Friday, March 31, 2006
Question As-Salamu `alaykum, I would like to know the significance of seeing prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in a person's dream and what should that person do about it? Should he get his dream interpreted? Does she need to do any special thing (like offering special prayers or feeding the poor)? Jazaka Allahu khairan.
Answer Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear in Islam, thanks for your question.
In fact, seeing the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in a vision/dream is a hope that most Muslims wish to have. One who sees the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in a dream or vision has seen the Prophet himself in this vision, for Satan cannot appear in the shape of the Prophet as stated in a Prophetic hadith.
As for the interpretation of the dreams, including those in which a person sees the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), it differs from one case to another.. Therefore, you may contact a reliable local Muslim scholar and tell him about your vision so that he may be able to give you some conclusions based on your own conditions and circumstances.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Quote: "One who sees the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in a dream or vision has seen the Prophet himself in this vision, for Satan cannot appear in the shape of the Prophet as stated in a Prophetic hadith. "
Looks like the Koran covered all the bases, from a Christian perspective we would say there is indeed deception going on.
Opponents of the war in Iraq, both original critics and the mea culpa recent converts, have made eight assumptions. The first six are wrong, the last two still unsettled.
1. Saddam was never connected to al Qaeda, the perpetrators of 9/11.
2. There was no real threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
3. The United Nations and our allies were justifiably opposed on principle to the invasion.
4. A small cabal of neoconservative (and mostly Jewish) intellectuals bullied the administration into a war that served Israel’s interest more than our own.
5. Saddam could not be easily deposed, or at least he could not be successfully replaced with a democratic government.
6. The architects of this war and the subsequent occupation are mostly inept (“dangerously incompetent”) — and are exposed daily as clueless by a professional cadre of disinterested journalists.
7. In realist terms, the benefits to be gained from the war will never justify the costs incurred.
8. We cannot win.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
This brings us to this article. We need to pray and believe that God is going to move in Afghanistan (and He is). The Christians there truly sacrafice to be a follower of Jesus. Let us never forget that our lives were paid with a heavy price. Our Christianity did not come cheap.
Afghan converts to Christianity lead dangerous lives and must keep their faith secret to avoid persecution by police, Islamists or even their own neighbors. Members of this secret society have to constantly keep looking over their shoulders. Read More.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
On Friday, March 24, I received an email from Justin Bosch, who was sponsoring a screening of the film, “The God Who Wasn’t There” at the historic Oriental Theater in Northwest Denver. Mr. Bosch screens films related to media reform and social ethics, but he was venturing into the religious deep. Since the film is very critical of Christianity—claiming that Jesus never existed and that Christians are dangerous simpletons—he wanted to give some response time to a Christian, as well as to an atheist. So, at the last minute it was arranged that Will Providence, a local atheist of the Objectivist stripe (a follower of Ayn Rand’s philosophy), and I would make some brief comments after the film and then answer questions.
Although I seldom participate in highly-charged public forums with little notice, I was interested in doing this because without me there would have been no Christian response. Further, I was familiar with the basic arguments of the film and was able to mine quite a bit of material on it and the producer on line.
The event nearly filled the theater. The first half hour or so was taken up by an audio presentation of a comedian who recounted her loss of Catholic faith and her turn to atheism. It was the most uncharitable presentation of the teaching of the Bible I had ever heard in one sitting. The Old Testament is nothing more an amoral mess. Jesus isn’t as nice as he thought. After all, he was impatient with his disciples, and so on. Read More.
As I was preparing for this article, I asked a friend who is Jewish if it was appropriate to use the term "holocaust" to portray the worldwide violence against women. He was startled. But when I read him the figures in a 2004 policy paper published by the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, he said yes, without hesitation.
War On Terror: In the wake of the cartoon jihad and mosque-on-mosque violence in Iraq, most Americans now think Islam has more violent believers than any other faith. Yet many still view it as a "peaceful religion."
Psychologists might call this cognitive dissonance — a state of mind where rational people essentially lie to themselves. But in this case, it's understandable. In our politically correct culture, criticizing any religion, even one that plots our destruction, is still taboo. And no one wants to suggest the terrorists are driven by their holy text.
Which explains a Washington Post-ABC News poll showing that Americans are becoming more aware of the broader threat (58% associate terrorists with Islam), but are still convinced terrorists are radicalizing Islam and not the other way around (54% don't think Islam itself encourages violence).
The new poll, however, still doesn't sit well with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group dedicated to improving public perceptions of Islam. It has denounced increasingly negative views as "Islamophobic" and vowed to redouble its "education" efforts.
Good. What better time for CAIR and other Muslim leaders to step up, cut through the politically correct fog and provide factual answers to the questions that give so many non-Muslims pause? Read More.
Recently we were speaking at a large conference on worship, and the speaker that preceded us made a statement that really caught our attention. He said the Church has spent much time, effort and energy creating “contemporary” worship services, but has missed the purpose of contemporary completely by accidentally creating new forms of “traditional” worship. He concluded with these words: “Think about it, folks. The root of contemporary is temporary.” Read More.
This is interesting, and shows the folk religious nature of the average Muslim. By this I mean the Koranic along with the old tribal religions. There are Christian groups that also suffer the same problem.
HUNDREDS of Muslims are descending on a Liverpool house to witness what many are calling a miracle. Two fish are causing huge excitement among the faithful, who say they are each inscribed with holy names.
Worshippers are convinced two Oscar fish bear the names of Allah and Mohammed in their scales. Long queues have been building up outside the terraced house in Mulgrave Street, Toxteth, where the fish are being kept.
Leaders at the nearby Al-Rahma mosque in Hatherley Street, are in no doubt about the authenticity. Sheikh Sadek Kassem, the mosque's Imam, said: "This is a proof and a sign not just to Liverpool's Muslims, but for everyone." The fish were bought last week from a pet store in Speke by Ali AlWaqedi, 23. He spotted a squiggle on the side of one fish that mirrored the Arabic word for God - Allah.
Then he noticed another fish, in a different tank, that seemed to bear the Arabic spelling of Mohammed, known by Muslims as Islam's last Messenger. Ali said: "This is a message from Allah to me, a reminder, and now my faith is stronger. Everyone is so excited by the discovery."
Andrew Chambers, a religious education teacher at Shorefields comprehensive school, said: "It's clear that the markings match the Arabic script." Hat tip Michelle Malkin
Monday, March 27, 2006
What's at stake in the dispute over Iranian nukes? Ultimately, human survival
By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Abdul Rahman faced death at the hands of our Afghan allies for the “crime” of converting to Christianity. This fate is no fluke, not a brutal Afghan variant on the practice of “tolerant” Islam. Death for apostacy is part and parcel of Islamic scripture and tradition. Read More.
Deaths from revenge killings now exceed those from terrorist or anti-government activity. Al Qaeda is beaten, and running for cover. The Sunni Arab groups that financed thousands of attacks against the government and coalition groups, are now battling each other, al Qaeda, and Shia death squads. It's not civil war, for there are no battles or grand strategies at play. It's not ethnic cleansing, yet, although many Sunni Arabs are, and have, fled the country. What's happening here is payback. Outsiders tend to forget that, for over three decades, a brutal Sunni Arab dictatorship killed hundreds of thousands of Kurds and Shia Arabs. The surviving victims, and the families of those who did not survive, want revenge. They want payback. Read More.
KABUL, Afghanistan - An Afghan court on Sunday dismissed a case against a man who converted from Islam to Christianity because of a lack of evidence and he will be released soon, officials said.
The announcement came as U.S.-backed President Hamid Karzai faced mounting foreign pressure to free Abdul Rahman, a move that risked angering Muslim clerics here who have called for him to be killed.
An official closely involved with the case told The Associated Press that it had been returned to the prosecutors for more investigation, but that in the meantime, Rahman would be released.
"The court dismissed today the case against Abdul Rahman for a lack of information and a lot of legal gaps in the case," the official said Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. Read More.This isn't over, and we need to see what happens to President Karzai. This is a good start however.
IKEA billionaire founder proud to be frugal at 80
By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA (Reuters) - IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, ranked 4th richest man in the world, drives a 15-year-old car and always flies economy class, in part to inspire his 90,000 employees worldwide to see the virtue of frugality.
The billionaire Swede, who turns 80 on March 30, explained his legendary habits during a rare television interview in Switzerland, his adoptive home for nearly 30 years.
His fortune was recently estimated at $28 billion by Forbes magazine -- trailing only Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, U.S. investor Warren Buffett and Mexican industrialist Carlos Slim.
"People say I am cheap and I don't mind if they do. But I am very proud to follow the rules of our company," Kamprad told French-language Swiss Broadcasting Corporation.
Asked to confirm he drove an old Volvo, he said: "She is nearly new, just 15 years old, or something like that."
Interviewer Darius Rochebin teased that Ikea employees were always told to write on both sides of the paper.
"Why not? If there is such a thing as good leadership, it is to give a good example. I have to do so for all the Ikea employees," Kamprad retorted.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
That a judge in Afghanistan can even think of sentencing someone to death for switching from the Muslim to the Christian faith speaks volumes about the problems of dealing with Islam.
Except for some Muslims, everyone is aghast at Judge Ansarulla Mawlavezda warning Adbul Rahman that he deserves to be hanged unless he recants his switch to Christianity 16 years ago when he worked with a Christian aid group in Pakistan.
Apostasy -- the abandonment or switching of religious belief -- is a crime that entails death under sharia law.
Fate conspires to remind us what this war is really about: civilizational confidence. And so history repeats itself: first the farce of the Danish cartoons, and now the tragedy - a man on trial for his life in post-Taliban Afghanistan because he has committed the crime of converting to Christianity.
The cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad were deeply offensive to Muslims, and so thousands protested around the world in the usual restrained manner - rioting, torching, killing, etc.
The impending execution of Abdul Rahman for embracing Christianity is, of course, offensive to Westerners, and so around the world we reacted equally violently by issuing blood-curdling threats like that made by State Department spokesman Sean McCormack: "Freedom of worship is an important element of any democracy," he said. "And these are issues as Afghan democracy matures that they are going to have to deal with increasingly."
The immediate problem for Abdul Rahman is whether he'll get the chance to "mature" along with Afghan democracy. The president, the Canadian prime minister and the Australian prime minister have all made statements of concern about his fate, and it seems clear that Afghanistan's dapper leader, Hamid Karzai, would like to resolve this issue before his fledgling democracy gets a reputation as just another barbarous Islamist sewer state. There's talk of various artful compromises, such as Rahman being declared unfit to stand trial by reason of insanity on the grounds that (I'm no Islamic jurist so I'm paraphrasing here) anyone who converts from Islam to Christianity must, ipso facto, be nuts.
On the other hand, this "moderate" compromise solution is being rejected by leading theologians. "We will not allow God to be humiliated. This man must die," says Abdul Raoulf of the nation's principal Muslim body, the Afghan Ulama Council. "Cut off his head! We will call on the people to pull him into pieces so there's nothing left." Needless to say, Imam Raoulf is one of Afghanistan's leading "moderate" clerics.
For what it's worth, I'm with the Afghan Ulama Council in objecting to the insanity defense. It's not enough for Abdul Rahman to get off on a technicality. Afghanistan is supposed to be "the good war," the one even the French supported, albeit notionally and mostly retrospectively. Karzai is kept alive by a bodyguard of foreigners. The fragile Afghan state is protected by American, British, Canadian, Australian, Italian and other troops, hundreds of whom have died. You cannot ask Americans or Britons to expend blood and treasure to build a society in which a man can be executed for his choice of religion. You cannot tell a Canadian soldier serving in Kandahar that he, as a Christian, must sacrifice his life to create a Muslim state in which his faith is a capital offense.
As always, we come back to the words of Osama bin Laden: "When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse." That's really the only issue: The Islamists know our side have tanks and planes, but they have will and faith, and they reckon in a long struggle that's the better bet. Most prominent Western leaders sound way too eager to climb into the weak-horse suit and audition to play the rear end. Consider, for example, the words of the Prince of Wales, speaking a few days ago at al-Azhar University in Cairo, which makes the average Ivy League nuthouse look like a beacon of sanity. Anyway, this is what His Royal Highness had to say to 800 Islamic "scholars":
"The recent ghastly strife and anger over the Danish cartoons shows the danger that comes of our failure to listen and to respect what is precious and sacred to others. In my view, the true mark of a civilized society is the respect it pays to minorities and to strangers."
That's correct. But the reality is that our society pays enormous respect to minorities - President Bush holds a monthlong Ramadan-a-ding-dong at the White House every year. The immediate reaction to the slaughter of 9/11 by Western leaders everywhere was to visit a mosque to demonstrate their great respect for Islam. One party to this dispute is respectful to a fault: after all, to describe the violence perpetrated by Muslims over the Danish cartoons as the "recent ghastly strife" barely passes muster as effete Brit toff understatement.
Unfortunately, what's "precious and sacred" to Islam is its institutional contempt for others. In his book "Islam And The West," Bernard Lewis writes, "The primary duty of the Muslim as set forth not once but many times in the Quran is 'to command good and forbid evil.' It is not enough to do good and refrain from evil as a personal choice. It is incumbent upon Muslims also to command and forbid." Or as the Canadian columnist David Warren put it: "We take it for granted that it is wrong to kill someone for his religious beliefs. Whereas Islam holds it is wrong not to kill him." In that sense, those imams are right, and Karzai's attempts to finesse the issue are, sharia-wise, wrong.
I can understand why the president and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would rather deal with this through back channels, private assurances from their Afghan counterparts, etc. But the public rhetoric is critical, too. At some point we have to face down a culture in which not only the mob in the street but the highest judges and academics talk like crazies. Abdul Rahman embodies the question at the heart of this struggle: If Islam is a religion one can only convert to, not from, then in the long run it is a threat to every free person on the planet.
What can we do? Should governments with troops in Afghanistan pass joint emergency legislation conferring their citizenship on this poor man and declaring him, as much as Karzai, under their protection?
In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of "suttee" - the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. Gen. Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:
"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks, and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
India today is better off without suttee. If we shrink from the logic of that, then in Afghanistan and many places far closer to home the implications are, as the Prince of Wales would say, "ghastly."
Friday, March 24, 2006
I came across this strange study, which is due to come out in the April issue of the American Sociological review. It explores Americans' increasing acceptance of religious diversity as long as it does not extend to those who don’t believe in a God, according to a national survey by researchers in the University of Minnesota’s department of sociology.
From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in “sharing their vision of American society.” Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.
Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public. “Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years,” says Penny Edgell, associate sociology professor and the study’s lead researcher.
Edgell also argues that today’s atheists play the role that Catholics, Jews and communists have played in the past—they offer a symbolic moral boundary to membership in American society. “It seems most Americans believe that diversity is fine, as long as every one shares a common ‘core’ of values that make them trustworthy—and in America, that ‘core’ has historically been religious,” says Edgell. Many of the study’s respondents associated atheism with an array of moral indiscretions ranging from criminal behavior to rampant materialism and cultural elitism.
Edgell believes a fear of moral decline and resulting social disorder is behind the findings. “Americans believe they share more than rules and procedures with their fellow citizens—they share an understanding of right and wrong,” she said. “Our findings seem to rest on a view of atheists as self-interested individuals who are not concerned with the common good.”
The researchers also found acceptance or rejection of atheists is related not only to personal religiosity, but also to one’s exposure to diversity, education and political orientation—with more educated, East and West Coast Americans more accepting of atheists than their Midwestern counterparts...Read More.
This case makes clear that the threat to converts out of Islam does not just come from the state, but from private citizens as well. And it makes clear that the belief that apostates deserve death is not an aberration, but is more widespread that many would like to acknowledge. The resolution of this case may well be a barometer of Afghanistan's future, and the future of democracy in the Middle East.
See also: Sharia Calling
The striking thing about the Abdul Rahman prosecution — in which an Afghanistan court is considering whether to execute Rahman because he converted from Islam to Christianity — is how Establishment the prosecution is. The case is before an official Afghani court. The death sentence is, to my knowlege, authorized by official Afghani law. The New York Times reports that the prosecutor, an Afghan government official, "called Mr. Rahman 'a microbe' who 'should be killed.'" The case is in a country which is close to the West, and is presumably under at least some special influence from Western principles (whether as a matter of conviction or of governmental self-interest).
We're not talking about some rogue terrorist group, or even the government of Iran, which is deliberately and strongly oppositional to the West. We're talking about a country that we're trying to set up as something of a model of democracy and liberty for the Islamic world. And yet the legal system is apparently seriously considering executing someone for nothing more than changing his religion.
This is telling evidence, it seems to me, that there is something very wrong in Islam today, and not just in some lunatic terrorist fringe...Hat tip: Michelle Malkin