
Fasting - an "operation without surgery"
"Fasting is, without any doubt, the most effective biological method of treatment... it is the 'operation without surgery'... it is a cure involving exudation, reattunement, redirection, loosening up and purified relaxation. While fasting, the patient improves her or his physical health and gains much. But he or she will have neglected the most important thing if the hunger for spiritual nourishment that manifests itself during fasting is not satisfied." -Otto Buchinger, Sr., M.D., Germany's great, self-described "fasting therapist". Read the full article 'Why Fasting' that focuses on medical benefit of fasting here.
Fasting As a Natural Nutrition Therapy
Dr. Elson M. Haas, M.D., offers some very beneficial information about fasting, addressing preventive and integrated medicines, natural nutrition therapies and detoxification (fasting). Read here.
Fasting And Alzheimer’s
There seem to be some mysterious benefits for the brain in Ramadan-style fasting. A study conducted at the National Institute on Aging showed that intermittent deprivation of food can protect the brain from diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
[Mark] Mattson and his colleagues also shared data from research on humans, which shows that populations with higher caloric intakes—such as the United States and Europe—have a greater prevalence of Alzheimer’s than do populations that eat less—such as China and Japan. (From Andrea Useen’s article Why Religious Fasting Could Be Good for Your Brain.)
So how can it stave off degenerative brain diseases? Mattson claims fasting can actually creative new neurons. From his article published by the National Institutes of Health, it reads:
"[Dietary restriction] can stimulate the production of new neurons from stem cells (neurogenesis) and can enhance synaptic plasticity, which may increase the ability of the brain to resist aging and restore function following injury."
Now there was one part that seemed to conflict with what doctors recommend to prevent obesity and diabetes. Mattson suggest that we eat more in one sitting.
"…increasing the time interval between meals is beneficial, even when the size of the meals are increased to a level that results in no overall decrease in caloric intake."
Perhaps both the neuroscientists and diabetes specialists would be content if we slowly graze from sunset to bedtime.
Fasting May Even Affect Sleep
According to Dr. Ebrahim Kazim, a low blood-sugar level can lock the brain into stages of deep sleep. He writes:
"Fasting improves the quality and intensifies the depth of sleep, a matter of particular importance to the aged who have much less stage three and four sleep (deep sleep). The processes of repair of the body and of the brain take place during sleep. Two hours of sleep during the month of Ramadan are more satisfying and refreshing than more hours of sleep otherwise!" (credit)
Fasting and your Biological Rythms is a beautiful article by Doctor E. Kazim where he describes how fasting release special types of tranquilizing natural chemicals that not only tranquil our mind but also elate the mind. Also how fasting positively affects our sleep is discussed from scientific research. full article.
Miracle of Fasting is a very religion independent investigation on the benefits of Fasting. It talsk about how fasting is necessary for the internal purification, how fasting conserves vital force and how it cleanses toxins out. read here.
Healthier Living through Fasting is an article by Ibrahim B. Syed, Ph.D. who is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at University of Louisville School of Medicine. The article focuses on how Science Favors Fasting interms of longevity, effect on weight, lipid metabolism etc. full article here.
Fasting enhances mental acuity
Not only internal digestive organs and others, fasting also enhances the mental faculty.
Perhaps the most instructive testimony as to the acuteness of mental powers during fasting comes from Dr. Herbert Shelton who supervised the fasting of more than 40,000 people over a period of fifty years. His message is that the freer the body is of toxic materials flowing through the blood and lymphatic system, the clearer is the ability to think. continue reading here.
Fasting decreases triiodothyronine receptor capacity by GC Schussler and J Orlando (Science, Vol 199, Issue 4329, 686-688).
Fasting for Health and Spiritual Development
Yoga magazine has an article by Swami Satyananda Saraswati that talks about not only spiritual but also physical development relating to fasting. Along with other issues it talks about fasting and its relation with Somo-psychic or psychosomatic, balancing of the hormones and concentration of mind. (continue here)
A Healthy Fast Is as Good as a Fresh Start
The article published in Buddhist Channel gives an outline how fasting can be seen as a healing treatment that purifies our bodies. Fasting restores the body’s innate self-healing ability that we have forgotten- mentions the article. “Hunger is perhaps the most intense discomfort people can feel. Our bodies recognize fasting as an emergency state. Autonomic nerves that were hibernating become alive, and react very sensitively and violently. They begin to throw away all the unnecessary things, leaving only the minimum needed for survival. In this process, all the waste and toxins are being eliminated,” say Prof. Shin Hyun-dae at Kyung Hee Medical Center. (full article here)
Previous post in Inspirations and Creative Thoughts on Science behind fasting.
[>] For other recent posts on Ramadan visit Inspirations and Creative Thoughts
* 11 Health Benefit of Fasting
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"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." (Matthew chapter 5, verse 6)
'This hunger and thirst for righteousness' is exactly what fasting is. Here Jesus Christ so beautifully not only define what and how fasting should be, but also blessed the practice of fasting as well. The word righteousness holds the key to understanding the significance of fasting.
Not only in words, Jesus Christ himself also fasted (Matthew 4:2) in the spirit of surrrender to God, to be close to God and to attain the righteousness.
:: Beatitudes in Wikipedia //:: BibleGateway
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Confucius: The goal of fasting is inner unity. This means hearing, but not with the ear; hearing, but not with the understanding; hearing with the spirit, with your whole being... The hearing of the spirit is not limited to any one faculty, to the ear, or to the mind.
Hence it demands the emptiness of all the faculties. And when the faculties are empty, then the whole being listens. There is then a direct grasp of what is right there before you that can never be heard with the ear or understood with the mind. Fasting of the heart empties the faculties, frees you from limitation and from preoccupation. Fasting of the heart begets unity and freedom.
Yen Hui: I see. What was standing in my way was my own self-awareness. If I can begin this fasting of the heart, self awareness will vanish.
Source: Quotations from Chuang Tzu (4:1, pp. 75-76)
The Messenger of God (may God bless and preserve him) said: ‘The supplication of one who fasts is answered’. This [tradition] is evidence of the excellence of hunger, so accustom your carnal souls to it, for it is the root of piety as well as its foundation, method, and guiding light. By hunger he who arrives arrives, he who obtains obtains, and he who attains attains.
St. Athanasios the Great said, "Let us love fasting exceedingly, for fasting cures diseases, casts out demons, drives away evil thoughts, renders the mind brighter, the heart pure, the body sanctified, and presents man to the throne of God."
Shaykh Abu Madyan (may God be please with him) said: ‘Oh People of Will, practice hunger, the fast of intimate union, solitude, and remembrance, for by [the practice of hunger] you will attain what you desire, you will see how the gushing springs of wisdom will issue forth from your hearts and your tongues, and by means of it you will arrive at your Lord.’
He who is hungry arrives and he who is satiated is cut off. He who remembers [God] is moved to meditate, while he who forgets is himself forgotten. This is because hunger comprises ten qualities: the purification of the lower soul from lusts and doubts; remembrance; meditation; the shedding of blameworthy attributes and the acquisition of those that are praiseworthy; the emulation of spiritual masters who have gone before, as well as the Companions of the Prophet and those who succeeded them among the first generation of the pious; preoccupation with suppressing the lower soul; and preventing the lower soul from following its lusts.
Have you not observed [the case of] Adam (may peace be upon him)? Iblis could not prevail over him except by means of his lust.
Thus, hunger is the vehicle of the worshippers, the way of the pious, the method of the gnostics, the key of those who are guided, and the goal of those who have arrived at the highest [level] of ‘Illiyyin. Said Shaykh Abu Madyan (may God have mercy upon him): ‘I have examined the writings of the Prophets, the pious, the Companions [of the Prophet and their] Successors, and the scholars of past generations; yet I have not found anything that causes attainment to God Most High without [the addition of] hunger. [This is because] one who is hungry becomes humble, one who is humble begs, and the one who begs attains. So hold fast to hunger, my brother, and practice it constantly, for by means of it you will attain what you desire and will arrive at that for which you hope.’
Ibrahim ibn Adham (may God be pleased with him) was asked about union with God Most High, and said: ‘Hunger and asceticism are one. He who is hungry abstains and he who abstains arrives; he who arrives attains (and he who attains remains).’
Someone said to Rabi’a al-’Adawiyya (may God be pleased with her): ‘By what is the Intimate united to God Most High?’ ‘By hunger,’ she replied. So she was asked, ‘Then what is hunger?’ She replied: ‘Hunger is the act of keeping the lower soul away from [sensual] delights. He who keeps his lower soul away from worldly delights attains his goal in the Hereafter.’
Someone said to al-Fudhayl ibn ‘Iyad (may God be please with him): ‘By what means did you arrive at this noble station?’ ‘By hunger,’ he said, ‘and asceticism, humility, abandonment of the vain hopes of the lower soul, the [maintenance of] constant union with God, the obligation of spiritual retreat, and by fearing God Most High.’
Said Shaykh Abu Madyan: ‘True spiritual inclination is only made correct for the aspirant by lowering the gaze [out of modesty]; preserving one’s chastity; avoiding that which is forbidden; abandoning vanity, concern with one’s reputation, and lusts; constantly maintaining prayer in the mosque; leaving aside that which does not concern you; obliging retreat from mankind; and practicing asceticism in regard to the material world.’
Someone said to ‘Utba al-Ghulam: ‘What is the nature of the hunger that unites [man] to God Most High?’ ‘Fasting,’ he replied, ‘and its constant practice.’
Credit: Spiritual Tendencies
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
A small gesture denounces us, so we have to make everything perfect, think about the details, learn the technique so that it becomes intuitive. Intuition has nothing to do with routine but rather with a state of spirit that lies beyond technique.
So, after practicing a lot, we no longer think about all the necessary movements: they become part of our very existence. But for this to happen, you have to train and repeat.
And as if that were not enough, you have to repeat and train.
Watch a good blacksmith working the steel. To the untrained eye he is repeating the same hammer blows over and over again.
But those who know the importance of training know that each time the hammer is raised and then lowered, the intensity of the blow is different. The hand repeats the same gesture but as it approaches the iron it knows whether to touch it harder or softer.
Look at the windmill. Whoever sees its vanes just once imagines that it always turns with the same speed, always repeating the same movement. But those who know windmills know that they are conditioned to the wind and change their direction whenever necessary.
The hand of the ironsmith was trained after the gesture of hammering was repeated thousands of times. Windmill vanes can move fast after the wind has blown a lot and polished their gears. The archer lets many an arrow pass far from the target because he knows that he will only learn the importance of the bow, posture, the string and the target after he repeats his gestures thousands of times without being afraid of making a mistake.
Until he reaches the moment when he no longer needs to think about what he doing. From then on the archer becomes his bow, his arrow and his target.
- From Warrior of the Light Online by Paulo Coelho
So it applies to the repeated remembrace of God, which Muslims and Mystics alike call Zikr or Dhikr, simply means to remember or remembrance.
The difference between the one who makes Zikr and the one who does not is well explained in this Hadith (Saying of the Prophet). Abu Musa Al-Ashari reported: The Prophet said, "The similitude of one who remembers his Lord and one who does not remember Him, is like that of the living and the dead.''
The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said, I love repeating : "Glorified is God, all praise is due to God, and there is no god but One God, God is the greatest" - more than all that the sun shines upon.
(The arabic formula is: "Subhan Allah, Walhamdu lillah, wa La ilaha ill-Allah, wa Allahu Akbar")
In Quran we find,
"And remember God much (repeatedly) that you may be successful.'' (62:10).
.. And the men and the women who remember God much with their hearts and tongues. God has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward. (33:35)
... and certainly the repeated remembrance (Zikr) of God is the greatest. (29:45)
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
then consider what comes to you from your Lord,
but if you want the door of sadness be opened for you,
then consider what goes to Him from you.
- "The Hikam" Sufi Aphorisms
by Ibn Ata'Allah al Iskandari
Late 13th Century C.E.
From the presentation given by Aisha Virginia Gray at 2nd Int'l Conf. on Islamic Spirituality, 06. Singapore.
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- Letters of Sheikh al Darqawi
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Sunday, September 17, 2006
The address is more complex and subtle than the press on it represents. But let me just signal that what is most troubling of all is that the Pope gets several things about Islam wrong, just as a matter of fact.
He notes that the text he discusses, a polemic against Islam by a Byzantine emperor, cites Qur'an 2:256: "There is no compulsion in religion." Benedict maintains that this is an early verse, when Muhammad was without power.
His allegation is incorrect. Surah 2 is a Medinan surah revealed when Muhammad was already established as the leader of the city of Yathrib (later known as Medina or "the city" of the Prophet). The pope imagines that a young Muhammad in Mecca before 622 (lacking power) permitted freedom of conscience, but later in life ordered that his religion be spread by the sword. But since Surah 2 is in fact from the Medina period when Muhammad was in power, that theory does not hold water.
In fact, the Qur'an at no point urges that religious faith be imposed on anyone by force. This is what it says about the religions:
[The Quran 2:62] 'Those who believe (in the Qur'an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians-- any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. " (full post here)
From the blog Eteraz, the author points the fact that he "was alarmed by the historical inaccuracies of the Pope’s speech."
Digital Dharma wonders "Ummmm…excuuuussse me? What about the Crusades (not too long before Manuel, as a matter of fact) and the New World Genocides in the name of the Church? What about the silence over the Holocaust? What about all those good German and Polish Catholics who were not immediately excommunicated?
Yes, those things are in the past — but His Holiness would do well to consider the condition of his Pot before addressing the Kettle."
Pope also mentioned something that "... Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably ... is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...".
Well, tagging political (motivated by unjust world dominance) and secular violence with a particular religion alone is dangerous. You just add smoke to the real problems that exist in the world. And on the issue of violence and the nature of God, let me quote from Old Testament a few passages and let yourself analyze how pope contradicts himself the text of Bible.
Now kill all the boys [innocent kids]. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man. (Numbers 31:17-18)"
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid. Wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
All who would not seek the LORD, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman. (From the NIV Bible, 2 Chronicles 15:13)
Its so sad that people without understanding the context, quote verses from Quran, without understand the fact that God commands to use force only to upright the Laws of God, to protect the innocence and to protect the peace in general. And the battles commanded in the Quran were all such battle, only for the sake of God, to protect His commandments.
Yet it was Prophet Muhmamad who demonstrated the most sublime morality even then. For example, for the battle for the sake of God, Prophet Muhammad taught,
"Do not kill a child, nor a woman, nor an old man, nor obliterate a stream, nor cut a tree…" (such great was his compassion that he even forbade to destroy trees in the event of war).
Now lets see the the teachings of "returning good for evil" in The Quran,
41:34 "Nor can goodness and evil be equal. Repel (evil) with that is better: Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!."
28:54 "Twice will they be given their reward, for that they have persevered, that they avert evil with good, and that they spend (in charity) out of what We have given them."
"The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree): but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah: for (Allah) Loveth not those who do wrong."
Tag: Pope, Benedict, Debunking Pope, Joseph Ratzinger, Christianity, Islam, Pope's Speech
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Saturday, September 16, 2006
I like your Christ.
I do not like your Christians.
They are so unlike your Christ.
- Mahatma Gandhi
Recently Pope BENEDICT XVI: Joseph Ratzinger made some ill-commnets, quoting an obscure Medieval text that wrongly claim that the teachings of Islam's founder as "evil and inhuman" and unjustly in the speech he implicitly linked Islam and violence. He quoted from a medieval text which said "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached". (full text of pope's address) The comment generated tremendous protest and condemnation from all over the world not only by Muslims but also by Christian leaders.
Following the event in the media i was sad for two reasons. One is the lack of education and respect about another faith from the part of an important figure like Pope and also the media depiction of the response by the protestors. i was saddened to see, there are no media coverage of scholarly, moderate voices from islamic world. all we see is that angry, fanatics are protesting in some concentration camps (made by israel) in occupied palestinian city. This again reflects how gross mis-conception and mis-representation is out there when it comes to understand another faith.
Not the first time
This is not the first time Pope Benedict has been at the centre of criticism for his views on Islam. Before becoming Pope, Cardinal Ratzinger, as he was known, was considered a theological conservative. He appeared to be uncomfortable with Pope John Paul II's attempts to improve dialogue with the Islamic world. (credit)
Pope's Nazi Background
Now what i find more disturbing is the irresponsible comment from the part of a person who should have the best knowledge and who will be leading humanity to unite in understanding each other's faith in a time as ours. Unlike Christ who came to unite humanity in the love of God, this is a man who from his dress to his speech is very unlike our Beloved Christ.
No wonder the current Pope Ratzinger was criticized for his role in the Hitler's Military. Ratzinger’s past includes brief membership of the Hitler Youth movement and wartime service with a German army anti- aircraft unit. details1, details2, details3
Center of the debate
The part of the quote that triggered most of the protest by Muslims was "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman ..."
That is total mis-representation of a personality in the human history whom Michael H. Hart's book "The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History" it was the Prophet Muhammad who was ranked 1 because of his tremendous character, ability to transform a nation and take them out from age of darkness to become one of the greatest civilization that human race has ever witnessed.
Reverend Bosworth Smith in 'Muhammad and Muhammadanism,' London, 1874. remarked about The Prophet,
"Head of the State as well as the Church, he was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without the Pope's pretensions, and Caesar without the legions of Caesar, without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a police force, without a fixed revenue. If ever a man ruled by a right divine, it was Muhammad, for he had all the powers without their supports. He cared not for the dressings of power. The simplicity of his private life was in keeping with his public life."
"In Mohammadanism every thing is different here. Instead of the shadowy and the mysterious, we have history....We know of the external history of Muhammad....while for his internal history after his mission had been proclaimed, we have a book absolutely unique in its origin, in its preservation....on the Substantial authority of which no one has ever been able to cast a serious doubt." (credit)
Now it shows that Pope Benedict XVI do need more education about the Prophet (see a video of Prophecies about Prophet Muhammad in Bible)
Show me what Muhammad brought that was new
As Jesus Christ says, You shall know by the fruits (Matthew 7:16)... so lets see the what fruits did Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him brought new to human race. Perhaps Pope will understand the fruits better, since Jesus asked us to know by the fruits (by the contribution, the transformations), rather than biased preconceived notions.
:: Muhammad the reformer
Bernard Lewis believes the advent of Islam in a sense was a revolution which only partially succeeded after long struggles due to tensions between the new religion and very old societies in the countries that the Muslims conquered. He thinks that one such area of tension was a consequence of what he sees as the egalitarian nature of Islamic doctrine. Lewis believes that "the equality of Islam is limited to free adult male Muslims," but according to him "even this represented a very considerable advance on the practice of both the Greco-Roman and the ancient Iranian world. Islam from the first denounced aristocratic privilege, rejected hierarchy, and adopted a formula of the career open to the talents."
John Esposito sees Muhammad as a reformer who did away with many of the terrible practices of the pagan Arabs. He states that Muhammad's "insistence that each person was personally accountable not to tribal customary law but to an overriding divine law shook the very foundations of Arabian society... Muhammad proclaimed a sweeping program of religious and social reform that affected religious belief and practices, business contracts and practices, male-female and family relations.". Esposito holds that the Qur'an's reforms consists of 'regulations or moral guidance that limit or redefine rather than prohibit or replace existing practices.' He cites slavery and women's status as two examples.
:: Social security and Family structure
According to scholars such as William Montgomery Watt, Muhammad was both a social and moral reformer in his day and generation. He claims Muhammad created a "new system of social security and a new family structure, both of which were a vast improvement on what went before. By taking what was best in the morality of the nomad and adapting it for settled communities, he established a religious and social framework for the life of many races of men."
Slavery existed in all the ancient civilizations of Asia, Africa, Europe, and pre-Columbian America and had been accepted and even endorsed by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as other religions of the world, Lewis states. Lewis however states that Islam brought two major changes to ancient slavery 'which were to have far-reaching effects. One of these was the presumption of freedom; the other, the ban on the enslavement of free persons except in strictly defined circumstances.' The position of the Arabian slave was "enormously improved": The Arabian slave 'was now no longer merely a chattel but was also a human being with a certain religious and hence a social status and with certain quasi-legal rights.' The practice of slavery in the Islamic empire represented a 'vast improvement on that inherited from antiquity, from Rome, and from Byzantium.'
Although slavery was not abolished, but Schimmel asserts that as the reforms seriously limited the supply of new slaves, slavery would be theoretically abolished with the expansion of Islam.
:: Women rights
John Esposito states that the reforms affected marriage, divorce, and inheritance. "Marriage was a contract, with women entitled to their dower (4:4). Polygamy was restricted (4:3), men were commanded to treat their wives fairly and equally (4:129). Women were given inheritance rights in a patriarchal society that had previously restricted inheritance to male relatives."
Watt believes that Islam is still, in many ways, a man’s religion however states that Muhammad, in the historical context of his time, can be seen as a figure who testified on behalf of women’s rights and improved things quite a lot. ... Muhammad however by "instituting rights of property ownership, inheritance, education and divorce, gave women certain basic safeguards." And this was happenning all at a time when Christian Europe was in dark age, never heard of woman rights what so ever. Rather Catholics were burning women in the name of religion accusing them witches.
In the next post, God willing i would like to focus how scholars and historians judge the fruits of Muhammad in the historical context. May God bless Prophet Muhammad and his holy bloodline as God has blessed Abraham and his holy bloodline.
- Pope gets it wrong - Informed Comment by Juan Cole
- Wikipedia Article on Prophet Muhammad and References
- Prophet Muhammad in Bible
- Prophet Muhammad in Bible in details
- Christian Science Monitor's Article
- ‘Pope’s comments on Islam as against Christ’s teachings
- What pope was thinking? Newsweek Cover
- The First Casualty of Pope's Islam Speech - Time Article
- Profile: Pope Benedict XVI
- Timeline of Pope's past
- Pope's Hitler Youth Past
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Friday, September 15, 2006
... Women are not created weaker but more generous than men. They are created more beautiful and less fierce, as beauty hates to hurt and harm others. That is why they seem weak to people, but in reality they are not. Angels are the strongest of created beings, and women are closer to the angelic nature than men, as they are readier than men to carry angelic light. It is the good manners and ethics of spirituality which they carry which makes them less forceful than men.
Even physically, however, they are extremely strong. They undergo great upheavals in their body without flinching for the sake of childbirth, and face the direst physical conditions more successfully than men because Allah has enabled them to insure the survival of generations.
Allah gave women five angelic qualities which men rarely have.
They are the source of peace, as Allah said that He created them "so that you might find rest in them" (The Quran, 30:21).
... Secondly they are the oasis of constancy in the midst of chaos and change. That is why they give birth as the mother nurtures and shelters the baby more reliably than the father.
... They perpetuate generations. Through their offspring Allah creates angelic prophets and saints who establish His perpetual remembrance on earth as the angels establish in heaven.
... They are generous and bountiful. They are described as a fertile land in all Scriptures because they give without counting, including life.
... Finally, they are the source of Beauty. Through their softness and subtlety, Allah has crowned the earth with the diadem of angelic grace."
Credit: Darvish Blog and the Waqf Ikhlas, by way of the Meem Connection.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
know that the radiation of wealth can kill off the spirituality of the heart!
- Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq
Credit: www.qisas.com/wisdom Pin It Now!
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Q. What is the ego?
Ego is the flower that comes out from the death of love. When we kill love, the result is the ego.
Q. What is the character of the ego? How does it manifest within a human being?
When we don't trust. Ego is born when we don't trust others. When we're afraid of others, when we need guns against others, then we need to have an ego because we are in the wrong way of life. We think only of ourselves, and we see only our ego. But when we see each other, when we trust each other, there is no need for ego, no reason for ego, no possibility for ego.
And Christ said, "The last is the first." Because when you want to be the last and you choose the last seat, only then may you call the others friends of yours.
Q. The ego, this sense of self-importance you've been speaking about, is often described in The Philokalia and other writings of the Christian mystics as the primary enemy with which the spiritual aspirant must wrestle in their quest for union with God. Why is the ego considered to be such a formidable adversary on the path?
It is such a powerful enemy because it is the enemy within us. We are enemies to ourselves. The real enemy is the ego. It is the enemy because it is against love. When I look at myself, I don't love others. When I want to occupy for myself what is yours, I become the killer of my brother, like Cain killed Abel. When I want to satisfy myself, this satisfaction is gained through sacrificing the freedom of the other. Then my ego becomes my lord, my god, and there is no stronger temptation than this. Because to us, this ego may seem like a diamond. It has a shine like gold. But whatever is shining is not gold. The ego is just like a fire without light, a fire without warmth, a fire without life. It seems that it has many sides and many possibilities—but what is this possibility? What is ego? Only the means by which I protect myself as if I were in a battle, as if every other person is my enemy, and the only thing I care about is winning the victory.
Q. What do you feel is the most important quality within the individual that can help us to win the fight against the clever and ever changing ego?
Repentance. Recognizing our mistakes and our sins, this is the highest thing that we can do. And not to recognize our sins in order to succeed at something else, but just to see the truth about ourselves. Saint Isaac, the great mystic of the Church, says that one who accepts, who understands, who recognizes his sin in front of the Lord, in reality, he is the highest. He is greater than one who has gained all the world, who feeds all the people, who makes miracles, who resurrects the dead.
This man, the first one, is bigger because he can never fall down. He has a stability, a level, a place where he can talk to the Lord. He has a place where he can invite the Lord with his tears, with his repentance, with the understanding that he has done wrong. And straightaway he becomes clear. The light comes from him. He becomes a spiritual doctor, a teacher or father, because he's not afraid to recognize sins. It is not a problem for him to say, "Excuse me, it was my fault." This is the key to escape from all the drops of the devil.
// the complete interview here at what is enlightenment magazine.
1. War and Globalization: the Truth behind 9/11
It is a presentation (click to view) to the The People's Summit, Calgary, 2002 - by Michel Chossudovsky who is a professor of economics at the University of Ottawa. The video presentation gives the relationship between war and the free market reforms. You willl come to know how the war on terrorism is a fabrication, which serves to support of war of conquest. Osama bin Laden is a creation of US intelligence. Also analyses brilliantly the intelligence ploy behind September 11.
2. Who has the facts?
Kevin Barrett who is a lecturer at University of Wisconsin-Madison - his interview may be another eye-opener. He has studied on this topic for more than 2 years and has plenty of scholarly evidences that 9/11 was an inside job.
Here is another of his rare interview on a mainstream media like Fox News. (must see)
3. Here goes the Evidences
Of all the 9/11 videos this is probably the strongest. Not only does it keep you interested, but it also provides some solid facts from government documents, news articles from CBS News, Fox, Newsweek, and more.
The best part in this video is where they show that the Pentagon could not have been hit by a plane because of A, B, C, and, D. Now even if one is not an expert in planes, missiles, or anything for that matter, but what they provide evidences, seems very credible to any neutral person. Of course none wants to believe that governments would do such things. Who would want to believe that their own government, who is supposed to protect you, would destroy you just to make more money?!
Unfortunately it happens. It happens everywhere. People do get framed. (text credit) (another must see) Here are the mind blowing evidences.
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Tuesday, September 12, 2006
(The Quran 4:1) O mankind! reverence your Guardian-Lord, Who created you from a single being and created its mate of the same essence, and spread from these two - many men and women; reverence God, through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs (that bore you): for God ever watches over you.
The verse mentioned rejects the idea of Bible as mentioned that Eve was made from a rib of Adam: Genesis 2:21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 2:22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man.
Rejecting this notion that female was created from the rib of man, The Quran makes it clear that human race, both male and female is made from a single being, a single Soul. What is this single Being? What is this Essence? Perhaps the hints is here when God talks about the creation of Adam, "Then He fashioned him (Adam) and breathed into him of His spirit (The Quran 32:9)
This shows that the Divine Spirit is breathed into every human being, since Adam is the representation of every human being. That every human being is a Spirit from God and His Word (Divine Will) as well. As the Divine Spirit has no distinction of sex, so the soul of human being has no sex. And also the Quranic verse remove the discrimination between the sex of male and female by mentioning that man and his mate is created from the same essence.
Some scholars in explaining the previous verse (4:1) of the Quran says that the soul of Eve was included in Adam and and from the soul of Adam God created its mate, Eve. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs). This explanation suggest that the soul of human being has both male and female attribute interwined in it.
In other verses in The Quran we find,
"And one of His signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may incline to them, and He put between you love and compassion." (The Quran 30:21)
Previous posts on this series:
1. Metamorphosis: Secret of Male and Female
2. Secret of Male and Female from your thoughts
3. Inspirations from Sri Ramakrishna
Ref: Translation of the Holy Quran by Muhammad Ali (1928)
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Reading the book titled, My Master by Swami Vivekananda where he was talking about his Master Sri Ramakrishna, a blissful soul and one of the most enlightened mystic of modern time (February 18, 1836 - August 16, 1886). In the book what caught my attention was some profound realization of Ramakrishna, may God bless his soul, about this exact secret of male and female. The reason its profound is because this great mystic not only says it from bookish knowledge but from his own realization and from the experiences that he experienced in his own lifetime.
I quote from the book, "One of the Sadhanas (the divine practices and struggle) was to root out the sex idea. Soul has no sex, it is neither male nor female. It is only in the body that sex exists, and man who desires to reach the spirit can not at the same time hold to sex distinctions.
... this man wanted to to bring the feminine idea into everything ... until, after years of this discipline, his mind became changed, and he entirely forgot the idea of sex, thus the whole view of life became changed to him.
... to him every women's face was that of the Blissful Mother, and nothing but that.
... Think of the blessedness of that life from which all carnality has vanished, which can look upon every woman with that love and reverence when every woman's face becomes transfigured, and only the face of the Divine Mother, the Blissful One, the Protectress of the human races shines upon it!
... Such purity is absolutely necessary if real spirituality is to be attained."
Perhaps this reverence is what Jesus Christ also spoke about when he said,
"Reverence Woman, mother of the universe,' in her lies the truth of creation. She is the foundation of all that is good and beautiful. She is the source of life and death. Upon her depends the existence of man, because she is the sustenance of his labors. She gives birth to you in travail, she watches over your growth. Bless her. Honor her. Defend her.
Love your wives and honor them, because tomorrow they shall be mothers, and later-progenitors of a whole race. Their love ennobles man, soothes the embittered heart and tames the beast. Wife and mother-they are the adornments of the universe." - details here.
Next: In the next post God willing, i would like to focus on the verses of The Final Testament, The Quran that hints another mystery of male and female; the verses that dismiss the idea that Eve (representation of female) is created from a rib of Adam (representation of male) as suggested in Bible (Genesis 2:21, 22).
Friday, September 08, 2006
Just as this copper astrolabe is the mirror of the heaves, so the human being -- We have honored the Children of Adam - is the astrolabe of God. When God causes man to have knowledge of Him and to know Him and to be familiar with Him, through the astrolabe of his own being he beholds moment by moment and flash by flash the manifestation of God and His infinite beauty, and that beauty is never absent from his mirror.
Quote from Discourses of Rumi, translated by A. J. Arberry and published by Curzon Press (1975)
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Source: 'Reflect on this' Blog. Special credit to sister SF.
- Yahya bin Mu’adh
Drops of Wisdom, is one of the biggest collection of quotes from the Islamic world, from the books of the scholars. Beautiful sayings to guide us, assist us and give meaning to our situations. From the words of the companions of the Prophet (peace), the Imams, Scholars and Spiritual Masters of present times.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
invoking with presence of mind is invocation of the heart;
and invoking with an absence of self-awareness because of absorption in the Invoked is the invocation of the Self
- this is the hidden invocation!
:: Ahmad Ibn `AtaAllah
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Wednesday, September 06, 2006
the Beloved One whispers in his heart:
"Come to Me with that which I have not"
Searching all over,
in fiery deserts, cold mountains,
in dark forests, wide cities or in sleepy villages,
to scholars and to lay men alike
the devotee finds nothing that God has not.
The agony of vain search knows no bounds.
until one day bursting forth like thousand suns,
the truth manifests.
"Come with the poverty of your heart.
Empty your heart so that only
and only the Beloved remains
and may take His seat forever on the Heart Throne.
Know O devotee:
it is only poverty that God has not.
So come with a pure soul bathed in poverty,
as one who has nothing
and who wants nothing
but the Beloved only."
5 Sept 06, Singapore
Dedicated to Sister Aisha Virginia Gray, a beautiful soul. My tribute to her lifelong dedication to the spiritual dimension of life and imparting this through teaching and publishing.
She is the co-founder and trustee of the Islamic Texts Society. Her other publishing companies, Fons Vitae and Quinta Essentia, publishes books on world religions, spirituality and art.
This poem was inspired from a talk that she gave at Darul Arqam, Singapore on 5th Sept 2006 on 'Path to the Heart'. May Beloved Lord shower Infinite Mercy on her path and journey 'Home'. Pin It Now!
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
There are few paticipants from the conference who have also posted few posts on the conference and the lectures.
Light of Eminence
Al-Fathhu Student Blog
My life. There's no maniacal master...
http://mairay.livejournal.com/ Pin It Now!
Monday, September 04, 2006
On the surface the statement may seem very plain, but in it holds the greatest sincerity for the part of a person. This is because it talks about the ultimate sincerity in every action, in the living and in life. It is the highest to attain. if you just ponder on the fact that the quality of Ihsan means one lives a life with the ultimate consciousness and mindfulness of the Divine, the Most Perfect One in such a manner that the person can feel the presence of the Divine as if he or she is seeing the Face.
This the highest form of enlightenment in a sense that one can feel the presence of the Divine all the time here on earth, right now, all the moment. it was generally thought that the righteous will see the Face of God only in Heaven. But this idea of Ihsan transcend even that. it is the direct and sustained state of realization of God, right here, right now, all the moment.
a person's behaviour changes according to the company with whom he or she is. if the person is with the most beloved/ liked person on earth, his or her behavior becomes the most sweet. offcourse it depends on the state of the inner heart. thus when one understand the Most Beautiful, the Most Perfect Divine's attribute and know the fact that all gratefulness should direct to the Divine, then imagine how his or her behavior will transform when one is in a state of ihsan. This is when the action, thoughts, behavior of a person becomes perfect and excellent in all aspects. (the persian poet Hafez has a beautiful poem on this. the recitation with english is here)
The concept of Ihsan has been explained by various Islamic scholars. Some scholars explain Ihsan as being the "inner-dimension" of islam, very much connected to the soul of "the way of life".
Those who struggle for Us - We shall guide them on Our paths, and God is with those who do what is beautiful. (The Quran 29:69)
Tag: Ihsan, Spiritual, Concept of Ihsan, Islam Pin It Now!