Monday, August 16, 2010

The politics of Ramadan

The politics of Ramadan
Friday, August 13, 2010

The politics of Ramadan
Fasting begins for Muslims; the politics of Ramadan
This article is published at Washington Post Washington Post as, "The essence of Ramadan is to become Humble"

Muslims around the world will begin fasting from Wednesday, August 11, 2010 and for a whole month thereafter, however, for some it will begin only if the moon is sighted.

Since the beginning of Islam, there have been debates as to what constitutes moon sighting. Some interpret that there has got to be a minion to declare that they have seen it themselves with their own eyes, where some others do not accept it unless they have seen it themselves. In the United States there is an organization that monitors moon sighting called the Hilal committee. At one time it was acceptable if the moon was sighted elsewhere, but now, each group has to have their own moon sighting.

Politics runs deeply in our communities, be it a Temple, Synagogue or a Church, Mosques are no different. A few scientifically-inclined-Muslims have adopted NASA’s calculation, believed to be precise. However, four different traditions are operative concurrently; i) Strictly Calendar, ii) NASA and iii) Sighting with bare eyes and iv) Sighting by others in the community.

The NASA-oriented and the Calendar-group misses out the fun, joy and exhilaration of waiting and watching the needle thin moon on the horizon. The whole family gets out on the roof tops, or higher grounds, some even climb electric poles, and a few will drive out where they can see the sky without obstacles, kids would climb up on parent’s shoulders, and a few run from place to place shouting in excitement, did you see? It is like the belief in Santa Claus, Angels and other myths, each tradition fulfills one’s emotional needs and every one becomes sentimental. After all, if celebration does not have the excitement, it is less of a celebration.

America’s spirit of freedom touches every soul, no matter what religion or tradition they follow. American Muslims are no different, they prefer to have a pre-set date to start fasting and the celebration called “Eid” pronounced as Eeed as in Eeel. The idea is for them to take a day off from work or get an optional day off for their children from the schools. Always, the joy multiplies when the family and friends celebrate it together. They prefer not wait for the moon to show up to the bare eyes.

The conflict is the same every where on the earth. Each group subscribes to one of the four systems mentioned above. America is no different; you will find celebrations on one or three different days in any given city, the Sunnis, being the largest group has the greater division within, while the Shias, Ismailis, WD Mohammad, Bohra and Ahmadiyya follow the pre-determined dates. The consensus may be attributable to having central spiritual leadership in all groups except the Sunni. However like the American Public wishes to see the Republicans and Democrats drop the party lines and focus on what is good for America, the Muslims also wish they could celebrate the Eid on one single day. It ain’t going to happen, it is human to differ.It is against the spirit of Ramadan to denigrate, diminish and devalue other practices. The essence of Ramadan is to become humble, simple and free from ill-will, anger, meanness and hate. Let’s fill our hearts with goodwill and honor Ramadan by saying “Eid Mubarak” or Happy Eid to every one who celebrates on a different day in the same town. The essence of Ramadan is joy and let’s not prick any one’s bubble; God has not signed a pact with any one behind others back, let’s rejoice the differences of interpretations. If you want to celebrate every day, go to every celebration.

In the spirit of Ramadan, I pray that Ramadan gets into our hearts and minds and make us embrace all factions of Muslims without undermining their tradition and further pray that we treat every human on the earth with dignity, respect and care.

That is indeed the wisdom expressed in Qur'an, Al-Hujurat, 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. The noblest of you, in sight of God, is the best in conduct. God Knows and is Aware of everything you do."

The Next article is “The Rituals of Ramadan” followed by the “Spirit of Ramadan”.Ramadan Mubarak.

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker and a Writer on Islam and Pluralism and is a frequent guest at Media offering pluralistic solutions to the issues of the day. His work is listed on 22 of his blogs and two websites listed at

Muslim iftaar Schedule

A Muslim's Iftaar Schedule

My fasting and my prayers are my personal business, however, to encourage diversity and understanding of others, I am writing this Blog, God has created each one of us and expects to know each other. Knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance of a different point of view and respecting the otherness of other amounts to honoring God, for it is he who created diversity intentionally. Indeed, knowing each other mitigates conflicts and nurtures goodwill resulting in peaceful societies. (Reference Quraan 49:13).

True fasting is self-purification; and from this, a rich inner life brings about values such as justice, generosity, patience, kindness, forgiveness, mercy and empathy - values that are indispensable for the success of the community.Consciousness of behavior and vigilance over action are the most profound dimensions of fasting: the fasting of the heart focuses on the attachment to the divine.

That is when Ramadan really becomes a source of peace and solace, just as Christmas goes beyond the rituals to bring forth kindness, charity and caring. For fasting to be truly universal, its benefits must extend beyond the fraternal ties of Muslims and must extend to forging a common humanity with others. Fasting is meant to impart a sense of what it means to be truly human, and its universality is reflected by its observance in Bahai, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Sikh, Wiccan, Zoroastrian, other faiths and importantly the native traditions.

Last year, I had invited a people of diverse religions to my house for Iftaar, this year, Insha Allah I will visit diffrent Mosques. I have not sought permission from the Ismaili Jamaat Khana and the Bohra Mosque and I do hope I get the permission to break the fast with them.

Aug 11 - Fox TV Studios, Dallas
Aug 12 - Carrollton Mosque, Carrollton
Aug 13 - Ahmadiyya Mosque, Allen,
Aug 14 - FunAsia and friends, Richardson,
Aug 15 - Shia Mosque..., Carrollton,
Aug 16 - Deen Mohammad Mosque, Dallas,
Aug 17 - Irving Mosque, Irving
Aug 18 - Undecided
Aug 19 - Airport/Frankfurt
Aug 20 - Mosque/ Tel Aviv
Aug 21 - Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem
Aug 21 - undecided
Aug 22 - Mosque, Jerusalem
Aug 23 - undecided
Aug 24 - undecided
Aug 25 - New York
Aug 26 - Richardson Mosque
Aug 27 - Ismaili Jamat Khana, Plano
Aug 28 - Bohra Mosque, Irving
Aug 29 - Madina Masjid, Carrollton
Aug 30 - Makkah Masjid, Garland

And on September 11, if Ramadan still continues, Insha Allah, I will break the fast across the Church in Florida, where they are burning the Quraan and pray for Pastor Jones good will. Can some one go there and do the right thing? Or I will be happy to make the pilgrimage, does any one has miles that can buy me the ticket to go to Florida - in the afternoon, and hope to return right back or first things Sunday Morning to do the Unityday progam in Dallas on 12th -

About Quraan Burning:

America should stand on moral high ground

On mosque, U.S. should stand on moral high ground
By Mike Ghouse July 26, 2010; 5:37 PM ET
Published at Washington Post

We have created a special blog for Ground Zero Mosque.

30 Article Links and several of my appearance on Fox News with Hannity and Radio Shows along with humorous take by Jon Stewart, Obama's speech, Zakarias's comments are all listed at the blog.

Mike Ghouse

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ramadan Mubarak - Happy Ramadan

Muslims around the world will begin fasting from Wednesday, August 11, 2010 and for a whole month thereafter.

Thanks to Washington post, they will publish three articles on Ramadan; The Politics of Ramadan, The Rituals of Ramadan and the Spirit of Ramadan towards the third of Ramadan.

True fasting is self-purification; and from this, a rich inner life brings about values such as justice, generosity, patience, kindness, forgiveness, mercy and empathy - values that are indispensable for the success of the community.

Consciousness of behavior and vigilance over action are the most profound dimensions of fasting: the fasting of the heart focuses on the attachment to the divine. That is when Ramadan really becomes a source of peace and solace, just as Christmas goes beyond the rituals to bring forth kindness, charity and caring.

For fasting to be truly universal, its benefits must extend beyond the fraternal ties of Muslims and must extend to forging a common humanity with others. Fasting is meant to impart a sense of what it means to be truly human, and its universality is reflected by its observance in Bahai, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Sikh, Wiccan, Zoroastrian, other faiths and importantly the native traditions.

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker and a Writer on Islam and Pluralism and is a frequent guest at Media offering pluralistic solutions to the issues of the day. His work is listed on 22 of his blogs and two websites listed at

Monday, August 9, 2010

Global Fatwa: against Suicide Bombing & Terrorism. By Dr Tahirul Qadri.

Global Fatwa: against Suicide Bombing & Terrorism. By Dr Tahirul Qadri.

A torturous spate of terrorism that continues unabated for last many years has brought Muslim Umma in general and Pakistan in particular into disrepute. There is no gainsaying the fact that the Muslims on the whole oppose and condemn terrorism in unequivocal terms and are not ready to accept it even as remotely related to Islam in any manner. However, a negligible minority amongst them seems to give it a tacit support. Instead of openly opposing and condemning terrorism, these people confuse the entire subject by resorting to misleading and perplexing discussions. Injustice being currently meted out to the Muslims in certain matters, double standards displayed by bigger powers and their open-ended and long-term military engagements in a number of countries, under the pretext of eliminating terror, form some of the fundamental local, national and international causes that underpin terrorism, and add a punch to the war cry of militants.

Similarly, the terrorists' recourse to violence, indiscriminate massacre of humanity, suicide bombings against innocent and peaceful people, and bomb blasts on Mosques, shrines, educational institutions, Bazaars, governmental buildings, trade centres, markets, security installations, and other public places, which are heinous, anti-human and barbarous steps in their very essence, have become a routine affair. These people justify their actions of human destruction and mass killing of hundreds of innocent people in the name of Jihad and thus distort, deform and confuse the entire Islamic concept of Jihad (holy struggle against evil). This situation is causing Muslims in general and the Muslim youth in particular to fall prey to doubts and reservations besides muddling their minds in respect of Jihad because those perpetrating these atrocities are from amongst Muslims. They practice Islamic rituals, perform acts of worship and wear appearance delineated in Sharia. This has put not only the common Muslims but a dominating majority of religious scholars and intellectuals too into a paradox, bewildered to know truly the exact and precise Islamic injunctions about the way of workings, methods and measures these individuals and groups have adopted to cause the havoc.

Furthermore, the Western media is in wont of over-projecting the incidents and episodes of terrorism and extremism about the Muslim world, and does not at all highlight positive and constructive aspects of Islam, its peaceful teachings and anthropological philosophy and orientation. So much so, that it does not even reflect hatred, condemnation and opposition towards extremists, militants and terrorists that permeate the Muslim societies. The negative outcome of this attitude has appeared by way of bracketing both Islam and terrorism together. Consequently, the western mind starts conjuring up the picture of terrorism and extremism at a slight mention of the word 'Islam', putting the Western-bred and educated youth in a quandary, leaving them more beleaguered than before. The present generation of Muslim youth in the entire Islamic world is also falling victim to mental confusion and decadence intellectually, practically and in the domain of beliefs and religious tenets.

Because of this situation, two kinds of negative responses and destructive attitudes are forming up: one in the form of damage to Islam and the Muslim world, and second a threat to the Western world in particular and entire humanity in general. The damage to Islam and Muslim world is that the Muslim youth, not completely and comprehensively aware of Islamic teachings, regard terrorism and extremism as emanating from religious teachings and attitudes of religious people under the influence of media; hence, they are getting alienated from religion. This misplaced thinking is leading them to atheism, posing lethal dangers to the Muslim Umma in future. Contrary to this, the damage threatening the Western world in particular, and entire humanity in general, is that the above-mentioned policies and racial profiling of the Muslims is inciting negative response among some of the Muslim youths who regard these forays against Islam as an organized conspiracy and enmity by some influential circles in the western world. By way of reaction, they are either gradually becoming extremists, militants and terrorists, departing moderation and poised outlook on life, charged with hatred and revenge, or are being grown and groomed into the design. Thus, the Western policies are instrumental in producing and inducting new potential terrorist recruits and workforce, with no end in sight. In both the cases, the Muslim Umma as well as humanity are heading towards a catastrophe.

Moreover, these circumstances are heightening tension, creating larger trust deficits between the Islamic and the Western worlds. The increase in terrorism is paving the way for greater foreign interference in and pressure on the Muslim states. This widening gulf is not only pushing the humanity towards inter-faith antagonism at the global level but also reducing to nothingness the possibilities of peace, tolerance and mutual coexistence among different human societies on the globe.

We thought it necessary, under these circumstances, to put the Islamic stance on terrorism precisely in its right perspective before the Western and Islamic worlds, in the light of the Holy Quran, Prophetic traditions and Books of Jurisprudence and Beliefs. We want to put across this point of view before all the significant institutions, valuable think tanks and influential opinion-making organizations in the world so that the Muslim and non-Muslim circles, entertaining doubts and reservations about Islam, are enabled to understand Islam’s standpoint on terrorism more clearly and unambiguously. The contents of this research work have been summarized here briefly.

The first chapter of this document, explaining and elaborating the meaning of Islam, discusses its three grades i.e. Islam (peace), Iman (faith) and Ehsan (Spiritual Excellence). These three words, both literally and metaphorically, represent peace, safety, mercy, tolerance, forbearance, love, affection, benevolence and respect for humanity.

It has been proven in the second chapter of this document through dozens of Quranic verses and Prophetic traditions that the mass killing of Muslims and perpetration of terrorism are not only unlawful and forbidden in Islam but also denote the rejection of faith. Through reference to the expositions and opinions of jurists and experts of Exegeses and Hadith, it has been established that all the learned authorities have held the same opinion about terrorism in 1400-year-old history of Islam.

The third chapter of this edict describes the rights of non-Muslim citizens quite comprehensively. The opinions of all the leading jurists have also been listed in the light of various Quranic verses and Prophetic traditions.

In addition to that, the most important point this research study has undertaken to make revolves around the thought, ideology and mindset, which pits a Muslim against another and finally leads him to massacre innocent humanity. Such a mindset not only regards the killing of women shopping in markets and School-going girls permissible but also a means of earning rewards and spiritual benefits. What power or conviction rouses him to kill people gathered in the mosque, and earn Paradise through carnage? Why does a terrorist decide to end his own life, the greatest blessing of Allah Almighty, with his own hands through suicide bombings? How he comes to believe that, by killing innocent Muslims through suicide bombing, he would become a martyr and enter Paradise? These are the questions whirling in the mind of every person possessing common sense. While furnishing befitting answers to these emerging questions, we have resorted to those historical facts, besides scholarly arguments, which the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) himself identified. Undertaking the comprehensive analysis of signs, beliefs and ideologies of Khawarij through the Quranic Verses, Prophetic traditions and jurisprudential opinions of jurists, we have established that the terrorists are the Khawarij of the contemporary times.

After declaring this forbidden terrorist act rebellion, gory brutality on earth and an act of infidelity, we have drawn the attention of all the responsible powers and stakeholders under the topic, "Call to Reflect and Reform" to the need of eliminating all the factors that cause people to entertain doubts, and reinforce the hidden hands actively engaged in spreading the plague around. Another theme under discussion these days emphasizes that since foreign imperialist powers are making unwarranted and unjustified interference in Muslim countries including Pakistan, the so-called Jihadi groups have come in their way to launch the offensive, inflicting upon them a devastating blow. Their action though not right and justifiable, they should not be reviled and condemned because their intention is to defend Islam. In our view, this is an awful witticism and a deplorable stance. To remove the misconception, we have specified a brief portion of the treatise in the beginning to this subject as well, bringing to the fore the fact in the light of the Quran and Hadith that evil cannot become good under any circumstances, nor can oppression transform itself into virtuous deed due to goodness of intention.

After these explanatory submissions, we also regard it our fundamental duty to let everyone know without any grain of doubt that we are going ahead with the publication of this research work solely for the sake of respect and dignity of Islam and service of humanity. We do not mean to condone or approve the unpopular and unwise policies of global powers through this Edict, nor do we aim to justify the wrong policies of any government including that of Pakistan. We neither seek pleasure of any government, nor tribute or appreciation from any international power or organization. Like always, we have taken initiative and are performing this task as a part of our religious obligations. Our objective in doing so is to wash off the stain of terrorism from the fair face of Islam, familiarizing the Muslims with real teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunna and try to rid the suffering humanity of the raging fire of terrorism.

May Almighty Allah bless this endeavour with His benevolent acceptance through the holy means of His Beloved Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him).

The questions striking minds and their brief answers

The heart-stabbing gory scenes of the acts of terrorism jolt the minds of all the eminent and common people of the world with some gruesome questions that demand satisfactory answers. We have attempted to serve detailed, logical and matter-of-fact replies to these inquiries. Brief answers to these questions are appended here in sequence, while their details have been presented in the same order in subsequent chapters of this research work.

1. The first question in this connection that bothers all relates to use of force to spread beliefs: Is it lawful for a group or organization to use force to promote and put into effect their own creed and beliefs in the name of reforming others’ beliefs and ideologies, presuming themselves to be on the right path? Does Islam allow, somehow, the killing of people maintaining ideological differences, looting their wealth and properties and destroying mosques, religious places and shrines?

• Islam is a religion of peace and safety that champions love and harmony in society. According to Islamic teachings, only such a person will be called a Muslim at whose hands the lives and properties of all the innocent Muslims and non-Muslims remain safe and unhurt. The sanctity of human life and its protection occupies fundamental place in the Islamic law. Taking anyone's life for nothing and killing him is an act forbidden and unlawful. Rather, in some cases, it amounts to infidelity. These days, the terrorists, in a vain attempt to impose their own ideas and beliefs and eliminate their opponents from the surface of the earth, killing innocent people ruthlessly and indiscriminately everywhere in Mosques, Bazaars, governmental offices and other public places are in fact committing manifest infidelity. They are warned of humiliating torment in this world and in the hereafter. Terrorism, in its very essence, is an act that symbolizes infidelity and rejection of what Islam stands for. When the forbidden element of suicide is added to it, its severity and lethality becomes even graver. Scores of Quranic verses and Prophetic traditions have proved that massacre of Muslims and terrorism is unlawful in Islam; rather, they are blasphemous acts. That has always been the edict unanimously held by all the scholars that have passed in the 1400 year Islamic history, including all the eminent Imams of Tafseer and Hadith and authorities on logic and jurisprudence. Islam has kept the door of negotiation and discussion open to convince by reasoning, instead of taking up arms to declare the others’ standpoint wrong, and enforce one’s own opinion. Only the victims of ignorance, jealousy and malice go for militancy. Islam declares them rebels. They will abide in Hell.

2. The second question in this regard is: what are the rights of the non-Muslim citizens in a Muslim state?

• Islam not only guarantees the protection of life, honour and property of Muslim citizens of an Islamic state, but also assures the equal protection of life, honour and property of non-Muslim citizens and of those people too with whom it has entered into a peace treaty. The rights of non-Muslim citizens enjoy the same sanctity as those of Muslim citizens in an Islamic state. There is no difference between them as human beings. That is why Islamic law metes out equal treatment to both Muslims and non-Muslims in blood money and Qisas. Non-Muslims have complete personal and religious freedom in a Muslim society. Their properties and worship places also enjoy complete protection. Besides non-Muslim citizens, even the ambassadors of non-Muslim countries and others working on diplomatic assignments have also been guaranteed complete protection. Likewise, the protection of life and property of non-Muslim traders is the responsibility of Islamic state. Islam does not allow and recommend the use of violence against and killing of peaceful and non-combatant citizens under any circumstances. Those indulging in attacks on peaceful non-Muslim citizens, kidnapping them for ransom, and torturing them mentally and physically, keeping them under unlawful custody, are in fact committing serious violation of Islamic teachings.

3. The third question arises: does Islam offer manifest commands on the sanctity of human life? Is it lawful to kidnap and assassinate the foreign delegates and innocent and peaceful non-Muslim citizens to avenge the non-Muslim global powers’ wrongs and atrocities?

• The emphasis Islam lays on the sanctity and dignity of human life can be gauged from the fact that Islam does not allow massacre even when Muslim armies are engaged in the event of war against enemy troops. The killing of children, women, the old, patients, religious leaders and traders is strictly prohibited. Nor can those who surrender their arms, confine themselves to their homes and seek shelter of anyone be killed. The masses cannot be massacred. Likewise, worship places, buildings, crops and even trees cannot be destroyed. On the one hand, there is a clear set of Islamic laws based on extreme discretion, and on the other, there are people who invoke the name of Islam to justify the indiscriminate killing of people, children, and women everywhere, without any distinction of religion and identity. It is a pity that such barbaric people still refer their activities as Jihad. There can be no bigger discrepancy than that seen around on earth. This can no way be permissible to keep the foreign delegates under unlawful custody and murder them and other peaceful non-Muslim citizens in retaliation to their interference, unjust activities and aggressive advances. The one who does it has no relation to Islam and the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him).

4. The fourth and very significant question underlines rebellion: Is armed struggle permissible against the Muslim rulers to remove their governments because of their non-Islamic policies, or get accepted the demands, bring them on to the right path, giving up their impious activities? Is rebellion permissible against the constitutional government, its writ and governance? What should be the legitimate way to change the rulers or make them mend their ways?

• Islam is not merely a religion. It is a complete Din, a code of life. Providing a complete set of principles for every walk of life, it has also made arrangements for the protection of the collectivity of society. The rights and duties of state institutions have manifestly and clearly been spelled out. All citizens of Muslim state have been placed under obligation to abide by state laws, rules and regulations. One of these principles is that a Muslim state and society should be a paragon of peace, and mutual coexistence. That is why Islam strictly prohibits the taking up of arms against a Muslim state, challenging its authority and writ, and declaring war against it. Islamic law holds such an action as rebellion. God forbid if such conditions are created, then it is the principal responsibility of an Islamic state to take urgent measures to eliminate rebellion with iron hand and exterminate terrorism so that no individual or group can dare destroy the social harmony of society, ruin peace and shed innocent blood. Islam holds the peace and tranquility of a society, in general, and of a Muslim state, in particular, so dear that it does not allow people to raise the banner of revolt in the name of injustice, oppression and other vices of ruling elite. In the light of Prophetic traditions, the banner of rebellion against a Muslim state cannot be raised unless the rulers commit explicit, declared and absolute infidelity, and stop the performance of religious rituals like prayer through the use of force.

The conditions leading to forbiddance of rebellion in the light of the Quranic verses, Prophetic traditions and expositions of the jurists are evident. Referring to Holy Companions, their successors, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Shafai, Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal and other leading jurists, the fact has been brought to light that absolute consensus exists among all the leading jurists on total forbiddance of rebellion against Muslim state, and there is no difference of opinion between any schools of thought. Such a rebellion as challenges the writ of the state, and has been launched without the collective approval and sanction of society, is but a civil war, blatant terrorism and an obvious act of strife. It can never be called Jihad under any circumstances.

As for struggle to reform some impious Muslim ruler or state, that is not at all prohibited or disallowed. The forbiddance of rebellion and armed struggle should not mean at all that an evil should not be called an evil and no effort be made to stop its spread, or the obligation of faith to bid good and forbid evil be abandoned. Certification of truth and rejection of falsehood is binding upon Muslims. Likewise, seeking to reform society and fight off evil forces is one of the religious obligations. The adoption of all constitutional, legal, political and democratic ways to reform the rulers and the system of governance, and stop them from violation of human rights is not only lawful but also binding upon Muslims. Making efforts at individual and collective levels to establish truth, end reign of terror and oppression and restoration of a system of justice forms the part of obligations of faith.

5. The element of Khawarij is unforgettable in the history of terrorism. The question arises: who were Khawarij? What does the Islamic law ordain about them? Are the present day terrorists a continuation of Khawarij?

• The Khawarij were the rebels and apostates of Islam. Their advent took place during the period of the Prophethood (blessings and peace be upon him). Their intellectual growth and organized emergence took place in the Osmani and Alvi periods respectively. These Khawarij were so punctual and regular in performance of religious rituals and acts of worship that they would appear more pious than the holy Companions would at times. However, in keeping with the manifest command of the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him), they were absolutely out of the fold of Islam. The Khawarij would not only regard the killing of Muslims as lawful, reject the Companions for their disagreement with them, raise the slogan 'there is no Command but Allah's', consider the launch of armed struggle and killing against Hazrat Ali (ra) as lawful, but would also keep on perpetrating these heinous actions. These Khawarij were in fact the first terrorist and rebellious group that challenged the writ of state and raised the banner of armed struggle against a Muslim state. The texts of Hadith clearly establish that such elements would continue to be born in every age. By Khawarij is not meant merely a group which took up arms against the rightly guided Caliphs, but it encompasses all those groups and individuals bearing such attributes, ideologies and terrorist way of action who would continue to rear their head and perpetrate terrorism in the name of Jihad till the Day of Judgment. Despite being almost perfectionist in the performance of manifest religious rituals, they would be considered as being out of the fold of Islam for their wrong and misplaced ideology. A Muslim state cannot be allowed to give them any concession in the name of dialogue or stop the military action without their complete elimination in the light of instructions of the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him). The only exception when they can be spared is that they lay down their arms, repent of their actions and vow to honour the state laws and writ of the Muslim state.

6. What are the measures that the government and the ruling classes should take to put an end to mischief-mongering, terrorist activities and the armed strife?

• The government and the law enforcing agencies should, at the outset, remove those stimulants and all the factors that contribute to make the common man a victim of doubt. Due to these factors, the ringleaders and the chieftains of terrorism snare the sentimental youths very easily in their trap, change their track and lead them to militancy. Exploiting their sentiments, they prepare them for terrorist activities. The policies, events and circumstances the terrorist elements use as fuel for their evil agenda need to be remedied and set right on priority. That will certainly help eradicate the root causes of the spread of plague. Similarly, if the world powers as well as Pakistani agencies fail in attending to the real hardships of people, removing their complaints and abandoning the deceptive policies, the restoration of real peace will remain merely a dream.

7. Another important question under inquiry in various circles of society refers to a dilemma: can we justify as lawful the atrocities of terrorism if they are done with the intention to promote Islam and secure the rights of the Muslims?

• The Khawarij, even today, invoke Islam and raise slogan to establish the Divine Order, but all of their actions and steps constitute a clear violation of Islamic teachings. When their supporters do not have any legal argument to defend the actions of Khawarij, they draw the attention of people to the vices of the ruling elites and oppression of the imperialist forces as a justification for their killing. They feel contented that though the terrorists are doing wrong things, their intention is good beyond any doubt. This is a major intellectual faux pas and people, both educated and uneducated, suffer from this doubt. An evil act remains evil in all its forms and contents. Whatever way we may interpret injustice, it is going to remain the same. Therefore, no forbidden action can ever become a virtuous and lawful deed due to goodness of intention. Law in Islam applies to an action. Massacre of humanity, perpetration of oppression and cruelty, terrorism, violence and bloodshed on earth and armed rebellion and strife cannot become pardonable actions due to any good intention or pious conviction. Nor is there any space for deviation from this fundamental principle. Thus, this argument of terrorists and their well-wishers is also false in the sight of Islamic law. Therefore, we commence our arguments with the clarification of the same dilemma that an evil doing cannot change into a pious deed due to any pious intention it supposedly generates from.

Good intention can never change a vice into virtue

If some good intention motivates bloodshed and massacre, the question arises whether tyranny and barbarism can be declared lawful on this basis. Some people think that though suicide explosions are atrociously evil, killing of innocent people too is a monstrous crime, spreading mischief and strife in the country is again a heinous act, while destruction of educational, training, industrial, commercial and welfare centers and institutions is still a greater sin, the suicide bombers are doing that with good intention and pious motive. Therefore, they are justified. They are retaliating foreign terrorism against Muslims. They are doing a Jihad. So, they cannot be given any blame.

In this brief discussion, we shall analyze this thought in the light of the Quran and Sunna. The Quran rejected as disbelief the idol-worship that was perpetrated with the intention to attain to nearness of Allah. We find a detailed account of this matter in the Quran and Sunna. Some of the holy verses are produced here to facilitate comprehension of the issue.

The Quran says:

“(Say to the people:) ‘Listen, sincere obedience and worship is only Allāh’s due. And those (disbelievers) who have taken (idols as) helpers other than Allāh (say in false justification of their idol-worship:) ‘We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allāh.’ Surely, Allāh will judge between them concerning the matter in which they differ. Certainly Allāh does not give him guidance who is a liar, very ungrateful.” (Al-Quran, 39-3)

When the idolaters of Makka were asked the reason of idol-worship, they said the idols would get them into Allah’s proximity. The intention to attain to Allah’s nearness is good, but idol-worship is blasphemy and disbelief. The idolatry, therefore, cannot be justified because of good intention.

Similarly, the terrorists’ claim of reformation too cannot be accepted because, practically, they prove bloodshed and violence instead of some constructive work and reformation. Allah Most High says:

“And among people there is also someone whose conversation seems to you pleasing in the life of the world and who calls Allāh to witness that which is in his heart, but in truth he is most quarrelsome. And when he turns away (from you), he runs about in the land to do (everything possible) to rouse mischief and destroy crops and life. And Allāh does not like mischief and violence. And when it is said to him (on account of this tyranny and violence): ‘Fear Allāh,’ his arrogance stimulates him for more sins. Hell is, therefore, sufficient for him. And that is indeed an evil abode.” (al-Quran, 204-206)

These verses too describe that many people will make conversation appearing delightful in the perspective of superficial arguments. They will swear on their good intentions, and declare Allah witness to their noble objectives and pious aims. Despite their assertions and testimonial claims, however, Allah has declared them miscreants and evil-mongers to face the torment of Hell. So their swearing on their intentions has been refuted because they are doing sheer terrorism, violence and strife. Their crimes, therefore, cannot be forgiven due to their good intentions and noble designs declared on oath. This is the basic principle drawn from the Quran and Islamic Law.

These Quranic verses explain the same point:

“When it is said to them: ‘Do not spread disorder in the land,’ they say: ‘It is we who reform.’ Beware! (Truly) it is they who spread disorder, but they do not have any sense (of it) at all.” (al-Quran, 11-12)

Here again the mischievous and criminal mentality has been described that the miscreants never take their activities as disruption, violence and strife; rather, they call it Jihad and deeds of reconstruction and reformation. They presume that the tyrannous activities they perpetrate are aimed at greater good of society. Today’s tragedy is that terrorists, murderers, mischief-mongers and rioters try to prove their criminal, rebellious, tyrannous, and brutal blasphemous activities as a right and justified reaction to foreign aggression under the garb of defense of Islam and national interests.

They should know that, as good intention can never prove an unlawful act justified, pious designs can never prove blasphemy as righteousness, and virtuous objectives can never prove an impure act wholesome, the intention to perform Jihad, in the same way, can never prove violence and terrorism lawful and permissible. The intention to protect Islam, erect defense against foreign aggression and avenge the wrongs and excesses inflicted upon Muslim Umma is one thing, and brutal mass murder of innocent citizens, vast destruction of civil property, ruthless target killings and destruction of mosques and markets and businesses is altogether a different debacle. The former can never prove the latter lawful. The one has nothing to do with the other; there is no relevance and congruity between the two. Terrorism, carnage and mass destruction can never be justified in the name of any intention of enforcing Islamic commands and judicial system. Nor can these condemnable activities be any exception to the rule, or be overlooked, or forgiven.

The in-depth study of the Quran and Hadith makes one dauntlessly declare that Islam makes it conditional to realize the lawful objectives only through lawful means, to attain to the noble targets only through permissible resources and reach the sacred destinations by treading only the righteous ways. A holy goal can never be attained by following an evil and criminal path. Constructing a mosque is a pious act, but it cannot be proved lawful to do it by looting a bank. The objectives of mercy cannot be achieved through cruel and oppressive ways. The designs of an exalted pious person cannot be materialized by adopting blasphemous methodology. In sum, good cannot be earned by evil means. Fair is fair and foul is foul. This is Satan who says, ‘fair is foul and fouls is fair.’ This is the majesty and purity of Din that it has purified and reformed both the destination and its path. It has made both objective and method pure and upright.

The people who base their argument on the Hadith, ‘actions are judged according to intentions,’ in order to justify their brutal ways and cursed means, make false and heretic implications. They cannot set a wrong thing right. This Hadith signifies only those actions that are proved pious, permissible and lawful. Their acceptability has been based on trueness of intention. If the intention is pure, they will be accepted, or they will be rejected. If the intention is not good, or the coveted intention does not exist, the actions will not be considered acts of worship, despite their apparent righteous value. They will be rejected or discredited. But the actions that are forbidden, unjust, unlawful and blasphemous cannot be made permissible, lawful, just and creditable by even extremely good intentions joined together. This is such an Islamic principle and legal formula as no one of the Companions, pious predecessors, Imams, and authorities of hadith and exegeses has departed from to date. Some scholars have also interpreted this hadith, ‘actions are judged according to intentions,’ as pointing to manifestation of deeds according to intentions. The actions take shape according to the intentions. So a terrorist’s actions speak of his intentions. His killings and destructive activities refer to his foul intention and condemnable ideas and beliefs. His heinous actions cannot stem from pious intentions and beliefs. The bloodshed he causes refers only to a cruel man inside him and not any kind and merciful soul. It is, therefore, evident that whatever false implications and foul justifications these rebels, criminals, evil-mongers, tyrannous brutes may put forth to prove their atrocities as act of Jihad, they have nothing to do with the teachings of Islam.

The Holy Quran has vividly described them in this verse:

“It is those whose entire struggle is wasted in worldly life, but they presume they are doing very good works.” (al-Quran, 18: 104)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque Articles

We have to respect and honor the sentiments of every one who was a victim of terrorism and their friends and relatives who have suffered through this….

The Ground Zero Mosque is engaging the American Public and bringing out emotions and intellectualism to the forefront to tackle the issue of co-existence. The questions abound…..
In behalf of the men and women who have lost their loved ones, a few are genuinely opposing the building of the communtiy Center, a few are Altruistic and want the center to stand out as a beaocon of hope and peace and yet a few are falling prey to the political opportunists. At the end, if we envision an America that is good for all, we have to consider dropping the “me, me, and me” and yeild to what is good for America, the land of the free.

If Saudi is a bad country, why do we want to emulate them?


Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer of Pluralism and offers pluralistic solutions for the issues of the day. He is a frequent guest in the media and his work is encapsulated in 22 Blogs and 3 websites listed at

Saturday, August 7, 2010

ADL Should Not Oppose Mosques at Ground Zero

I am really surprised with this article from Alan Dershowitz.
Great that common sense finally made home in his heart

Mike Ghouse

The ADL's decision to oppose the building of a 13-story Muslim center two blocks from Ground Zero is inconsistent with its mission. The ADL has a long and distinguished history of opposing bigotry, supporting multiculturalism and advocating tolerance. Though it began as an organization dedicated to combating anti-Semitism, it has become one of the most potent forces against all forms of religious, ethnic and racial bigotry. Following the mass murders perpetrated on 9/11 by Islamic extremists, the ADL was in the forefront of standing up against those who would use this hateful attack to generalize hatred against all Muslims or all Arabs.

In light of this history, I would have expected the ADL to support the building of this Muslim community center, which would include a mosque, a performing arts center, a pool and a restaurant. At the very least I would have expected it to remain silent and not to lend its powerful and distinguished voice to an opposition that includes many bigots along with many decent people who have expressed legitimate concerns about the structure.

Reasonable people can disagree about the merits of building a Muslim center so close to the sight of a horrendous crime committed in the name of Islam by extremists who do not represent their religion. Many Jews were deeply offended when a Roman Catholic covenant was built adjacent to Auschwitz.

Supporters argue that the proximity of the mosque to the site of this crime sends a powerful message that there are many Muslims in the world who identify with the victims rather than the perpetrators. The most influential opposition comes from families of many of the victims who were killed at Ground Zero, though some families favor the project and others have remained silent.

Let the debate continue, but let the ADL not lend its imprimatur of tolerance to those who stand in opposition. Inevitably, this has become a political debate, with rightwing Republicans such as Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich leading the political campaign against it, while Mayor Michael Bloomberg has strongly supported the project on grounds of religious freedom, arguing that government should have no role in dictating where a mosque can be situated. As Bloomberg put it, "what is great about America, and particularly New York, is we welcome everybody, and if we are so afraid of something like this, what does that say about us? Democracy is stronger than this..."

The ADL's decision to join this debate on the side of those who oppose the mosque was exacerbated by the reason given by Abe Foxman, a friend and a man who I admire, for why the opposition of some families was an important part of why the ADL came down against the project. Mr. Foxman, who himself survived the Holocaust, was quoted in The New York Times as follows:

"Survivors of the Holocaust are entitled to feelings that are irrational," he said. Referring to the loved ones of the 9/11 victims, he said, "Their anguish entitles them to a position that others would categorize as irrational or bigoted."
This is a dangerous argument that has implications totally inconsistent with the mission of the ADL. Bigotry is often a result of victimization, perceived or real. Many Germans felt victimized following World War I, and some blamed the Jews. Although their position was "irrational or bigoted," they were not entitled to act on it. Nor are Palestinians who feel victimized by Israel entitled to be bigoted against Jews. There is simply is no excuse for bigotry, and the ADL ought to know that better than any other organization.

The ADL was founded as the result of irrational bigotry directed against a Jew named Leo Frank by a Ku Klux Klan type organization calling itself the Knights of Mary Phagan. They lynched Leo Frank in the name of an alleged victim of rape and murder. The fact that Frank was totally innocent didn't matter to them. Their anguish over her victimization did not entitle them to their irrationality and bigotry. The ADL should know better than to provide an "abuse excuse" to bigots based on perceived victimization.

The vast majority of those who oppose the mosque at Ground Zero are neither bigoted nor irrational. Some are. So are some who favor it. That is not the issue. The issue is whether a great human rights organization should oppose the building of a Muslim center near Ground Zero. I have heard no rational reason from the ADL why it should stand in opposition to this project.

I hope that Abe Foxman was misquoted or misspoke and that he will withdraw both his opposition to the mosque and most especially the argument he offered for it. The ADL should continue with its noble mission of siding with the victims of bigotry rather than making excuses for those who engage in bigotry.

Newt Gingrich V Mike Ghouse on Cordoba House

July 21, 2010 6pm

Newt Gingrich:

...“Cordoba House” is a deliberately insulting term. It refers to Cordoba , Spain – the capital of Muslim conquerors who symbolized their victory over the Christian Spaniards by transforming a church there into the world’s third-largest mosque complex. Mike, please comment - the only thing I can find on the internet is that it was a time for Dhimmi for Christians & others.

Mike Ghouse:

First of all “Cordoba House” is not an insulting term, on the contrary the Jews have called it the Golden Era and the Non-Catholic denominations from Europe have welcomed it. I have pulled some information from Wikipedia, not a reliable source, but offer some insights. There is an endless amount of information available on the net and I have presented both the positive and negative perspectives. The 1000 year war between France, England and Germany was not labeled religious, though they were bent on annihilating each other, but when one of the parties to the conflicts were Arabs, the Neocons have made it a religious issue for the same story; conquering lands that the kings have traditionally done no matter what religious banner they hid under.

Islamophobia was born then, to rout the invading kings (every king of the time did that) out, and to inspire their (unwilling) subjects to fight for them, they figured where to hit the Muslims, they paid the Monastery of Abbey to mistranslate Quraan, and called it Muhammadan Cult, that was the first time Islam was called a Muhammadan Religion ( ).

The Cordoba Mosque

After the Islamic conquest of the Visigothic kingdom the Emir Abd ar-Rahman bought the church.[3] Abd ar-Rahman and his descendants reworked it over two centuries to refashion it as a mosque, starting in 784.

The Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (English: Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption) is a Roman Catholic Cathedral originally built as a Christian Visigothic Church[1] in the Andalusian city of Córdoba, Spain. It is regarded as perhaps the most accomplished monument of the Umayyad dynasty of Córdoba. After the Spanish Reconquista, it was returned back to a church, with a Gothic cathedral inserted into the center of the large Moorish building. Today the entire building is used to house the Cathedral of the diocese of Córdoba in Spain.

More details at:


The Islamic world classified Jews (and Christians) as dhimmi and allowed them to practice their religion more freely than they could do in Christian Europe.[11]

This was a time of partial Jewish autonomy. As "dhimmis", or "protected non-Muslims", Jews in the Islamic world paid the jizya, which was administered separately from the zakat paid by Muslims. The jizya has been viewed variously as a poll tax, as payment for non-conscription in the military, or as a tribute. Jews had their own legal system and social services. Monotheist religions of the people of the book were tolerated but conspicuous displays of faith, such as bells and processions, were discouraged. [8]

Mark R. Cohen, a scholar on medieval Jewish history, compared the treatment of Jews in the medieval Islamic world and medieval Christian Europe, concluding that the Jews were far more integrated in the political and economic life of Islamic society,[9] and usually faced far less violence from Muslims, though there were some instances of persecution in the Islamic world as well from the 11th century.[10]

Here are a few compelling articles

Just read Michael Bloomberg’s speech, several commonalities in my talking points with his -

Why Jews should Support this - by two prominent Rabbis.

Dallas Morning News had published a fine article written by several Pastors and Rabbis who stood up for the freedom of religion.

Leonard Pitts in Louisville Courier journal -

Mike Ghouse in Washington Post

Newt Gingrich:

Those Islamists and their apologists who argue for "religious toleration" are arrogantly dishonest. They ignore the fact that more than 100 mosques already exist in New York City ... and no churches or synagogues in all of Saudi Arabia . In fact no Christian or Jew can even enter Mecca, And they lecture us about tolerance. If people behind the Cordoba House were serious about religious toleration, they would be imploring the Saudis, as fellow Muslims, to immediately open up Mecca to all and immediately announce their intention to allow non-Muslim houses of worship in the Kingdom. This is an interesting point on "tolerance." Would you please address this. Thank you immensely,

Mike Ghouse:

What is wrong in building a Mega Community Center (Mosque)? Even if 200 Mosques were to exist in New York, there is still a need for the conferences, seminars and education. Every Religious denomination is building one and we have many mega Churches in Dallas.

Should onnly the right wingers have the right to live in a big house and build a big church? Newt is a loser struggling to hang on to anything to gain a few votes, Americans will reject him for his misuse of patriotism and cheap politics.

There is no Church or a Synagogue in Saudi Arabia, simply because there is no indigenous Christian or Jewish populace out there to worship, those who work there are on a short term work permit. It is dumb to build a Church, and for whom? And let’s say if it were built, who is going to maintain and upkeep once the visitors have moved out, are they willing to pay for it or is it our Government? Should Government be in the business of building Churches?

Indeed, Newt calls the Saudi Regimes names, and I do too, but when he was in power, why did not he go build a church there, and maintain it at our tax payers funds?

The Saudi Police has done harm in preventing people of other faiths from practicing their religion in open. I do condemn the Saudi government for that intrusion and I have written to their embassy and the condemnation is on the blog and groups; however, no one is barred from worshipping indoors. There was a Catholic and Mormon Service conducted every Sunday in Saudi Arabia that I know of. Norman Powell was the Mormon pastor from Houston (1977-1980)

If Saudi is bad country, why does Newt want us to emulate them?

To ban any Muslim presence from the neighborhood because of the actions of 19 terrorists is to fall into the same flawed ideology of the terrorist who label all Americans as evil.

America has led the world in Science, technology, innovation and has remained a beacon of morality and a defender of human rights. Our constitution is an exemplary document of democracy and now the time has come to lead the world in Pluralism and co-existence.

We have to be a model to other nations \The other nations need to look up to us and not the other way around. We need to set higher standards of civility and NOT stoop down to the level of Talibans or some dictators and monarchs around the world. If we want other nations to behave, we need to lead the way. We need to stand tall and on a moral high ground and be an example of morality and civility to the world.

This is the very reason we need to support the Mosque to show to the world what freedom of religion means: to demonstrate our spirit of liberty and set an example of how a nation treats its minorities.

Bin Laden pulled two of our symbolic buildings down and murdered nearly 3000 Americans; He is still at large. We need to find this criminal and punish him instead of creating a deficit and ruining our economy with the war. Bin Laden is the most hated guy for American Muslims than anyone else; he has provoked prejudice towards Muslims and has made their lives miserable.

The right wingers on the other hand will pull all of us Americans down from the moral high grounds we have held for nearly a century and sink us in bigotry. We have stood up for the Holocaust survivors, the refugees and the oppressed people in Bosnia and elsewhere in the world.

Bottom Line

Who are the folks opposing or supporting the Mosque near Ground Zero? The revelations are as clear as the day light, the right wing politicians have gone berserk and hanging on to tiny branches to save their political careers, and it is an abuse of Patriotism to have political gains.

If you have surfed through the internet, you might reasonably conclude that the ones opposing are the right wing Republicans like Palin, Gingrich, Paladino, Corker, Tancredo, Rowe, McCain and others. They continue to fall in the abyss of ignorance and are out of touch with the American public. The pied piper Limbaugh had led them once and his cooked up support will blind them again.

Until they come up with concrete alternative solutions for the difficulties our nation is facing, they will continue to hang on to anything they "perceive" will save them. The American public does not like divisive politics and I hope they understand and honor it, and become conflict mitigaters and goodwill nurturers.

# # #

Out of Cordoba
Averroes and Maimonides in Their Time and Ours

A timely and dramatic new film about interfaith relations has just been released. Out of Cordoba is a documentary, directed by Jacob Bender, which explores some of the most vexing questions of our time: Is there a "clash of civilizations" between the West and the Islamic world? Are Jews and Muslims eternal enemies, incapable of peaceful coexistence? Does religious faith lead inevitably to hatred and violence?

For information about bringing this exciting interfaith experience to your university, organization, or community, see below.

Out of Cordoba confronts the issues raised by the conflict between reason and revelation, tolerance and xenophobia, through an exploration of the lives and writings of the two most important thinkers to emerge from medieval Muslim Spain: Averroes the Muslim, and Maimonides the Jew. The 82-minute film explores the legacy of these two philosophers, as well as their contemporary influence for Muslims, Jews, and Christians struggling against the rise of religious extremism in their own communities.

In Out of Cordoba, we meet a Muslim leader in Spain who declares a "fatwa" against Osama bin Laden after the Al-Qaeda attacks at the Madrid train station; the foreign minister of Spain, who finds inspiration for his diplomacy in the legacy of Averroes and Maimonides; a Jewish physician in Morocco, one of the last Jewish doctors in the Arab world; Egyptian human rights activists, inspired by Averroes, who are struggling to democratize their country; a rabbi in Israel who defends Palestinian homes against demolition by the Israeli army; a Catholic priest promoting interfaith reconciliation; and an art historian decoding the secrets of one of the most enigmatic of Renaissance paintings.

Out of Cordoba is a timely and powerful plea for greater interfaith understanding in our own troubled and often violent times.

To bring Out of Cordoba and director Jacob Bender to your university or seminary campus, interfaith organization, church, synagogue, or mosque, please call 1.917.660.3805, or email

Visit the film's website,, to find out more about the film, view the trailer, see news about upcoming screenings, follow Out of Cordoba on Facebook, join the mailing list, or for information about the purchase of educational and home editions of the DVD.
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From Wikipedia, about Cordoba

For the period of Spanish cultural flourishing in the 17th century, see Spanish Golden Age.
The Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain, also known as the Golden Age of Arab (or Moorish) Rule in Iberia, refers to a period of history during the Muslim rule of the Iberian Peninsula (the former Roman and Visigothic Hispania) in which Jews were generally accepted in society and Jewish religious, cultural, and economic life blossomed.

The nature and length of this "Golden Age" has been a subject of debate. Some scholars give the start of the Golden Age as either 711–718 (after the Muslim conquest of Hispania) or 912 (the rule of Abd-ar-Rahman III) and the end of the Golden Age variously as 1031 (when the Caliphate of Cordoba ended), 1066 (the date of the Granada massacre), 1090 (when the Almoravides invaded), or the mid-1100s (when the Almohades invaded).

The Nature of Golden Age:

The treatment of non-Muslims in the Caliphate has been a subject of considerable debate among scholars and commentators, especially those interested in drawing parallels to the coexistence of Muslims and non-Muslims in the modern world. It has been argued that Jews (and other religious minorities) were treated significantly better in Muslim-controlled Iberia than in Christian western Europe, living in a unique "golden age" of tolerance, respect and harmony. Though Al-Andalus was a key center of Jewish life during the early Middle Ages, producing important scholars and one of the most stable and wealthy Jewish communities, there is no clear scholarly consensus over whether the relationship between Jews and Muslims was truly a paragon of interfaith relations, or whether it was simply similar to the treatment Jews received elsewhere at the same time.

Mark Cohen, Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, in his landmark 1995 book on the subject, Under Crescent and Cross, argues that the "myth of an interfaith utopia" was first promulgated by Jewish historians such as Heinrich Graetz in the 19th century as a rebuke to Christian countries (particularly in Eastern Europe) for their treatment of Jews. This view went unchallenged until it was adopted by Arabs as a "propaganda weapon against Zionism",[3] who wanted to show that the establishment of the modern State of Israel shattered an alleged previously existing harmony between Jews and Arabs in Palestine under the Ottoman Empire; they pointed to the supposed utopia of the so-called "golden age" as an example of previous harmonious relationships. This "Arab polemical exploitation" was met with the "counter-myth" of the "neo-lachrymose conception of Jewish-Arab history" by historians such as Bat Yeor,[4] which also "cannot be maintained in the light of historical reality".[5]

Birth of Golden Age

After 681, the Christian Visigoths of Hispania persecuted the Jews severely; therefore, the Jews welcomed the Muslim Arab and mainly Berber conquerors in the 8th century. The conquered cities of Córdoba, Málaga, Granada, Seville, and Toledo were briefly placed under the control of the Jewish inhabitants, who had been armed by the Moorish invaders. The victors removed the Christian Visigoths' oppressive restrictions and granted the Jews full religious liberty, requiring them only to pay the tribute of one golden dinar per capita (Jizya).

A period of tolerance thus dawned for the Jews of the Iberian Peninsula, whose number was considerably augmented by immigration from Africa in the wake of the Muslim conquest. Especially after 912, during the reign of Abd-ar-Rahman III and his son, Al-Hakam II, the Jews prospered, devoting themselves to the service of the Caliphate of Cordoba, to the study of the sciences, and to commerce and industry, especially to trading in silk and slaves, in this way promoting the prosperity of the country. Jewish economic expansion was unparalleled. In Toledo, Jews were involved in translating Arabic texts to the romance languages, as well as translating Greek and Hebrew texts into Arabic. Jews also contributed to botany, geography, medicine, mathematics, poetry and philosophy.[7]

'Abd al-Rahman's court physician and minister was Hasdai ben Isaac ibn Shaprut, the patron of Menahem ben Saruq, Dunash ben Labrat, and other Jewish scholars and poets. Jewish thought during this period flourished under famous figures such as Samuel Ha-Nagid, Moses ibn Ezra, Solomon ibn Gabirol Judah Halevi and Moses Maimonides.[7] During 'Abd al-Rahman's term of power, the scholar Moses ben Enoch was appointed rabbi of Córdoba, and as a consequence al-Andalus became the center of Talmudic study, and Córdoba the meeting-place of Jewish savants.

# ##

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, writer and thinker on Pluralism and Islam and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day, he is a frequent guest at the media and his work is encapsulated in 22 blogs and 3 websites listed at

Ahmadiyya, right to choose your own religion

The right to choose your own religion

By N. Mahmood Ahmad

Recently Israel, the only liberal-democratic state in the Middle East, attempted to adopt legislation granting a minority of ultra-Orthodox rabbis the legal right to define who is Jewish. Alarmed at this sweeping move within Israel, many Jews who are not Orthodox - a category that includes most American Jews - were able to prevent immediate passage of the bill. In doing so, they won a temporary victory for millions of Conservative and Reformed Jews who would otherwise effectively be designated as non-Jewish by the Israeli state.

Governments have sought to impose such restrictions on individual religious identity throughout history. In 360 C.E., the Roman Empire issued the Edict of Thessalonica, making Nicene Christianity the only official religion. All other forms of Christianity were declared heresies, and anyone caught professing them would be punished by death. Since then, state control over religion has been the impetus for the wars of religion in Europe, the Inquisition in Spain, and closer to home, the burning of witches in Salem, Massachusetts.

About sixty years ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, seeking to turn over a new leaf by guaranteeing that "everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion." Nevertheless, world governments still trample upon the right to declare oneself a member of a particular faith.

In the Muslim world in particular, the right to choose one's own religion is already being denied to millions. Even in purportedly democratic countries such as Malaysia and Pakistan, a minority of religious extremists are able to dictate matters of conscience. In 2007, the Malaysian Federal Court ruled that a woman who had converted from Islam to Christianity could not legally do so because as a member of the traditionally Muslim Malay ethnic group, she was constitutionally required to be a Muslim. Similarly, Article 260 of Pakistan's Constitution defines who is a "Muslim" and a "non-Muslim". In 1974, the Parliament approved a constitutional amendment specifically designating members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, as non-Muslims. The Pakistani Government has, in fact, mandated that anyone applying for a passport who declares himself a Muslim must swear that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, is an impostor and that his followers are non-Muslim. Constitutions are intended to limit the power of the state and guarantee basic freedoms - for example, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees free exercise and prohibits establishment. By contrast, the Malaysian and Pakistani Constitutions do precisely the opposite - they force a state-imposed faith upon their citizens, while also limiting free exercise of their own chosen creed.

Such legislation creates a culture of hatred, emboldening religious extremists to commit atrocities with impunity. In May, Pakistani Taliban slaughtered 86 Ahmadi Muslims in a coordinated attack on two of the Community's mosques in Lahore, Pakistan. Meanwhile, Article 260 and other laws remain, including Pakistan's notorious anti-blasphemy laws. Indeed, the trend in other countries, including Malaysia, and most recently Israel, is toward increased state control over individual religious identity. Israeli Jews are fortunate to have influential compatriots living in the United States, a country founded on the principles of religious freedom and remains the freest place in the world today. By contrast, the Muslim community in the United States has remained conspicuously silent on this issue. Notably, even in the wake of the attacks on Ahmadi Muslims, no Muslim organization spoke out against Pakistan's archaic laws.

It is high time that governments around the world live up to their obligations under the United Nations human rights charter, and get out of the business of dictating who may or may not call herself a Jew, Christian, or Muslim.

N. Mahmood Ahmad is a member of the Executive Board of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Lawyers Association USA. He is a lawyer based in Washington, D.C. and served on the Virginia Law Review editorial board.

# # #

Had you googled, you probably would not have made that blanket statement that No Muslim organization spoke out against the Hudood laws.

Plug in Ahmadiyya when you open this link, you will find seven articles defending the rights of Ahmadiyya to be Muslims -

There is an article pending with post about Politics of Ramadan, where in I wrote, "The conflict is the same every where on the earth. Each group subscribes to one of the four systems mentioned above. America is no different; you will find celebrations on one or three different days in any given city, the Sunnis, being the largest group has the greater division within, while the Shias, Ismailis, WD Mohammad, Bohra and Ahmadiyya follow the pre-determined dates. The consensus may be attributable to having central spiritual leadership in all groups except the Sunni. However like the American Public wishes to see the Republicans and Democrats drop the party lines and focus on what is good for America, the Muslims also wish they could celebrate the Eid on one single day. It ain’t going to happen, it is human to differ."

In the , check it out, as always a few right wingers create issues, but there are more Muslims out there to tell them that they are wrong.

There are many Muslims out there who do not like the judgments right wingers pass... I have always included Ahmadiyya Muslims as Muslims in every program I do in Dallas, and that is a lot of programs, they are always a part of it.

There were imams visiting from Middle East, I invited the Ahmadiyya rep to be a part of it, the Ahmadiyya man did not want to pray behind the other Imam, I was taken back.

It your intention that counts not others. Both sides need to open and I have offered the venues, and at times literally beg them to be a part of it. There was a celebration of an Imam in Dallas, I got a table to put Muslims of all denomination on it. The Ahmadiyya man did not show up.

I understand the oppression they are weathering in Pakistan and else where, but thank God in America, we are free, free to be ourselves and the Ahmadiyya community need to step up.

Mike Ghouse

Pakistan's devastating floods
Please take a few moments to ponder about the precariousness of one's life. If it calms you down and paralyzes you, let it, it is the least we can do to honor the suffering of fellow humans. It could be you, me or any one.

Societies evolve not just to safeguard the fittest, but to protect the ones in their most vulnerable moments. No matter how rich, arrogant, humble you are, on the ground in the floods your stretched hand is no different than the other seeking help.

The first picture is devastating, where hundreds are trying to get a bite of food to survive. In the second picture the little girl is holding a plastic bag, that is all left there to get soup to eat... there is an expression of love, of caring the ones who cannot help themselves by the ones who can. There is goodness built in each one of us to risk our safety to protect others.

May God give us the thought to sacrifice some of our convenience to the help the ones needing it so desperately?

“Flood-stricken Pakistanis wait outside a relief center to get food supply on the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010. Relief work for some 3.2 million people has been delayed by swamped roads, washed-out bridges and downed communication lines, and survivors have complained about government inaction. Countries including the U.S. have pledged assistance to Pakistan, which is already struggling to control a rapacious Taliban militant movement.” AP

The difficult pictures:


Friday, August 6, 2010

Zakaria Returns ADL Award

by the way Fareed is a cousin of Mush Mullah, one of our friends who lives in Plano, Texas
August 6, 2010, 9:06 pm
Zakaria Returns ADL Award Over Mosque Opposition

In an apparent protest this week, the CNN host and Newsweek columnist Fareed Zakaria returned a five-year-old first amendment award presented to him by the Anti-Defamation League in light of the Jewish group’s opposition to a mosque that may be built near Ground Zero.

In a letter to the ADL, Mr. Zakaria said he could not “in good conscience hold onto the award” given the group’s stance.

Last week the group said its opposition to the proposed site of the mosque was rooted in the fact that some families of victims of Sept.11 find the proposal offensive. The group suggested that its backers find a different location.

In response, Mr. Zakaria returned the group’s Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize, which was presented to him in 2005.

Mr. Zakaria, who is Muslim, hosts a weekend CNN show called “GPS” and writes a column for Newsweek. His letter to the ADL has yet to be released in full, but the group quoted an excerpt from it in a response letter. A CNN spokeswoman said his decision “will be addressed in Sunday’s broadcast and his Newsweek column.”

Abraham H. Foxman, the national director of the ADL, said in the response letter to Mr. Zakaria that “I am not only saddened but stunned and somewhat speechless by your decision.”
Mr. Foxman added, “ADL is the same agency you held in esteem then; we have never wavered from our mission since its inception in 1913. I know you know well the work we do to fight prejudice and discrimination and promote respect and understanding among all people.”

Malaysia - Banggarma verdict 'religiously discriminatory'

Dear Editor,
Free Malaysia Today
Kaula Lumpur

We intend to write an op-ed about this, however as a Muslim at this time, I appeal to the judge to reverse his decision.

" ... Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error ..." [2:256]

This is Islam's unambiguous affirmation of freedom of faith, which also applies to changing of faith. The Qur'an illuminates before the humanity the two highways [90:10], one of which leads to salvation. Islam is an invitation to the highway toward salvation, but it is based on FREEDOM OF CHOICE.

The verdict amounts to forcing Ms. Bangarma to believe what she does not believe, that is not Islamic in any sense. The original intention of such ruling was to prevent treason against the state for switching loyalties to harm the state, sort of double agent. Bangarma is no harm to the state, her belief in Hinduism must be honored.

Mike Ghouse,
World Muslim Congress,
Dallas, Texas


US-based HAF calls Banggarma verdict 'religiously discriminatory'

KUALA LUMPUR: US-based The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) has condemned the Penang High Court decision to deny 28 year old Siti Hasnah Banggarma the right to change her religion back to Hinduism.

After a long, drawn out court battle, Banggarma was left with little hope as Justice Mohammed Yacoob Sam referred the case contesting her conversion to the Syariah Court.

Banggarma, born a Hindu, claimed that state authorities forcibly converted her to Islam at the age of seven while she was under the care of a government-run orphanage.

She later married a Hindu in a traditional Hindu ceremony, but could not officially register her marriage nor could she list her Hindu husband as the father of their children on birth certificates.

Malaysian law requires any non-Muslim marrying a Muslim to convert to Islam before a marriage is legally recognized.

“The right to religious freedom has continued to erode in Malaysia, and minorities continue to suffer,” said Professor Ramesh Rao, HAF’s Human Rights Coordinator.

“This case, which was covered in HAF’s 2009 human rights report, is yet another of example of officially sanctioned religious discrimination and coercion."

Although Malaysia is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country, minorities, particularly ethnic Indians and Hindus, have continued to face serious discrimination over the years.

HAF’s annual Hindu human rights report, 'Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora: A Survey of Human Rights 2009', documented the discrimination, intimidation and persecution faced by Malaysia’s minority Hindu population.

The Foundation has also supported the work of Hindraf, a human rights organization that monitors, documents and publicly highlights human rights abuses faced by the country’s minority Hindu population.

“We hope that Banggarma will eventually be permitted to return to the faith of her birth,” added Rao.

“HAF will continue to monitor this case along with the litany of human rights abuses in Malaysia.“

The Hindu American Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organization promoting the Hindu and American ideals of understanding, tolerance and pluralism.

Also read:

The realities of our judiciary
Banggarma is a Muslim, declares High Court
Banggarma seeking justice in the wrong place

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque Sean Hannity Radio Show & Mike Ghouse

Mike Ghouse on Hannity Radio Show about Mosque

Here is a quick report about my talk on Hannity Radio show with Brigitte Gabriel and Hannity. The talk was to be the Mosque near ground zero, they had a different agenda. Brigitte has memorized some cooked up stuff, she recites the exact same words every time I have been with her. I made at least three attempts to drag them back to the topic, but they were attacking someone else and associating it with the Mosque. My talking points are listed below and I was able to get a few out.

I did make my points by telling Brigitte:



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Voice of Moderate Muslims

Voice of Moderate Muslims
Voice of Moderate Muslims

Moderate Islam Speaker

Moderate Islam Speaker
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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.