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post #1 of 110 (permalink) Old 07-26-2007, 01:43 PM
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On Faith: Muslims Speak Out


Protecting Our Islam

INDONESIA: Those who care about the future of Our Islam on this earthly plane would be well advised to unite in rejecting the use of Islam as an ideology or a weapon to violate the sanctity of Your Islam and mine. MORE »


Jihad, Politics Don't Mix

SAUDI ARABIA: If we ask why terrorism is unleashed under the banner of jihad, the answer must be related to the failure of the Arab and Muslim state. more »


Jihad's Historical Context

IRAQ: Allah's Prophets used all that was necessary in defense/protection. They applied force at times. more »


Sexism Pre-Dates Islam

GERMANY: The vast discrimination of women practiced in the Muslim world is pre-Islamic and not even typically Muslim. more »
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post #2 of 110 (permalink) Old 07-26-2007, 01:44 PM
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Khalid al-Dakhil

Professor, King Saud University

An Assistant Professor of Political Science at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia, Dr. Khalid al-Dakhil has spent his academic career focusing on issues of democracy and reform in Saudi Arabian politics. Details

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Khalid al-Dakhil

The concept jihad could be rendered to mean effort from the original Arabic jahhada (to struggle or to resist), or ijtahada (to work one's mind, or to reason), or still the expression ajhada nafssahu (to exhaust one's self). Jihad then could mean mental effort or reasoning (ijtahada), or military efforts in the sense of struggle (jahhada). Both the mental and the military renderings of the term correspond to the bifurcation of the "greater jihad", and the "lesser jihad". The former is preserved for the mental efforts; the inward-seeking, or the mandatory efforts of each Muslim to become a better human being. The latter, or the military struggle, is the lesser jihad. In the military sense, there is another bifurcation; i.e., "offensive jihad" which is an obligation on the Muslim community as a whole (in Arabic fardu kifayah), and "defensive jihad" which is an obligation on every capable male adult (fardu eiyn). Why is this difference?
In his attempt to define jihad Bernard Lewis chose to give it an abstract, over-general and inclusive meaning. He was at pain to stress the all and encompassing military and aggressive connotation of the term. (Lewis, The Political language of Islam; 1988, pp.26-7) This is disputed by the differentiation between the two types of military jihad, let alone that there is a non-military jihad. The offensive jihad is fardu kifayah because it is basically a political option for the state to make depending on its political interests and political calculations. The defensive jihad, on the other hand, is a moral issue as much as it is a political one, and for that reason it is mandatory on every capable male adult, or fardu eiyn. The defensive jihad is to defend the identity, the interests and the faith of the community in the face of aggression, whereas the offensive jihad is merely a mechanism in the service of the interest of the state per se. The latter fits quite well with the period of early Islam. At that the time the world system, or the ancient world, was dominated by the concept of empires and not by that of a nation-state as is the case in the modern world. The ambition of a state or an empire's to expand its geographical boundaries was not subject to the checks and balances of international institutions and international law as we know them today. Practically, the whole globe was there for grab by the most powerful. Hence, the ability of a state to satisfy its geographical ambition was mainly a function of a state's economic and military capabilities.

If the political discourse of any state should reflect the political reality of its time, then "offensive jihad" is not an exception, and with it the then coming of the Islamic empires to the world political scene, just like the other empires before and after Islam. What this means is that although the expansion of all the Islamic empires was conducted in the name of jihad, it was in the final analysis a political act in the name of the interests of the state, and not that of religion. Using jihad and other religious jargons in this context was a case of the religious, or the ideological providing a cover for the political. There is no other way to comprehend this, especially when the Muslim scholars of the time did not consider the Umayyad empire as a true Islamic caliphate. For them the Umayyad's was another manifestation of a worldly kingdom (mulk) obsessed with its own worldly interests and vices. This is despite the fact that the Umayyad state was militarily the ever most active Islamic state, and the one that achieved most of the Islamic conquests.
Nowadays, Islamic states are nation states. The word jihad is not part of their political discourse, except perhaps "defensive jihad" in the face of an encroaching foreign power. That is the case with such states as that of Saudi Arabia and Iran, the two most prominent self-proclaimed Islamic states in the world. Even Islamic movement like the Palestinian Hamas and Jihad do not use the jargon of jihad in their language. Instead, they usually tend to use the term resistance in the face of the Israeli occupation. This is, a again, a sign of the time.
With that in mind, how are we to make of terrorism as it is practiced throughout the world in the name of jihad? The first thing to note here is that the concept of jihad has never been as controversial as it is now. Until recently, the dispute over the meaning of jihad used to be almost limited to one between the Muslims, on the one hand, and the Westerners, on the other, particularly the Western orientalists. Now the dispute is boiling among the Muslims themselves, and even within each Arab and/or Muslim country. The dispute here is related to the spread of terrorism in the name of jihad. The majority of Arabs and Muslims are vehemently opposed to turning the religio-political obligation of jihad into a means of targeting civilians anywhere. Al Qaeda, and its like militant groups, sees the issue from a different angle. For them, the Muslim societies are threatened by American military, political and cultural onslaught, and that every Muslim is called upon to stand up and defend the faith and the nation. It must be stressed, however, that the Arab and Muslim side of the encounter is not limited to the terrorists. It includes other groups; extra-legal groups committed to the principle of resistance. Thus the controversy keeps boiling, especially in the Arab world.
There is no way to avoid the fact that the US, with its Western allies, is occupying Iraq and Afghanistan. Israel is occupying the Palestinian territories in Gaza and the West Bank. So, there is a truth in how the militant groups put the issue here. To be sure, the way the terrorists are going about it is repugnant and appalling, but its back drop is quite real. That is the real politique of the situation. The wide perception in the Arab world is a feeling of weakness and helplessness. Extra-legal resistance and terrorism are coalescing somehow to provide the only defense the Arabs and Muslims could mount against Western aggression. Certainly this is a sign of weakness. But, then Arab and Muslim states are so weak that they seem to be short of any option but to appease the West. Militarily, they cannot protect the Muslim land, and politically they are inept to influence Western, especially American foreign policies, in the direction of bringing about a political solution to the occupation, and the crises resulting from it. In this sense, resistance and terrorism, called jihad by both, cannot but be linked to U.S. and Israeli aggression, on the one hand, and weakness on the part of Arab and Muslim states, on the other. In other words, resistance is a natural and legitimate reaction to aggression and occupation, and terrorism is the natural result of a weak or failed state facing aggression, or under occupation. Rarely, if ever, had terrorism and resistance been entangled the way they are now in the Middle East.
In conclusion, three things need to be noted. At the present Arab and Muslim lands, and not others, are under occupation. Second, resisting occupation or foreign encroachment is included in the lesser jihad. Three, Arab and Muslim majority are strongly opposed to resorting to terrorism, even in this context. All three emphasizes what many Arab and Muslim scholars have been saying all along that militancy is not the essence of jihad, nor is it meant for the purpose of converting non-Muslims into Islam. In fact, some would compare jihad to the Western doctrine of "just war" (see L. Carl Brown; Religion and State, 2000, p. 26-27).
If we are to ask why then terrorism is unleashed under the banner of jihad, the answer must be related to the failure of the state, i.e., the Arab and Muslim state.

Posted by Khalid al-Dakhil on July 26, 2007

Last edited by Designo_E320; 07-26-2007 at 01:50 PM.
post #3 of 110 (permalink) Old 07-26-2007, 01:45 PM
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Abdurrahmam Wahid (Gus Dur)

Indonesian Intellectual

His Excellency Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid, popularly known as Gus Dur, served as Indonesia's first democratically elected President from 1999-2001. Prior to his election and the founding of his National Awakening Party, Wahid had long served as the Chairmen of Nahdlatul Ulama, the world's largest Muslim organization boasting over 40 million members. Details

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Abdurrahman Wahid

My Islam, Your Islam, Our Islam, Their Islam
As may be obvious to readers of this forum, a wide variety of opinions exists as to the nature and teachings of Islam, even among those widely regarded as experts. Rather than view Islam and its teachings as a single monolithic entity, it is more accurate to recognize and acknowledge the de facto plurality of opinions that have always existed as to what Islam is, and what it “compels” you, me or us to do.
The personal experiences of any one human being can never be exactly identical with those of anyone else. These experiences invariably color the understanding and perceptions of those who have them, within the context of their respective religious traditions. I myself have undergone a continual process of transformation regarding my personal understanding of Islam from the time of earliest childhood until today. From this I conclude that the Islam which I conceive and experience is unique to me, and may rightly be termed, “My Islam.” The character of My Islam is the outgrowth of my cumulative personal experience, which it may be appropriate to share, but never to force upon others. Should I try to force my personal understanding of Islam and its teachings upon others, the result will inevitably be a serious “dislocation” for those so affected, annihilating the perceived beauty and joy of their own respective opinions.
A vast diversity of opinions about Islam are held by my fellow Muslims, which they are free, in turn, to share with me. I may or may not agree with them, but the result of such interaction invariably becomes another element of my own personal understanding and experience, and of theirs. For example, those wishing to “purify” Islam from so-called bid’a, or innovation, may reject the use of a drum to issue the call to prayer, reverence of saints, or even the use of a rosary while reciting the names of God. Thus we may refer to others’ personal experience and understanding of Islam as “Your Islam,” and go through life adopting or politely refusing to adopt any given element thereof.

Muslims refer to this process of mutual visitation, sharing and growth by its Arabic term, silaturrahim, which means “to relate in an attitude of mutual affection.” Such sharing of views may or may not produce what we might call “Our Islam,” dependent on the respective understanding and experiences of those involved, but at least it fosters mutual respect and tolerance of differences.
Unfortunately, the Muslim world today is afflicted by a crisis in which the tradition of silaturrahim is being replaced by attempts to force one’s own views of Islam onto others. For me personally, “Their Islam” is a fair term to describe the views of those who would annihilate the great beauty and diversity of traditional Islam in the name of an artificial and enforced conformity to their own rigid opinions. For such people, Our Islam is a misnomer, for in fact they seek to enforce – through intimidation and violence – a colorless, monolithic uniformity that does not and has never existed in the long history of Islam.
The desire for Our Islam appears to be inherent in the nature of most Muslims. Yet the only realistic way to establish such a phenomenon is for My Islam and Your Islam to peacefully coexist in mutual respect and toleration, without trying to annihilate our differences. Rather than seek to repress or destroy the nearly infinite, beautiful variety of God’s creation, we would be better advised to pursue al-jihad al-akbar and annihilate our own egos, so that we may unite in a common spiritual apprehension of the One – which gives rise to inner peace and a joyful tolerance of differences here on earth.
However, those who care about the future of Our Islam on this earthly plane would be well advised to unite in rejecting the use of Islam as an ideology, or a weapon to violate the sanctity of Your Islam and mine.
Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid

Posted by Abdurrahman Wahid on July 26, 2007

Last edited by Designo_E320; 07-26-2007 at 01:50 PM.
post #4 of 110 (permalink) Old 07-26-2007, 01:46 PM
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Sayyed Al-Ghurayfi

Islamic scholar and academic

An Islamic scholar and academic, Sayyed Al-Ghurayfi was a member of the first transitional assembly in Iraq. He was also nominated for two years by Grand Ayatollah Sistani to be in charge of the shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf.Details|

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Mohammed Riza Al-Ghurayfi

Answer 1:
First, I'd like to thank you for choosing me among the participants of what you informed me was an interfaith forum, or so I understood. Then I received three questions form you and I don't know if they are part of the open dialogue/discussion, or if they have a goal in themselves.
I believe that these three questions are very important to you according to what is happening in our international and regional arenas, but the Arabic translation of the phrasing of your questions shows that they are not very deep, and do not conform to a thorough understanding, although I may be mistaken in my assessment. And if I wanted to provide you with detailed answer, then each question is a stand-alone topic on its own generally speaking, and in Islamic thought more specifically.

Jihad in literal Arabic is derived from the verb "juhd" which is closer to a preventive verb than an actual initiative. This it is related to the individual as a right to use force against another, on one hand, and as a human factor preventing him from avoiding harm and preserving society from his human faults, on the other. Thus the personality of a believer is formed and is deemed chaste when meeting its God in the afterlife. This type of Jihad is called Jihad of the soul.
As for Jihad involving a group with real leadership, its purpose is to establish foundations of Allah's will for how society should be, which is an issue free of animosity and of coercing others to change their beliefs and free of finding other patterns in changing societies in complete agreement with what Islam dictates because the call to the divine path can only be through mercy, good guidance and reliance on discussion and mutually agreeable solutions until the situation reaches a point where animosity emerges. Then, the decision, dictated by logical foundations and the secrets of nature, becomes to defend all a person owns (thoughts, soul and wealth). Accordingly, Allah's Prophets used all that was deemed necessary in the act of defense/protection. Hence, they applied force at times, and prayed that Allah's wrath fall upon their disbelieving people at other times – and Allah eradicated the disbelievers.
In spite of all that has been said, it is not necessary that Jihad be linked with violence as is understood in Western thought today as a result of the actions of those who have personal agendas not condoned by Islam.
We believe that Islam does not condone the use of violence and as such, your question should be about the conditions under which Jihad is permitted in Islam. Then there would be no reason to tell suicide bombers because they either do not initially acknowledge anyone other than themselves, or they hail from social reality which no one else can penetrate, as it is formed on their own special foundations. They can be likened to a boulder on which you plant a bag of wheat, in order to cultivate bread.

Answer 2:
We cannot specify a general Islamic legal judgment by way of an abridged definition without this definition being lacking. This would be acceptable if the goal was to understand a topic, but unacceptable for someone who wants to get a good grasp of the topic and use it a basis to form an opinion, as the definition would then be the point of view of the person defining the topic. Objective truths to understand a principle are not built on the point of view obtained from a definer who believes in that said principle.
As such, you need to be aware of the meaning of apostasy in Islam and not simply the definition of apostasy. Its meaning is then no different from its meaning for any society or system where a member leaves and becomes a threat. Thus each heavenly religion is in agreement with other heavenly religions regarding the non-acceptance of whoever leaves that religion for another, unless that action is categorized under freedom of opinion and belief. Thus, we can understand the seeming contradiction, put forth in your question, between the impermissibility of religious conversion and the non-coercion of followers of a specific religion (which respect other religions) to change their faith.
The first is concerned with the embracer of the religion, and it is what all religions agree upon, while the second is more general and concerns the followers of each religion through which it is believed that Allah's approval can be attained.
The topic of apostasy in Islam is a tricky one to broach especially after it has been mixed with political tendencies/opinions. It is synonymous with the sultan's legitimacy and his right to rule in isolation from the "other" point of view, especially if he has no claim to legitimate rule. And from this point, the topic of apostasy developed and was refined and conforms to Bedouin reality which is characterized by seriousness, boasting, haughtiness and the non-acceptance of others. As such, the topic of accepting the idea of apostasy was focused on Islamic societies which stand in the desert or on its outskirts and only understand what they wish to comprehend of religious judgment.
Islamic thought does not accept labeling anyone as an apostate or non-believer except in accordance with specific rules which do not differ from the governing rules of any other religion or principle. These rules encompass the act of actually letting go of one of the necessary pillars of that religion or principle -- knowingly, purposefully and intentionally-- while moving to believe in another issue, which may be completely different from, or interrupt or even contradict previous belief.

Answer 3:
I believe that no religion, principle, or faith has given women their rights in the manner by which Islam has and there exists no other faith which has respected women and raised their status the way Islamic thought has. This does not constitute rhetoric or "boasting" in hope of validation.
This is a reality which started with the acknowledgment, in a divine speech, of women as partners for men. In one civilization, women were items of physical and worldly pleasure for men, only to be gotten rid of if they were deemed shameful. This was followed by a second civilization where the existence of women's souls was in doubt. Later, in a third civilization, women were raised to the highest status that had ever been achieved. In this civilization, women were acknowledged, but their financial independence was not. This is how women were perceived by Arabs in the pre-Islamic period and in pagan and Christian Rome and in Zoroastrian Persia. Remnants of these thoughts lingered until recently in both Western and Eastern societies.
Islam gave women numerous rights, some of which Western and Eastern civilizations can't fathom. This was achieved through the commitment that women should not be an object of lust for men, whenever and wherever they please. This was accomplished by arranging a special "chastity" for women, in agreement with their seen and unseen physiological characteristics.
Thus Islam's view of women does not differ from the Western view except for not physiologically identifying women in so far as their responsibilities and what they do are concerned, on one hand, and in the absence of Western control of male enjoyment of women by going overboard in uncovering what leads to both male and female arousal. Thus, Western women only seemingly have their complete rights, while in reality they are subservient to men, who control them as they please. This is not in accordance with what Christian men believe to be the "rules" in their perception of women.
Translated from Arabic by Rana Kanaan, an Arabic language faculty member at George Washington University. Kanaan is writing Arabic Language learning material for Random House publishing. She also is a translation consultant for the Library of Congress and various international development organizations.

Posted by Muhammed Riza Al-Ghurayfi on July 26, 2007

Last edited by Designo_E320; 07-26-2007 at 01:51 PM.
post #5 of 110 (permalink) Old 07-26-2007, 01:47 PM
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Murad Wilfried Hofmann

German Diplomat and Scholar

A Christian convert to Islam, Dr. Murad Wilfried Hofmann is a German diplomat who has authored a number of books and essays focusing on the role of Islam in the West following the 9/11 attacks. Details

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Murad Wilfried Hofmann

1. Jihad, properly understood, is the effort made by Muslims fully to implement their faith, regardless of the obstacles subjectively or objectively encountered. Thus, the use of force is a special eventuality of jihad. It is justified in two cases only:
a) to defend the Muslim community against aggression from without and
b) to resist tyranny from within.
Suicide is unconditionally forbidden by the Qur`an (4: 29), regardless of circumstances.
2. Islamically, there is no penalty for apostasy in this world. In fact, the Qur`an describes several cases of apostasy without sanctions here and now. This implies that Muslims are not prevented by the Shari´ah to convert to other religions. The exclusion of compulsion in religion (2: 256) is so fundamental that it must be applied not only towards non-Muslims but between Muslims as well. During Muslim history this issue was frequently obscured by the confusion of apostasy with rebellion. The latter is punishable in all systems of law.
3. In Islam, women theologically have the same dignity, the same
metaphysical destination and religious duties like men. However, their function is different as much as needed by their unique ability to bear and raise children.
This does not exclude women in principle from being active in life, also in public life, in other respects, including politics, the military, business and science - a ideal modeled by ´A`isha, the Prophet`s wife.
The vast discrimination of women practiced in the Muslim world is pre-Islamic and not even typically Muslim, but to be found in China, India, and South America as well.

Posted by Murad Wilfried Hofmann on July 24, 2007
post #6 of 110 (permalink) Old 07-26-2007, 01:55 PM
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What utter diarrhea. It's probably hard to understand you in person, what with a mouth full of Muslim dick.
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post #7 of 110 (permalink) Old 07-26-2007, 01:55 PM
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I find you as irritating as any Jehovah Witness. Instead of the Internet, couldn't you just build yourself a minerat or something?

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #8 of 110 (permalink) Old 07-26-2007, 01:57 PM
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It's not enough, you people have to give up OUR oil and vacate the areas we tell you to vacate then maybe we wil reason with you but for now Muslims should STFU

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post #9 of 110 (permalink) Old 07-26-2007, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by drewprof
It's not enough, you people have to give up OUR oil and vacate the areas we tell you to vacate then maybe we wil reason with you but for now Muslims should STFU
Tell me about it
post #10 of 110 (permalink) Old 07-26-2007, 02:12 PM
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What about what muslims doing this almost all around the world...I have friends who are muslim but why can't we just leave with peace...we came in this world with nothing and we going to leave with relax and just leave happy!

Bangladesh - Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM)

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