Archive for the 'religion' Category

Islam’s Middle Path

Since I was a kid I’ve been observing Islam with great interest. It’s my religion anyway.
At first I noted how my elementary teachers and our adults are preaching something, but doing entirely different things. Also we’re taught that Islam is all about dogma. There’s almost no compassion on it. There is no joy. The religion seems to be all about mumbling on prayers in language that we don’t understand, five times a day. And anyone dare not doing it may face public humiliation and/or physical punishment.
The Ramadhan was especially tormentous – we couldn’t eat nor drink during the hot days (30 – 35 degrees celcius). The night prayers are 11 rakaat, and followed by a very long (and very boring) sermon.
Nobody cared to really explain to us what’s all these about. We’re just supposed to do it without asking any questions.

These are the traditionalists.
Islam is just believing, no thinking. You just do. Don’t ever ask.
I asked once, and the teacher ended up stuttering and scolded me for it. I don’t ask again after.

It’s enough to make some kids lose faith and care about Islam, but I held on. I think, there’s an explanation to these, and I shall make the journey to find it.

When I’m older, in my high school years, I found out about Islam’s sects. With open mind, I joined one after another, most interested in widening my horizon. I noticed though that many of them are not good to be in for long term.
In the beginning, they will be nice to you. You’ll be called brothers and sisters. For those who didn’t find love at home, bullied at school, and so on; this is pure joy. Suddenly you feel needed, and wanted.

But after a while, they will try to draw you into their community. Locked you in, and started the weird part of their teachings.
Each sects have their own peculiarities – getting as much money for the sect using any (and I mean any; cheating, stealing, killing) way possible, made you swear an oath of allegiance, teaching irrational hatred for people (even Muslims), brainwash you, allows prostitution, make their syaikhs (gurus) close / to the same level of a prophet or even God, and many other horrible things.

All of them are the same in this regard – they all claim to be based on Quran and hadits, but interpret it to their own wishes. They’re extremist in this regard.

Anybody who dare to question their sect will be excommunicated from the group. This may seem trivial – however, after years of intense involvement in the group; most will find themselves suddenly alone in the world. Their old friends and families have long gave up on them. It’s truly heart breaking.
The fear of this kept many as the member of the group, even though the inner heart are crying.

Indeed not all groups are like that. A few are good and on the right path. But sadly, they seem to be the minority on the scene, and can be quite hard to find.

Then I went to UK, work there for 5 years, and found something else – the Liberals.
At first they seemed good – they preached upon tolerance, open-mindedness, equalities, justice, and critical thinking.

However, digging deeper, I found troublesome things.
They preached upon tolerance, yet they will get rid of their opposition and have no hesitation on silencing their voices whenever possible.
They preached critical thinking, yet they’re cherry-picking verses from Quran and Hadith to support their claims. Many times, they’ll just plain lie to you. If they can have the opportunity to assassin your character, they will.
And just like the sects, these liberals claim to be based on Quran and hadits; but they interpret it so liberally; it’s as if they’re telling you that an apple is really an orange. They’re just as extreme as the sects, but worse since they claim to be of a superior intelligence.

I don’t like to be taken as a fool, so I distanced myself from them.

Found myself alone again, with weird people around me. I continued my journey. I tried to find more about Islam, with my limited time and capability. I worked hard to filter the wacky interpretations, and goes straight to the source and original interpretations. And what I found have made the journey worth it.

Islam : is all about compassion, good behaviour, and love to others. The prophet stated that his mission is to make us better in our akhlaq. That is it.

I’ve been presented with spins from Liberals & Islam-haters, trying to rebuke it. But I always managed to find out every single time the truth behind it – some are not presenting the whole picture, some are presented without its context, some are misinterpretation from the original language, some are very liberal translation, and some are downright lies.
Many of the Islam’s problems they presenting are actually really Muslims problem. And they dare claiming to be the superior thinkers ? I don’t think so.

Islam : wants their believers to think and use their brains. The command “Afala ta’qiluun” – have you think about that ? It’s written many times in Quran.
My journey was emotionally and intellectually painful. I’ve had to wade through so much crap and non-sense, sometimes even from people I thought would know better. This command kept me going, enduring the pain.

The result is, not perfect, but definitely a better me – one who finally understood the essence of his religion, and at ease with it. The old cliche is still true – no pain, no gain.

I also found several inspirations from some other good people :

  1. Amar Ma’ruf Nahi Munkar : This is the principle of da’wa / calling people to Islam, meaning “call people to good, and prohibit them from bad”.

    Notice how the call for good is mentioned first. Then I noticed that the most successfull preachers are those who busy themselves in calling people to the good – with sympathetic words, understanding of people’s problems, and positive attitude in helping people to get over with their problems — instead of just criticizing people on their faults.

    People become attracted to the good, and automatically, they leave their bad side.

    These preachers solve problems, instead of adding more of it.
    I shall try to do the same.

  2. Care for others : This must begin with your closest ones. If you claim you care for others, while neglecting your own family, I’ll call you a hypocrite.

    When people care about others, Islam will be able to fulfill its promise as the rahmatan lil ‘alamin – a blessing to the world.

I’ve realized now that the problem with Islam is really the problem with Muslims. Many are ignorant, led by ignorant (or downright evil) ulama / syaikh / community leaders.
We need to awaken them by tapping on them gently and using kind words. Not kicking and screaming on them – and later wondered why they ended up beating you into a pulp. The way of Islam is the middle path – kind, gentle, soothes, and most importantly, enlightens.

So I begin my new journey. May God look upon me kindly and strengthen this weak shell and its soul for this journey, which shall not end until my death.

A Preacher For Traders

For the past few weeks, every Saturday morning, I joined in a gathering in friend`s house. Called “pengajian”, or muslims gathering, usually there`s a preacher (ustadz) speaking, and the others are listening. The topic is strictly religion-related. This one is a bit different though.

First, almost all of the audience are traders; all from west sumatera region. Second, the preacher is a trader too. A millionaire in fact. Third, questions and discussions are most welcome at any time, even if it will interrupt the speech.

Needless to say, every meeting is a heated and lively one. Religious dogma got interconnected with real-life cases seamlessly. The preacher happened to be an expert in Qur’an, instantly citing the related verses for each cases. He also happened to be a senior trader among us, definitely the richest. His responses are very much based on his Quranic expertise as much as on his trading experiences. The audience however doesn’t always accept everything willingly, questioning everything critically. The speaker responded in clarity, satisfying everyone.
There are cases sometimes when he doesn’t know the answer, and he’s willing to admit it. To which of course we have no problem.

Some of the interesting discussions :

  1. Bribery / commission : The slippery slope. A trader complained that many of his corporate customers are asking for commission. Otherwise, they’ll buy from other supplier, causing him great loss for each customer.

    The speaker responded that he definitely avoid marking-up practice; where you inflate the price on the corporate invoice, and give the difference to the person.

    However the trader raised another issue, where he didn’t do that, and he actually lowered the price so the company is getting the best deal – and on top of that he still had to give the person some money (out of his own pocket).

    Everyone agreed that this is kind of a grey area. First, this can be categorized as bribery, since he won’t give the money if that person is not the company’s staff (this is among the definition of bribe). However, on the other hand, if he doesn’t give the money, that company’s employee will buy from other supplier; which actually sells at higher price with lower customer service quality.

    A trader then told his experience as a supplier to a foreign company; he gave gift to the contact as usual; but the contact declined. But the surprise doesn’t end there, a few days later another company’s official showed up on his shop and asked him for name of employees who has received gift from him. To which he said none (which is the case).
    He was then told that if there are any of the company’s staff dared asking for gift (bribe) from him, just report them, and they’ll be sacked immediately.

    We wished if only all companies, especially local ones, are like this. It will make life much simpler for us.

  2. Government siding with conglomerates, and killing traders in the process. Especially with the rise of multi-story malls, while ignoring various planning regulations; killing traditional markets in the process.

    One of the solution is to move into “modern” market, aka the malls. But this is not always easy, and definitely is not cheap. A shop in traditional market can cost only about 20% of a shop in a mall — and generate more money. In malls, the traditional traders will have to compete with well-known, international brands. It’s as if we’ve gone to the war againts giants.

    People will need to go to the malls less often, and to the traditional markets more. And planning regulations (eg; no hypermarket in town, etc) needs to be executed properly.

  3. Business in the remote areas : surprisingly, this can be very profitable. Reason being no one else is looking to do business there. So when you come, there’s usually no competition. The speaker have even traded in East Timor, during the war time. He made serious amount of money back then, because everyone else was too scared to trade in a war zone.

    He noted that other traders have commented that the more dangerous the area, the easier to trade, because “you can make your own laws”. Needless to say, he doesn’t recommend this.

I’m currently looking forward for the next gathering.

Quicklinks – Israel vs Hizbollah crisis

Israel was just defending itself from Hizbollah ? Wrong, the kidnapping of 2 Israel soldiers (previously thought as the cause of the war) were caused by Israel’s (almost daily) violation of the border :
http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0801/p09s02-coop.html

The current war is premeditated and already very prepared. Hizbollah’s kidnap of 2 IDF soldiers provided Israel with the excuse to finally launched it :
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,,1839282,00.html

To Israel with love – why the Americans are so overwhelmingly pro Israel ?
http://www.economist.com/world/na/displaystory.cfm?story_id=7255198

Israel ranked better economically than even Brunei, but it’s also the top receiver of aid from US gov’t :
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,,1834555,00.html

Save the Indonesian Catholics

I read a news titled “Indonesian Catholics to face firing squad on Saturday” on Catholic News this morning. Seems like many Catholic groups are asking Indonesian Gov’t to spare the life of the accused.

Actually some non-Catholic groups are asking the same thing too. Although for different reason – several Muslim organization suspected that these 3 men are just puppets. The masters are still safe behind the curtain.
If these men got executed, then the secrets will die with them. And justice will not be delivered.

By saving the life of these 3 men, then hopefully we’d be able to investigate further and find the real masters behind the massacre. The ones who really responsible for it.

The chance is really slim though.

AnsweringIslam.org

I noticed that a member of my family was browsing this website. I mentioned to him that he’ll need to take everything with the biggest grain of salt, but had to finish my tasks and he was gone before I could elaborate or listen to his inquiries.

Anyway, there’s so much disinformation in this website, it’s going to need a dedicated team to clarify them. I’m just a layman with almost no spare time, so I decided to pick up only 2 pages from that website and clarify them.

[ 1 ] Hamzah’s “Testimony”

The author began by saying :

This testimony of Hamzah is very special. He was a learned Muslim scholar. He was educated and shaped under Islamic and Quranic teachings since his childhood. After getting his Islamic education for more than 16 years he successfully obtained his Islamic School Certification. It is clearly evident that his knowledge of the Quran and Islam has already been sufficiently deep and well developed. Nevertheless after three years of struggling with his theological and spiritual questions – searching honestly within both Islam and Christianity, Hamzah finally surrendered his life into the gracious hands of Isa Al-Masih (Jesus Christ) – his most loving and compassionate Saviour!

Somehow I doubt that. (the emphasized text)

An example, he said that :

I was surprised to learn who shall come to release the World from the evil Dajjal’s hand – he is no other than ISA Al-Masih (Jesus Christ) as the Imam Mahdi himself!

He got this messed up. Imam Mahdi is not the same person as Al-Masih.

Imam Mahdi is an Arab, whose lineage can be traced back to Muhammad. While Al-Masih is Prophet Isa (Jesus), who’s sent back down by God to destroy Dajjal.
When reading the whole text in relation to this story, it’s mentioned that after defeating Dajjal, Isa Al-Masih then pledged allegiance to Imam Mahdi and recognize him as his leader (King).
Imam Mahdi then ruled the Muslims (including Al-Masih) and bring back peace and prosperity to them.

This is a fairly well-known story, and Hamzah (the scholar) missed it ?
Is he really a scholar ?

The next example :

But he (the christian) said very coolly: “Oh for me that is not a problem, whether there is a new religion or not … because for me, by FAITH I will surely enter heaven!”

Hearing this, I was very shocked …! Because in my 10-plus years of study at the Islamic pesantren centres and four years study at the advanced Islamic Institute, never had I heard that entering heaven is something sure or definite for normal Moslems!

That’s is really weird – because all muslims will enter heaven. But this “scholar” doesn’t know.

However, there’s a difference. While some Christians boasted that they’ll go straight to heaven, Muslims with sins will be cleansed first in Hell. Once they’ve paid for their sins, then they’ll enter Heaven. Personally, I think this is justice.
Imagine if by faith only you’re guaranteed heaven – then you can wreak havoc, rape/steal/lie/kill people, and still got heaven ? This world will soon fall into chaos, with people trying to avoid becoming the victim / loser.

And so on. AnsweringIslam.org tried to convince their case by presenting this “scholar”, but it only exposes their true identity.

[ 2 ] Top ten reasons why Islam is NOT the religion of peace

Some zealots are going to label me as “muslim apologetics” because of this 🙂 without even trying to read it thoroughly, but I have a duty to rebuke these lies/misinformation within my capability, so here it goes :

10. Muhammad nicknames his weapons : This is a pretty silly argument, but anyway – These (weapons) are instruments which is crucial to one’s continued life, so I guess it’s ok if one gets a bit sentimental about it. This is common practice among soldiers – even to this day. Yes, today’s modern, God-less, soldiers.

9. Muhammad commands in his Quran that adulterers and adulteresses should receive a hundred lashes : Well, most westerners indeed may have problems with this because of vast culture differences. If you’re one of them, remember; just a few centuries ago, you were doing it as well, and you find it ok.
But while western moral standards changes continuously (causing some to become confused as to what is right and what is wrong, now), Islam’s moral standards remains consistent, even after centuries of the Prophet’s death.

Another poison is this, in relation to the execution of a woman due to adultery :

It is true that Muhammad told Khalid to be gentler, but how gentle does one have to be when one throws a rock at a woman buried up to her breasts? Is the rock required to go only 30 miles per hour or 40? Perhaps Muhammad was ordering Khalid not to curse her. In any case, the prophet prayed over her dead body and then buried her. Truthfully, how effective was the prayer when Muhammad and his community murdered her in cold blood? They should have forgiven her and let her go to raise her child.

Seems that the author doesn’t understand Islam. Yet, somehow managed to create this long article.

Even the Prophet, much less the others at that time, does not have the right to forgive such sin – a sin which is committed against God. Which only God alone have right to forgive.
The lady understood this, therefore she knows that if she does not receive her punishment in her lifetime (because of Muhammad’s hesitation to execute it), then she’ll receive it in Hell; and it’ll be far worse.

Therefore, she forced Muhammad (by her persistence) to deliver the punishment. After many tries in many months, finally Muhammad agreed, and did it.

After the execution, Muhammad then praised her bravery :
Thereupon he said: She has made such a repentance that if it were to be divided among seventy men of Medina, it would be enough. Have you found any repentance better than this that she sacrificed her life for Allah, the Majestic?“.

Same event, but now it no longer seems that Muhammad is a cold blooded bastard as portrayed in the original article.
This event also act as a caution to Muslims – when someone is accused of adultery, do not believe it (and definitely don’t punish) straight away ! Because even when it’s already proven, Muhammad still give the choice – now, or later.

8. Muhammad in his Quran permits husbands to beat their wives. – what they failed to mention is that it’s strongly encouraged to solve the problem amicably, and the punishment only as last resort.

Unfortunately, our own fault too, many Muslim tend to execute the last resort first, and in abundance.
It has become the local culture in many places. In some cases, women got killed because of this.

It’s said that “Among the Muslims, the most perfect as regards his faith is the one whose character is most excellent, and the best among you are those who treat their wives well.

And so on…. sorry I’m running out of time, so I’ll skip right to the number one :

1. Muhammad launches his own Crusades. – as if Islam taught us to “convert, or kill, everyone”, like how the Christians were instructed on the Crusades. Not.

Muhammad actually give other nations choice. Agreed to be lead by Muslims, and pay tax like everyone else. The concept of dhimmitude saves and protects people, not humiliate them. Or you can refuse (a King was asked; he refused politely, and treated the messenger well. Nothing happened)
But if you acted dishonourably, then we promised you an honourable war.

If you look into that time, there’s simply no other nation doing this. If you can’t defend yourselves, then be prepared to either die or become slaves.

For example, the past Christians’ crusades – very cruel and sadistic :

Radulph of Caen said : “In Maarra our troops boiled pagan adults in cooking pots; they impaled children on spits and devoured them grilled.“

Islam defined a very strict code of conduct on war. Even the trees are not to be harmed (hello suicide bombers). Only combatants (those that endanger your life) may be killed.

Summary: methods of brainwashing used by AnsweringIslam.org = one sided facts, partial information, failure to discuss the data in the proper context, and so on.

Again, a team of (truly) knowledgeable scholar (unlike our friend Hamzah) will have no problem rebutting this website. Gotta go now, hope it helps to clarify things.

MuslimHeritage.com

Found this website by accident – MuslimHeritage.com. Shows what Muslims were in the past – rahmatan lil ‘alamin, a blessing for all.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case now. Not yet, I hope.

Note: If you’re a Muslim (or not) blogger, please help spread the word. Link to this article (or the website), so others may find it as well.
We may not have the money and facilities of the big media, but together, we can bring back the balance. Thank you.

A few interesting articles :

[ 1 ] The tolerant & humane muslims

The conquest of Mecca :

as Scott says: `with a magnanimity unequalled in the annals of war, a general amnesty was proclaimed and but four persons, whose offences were considered unpardonable, suffered the penalty of death.’

Unequalled indeed, as the norms was as below :

…in 1098, during the first crusade (begun in 1096), when the Crusaders took Ma’arrat an’Numan, the slaughter never stopped for three days so that the Franks killed more than 100,000 people.

“‘Our men’ said the pious and charitable chronicler (Lebon’s words) `walked through the roads, places, on the roofs, and feasted on the slaughter just like a lioness who had her cubs taken from her. They cut into pieces, and put to death children, the young, and the old crumbling under the weight of the years. They did that in groups… Our men grabbed everybody who fell into their hands. They cut bellies open, and took out gold coins. Oh detestable cupidity of gold! Streams of blood ran on the roads of the city; and everywhere lay corpses. Oh blinded nations and destined to death; none of that multitude accepted the Christian faith. At last Bohemond brought out all those he had first invited to lock themselves in the tower of the place. He ordered that all old women be put to death, and also old men, whose age had rendered useless; then all the rest he ordered to be taken to Antioch to be sold as slaves. This massacre of the Turks took place on 12 December; on Sunday; but on this day not all work could be accomplished; so the following day our men killed all the rest.” — Robert the Monk

Radulph of Caen said : “In Maarra our troops boiled pagan adults in cooking pots; they impaled children on spits and devoured them grilled.

And yet, even when Muslims were slaughtered en masse, still they found reserves of unequalled humanity. Finucane tells how in 1221, the defeated Christians were visited by their (Muslim) enemies, who brought them food to save them from starvation.

Be valiant; die rather than yield; be merciful; slay neither old men, nor women, nor children. Destroy no fruit trees, grain, or cattle. Keep your word even to your enemies.” — Caliph Abu Bakr

That’s how jihad is really done.
Bus bombings, bali bombings, civilian killings – it’s now clear that those are not jihad. Very contrary to what the media / propaganda machines tells us nowadays, isn’t it.

About tolerance :
“the Muslims of the seventh century had abstained from persecution and had permitted Jews and Christians to practise their own laws and to elect their own judges. Yet nearly a thousand years later, people in Europe were still being tortured and burned alive for their faith. And in general, the Ottomans continued the policy of religious toleration which they had inherited from the Arabs.” —- Glubb

Muslims, Christians, Jews living together — an absurd and crazy idea ?
Definitely not. And it has been done, when Muslims were in charge and practiced the true Islam :

Araya Goubet, too, notes how `religious tolerance, Islamic inspiration, permitted the harmonious coexistence of Christians, Moors, and Jews until the end of the fifteenth century. The dominance of the Christian clergy led to the gradual exclusion, subjugation, and expulsion of the other religious groups, starting in 1492 but culminating in 1567 when Philip II published a decree forbidding Moriscos [Christianised (ex) Muslims] from using Muslim names and the Arabic language. The Moriscos were finally expelled in 1609. Ultimately the history of the Iberian people can be summed up as `living togetherness’ until ‘its breaking apart beginning in the fifteenth century.

In this article I’d like also to call my brothers & sisters in Islam to start washing away their kafir-phobia.
There are bad kuffars (kafir/kuffar = non-muslim) indeed, but there are much more of the good ones (although most of them are silent). It’s injustice to sentence them all as bad, and Islam abhors injustice.

We can live together in peace. Deal with the bad ones, and live peacefully with the rest of them.

In Cordoba, there were eight hundred public schools frequented alike by Moslems, Christians and Jews, where instruction was imparted by lectures. The doors of the college were open to students of every nationality, and the Andalusian Moor, Scott adds, received the rudiments of knowledge at the same time and under the same conditions as the literary pilgrims from Asia Minor and Egypt, from Germany and France and Britain.

In this very field of scholarship, doors were open to all scholars whether they were Chinese, Indians, Africans, Europeans, Jews, and all thrived. Some of Islam’s earliest and most prominent scientists at the Abbasid court, Ishaq Ibn Hunayn and Hunayn Ibn Ishaq were Nestorian Christians. Thabit ibn Qurrah, the astronomer, was a Sabean. The Bakhishtu family who held most prominent positions in the court in the ninth century were Christians, too. And so were the historian-physicist Abu’l Faraj; ‘Ali ibn Ridwan, the Egyptian, who was the al-Hakem’s Doctor; Ibn Djazla of Baghdad, and Isa ibn ‘Ali, another famed physicist; and so on. The Jews had the most glorious pages of their civilisation under Islam, too. If one just sifts through the hundreds of pages of Sarton’s Introduction to the History of Science, one is amazed at the many names of Jewish scholars who worked in the midst of Islamic civilisation on all subjects. Some were not only scholars, but even occupied some of the most trusted positions in the Islamic jurisdictions. Maimonides (philosopher-physicist) was Salah Eddin Al-Ayyubi’s doctor, and Hasdai ibn Shaprut, followed by his sons, held some of the most prominent positions in Muslim Spain. Nearly all Muslim envoys to Christian powers were Jews; and most Muslim trade was in the hands of the Jews.

Even when Islamic land was threatened by both Crusaders and later the Mongols (mid-thirteenth century) so that much of the population was wiped out (800,000 deaths in Baghdad alone in 1258), minorities, whether Jewish or Christian (even if allies of the Crusaders) still survived under Islamic rule to our present day with all their powers, privileges and wealth intact. This fact is surely a far cry from the stereotyped image of Islam as the religion of intolerance. Which highlights the true character of Islamic civilisation, a character that has remained completely alien to their successors. The Muslims did not attack the faith and practice of others. Difference of faith is a state with which Muslims could, and can live.

In regard to race / skin colors :

In Islam, simply, and for fourteen centuries, no person was stigmatised for their colour. The offspring of a non-white mother and white father was entitled and admitted to full equality, and was not excluded from high office. From 946 to 968, Egypt was governed by Kafur, a Negro born in slavery. Whether in tenth century, or today, says Levi Provencal, there is no lack of coloured people in the ranks of aristocracy or the merchant classes: this has always been an essential feature of Muslim worldview.

I love the idea of Muslims as a group of colour-blind people :

….the colour-blindness of the Muslim world’s religious society and the colour blindness of the Muslim human society: these two influences had each been making a greater impact, and an increasing persuasion against my former way of thinking.” — Malcolm X

In Mecca there were `no segregationists-no liberals’; indifference to colour was spontaneous, and for Malcolm X this was evidently a shattering experience:
`I shared true, brotherly love with many white complexioned Muslims who never gave a thought to the race, or to the complexion, of another Muslim.

Do you think only westerner millionaires give inheritance to WWF or other animal-welfare causes ? Think again :

Thevenot noted persons who leave enormous wealth to feed cats and dogs.

Thevenot also observes that the charity of the Turks extends to animals and birds. On market days many people buy birds which they soon set free.

Benevolence was a form of charity which was commended by the Prophet as the first of all virtues; a benevolence which, indeed, is extended to all animals.

[ 2 ] The world-class University of Sankore, Timbuktu

The very mention of Timbuktu will give an image of a place so desolate, so remote, no one will go there except Donald Duck (even then just when he owe big to his Uncle Scrooge / when he need to disappear after messed something up real bad)
But do you know that way back to 989, Timbuktu used own a world-class university, with students coming from all over the world to study there ? Bet you didn’t know that (me neither).

Quoted:

The Sankore Mosque was founded in 989 by the erudite chief judge of Timbuktu, Al-Qadi Aqib ibn Mahmud ibn Umar. He had built the inner court of the mosque in exact dimension of the Ka’abah in holy Makkah. A wealthy Mandika lady then financed Sankore University making it the leading centre of education. The Sankore University prospered and became a very significant seat of learning in the Muslim world, especially under the reign of Mansa Musa (1307-1332) and Askia Dynasty (1493-1591).

The inventor of intellectual freedom in modern universities ?

The University of Sankore had no central administration; rather, it was composed of several entirely independent schools or colleges, each run by a single master (scholar or professor). The courses took place in the open courtyards of mosque complexes or private residences. The primary subjects were the Qur’an, Islamic studies, law and literature. Other subjects included medicine and surgery, astronomy, mathematics, physics, chemistry, philosophy, language and linguistics, geography, history and art. The students also spent time in learning a trade and business code and ethics. The university trade shops offered classes in business, carpentry, farming, fishing, construction, shoe making, tailoring, navigation etc. It prospered and became a very significant seat of learning in the Muslim world.

It was claimed that the intellectual freedom enjoyed in Western Universities was inspired from universities like Sankore and Qurtuba (Muslim Spain) universities.

University Campus

International students ? They’ve had it centuries ago :

Like all other Islamic universities, its students came from all over the world. Around the 12th century, it had an attendance of 25,000 students, in a city of 100,000 people. The university was known for its high standards and admission requirements. It produced world-class scholars recognised by their publications and graduates.
Quoting the French author Felix Dubois in his book, Timbuctoo the Mysterious:

The scholars of Timbuctoo (Timbuktu) yielded in nothing, to the saints in the sojourns in the foreign universities of Fez, Tunis, and Cairo. They astounded the most learned men of Islam by their erudition. That these Negroes were on a level with the Arabian savants is proved by the fact that they were installed as professors in Morocco and Egypt. In contrast to this, we find that Arabs were not always equal to the requirements of Sankore.” — Felix Dubois

Unfortunately, 10 centuries later, the Sankore University fell into darkness. Most, again including me, never heard about it. It’s waiting the Muslims to regain their glory again.

And there are tons of other excellent articles there. You can spend a whole day there and still not finished with it. Go now and take a look.
Enjoy.

TCCO – Quran Gratis

My friend once told me about muslims in a corner of Russia looking for free quran, because they’re so poor and can’t afford it – yet they really would like to study it. I knew there are institutions giving Quran for free, but I wasn’t able to find it at that time.
I only found it out after a few months. It was too late.

So to avoid that, I’ll try to gather all information about free Quran in this post.
Hope it’ll help anyone who needs it.

If you know any other resources which is not yet here, please comment, so I can include it.
Thanks.


Free Quran (book)

  1. Information from Converts To Islam.com
  2. CAIR : Explore the Quran (USA residents only)
  3. Free Quran.org
    (non-USA residents may need to pay the shipping cost)
  4. Free Quran.ca (Canada residents only)

Free Quran (software)

  1. Quran in 27 languages

Free Quran (mp3 / audio file)

  1. Juz-Amma (the 30th chapter) – recited by Syaikh As-Sudais
  2. From quran.mangga.com (the whole book)

Free Quran (for mobile phone)

  1. Juz-Amma (the 30th chapter) in AMR format

Inside Indonesia’s War on Terror

I was alerted by a friend of mine about a special documentary made by SBS titled “Inside Indonesia’s War on Terror”. He said that this documentary has exposed the terror-network which involves USA government, Indonesian Police & Army, Interpol, and so on.

Unfortunately, SBS has pulled down the show’s transcript from its website. “The transcript is currently unavailable”, that’s all to it there.

However, copies of it has spread all over the Internet. A copy of it can be read here: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20051014&articleId=1085

Indonesia is no stranger to this kind of set ups. Many of us still remember the “Komando Jihad” (translation: Jihad Commando) – it was created by General Ali Moertopo.

Today is truly the time of “fitnah” / lies.
I hope God will continue to help us to expose these, and brings peace soon to our world. Amen.

Below is a copy of the show’s transcript for your convenience.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fatwa on Ahmadiyyah by Indonesian Ulama Council


Pictured in this post is Gus Dur (GD) / Abdurrahman Wahid (right) and Ulil Abshar Abdalla (UAA) (left), on a conference to oppose / reject a fatwa released by MUI (Majelis Ulama Indonesia / Indonesian Ulama Council). The fatwa is about the Ahmadiyyah, stating that they are kafir / non-muslim.

These people usually said that you should not judge somebody like that. However, they missed a huge point in this particular case.

Ahmadiyyah like to show themselves as the True Muslims, saying that their religion is the true Islam.
However, when you have your own prophet, then it’s a different religion. Especially when it’s a religion based on so many deceptions, and based on British imperialists’ agenda.

It’s like you’re buying apple (read: Islam), and getting grape (read: Ahmadiyya) instead. The buyer, naturally, would be angered due to this.

Or another example, if I create my own religion, which looks like Christianity – but based on Monotheism (instead of Trinity).
Would the Christians be happy if I call this religion as the true Christianity ?

That fatwa by MUI is basically that, telling that apple is apple, and orange is orange.
It helps to avoid the confusion spread by the Ahmadiyyah missionarists.

This is where GD & UAA got confused. On the website, it’s said that the Ahmadiyyah has the rights to practice their own beliefs.
Indeed, but when you’re saying orange when it’s really apple – then somebody has to notify everyone which may suffer because of this.

Saying that Ahmadiyyah is kafir doesn’t mean that we can’t coexist with them. Quran itself said that the Christians & Jews are kafirs, but Muslims – under the guidance of wise rulers and ulama – have been able to live peacefully together with them.
This is another subtle FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) that’s currently being spread – that when a kafir fatwa was released, that means the muslims will start attacking them.

The attack on Ahmadiyyah’s base on Parung, Indonesia is something that we all should regret. However, we should not just blindly comment on the event, but try to look a bit further. Why it happened ?
From history, such attacks usually happened because formal complaints were ignored by the authorities. After years with nothing being done, people (who felt cheated/misled) usually have ran out of patience.
I haven’t found such investigation in this current event.

My Rp 2 on the subject.

Another victim of “War on Terror”

A few years ago, [ Isnet ] bought a brand new server to replace it’s old one that’s already dead. Quite decent for its time, the server was then moved to its location, where it’ll be connected to the Internet and started providing various services (mailing list, websites, etc). However, soon after it was moved, nothing was heard from it again. I was confused, but the show must go on. Our friends started the services again with whatever available; old computer on slow links, etc. Over the time a few servers are added, and now Isnet provides its services from 3 servers all over the world.

A bit about Isnet – it’s probably the first organisation providing the most complete service for muslim community on the Internet. Granted most of the services are in Indonesian language, but I’m still yet to find others as complete as Isnet at the first time it began. It was started by Indonesian students on several countries. Thus began the Islamic Network (Isnet).

Yesterday I received an email from one of our friend. Among the content of the email is a story of the new server. Apparently, shortly after it was connected to the Internet – on a network on USA – the admin received a notification, asking him to unplug the server. The reason ? It contains “sensitive information”. But if you know what the contents on Isnet are, and realise what’s going on at the time (Bush’s crusade) – you’ll realise that it’s because it is Isnet – “Islamic Network”.

The admin has no choice but to shut down the new server. After 2 years, the “new” server has finally arrived in Indonesia, no longer new. But at least we can plug it in without worrying of getting censored again.

Bush’s war causes way too much collateral damage, and way too little on its actual target (hi Osama). He sucks, big time.

            








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