Friday, 29 July 2011

Pamela Geller's Followers Go Nuts.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.
Found this article on the anti-Muslim bigot, Pamela Geller. Interesting read.
Wa Salam.

The Guard Who Found Islam.

The Guard Who Found Islam.

Terry Holdbrooks stood watch over prisoners at Gitmo. What he saw made him adopt their faith.

Army specialist Terry Holdbrooks had been a guard at Guantánamo for about six months the night he had his life-altering conversation with detainee 590, a Moroccan also known as "the General." This was early 2004, about halfway through Holdbrooks's stint at Guantánamo with the 463rd Military Police Company. Until then, he'd spent most of his day shifts just doing his duty. He'd escort prisoners to interrogations or walk up and down the cellblock making sure they weren't passing notes. But the midnight shifts were slow. "The only thing you really had to do was mop the center floor," he says. So Holdbrooks began spending part of the night sitting cross-legged on the ground, talking to detainees through the metal mesh of their cell doors.
He developed a strong relationship with the General, whose real name is Ahmed Errachidi. Their late-night conversations led Holdbrooks to be more skeptical about the prison, he says, and made him think harder about his own life. Soon, Holdbrooks was ordering books on Arabic and Islam. During an evening talk with Errachidi in early 2004, the conversation turned to the shahada, the one-line statement of faith that marks the single requirement for converting to Islam ("There is no God but God and Muhammad is his prophet"). Holdbrooks pushed a pen and an index card through the mesh, and asked Errachidi to write out the shahada in English and transliterated Arabic. He then uttered the words aloud and, there on the floor of Guantánamo's Camp Delta, became a Muslim.
When historians look back on Guantánamo, the harsh treatment of detainees and the trampling of due process will likely dominate the narrative. Holdbrooks, who left the military in 2005, saw his share. In interviews over recent weeks, he and another former guard told NEWSWEEK about degrading and sometimes sadistic acts against prisoners committed by soldiers, medics and interrogators who wanted revenge for the 9/11 attacks on America. But as the fog of secrecy slowly lifts from Guantánamo, other scenes are starting to emerge as well, including surprising interactions between guards and detainees on subjects like politics, religion and even music. The exchanges reveal curiosity on both sides—sometimes even empathy. "The detainees used to have conversations with the guards who showed some common respect toward them," says Errachidi, who spent five years in Guantánamo and was released in 2007. "We talked about everything, normal things, and things [we had] in common," he wrote to NEWSWEEK in an e-mail from his home in Morocco.
Holdbrooks's level of identification with the other side was exceptional. No other guard has volunteered that he embraced Islam at the prison (though Errachidi says others expressed interest). His experience runs counter to academic studies, which show that guards and inmates at ordinary prisons tend to develop mutual hostility. But then, Holdbrooks is a contrarian by nature. He can also be conspiratorial. When his company visited the site of the 9/11 attacks in New York, Holdbrooks remembers thinking there had to be a broader explanation, and that the Bush administration must have colluded somehow in the plot.
But his misgivings about Guantánamo—including doubts that the detainees were the "worst of the worst"—were shared by other guards as early as 2002. A few such guards are coming forward for the first time. Specialist Brandon Neely, who was at Guantánamo when the first detainees arrived that year, says his enthusiasm for the mission soured quickly. "There were a couple of us guards who asked ourselves why these guys are being treated so badly and if they're actually terrorists at all," he told NEWSWEEK. Neely remembers having long conversations with detainee Ruhal Ahmed, who loved Eminem and James Bond and would often rap or sing to the other prisoners. Another former guard, Christopher Arendt, went on a speaking tour with former detainees in Europe earlier this year to talk critically about the prison.
Holdbrooks says growing up hard in Phoenix—his parents were junkies and he himself was a heavy drinker before joining the military in 2002—helps explain what he calls his "anti-everything views." He has holes the size of quarters in both earlobes, stretched-out piercings that he plugs with wooden discs. At his Phoenix apartment, bedecked with horror-film memorabilia, he rolls up both sleeves to reveal wrist-to-shoulder tattoos. He describes the ink work as a narrative of his mistakes and addictions. They include religious symbols and Nazi SS bolts, track marks and, in large letters, the words BY DEMONS BE DRIVEN. He says the line, from a heavy-metal song, reminds him to be a better person.
`Alaykum Salam.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

1.5 Billion Square Mile Storm.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.
How vast is Allah's creation?
In this very galaxy are planets that have storms the size of the world we live in.
And the length and breadth of these storms is measured not in hundreds or thousands of kilometers but in billions of square miles.
See the following link:

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

New Draconian Law in Saudia.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.

Islamist activists in Saudi Arabia have condemned government plans to pass an anti-terrorism law which international rights groups fear will be used to crackdown on dissent in the kingdom.

The unofficial Islamic Umma party, which was set up in February, posted on its Website a call for religious scholars to speak out against what it called “laws that aim to seize the citizens’ right to criticize the government.”

Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy that rules in alliance with Islamic clerics and follows an austere version of Sunni Islam. A ruling circle including the king and senior princes maintains a system that bans political parties and public protests. It has an appointed body with limited legislative powers that acts as a quasi-parliament.

Amnesty International on Friday published smuggled copies of the Draft Penal Law for Terrorism Crimes and Financing Terrorism, saying it would allow extended detentions without charge or trial which can be used against peaceful opposition.

Saudi Arabia rejected the accusation, saying the law – if enacted -- will be used against militants. Al Qaeda launched a campaign against Riyadh in 2003 but it petered out in 2006 after a security crackdown in cooperation with Western security agencies.
The draft law imposes a minimum 10-year jail sentence for anyone who criticized the king or crown prince and would consider “endangering... national unity” and “harming the reputation of the state or its position” as terrorism crimes.

It also grants the Interior Minister wide-ranging powers to take action to protect internal security, without requiring judicial authorization or oversight.

“The penal law, which considers criticism of the government a terrorist crime, is not in accordance with Islamic sharia,” the Umma party said in a statement on its Website.

It urged scholars to speak out against it. Scholars in Saudi Arabia have a major influence. Almost no Saudis answered a call for protest on March 11 after religious scholars in the kingdom issued fatwas (religious edicts) banning protests.

The group’s leader, Abdelaziz Al Wohaiby, has been in detention since February, though other founding members were released after a few days in custody.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s leading oil exporter and a US ally, has reacted with concern to the spate of popular protests spreading throughout the Middle East.

It sent troops to Bahrain to help suppress protests, hosts exiled Tunisian leader Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali and is hosting Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh after he was seriously wounded in a bomb attack in June.

Birds of a feather flock together.

Wa'laykum Salam.

Need For A Shaykh.


The Need for a Shaykh

Adapted from Spiritual Discourses By Mufti Taqi Usmani
Tasawwuf means to crush vile manners and to develop excellent manners, and that is tazkiyah or purification. This is because [of the saying] "There are Men for every art", which means one has to go to a Master to learn. If for example it is a question of fiqh we have to approach a Mufti, who knows the answers. However it is difficult to study the condition of the inner self and to recognize the malady within anyone. The hidden weaknesses are very imperceptible and fine. Something may be very good and another very bad but it is difficult to distinguish between them.

For example, arrogance is an unlawful trait and it is wajib to shun it because it is the root cause of all maladies but there is another quality, self-respect. It is wajib to develop it, and it is not proper to debase oneself. However the line dividing the frontiers must be determined: that is at which point does self-respect end and arrogance begins? One must ask oneself: Am I doing this out of pride or a measure of self-respect? It is not possible for everyone to determine the dividing line and detect such inner maladies easily.

For instance, egoism is a great ill. A man brags about himself; this is unlawful. On the other side is 'describing blessings on oneself'. This is mentioned in the Quran: "And as for the blessings of your Lord, proclaim it" (93:11). It is not easy for everyone to say confidently whether he behaves egoistically or proclaims the blessing of Allah Ta'ala.

We can cite another example - of the sweetness of a mango and of a lump of sugar. Both are sweet but, how does one define each sweetness? It is not possible for anyone to do that in words and there is only one way to distinguish the nature of each. One must eat the two things and know for himself what the difference is.

In the same way, it is not easy to define the inner excellences of man. For instance, humbleness is difficult to describe. But, if one meets a humble person and observes his conduct and stays in his company for some time then that characterstic will grow in him. Hence, it is necessary to turn to a Shaykh and live in his company to know about tasawwuf and sulook. These things cannot grow in anyone by merely talking about them. It is only by attending the company of and giving one's time to a Shaykh that Allah Ta'ala helps one get these things.

Shariah is the name of rights. Whose rights? The rights of Allah Ta'ala and His slaves. And the Shariah is surrounded by: Sunnah & Tasawwuf. Sunnah is the name of the limits, on how to give the rights of Shariah. Tasawwuf is the protection of those limits (of rights) so that one may neither trespass nor stay behind. When one goes to a one's Shaykh, he learns to protect these limits. Hence, the aim of the relationship between a Shaykh and his disciple is to protect these limits, how much should he do, where should he stop, and how far should he go.

Hence, when one turns to a Shaykh to reform oneself that the real objective of turning to him is achieved: to imbibe excellenct traits, and ward off and crush the unworthy characteristics. This, then, is the true purpose of Tasawwuf. Nevertheless, the Dhikr and supplications are also helpful to the seeker. Only through the guidance of the Shaykh can the regimen of Dhikr, Supplications and other repetitions be prescribed for every individual according to the Shaykh's opinion of his condition. The prescription would suggest time, what to do, and how much to do. Only then can one benefit from reformation. By themselves the Dhikr, Supplications and repetitions are not the objective, for the basic aim is the reformation of one's manners and purification of the soul. One must keep the Shaykh posted of one's condition and seek his guidance, being careful to observe them. One must do that all his life, for the aim of turning to the Shaykh is simply this much.
Wa Salamu 'Alaykum.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Walid Shoebat Exposed.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.

By Yahya Snow.
A renewed focus on Walid Shoebat ensures his eschatological lies are put to bed as well as a revisiting of old ground our Walid meets with deadly silence

Putting Walid’s eschatological lies (and the rest) in the dumpster

Walid Shoebat’s web of deceit is unravelling. His “evangelical eschatological” charades and money making schemes are being exposed by folk who are interested in the truth.

Before presenting Mr Ayamen’s video highlighting the outright deceptions Walid Shoebat is peddling to fundamentalist Christians I will present other insight which impugns Walid Shoebat further

Walid Shoebat’s uncle exposes him…

According to Walid’s uncle Walid did NOT have a religious upbringing! Furthermore his uncle did not recall much about Walid as his mother kept her distance and he moved to America at the age of 16. Is it possible our Walid was raised a Christian by his mother? Yes!

The plot thickens

I have also received word about Walid’s surname, “Shoebat”, being a name used by Christians in Jordan and the origination of such a name is Palestine. Who is to know? This further highlights the doubt engulfing Walid Shoebat.

Was Walid Shoebat ever a Muslim, never mind a “terrorist”? Care to explain, Walid…

What about the Jerusalem Post and Walid's phantom “bomb” claim?

You just cannot get caught with anymore red on your hands!

Christians, this literally speels out D E C E P T I O N. Even a 10 year old can sniff this one out.
Our Walid claims to have bombed a bank but the bank has no record of it! Fishy stuff indeed:

Shoebat's claim to have bombed Bank Leumi in Bethlehem is rejected by members of his family who still live in the area, and Bank Leumi says it has no record of such an attack ever taking place” []

Hmmm, who are you going to believe; the bank or a dubious, money-hungry Christian fundamentalist? The choice is simple. It’s not Walid.

Walid Shoebat - Ex-Terrorist exposed (By Ayamen)

Mr Ayamen exposes Walid Shoebat’s “ex terrorist” persona as dubious and his fabrications about Muslim beliefs

Walid Shoebat’s age does not back his “ex terrorist” charadeAs Mr Ayamen pointed out Walid’s age does no lend weight to his cooked up story:

Academic professors and others “complain they [Shoebat and his buddies] are too old to have been recruited for Islamic terror as teenagers since the ideology of Islamic jihad attacks "only became prevalent in the late 1980s, and the men are all middle age” []

O Christians, wake up to this fraudster!

Walid Shoebat is caught fabricating Hadith literature

Mr Ayamen does an excellent job in debunking the bread and butter lies our Walid has been peddling to Christian audiences; yes, I’m talking about his claims that Muslims are supporters of the antichrist and that the Mahdi is an “antichrist” – the usual fabrications gullible fundamentalist Christian audiences salivate over.

The reality is (as seen in the video) Shoebat is making stuff up – he is LYING. Our Walid really knows how to milk those Christians for cash and adoration!

Annual turnover of $500,000 - Walid's business!

Yep, that’s Walid’s company (Top Executive Media). Who said crime (lying) never paid? Our Walid has barrel loads of cash but is barren of class.

Further reading:

Shoebat’s bogus Mark of the Beast claim

Walid Shoebat’s son

Wa salam.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Seven Sayings From The Salaf.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.

1) It is reported that Al Husain ibn Muhammad said: Muhammad b. Ismâ`îl Al-Bukhârî was distinguished with three qualities – in addition to the rest of his praseworthy traits: He never spoke much, he never yearned for what people had. He would never occupy himself with other people’s affairs; all his attention was towards knowledge.
Al-Dhahabî, Siyar A’lâm Al-Nubalâ`

2) Muhammad b. Wâsi’ said: I have lived amongst men who were such that one of them would lie with his wife on the same pillow and his side of the pillow would be soaked with his tears under his cheek without his wife even noticing.
Ibn Abî Al-Dunyâ, Al-Ikhlâs wa Al-Nîyah

3) It is reported that Umm Razîn said: I used to gift perfume to Ibn ‘Abbâs(ra). He said: “There is nothing the Quraysh like more.” She added, “And he would give us Al-Wars (a plant whose leaves are used to dye fabric).”
Ibn Abî Shaybah, Kitâb Al-Adab

4) Shaqîq Al-Balkhî was once asked, “What is the mark of [true] repentance?” He replied, “Continued crying over past sins, deep fear of falling into them again, staying away from bad company, and keeping the company of good people.”
Abû Bakr Al-Daynûrî, Al-Mujâlasah wa Jawâhir Al-‘Ilm

5) It is reported that ‘Â`ishah – said, “Umm Habîbah called for me on her deathbed and said, ‘There used to occur between us the kinds of things that happen between co-wives (al-darâ`ir), so may Allâh forgive me and you those things.’ I said, ‘May Allâh forgive you all those things and release you from [all liability] for that.’ She replied, ‘You have made me happy, may Allâh make you happy.’ And she sent for Umm Salamah and said the same things to her.”
Al-Dhahabî, Siyar A’lâm Al-Nubalâ`

6) It is reported that Abû Hâzim Al-Ashja’î said:
If you find yourself in a time when speech is accepted as knowledge and knowledge is accepted as deeds [instead of putting it into practice], then you are in the worst time and with the worst people.
Abû Bakr Al-Daynûrî, Al-Mujâlasah wa Jawâhir Al-’Ilm`

7) Ibrâhîm Al-Nakha’î said about the Salaf: When in a gathering, they used to dislike a person showing the best of what he has.
Ibn Abî Al-Dunyâ, Al-Ikhlâs wa Al-Nîyah

Wa'alaykum Salam.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Some Muslim Pioneers Of Science.

Pioneers of science

Zoology, botany, animal husbandry
Muhammad Bin Musa al-Khwarizmi (Algorizm)
Mathematics, astronomy, geography, (algorithm, algebra, calculus)
Abu 'Uthman 'Amr ibn Bakr al-Basri al-Jahiz
Zoology, Arabic grammar, rhetoric, lexicography
Yaqub Ibn Ishaq al-Kindi (Alkindus) (800-873)
Philosophy, physics, optics, medicine, mathematics, metallurgy
Thabit Ibn Qurrah (Thebit)
Astronomy, mechanics, geometry, anatomy
Ali Ibn Rabban al-Tabari
Medicine, mathematics, calligraphy, literature
Abu Abdullah al-Battani (Albategnius) (858-929)
Astronomy, mathematics, trigonometry
Abul-Abbas Ahmad al-Farghani (al-Fraganus)
(C. 860)
Astronomy, civil engineering
Muhammad Ibn Zakariya al-Razi (Rhazes)
Medicine, ophthalmology, smallpox, chemistry, astronomy
Abu al-Nasr al-Farabi (al-Pharabius)
Sociology, logic, philosophy, political science, music
'Abbas Ibn Firnas
(Died 888)
Mechanics of flight, planetarium, artificial crystals, Also, reputedly, the first man to fly.
Abd-al Rahman al-Sufi (Azophi) (903-986)
Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi (Albucasis)
Surgery, medicine (father of modern surgery)
Abul Wafa Muhammad al-Buzjani
Mathematics, astronomy, geometry, trigonometry
Abul Hasan Ali al-Masu'di
(Died 957)
Geography, history
Abu Ali Hasan Ibn al-Haitham (Alhazen)
Physics, optics, mathematics
Abu al-Hasan al-Mawardi (Alboacen) (972-1058)
Political science, sociology, jurisprudence, ethics
Abu Raihan al-Biruni
Astronomy, mathematics. Determined the earth's circumference
Abu Ali al-Hussain Ibn Abdallah Ibn Sina (Avicenna)
Medicine, philosophy, mathematics, astronomy
Abu Ishaq Ibrahim Ibn Yahya al-Zarqali (Arzachel)
Astronomy (invented astrolabe)
Omar al-Khayyam
Mathematics, poetry
Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (Algazel)
Sociology, theology, philosophy
Abu Marwan Ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar, Abumeron)
Surgery, medicine
Abu Abdallah Muhammad al-Idrisi (1099-1166)
Geography (world map, first globe)
Abul Waleed Muhammad Ibn Rushd (Averroes)
Philosophy, law, medicine, astronomy, theology
Nasir al-Din al-Tusi
Astronomy, non-Euclidean geometry
Jalal al-Din Rumi
Ibn al-Nafis Damishqi
Abu Muhammad Abdallah Ibn al-Baitar
(Died 1248)
Pharmacy, botany
Mohammed Targai Ulugh Beg
Abd al-Rahman Ibn Muhammad Ibn Khaldun
Sociology, philosophy of history, political science
Wa'laykum Salam.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Pious Fraud of Mother Teresa.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.

The following article about Mother Teresa is by a former sister of the Misssionaries of Charity order, Susan Shields. Shields stayed with the order for nearly a decade and played a key role in the organization till she left. Let us have it directly from the horse's mouth:
"Some years after I became a Catholic, I joined Mother Teresa's congregation, the Missionaries of Charity. I was one of her sisters for nine and a half years, living in the Bronx, Rome, and San Francisco, until I became disillusioned and left in May 1989. As I reentered the world, I slowly began to unravel the tangle of lies in which I had lived. I wondered how I could have believed them for so long.
Three of Mother Teresa's teachings that are fundamental to her religious congregation are all the more dangerous because they are believed so sincerely by her sisters. Most basic is the belief that as long as a sister obeys she is doing God's will. Another is the belief that the sisters have leverage over God by choosing to suffer. Their suffering makes God very happy. He then dispenses more graces to humanity. The third is the belief that any attachment to human beings, even the poor being served, supposedly interferes with love of God and must be vigilantly avoided or immediately uprooted. The efforts to prevent any attachments cause continual chaos and confusion, movement and change in the congregation. Mother Teresa did not invent these beliefs - they were prevalent in religious congregations before Vatican II - but she did everything in her power (which was great) to enforce them.
Once a sister has accepted these fallacies she will do almost anything. She can allow her health to be destroyed, neglect those she vowed to serve, and switch off her feelings and independent thought. She can turn a blind eye to suffering, inform on her fellow sisters, tell lies with ease, and ignore public laws and regulations.
Women from many nations joined Mother Teresa in the expectation that they would help the poor and come closer to God themselves. When I left, there were more than 3,000 sisters in approximately 400 houses scattered throughout the world. Many of these sisters who trusted Mother Teresa to guide them have become broken people. In the face of overwhelming evidence, some of them have finally admitted that their trust has been betrayed, that God could not possibly be giving the orders they hear. It is difficult for them to decide to leave - their self-confidence has been destroyed, and they have no education beyond what they brought with them when they joined. I was one of the lucky ones who mustered enough courage to walk away.
It is in the hope that others may see the fallacy of this purported way to holiness that I tell a little of what I know. Although there are relatively few tempted to join Mother Teresa's congregation of sisters, there are many who generously have supported her work because they do not realize how her twisted premises strangle efforts to alleviate misery. Unaware that most of the donations sit unused in her bank accounts, they too are deceived into thinking they are helping the poor.
As a Missionary of Charity, I was assigned to record donations and write the thank-you letters. The money arrived at a frantic rate. The mail carrier often delivered the letters in sacks. We wrote receipts for checks of $50,000 and more on a regular basis. Sometimes a donor would call up and ask if we had received his check, expecting us to remember it readily because it was so large. How could we say that we could not recall it because we had received so many that were even larger?
When Mother spoke publicly, she never asked for money, but she did encourage people to make sacrifices for the poor, to "give until it hurts." Many people did - and they gave it to her. We received touching letters from people, sometimes apparently poor themselves, who were making sacrifices to send us a little money for the starving people in Africa, the flood victims in Bangladesh, or the poor children in India. Most of the money sat in our bank accounts.
The flood of donations was considered to be a sign of God's approval of Mother Teresa's congregation. We were told by our superiors that we received more gifts than other religious congregations because God was pleased with Mother, and because the Missionaries of Charity were the sisters who were faithful to the true spirit of religious life.
Most of the sisters had no idea how much money the congregation was amassing. After all, we were taught not to collect anything. One summer the sisters living on the outskirts of Rome were given more crates of tomatoes than they could distribute. None of their neighbors wanted them because the crop had been so prolific that year. The sisters decided to can the tomatoes rather than let them spoil, but when Mother found out what they had done she was very displeased. Storing things showed lack of trust in Divine Providence.
The donations rolled in and were deposited in the bank, but they had no effect on our ascetic lives and very little effect on the lives of the poor we were trying to help. We lived a simple life, bare of all superfluities. We had three sets of clothes, which we mended until the material was too rotten to patch anymore. We washed our own clothes by hand. The never-ending piles of sheets and towels from our night shelter for the homeless we washed by hand, too. Our bathing was accomplished with only one bucket of water. Dental and medical checkups were seen as an unnecessary luxury.
Mother was very concerned that we preserve our spirit of poverty. Spending money would destroy that poverty. She seemed obsessed with using only the simplest of means for our work. Was this in the best interests of the people we were trying to help, or were we in fact using them as a tool to advance our own "sanctity?" In Haiti, to keep the spirit of poverty, the sisters reused needles until they became blunt. Seeing the pain caused by the blunt needles, some of the volunteers offered to procure more needles, but the sisters refused.
We begged for food and supplies from local merchants as though we had no resources. On one of the rare occasions when we ran out of donated bread, we went begging at the local store. When our request was turned down, our superior decreed that the soup kitchen could do without bread for the day.
It was not only merchants who were offered a chance to be generous. Airlines were requested to fly sisters and air cargo free of charge. Hospitals and doctors were expected to absorb the costs of medical treatment for the sisters or to draw on funds designated for the religious. Workmen were encouraged to labor without payment or at reduced rates. We relied heavily on volunteers who worked long hours in our soup kitchens, shelters, and day camps.
A hard-working farmer devoted many of his waking hours to collecting and delivering food for our soup kitchens and shelters. "If I didn't come, what would you eat?" he asked.
Our Constitution forbade us to beg for more than we needed, but, when it came to begging, the millions of dollars accumulating in the bank were treated as if they did not exist.
For years I had to write thousands of letters to donors, telling them that their entire gift would be used to bring God's loving compassion to the poorest of the poor. I was able to keep my complaining conscience in check because we had been taught that the Holy Spirit was guiding Mother. To doubt her was a sign that we were lacking in trust and, even worse, guilty of the sin of pride. I shelved my objections and hoped that one day I would understand why Mother wanted to gather so much money, when she herself had taught us that even storing tomato sauce showed lack of trust in Divine Providence."
Free Inquiry Magazine, volume 18, number 1.

Wa salamu 'alaykum.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Christianity is Poly-Positive - Part II.

Christianity is Poly-Positive - Part II.

Christ and the Prophets:

Christ claimed that he had come to fulfil not only the law, but also the prophets (see Matthew 5 vv 17-20 quoted above). Unsurprisingly, we also find references to polygamy in the words of the prophets. In 2 Samuel 12 vv 7-8 the prophet Nathan tells David that, when Saul died, God had given David Saul’s wives, and goes on to say that if that hadn’t been enough, God would have given him more. It is worth remembering that this is said during criticism for committing adultery with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife. David had at least seven other wives, apart from Bathsheba, and here God was claiming responsibility for giving David wives. If plural wives can be a gift of God, it is clear that polygamy is not sinful and indeed that God has actively encouraged it. We learn that from the prophet Nathan, and Christ said that he came to fulfil the prophets.
Isaiah the prophet spoke the words of God in predicting an end time when seven women would want to marry one man, with no indication that such a marriage would be bad. (Isaiah 4 v1). This is perhaps explained by reference to the words of another prophet in Ezekiel 23 where there are two interesting points of note. Firstly God portrays himself as the polygamous husband of both Jerusalem and Samaria (represented as different wives). If God can portray himself as a polygamist and God is sinless, can polygamy be wrong? Would this portrayal of polygamy be compounded, as it is by the prophet Jeremiah,in Jeremiah 3 vv 6-10 and 31 vv 31-32? Secondly, God divides the one Israel that had been represented as his wife into plural marriage partners. This is important later, as it is an example of Christ and the Church. Christ is one with the Church as a body, but he is also one with each individual member, as 1 Corinthians 6 vv 15-17 talks of the “members” of Christ being one Spirit with him. Hence Christians are One in the Church which is one with Christ, and they are also individually united to him. In this way, Christ really does fulfil the prophets with respect to polygamy.

Christ and the Pharisees

There is a lot to be learned in Matthew 23 vv 1-33 about Christ and the Pharisees. For the purpose of polygamy a few things are especially relevant.
Christ is only too clear in saying what it is that he doesn’t like about the Pharisees. He tells the people in verse 3 to follow what they say but not what they do. He then calls the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites seven times (in verses 13, 14, 15, 23, 25, 27 & 29). Sometimes we hear Christians criticised today for being “legalistic like the Pharisees”, but the Bible is clear that the Pharisees were not being criticised for encouraging people to follow the law, but were being condemned because they said one thing and did another. In Christ’s words in verses 23 and 24 ” Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.”
The Pharisees were taking a cavalier attitude to God’s Word. Some parts they liked, so they followed them and added their own laws to them. Other parts they didn’t like and ignored. And guess what – the parts they ignored were the more important bits, and the ideas they had to swallow to work their minds around this fact were as “camels” to the small “gnats” which they would spend endless time debating.
All this means that it is unfair to criticise Christians for emphasing the whole Bible and expecting us to take notice of it and obey it. That is what the Pharisees should have been doing. Instead, they were like the Christians who ignore the parts they don’t like, the more important parts, and who have to swallow wild theories in order to justify this.
You may wonder how all this is related to the subject of polygamy. The answer is that those who prach against polygamy are acting like the Pharisees, and it is the people who are Poly-Positive who are doing what Christ asked. It is important that you understand that this does not mean that the great bulk of monogamous Christianity are Pharisees. This description is limted to those who have examined this subject in detail and who actively propogate the idea that polygamy is a sin, despite being aware that the Bible never calls it this. These people persecute Christian polygamists and even refuse to fellowship with those who teach that polygamy is permissible. Most Christians are not like this at all, and just have not spent a great deal of time examining the subject, and so rely on off-the-cuff explanations given to them by others, or simply don’t form any firm opinions about it.
The modern-day Pharisees ignore the many instances of polygamy throughout the Bible, and the important things that it teaches us about marriage and society. Hence they ignore the God-given rights of wives and children. They ignore the protection provided by God to unmarried women, and they ignore God’s constitutional restrictions on the power of Kings and the state. Hence, like the Pharisees, they ignore God’s guidance on matters of “law, judgement, mercy and faith”.
They ignore the law of God, which allowed polygamy, in favour of a law of man, which refuses to register polygamous marriages. If you want to know the size of the “camel” you have to swallow to do this, then pick up any textbook on Private International Law and see the law squirm as it prosecutes its own citizens for bigamy, yet attempts to recognise polygamous marriages contracted in other states. They ignore judgements by ignoring God’s ruling in 1 Corinthians 5, which requires churches to handle disputes between Christians, and break it by going to divorce courts to accept the judgements of unbelieving judges. They ignore the mercy of God, when they refuse marriage to an unmarried woman who has committed fornication with a married man. And they ignore faith by basing their beliefs in the world and its society rather than in God and his Son.
Put simply, the assertion that the Bible teaches monogamy, and that polygamy is sinful for a Christian, is unreasonable and unfounded in the Bible. It is a direct contradiction of what the Bible teaches, and although it may be a popular theory within Christendom, it falls into the same category of formerly popular theories like the sale of indulgences and the attitude that sex was always sinful.
The Poly-Positive attitude involves the reverse of these things. It involves recognising that God instituted marriage and never handed the definition of marriage over to the government – so we should recognise marriages contracted between Christians, even when they are not recognised by the state. It involves accepting the judgements of God in resolving disputes between Christians, and accepting that if one party runs to secular courts for assistance, abandoning the requirements of their faith, then any consequent suffering by the innocent party is an act of faith and is to be recognised as such. It involves an earnest attempt to show the mercy implicit in God’s law, and in applying that in our lives, and finally it involves faith in deriving our belief from the Bible, rather than attempting to twist it to the requirements of the world in which we live.
Christ’s message to the Pharisees, condemning their hypocrisy and mental gymnastics in ignoring the important and obvious things in God’s Word, is a Poly-Positive message. It endorses the frame of mind and method of approaching scripture and life which allows polygamy. It gives due place to polygamy within the history of Israel and the Law of Moses, and it seeks to use this understanding in our life today. In the arguments about polygamy, who are the Pharisees, if not those who would value the law of men more than the Word of God?

Christ and Freedom:
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free… If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
John 8 vv 31-32, 36
..until the law, sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” Romans 5v13
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
2 Corinthians 3 v17
These passages tell us how we should approach the Bible in its application to our lives. Firstly, we need to realise that the truth makes us truly free. Secondly, that where there is no law, there is no sin. Thirdly, that the Spirit of the Lord brings liberty. The laws of the Old Testament are, as we have seen, useful for our instruction, and they help us to see where sin appears. However, sin makes us less free. The truth and the Spirit liberate us. We have seen there is no law of God to forbid polygamy, and therefore no sin inherent in its practice. We are therefore in an area of freedom given by God. We can practice polygamy if we wish but we do not have to do it, and we do not have to avoid it. Knowing the truth has set us free. Let us then consider the following…
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” 1 Timothy 4 vv 1-3
Sometimes the freedom given by God is attacked by man. Paul, in his letter to Timothy, prophesies as to methods of how this will be done, and one of these methods is “forbidding to marry”. This contrasts with Paul’s clear statement in 1 Corinthians 7 that each and every man and woman was to be allowed to marry so that sin could be avoided. It is a simple point of fact that men are outnumbered by women. According to the British Government’s official report “Social Trends”, in 1994 there were over 1,500,000 more women than men of a marriageable age in the United Kingdom. It is believed that this pattern is repeated around the world, and in many countries the imbalance is even more severe. It is also believed that within the churches the imbalances are further exaggerated. One anti-polygamist pastor in Malaysia wrote in an email, “There is a preponderance of women in the charismatic churches when compared to men (however this is no excuse for polygamy to be justified). I know of more than one christian lady who found non christian mates and abandoned their church (?faith).” It is true that the imbalance, in and of itself, does not justify polygamy, but it does run contrary to God’s rule that everyone should be allowed to marry, for in a monogamous system there is a massive surplus of women who want to marry but cannot. This is put right in a polygamous system, which allows marriage.
When these things are taken together, and Christ’s words on freedom are applied to marriage, it is clear that opposition to polygamy is at least one form of “forbidding marriage”. Opposition to polygamy is therefore contrary to the apostle’s teaching. It is an unjustified man-made restriction on the freedom and liberty given to mankind by God. Only a Poly-Positive system, which allows polygamy to be practiced, can claim to allow marriage in the way that Scripture intended. Because of this, it is fair to claim that the New Testament endorses polygamy as a scriptural option and therefore confirms the teachings of the Law and the Prophets.

In Conclusion:

The acceptance of polygamy is a Christian doctrine. It is anti-christian to ban it or to teach against it. It is a requirement of Christian teaching that polygamy, monogamy and celibacy are all allowed and accepted as good. God requires polygamy in certain circumstances in both the Old and New Testaments, and in granting liberty shows that it can be practised when it is not required.

The teachings of Christ are Poly-Positive because…

  • They do not destroy the law, which required and regulated polygamy.
  • They fulfil the prophets, who portrayed God as polygamous and as actively encouraging polygamy.
  • They criticise the actions of those who behave like the Pharisees, who only practiced part of the Word of God, while ignoring the obvious important points, and attempting to read their own views into Scripure. This is exactly what is required of someone who attempts to ignore the polygamy that exists throughout the Bible, and who seeks to abandon the actual meaning of Scripture in favour of a more convenient interpretation.
  • They emphasize freedom. This freedom allows polygamy unless there is anything to the contrary – and there is nothing to the contrary.
  • They echo the union of many individual believers with one Lord.
  • They require polygamy to be allowed if the freedom for everyone to marry is to be put into practice.
  • They show that forbidding marriage which is allowed by God, such as polygamy, comes from false teaching, and therefore that forbidding polygamy is unchristian. 

Wa salamu 'alaykum.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Christianity is Poly-Positive - Part I.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.

Poly-Positive – Polygamy as a Christian Doctrine

Poly-Positive is a term that refers to an attitude that having more than one wife is not inherently wrong.

As such it is a term that is particularly appropriate to describe the worldview contained in the Judeo-Christian Bible. Many of the articles on this site defend this view from institutional criticism of it. This article seeks to build the positive case that the Biblical texts are tolerant of plural marriage, and that intolerance of plural marriage is unscriptural. 

See below for the Bible’s positive case for acceptance of plural marriage:
It is fairly easy to establish that the Bible does not in any way condemn polygamy. What is not widely known is that the Bible is thoroughly positive about polygamy, and so people sometimes claim that the Bible is simply silent about the morality of plural marriage. Yet according to the Bible, plural marriages are good. Much of the time polygamists and those who are actively tolerant of polygamy are on the defensive. This is natural, given that any expression of polygamist views is likely to be met with condemnation. People who are ordinarily liberal and forgiving sorts sometimes appear angry and restrictive when the topic of polygamy enters a conversation. They seem to step out of character, which is unsurprising given that the culture in which we live has spent the best part of two thousand years trying, and largely succeeding, in overturning the Biblical worldview on this subject. Hence when you begin to consider polygamy you often have to defend it against attacks from friends, family, society and indeed your own prejudices. That is why a lot of polygamist thought centers on countering the attacks of anti-polygamists. That is why much of the rest of this site has that tone.
However there are many reasons to be thoroughly POSITIVE ABOUT POLYGAMY. The Bible provides many of those reasons directly, and there are many other good things to be observed which result from the practice of this Biblical way of living. This page will examine the POLY-POSITIVE teachings of the Bible, and in particular the teachings of Christ and the Spirit in the New Testament.

Christ was Poly-Positive:

It is because of the teachings of Christ that all Christians should accept the moral and lawful nature of polygamy, and should be prepared to allow people the freedom to practice plural marriage if they so wish. The teachings of Christ himself lay down the intellectual and moral basis which makes polygamy a Christian issue.

Christ and the Law:

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5 vv 17-20
Jesus said he came to fulfil the law, not to destroy it. God’s law contains details of how the practice of polygamy was to be regulated by the Israelites. Christ said he had not come to destroy this law. With parts of the law he shows how the practical effects are changed, but the law itself is left untouched, including the law on polygamy. As the law allowed, organised and in some cases commanded polygamy, and as it is unchanged, it is clear that Christ provides the principles of polygamy within the law. Indeed, as will be seen later, the principles of polygamy are fulfilled in Christ.
The law, which Christ did not destroy, allowed and regulated polygamy. A wife was owed duties of food, clothing and marital rights, and this protection was still to be provided if her husband took a second wife (Exodus 21 v 10). The law prevented her husband from marrying her mother, or from marrying another of her sisters, to be a rival wife, while she was still alive. (Leviticus 20 v 14 and Leviticus 18 v 17). The law ensured that a firstborn child maintained his superior rights of inheritance, even if his father preferred another of his wives to the child’s mother (Deuteronomy 21 vv 15-17). The law limited the power of the King so that he couldn’t “multiply wives to himself” (Deuteronomy 17 v 17). As can be seen elsewhere on this site, that law allows polygamy, but prevents constitutional abuse.
In addition to allowing polygamy, the law which Christ fulfilled actually commanded it in certain circumstances. If a man died without children then his brother was obliged to marry the widow. (Deuteronomy 25 vv 7-10). There is nothing to suggest that this was limited to unmarried brothers, and it is important that it applies to those already married, for the story of the kinsman-redeemer in Ruth establishes the biblical idea of redemption. Christ can redeem a sinner’s debt, and this involves union with Christ, even though he has already redeemed someone else’s debt and been united to them.
As well as this, the Bible also provides protection to unmarried women. If a man seduced an unmarried virgin, the law forced him to marry her, and therefore to provide the food, clothes and marital rights mentioned before. And he couldn’t divorce her, so the protection was guaranteed for life. (Deuteronomy 22 vv 28-29). Again there is nothing in the Bible to indicate that there was any difference made by the man being married. So, if he was married, and he had an affair with a single woman, then the law demanded he become a polygamist. Imagine the effect this would have today – promises to marry would have to be kept, and so deceit in relationships would necessarily be reduced.
Part II to follow.
Wa Salamu 'Alaykum.

Monday, 18 July 2011

The War Against Homosexuality.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, an Indian Minister was in the news lately for saying that homosexuality is a disease. The Gay-Lesbian-Transsexual-Modernist lobby jumped on his statement and created such a ruckus that he had to withdraw his statement and hide behind the usual excuse of being misquoted and misunderstood by the media. The proponents of homosexuality claim that according to American Psychiatrists and Psychologists this is not a disease and they represented such to the Supreme Court of America. Let me puncture the balloon a bit. Please read the following citation carefully:

Errors by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Educational Association in representing homosexuality in Amicus briefs about amendment 2 to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Cameron, Paul; Cameron, Kirk; Landess, Thomas
Psychological Reports, Vol 79(2), Oct 1996, 383-404.


  1. In October 1995, consortiums of psychiatric and educational professional organizations, including the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association and the National Educational Association, submitted amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court asserting that the scientific literature unequivocally supports the following propositions:
(a) that homosexuals, including homosexual teachers, do not disproportionately molest children,
(b) that children of homosexual parents are not more likely to become homosexuals,
(c) that professionals agree that homosexuality is not a pathology, and
(d) that homosexual attractions are biologically or genetically predetermined and are therefore beyond the control of the individual.
The first two contentions are inconsistent with the scientific literature, and the second two grossly oversimplify a contentious and uncertain literature.
(PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)

Wa Salamu 'Alaykum.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

The Mother Of All Diseases.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.

On Arrogance, Humbleness, and Inferiority Complex
By Khalid Baig
It has been called ummul-amradh, or the root of all sicknesses of the heart. Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, warned that a person having even an iota of it in his heart will never enter paradise. This deadliest of all sins is kibr, or arrogance.
No one likes arrogance --- in others. We never like a person who is haughty, too proud, or condescending. We detest a person who belittles us and has a huge ego. Similarly we love people who are humble, polite, and easy to talk to. We love people who give us respect and honor. Thus if we follow the principle of treating others the way we like to be treated, most of these problems might be cured. In reality, the treatment of ummul-amradh requires a deeper look.
For that we need to appreciate the difference between adab or manners, on the one hand and akhlaq or morals on the other. While adab deal with one’s external disposition, akhlaq as defined by Islam deal with our inner thoughts, feeling, and attitudes. In a healthy personality, the manners and morals are in harmony. But it is also possible to have the former without having the latter. The first concerns itself with how a person deals with others. The second is concerned with what a person thinks of himself. Two persons showing humbleness in their dealings with others, may have exactly opposite ideas in their minds. One may do it out of his or her "generosity"; the other may do it because he genuinely thinks that he is not better than the other person. The first person only has a shell of humbleness, which will crumble when tested. It is the second person who is really free of arrogance.
Real greatness belongs only to Allah, our Lord, Creator, and Master. Human beings are just a creation of Allah --- and a very small creation in comparison to the unimaginably vast universe. Anyone who understands this will realize that our proper status is only that of servants of Allah. In fact for a Muslim the real human model is none other than Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, who is the greatest of all human beings. His greatness lies in being the humblest of all servants of Allah! It is impossible for any person who has this consciousness to entertain any notions of his own greatness.
This leads us to the definition of kibr, given in a famous hadith: "Kibr is to knowingly reject Truth and to belittle other people." This hadith exposes two strains of this deadly disease, both dealing with our exaggerated ideas of self-importance. The first suggests that I am more important than the Truth. The second suggests that I am more important than other people.
We know about the Quraish and Jews of Arabia who had come in contact with Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and who knew in the heart of their hearts that he indeed was the Messenger of Allah. Their arrogance, though, kept them from accepting it. History has recorded statements from some of them who said we know he is the Promised Prophet but we will keep on opposing him to maintain our leadership.
While that was the most blatant form of arrogance, we can witness the same attitude on a smaller scale in our discussions and arguments. A person realizes that he was wrong, but then his pride keeps him from admitting it. No matter how polite or "humble" that person may appear to be ordinarily, this test shows the presence of arrogance in his heart. It is arrogance that keeps a person from saying "I am sorry."
The second strain involves our feeling of superiority with respect to other people. Islam’s teaching is that one should never consider oneself greater than other people, because that Judgment will come from Allah, and Allah alone, on the Day of Judgment. None of us knows what our end will be, whether we will end up being a winner or loser over there. The person who appears to be nobody here may end up with eternal bliss because of his goodness that only Allah knew. The person who is a big shot here may end up among the sinners who will be punished there, because of his evil that only Allah knew. How foolish, it is then to congratulate ourselves over our fleeting "superiority".
What if a person does have edge over another person in measurable worldly terms? How then can he not consider himself superior than the other person in that respect? The point is sometimes made in half jest: it is difficult to be humble when you are so great. Islam does not ask us to reject reality and imagine we don’t have what we really do. Rather it asks us to take a deeper look at the reality and not be misled by a superficial perception of it. And the simple reality that escapes many is that our health, wealth, talents, and power are not of our own creation. God gave those to us as a test and He can take them back whenever He wills. Those who are conscious of this reality, their blessings will produce gratitude in them; those who are blind to it will develop pride and arrogance.
Some forms of kibr are subtle. If a person is embarrassed to bow to Allah in the presence of non-believers, that is a case of "kibr in the face of Allah," says Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi.
While throughout history humanity had agreed on the evil of arrogance and the virtue of humbleness (despite its failures in practice), this century has seen new dogmas that aim at changing the definitions of good and evil. Humbleness is no longer desirable. Rather, one has to avoid "Inferiority Complex." Alfred Adler (1870-1937) gave us that term. According to him, life is a continuous struggle to move from a position of inferiority to a position of significance. Those who fail to make the progress, develop inferiority complex, which can be treated by increasing self-esteem. Unfortunately today such pseudo-science is accepted as gospel truth.
The truth is that problems arise when we turn away from reality. A humble person is a happy, content, grateful person who thanks God for his blessings and has no notions of his own superiority. False notions of superiority or of one’s entitlements in life, on the other hand, lead to frustrations and complexes.

Wa Salamu 'Alaykum.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Who Will Guard The Guards?

Indian Authorities Murder Faiz 'Usmani.

May Allah avenge the murder of Faiz.

Wa Salamu 'Alaykum.

The Fall & Fall Of Roman Catholicism.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.

"My child, We watch and see the houses of My Son crumbling, being destroyed throughout your world. Doors are closing, convents are emptying, and the dedicated are leaving and falling into all manner of sin and abominations. Who shall be in the remnant? Only a few will be saved." 
Our Lady of the Roses, May 26, 1976  

In 1965, 104,000 sisters were teaching, while in 2002 there were only 8,200 teachers (79% decline).

BBC reported on February 5, 2008:

The Vatican has reported a further dramatic fall in the number of Roman Catholic monks and nuns worldwide.
Newly published statistics showed that the number of men and women belonging to religious orders fell by 10%* to just under a million between 2005 and 2006.
During the pontificate of the late Pope John Paul II, the number of Catholic nuns worldwide declined by a quarter.
The downward trend accelerated despite a steady increase in the membership of the Catholic Church to more than 1.1bn.
However, correspondents say even this failed to keep pace with the overall increase in world population. 
Dramatic fall
On the back page of its official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican published on Monday new statistics revealing that between 2005 and 2006 the number "members of the consecrated life" fell by just under 10%. [*Note: The Vatican disputes this 10% figure, even though it came from the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano: "accurate figures showed a decline of just 7,230 over that one-year period."
The number of members, predominantly women, some engaged only in constant prayer, others working as teachers, health workers and missionaries, fell 94,790 to 945,210.
Of the total, 753,400 members were women, while 191,810 were men, including 136,171 priests and 532 permanent deacons.
The figures were published next to a report of Pope Benedict XVI's meeting with nuns, monks and priests from many countries gathered in St Peter's Basilica in Rome last weekend.
The BBC's David Willey in the Italian capital says the accelerating downward trend must have caused concern to the Pope.
The Roman Catholic Church has an aging and diminishing number of parish and diocesan clergy and this latest fall is quite dramatic, our correspondent says.
The number of Catholic nuns worldwide declined by about a quarter during the reign of Pope John Paul, and this further drop shows that new recruits are failing to replace those nuns who die, or decide to abandon their vows, he adds.
"Therefore, I warn you now as your God: You will stop your intricacies within My Church. You will stop experimenting. I gave you the rules to follow many years ago, two thousand years approximately. And why now, two thousand years later, do you deem it necessary to change My Church upon earth? I, your God, say to you, you will be judged accordingly. You will return My Church to its former glory, and in that manner you will have more vocations and more entering the seminaries, and not fleeing from them as they hear the heresies and all other innovations that are going on within My Church. This is My last and final word to My clergy: Change now or suffer a just punishment and banishment.” - Jesus, June 18, 1986 
Statistical decline of the Catholic Church since Vatican II...
The following statistics are originally from Kenneth Jones' Index of Leading Catholic Indicators:

  • Priests. After skyrocketing from about 27,000 in 1930 to 58,000 in 1965, the number of priests in the United States  dropped to 45,000 in 2002. By 2020, there will be about 31,000 priests--and only 15,000 will be under the age of 70. Right now there are more priests aged 80 to 84 than there are aged 30 to 34.

  • Ordinations. In 1965 there were 1,575 ordinations to the priesthood, in 2002 there were 450, a decline of 350 percent. Taking into account ordinations, deaths and departures, in 1965 there was a net gain of 725 priests. In 1998, there was a net loss of 810.

  • Priestless parishes. About 1 percent of parishes, 549, were without a resident priest in 1965. In 2002 there were 2,928 priestless parishes, about 15 percent of U.S. parishes. By 2020, a quarter of all parishes, 4,656, will have no priest.

  • Seminarians. Between 1965 and 2002, the number of seminarians dropped from 49,000 to 4,700--a 90 percent decrease. Without any students, seminaries across the country have been sold or shuttered. There were 596 seminaries in 1965, and only 200 in 2002.

  • Sisters. 180,000 sisters were the backbone of the Catholic education and health systems in 1965. In 2002, there were 75,000 sisters, with an average age of 68. By 2020, the number of sisters will drop to 40,000--and of these, only 21,000 will be aged 70 or under. In 1965, 104,000 sisters were teaching, while in 2002 there were only 8,200 teachers.

  • Brothers. The number of professed brothers decreased from about 12,000 in 1965 to 5,700 in 2002, with a further drop to 3,100 projected for 2020.

  • Religious Orders. The religious orders will soon be virtually non-existent in the United States. For example, in 1965 there were 5,277 Jesuit priests and 3,559 seminarians; in 2000 there were 3,172 priests and 38 seminarians. There were 2,534 OFM Franciscan priests and 2,251 seminarians in 1965; in 2000 there were 1,492 priests and 60 seminarians. There were 2,434 Christian Brothers in 1965 and 912 seminarians; in 2000 there were 959 Brothers and 7 seminarians. There were 1,148 Redemptorist priests in 1965 and 1,128 seminarians; in 2000 there were 349 priests and 24 seminarians. Every major religious order in the United States mirrors these statistics.

  • High Schools. Between 1965 and 2002 the number of diocesan high schools fell from 1,566 to 786. At the same time the number of students dropped from almost 700,000 to 386,000.

  • Parochial Grade Schools. There were 10,503 parochial grade schools in 1965 and 6,623 in 2002. The number of students went from 4.5 million to 1.9 million.

  • Sacramental Life. In 1965 there were 1.3 million infant baptisms; in 2002 there were 1 million. (In the same period the number of Catholics in the United States rose from 45 million to 65 million.) In 1965 there were 126,000 adult baptisms-----converts-----in 2002 there were 80,000. In 1965 there were 352,000 Catholic marriages, in 2002 there were 256,000. In 1965 there were 338 annulments, in 2002 there were 50,000.

  • Mass attendance. A 1958 Gallup poll reported that 74 percent of Catholics went to Sunday Mass in 1958. A 1994 University of Notre Dame study found that the attendance rate was 26.6 percent. A more recent study by Fordham University professor James Lothian concluded that 65 percent of Catholics went to Sunday Mass in 1965, while the rate dropped to 25 percent in 2000.

  • "The great Council, the Council that has brought forth discord, disunity, and the loss of souls, the major fact behind this destruction was because of the lack of prayer.  Satan sat in within this Council, and he watched his advantage." - St. Michael, March 18, 1976

    Wa Salamu 'Alaykum.

    Saturday, 16 July 2011

    The Eco-Mosque Is Here.

    norderstedt mosque
    An artist's impression of the proposed mosque in Norderstedt, Germany, with wind turbines in the minarets. Image: Selcuk Unyilmaz.
    Al Salamu 'Alaykum.
    News that a small Muslim community in Norderstedt, Germany, has pioneered renewable energy sources by placing a wind turbine within the minaret of their mosque comes as a welcome surprise to most. Yet for some commentators the minaret continues to symbolise the march of an intolerant Islam intent on proselytising liberal Europe, a view made clear in 2009 when a Swiss referendum banned the construction of any new minarets.
    To those versed in the proclivities of Islamic art and architecture, however, the mosque and its minaret have always stood as positive examples of syncretism.
    In the seventh century, during the earliest stages of Islam, Muslims conducted their prayers in simple courtyard-like structures (or simply open spaces), which had partially covered areas to protect worshippers from the fierce Arabian sun. As Islam spread out of the deserts of Arabia and into the cityscapes of Damascus and Cairo, the rapidly expanding Muslim population required houses of worship that continued to meet their social and spiritual requirements. There are very few doctrinal guidelines as to what specifically constitutes a mosque (the only essential requirement being direction towards Mecca) and so Muslims either legally appropriated and modified existing structures or created completely new buildings.
    The mosques that followed are magnificent and innovative examples of architecture that are paradoxically original through the way they borrowed from other cultures.
    Take the eighth-century Great Mosque of Damascus: with its central nave, corner towers and sumptuous golden mosaics one could be excused for mistaking it for a late-antiquity church. On closer inspection, however, one notices the complete absence of figurative imagery in the building's mosaics that are so ubiquitous in Byzantine architecture. Here, the figures have been replaced by fantastic foliate arabesque and detailed depictions of classical architecture to align with the Islamic sanction against figural imagery in the mosque.
    One can also hear the melodious call to prayer from one of the mosque's minarets. The Great Mosque of Damascus was formerly a church purchased from the Christians and transformed into a mosque; the minarets themselves were previously Christian corner towers. Prior to Damascus, the Muslim call to prayer was conducted from the tallest part of the urban landscape (eg on top of a house or mosque wall). When the Muslims came to Damascus, naturally the call to prayer was performed from the top of the church tower and thus, the architectural feature that is the minaret came to be.
    Damascus is of course not the only example of cultural borrowing. One can witness the same phenomena in the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, which has its own take on the pre-Islamic centralised shrine architecture of the Levant (eg the nearby Church of the Holy Sepulchre).
    Perhaps the most obvious example of adaptive architecture is in Istanbul, Turkey, where the old and the new have sat opposite each other for almost 500 years: on one side is the magnificent sixth-century basilica Hagia Sofia, and on the other is the early 17th-century Blue Mosque, a monument that bears startling resemblance to its Byzantine predecessor yet remains unequivocally unique in appearance.
    Traditional Muslim societies therefore had no qualms about absorbing and learning from the cultures that they encountered and adjusting them within the philosophical framework of Islam: Islamic architecture is, and always has been, a medium for syncretism rather than proselytisation.
    Fast-forward almost 1,400 years to the eco-friendly minaret in Germany. In Europe minarets no longer serve the practical function of calling people to prayer that they once did in the eighth century and instead remain as symbols or bastions of a traditional aesthetic.
    What better way to return to the ingenuity of the Islamic architectural tradition than to transform the minaret once again into a highly productive and practical architectural feature which still retains its aesthetic and symbolic responsibilities.
    Such resourcefulness is the perfect riposte to critics who accuse Muslim communities of self-marginalisation as well as social and religious "backwardness". Especially in Europe, where the apparent failings of "multiculturalism" seem to be the issue of contention, it is highly refreshing to see Muslim communities so emphatically adjusting their sails and letting the turbulent winds carry them to the shores of reinvention.
    By Bilal Badat for the Guardian, UK.
    Wa'laykum Salam.