The following exchange is about secular Muslims; relevant updates will be added right below this response...
Just as Qur'aan is mis-translated and mis-interpreted by a few, every piece of literature is fraught with the same problem.
A secular Muslim is broadly outlines a Muslim, who believes that in the public square, where every faith is practiced, wearing neon-signs to signify separation between people by use of religion is not needed. Secular Muslims silently practice their faith of being caring and exemplary beings... and perhaps attract others to know about them rather than become a religious barricade.
Religion connects one with the divine and does not and should not divide people. Dr. Iqbal had said.." mazhab nahin sikhata, aapas my bair rakhna" Religion does not teach one to live in one's own shell. Indeed, Islam is universal, all encompassing and all embracing. It is not a cocoon. The word Secular, pluralistic Muslim denotes that idea.
Qur'aan, Surah 49:13: "O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware."
To be a Muslim is to be a peacemaker, one who constantly seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful co-existence. God wants us to live in peace and harmony with his creation; life and mater. Indeed, that is the purpose of religion, any religion. Dr. Bandukwala's says this well below in his comment.
More comments in the comment section below
May I make a small enhancement to your beautiful statement" Our beloved prophet Muhammad (pbuh) lifted pagans from jahiliya and gave great religion (Islam) to his people, which appreciates life's spiritual values and interpretation of life,it's origin,it's purpose,and its destiny."
Let's enhance it to read "" Our beloved prophet Muhammad (pbuh) lifted unrighteous people from jahiliya and gave great religion (Islam) to his people, which appreciates life's spiritual values and interpretation of life,it's origin,it's purpose,and its destiny.""
Islam is about ultimately creating a just society, justice is the core of Islam. Please ponder about the usage of the word Pagan in the above sentence, it implies Pagans are bad people, no group of people ever are bad, individuals are. And it simply defies one of the most "give respect and receive respect" Sura's of Qur'aan. Read the line, it does not condemn or call other belief as inferior, it puts oneself on par with the other.
109:1 SAY: "O you who deny the truth!
109:2 "I do not worship that which you worship,
109:3 and neither do you worship that which I worship!
109:4 "And I will not worship ~hat which you have [ever] worshipped,
109:5 and neither will you [ever] worship that which I worship.
109:6 Unto you, your moral law, and unto me, mine !"
In a message dated 6/18/2008 4:31:52 P.M. Central Daylight Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
You are so right, brother Mike Ghouse,it's the individual, not his religion, who discredits it by his irreligious behavior.We just wonder, if men are so wicked with religion,what would they be without them.It is only religion, the great bond of love and duty to God,that makes any existence valuable or even tolerable.Our beloved prophet Muhammad (pbuh) lifted pagans from jahiliya and gave great religion (Islam) to his people, which appreciates life's spiritual values and interpretation of life,it's origin,it's purpose,and its destiny.It's hard then to understand why some of our own muslim brothers despise Islam when they know it's not religion but few religiously misinformed radicals who are trying to hijack Islam and use violence and killing innocent people for their own political end.
This brings us to the question of secularism.Another word for secularism is 'humanist', without being religious fundamentalist.Secularism is more about cultural and ideological diversity than it is about religion.As a legal concept, secularism means equality before the law, and no distinction between one citizen and another as far as the application of laws is concerned.It also means equality of opportunity and a refusal to classify citizens into first class citizens and second class citizens.A man with a secular outlook looks upon all persons as human beings,equally estimable or precious not only in the eye of the law, but in the eye of God.You do not think of a man as a Hindu,a Muslim or a Christian,but merely as human being.You are not conscious of the religion he professes.Secularism is
written into India's constitution in indelible lines.Religion should never be allowed to intrude into public affairs.
We must live and let live with all mankind, regardless of class and creed.We must recognize the infinite possibilities of human fallibility.Believe it or not, so many dogmas,once considered to be unshakable,have been thrown on the scrap-heap.Standards have changed from age to age and time to time.
If we truly go back in history, Fatimids enjoyed the best of arts,science and astronomy under both religious and secular studies at Al-Azhar University in Egypt.During Fatimid period, Al-Azhar was an essential part of the intellectual life.Al Azhar was the most secular university at the time.Unfortunately, radical religiosity, usually called 'fundamentalism' has erupted lately,which seem to be an intensely political form of faith that has caused grave danger to world and civic peace.Karen Armstrong writes in one of her books," Islam has become impotent before the West and it's triumphant secularism." ...
- Men who fight about religion have no religion to fight about.Since they do in the name of religion the thing which religion itself forbids.
A good religion is an attitude toward some Supreme Power other than self which results in progressive realization of truth,goodness and beauty in life.This is a definition which holds for all the great religions of the world, regardless of their creeds,historical background,civilization, theologies or philosophies.
Peace and Pluralism
From: Mohammad Asghar
[Religion connects one with the divine and does not and should not divide people]
I wished it were true, but it is not. Please see around yourself and what you see?
Religions have divided people and created animosity and hatred among them. This is true in respect of all religions, but Islam bears greater responsibility for it, as it is the latest religion.
Instead of uniting people, it has created many more problems that are non-existent in other religions. For example, Islam asks its followers to kill the Pagans and those who do not believe in it.
This does not mean that other religions are free from violence - far from it, but what was expected from Islam was the preaching of peace and harmony among the people of all beliefs. Islam has failed and hence the reputation it has earned for itself!
In short, all religions are bad and they are not good for mankind. They should have no place in our lives.
Dear Mohammad, look at every issue of the world, it is not the religion, it is always the individual. Be it 9/11, WWII or Invasion of Iraq, there was, and is an individual who is solely responsible for the crimes, he was the driving force.
Religion is never the problem, it is the individual. Shame on all of us to blame the religion for the acts of individuals. Also, justice can be served on individual and not the religion, blaming religion has not produced justice.
You write, " Islam asks its followers to kill the Pagans and those who do not believe in it." Please read the Qur'aan, it does not say that. It talks about those individual pagans, Christians or Jews who were aggressively harassing the Muslims. Never in the book it says to kill all Pagans, Jews or Christians as it has been used as a propaganda material against Muslims. It was the specific individuals. God and Qur'aan is about Justice to all humans on an equal footing, if not, it would not be justice, would it? Finding the truth is one's own responsibility.
In a message dated 6/17/2008 10:07:44 A.M. Central Daylight Time, bintwaleed@xxx writes:
“Secular Muslim” is an oxymoron term. These two words are complete antithesis to each other not only in content and meaning but they also inevitably bring forth totally different results.
Anyone claiming to be a secular Muslim is apparently ignorant of the meaning and implication of words “secular” and “Muslim”.
--- On Mon, 6/16/08, Farzana Hassan
I am a secular Muslim and do nothing of what you accuse secular Muslims of.
Secular Muslims are the most decent and moral people who are simply governed by a secular ideology which promotes pluralism in upholding universal human rights. That has nothing to do with the criminal activity you attribute to them.
----- Original Message ----
Subject: "Secular" Muslims..
(Sentence Deleted by Moderator xxxxx) secular muslims are the source of most the problems. Secular "muslims" eat the money that is supposed to go to zakat, not real muslims, secular "muslims" are the ones who drink and contribute to alcoholic problems. Secular "muslims" are involved in the drug trade. Secular "muslims" are the ones that promise poor laborers their wages and give nothing. Secular "muslims" are the ones that are involved in trafficking of women and children. Secular "muslims"... could keep on going. No practicing muslim, one who believes in Allah's laws will ever do the above. Once the above or anything like that is done, that so-called "muslim" becomes "secular"
----- Original Message ----
Dont know about your argument .but secularism should not go to the point of banning islamic culture and introducing things against the islamic culture..like in turkey theyve banned the scarf.(because of their secular principles). ........although it is an order of the Prophet(PBUH) to wear it.
From: drbandukwala@ xxxxx
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2008 14:05:55 +0530
This sarcastic note tries to make fun of secular Muslims. Janab Yusuf Khan should know that if there is a solution to the Muslim problem world wide, Inshallah it will be due to the role of secular Muslims. Do not use your pen to strike others, without understanding larger issues. You maybe harming the community far more.