Friday, March 21, 2008

The Miraculous Quran (part 10 of 11): Scientific Miracles

By Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo

Scientific Miracles of the Quran
The “scientific miracles” of the Quran is a topic that many people are talking about nowadays, as the research in many fields continues. The source for this is probably the fact that there are literally hundreds of verses of the Quran in which God points to different aspects of this creation and encourages humans to reflect and learn from what they are seeing.
Shortly after I became Muslim, I became aware of Maurice Bucaille’s The Bible, the Quran and Science. For the sake of brevity, I wish to share with you the important conclusions that he reached:
The Quran follows on from the two Revelations that preceded it and is not only free from contradictions in its narrations, the sign of the various human manipulations to be found in the Gospels, but provides a quality all of its own for those who examine it objectively and in the light of science i.e. its complete agreement with modern scientific data. What is more, statements are to be found in it (as has been shown) that are connected with science: and yet it is unthinkable that a man of Muhammad's time could have been the author of them. Modern scientific knowledge therefore allows us to understand certain verses of the Quran which, until now, it has been impossible to interpret.
In view of the level of knowledge in Muhammad's day, it is inconceivable that many of the statements in the Quran which are connected with science could have been the work of a man. It is, moreover, perfectly legitimate, not only to regard the Quran as the expression of a Revelation, but also to award it a very special place, on account of the guarantee of authenticity it provides and the presence in it of scientific statements which, when studied today, appear as a challenge to explanation in human terms.[1]
In his discussion of the Quran, Bucaille emphasizes three important points:
a) First, there is nothing in the Quran that contradicts modern science;
b) second, there is no mention of some of the false beliefs that people had at that time of the Prophet Muhammad, may God praise him, concerning the creation, the universe and science in general; and,
c) three, there is no way that the Prophet Muhammad could have known at his time many of the facts alluded to in the Quran.
For the sake of brevity, though, it will be possible to discuss only one verse in some detail here demonstrating the “scientific miracles” of the Quran.[2]
Upon reading the Quran, one topic that catches many a reader’s eye is the discussion of the creation of the human within the womb of the mother. God says in the Quran:
“We created man from an extract of clay. Then We made him as a drop in a place of settlement, firmly fixed. Then We made the drop into an alaqah (leech, suspended thing, and blood clot), then We made the alaqah into mudghah (chewed-like substance)…” (Quran 23:12-14)
This brief passage is outstanding in its precise description of the actual process as well as its freedom from all of the incorrect theories and views that were prevalent at the time of Muhammad. As noted in the translation, the Arabic word alaqah can imply leech, suspended thing or blood clot. In reality, all of these terms are descriptive of the embryo. In fact, in its earliest stage, the embryo not only actually physically looks like a leech[3] but it “obtains nourishment from the blood of the mother, similar to the leech, which feeds on the blood of others.”[4] Alaqah, again, can also mean, “suspended thing,” which is also true of the embryo in this stage as it sits hanging in the womb of the mother.[5] Finally, alaqah can also mean blood clot. Again, the relationship to the actual physical process is miraculous. Ibrahim writes:
We find that the external appearance of the embryo and its sacs during the alaqah stage is similar to that of a blood clot. This is due to the presence of relatively large amounts of blood present in the embryo during this stage… Also, during this stage, the blood in the embryo does not circulate until the end of the third week. Thus, the embryo as this stage is like a blood clot.[6]
The verse states that the next stage is that of a mudghah or “chewed-like substance.” This is also an amazingly accurate description of the next embryonic stage. At this stage, the embryo develops somites at its back and these “somewhat resemble teeth marks in a chewed substance.”[7]
The kind of information described above has only been “discovered” and seen by humans since the development of powerful microscopes. Ibrahim notes that Hamm and Leeuwenhoek were the first to observe human sperm cells, in 1677 due to the help of an improved microscope.[8] This took place some 1000 years after the time of the Prophet Muhammad, may God praise him.
In fact, the details and the analysis of the Quranic verses related to embryology are so great that Keith Moore, Professor Emeritus of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Toronto, has included them in a special edition of his textbook The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology.[9] This is an interesting work that is comprised of Moore’s complete textbook with insertions describing some of the same topics from the point of view of the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet. After discussing advanced topics in embryology—most of which are the result of research in the past few decades—this textbook would then have pages inserted describing what the Quran has stated concerning the same issues. Can you imagine taking the best medical book from even just 200 years ago and doing something of this nature? It would be absurd and ludicrous as the material of the old textbook would be completely irrelevant. However, they could do this with the Quran, a book that does not even claim to be a medical textbook. Of course, it has a much stronger claim: it claims it is from God.
Commenting on the miraculous consistency between statements in the Quran and the historical development of Embryology, Dr. Moore stated in 1981, “It has been a great pleasure for me to help clarify statements in the Quran about human development. It is clear to me that these statements must have come to Muhammad from God, because almost all of this knowledge was not discovered until many centuries later. This proves to me that Muhammad must have been a messenger of God.”[10]
In fact, the Quran touches upon many sciences other than embryology, such as astronomy, physics, geography, geology, oceanography, biology, botany, zoology, medicine and physiology.[11] Thus, numerous other scientists from various fields have made similar conclusions concerning the Quran.[12]
How could it be that this illiterate man of some fourteen hundred years ago, the Prophet Muhammad, produced a book of this nature having so many scientific facts and details with perfect accuracy in it? Could it have been the case that this was all a coincidence and that the Prophet was an imposter? At least in my opinion, the answers to questions like these were very clear. Indeed, the claim that the Quran is not a revelation from God becomes more and more difficult to hold once one learns more about the Quran itself.
Incidentally, there are other historically related miraculous aspects of the Quran. For example, as opposed to the Bible, the Quran refers to the ruler at the time of Joseph as a “king” and never refers to him as a Pharaoh, although that term is used in the Bible in the story of Joseph, and the Quran uses that term in the story of Moses. It seems, from the best of what can be determined now, that Joseph lived among the Semitic Hyksos kings of Egypt and that his ruler was indeed not a Pharaoh.[13] The Quran also makes it clear that the body of the Pharaoh of the Exodus would be recovered and preserved.[14] Now, it is considered that all of the Pharaohs of that time have actually been preserved as mummies, something the Prophet also could not have known at that time. This has led two researchers to state:
If the Holy Quran was derived from the Bible [as some people falsely claim, then] those many Biblical errors would have passed into it. Why, for instance, would the Holy Quran describe the Israelites as a small nation when the Bible claims that they were 2-3 million, an enormously inflated number that no scholar would accept?... Why did the Holy Quran not go along the Biblical, and indeed logical belief that Pharaoh was swallowed by the sea, to state instead that Pharaoh’s “body” was rescued? And why would the Holy Quran say this about Pharaoh in particular but not about other people who were also destroyed by God?...[15]
Finally, Muslim scholars have noted that the particular miracle given to each prophet was related to issues that their people were most fascinated with. Thus, for example, during the time of Moses, sorcery was very popular, and one of his signs was directly related to outdoing the weak tricks of humans. During Jesus time, medicine was a popular issue and some of Jesus’ signs included healing the sick, raising the dead and so on. The Arabs at the time were very proud of their literary skills and, as shall be noted shortly, the Quran is an Arabic masterpiece beyond what they could match. However, the Prophet Muhammad was not sent only to the Arabs or only to the people of his century. In this day and age, science has practically become a “god” to replace the traditional God of the Judeo-Christian tradition. The Prophet Muhammad’s miracle is actually completely relevant to the field of science that captivates so many people today, once again indicating that the Prophet Muhammad was truly a prophet for all of humanity until the Day of Judgment.
[1] Maurice Bucaille, The Bible, the Quran and Science (Indianapolis, IN: American Trust Publications, 1978), pp. 251-252.
[2] For more details concerning the different stages of human development, the interested reader may also consult Keith L. Moore, Abdul-Majeed A. Zindani and Mustafa A. Ahmed, Quran and Modern Science: Correlation Studies (Bridgeview, IL: Islamic Academy for Scientific Research, 1990), pp. 15-47.
[3] See I. A. Ibrahim, p. 7, Figure 1.
[4] I. A. Ibrahim, p. 6.
[5] See I. A. Ibrahim, p. 7, Figure 2.
[6] Ibrahim, p. 8.
[7] Quoted by Ibrahim, p. 8, from Moore and Persaud, The Developing Human, 5th ed., p. 8. Also see Ibrahim’s figures on page 9.
[8] Ibrahim, pp. 8-10.
[9] See Keith L. Moore [along with Abdul-Majeed Azzindani], The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology [with Islamic Additions: Correlation Studies with Quran and Hadith] Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: Dar al-Qiblah for Islamic Literature, 1983, in conjunction with W. B. Saunders Company.
[10] Quoted in I. A. Ibrahim, A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam (Houston: Darussalam, 1997), p. 10.
[11] For examples concerning these different fields, see Zakir Naik, “The Quran and Modern Science: Compatible or Incompatible?”
[12] See I. A. Ibrahim, A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam (Houston: Darussalam, 1997), pp. 10ff. This work, in its entirety, is available at Ibrahim reviews and summarizes the conclusions of Moore and a number of others.
[13] For more details on this point, see Louay Fatoohi and Shetha al-Dargazelli, History Testifies to the Infallibility of the Quran: Early History of the Children of Israel (Delhi, India: Adam Publishers & Distributors, 1999), pp. 81-93.
[14] God says, “So this day We shall deliver your (dead) body (out from the sea) that you may be a sign to those who come after you! And verily, many among mankind are heedless of signs” (Yoonus 10:92). For more on this point, see Fatoohi and al-Dargazelli, pp. 141-145.
[15] Fatoohi and al-Dargazelli, pp. 247-248.
Previous: The Miraculous Quran (part 9 of 11): A Unique Prophecy

Next: The Miraculous Quran (part 11 of 11): A Challenge for Humanity
Parts of This Article
The Miraculous Quran (part 1 of 11): My Path to Islam
The Miraculous Quran (part 2 of 11): The Quran and Orientalists
The Miraculous Quran (part 3 of 11): A Sacred Scripture Must be From God
The Miraculous Quran (part 4 of 11): The Detailed Preservation of the Quran
The Miraculous Quran (part 5 of 11): The Excellence of its Teachings I
The Miraculous Quran (part 6 of 11): The Excellence of its Teachings II
The Miraculous Quran (part 7 of 11): Various Aspects of the Law
The Miraculous Quran (part 8 of 11): From Savages to Saints
The Miraculous Quran (part 9 of 11): A Unique Prophecy
The Miraculous Quran (part 10 of 11): Scientific Miracles
The Miraculous Quran (part 11 of 11): A Challenge for Humanity
View all parts together

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The American Government Thinks I am Al Mahdi Al Muntazer.

By: Maged Taman

To be honest with you I do not know if I am him or not. But I have a lot of evidences that the American Government thinks I am him. These are my points:

1- I came up with the Taman Health Plan that the Americans desperately need and no one was able to do that in 90 years. In fact it will be the best American policy in about 46 years. So no doubt they think I am a person guided by God.

2- In fact before I found the plan I sent outlines to the Newsweek asking them to have many experts to help me out. I offered myself to be alternative to Ben Ladin to the desperate and oppressed young Muslims.

3- This was like a prophecy since God after few months gave the plan.

4- The Americans spied on me without me knowing since they wanted to be sure I am not connected to any militant Islamic group. Which is easy to prove since I am not involved or joined any jihadi, party or political group all my life. I am a leader and follower of one group only, me. In the future may be people will follow me. I am sure thousands if not millions are reading my blog and waiting to join me in the right moment.

5- The American government tried to block my appearance since 2004. I could not get any interviews in media except from one brave woman Meria Heller. Since they think I am Al Mahdi Almuntazer. They tried to adapt my plans for freedom so I can stay home which I did but I found it fake plans.

6- Despite the great importance of my health plan they banned the media from talking about it. I became the most kept secret in America me and my plan. They are afraid that people will take me seriously and they know that I am against many of their freinds the Arab tyrants.

7- The American government went after me with dirty tricks and disturbed my life and tried to intimidate me. In fact they would try to make me live under fear and pressure so I leave USA. As you my suspect they may then ship me to one of the Arab tyrants if I to leave, watch the movie rendition.

8- But you may ask what I did to deserve that they think I could be Al Mahdi Al Muntazer which may threaten their corrupt allies as the King of Saudi and president of Egypt. I have no doubt that these tyrants were asking to have me shipped to them. Two things protected me my health plan and something called the collective conscience that people see some one good and standing alone for world powers they do not like to see him destroyed it kill the good thing inside them. He is like a hero in a movie they watch him and feel during the process they are changing with him. That is why the American government wants to trash me as a deceitful person.

9- You may ask so why they let your blog fly in the Internet. I honestly do not know they may be looking for to see me declare I am Al Mahdi and then they surprise people by trash they would create against me. This of course will kill the spirit of Muslims. From my previous experiences with them I have learnt their wickedness. For honesty many in the American government like me and feels I share their values.

10- If you have one person that is connected to the intelligence in one of the tyrant countries ask him about me he will tell that America in talks about me with the tyrants as a likely person to be El Mahdi.

11- Besides I have his physical appearance as the prophet described him.

11- My second move is the Muslims and Arabs to read more about Al Mahdi and learn how to follow his plans read my next blogs.

12- I do not want you to believe who I am I want you to read what I write and ask your heart who I am. If I am sure I am him I would declare it. It is possible that you would believe in me than I believe in myself.

Oil for War

American Conservative

After invading one of the most petroleum-rich countries on earth, the U.S. military is running on empty.

By Robert Bryce

Napoleon famously said that an army marches on its stomach. That may have been true for his 19th-century force. But the modern American military runs on jet fuel—and lots of it.
Today the average American G.I. in Iraq uses about 20.5 gallons of fuel every day, more than double the daily volume consumed by U.S. soldiers in Iraq in 2004. Thus, in order to secure the third-richest country on the planet, the U.S. military is burning enormous quantities of petroleum. And nearly every drop of that fuel is imported into Iraq. These massive fuel requirements—just over 3 million gallons per day for Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to the Pentagon’s Defense Energy Support Center—are a key reason for the soaring cost of the war effort. Controlling Iraq’s oil has historically been a vital factor in America’s involvement in Iraq and was always a crucial element of the Bush administration’s plans for the post-Saddam era. Of course, that’s not how the war was sold to the American people. A few months before the invasion, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld declared that the looming war had “nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil.” The war was necessary, its planners claimed, because Saddam Hussein supported terrorism and, left unchecked, he would unleash weapons of mass destruction on the West.Nevertheless, oil was the foremost strategic focus for the U.S. military in Iraq. The first objectives of the invading forces included the capture of key Iraqi oil terminals and oilfields. On March 20, 2003, Navy SEALs engaged in the first combat of the war when they launched a surprise invasion of the Mina al-Bakr and Khor al-Amaya oil loading terminals in the Persian Gulf. A few hours later, Marine Lt. Therral Childers became the first U.S. soldier to die in combat in the invasion when he was killed fighting for control of the Rumaylah oil field in southern Iraq. Oil was also the first objective when U.S. forces reached Baghdad on April 8. Although the National Library of Iraq, the National Archives, and the National Museum of Antiquities were all looted and in some cases burned, the oil ministry building was barely damaged. That’s because a detachment of American soldiers and a half-dozen assault vehicles were assigned to guard the ministry and its records. After all, the war’s architects had promised that oil money was going to rebuild Iraq after the U.S. military took control. In March 2003, Paul Wolfowitz told a Congressional panel, “The oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years. Now, there are a lot of claims on that money, but … we are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon.” As Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor explained in their 2006 book, Cobra II, “The Pentagon had promised that the reconstruction of Iraq would be ‘self-financing,’ and the preservation of Iraq’s oil wealth was the best-prepared and -resourced component of Washington’s postwar plan.”After the invasion, when inspectors failed to find any weapons of mass destruction, Bush and his supporters changed their story, claiming that the U.S. had invaded Iraq to spread democracy in the Middle East. When democracy failed to materialize, the justification for the invasion turned to oil. During an October 2006 press conference, Bush declared that the U.S. could not “tolerate a new terrorist state in the heart of the Middle East with large oil reserves that could be used to fund its radical ambitions or used to inflict economic damage on the West.” The U.S. military and the new Baghdad government have failed, however, to secure Iraq’s tattered oil sector. As A.F. Alhajji, energy economist and professor at Ohio Northern University, has said, “whoever controls Iraq’s oil, controls Iraq.” For the last five years, it’s never been exactly clear who controls Iraq’s oil. That said, the country’s leading industry is slowly increasing output. In January, daily production hit 2.4 million barrels per day, the highest level since the U.S. invasion. But America’s presence in Iraq isn’t making use of the local riches. Indeed, little, if any, Iraqi oil is being used by the American military. Instead, the bulk of the fuel needed by the U.S. military is being trucked in from the sprawling Mina Abdulla refinery complex, which lies a few dozen kilometers south of Kuwait City. In 2006 alone, the Defense Energy Support Center purchased $909.3 million in motor fuel from the state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation. In addition to the Kuwaiti fuel, the U.S. military is trucking in fuel from Turkey. But some of that Turkish fuel actually originates in refineries as far away as Greece. In 2007 alone, the U.S. military in Iraq burned more than 1.1 billion gallons of fuel. (American Armed Forces generally use a blend of jet fuel known as JP-8 to propel both aircraft and automobiles.) About 5,500 tanker trucks are involved in the Iraqi fuel-hauling effort. That fleet of trucks is enormously costly. In November 2006, a study produced by the U.S. Military Academy estimated that delivering one gallon of fuel to U.S. soldiers in Iraq cost American taxpayers $42—and that didn’t include the cost of the fuel itself. At that rate, each U.S. soldier in Iraq is costing $840 per day in fuel delivery costs, and the U.S. is spending $923 million per week on fuel-related logistics in order to keep 157,000 G.I.s in Iraq. Given that the Iraq War is now costing about $2.5 billion per week, petroleum costs alone currently account for about one-third of all U.S. military expenditure in Iraq.Soaring fuel costs are largely a product of the fact that U.S. forces have been forced to defend themselves against improvised explosive devices. The majority of American casualties in Iraq have been due to IED attacks, primarily on motor vehicles. The U.S. military has spent billions of dollars on electronic countermeasures to combat the deadly devices, but those countermeasures have largely failed. Instead, the troops have had to rely on old-fashioned hardened steel. Since the beginning of the war, the Pentagon has introduced numerous programs to add armor skins to its fleet of Humvees.But even the newest armored Humvees, which weigh about six tons, haven’t been enough to protect soldiers against the deadly explosives. Last year, Congress, the White House, and the Pentagon agreed on a four-year plan to spend about $20 billion on a fleet of 23,000 mine-resistant ambush protection vehicles or MRAPs. Last August, the Pentagon ordered 1,520 of the vehicles at a cost of $3.5 million each. The MRAPs mean even greater demand for fuel from U.S. troops in Iraq. An armored Humvee covers perhaps 8 miles per gallon of fuel. One version of the MRAP, the Maxxpro, weighs about 40,000 pounds, and according to a source within the military, gets just 3 miles per gallon. The increased demand for fuel for the MRAPs will come alongside the need for an entirely new set of tires, fan belts, windshields, alternators, and other gear.This swelling of the logistics train creates yet another problem for the military: an increase in supply trucks on the road, which demands yet more fuel and provides insurgents with a greater range of targets to attack.While the U.S. military chases its own fuel tail in Iraq, a country that sits atop 115 billion barrels of oil—about 9.5 percent of the world’s total—the global energy industry is racing forward with new alliances and deals, many of which would have been unthinkable before the invasion. Those alliances have far-reaching significance for America’s foreign and energy policy. The world’s oil market is no longer shaped by U.S. military power. Markets are trumping militarism. As one analyst put it recently, dollars are replacing “bullets as shapers of the geopolitical picture.”The importance of this point is obvious: as the effectiveness of militarism in controlling global energy trends is declining, the U.S. is spending billions of dollars a week in Mesopotamia on a war effort that—if John McCain is right—could drain the American treasury for decades to come. Meanwhile, America’s key rivals, China and Russia in particular, are using their influence to forge economic alliances that are realigning the global balance of power. They are creating a multi-polar world in which America’s influence will be substantially diminished.This realignment is particularly advantageous for major energy exporting countries such as Russia, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and of course, Iran. These states are taking advantage of higher energy prices caused by ever-increasing global energy demand and tightening supplies. And while the Bush administration has tried to diminish the influence of countries like Iran and Russia, there’s little, if anything, the U.S. can do to slow the trend. The myriad of energy exploration and production contracts that the Iranians have signed in recent months proves the point.Meanwhile, Russia’s state-controlled behemoth, Gazprom, has consolidated its hold on the European natural gas market. Add the massive financial power of the sovereign wealth funds of just three countries—Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, who hold a combined $1.4 trillion in assets—and the shift in power becomes even more apparent. Higher energy prices are the main difference between the first Iraq War and the second, says Jeff Dietert, a managing director at Simmons & Company International, a Houston-based investment banking firm that focuses on the energy sector. “It’s a completely different result from the first Iraq War, which was really a demonstration of military prowess. It was quick and decisive versus the current situation in Iraq, which is slow, expensive and drawn out.”The Kurds have been quick to exploit new opportunities in the fast-changing oil market. In direct defiance of the weak central government in Baghdad, the Kurdistan Regional Government has signed 15 oil exploration deals with 20 companies from 12 countries. Increasing oil production benefits the Kurds. It also helps Turkey, which stands to reap more revenue from the Kirkuk to Ceyhan pipeline, which will carry much of the new production. A Norwegian company, DNO ASA, has already built a pipeline from their Tawke oil field north of Mosul to an interconnection point immediately next to the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline.Geneva-based Addax Petroleum is another big player in Kurdistan. During a presentation at an oil and gas conference in Connecticut in September, the company’s chief financial officer, Michael Ebsary, said that Addax’s potential reserves in Kurdistan may be as large as 2.7 billion barrels of oil. (Addax’s partner in the project is a Genel Enerji, a subsidiary of the Cukorova Group, one of Turkey’s biggest conglomerates.) “Everyone sees the Kurdish region as an area that has to be developed. There’s tons of oil there,” Ebsary told me. “It has to get out.”The same can be said for Iranian oil and gas. One of the unintended consequences of the Iraq War has been the strengthening of Iran’s influence in the region. In 2007 alone, the Iranians cut deals—worth perhaps $50 billion over the next few decades—with companies from Britain, Spain, Brazil, China, Austria, Turkey, and Malaysia. In addition to those projects, the Iranian government is still negotiating the pricing formulas for the long discussed, much-delayed Peace Pipeline, the $7 billion, 1600-mile conduit to carry Iranian gas to Pakistan and India. In 2005, Susil Chandra Tripathi, the secretary of India’s ministry of petroleum and natural gas, promised that the deal would eventually go through. He told me that the U.S. may “want to isolate Iran, but that doesn’t mean Iran will quit producing crude oil and gas, or that we will stop buying it.”Another indication of the shift in power can be seen by looking at the new the Dubai Mercantile Exchange, which last June began trading the Oman Crude Oil Futures Contract. By getting into the energy futures business, Dubai is assuring that the crude oil coming out of the Persian Gulf has its own benchmark price—one that is not reliant on Western crude oil standards such as West Texas Intermediate and North Sea Brent. It also puts Dubai in competition with the traditional trading hubs in New York and London. In July 2006, Gary King, the CEO of the Dubai exchange, told me that the emergence of the exchange and the new futures contract indicates that the Persian Gulf is “the center of the world’s biggest hydrocarbon province. Most of the growth in oil consumption is in Asia-Pacific. So it’s a natural shift in gravity. Our timing is very opportune to be in that center of gravity.”This change cannot be stopped or ignored. In today’s multi-polar world, economic interests, not military force, predominate. “It used to be that the side with the most guns would win,” says G.I. Wilson, a recently retired Marine Corps colonel, who has written extensively on terrorism and asymmetric warfare and spent 15 months fighting in Iraq. Today, says Wilson, the side “with the most guns goes bankrupt.”Since World War II, America has held fast to the idea that controlling the oil flow out of the Persian Gulf must be assured at the point of a M-16 rifle. But the cost of that approach has been crippling. As the U.S. military pursues its occupation of Iraq—with the fuel costs approaching $1 billion per week—it’s obvious that the U.S. needs to rethink the assumption that secure energy sources depend on militarism. The emerging theme of the 21st-century energy business is the increasing power of markets. The U.S. can either adapt or continue hurtling down the road to bankruptcy.

Robert Bryce is the managing editor of Energy Tribune magazine. His third book, Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of Energy Independence, will be published on March 10.

Transcript: Barack Obama's Speech On Race


(CBS) The following are the remarks prepared for delivery by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama on March 18, 2008 in Philadelphia.
"We the people, in order to form a more perfect union." Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.
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The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations. Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution - a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time. And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part - through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time. This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign - to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together - unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction - towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren. This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story. I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners - an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible. It's a story that hasn't made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts - that out of many, we are truly one. Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans. This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either "too black" or "not black enough." We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well. And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn. On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it's based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike. I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed. But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam. As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all. Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth - by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS. In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity: "People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend's voice up into the rafters….And in that single note - hope! - I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones. Those stories - of survival, and freedom, and hope - became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shame about…memAnd this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years. I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe. These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love. Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias. But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America - to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality. The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through - a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American. Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven't fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today's black and white students. Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments - meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today's urban and rural communities. A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family, contributed to the erosion of black families - a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods - parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement - all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us. This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What's remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them. But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn't make it - those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations - those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician's own failings. And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races. In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience - as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time. Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren't always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism. Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze - a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns - this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding. This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy - particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own. But I have asserted a firm conviction - a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people - that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union. For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances - for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives - by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny. ories that all people might study and cherish - and with which we could start to rebuild." That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety - the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.
Ironically, this quintessentially American - and yes, conservative - notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright's sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change. The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country - a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen - is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope - the audacity to hope - for what we can and must achieve tomorrow. In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds - by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper. In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world's great religions demand - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother's keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister's keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well. For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle - as we did in the OJ trial - or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies. We can do that. But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change. That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, "Not this time." This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can't learn; that those kids who don't look like us are somebody else's problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time. This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don't have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together. This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you might take your job; it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit. This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should've been authorized and never should've been waged, and we want to talk about how we'll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned. I would not be running for President if I didn't believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation - the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election. There is one story in particularly that I'd like to leave you with today - a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King's birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta. There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there. And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that's when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom. She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat. She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too. Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother's problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn't. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice. Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they're supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who's been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he's there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, "I am here because of Ashley." "I'm here because of Ashley." By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children. But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.

Social Justice According to the Prophetic Paradigm:


By Imam Talib Abdur Rashid*

“And why should you not fight in the cause of Allâh, and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed) ? Men, women and children whose cry is : ‘Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from you one who will protect; and raise for us from you, one who will help.” (Al-Qur’ân 4:75)
Revolutionary Prophetic LeadersBeginning with the time of the Prophet Noah, Allâh raised up divinely appointed, authentic prophets and messengers, for the liberation of humanity from the oppression of men, and serve their Lord and Creator–the purpose for which they were created from the outset.
As Allâh has stated: “I have only created human beings and jinn that they might serve and worship Me. “
Examples of various systems of oppression, and their effect upon both society and those prophets who opposed them, would include but not be limited to:
The system of the leaders of the people of An-Nabî Nûh (Prophet Noah). This system was devised by a cabal of men who first instituted false, taghûti (i.e. idolatorous) worship . The late Sayyid Abul A’lâ Mawdûdi describes them as “a class of people representing the false gods they themselves had contrived.”
The system of the Thamûd People of the Prophet Sâlih which was promulgated by a organization of nine men characterized by Allâh in the Qur’ân (27:48) as yufsidûna fil ‘ard (i.e .purveyors of viciousness, corruption, perversion, and depravity in the land ).
The Egyptian Fir’aunic system, which was utilized to enslave, oppress and exploit the Children of Isra’îl. As Allâh states in His Book, “Surely Pharoah exalted himself in the land and divided its people, oppressing one party from among them by killing their sons and sparing their women. Surely he was of the mufsidîn (from the Arabic fasada, yufsidu, see above meaning).”
The system of religious corruption perpetrated by the Sadducees and Pharisees during the time of Jesus the Christ, Son of Mary as exercised within the territorial jurisdiction and civil government of the Roman empire.
The system of institutionalized disbelief of the People of Makka, centered upon the House of Allâh, as usurped by disbelievers, in the middle of a commercial center. This system further perpetrated slavery, misogyny, infanticide and other social evils, until all segments of society were liberated by Allâh’s Messenger Muhammad (may the Peace and Blessings of Allâh be upon him).
The Revolutionary MuhammadEven as a young man, the values of social justice were being inculcated in Muhammd (saws). As a youth of 15 years old he was a witness to a conflict between the Quraish and Banu Kinana tribes on one side, and the Qais ‘Ailan tribe on the other. The circumstances surrounding the conflict were so atrocious, that it is known as the “Sacrilegious War” or “Immoral War” in Arab history.
As Sai-ur-Rahmân Al-Mubârakapûri writes in his biography of The Messenger of Allâh (peace be upon him), “At the conclusion of these wars, when peace was restored, people felt the need for forming a confederacy at Makkah for suppressing violence and injustice, and vindicating the rights of the weak and the destitute.”
He goes on to say that shortly after his being raised to prophethood, Allâh’s Messenger (saws) stated of what is known as the Al-Fudûl Alliance or Confederacy, “I witnessed a confederacy in the house of ‘Abdullâh bin Jada’an. It was more appealing to me than herds of cattle. Even now in the period of Islâm I would respond positively to attending such a meeting if I were invited.”
Khadurri writes in The Islâmic Conception of Justice , “The Prophet Muhammad, who seems to have been endowed with a deep sense of justice, found widespread iniquity and oppression in the society in which he grew, and he sought to establish order and harmony within which a distinct standard of justice would be acknowledged. “As a Prophet, he naturally stressed religious values, but he was also a social reformer, and his decisions provided precedents on the strength of which the issues that were to arise in succeeding generations were resolved. The idea of justice was of particular interest to him, and he dealt with the problems of his day with uprightness, balance, and fairness.
“Nor was he indifferent to discrimination and inhuman acts, as exemplified in the legislation for the improvement of the status of women, emancipation of slaves (though slavery as a system was not abolished), and prohibition of infanticide and other unjust acts and practices.
“Therefore, modern voices echoing that of the Prophet Muhammad (May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him), should and must speak out against modern abuse and exploitation of the poor and disenfranchised , including women and children. They should decry acts of wanton, indiscriminate violence, and counsel self-proclaimed Mujâhid-dîn with the words of the Prophet Muhammad (saws):“Surely the first men who will be brought for judgement on the Resurrection Day will be one who was (well-known as) a martyr. He will be bought and be reminded of the favors on him which he will recognize. Then He (Allâh) will ask: ‘What did you do therein?’ “He (the one known as a martyr) will reply: ‘I fought for You until I was martyred.’ He (Allâh) will then retort: ‘You have spoken falsehood! Nay, you have fought in order to be called a hero, and surely you have been called thusly.’ Then the order (of judgement) will be passed against him (the one known as a martyr), and consequently he will be dragged down upon his face ‘til he will be thrown into Hell.” (narrated by Abû Hurayra, and authenticated by At-Tirmithi and An-Nasâ’i)
*Imam Al-Hajj Talib Abdur-Rashid is the religious and spiritual leader of The Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood in Harlem, New York City. He has been a Sunni Muslim since 1971, a member of the mosque since that time, and its imam since 1989.
Imam Talib ёAbdur-Rashid is also the Amir (leader) of the Harlem Shura, a coalition of seven Harlem mosques. He is the chairman of the Justice Committee of the Majlis Ash-Shura (Islamic Leadership Council) of New York, and Deputy Amir of The Muslim Alliance in North America. Further, Imam Talib (as he is popularly known) serves on or advises several interfaith bodies located in New York City. They include Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, A Partnership of Faith in New York City, The Temple of Understanding, The Interfaith Center of New York, The N.Y.C. Dept. of Education Chancellors Interfaith Advisory Committee to the NYC Dept. of Education, and the Bertram Beck Institute on Religion and Poverty.
His web site

The Prophet (sa) and You


By: Imam Suhaib D. Webb

A quick glimpse at our state could easily lead to despair and hopelessness. In fact, many of us are beleaguered at the dark waves of sadness and plight that have sweptthe Muslim nation away from its high goals and lofty morals. The Prophetic era seems light years away, and many of us are only left to imagine how things must have been.DonÕt despair! For indeed, at this very moment there exists between you and Allah's beloved (sa) a relationship that can only be called special."The Prophet is closer to the believers than their selves i" "Whoever sends blessing upon me, Allah will send ten blessing upon him. ii"The birth of the Prophet (sa) is the greatest day in human history. Qatadah Al-Ansari (ra) stated that the Prophet (sa) was asked about fasting on Monday and he replied:"It is the day on which I was born and on which I received the Divine Revelation.iii" Commenting on this Hafidh Ibn Rajab (ra) stated: "This hadith points out thedesirability of fasting on days to remind one of the favors of Allah (swt) that took place on that day. Thus, the greatest blessing of Allah upon His servants was theappearance of Muhammad (sa) and him being sent to them as their Prophet and Messenger.ivAllah (swt) says:
"Indeed, Allah favored the believers when He sent a Messenger from amongst themselves.v"There is no doubt, that for the vast majority of Muslims, this day is a very special day. Ahmed Shawqi (ra), attempting to express his happiness and joy for this day, was so over come by his love for the Prophet (sa) that the following lines rushed from his mouth (ra):"Guidance was born and the universe was illuminated. The mouth of that age vi smiled and magnified (Allah) vii.""Don't be sad nor fear."It is easy, especially during these days, to become depressed and saddened by the condition of Muslims the world over. However, let us take sometime and reflect upon what it means to be a follower of the Prophet (sa). In the Qur'an Allah (swt) calls upon the Prophet (sa) in many different places:"O Prophet.""O Messenger"O you wrapped in your mantle.""O covered one."However, if you look carefully you'll never find:"O Muhammad (sa)."But, if you look at the case of the other Messengers and Prophets of Allah you'll find something remarkable:
"And We said, 'O Adam.
"Oh Dawood."One may ask, why has Allah (swt) addressed the other Prophets and Messengers directly but not the Prophet (sa)? The great Mufasir Muhamad Al-Ameen Shinqiti (ra) stated that Allah (swt) did this to illustrate the status of the Prophet (sa) viii. Now imagine how lucky you are to be from the followers of the Prophet (sa)! What does it mean to be from His (sa) nation? And how lucky you are to say: "And I bear witness that Muhammad (sa) is the Messenger and Slave of Allah."Glad tidings! Glad tidings! Glad tidings!Sometimes we feel far from the Prophetic age and this is a great cause for sadness. It is disheartening to see many Muslims giving up, turning tail and drowning indepression and pessimism. However, our relation with the Prophet (sa) is alive and well. In fact, we, in many ways, are lucky for our relation with the Prophet (sa) canonly be called special .The Prophet (sa) said: "Glad tidings for the one who saw me (sa) and believed in me. And glad tidings to the one who didn't see me, yet believed in me.ix" However, inother narrations of the same hadith we find that our beloved (sa) said: "Glad tidings for the one who saw me (sa) and believed in me. And glad tidings to the one who didn'tsee me, yet believed in me. And glad tidings to the one who didn't see me, yet believed in me. And glad tidings to the one who didn't see me, yet believed in me.And glad tidings to the one who didn't see me, yet believed in me.x" Yet still, in another narration, we find "Glad tidings for the one who saw me (sa) and believed inme. And glad tidings to the one who didn't see me, yet believed in me. And glad tidings to the one who didn't see me, yet believed in me. And glad tidings to the onewho didn't see me, yet believed in me. And glad tidings to the one who didn't see me, yet believed in me. And glad tidings to the one who didn't see me, yet believed in me.And glad tidings to the one who didn't see me, yet believed in me. And glad tidings to the one who didn't see me, yet believed in me. And glad tidings to the one who didn'tsee me, yet believed in me.xi" It is well known amongst the scholars that the word, "Tuba" glad tidings means Paradise. In addition, it is well known that the Prophet (sa)would repeat things in order to show their importance.I wish I could see our brothersAbu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah (sa) came to a graveyard and said, 'Peace be upon you, abode of a believing people. Allah willing, we will join you. I wish that we could see our brothers.' They said, 'Are we not your brothers, Messenger of Allah?' He said, 'You are my Companions. My brothers are those who have not yet come.' They said, 'How can you know someone of your community who has not yet come, Messenger of Allah?' He said, 'Do you not think that if a man had horses with white blazes which were among dark black horses, that he would recognize his horses?' They said, 'Yes indeed. Messenger of Allah.' He said, 'They will come with white blazes from wudu' and I will precede them to the Basin.xii'" When you read this hadith you should experience a great sense of happiness and humility. The Prophet (sa) mentioned you to his companions and referred to you as his brothers. Take a few moments, make wudu, and ponder on its implications.You'll be with those you loveSometimes I close my eyes and ask myself: "What it would be like to look at the face of the Prophet (sa), to walk with him (sa), to talk with him (sa) and to face hiseyes, indeed pearls, and witness the intense glow of his countenance as it penetrates the deep dark caverns of my sin infested soul; illuminating it, bringing it warmth andcomfort? Can you imagine the Prophet's radiant face? Can you imagine the pleasure in seeing it? Can you imagine the glow from it?
Jabir bin Samurah (ra) said, "I saw him one night during a full moon. I looked at him. He was dressed in a red garment. I compared him with the moon and found that - for me - he was brighter than the moon."Ar-Rabi' bint Muawwidh (ra) said: "Had you seen him, you would have felt that the sun was shining."Longing to be with the Prophet (sa) is from one of the greatest signs of our faith. Once a companion came to the Prophet (sa) and stated that when he left the lessons of the Prophet (sa) and sat in his home he would began to cry. The Prophet (sa) inquired for what reason? The Companion (ra) said, "I realize that I'm with you now. But when I die and if I enter the Paradise, then I will not be with you because of your lofty status. Thus, I will be away from you and am overtaken by tears at the thought." The Prophet (sa) turned to him and said, "A person will be with those he loved.xiii" Bilal (ra) upon his death bed was overcome by tears. When asked if he was crying out of grief he stated, "Tomorrow! Tomorrow I shall meet Muhammad (sa) and his companions." Our mother Aiesha (ra) states: "When Abu Bakr was informed that he would be migrating with the Prophet (sa) to Medina he began to cry." She adds, "It was the first time I'd ever seen someone cry out of happiness.xiv" Once a man came to the Prophet (sa) and asked him about a person who loves others, but for some reason could never see them. The Prophet (sa) responded, "A person will be with whom he loves.xv"Thus, although we are far away from the Prophet's (sa) time. We are still close to him (sa) by our love. Indeed, our love for him (sa) burns in the depths of our heartscreating a great anxiousness to see Him.Excercising Your Relationship With The Prophet (Sa)1. Loving the Prophet:Know, may Allah bless you, that your sincere love for the Prophet (sa) will be a means of being with him (sa) at his fount and drinking from his (sa) noble hands. "Aperson will be with whom he loves." Anas bin Malik (ra) commented on this hadith by saying: "After Islam there is nothing I hold dearer then this. For I love the Prophet(sa)! I love Abu Bakr and Umar! And a person will be with who he loves! xvi"2. Learn his (sa) deen:We should, from this day forward, try our best to learn and practice a new Sunnah every month. As families we can make competitions between ourselves; seeing whoacted on the Sunnah the most each month. As Imam Ahmed said, "For every Sunnah practiced an innovation is destroyed."3. Sending Salwaat:We should send praises upon the Prophet and ask Allah's prayers for him. This is one of the keys to opening this special relationship. Every time you send salwaat upon theProphet the following happen:-Your salams are presented to Him (sa) and he responds to you -Allah will send ten blessings upon you-Allah will remove ten of your sins-Allah will raise your station ten fold xvi- iThus, by sending salawat upon the Prophet (sa), you enact that special relationship.Send salwat upon him now and ponder its implications.3. Latching on to his (sa) Sirah:Start a sirah circle in one's home, local MSA, or Masjid. It is said that one talks about what the heart covets. Thus, studying the life of the Prophet (sa) is a sign of one's true love for him. One of the best books available is Muhammad Man and Messenger by Adil Salahi.4. Reflect on his (sa) countenance:We should reflect on the face of the Prophet (sa). If he were to see the division amongst us that is tearing us apart, would he smile? Let us practice mercy on issueswhere differences are valid and avoid harsh words and work on what we agree according to our sacred law.5. Tauba:Repent to Allah and renew our commitment to His (swt) faith and our following of the Prophet (sa).6. The Mawlid:Is an important time to rekindle the love we have for the Prophet (sa). However, we should not engage in any actions, which violate our sacred law. For that reason IbnHajar (ra) stated: "The legal status of the mawlid is that it is a bid'a, which has not been transmitted on the authority of one of the pious ancestors from the (first) threecenturies. Despite this, it comprises both good things as well as the reverse. If one strives for good things in the practicing thereof and the opposite is evaded, it is a good innovation. If not, then not." Thus, we should avoid mixing between genders and other acts which violate the nature of our sacred law.7. Reflect:We should use these days to strengthen our will; removing depression and anxiety that we have for the Ummah. We should reflect on our lofty status and look towardsworking at improving our condition on all levels.I ask Allah to bless all of you and join us with the Prophet (sa) at his fount.Suhaib William Webb is an American-born convert to Islam. He currently lives in Cairo where he studies at Al-Azhar University with a primary focus on Islamic Law.
i Surah Al-Ahzab verse 6ii A sound hadithiii Related by Muslim (ra).iv Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali Lataif Al-M'arif pg. 98.v Surah Ali Imran Meaning the year that the Prophet (sa) was born smiled and gave thanks that it was chosen to be the time which he (sa) was born.vii Shawqiyat of Ahmed Shaqi under Nahjul Burda.viii See Adwaul Bayan by Sh. Shinquit (ra) under Tafsir Surah Hujrat.ix Related by Al-Suyuti in Jami Al-Saghir hadith # 5293.x Related by Al-Suyuti in Jami Al-Saghir hadith # 2035.xi Related by Al-Suyuti in Jami Al-Saghir hadith # 1035.xii Related by Muslim and Malik in Al-Muwata.xiii Hayat Sahaba under the chapter on faith.xiv The Life of Abu Bakr (ra) by Sh. Muhammed Al-Salabi (ha). Unfortunately it is only in Arabic in two volumes.xv Related by Al-Nawawi in Riyad Al-Salihin.xvi Sharh of Riyade Salhin by Sh. Bin Uthaimen (ra).xvii All of these points are based on sound hadith. For more info see jalaaul afhaam by Ibn Qayyim (ra)

Monday, March 17, 2008

My Mercy Prevails Over My Wrath


By Hala Salah

“The willingness to forgive and not to punish” is a definition frequently used for the word mercy, but what is mercy in Islam?
With Islam, mercy was given a deeper meaning that created a vital aspect in the life of every Muslim, which he is rewarded by God for showing.
God’s mercy, which is bestowed on all His creatures, is seen in everything we lay eyes on: in the sun that provides light and heat, and in the air and water that are essential for all the living.
An entire chapter in the Quran is named after God’s divine attribute Ar-Rahman or “The Most Gracious.” Also two of God’s attributes are derived from the word for mercy. They are Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim, which mean “The Most Gracious” and “The Most Merciful.” These two attributes are mentioned in the phrase recited at the beginning of 113 chapters of the Quran: “In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.” This phrase is a continuous reminder for the reader of God’s endless mercy and great bounties.
God assures us that whoever commits a sin will be forgiven if he repents and ceases this act, where He says what means:
“Your Lord hath inscribed for Himself (the rule of) mercy: verily, if any of you did evil in ignorance, and thereafter repented, and amend (his conduct), lo! He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” (Quran 6:54)
This verse is affirmed by a hadith qudsi, where God says what means: “My mercy prevails over My wrath.”
Reward for kindness and compassion was also assured by the Prophet Muhammad: “The merciful are shown mercy by the All-Merciful. Show mercy to those on earth, and He Who is in heaven will show mercy unto you” (As-Suyuti).
A Prophet’s Mercy
Concerning Prophet Muhammad’s mercy, it is best to mention first what God Himself has said about him:
“We have not sent thee save as a mercy to the worlds.” (Quran 21:107)
which assures that Islam is founded on mercy, and that God sent Prophet Muhammad, may the blessings and mercy of God be upon him, as mercy to all creatures with no exception.
God also says in the Quran what means:
“Now hath come to you an Apostle from amongst yourselves: it grieves him that ye should perish: ardently anxious is he over you: to the believers is he most kind and merciful” (Quran 9:128)
These verses were clearly manifested in the Prophet’s manners and dealings, for he bore a lot of hardships for the sake of conveying God’s message. The Prophet was also most gentle in guiding his people, and whenever they used to harm him he always asked God to pardon them for their ignorance and cruelty.
The Prophet’s Companions
When describing the Companions God says in the Quran what means:
“Muhammad is the Apostle of God; and those who are with him are strong against unbelievers, but compassionate amongst each other” (Quran 48:29).
Some people may think it obvious for Muhammad to be moral, because he is a prophet, but the Companions were ordinary people who devoted their lives to the obedience of God and His Prophet. For instance Abu Bakr As-Siddiq dedicated all his wealth for buying slaves from their brutal masters and then he set them free for the sake of God.
When once clarifying the right concept of mercy to his Companions, the Prophet said that it is not by one’s kindness to family and friends, but it is by showing mercy and compassion to the general public, whether you know them or not.
A “Little” Mercy
Some of the heartless pre-Islamic traditions were the offering of one’s child as sacrifice for deities and the burial of girls alive. These acts against children were strictly prohibited by the Quran and Prophetic tradition many times.
As for the Prophet’s mercy towards children, he was once leading the prayer and his grandsons, Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn, were still young boys playing and climbing over his back, so in the fear of hurting them if he should stand, the Prophet prolonged his prostration. Another time, the Prophet performed his prayer while carrying Umamah, his granddaughter.
This kindness of the Prophet was not only bestowed on his own children but also extended to children playing on the street. As soon as seeing the Prophet, they would run to him, and he would receive them all with a warm smile and open arms.
Even during prayer the Prophet’s innate kindness was clear, as he once said:
“(It happens that) I start the prayer intending to prolong it, but on hearing the cries of a child, I shorten the prayer because I know that the cries of the child will incite its mother’s passions” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
In many situations the Prophet taught us how children should be brought up in a kind and loving atmosphere, and that they should not be beaten, or hit across the face, to avoid their humiliation. When a man once saw the Prophet kissing his grandson, he was astonished at the Prophet’s leniency and said, “I have ten children but I have never kissed any one of them.” the Prophet replied, “He who does not show mercy, no mercy would be shown to him” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
Just a Stroke of Hair
When God mentioned orphans in the Quran He said what means:
“Therefore, treat not the orphans with harshness” (Quran 93:9)
In accordance with this verse came the manners of the Prophet towards orphans, for he said, “I and the person who looks after an orphan and provides for him, will be in Paradise like this,” putting his index and middle fingers together.
In order to make the orphan feel appreciated and that if he has lost the affection of his parents there are still people who are willing to love and care for him, the Prophet encouraged kindness by saying that a person is rewarded by good deeds for each hair he strokes on an orphan’s head.
The protection of the orphan’s property was clearly confirmed by God and His Prophet. For instance, God says what means:
“Those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, eat up a fire into their own bodies: they will soon be enduring a blazing fire!” (Quran 4:10)
A Prophetic saying also informs us that one of the seven most grievous sins is the devouring of the orphan’s property.
My Mercy Prevails Over My Wrath (part 2 of 2)

Could This Be War?
Mercy in Islam also extends to enemies, in times of war and peace, as Prophet Muhammad used to urge his Companions to maintain family ties with relatives who were still disbelievers by calling on them and giving them gifts.
As for times of war, God commands Muslims to grant refuge to enemies if they should ask for it, and forbids anyone to harm them. This is stated in the Quran, where God says what means:
“If one amongst the pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of God; and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge” (Quran 9:6)
As for the Prophet, he forbade his Companions to harm the elderly, injured, women, children, and people in places of worship. Also, destroying fields was forbidden. Defacing the corpses of enemies was strictly banned and giving them rapid burial was commanded out of respect.
The Prophet’s orders regarding captives were strictly obeyed by his Companions. In one of the stories about a battle related to us by a captive, he says that he was staying with a Muslim family after being captured. Whenever they had their meals, they used to give him preference by offering him bread while they would eat only dates.
When the Prophet, may the blessings and mercy of God be upon him, victoriously entered Makkah after defeating the Quraish, he approached them and asked, “How do you expect me to treat you?” They replied, “You are a noble brother and the son of a noble brother! We expect nothing but goodness from you.” Then the Prophet announced, “I speak to you in the same words as Yusuf (the Prophet Joseph) spoke unto his brothers: “No reproach on you this day, God will forgive you, He is the Most Merciful of the Merciful” (Quran 12:92). Go, for verily you are free.”
On this day, when tolerance and forgiveness were least expected, the Prophet set an example of mercy and forgiveness by releasing all the captives without ransom, and forgiving them for the persecution and brutal torture of the Muslims, which was continuous during the first 13 years of conveying the message of Islam.
All of God’s Creatures
Animals were not ignored and were given many rights in Islam. For instance, when the Prophet saw a donkey with a branded face, he said, “Have you not heard that I have cursed anyone who brands an animal on its face or who hits it on its face?” (Saheeh Muslim).
The Prophet once said that a woman was sent to Hell because of a cat that she imprisoned, neither feeding it nor setting it free to hunt for its own food. On the other hand, the Prophet said, a man went to Paradise for giving water to a dog in the desert that was panting out of thirst.
The Prophet forbade that knives should be sharpened in front of animals before slaughtering. In addition, the slaughtering of an animal before another was prohibited. This is clear in one of the Prophetic sayings: “God calls for mercy in everything, so be merciful when you kill and when you slaughter: sharpen your blade to relieve its pain” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari).
One of the Companions related this incident: When they were traveling with the Prophet, they found a bird with its young ones, so they took them from their mother. The bird came and started flapping its wings, so the Prophet asked, “Who has distressed this bird by taking its young? Return them to it at once” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari).
Animal rights were affirmed by the Prophet when he said that anyone who took a living thing as a target is cursed. Forcing animals to fight till one gores the other was also strictly banned, for animals have feelings and this would be definite torture for them.
The Islamic concept of mercy is holistic and stresses the interconnectedness of all of creation with itself and with the Creator. Mercy starts with God and is bestowed by Him to every living creature. Animals and humans alike show each other mercy, to live harmoniously with one another, and in turn, by showing this mercy, they themselves are shown even more mercy from God. This vision of Islam encourages the breaking down of barriers between peoples and is the underlying foundation upon which both life and civilization are built.

The Islamic and Christian views of Jesus: a comparison


The person of Jesus or Isa in Arabic (peace be upon him) is of great significance in both Islam and Christianity. However, there are differences in terms of beliefs about the nature and life occurrences of this noble Messenger.

Source of information about Jesus in Islam

Most of the Islamic information about Jesus is actually found in the Quran.
The Quran was revealed by God to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), and memorized and written down in his lifetime. Today, anyone who calls him or herself a Muslim believes in the complete authenticity of the Quran as the original revealed guidance from God.
Source of information about Jesus in Christianity
Christians take their information about Jesus from the Bible, which includes the Old and New Testaments.
These contain four biblical narratives covering the life and death of Jesus. They have been written, according to tradition, respectively by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They are placed at the beginning of the New Testament and comprise close to half of it.
Encyclopedia Britannica notes that none of the sources of his life and work can be traced to Jesus himself; he did not leave a single known written word. Also, there are no contemporary accounts written of his life and death. What can be established about the historical Jesus depends almost without exception on Christian traditions, especially on the material used in the composition of the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke, which reflect the outlook of the later church and its faith in Jesus.
Below are the views of Islam and Christianity based on primary source texts and core beliefs.


1. Do Muslims believe he was a Messenger of One God? YES
Belief in all of the Prophets and Messengers of God is a fundamental article of faith in Islam. Thus, believing in Prophets Adam, Jesus, Moses, and Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon them) is a requirement for anyone who calls him or herself a Muslim. A person claiming to be a Muslim who, for instance, denies the Messengership of Jesus, is not considered a Muslim.
The Quran says in reference to the status of Jesus as a Messenger:
"The Messiah (Jesus), son of Mary, was no more than a Messenger before whom many Messengers have passed away; and his mother adhered wholly to truthfulness, and they both ate food (as other mortals do). See how We make Our signs clear to them; and see where they are turning away!" (Quran 5:75).
2. Do Muslims believe he was born of a Virgin Mother? YES
Like Christians, Muslims believe Mary, Maria in Spanish, or Maryam as she is called in Arabic, was a chaste, virgin woman, who miraculously gave birth to Jesus.
"Relate in the Book the story of Mary, when she withdrew from her family, to a place in the East. She screened herself from them; then We sent to her Our spirit (angel Gabriel) and he appeared before her as a man in all respects. She said: I seek refuge from you in God Most Gracious (come not near) if you do fear God. He said: Nay, I am only a Messenger from your Lord, to announce to you the gift of a pure son. She said: How shall I have a son, when no man has ever touched me, and I am not unchaste? He said: So it will be, your Lord says: ‘That is easy for Me; and We wish to appoint him as a sign unto men and a Mercy from Us': It was a matter so decreed" (Quran 19:16-21).
3. Do Muslims believe Jesus had a miraculous birth? YES
The Quran says:
"She (Mary) said: ‘O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me.' He (God) said: ‘So (it will be) for God creates what He wills. When He has decreed something, He says to it only: ‘Be!'- and it is" (3:47).
It should also be noted about his birth that:
"Verily, the likeness of Jesus in God's Sight is the likeness of Adam. He (God) created him from dust, then (He) said to him: ‘Be!'-and he was" (Quran 3:59).
4. Do Muslims believe Jesus spoke in the cradle? YES
"Then she (Mary) pointed to him. They said: ‘How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?' He (Jesus) said: ‘Verily! I am a slave of God, He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet; " (19:29-30).
5. Do Muslims believe he performed miracles? YES
Muslims, like Christians believe Jesus performed miracles. But these were performed by the will and permission of God, Who has power and control over all things.
"Then will God say: ‘O Jesus the son of Mary! recount My favor to you and to your mother. Behold! I strengthened you with the Holy Spirit (the angel Gabriel) so that you did speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. Behold! I taught you the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel. And behold: you make out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My leave, and you breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by My leave, and you heal those born blind, and the lepers by My leave. And behold! you bring forth the dead by My leave. And behold! I did restrain the children of Israel from (violence to you) when you did show them the Clear Signs, and the unbelievers among them said: ‘This is nothing but evident magic' (5:110).
6. Do Muslims believe in the Trinity? NO
Muslims believe in the Absolute Oneness of God, Who is a Supreme Being free of human limitations, needs and wants. He has no partners in His Divinity. He is the Creator of everything and is completely separate from His creation.
God says in the Quran regarding the Trinity:
"People of the Book (Jews and Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, and attribute to God nothing except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was only a Messenger of God, and His command that He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in God and in His Messengers, and do not say: ‘God is a Trinity.' Give up this assertion; it would be better for you. God is indeed just One God. Far be it from His glory that He should have a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth. God is sufficient for a guardian" (Quran 4:171).
7. Do Muslims believe that Jesus was the son of God? NO
"Say: "God is Unique! God, the Source [of everything]. He has not fathered anyone nor was He fathered, and there is nothing comparable to Him!" (Quran 112:1-4).
The Quran also states:
"Such was Jesus, the son of Mary; it is a statement of truth, about which they vainly dispute. It is not befitting to the majesty of God, that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! When He determines a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be' and it is" (Quran 19:34-35).
8. Do Muslims believe Jesus was killed on the cross then resurrected? NO
"“They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but they thought they did.” (Quran 4:156) “God lifted him up to His presence. God is Almighty, All-Wise” (Quran 4:157) .


1. Do Christians believe Jesus was a human being and Messenger of God? YES & NO
With the exception of Unitarian Christians, who like all the early followers of Jesus, still do not believe in the Trinity, most Christians now believe in the Divinity of Jesus, which is connected to the belief in Trinity. They say he is the second member of the Triune God, the Son of the first part of the Triune God, and at the same time "fully" God in every respect.
2. Do Christians believe he was born of a Virgin Mother? YES
A chaste and pious human woman who gave birth to Jesus Christ, the second member of the Trinity, the Son of God, and at the same time "fully" God Almighty in every respect.
Christians believe however, that while she was a virgin, she was married to a man named Joseph (Bible: Matthew:1:18). According to Matthew 1:25, Joseph "kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus".
3. Do Christians believe he had a miraculous birth? YES
"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit" (Bible: Matthew 1:18)
4. Do Christians believe he performed miracles? YES
"And now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness, while thou stretches out thy hand to heal, and sign and wonders are performed through the name of thy holy servant Jesus (Bible: Acts 4:30).
Christians believe that Jesus performed these miracles because he was the Son of God as well as the incarnation of God.
5. Do Christians believe in the Trinity? YES
With the exception of the Unitarian Christians, who do not believe in the Divinity of Christ, the Trinity, according to the Catholic encyclopedia, is the term used for the central doctrine of the Christian religion. The belief is that in the unity of the Godhead there are Three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three Persons or beings are distinct from each another, while being similar in character: uncreated and omnipotent.
The First Vatican Council has explained the meaning to be attributed to the term mystery in theology. It lays down that a mystery is a truth which we are not merely incapable of discovering apart from Divine Revelation, but which, even when revealed, remains "hidden by the veil of faith and enveloped, so to speak, by a kind of darkness" (Const., "De fide. cath.", iv). The First Vatican Council further defined that the Christian Faith contains mysteries strictly so called (can. 4). All theologians admit that the doctrine of the Trinity is of the number of these. The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that of all revealed truths, this is the most impenetrable to reason.
6. Do Christians believe that Jesus was the son of God? YES
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (Bible: John 3:16).
However, it is interesting to note that the term "son of God" is used in other parts of the Bible to refer to Adam (Bible: Luke 3:38), Israel (Bible: Exodus 4:22) and David (Bible: Psalms 2:7) as well. The creatures of God are usually referred to in the Bible as children of God.
The role of Paul of Tarsus in shaping this belief and the belief in Trinity
The notion of Jesus as son of God is something that was established under the influence of Paul of Tarsus (originally named Saul), who had been an enemy of Jesus, but later changed course and joined the disciples after the departure of Jesus.
Later, however, he initiated a number of changes into early Christian teachings, in contradiction, for instance, to disciples like Barnabas, who believed in the Oneness of God and who had actually lived and met with Jesus.
Paul is considered by a number of Christian scholars to be the father of Christianity due to his additions of the following ideas:
that Jesus is the son of God,
the concept of Atonement,
the renunciation of the Law of the Torah.
Paul did these things in hopes of winning over the Gentiles (non-Jewish people). His letters are another of the primary sources of information on Jesus according to the Christian tradition.
The original followers of Prophet Jesus opposed these blatant misrepresentations of the message of Jesus. They struggled to reject the notion of the Divinity of Jesus for close to 200 years.
One person who was an original follower of Jesus was Barnabas. He was a Jew born in Cyrus and a successful preacher of the teachings of Jesus. Because of his closeness to Jesus, he was an important member of the small group of disciples in Jerusalem who had had gathered together following the disappearance of Jesus.
The question of Jesus's nature, origin and relationship with God was not raised amongst Barnabas and the small group of disciples. Jesus was considered a man miraculously endowed by God. Nothing in the words of Jesus or the events in his life led them to modify this view.
The Gospel of Barnabas was accepted as a Canonical Gospel in the Churches of Alexandria till 325 CE Iranaeus (130-200) wrote in support of pure monotheism and opposed Paul for injecting into Christianity doctrines of the pagan Roman religion and Platonic philosophy. He quoted extensively from the Gospel of Barnabas in support of his views. This indicates that the Gospel of Barnabas was in circulation in the first and second centuries of Christianity.
In 325 (CE), a council of Christian leaders met at Nicaea and made Paul's beliefs officially part of Christian doctrine. It also ordered that all original Gospels in Hebrew script which contradicted Paul's beliefs should be destroyed. An edict was issued that anyone in possession of these Gospels would be put to death.
The Gospel of Barnabas has miraculously survived though.
7. Do Christians believe he was killed on the cross? YES
This is a core Christian belief and it relates to the concept of atonement. According to this belief, Jesus died to save mankind from sin. However, this is not stated explicitly in the four gospels which form the primary source texts of Christianity. It is found, however, in Romans 6:8,9.
Christians believe Jesus was spat on, cut, humiliated, kicked, striped and finally hung up on the cross to endure a slow and painful death.
According, to Christian belief, the original sin of Adam and Eve of eating from the forbidden tree was so great that God could not forgive it by simply willing it, rather it was necessary to erase it with the blood of a sinless, innocent Jesus.
The four Gospels and the Epistles of St. Paul are the main sources of Christianity which discuss the Resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion. According to St. Matthew, Jesus appeared to the holy women, and again on a mountain in Galilee. Mark's Gospel tells a different story: Jesus was seen by Mary Magdalene, by the two disciples at Emmaus, and the Eleven before his Ascension into heaven.
Luke's Gospel says Jesus walked with the disciples to Emmaus, appeared to Peter and to the assembled disciples in Jerusalem. In John's Gospel, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, to the ten Apostles on Easter Sunday, to the Eleven a week later, and to seven disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.
Another account of the resurrection by St. Paul is found in Bible: Corinthians 15: 3-8.
According to Christian belief, Resurrection is a manifestation of God's justice, Who exalted Christ to a life of glory, as Christ had humbled himself unto death (Phil., 2: 8-9). This event also completes the mystery of Christian salvation and redemption. The death of Jesus frees believers from sin, and with his resurrection, he restores to them the most important privileges lost by sin (Bible: Romans 4:25).
More importantly, the belief in the resurrection of Jesus indicates Christian acknowledgment of Christ as the immortal God, the cause of believers' own resurrection (Bible: I Corinthians 4: 21; Phil., 3:20-21), as well as the model and the support of a new life of grace (Bible: Romans 4: 4-6; 9-11). MORE ON ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY The other Ansar: Companions of Prophet JesusJohn the Baptist: A Prophet of IslamMuslim-Christian Relations, The Good, the Bad For further study of a Muslim view of Jesus and Christianity read the following books:Jesus, Prophet of Islam by Muhammad 'Ata'ur-RahimFor Christ Sake by Ahmad Thomson and Muhammad 'Ata'ur-Rahim
For a unique Christian view of the Islamic contribution to the West read the following book:Islam and the Discovery of Freedom by Rose Wilder Lane