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Help: Muslim belief

kendall 17 Sep 01 - 06:22 PM
Amos 17 Sep 01 - 06:25 PM
Murray MacLeod 17 Sep 01 - 06:30 PM
katlaughing 17 Sep 01 - 06:34 PM
Burke 17 Sep 01 - 06:36 PM
katlaughing 17 Sep 01 - 06:47 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Sep 01 - 06:50 PM
Murray MacLeod 17 Sep 01 - 06:52 PM
Sorcha 17 Sep 01 - 06:55 PM
katlaughing 17 Sep 01 - 07:00 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 17 Sep 01 - 07:41 PM
kendall 17 Sep 01 - 07:45 PM
wysiwyg 17 Sep 01 - 07:46 PM
Jim Dixon 17 Sep 01 - 08:39 PM
Mrrzy 17 Sep 01 - 09:16 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Sep 01 - 07:45 AM
Jim Dixon 18 Sep 01 - 09:20 AM
Bill D 18 Sep 01 - 09:29 AM
Jim Dixon 18 Sep 01 - 09:37 AM
Bill D 18 Sep 01 - 11:00 AM
Jim Dixon 18 Sep 01 - 11:58 AM
Sorcha 18 Sep 01 - 12:13 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Sep 01 - 12:48 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 18 Sep 01 - 01:27 PM
Jim the Bart 18 Sep 01 - 01:55 PM
Bill D 18 Sep 01 - 02:07 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 18 Sep 01 - 02:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Sep 01 - 06:10 PM
Amos 18 Sep 01 - 07:33 PM
Gypsy 18 Sep 01 - 11:07 PM
sian, west wales 19 Sep 01 - 09:48 AM
GUEST,Russ 19 Sep 01 - 10:04 AM
Jim Dixon 19 Sep 01 - 01:04 PM
M.Ted 19 Sep 01 - 01:37 PM
Jack the Sailor 19 Sep 01 - 02:00 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Sep 01 - 02:15 PM
M.Ted 19 Sep 01 - 02:36 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Sep 01 - 03:00 PM
toadfrog 19 Sep 01 - 03:25 PM
GUEST,No virgins for me 19 Sep 01 - 03:29 PM
GUEST,no name 19 Sep 01 - 04:00 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 19 Sep 01 - 05:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Sep 01 - 07:43 PM
Lox 19 Sep 01 - 08:36 PM
Crazy Eddie 20 Sep 01 - 01:24 AM
GUEST,Russ 20 Sep 01 - 04:53 PM
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Subject: Muslim belief
From: kendall
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 06:22 PM

I have an old friend who insists that young Muslim men are taught that, when they die fighting for Islam, they go directly to heaven, and, they are issued a large number of virgins to play with. I told him it sounds like rubbish to me. Anyone know?


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Amos
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 06:25 PM

It is an Islam myth. It was started in the days of the original Assasins, so named because they were doped to the gills with hasheesh, shown beautiful garden full of nubile women, and told it would be waiting for them when they came back.

The myth persists ion some Islamic circles today that a number of virgins await at your beck and call when you arrive in paradise, if you get there fighting for Allah.

However, in the fine print, it points out they are 6, 7, or 8 years old.

A.


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 06:30 PM

Obviously it's a myth Amos, all religions are myths, but is this particular myth one that is endorsed by the Muslim hierarchy ?

Murray


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 06:34 PM

Kendall, I didn't look at all of this, nor read it in entirety, but you may find this site interesting and helpful:

Foundation of Islamic Belief
written by Al Ghazali, who died in 1111

kat


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Burke
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 06:36 PM

Islam, like Christianity, is a religion of the Book. Also like Christianity, there's more than one sect with different interpretations of the Book.

Do the people who promise the virgins get support for it from the Koran? If so, what does the Koran really say?


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 06:47 PM

Here is some more interesting info; the highlights are mine:

The Islamic Way

by Felicia Aziz

Islam is the second largest religion practiced in the world today. It has followers in every major civilized area in the world. The word Islam literally means peace or submission. The followers of Islam are called Muslim, which means one who submits. Islam is a monotheistic religion, this means that Muslims worship only one God, whom they refer to as Allah (the God). Muslims believe that every occurrence is part of Allah's Divine Plan, and that nothing occurs that is not part of His will. Thus we get the sayings Insha'Allah (if it is Allah's will) and Mashallah (so Allah's will has occurred). There are numerous sects of Muslims, today's focus will be on the Sunnah Muslims, the aspect of the religion that is practiced by the majority of the New Leaf Muslim population. It's important to note here that New Leafs sells more Islamic titles for the sect of Muslims known as Sufi's than that of the Sunnah Sect. Because of this I will expound on the Sufi Sect in a later article.

Islam was revealed to an illiterate, Bedouin Arab, named Muhammad ibn Abdullah, around 600 AD. Muhammad was a descendant of Abraham and a pious member of a not so pious tribe called the Quraish. Muhammad had retired to a cave to contemplate the plight and iniquities of his people, when suddenly the angel Jibril (Gabriel) appeared to him and asked him to read. Muhammad frightenedly replied that he didn't know how to read. Twice again the angel asked him to read, finally Muhammad replied, "what shall I read?". The angel replied "read in the name of the Lord who created man from a clot of congealed blood". Thus began, the prophethood of Muhammad. The Holy Qur'an, and the Religion of Islam. Muhammad rushed home to tell his wife Khadijah of the strange occurrence, she became his first convert. Only a few of the people who lived in Mecca with Muhammad accepted his teachings, many were hostile and Muhammad had to seek exile in Medina a neighboring town. From Allah through Jibril to Muhammad the completion of the Qur'an and the tenets of Islam took 22 years.

Islam is held up on 5 tenets which Muslims refer to as the Five Pillars. These pillars include what every Muslim must do in order to be devout. The first pillar is Belief (called Shahadah). Muslims belief that there is only one God who has no partners or sons. Muslims believe in all the books and angels of God. They also believe in all the Prophets of God. Numerous Prophets are mentioned by name in the Qur'an. Some include: Jesus, Solomon, Joseph, Job, Jonah, and the most talked about are Abraham, Muhammad, and Moses. The second pillar of Islam is Prayer (called salat). Muslims are obligated to perform a ritualized prayer in which they turn towards the Holy Ka'baa 5 times each day. The third pillar is that of Charity, (called Zakat) Muslims are directed to pay an annual alms of 2-1/2% of what they have in excess to the poor. They are also directed to give freely to others (called Sadaqah). The fourth pillar is that of Fasting (called Saum). Muslims fast 29 or 30 days annually in the month of Ramadhan. The fast has a two-fold meaning. It commemorates the revelation of the Qur'an, which occurred during the Month of Ramadhan, and also, it teaches Muslims self-restraint, and that the only thing that one needs for sustenance is Allah. The fifth pillar of Islam is called Hajj. All Muslims must strive to make the pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca at least once in his/her lifetime. The significance of this visit (over) is to circumabulate (go around) the Ka'baa and perform other religious rituals. The Ka'baa is a building that was constructed by Adam to be the first house or temple to worship God. It was later refurbished by Abraham, and Muhammad removed idols from it.

There are many controversies that exist between Islam and other religions. One of the biggest one's between Muslims and Christians is the controversy surrounding Jesus. As Islam is a strictly monotheistic religion, Muslims honor Jesus as a prophet of God. Muslims believe in the Virgin Birth of Jesus, but do not adhere to the belief that Jesus is God incarnate, this would be in contradiction tothe first pillar that God is One. Another major Islamic controversy is the treatment of women, especially in regards to polygny and dress. While Islam does allow a man to have more than one wife, it strictly spells out the criteria that a man must meet in order to attempt such a task. The Qur'an states: "That if ye fear that ye can not treat them (women) with equity, and of a surety ye cannot, than choose only one". A man, who Islamically is responsible for the provisions of his family, must be able to provide for and treat all his wives equally. Provided that he can meet this criteria, only then is he permitted to practice polygny, and even then he is limited to the taking of no more than four wives. Muslim women are instructed to conceal their beauty through long clothing and head coverings. This command is not meant as a punishment to women, but as a protection for them and the society. It's intention was to help to make women more equal by taking the focus away from women as just carnal play things for men. In strict Islamic countries the rates for rape and illicit sexual activity are almost non-existent.

Also among the controversies about Muslims, is terrorism. Muslims believe in a heaven and hell. They believe that those that follow the pillars and perform good acts will be judged and sent to heaven, while those who do not follow the pillars and perform bad acts will be judged by Allah and sent to hell. The Qur'an speaks of Heaven (Jinnah) and Hell (Jahannat) in almost every chapter. It also speaks of short cut ways that believers can attain paradise. One of these ways it to fight and die defending Allah and Islam. (called Jihad). It is said through the traditions called the Hadith, that "He who fights and dies in the way of Allah will have all sins forgiven accept for debt". This accounts for many terrorist acts. While Islam encourages it's practionioners to defend themselves against aggressor's who would inhibit them from practicing their religion, it does not encourage its practionioners to take the lives of innocent people.

All in all the Muslim believes that he is sent to earth for a short period of time so that he may qualify for his eternal home by the doing of good deeds and worshipping Allah, and that doing this shows Allah that he is worthy of the high status of Human that Allah has bestowed upon him and the eternal home that he has prepared for him.


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 06:50 PM

Here is an article in The Observer (London) which discusses a few of those things, including the virgins:

Neither is the paradise of Islam some kind of brothel that provides the services of '70 virgins' to its denizens - the nonsense the press attributes to these murderous paradise-seekers. Far from being an abode of pleasure, the paradise of the Koran is a place of sublime innocence. The 'virgins', or 'houris', derive their name from the eyes of gazelles. They personify beauty and innocence; these eyes have never cast their gaze on sin. In the gardens of paradise, the houris utter only one word: 'Peace, peace.'

Very well worth clicking on the link and reading the article. Half-truths and distortions about Islamic beliefs are extremely dangerous in the present situation. They're not really all that different from the kind of distortions there've been about Judaism, or various forms of Christianity. (And with all religions, sometimes you get sects and groups and individuals within them that go in for other ways of twisting the meaning of that religion into a nightmare.)


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 06:52 PM

Click here for the lowdown on the virgins awaiting those who die in Jihad

Murray


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Sorcha
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 06:55 PM

Koran on line


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 07:00 PM

Ya beat me to it, Sorcha, but I did find a different website with a searchable KORAN.

Some of the sites I have skimmed over have said, like some Christians believe of the Bible, that the Koran is not to be taken literally, that it is written in allegorical form.

One of the things I love most about Mudcatters is their willingness to ask questions, look for answers, share, be informed. Would that all of society were so.

kat


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 07:41 PM

The Muslim Council of Calgary, on behalf of the 40,000 Muslims in the City, has taken out a full page adv. in the newspapers here, to express their condolences and sympathies. The announcement goes on to say: "We as Canadian Muslims pray that the World will pull together as one to stop these cowardly acts from happening again, and to insure that justice must be achieved. However, it should not be achieved at the expense of innocent people." The following Qur'anic verse is quoted: "If anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) of spreading mischief in the land- it would be as if he killed all Mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all Mankind." (Al-Ma'dah:32). The ptolemic cited by Murray MacLeod is full of half-truths. Read the sites given by Sorcha and Katlaughing for a true understanding of the Muslim religion.


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: kendall
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 07:45 PM

I thank you all very much. Being naturally suspicious, I just couldn't swallow that stuff. In heaven, we are all spirits, right? Then, what the hell is a spirit to do with a virgin? Or, a non virgin? It makes no sense.


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: wysiwyg
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 07:46 PM

Best book on multicultural understanding I ever read was ARAB AND JEW. I have extra copies if anyone wnats to borrow.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 08:39 PM

I doubt that the story was true even when it was told of the Assassins (Hashishim). It was a tale the Crusaders brought back from the Middle East. They had to have some excuse why the Saracens whipped their butts.


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Mrrzy
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 09:16 PM

The thing about the virgins (who are, remember, sewn shut, and you get to "open them like a flower") may or may not have been invented by the Hashishim/assassins (kinda like the Spanish Inquisition), but the concept remains as an available bribe to fanatics to this day. In the particular West African (mostly Moslem) country where I grew up it was a joke among people kind of like Christians might joke about hair shirts - a known mark of the fanatic and considered rather funny/antiquated/quaint. That's because it WAS in the mythology, even if it wasn't in the Koran. As was the bit about dying killing Infidels being good for going to Heaven; I think it had mutated into The more you kill the more virgins you get.


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 07:45 AM

If you want to turn people agains Jews and Christians there are enough passages in our Holy Book too that you can use. For example:

"As regards the town of those peoples which Yahweh your God gives you as your inheritance, you must not spare the life of any living thing" (Deuteronomy)

"When Israel had finished killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the open ground and where they had followed them into the wilderness and when all to a man had fallen by the edge of the sword, all Israel eturned to Ai and slaugtered all its people. The number of those who fell thta day, men and women together, was twelve thousand, all people of Ai." (Joshua)

"Daughter of Babel... a blessing on him who takes and dashes your babies against the rock!" (Psalm 137)

If you did that, you'd be distorting the religions involved, and that is not the overwhelming sense of the whole book. But the passages and others like that are there, and they can be both to attack from without and to distort from within. And they have been.

And the same is true of the Koran.


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 09:20 AM

Bravo, McGrath!


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 09:29 AM

so, who is to interpret the Bible? The Pope?...snake handlers from West Virginia? Billy Graham? The Mormons with an extra book? The Jews who only accept the first part?.....the point is, ANY religion with a complex scriptural text will have sects, variations, arguments as to *TRUTH*... If a Baptist committed an atrocity against Arabs, would the Vatican have to apologize?...These followers of bin Laden are taking the most extreme view of certain aspects of their religion, just as some 'Christian' splinter groups do...

Anyone can find a scriptural passage to support any position they already hold ..."an eye for an eye"...what more do you need? "Thou shalt not kill"...except when you are provoked...

I found a quote the other day...

"Theology is the finding of bad reasons for what we are going to believe anyway"...G.E. Moore

...seems to me that a Heaven full of compliant virgins is pretty good temptation...true or not, if you already are full of hate and think that dieing for your cause is a short-cut.

Do I still sound cynical? Imagine that!


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 09:37 AM

Bill D: You are halfway to a very profound statement. For the other half, answer this question: If "Theology is the finding of bad reasons for what we are going to believe anyway," then what REALLY determines what people believe?


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 11:00 AM

Jim...if I could answer that.....well, as amtter fo face, I can answer that, but like religious texts, I'd never get anywhere near agreement with my answers.

One problem is beginning to emerge from recent science, which I have suspected for a long time. Many aspects of our personality seem to be biological/accidental....i.e., an excess of testosterone...and various other physio-chemical influences. We have no trouble understanding that Pit Bulls are a breed of dog with certain tendencies to attack...while others are bred for sweet temprement. Wolverines attack, other animals hide....

Now, of course there are ways to influence these tendencies...Pit Bulls can be kept 'relatively' calm, and a Cocker Spaniel can be tormented until it is vicious. Look at other promates...Chimps will hunt and kill...Bonobos will cooperate and back away from conflicts.

I could go on all day listing animal species which have various degrees of antagonism built in...and we humans are only 30,000 years or so out of caves! WHY do we think we are above all that?

What to do? Now, there's the rub!...If the gentle parts of humanity want to protect themselves from the nastier parts...we NEED someone who is willing and able to BE mean and fight....and then we need them to calm down between fights!....Look at police forces! They struggle constantly with finding officers who have the guts to do the job, but won't abuse the powers and beat up and shoot people indiscriminately. We train, we admonish, we plead, we prosecute...but we still get bad cops.

And we get dumb people who are filled with hate...and we get smart people. Dumb ones run about and shoot up a few things and get stopped...smart ones hoodwink entire nations and become Hitlers and Pol Pots and Stalins and ....bin Ladens.......I suspect that, given a few different circumstances, bin Laden could have remained a quiet, rich Saudi, but he didn't.

One more point...while it will be nice to KNOW someday why evil people are as they are, and perhaps be able to 'fix' them with drugs..(they do treat sex offenders with libido fighting chemicals)...for now, our only recourse seems to be to eliminate them..if we can. We sadly put down a Pit Bull who seems beyond rehabilitation...now if somone would just figure out how to breed the vicious streak out them!

Humans? Selective breeding programs? *cynical smile*....Who gets to make THAT suggestion in open session at the UN? Are we stuck with just waiting until someone COMMITS the atrocity before we act? Seems like it. In the meantime, we put up bigger targets and create technological systems (like the one YOU are using right now) which might be vulnerable to idiots with bad attitudes. (What if the NEXT bin Laden is a computer genius?)

Solutions? None that we are willing to consider now. We still build in flood plains and trust our money to telemarketers and allow bail for most criminals.....and countries which TRY to have Draconian solutions seem to still have people willing to take the chance and kill, rob and lie.

I try every day to NOT be like a theologian as G. E. Moore defined them, but boy, it's HARD...............


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 11:58 AM

Bill D: You seem to be trying to explain how people behave rather than what they believe. Does this mean you believe (?) that belief has no important role in behavior? Terrorists would still be terrorists, no matter what they believed?


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Sorcha
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 12:13 PM

Bill, I am not going to take you up on the pit bull thing----but, there is NO such breed.


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 12:48 PM

Here is a link to Islam OnLine, an American site which seems to have a lot of relevant infiormation and news. The actual link there goes to a page they have about a peace rally on Sunday where Joan Baez turned up, but there's all kinds of other stuff too.


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 01:27 PM

Sorcha, the pit bull is the American variety of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The American is heavier and larger than the English standard. At Ft. Riley, Kansas, they were used in fights. I was given one of the pups from there when I was a child. It protected me against all comers, including a relative with a switch. It was strong and heavy, when I would get too rough in play with it, it would grab me by the arm, pull me down and lie on top of me. This ended with both of us going to sleep. The breed IS is recognized by the AKC. To quote from the Simon & Shuster Book of Dogs, "Combative but steady, obedient, tolerant of children, devoted to the point of giving its life for its master." By the way, there is an excellent book about a pet wolverine (sorry, can't remember the name).
I dislike comparisons between animals and humans, they are generally false. This thread seems to have wandered from Muslim beliefs to human behavior, which has been irrational from the beginning.


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 01:55 PM

What a man truly believes is more accurately reflected in how she/he behaves than in what he/she professes to believe.

One of my favorite religious phrases, and one that I feel is extremely revealing, is the term "justification through faith". I believe it, so it must be true; if true, it must be right. Bin Laden, the Taliban, the Inquisition, and all of their unholy ilk are just a bunch of power seeking, self-aggrandizing murderers. No God worthy of the name would accept or forgive such perverse behavior, regardless of their piety or their belief.

Inevitably, someone writes a book and, regardless of what a Good Book it is, someone else decides to hit people over the head with it. I'm having none of it.


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 02:07 PM

well, I would argue that beliefs are VERY highly influenced by what we are...not totally, but significantly. There is a HIGH cultural content to beliefs, but you can get two brothers from the same family who differ widely in their aggressiveness.

It is not simple, but Jim asked, and that is part of my opinion. It sure won't all be figured out soon, hmmmm? But I'd sure like to see more ongoing studies to SEE how much of our animal nature is relevant to the discussion. Being able to construct syllogisms and write reams of psycho-babble does NOT automatically exclude our genetic history from the equation.

(Some guy now claims he has evidence that Tryannosaurus Rex was not really a predator, but a scavenger. Lots of ideas need re-examination now & then)


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 02:12 PM

Add the Crusaders, the Roman church's persecution and elimination of the gnostics, burning of Anabaptists, etc, etc. Bartholomew, you could go on forever with the list of crimes done in the name of religion.


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 06:10 PM

Tryannosaurus Rex was not really a predator, but a scavenger

Say it ain't so Rex!


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Amos
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 07:33 PM

I think a fuller examination will reveal NOT that your material nature defines your beliefs, but beliefs -- including the Great Belief in Material nature -- are what really define your experience -- including your experience of your own material Nature.

But to see this at work you have to differentiate (as mentioned above) between the deep-seated actual beliefs one holds in place, and the verbal beliefs one gives lip service to.

A


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Gypsy
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 11:07 PM

Kat, what a fabulous essay! You have done a wonderful job in making a concise summary. Thank you so much for posting this one.


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: sian, west wales
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 09:48 AM

I found kat's contribution useful too ... but the end bit about Jihad was further covered in an article in today's Globe & Mail (Toronto):

Cairo A senior Afghan cleric said on Tuesday the ruling Taliban would launch a jihad against the United States, but officials of the Islamic movement quickly said that he was in no position to declare a holy war.

The final decision lies with a council of clerics due to convene this week, officials said.

Afghanistan, which has given refuge to Saudi-born Osama bin Laden, the top suspect in last week's devastating attacks in New York and Washington, could be a target in case of a U.S. military reprisal, possibly sparking a Taliban jihad in retaliation.

But what does the term really mean?

WHAT JIHAD ISThe Arabic word jihad is often translated as "holy war," but a more accurate translation is "holy struggle." Islamic scholars say the term "holy war" was actually coined in Europe during the Crusades to mean a war against the Muslims.In a purely linguistic sense, the word jihad means struggling or striving. There are two different, unrelated words that mean war.In a religious sense, as described by the Koran and teachings of the Prophet Mohammed, jihad means striving for the benefit of the community or the restraint of personal sins. It can refer to internal as well as external efforts to be a good Muslim or believer. Scholars say it primarily refers to efforts to improve oneself.Jihad is a religious duty.If jihad is required to protect the faith against others, it can be performed using anything from legal, diplomatic and economic to political means. If there is no peaceful alternative, Islam also allows the use of force, but there are strict rules of engagement. Innocents such as women, children, or invalids must never be harmed, and any peaceful overtures from the enemy must be accepted.Military action is therefore only one means of jihad, and is very rare. To highlight this point, the Prophet Mohammed told his followers returning from a military campaign: "This day we have returned from the minor jihad to the major jihad," which he said meant returning from armed battle to the peaceful battle for self-control and betterment.In case military action appears necessary, not everyone can declare jihad. The religious military campaign has to be declared by a proper authority, advised by scholars, who say the religion and people are under threat and violence is imperative to defend them. The concept of "just war" is very important.

The concept of jihad has been hijacked by many political and religious groups over the ages in a bid to justify various forms of violence. In most cases, Islamic splinter groups invoked jihad to fight against the established Islamic order. Scholars say this misuse of jihad contradicts Islam.Examples of sanctioned military jihad include the Muslims' defensive battles against the Crusaders in medieval times, and before that some responses by Muslims against Byzantine and Persian attacks during the period of the early Islamic conquests.

WHAT JIHAD IS NOT

Jihad is not a violent concept.Jihad is not a declaration of war against other religions. It is worth noting that the Koran specifically refers to Jews and Christians as "people of the book" who should be protected and respected. All three faiths worship the same God. Allah is just the Arabic word for God, and is used by Christian Arabs as well as Muslims.Military action in the name of Islam has not been common in the history of Islam. Scholars says most calls for violent jihad are not sanctioned by Islam.Warfare in the name of God is not unique to Islam. Other faiths throughout the world have waged wars with religious justifications.

*****

All grist to the mill.

sian


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 10:04 AM

Great thread. Mudcat at its best.

If one is going to insist on comparing religions always compare ideals with ideals, codes of behavior with codes of behavior, and actual practices with actual practices. No fair comparing Christian ideals with the actual behavior of specific professed Muslims.

If you are going to compare texts, make sure the texts are functionally equivalent. Compare scriptures (sources) with scriptures and interpretations (theology) with interpretations.

It is best to compare the ideals of groups that have made a serious effort to define themselves. They will have not only a scriptural basis but also a body of (more or less) authoritative interpretations of that scriptural basis.

Always be aware of and up front about diversity within a religious tradition. None of the major religious traditions are close to being monolithic. Be wary of taking a specific group as definitive even if they claim to be.

Be aware of your motives for the comparisons. Are they weapons or tools?


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 01:04 PM

Russ: Great comments!

Everyone: Since Sikhs have been a victim of prejudice simply because they wear turbans, this may be a good place to point out that Sikhs are not Muslims (as if it mattered where bigotry is concerned!). Sikhism is a separate religion that began in India in the 16th century CE. Here is a brief article on Sikhism from the Columbia Encyclopedia.


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: M.Ted
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 01:37 PM

The thing that troubles me is that, as reflected in this thread, we in America (and, by extension, our other participating friends) seem to know or understand very little of Islam, which, apparently, many perceive as our primary antagonist.. If you look at this thread, everything that offers information or insight in to Islam seems to be either a paraphrase, a direct quote, or merely a link, to something else, no one here speaks from their own experience or understanding, excepting Mrzzy(who has refrained from any broad explanations).

This ignorance, which seems to permeate our country, coupled with a completely justified desire to respond agressively to the recent attacks, may be the very thing that brought things to the point that they are now--


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 02:00 PM

I went to both copies of the Koran and searched for "jihad" and found no results. Very curious.


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 02:15 PM

M Ted, I imagine you are right about the ignorance, probably more so in America than England, but true here as well.

One fortunate bit of timing is that only a couple of weeks ago BBC TV had a whole lot of programmes designed to tell people more about Islam, and to dispel prejudices and preconceptions and half-truth. I imagine they'll repeat them now and get a bigger audience - but I'm pleased they were produced outside of the post White Tuesday climate.

But I think giving links and quotes has been the most effective way of giving information which is needed at present. I suspect that even for any Mudcatters who are Muslims that might be the case as well.

That link I gave to Isl;am Online might be particularly useful, since it is so American in style and content.

The important thing to remember about Islam is that it's a universal religion, like Christianity. There are Muslims of all races, in all continents. Since the Yugoslav troubles we've become used to seeing "European" Muslims among us, alongside the "Asian" Muslims we've been used to.


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: M.Ted
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 02:36 PM

Most people don't even understand depth of the connections between Islam and Christianity, or the fundamental connection with Judaism. Years ago, I knew a family of Syrians who once introduced me to a group of their "cousins"--Israeli Jews. I tried to figure out what language they spoke with each other, one remarked, "Arabic, Hebrew, it's the same." At least for them--


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 03:00 PM

Here is an article from that Islam Online site by an American Muslim about the current climate of fear.


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: toadfrog
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 03:25 PM

I think "Islam" is what its practitioners think it to be, which is to say, it varies. Like "Christianity," only maybe not so much. I think Mr. bin Laden would agree with Jerry Falwell, that the attacks were God's vengance on America for its sins.


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: GUEST,No virgins for me
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 03:29 PM

If there is going to be a reward for dying in battle why should it be virgins. I would prefer a bunch of nasty girls who know how to party.


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: GUEST,no name
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 04:00 PM

If McGrath of Harlow was half as smart as he thinks he is, then the Government of Great Britain, or perhaps the United Nations, would have put him to use in solving all of the world's problems.

However, his greatness is unrecognized and it is only the denizens of the Mudcat Cafe who get to read his sanctimonious, self-righteous, and generally distorted, tracts.


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 05:12 PM

Another nameless troller. McGrath has pointed out a number of useful sites and articles. He may have maligned one of the world's most written-about dinosaurs, however (Like us, we eat damn near everything, even broccoli). OK, I know about Muslim and Jewish dietary rules)


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 07:43 PM

Actually I was wondering about that, the dietary rules I mean. With Muslims the meat should be Halal, with Jews Kosher - but would Kosher meat be Halal as well?

The reason I ask is because a Muslim friend of ours has to go to lots of hassles to get Halal meat, and Kosher would be relatively easy to obtain.

(And I reckon I was defending old T Rex from being maligned. I mean I know scavengers are ecologically sound, natures own recyclers - but they just don't have the street cred of predators. I think that was about the most controversial thing I posted on this thread...)


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Lox
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 08:36 PM

Hiya folks, I got this form the koran.

1.[4.94] O you who believe! when you go to war in Allah's way, make investigation, and do not say to any one who offers you peace: You are not a believer. Do you seek goods of this world's life! But with Allah there are abundant gains; you too were such before, then Allah conferred a benefit on you; therefore make investigation; surely Allah is aware of what you do.

Moslems must not therefore go to war against you if you don't want to go to war against them.

Those who wont listen are therefore clearly not moslems, but psychopaths.

(cheers for the Koran link earlier)

lox


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: Crazy Eddie
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 01:24 AM

Actually I was wondering about that, the dietary rules I mean. With Muslims the meat should be Halal, with Jews Kosher - but would Kosher meat be Halal as well?

Don't take this as Gospel, but here's what a Muslim guy said to me:
In order for meat to be halal it must meet certain conditions. Among these are:
(1) The animal must be killed by having its throat cut, and must bleed out.
(2) The animal must be killed by a "man of God"
(3) The man must recite a prayer, including the words "God is great"
(4) Of course only certain animals qualify e.g. no pigs

These conditions are very similar to preparing Kosher meat.
Some Muslims will accept that a devout Jew can be classed as a "man of God" some won't.
Similarly, the formula for the prayer may or may not be regarded as within the specifications laid down.

The guy who told me this explained that he himself was not very strict in observing the dietry laws. He would not eat pork, and would make reasonable efforts to get Halal meat when available. If Halal was not available, he would take Kosher in preference to "normal" (frantically seeking a word meaning "that which is neither Halal nor Kosher").
However, he would eat meat in restaurants ar at the houses of non-Muslims, even if it wasn't Halal.


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Subject: RE: Help: Muslim belief
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 04:53 PM

For people who really care about halal and kosher, close isn't good enough. Certain rules must be followed exactly.

Among Orthodox Jews there is agreement upon the rules themselves, but disagreement over the precise interpretation and implementation of those rules. One rabbi or rabbinical organization and their followers might not be satisfied with the interpretation and implementation of another rabbi or rabbinical organization and thus not be willing to accept their endorsement of something as kosher.


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