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Sections from the Quran: Verses against Slander of Women

Verses 11 to 20 of Surah Nur (Chapter 24), may apply to the incident of either Aisha or Maria – the two wives of Muhammad (pbuh) against whom, false rumors of indecency were spread around at two different times. Slandering chaste women in Islam is a grave sin and Allah makes it clear in these verses.

[quran.com, 24:11-20, Translation: Sahih International]

Indeed, those who came with falsehood are a group among you. Do not think it bad for you; rather it is good for you. For every person among them is what [punishment] he has earned from the sin, and he who took upon himself the greater portion thereof – for him is a great punishment.

Why, when you heard it, did not the believing men and believing women think good of one another and say, “This is an obvious falsehood”?

Why did they [who slandered] not produce for it four witnesses? And when they do not produce the witnesses, then it is they, in the sight of Allah , who are the liars.

And if it had not been for the favor of Allah upon you and His mercy in this world and the Hereafter, you would have been touched for that [lie] in which you were involved by a great punishment

When you received it with your tongues and said with your mouths that of which you had no knowledge and thought it was insignificant while it was, in the sight of Allah , tremendous.

And why, when you heard it, did you not say, “It is not for us to speak of this. Exalted are You, [O Allah ]; this is a great slander”?

Allah warns you against returning to the likes of this [conduct], ever, if you should be believers.

And Allah makes clear to you the verses, and Allah is Knowing and Wise.

Indeed, those who like that immorality should be spread [or publicized] among those who have believed will have a painful punishment in this world and the Hereafter. And Allah knows and you do not know.

And if it had not been for the favor of Allah upon you and His mercy… and because Allah is Kind and Merciful.

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Toward Defining My Atheism – Guest article by HSkol

I hang out at a place called Loonwatch (a site for countering Islamophobia) and often cross paths with a poster named HSkol. I find his background interesting in the sense that he was raised as a Lutheran but is now an Atheist. In the current world, where more and more people are leaving religion, I am very curious to know why a person would change from a believer to a disbeliever. My intention in publishing this article is not to condone Atheism but to find what might be the underlying factors. I like to know people and wanted to find out more about HSkol. Here is his story. Thank you HSkol! ~AJ:

Toward Defining My Atheism

I have recently been asked by a friend to provide a narrative of my journey from Lutheranism to atheism.  Because this journey itself would truly be rather short, I’d prefer to define and provide a simple definition and very brief history of my atheism.  As I sit here at my keyboard, wishing to explain just who I am, I have found that this exercise might not be as easy a task as it sounds.  As a great many people do, I introspect quite well.  I have rarely if ever, however, been asked to provide public commentary as related to my own Dasein (quick definition – existentialism:  factual reality or existence within the spatiotemporal realm.  Source:  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dasein), so please do bear with me.

I have accepted this assignment for three reasons:  1) I thoroughly enjoy getting to know others and their innermost workings; as well, 2) I like that others might come to know who I-myself am, provided they care to know; and, 3) I’ve been asked to do so by a friend that I greatly appreciate and respect.  Hoping that the reader here may keep in mind my disclaimer above, regarding me providing potentially difficult public commentary, I intend to offer a part of Me to the best of my ability.  Onward.

My Childhood

I was born into a faithful Lutheran family some decades ago.  My mother had the most golden heart I have ever known, always willing to drop her own commitments to help someone in need.  From her, I learned to always treat others with dignity and to always look out for the “little guy”, the less fortunate.  I carry her teachings and her great heart within my own less than perfect heart today.  My father, well, let’s call him pragmatic and puritanical, always with a solution and never an unethical/immoral approach.  I have been “gifted” with his manner of reason and logic.

Yes, I was raised in an environment perfectly conducive to producing a good Lutheran kid who would presumably grow into being a good Lutheran man.  I will here offer a saying from some members of my community:  Once a Lutheran, always a Lutheran.  The various lessons that I had learned from my parents and their minister are still quite close to me.  Those lessons will never be unlearned.  I have not given up on the moral and ethical principles and practices I learned early in life – though, at times, I admittedly fall short of them even by my own standards and expectations.  And, of course, there’s still that guilt thing that I cannot seem to fully yet let go.

As a child, I had attended church with my family each and every Sunday – as well as all Christian holidays.  I was baptized and confirmed.  I did what was expected of me, as was required by my parents until my eighteenth birthday – from which point I have neither returned to the church nor directly looked back.  Oh, eighteen, to follow my own path, my own heart, to live by my own understanding of the world – yes, behaviorally as a Lutheran, but ideologically as a full-blown atheist, as one who does not (because he cannot) believe in God, as Me.  How nice.

I remember stories of God, Abraham, Cain and Abel, Noah, the angels, and so forth from my very early years – interesting stories really, with wonderful lessons and guidance.  I remember as well thinking these stories to be just a bit too fantastic to be believable as true, real-life events.  My father has noted to me in my adult years that as a child I was skeptical of Biblical accounts of history, and that God was conceptually simply too much for me to fathom.  In a nutshell, believe me or not, agree with me or not, I’m a natural-born atheist.  I have really never identified as religious or spiritual, even in my practicing Lutheran youth, even within such an appropriately faithful environment (my childhood home and church) – it’s simply not in my nature, perhaps not in my “wiring”.

 Adulthood

I have searched high-and-low for God, for any good god really (here I refer more to faith than God).  I have prayed that I might find God’s peace and be seen and protected and connected with Him.  I have prayed for family and friends – if only that all might be well with them.  I have looked to the world with which I am familiar, the physical world, for a sign of or from God.  I have meditated to connect cerebrally with God.  I have searched my emotions for God.  I have even perhaps cursed myself in the name of God – if only that I could not find what I’ve been taught to find – Him.  I’ve asked for forgiveness from God, time and time again.  Yet, I cannot believe.  If God is, He knows all of this.

The greatest downside to my atheism is that I feel as though I have let others down.  Please remember, I’ve been taught to consider others, and often times even before considering myself.  My father is truly the most heart-broken person in my life where my atheism is concerned.  He’s worked with me through the years to address my skepticism, really my full lack of belief – my atheism.  Dad is my Yes-Man.  And, yet, I cannot believe.  He and I have read and discussed the philosophy of Søren Aabye Kierkegaard and his great leap of faith. And, yet, I cannot believe. My father, his minister and I have spoken candidly about our world, our thoughts, our concerns, our beliefs and our limitations as mere men. And, yet, I cannot believe. My dad accepts me. My dad loves me – as I love him – but, he’s heart-broken, and that breaks my heart. This really does impact me at times – my poor father. But, what can I do? Deny Me? I cannot. I’m simple. I cannot see beyond what I am only permitted to see by Me. I love our world and those that walk beside me – regardless of their world-views. I am honest with myself and with my loved ones. I am simple. I am an atheist.

—HSkol

 

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Visit to Dammam and Qal’at al-Bahrain (Bahrain Fort) – Photos

FJ had a conference in Dammam, KSA and he suggested that we go with him. Since Bahrain is just across the Persian Gulf from Dammam, we wanted to visit it well. FJ had suggested that we visit the Souq and the Main Bahrain Museum. I wanted to do something more archeological, historical, smaller-scale with less people and organic (M1’s word). So, we visited Qal’at al-Bahrain (Bahrain Fort). It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The plus was that the beach is next to the fort so we could spend time there too. Qal’at al-Bahrain’s history is part of the Dilmun civilization from a few years BC. It was also used by the Portugese in the 1500s. In Dammam, we visited the corniche. Here are some pictures of our trip. Masha’Allah and Alhumdulillah!

Driving over the 35 km bridge over the Persian Gulf from Dammam to Bahrain

Driving over the 25 km bridge over the Persian Gulf from Dammam to Bahrain

Qilat-al-Bahrain (Bahrain Fort)

Qal’at al-Bahrain (Bahrain Fort)

TJ throwing stone into the Persian Gulf

TJ throwing stone into the Persian Gulf

Inside the museum next to Bahrain Fort

Inside the museum next to Bahrain Fort

Sarcophagus in Bahrain Fort Museum

Sarcophagus in Bahrain Fort Museum

Replica of Bahrain Fort

A replica of part of Bahrain Fort

Horse riders near the musuem

Horse riders near the musuem

TJ playing near the playground next to Dammam Corniche

TJ playing near the playground next to Dammam Corniche

The Saudi emblem next to the Gulf

The Saudi emblem next to the Gulf

Sunset at the Dammam Corniche

Sunset at the Dammam Corniche

The playground near our hotel

TJ and M4 in the playground near our hotel in Dammam

King Fahd Airport- Dammam - Catching the flight back to Riyadh

King Fahd Airport- Dammam – Catching the flight back to Riyadh

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U.S. staged mock mall attacks to test readiness after Kenya siege, official says – CNN.com

This makes me very worried. FBI has been involved in sting operations before. Al-Shabaab issues a threat against American malls and FBI has been practicing fake attacks already? Something sounds very odd and correlated. May Allah protect us from the enemy from outside and from within. Ameen. It is a dangerous time when you do not trust your own government. ~AJ

U.S. staged mock mall attacks to test readiness after Kenya siege, official says – CNN.com

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Leaked cables show Netanyahu’s Iran bomb claim contradicted by Mossad | World news | The Guardian

Well, that proves that Benjamin Netanyahu is a BIG FAT LIAR. Is he going to cancel his visit to address the US Congress on March 3, asking for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program? I suggest he just hide somewhere – he is an embarrassment to Israel. BTW did we even hear a beep about this BIG FAT LIAR in the American media. Of course, NOT!  ~AJ

Leaked cables show Netanyahu’s Iran bomb claim contradicted by Mossad | World news | The Guardian

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Why ISIS is not Islam; Chapter 60 of the Quran, Verses 8 and 9

I would like to introduce a series showcasing Quranic verses that would prove, without a doubt, that Islam is not behind the actions of ISIS. We see the shenanigans of ISIS everyday – killing British, Japanese, Egyptians, Jordanians, the old, the young, Muslims and non-Muslims, alike. If one does try to find a pattern, there is none except the pattern of unjustness and cruelty. The world that is averse to Muslims would like to blame ISIS’s actions on Islam but to do so, there have to be instructions in the Quran to do so. What if there are none? Would these people be willing to listen that the religion of 1.6 billion Muslims is not the impetus behind the actions of these terrorists? There is something else that drives them. It could be money, it could be politics, it could be land, it could be deceit, but to prove that La ILaha IllAllah Muhammadur Rasulullah – There is no Allah but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (the emblem of ISIS’s flag) – is what drives ISIS, the enemies of Islam (including ISIS) will have to try much harder.

The verses presented here are not taken in chronological order from the Quran but their sampling is random. What they would prove without a doubt is that Allah, Islam, Muhammad (peace be upon him), or the Quran does not order ISIS to commit the atrocities they commit.

Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly. [60:8]

Allah only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes and aid in your expulsion – [forbids] that you make allies of them. And whoever makes allies of them, then it is those who are the wrongdoers. [60:9]

What is it that we derive from these two verses from Chapter 60 of the Quran?

1) If someone has not obstructed a Muslim’s faith and 2) if they have not driven a Muslim out from his home (or aided in his expulsion), God does not want that Muslim to treat that someone unjustly. Allah also wants you to be righteous with that someone. But if that someone has in fact obstructed your religion and expelled you from your home, Allah forbids you to be allies with them.

What a simple and beautiful formula! Let’s check its application.

Is ISIS being driven out of their homes or is anyone creating an obstruction in how they practice religion? It doesn’t appear so. In fact, they appear to be very wealthy and the manner in which they stick that emblem of La ILaha IllAllah Muhammadur Rasulullah to every Humvee, every Land Cruiser they drive  – a big injustice to the meaning of that emblem, I may add – ISIS appears to be quite free in practicing their religion. So why would they be killing people from various nationalities and religions – nationalities and religions that have done nothing to a) kick ISIS out of their homes or b) stop the practice of ISIS’s religion (whatever that may be since I am sure it’s not Islam)?

Ponder about this and absorb what it means. Peace and thank you. ~AJ

Source: quran.com