Sunday, February 28, 2010
A decade ago, Oldsmobile went. Last year, Pontiac. Saturn, Saab and Hummer were discontinued. A thousand GM dealerships shut down.
To those who grew up in a "GM family," where buying a Chrysler was like converting to Islam, what happened to GM was deeply saddening.
Yet the amputations had to be done - or GM would die.
And the same may be about to happen to the American Imperium.
Its birth can be traced to World War II, when America put 16 million men in uniform and sent millions across the seas to crush Nazi Germany and Japan. After V-E and V-J Day, the boys came home.
But with the Stalinization of half of Europe, the fall of China, and war in Korea came NATO and alliances with Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan and Australia that lasted through the Cold War.
In 1989, however, the Cold War ended dramatically with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the retirement of the Red Army from Europe, the break-up of the Soviet Union and Beijing's abandonment of world communist revolution.
Overnight, our world changed. But America did not change.
As Russia shed her alliances and China set out to capture America's markets, Uncle Sam soldiered on.
We clung to the old alliances and began to add new allies. NATO war guarantees were distributed like credit cards to member states of the old Warsaw Pact and former republics of the Soviet Union.
We invaded Panama and Haiti, smashed Iraq, liberated Kuwait, intervened in Somalia and Bosnia, bombed Serbia, and invaded Iraq again - and Afghanistan. Now we prepare for a new war - on Iran.
Author Lawrence Vance has inventoried America's warfare state.
We spend more on defense than the next 10 nations combined.
Our Navy exceeds in firepower the next 13 navies combined. We have 100,000 troops in Iraq, 100,000 in Afghanistan or headed there, 28,000 in Korea, over 35,000 in Japan and 50,000 in Germany. By the Department of Defense's "Base Structure Report," there are 716 U.S. bases in 38 countries.
Chalmers Johnson, who has written books on this subject, claims DOD is minimizing the empire. He discovered some 1,000 U.S. facilities, many of them secret and sensitive. And according to DOD's "Active Duty Military Personnel Strengths by Regional Area and by Country," U.S. troops are now stationed in 148 countries and 11 territories.
Estimated combined budgets for the Pentagon, two wars, foreign aid to allies, 16 intelligence agencies, scores of thousands of contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our new castle-embassies: $1 trillion a year.
While this worldwide archipelago of bases may have been necessary when we confronted a Sino-Soviet bloc spanning Eurasia from the Elbe to East China Sea, armed with thousands of nuclear weapons and driven by imperial ambition and ideological hatred of us, that is history now.
It is preposterous to argue that all these bases are essential to our security.Indeed, our military presence, our endless wars and our support of despotic regimes have made America, once the most admired of nations, almost everywhere resented and even hated.
Liquidation of this empire should have begun with the end of the Cold War. Now it is being forced upon us by the deficit-debt crisis. Like GM, we can't kick this can up the road any more, because we have come to the end of the road.
Republicans will fight new taxes. Democrats will fight to save social programs. Which leaves the American empire as the logical lead cow for the butcher's knife.
Indeed, how do conservatives justify borrowing hundreds of billions yearly from Europe, Japan and the Gulf states - to defend Europe, Japan and the Arab Gulf states? Is it not absurd to borrow hundreds of billion annually from China - to defend Asia from China? Is it not a symptom of senility to borrow from all over the world in order to defend that world?
In their Mount Vernon declaration of principles, conservatives called the Constitution their guiding star. But did not the author of that constitution, James Madison, warn us that wars are the death of republics?
Under Bush II, conservatives, spurning the wisdom of their fathers, let themselves be seduced, neo-conned into enlisting in a Wilsonian crusade that had as its declared utopian goal "ending tyranny in our world."
How could conservatives whose defining virtue is prudence and who pride themselves on following the lamp of experience have been taken into camp by the hustlers and hucksters of empire?
Yet, now that Barack Obama has embraced neo-socialism, Republicans are about to be given a second chance. And just as Rahm Emanuel said liberal Democrats should not let a financial crisis go to waste, but exploit it to ram through their agenda, the right should use the opportunity of the fiscal crisis to take an axe to the warfare state.
Ron Paul's victory at CPAC may be a sign the prodigal sons of the right are casting off the heresy of neoconservatism and coming home to first principles.
Patrick Buchanan is the author of the book "Churchill, Hitler and 'The Unnecessary War." To find out more about Patrick Buchanan, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.
The religion of Islam continued to spread all over the world from its first days for the good reasoning it provides:
1-The truth of Islam: though man has created to himself a religion even if he did not have one. Islam with all the miracles of the Quran stands as the truth. It is very exciting to like something very much and you find as well it is the truth.
2-God in Islam is one: Multiple Gods defy even the common sense. Every God may fight with the other or take his own creation away. I do not recall that humans choose to elect two presidents in the same time in one country.
3- The evil power in the world is a witness of existence of Satan who defies God: You see people are able to work with machines rather than working with one another. Animals fight for good reason mainly food. Man would create reasons to fight.
4- The messages from God by prophets. Who are the best of us.
5- The inspired message through angels or visions.
6- Doing the good and fighting the evil is a continuous daily process for Muslim.
7- Fear of God cause man continuously try to improve and create the righteous communities.
8- The ten commandments or major sins: make people less anxious so they would not get paranoid about sins.
9- Repentance, is like cleansing: Even prophets who do not or rarely sin repent. It is like an apology to God if you sinned or unaware of something he did not like you did. It always says that I can be better and I will continue always to improve. But repentance should not be a plan you decide to sin for years and then repent at certain time.
10- Prayers: In Islam you start the day by praying and end it by praying. It causes you to fear God and be a better person all times.
11- Fasting: it serves to make us feel the hunger of the poor, be more merciful and appreciative of the gifts of God.
12- Pilgrim: Muslims do not worship the Kupa. They pray at the Kupa it is a holy place like mount Sinai people do not worship the mountain but they remember its holy history. Pilgrim serves to unite Muslims. It make everyone feel the same like other Muslims. We all are equal, but the more righteous is the closet to God in Heaven.
13- Morality: teachings of the Quran and hadith contain all the moral code as little as how to clear the road if there is dirt in people way.
14- Moral government: Islam realized from early days that building a righteous communities would be best done through a group act and through the right structure of the government.
15-Humanity: Islam domination is not for love of domination but it is because of God's orders. Corruption, tyranny and immorality have been the characters of governments over the history. It is to guarantee good and dignified living to all people including non-Muslims. Islam in large part believe in a single family of one man and one woman. Muslims would like to have same prosperity to all families in the earth including non-Muslims.
16-Modernity: in Islam you can watch movies, opera and concerts. Entertainment is important but if we avoid sex, violence and Satanic temptations to destroy communities.
17- Individuality: people in Islam has the right to disbelieve and in their home they have the right to sin. In fact talking about the sex life of a person is prohibited in Islam except for rape and pedophilia. There is no Imam between you and God. A sincere person who fears God may be even better than an Imam in God's eyes. You do not confess to anyone. There is no middle man. God loves to have a relation one on one with each one of us.
By: Adil Nizamuddin Imran
According to the Quran, Prophet Muhammad's coming was foreshadowed by earlier prophets and their scriptures. Surah 7:157 states, "Those who follow the messenger, the unlettered prophet of whom they find written in their sources, in the Torah and the Gospel. He directs them to what is just and forbids them from evil. And he permits them wholesome things and forbids them filthy things. He removes their burden for them, and the yokes that were on them." This verse is explicitly clear that the earlier divine scriptures foretold the coming of the Prophet Muhammad. Let us highlight those passages in the Bible that refer to the coming of the prophet, Prophet Muhammad.
First, we read in John 1:19-21:
This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, "I'm not the Christ." They asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" And he said "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" And he answered, "No".
From this conversation between John the Baptist and Jewish priests, we learn that the Jews are awaiting the coming of three distinct people: the Christ, Elijah, and the Prophet. We now know that Jesus was the Christ and Messiah whom the Jews denied but the Muslims later affirmed. This leaves Elijah and the Prophet. With respect to Elijah, it is believed by Jews and some Christians that he has not yet returned but will do so to announce the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Thus, we need to account for The Prophet. Even today the Jews are still awaiting his arrival and the Christians believe Jesus Christ was the Prophet. This latter assertion of Christians is impossible because it is clear from John 1:21 as well as John 1:25 that "The Prophet" is a separate and distinct person from Elijah and the Christ. John 1:25 states "Why than are you, John the Baptist, baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?" The questioning priests were trying to identify whether John the Baptist was one of these three individuals. The knowledge of the coming of these three was known not only by Jewish priests but also ordinary Jews. This is supported by John 7:40-41 which clearly identifies the distinction that Jewish people are making with regard to Jesus of Nazareth. John 7:40-41 states, "Some of the people, therefore, when they heard these words were saying this certainly is the Prophet. Others were saying, 'This is the Christ.'" Hence, we can reasonably assert that the Prophet and the Christ are two separate and distinct men of God.
We know that Jesus Christ was a prophet, just as John the Baptist was. On the other hand, Muslims claim that Prophet Muhammad was the Prophet that Jews were asking about in the above passage. In fact, in the entire Quran, which is longer than both the Torah and the New Testament, the name "Muhammad" appears only four times. God addresses Prophet Muhammad as "the Prophet" or "the Messenger". However, the Jews came to deny his Prophet Hood when they learned that he was the descendant of Ishmael and a non-Jew. Obviously, this is not a valid reason to reject any prophet of God, let alone the Prophet. The fact is that the Jews believed then and even today that they alone are God's chosen people. If such a claim were true, what would have happened to all the Gentiles who had not received divine guidance, especially the descendants of Ishmael as they had a covenant with God? We as Muslims believe that it would be an act of injustice if God had exclusively sent guidance to Jews while neglecting other communities.
Moreover, it was prophesied that there would come a time when the prophet would be passed from Judah and the Children of Israel to another community.
In Isaiah 3:1-2, it states:
"For behold, the Lord God of hosts is going to remove from Jerusalem and Judah both supply and support, the whole supply of bread and the whole supply of water; the mighty man and the warrior, the judge and the prophet..."
This passage clearly asserts that God will take away from Judah and Jerusalem the Judge and the Prophet. Hence, if he (the Prophet) is to come, he must be from outside Jerusalem and not from the tribe of Judah. We know that Prophet Muhammad is from descendants of Ishmael and he was born in Mecca.
Another explicit validation that foreshadows the coming of Prophet Muhammad is found in Genesis 49:10. It states, "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the rulers staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples." Although the verse is very clear, let us provide some perspective. Before his death, Jacob gathered his twelve sons and told them what each one would face in the coming days. In this verse, Jacob addresses Judah who is the lawgiver which is confirmed in the statement "and Judah is my scepter or lawgiver" (Psalms 60:7). As such, in Genesis 49:10, Jacob informs Judah that in the future the scepter will pass from him to Shiloh. The question is: who is Shiloh?
Christians believe that Shiloh refers to Jesus Christ. However, this verse cannot be in reference to Christ because the scepter was to depart from Judah and go to Shiloh. Jesus is a direct descendant of Judah (Matthew 1), and therefore he cannot be Shiloh. In other words, Shiloh will possess the scepter and will be the lawgiver, and he will not be from Judah. Additionally, the notion that Jesus Christ was Shiloh and the lawgiver can be refuted when we consider that according to Christian doctrine Jesus did not produce any new law and nor did he claim to be the lawgiver. If we believe the testimony of both Apostles Peter and Paul, they were inspired to revoke the erstwhile Jewish law and taught that Christians no longer needed to abide by such doctrines. However, 49:10 makes complete sense when we consider Prophet Muhammad as Shiloh since he brought forth a new law in the Quran. This is consistent with Isaiah 3:1-2, whereby God will remove from Judah the judge and the prophet. Here, the judge and the prophet refer to the scepter or lawgiver.
These three passages Ð John 1:21, Genesis 49:10, and Isaiah 3:1 Ð validate the truthfulness of Prophet Muhammad as a prophet and messenger of God.
There is another passage that is quite comprehensive and it is found in Isaiah 46:10-11:
"Declaring the end from the beginning, from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying 'My purpose will be established and I will accomplish all My good pleasure'; Calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it." (Isaiah 46:10-11).
Some Old Testament commentaries, such as Wesley's Notes and Geneva Study Bible, refer to "the man of my purpose" as being Cyrus the Great. But this is erroneous because Cyrus is nowhere identified as a prophet or a man of God. Instead, it is believed he was an idol worshipper and an unbeliever. If God since the beginning had chosen him for a purpose, he would have needed to demonstrate that he was a faithful and obedient servant. Yet his primary contribution was to give the Jews permission to rebuild the Temple. King Solomon built the Temple in 957 BC and King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed it in 587 BC. Again, it was rebuilt by revered prophets such as Zachariah and Ezra in 515 BC with Cyrus' permission and, later in 40 BC; Herod the Great expanded the Temple.
Excerpted from the book "Christ Jesus, The Son Of Mary: A Muslim Perspective" by Adil Nizamuddin Imran.
Throughout the ages, the personality of Christ (Peace Be Upon Him) has been the center of much controversy. Some have called him a false prophet while some others worship him as God or son of God who came to earth in human form. Similar controversies linger around his mother, the Virgin Mary. Islam considers Christ as a mighty prophet of God, from among His near ones and his mother as an embodiment of piety, chastity and righteousness. Unfortunately, this high reverence of Islam to Christ and the Virgin Mary is often ignored by the mainstream western intelligentsia and largely unknown to the common western populace. This well researched book describes the status of Jesus in divine Islamic texts and will enrich the knowledge of its readers and enlighten them about the Islamic position on Christ Jesus - The Son of Mary.
Can Elijah be the one who declare the return of Jesus Christ like I am doing in website now. I do not know. When God would made his messages very clear the evil doers in the earth would try to find his messenger and give him a hell of a time. May be this time his message will not be very clear until he has followers everywhere who would stand to him in one point when God is ready to declare him publicly.
Friday, February 26, 2010
By Afis A. Oladosu
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent the Merciful
"MUHAMMAD, the Messenger of Allah, and those with him are strong against the unbelievers and compassionate to each other among themselves. When you see them, you will find them making Rakuh (bowing down) and Sajud (prostrate in prayers), and craving for the blessings from Allah and His good pleasure. They have the marks of Sajud (prostration) on their foreheads, the traces of their prostration. This is their similitude in the Torah; and their similitude in the Gospel; they are like the seed, which puts forth its sprout, then strengthens it, then becomes thick and stands firmly on its stem, delighting the sowers of the seed, so that through them He may enrage the unbelievers. Yet to those of them, who will believe and do good deeds, Allah has promised forgiveness and a great reward."(Qur'an 48:27-29).
HE was given a book which talks about astronomy and space exploration at a time the NASA and the powers that be in the U.S. had not been born. He was given a book, which talks about biology and reproduction at a time the human physiology was still unknown and uncharted.
He was given a book, which talks about geology and archaeology at a time oceanography and oil exploration had not occurred to humanity, he was given a book which talks about economics and the evil of round-tripping at a time stock market had not been conceived, he was given a book, which talks about numerology at a time algebra and the only formula I remember of the mathematics I was taught in my post-primary school- the almighty formula- had not been discovered.
Prophet Muhammad was taught to read a book, which is itself all about reading- a book which contains a hundred and fourteen chapters, six thousand six hundred sixty-six verses which were revealed both in Makkah and Madina. Whereas the Qur'an is known and seen today as a book, it is equally a book which is a seal of all revealed books.
Who was that man, Muhammad? He was a man who began his life as an orphan and ended his life as a state man, he was employed by the most wealthy of his era and soon became the consort, the husband of the most-sought after woman of his clime (Khadijah).
He was a bachelor who never engaged in "sampling" before he got married and having got married, he remained a faithful and a confidant to his wife. Muhammad was blessed with children, boys and girls, Muhammad was a man who buried all his children except one while he was alive! Each time he buried his child, he never asked the popular question among the faint at heart, why me?
Muhammad was married to women, who were blessed with the fruit of the womb, he was also, and ironically too, a man who was married to a woman, who was destined never to taste the joy of motherhood. To be married and be blessed with a child is a blessing; to be married and to be barren is not a curse!
Muhammad was a leader of a group who later became the leader of a community who later became the leader of a nation. In his person, we have insights into the elements, which make the ideal leader- that leader that the world is in acute need of today. He was just, compassionate, kind, deracinated, detribalised and gender-sensitive. He was contented with the little that today could offer; he never yearned to own billions of dollars and naira as is the sole concern of our politicians today- billions that generations yet unborn will never exhaust.
Prophet Muhammad knew the world for what it is - beautiful, alluring and fragile like the balloon. He knew and taught us that the person, who covets the world will never be satisfied with the world. He taught us that the world is like a fountain, which makes the greedy thirsty, but the more he sips from the world, the thirstier he becomes.
Anas b. Abi Malik served the Prophet Muhammad for ten years and for a decade was never rebuked for a moment nor did the Prophet ever spoke a harsh word to him. He says further: "I joined the service of the Prophet when I was eight; I served him for ten years. Not even for once did he rebuke me for any fault of mine"
Prophet Muhammad once had a she-camel named Adba which used to run faster than other camels. But one day, a Bedouin entered the city of Madinah and boasted that his camel is capable of beating that of the Prophet in a race. Soon the camels were set up against each other in a race and the Bedouin's camel eventually overtook that of the Prophet. The companions were sad over the incident. But the Prophet quickly intervened saying: "It is Allah who elevates in this world and then when He wants He lowers"
In other words, we have in his persona a prophet, who would never let a moment pass by without deriving meaning from it for humanity. This is because moments of life are meant to be lived, to be encoded with meaning, to be endowed with life; a life that nourishes, that enlivens, that brings humanity back to its origin.
He was once asked, who will be under the shade of Allah's throne on the day of resurrection?
He responded saying: the king who is just; the young person who remembers Allah often, the one who remembers Allah in seclusion and tears flows from their eyes; the one who loves to stay in the mosque, two people who love for the sake of Allah and parts for His sake, the man who a beautiful and dignified lady tries to sefuce in isolation and he declines and says, " I fear Allah," the one who gives in charity such that no one knows about it" Who was Muhammad? A friend to the Christians; a neighbour to the Jew.
He was once asked: Who is the most honourable person? He said, the most pious. They said again, we want to know the most honourable person. He said, Yusuf the prophet of Allah, who happened to be the son of the prophet of Allah and the son of a friend of Allah."
He was asked: Who is the most afflicted of all creatures of Allah? He said, "Prophets of Allah, then those, who are like them, then those who are like them. A man would be tested in accordance with his religious status."
In 610 he received the first revelation in the Quran. This occurred in a cave in Makkah where he had repaired to reflect over the circumstance of the people of his time, the circumstance of humanity today, young and old, who were steeped in ignorance, men and women, who neck-deep in debauchery, the rich and the poor, who were engaged in macabre dance of savagery and self-assured destruction.
Makkah before 610 A.D was like the modern cities of today, cities where women's nudity are paraded as if in shopping malls, where chastity is abhorred the same way the unbeliever detests death, where the injustice is the order of the day as is the situation in the contemporary world where justice has been manacled.
Prophet Muhammad took refuge in the cave and soon heard a call or command: Recite! (or read!) In the name of your Lord Who created- created man from clots of blood. Recite! Your Lord is the Most Gracious, who taught by the pen, taught man what he knew not. (96: 1-5)
The above verses speak about knowledge, how to acquire it and to whom knowledge should be dedicated. They establish the primacy of intellectualism over and above the abyss and the oddities of ignorance. The verses marked the beginning of a journey - ten years of prophethood calling in Makkah during which the Prophet together with those who heeded his call were subjected to the most harrowing of all treatments; thirteen years of sojourn in Madina during which Islam realized its full potentials.
When the Makkans fought him it was not because they detested his character, they fought him because he was calling them to higher values- values which would outlast the trappings and momentary pleasures of this world.
Who was Muhammad? He started his life as an employee and displayed much trust and confidence in the discharge of his duties. He taught humanity that in order to be a good leader one must begin by being a good follower.
He never embezzled the proceeds of the business, which he was mandated by Khadijah to discharge for her.
Millions never disappeared from the treasury the care of which he was saddled. He was known as a trustworthy person. The young and the old in Makkah used to put their properties and wealth under his watch.
He was kind, gentle and compassionate.
The biography of the Prophet of Islam images the history of Makkah- and that of Madina. Makkah was a place where Islam was oppressed. Madina was a space where Islam gained its freedom, Makkah was a place the Prophet was born, Madina was destined to be the place where he would be buried, Makkah was the laboratory in which the concept of martyrdom was experimented with. Madina was the terrain in which the idea of religious freedom and multiculturalism was operationalised.
When taken together, Makkah and Madina became the twin cities of Prophet Muhammad, the duality of the triple cities of Islam, the third being Jerusalem in Palestine. When taken together, Makkah and Madina became for the Prophet what it has become for Muslims and forever too: cities where humanity is taught how to behave, first outside power and second, inside power, cities where men are made not only by virtue of the action they took but equally by serving as witnesses, and active ones for that matter, to others in action.
Prophet Muhammad left this world without an estate. No road was named after him. You get Madina today and you would not hear of a stadium named after him. You get to Makkah today and you would not hear about a hospital named after him. But Muhammad lives on - in the minds of billions of Moslems, but Muhammad lives on in the books written by his followers and traducers. His name is mentioned at least five times everyday, on the mountains and in the desert, on the oceans and on the land. He left behind a religion which, when its adherents are conquered, usually conquer the conqueror.
George Bernard Shaw says, "if any religion had the chance of ruling over England, nay Europe within the next hundred years, it could be Islam."
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By: Javeed Akhter
Traditional scholarship's divides Prophet Muhammad's life into Makkan and Madinahn phases. This is chronologically valid and represents the two broad aspects of his life before and after the watershed event of the Migration. It is historically important and marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar. Additionally I believe Muhammad's struggle can be naturally divided into seven phases. Each phase brings forth a different aspect of his personality and highlights a different facet of his mission. Studying the Messenger's mission for its various phases and analyzing its internal dynamics is important as it gives the narrative relevance for today. Since his life is better documented than the lives of other prophets and leaders of major world religions, it is possible to build this analysis on a historical foundation.
The Search for Light in a Period of Darkness:
The Seeker of TruthAs his biography (Seera) is recorded we find Prophet Muhammad pondering over societal ills for years. The society he was born in was in a state of moral, religious, economic and social chaos. It is difficult to resist drawing analogies between the seventh century world and the state of the human morality in today's world at the beginning of the new millennium. The nuclear man-woman two-parent family, as a core unit of society has eroded seriously in the West. Brazen sexual exploitation in the media is commonplace and illicit sex condoned and even accepted. Violence at home, against women, children, and violence in the streets, is frightfully routine. Substance abuse is widespread, with United States as the largest consumer of drugs in the world. Alcoholism is rampant, especially among college students, with only feeble attempts being made to address the problem. African- Americans have been liberated as slaves for a century and a half, yet many are still trapped in an unending cycle of poverty and discrimination, which is in a way a form of economic slavery. Because of a system that allows unrestrained growth of wealth without encouraging proper redistribution, economic disparities and injustices continue to grow at an alarming rate. There are many excellent characteristics in Western societies, especially in the US that include the freedom of thought, speech and assembly, a tolerant attitude toward eccentricities in human nature and an ambition to be a just and compassionate society. These qualities of the ordinary American however are not always reflected in the policy makers and political leaders.The unraveling of the moral fabric in today's society must weigh heavily on the minds of individuals with insight. They can draw personal solace and inspiration from the Prophet's life. The Arab tribal society of the Seventh century, whose structure was based on greed, debauchery, and violence, was changed in a very short time, by the Prophet, into a society with one of the highest moral standards in history. Compassion, humility, devotion to God and egalitarianism replaced the old well-entrenched tribal attitudes of pride in wealth, family and class and self-centered behavior. Women, for the first time in history, had rights and dignity, and the vulnerable and weak sections of the society were protected. Sexuality was removed from public prurience and became private and wholesome. Wealth was re-circulated so that even the poorest segments of the society were infused with energy and indigence became nearly extinct.
The Warner and Exhorter
During one his meditative trips to a cave near Makkah, Prophet Muhammad receives the revelation. Divine revelation is the reaffirmation of the fact that celestial knowledge is essential in guiding the inherently limited human intellect. The profundity of this realization that he is the recipient of this divine revelation and the enormity of the task ahead overawes him. Initially he shares the message only with his closest family and a few loyal supporters. It is both fascinating and revealing that even the individual who would later be rated as the most influential man in human history had these initial periods of doubt and uncertainty about his mission. It was the reassurance from the Quran and the confidence and support of his wife Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her), and his close companions which provided him the support he needs-surely a lesson for us lesser mortals!
The Stoic Optimist
The next facet of his life is of bringing about proactive change by inviting people (Dawa) to Islam. With it comes the inevitable hostility of the entrenched powers in the society. Change is always threatening, and the greater the change, the more threatening it is. This would be true of the change against any established system of practices, whether it be economic, social or behavioral. It would also be true for change in personal behavior like wearing immodest clothing, promiscuity, and consumption of intoxicants. Changing attitudes that valued pride in wealth and country or class and color of the skin over all else would also be difficult. Not surprisingly the struggle for change becomes life threatening. Muhammad (Peace be upon him) had to lay his life on the line and on several occasions the nascent Muslim community faced the possibility of total extinction. Fortitude in the face of adversity is the salient feature of this phase. The patience and stoicism Muhammad displays during this phase has been a source of strength to many a Muslim who has found himself beleaguered by apparently hopeless circumstances
The Pluralistic Leader
The Migration, which marks the beginning of the next phase, involves careful planning and meticulous execution. He demonstrates that self-help and reliance on Allah go together and are both essential for success. With his nomination by the community in Madinah to a position of leadership, he shows another facet of his personality: the capacity to create a truly pluralistic society with equity and dignity for all religious and ethnic groups. In a very short period after the Migration to Madinah, Muhammad proves he is capable of uniting various factions and setting exemplary standards of cooperation between them. He makes a seamless switch from being a person under constant persecution to a leader with a large administrative and judicial responsibility. The "Covenant (Constitution) of Madinah" that lays out the rules of living in a pluralistic society is a document that needs to be studied carefully and implemented to the fullest extent in today's inescapably multi-religious and multi-cultural world.
The Courageous Yet Reluctant Warrior
After a brief respite, his mission is consumed by the need to fight wars of survival. These three wars in four years, Badr, Uhad and Ahzab, besides posing a physical threat, must have been extremely distracting and demanding of his time and energy. Yet the work of building the community goes on. It is important to remember that even though faced with very aggressive proponents the Prophet and his followers never initiated or instigated any wars. Muhammad and the Muslims engaged in these battles with great discipline, avoiding injury to the innocent and using only the minimum force needed. Women, children and non-combatants were not to be harmed. When the enemy stopped fighting, he was to be given immediate sanctuary. Striking a blow in anger, even in battle, was prohibited. He uses innovative strategies in the battles, which include the use of the trench as a defense. During the digging of the trench he is an active participant. He consults frequently (Shura) with his companions and follows the majority opinion (Ijma'), even when it sometimes goes against his own judgment.
The Statesman Par Excellence and Teacher
During the next phase, he shows the capacity to compromise and demonstrates the foresight and wisdom to realize that peace, even at seemingly unfavorable terms, is better than hostility. The "Treaty of Hudaybia" also needs to be studied and emulated by all who negotiate with their opponents. The peace dividend, following this treaty with the Quraysh, is huge and results in an exponential increase in the number of Muslims.This also allows the building of a model and just society that functions in a coherent manner. Wealth is allowed to be accumulated but has to be circulated fairly into even the tiniest capillaries of the community's economic system. It is an egalitarian society with equity and justice for all, governed by mutual consultation, equality before the law and protection of its most vulnerable members, women, children, orphans, indigents and slaves. As illustrated by many incidents from this phase of his life, the Prophet proves to be an exemplary statesman. He mediates disputes, defuses potentially explosive situations with ease, allowing the parties to the conflict to walk away as friends and allies. He is unafraid to take risks but is never reckless and compromises for the sake of peace. His emissaries to other nations bring with them a message of cooperation seeking common ground. When he gives a pledge, he always keeps it. If the other party breaks the pledge, he does not flinch from measures that are appropriate to maintain the sanctity of the pledge.
The Compassionate Ruler and Spiritual Leader.
The final phase begins with the conquest of Makkah, which is a demonstration of meticulous planning and the use of overwhelming force to achieve a victory with practically no loss of life on either side of the battle front. The stunning magnanimity and humility shown during victory by Muhammad and his companions is unmatched in history. He is humble in victory, compassionate, and forgiving to even his most intractable opponents.The final sermon consolidates the social, economic, and moral changes that have been brought about in the society. It is time to prepare for the end.The anatomy of the mission, its growth and evolution in some ways parallels the various stages of human life itself. These various phases reflect not only the growing sophistication of the message but also the increasing maturity of the audience to whom the message is directed. The audience grows in its understanding of what it would take to bear the burden of passing on the message to posterity. The Prophet's mission in its most fundamental analysis was to interpret and spread the Quranic ideology. This Quran centered spirituality remains the constant theme through all of the phases of his life. The Quran says about him "Indeed there is for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern" (Quran 33:21). His wife Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) calls him the living embodiment of the Quran. It is this complementary bequest of the Quran and Sunna that is our special blessing. Over time, many differences based on dogma, politics, personality cults and egos have emerged amongst the followers of Islam. In spite of many heterodox sects, the core messages of Quran, and its realization in the life of the Prophet are alive and potent, and continue to provide spiritual solace, intellectual satisfaction and societal discipline to many making Islam the fastest growing religion in the world.
Javeed Akhter, is the Executive Director of the Chicago based International Strategy and Policy Institute and he is the author of the book "The seven phases of Prophet Muhammad's Life,"
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Thursday, February 18, 2010
The Story of Moses (part 1 of 10): Who is Moses?
By Aisha Stacey (© 2010 IslamReligion.com)
In both Judaism and Christianity Moses is a central figure. He is the man from the Old Testament most mentioned in the New Testament, he led the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt, communicated with God and received the Ten Commandments. Moses is known as both a religious leader and a lawgiver.
In Islam, Moses is loved and respected; he is both a Prophet and a Messenger. God mentions him more than 120 times, and his story ranges across several chapters. It is the longest and most detailed story of a prophet in the Quran and is discussed in elaborate detail.
The word Prophet (Nabi in Arabic) is derived from the word Naba, meaning news. God’s message is revealed and the Prophet spreads the news amongst his people. A Messenger, on the other hand, comes with a specific mission, usually to convey a new ordainment from God. Every Messenger is a Prophet, but not every Prophet, is a Messenger.
Islam teaches that all prophets came to their people with the same proclamation, “O my people, worship God, you have no other God but Him”. (Quran 11:50). Moses called the children of Israel to worship God alone and he laid down the laws prescribed in the Torah.
“Verily, We did send down the Torah to Moses, therein was guidance and light, by which the Prophets, who submitted themselves to God's Will, judged the Jews. And the rabbis and the priests too judged the Jews by the Torah for to them was entrusted the protection of God's Book, and they were witnesses thereto.” (Quran 5:44)
Quran is a book of guidance for all of humankind. It is not a history book; however, it does contain historical information. God asks us to reflect and contemplate on the stories of the Prophets in order that we may learn from their trials, tribulations, and triumphs. Moses’ story contains many lessons for humankind. God says that the account of Moses and Pharaoh in Quran is the truth. It is a story of political intrigue and of oppression that knew no bounds.
“We recite to you some of the news of Moses and Pharaoh in truth, for a people who believe. Verily, Pharaoh exalted himself in the land and made its people sects, weakening (oppressing) a group (i.e. Children of Israel) among them; killing their sons, and letting their females live. Verily, he was of those who commit great sins and crimes, oppressors, tyrant.” (Quran 28:3&4)
Moses was born into one of the most politically charged times in history. The Pharaoh of Egypt was the dominant power figure in the land. He was so incredibly powerful that he referred to himself as a god and nobody was inclined or able to dispute this. He said, “I am your lord, most high”, (Quran 79:24)
Pharaoh effortlessly exerted his authority and influence over all the people in Egypt. He used the strategy of divide and conquer. He set up class distinctions, divided the people into groups and tribes, and set them against one another. The Jews, the children of Israel, were put at the lowest level of Egyptian society. They were the slaves and servants. Moses’ family was from amongst the children of Israel.
Egypt at the time was the known world’s superpower. The ultimate power rested in the hands of very few. Pharaoh and his trusted ministers directed matters as if lives of the population were of little or no consequence. The political situation was in some ways similar to the political world of the 21st century. In a time when the young people of the world are used as cannon fodder for the political and military games of the most powerful, the story of Moses is particularly pertinent.
According to Islamic scholar Ibn Kathir the children of Israel talked vaguely about one of their nation’s sons arsing to wrest the throne of Egypt from Pharaoh. Perhaps it was just a persistent daydream from an oppressed people, or even an ancient prophecy but the story of Moses begins here. A yearning for freedom coupled with a tyrannical king’s dream.
The people of Egypt were influenced by dreams and the interpretation of dreams. Dreams featured prominently in the story of prophet Joseph and once again, in the story of Moses the fate of the children of Israel is affected by a dream. Pharaoh dreams that a child from the children of Israel grows to manhood and seizes his throne.
True to character, Pharaoh reacts arrogantly and gives the order that all male children born to the children of Israel be killed. His ministers however perceive that this would lead to the complete annihilation of the children of Israel and economic ruin for Egypt. How, they ask, would the empire function without slaves and servants? The order is changed; the male children are killed in one year but spared in the next.
Pharaoh becomes so fanatical he sends spies or security agents to seek out pregnant women. If any woman gives birth to a male child, he is immediately put to death. When Moses’ mother becomes pregnant with the child destined to lead the children of Israel out of bondage, she conceals her pregnancy. However, God wished to do a favour to those who were weak and oppressed, and pharaoh’s plans are thwarted.
“And We wished to do a favour to those who were weak (and oppressed) in the land, and to make them rulers and to make them the inheritors, And to establish them in the land, and We let Pharaoh and Haman (Egypt’s Chief Minister) and their hosts receive from them that which they feared.” (Quran 28:5&6)
The scene is set, and the child is born. The winds of change begin to blow and God demonstrates that humans may plan and scheme but He Alone is the best of planners.
The Story of Moses (part 2 of 10): Trust in God
There are lessons for humankind throughout the story of Moses, which are not only learnt after his prophethood; rather, they are found even when he was a newborn. His righteous mother’s behavior gives us numerous lessons that are relevant even today. Put your trust in God!
Moses was born in a year in which the sons of the Children of Israel were put to death the moment they were born. Imagine the sense of fear that permeated every aspect of life under such conditions. Pregnancy was not an event to be celebrated and cherished but a source of fear and insecurity.
Security guards roamed the streets and invaded homes searching for pregnant women, therefore Moses’ mother concealed her pregnancy. Imagine the conditions under which she gave birth: fearful, silent, possibly shrouded in darkness. Was she surrounded by women or alone? Did her husband hold her hand praying that she did not cry out revealing herself to the neighbours or guards?
Whatever the conditions, Moses was born. A boy. His parents’ heart must have constricted with joy and fear simultaneously. What were they to do now, how would they conceal a newborn baby? Moses’ mother was a righteous woman, pious and God fearing, therefore in her hour of need she turned to God and He inspired her next actions.
“And We inspired the mother of Moses saying, suckle him, but when you fear for him, then cast him into the river and fear not, nor grieve. Verily! We shall bring him back to you, and shall make him one of (Our) Messengers.” (Quran 28:2-7).
Moses’ mother has just spent the last months concealing her pregnancy for fear that her child would be put to death, now as she holds him to her breast God inspires her to cast him into the river. Not a gentle stream but the Nile River, a huge powerful river with a strong current. Her initial reaction must have been that such an action would be condemning him to certain death.
Moses’ mother put her trust in God. “Do not fear and do not grieve, for We will bring him back to you.” She made a waterproof basket, placed her tiny son inside, and cast him into the river. Ibn Kathir narrates that as the basket touched the water the raging current became calm and gentle, sweeping the basket silently downstream. Moses’ sister was instructed by her mother to slip silently through the reeds and follow the basket on its journey.
The basket with its precious cargo courses down the Nile River, passing houses, boats, and people, unnoticed until it stops at Pharaoh’s palace. Moses’ sister watches in fear, as someone from Pharaoh’s household removes the basket from the river. Moses was cast into the river to escape certain death and now his resting place is the palace of Pharaoh. This is surely too much for a mother to bear, however events about to unfold will demonstrate that the promise of God is true.
“...And whosoever fears God and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in God, then He will suffice him. Verily, God will accomplish his purpose. Indeed God has set a measure for all things.” (Quran 65:2-3)
Baby Moses was taken to Asiya, the wife of Pharaoh. Asiya, in contrast to her arrogant, proud husband was a righteous, merciful woman. God opened her heart and Asiya looked down up on the tiny baby and felt overcome by her love for him. The royal couple were unable to conceive a child and this tiny baby awakened her maternal instincts. Asiya clutched him to her chest and asked her husband to accept the child into family.
Possibly, against his better judgement Pharaoh accepted the child, who was part of God’s plan to bring down the royal house. Far from abandoning him, God set Moses up as a royal son of Egypt, he provided him with the strongest human support in the land. Asiya and Pharaoh now had a son, who was now protected by the very person who had sought to kill him.
“Then the household of Pharaoh picked him up, that he might become for them an enemy and a cause of grief. Verily! Pharaoh, Haman, and their hosts were sinners. And the wife of Pharaoh said; ‘A comfort of the eye for me and for you. Kill him not, perhaps he maybe of a benefit to us, or we may adopt him as a son.’ And they perceived not (the result of that).” (Quran 28:8-9)
Asiya summoned wet nurses to the palace, but the tiny child refused to suckle. This was a cause of great distress; in those days there were no baby formulas or supplements to offer the child. At this stage the royal palace was in turmoil, the women of the household were fussing over Asiya and her new baby therefore no one noticed the presence of Moses’ sister amongst the servants. She summoned all her courage and stepped forward offering a solution. She said she knew of a woman who would suckle the child affectionately. Why would the royal household take the advice of an unknown child, if not to fulfil God’s plan. Moses’ sister was ordered to rush and fetch the woman.
“And We had already forbidden (other) foster suckling mothers for him, until she (his sister came up and) said: "Shall I direct you to a household who will rear him for you, and sincerely they will look after him in a good manner?” (Quran 28:12)
Moses’ mother was in her home. Was she pacing, or weeping silently? We do not know, but God tells us that her heart was empty and that she was about to reveal herself. Was she considering dashing down to the river and searching frantically through the reeds? God relieved her of her torment when her daughter rushed into the house breathlessly relating the story of what had happened to Moses.
Mother and daughter lost no time returning to the palace. When Moses was handed to his real mother, he settled immediately and began to suckle. According to Ibn Kathir, the household, including Pharaoh himself, was astonished. Pharaoh asked the woman who she was and she replied, "I am a woman of sweet milk and sweet smell, and no child refuses me." Pharaoh accepted this answer, and thus Moses was returned to the arms of his mother and raised in the palace as a prince of Egypt.
“So did We restore him to his mother, that she might be delighted, and that she might not grieve, and that she might know that the Promise of God is true. But most of them know not.” (Quran 28:13)
The Story of Moses (part 3 of 10): Moses flees Egypt
Description: God replaces weakness with strength.
Chapter 28 of the Quran is named, ‘The Narration’, the first 45 verses focus solely on the story of Moses. It is from here that we learn about the strength and piety of his mother, and how God rewarded her righteousness and trust in Him by returning her son. Some scholars believe that Moses and his mother retuned to their home among the Children of Israel, others, including Ibn Kathir believe that Moses and his mother lived in the palace while she was breast feeding him and that as he grew up she was allowed the privilege of visiting him.
The Quran and the authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad, may God praise him, are silent about this period of Moses life, although it would be fair to say that by the time Moses was a man, he probably knew about his origin and identified with the children of Israel. The traditions of Prophet Muhammad describe Moses as a tall, well-built, dark skinned man with curly hair. Both his character and physique are described as strong.
“And when he attained his full strength, and was perfect (in manhood), We bestowed on him Hukman (Prophethood, right judgment of the affairs) and religious knowledge (of the religion of his forefathers, Islamic Monotheism). And thus do We reward the Muhsineen (good-doers).” (Quran 28:14)
We will discover in the story of Moses that he was a forthright man. He believed in speaking his mind and standing up for the weaker members of society. Whenever he witnessed oppression or cruelty, he found it impossible to stop himself from intervening.
Ibn Kathir narrates that one day while walking in the city; Moses came upon two men fighting. One was an Israelite and the other an Egyptian. The Israelite recognised Moses and cried out to him for help. Moses stepped into the fight and struck the Egyptian one ferocious blow. He immediately fell to the ground and died. Moses was overcome with grief. He was aware of his own strength but did not imagine that he had the power to kill someone with one blow.
“And he entered the city at a time of unawareness of its people, and he found there two men fighting, one of his party and the other of his foes. The man of his own party asked him for help against his foe, so Moses struck him with his fist and killed him. He said, “This is of Satan’s doing, verily, he is a plain misleading enemy.”
He said, “My Lord! Verily, I have wronged myself, so forgive me.” Then He forgave him. Verily, He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.
He said, “My Lord! For that with which You have favoured me, I will never more be a helper for the criminals, disobedient to God, polytheists, sinners, etc.!” (Quran 28:15-17)
Either because the streets were relatively deserted or because the people had no wish to be involved in a serious assault, the authorities had no idea that Moses was involved in the melee. However, the next day Moses saw the same Israelite man involved in yet another fight. He suspected that the man was a troublemaker and approached him to warn him about such behaviour.
The Israelite saw Moses striding towards him and became afraid, he called out, “Would you kill me as you killed the wretch yesterday?” The man’s opponent, an Egyptian heard this remark and rushed away to report Moses to the authorities. Later on that day, Moses was approached by a person unknown who informed him that the authorities were planning to arrest him and possibly put him to death for the crime of killing an Egyptian.
So he became afraid, looking about in the city (waiting as to what will be the result of his crime of killing), when behold, the man who had sought his help the day before, called for his help again. Moses said to him, “Verily, you are a plain misleader!” Then when he decided to seize the man who was an enemy to both of them, the man said, “O Moses! Is it your intention to kill me as you killed a man yesterday? Your aim is nothing but to become a tyrant in the land, and not to be one of those who do right.”
And there came a man running, from the farthest end of the city. He said, “O Moses! Verily, the chiefs are taking counsel together about you, to kill you, so escape. Truly, I am to you of those who give sincere advice.”
So he escaped from there, looking about in a state of fear. He said, “My Lord! Save me from the people who are polytheists, and wrong-doers!” (Quran 28:15-21)
Moses immediately left the confines of the city. He did not take the time to return to his home to change his clothes or prepare provisions. Moses strode into the desert towards Midian, the country that lay between Syria and Egypt. His heart was filled with fear and he was afraid that he would turn around and see the authorities pursuing him. He walked, and walked, and when his feet and legs felt like lead, he continued walking. His shoes wore away on the rough desert ground and the hot sand burned the soles of his feet. Moses was exhausted, hungry, thirsty, and bleeding but he forced himself to continue, some say for more than a week, until he came to a watering hole. Moses threw himself under the shade of a tree.
Death in the dry dusty heat of the Egyptian desert should have been the likely outcome of Moses journey. Tracking across the inhospitable landscape with no provisions and inappropriate clothing would have been an expedition doomed to failure. Yet once again, the story of Moses reveals a fundamental truth. If a believer submits fully to the will of God, god will provide for him from sources unimaginable. God will replace weakness with strength, and will replace failure with victory.
Moses arrived safely at the desert oasis, the smell of water and the shade of the trees must have seemed like paradise on earth. Moses however was not alone in his newfound paradise; the waterhole was surrounded by shepherds watering their flocks.
The Story of Moses (part 4 of 10): A Stranger in a Strange Land
After walking for more than a week across the burning desert, Moses arrived at an oasis where groups of men were watering their animals. They were pushing, fighting, joking, and laughing, behaving in a rough, and tumble manner. Moses flung himself onto the ground grateful for the shade of a tree. As he caught his breath, he noticed two women and their flock of sheep. They were standing well back, hesitant to approach the waterhole.
Moses was a man of honour. Even though he was exhausted and dehydrated Moses could not bear to see the women standing back afraid to move toward the waterhole. He approached them, and asked why the men in their family did not look after the sheep. The two young women explained that their father was an old man and the task of caring for the sheep was now their responsibility.
Moses took the women’s sheep to the waterhole, where he easily pushed in amongst the men already there. After completing this task, Moses’ energy was totally spent. He sat under the shade of the tree and began to supplicate God. He said, “O Lord, whatever good you can bestow on me, I am surely in need of it”.
“And when he arrived at the water of Midian he found there a group of men watering their flocks, and besides them he found two women who were keeping back their flocks. He said, “What is the matter with you?” They said, “We cannot water (our flocks) until the shepherds take their flocks. And our father is a very old man.” Therefore, he watered their flocks for them, and then he turned back to shade, and said, “My Lord! Truly, I am in need of whatever good that You bestow on me!” (Quran 28:22-24)
Quran relates to us the stories of the prophets of God in order that we might learn from them. The Prophets are worthy role models and their lives are not so different from our own. How many times has each one of us sunk to the ground or into a chair in despair? How many times have we felt so physically or mentally exhausted that it seems we will be unable to go on for even one more second?
Moses once again turned to the only real source of help for humankind – God, and before his supplication was finished help was on its way. Moses was probably hoping for a slice of bread or a handful of dates but instead God gave him safety, provisions and a family.
One of the two women returned to Moses. She conducted herself with modesty and shyness and said to Moses, “My father wants to reward you for your kindness and invites you to our home’. Consequently, Moses roused himself and went to see the elderly man. They sat together and Moses related his story. The elderly man allayed his fears and told Moses that he had safely crossed the Egyptian border; he was now in Midian and was safe from any authorities that may have been pursuing him.
“Then there came to him one of the two women, walking shyly. She said, “Verily, my father calls you that he may reward you for having watered our flocks for us.” So when he came to him and narrated the story, he said, “Fear you not. You have escaped from the people who are polytheists, disbelievers, and wrong-doers.” (Quran 28:25)
After Moses had been invited to stay with the family, one of the women approached her father privately and advised him to hire Moses. When her father asked why, she answered because he is strong and trustworthy. Two qualities that Islam tells us are signs of leadership. In the years immediately following the death of Prophet Muhammad, may God praise him, the leaders of the Muslim nation were chosen for these two qualities. They learned their politics from Quran, from the stories of their righteous predecessors.
The elderly man, who some scholars believe was Prophet Shuaib, although there are no authentic sources either confirming or denying this, offered Moses the safety and security of his own family. He gave one of his daughters in marriage to Moses on the condition that he work for eight years, or ten if Moses agreed to stay on for the further two years. Moses was a stranger in a strange land. Exhausted and alone, but God heard his supplication and provided for him from sources that Moses could never have imagined.
And said one of them (the two women): “O my father! Hire him! Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.” He said, “I intend to wed one of these two daughters of mine to you, on condition that you serve me for eight years, but if you complete ten years, it will be a favour from you. But I intend not to place you under a difficulty. If Allah wills, you will find me one of the righteous.” He (Moses) said, “That is settled between me and you whichever of the two terms I fulfil, there will be no injustice to me, and Allah is Surety over what we say.” (Quran 28:26-28)
As believers we must never forget that God hears our prayers and supplications, and answers. Sometimes the wisdom behind the answers is beyond our comprehension but God desires only good for us. Putting our trust in God and submitting to His will allow the believer to weather any storm, and to stand tall in the face of adversity. We are never alone, just as Moses was not alone as he trudged across the desert fleeing the only life and land he had ever known.
The Story of Moses (part 5 of 10): Moses Hears the Voice of God
Moses married one of the women from the waterhole and spent the next ten years working with her father and raising his own family. His new life was quiet and contemplative, he did not have to endure the intrigue of the Egyptian court or the humiliation of his people, the Children of Israel. Moses was able to ponder the wonders of God and the universe.
Any account of Moses’ life is filled with lessons and guidance, for Moses and for humankind. God put Moses through experiences that would hold him in good stead in his coming mission. Moses had been brought up in the house of the Pharaoh of Egypt; therefore, he was well aware of the politics and intrigue of the Egyptian government. Moses also had first hand experience of the corruption of Pharaoh himself – the man who had declared himself God.
God saw to it that Moses fled Egypt and travelled in the land. He was able to experience other cultures and people. Travel then and now broadens horizons and opens hearts and minds to, not only the differences but also the similarities between people of diverse backgrounds.
“O humankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another.” (Quran 49:13)
During his time in Midian, Moses was a shepherd. Prophet Muhammad informed us that all the prophets of God had spent time tending to sheep. It may seem a strange profession but on careful examination, we can see that shepherds learn some valuable lessons while tending to their flocks. A shepherd has a lonely quiet life; there is time for personal reflection and contemplation of the wonders of life.
However, at the same time a shepherd must be constantly on alert for danger. Sheep in particular are weak animals requiring constant care and attention. If even one sheep wanders away from the protection of the flock, it becomes easy prey. A prophet usually has the job of protecting a whole nation, he must be alert and aware of any danger threatening his followers, especially the weak, poor and oppressed among them.
After Moses had completed ten years of service with his father in law, he was overcome by homesickness. He began to miss his family and the land of Egypt. Even though he was afraid of what would happen if he returned, he experienced a strange longing to return to the land of his birth. Moses gathered his family together and made the long journey back to Egypt.
“Then, when Moses had fulfilled the term, and was travelling with his family, he saw a fire in the direction of Tur (Mount). He said to his family, “Wait, I have seen a fire; perhaps I may bring to you from there some information, or a burning fire-brand that you may warm yourselves”. (Quran 28:29)
While Moses was trekking back across the desert, he became lost. It was a cold dark night. Moses saw what appeared to be a fire burning in the distance. He told his family to stay where they were. He had hopes of either getting directions or being able to carry some fire back to warm his family. Moses was about to participate in one of history’s most amazing conversations. He walked towards the fire, and as he did, he heard a voice.
“…Blessed is whosoever is in the fire, and whosoever is round about it! And glorified be God, the Lord of the ‘Alameen (mankind, jinns and all that exists). “O Moses! Verily! It is I, God, the All-Mighty, and the All-Wise.” (Quran 27:8&9)
God spoke to Moses. He asked Moses to remove his shoes for he would be standing on scared ground. God revealed to Moses that he had been chosen for a special mission and bid him listen to what was about to be said.
“Verily! I am God, none has the right to be worshipped but I, so worship Me, and perform prayer for My Remembrance. Verily, the Hour is coming and I am almost hiding it that every person may be rewarded for that which he strives. Therefore, let not the one whobelieves not therein (i.e. in the Day of Resurrection, Reckoning, Paradise and Hell, etc.), but follows his own lusts, divert you, lest you perish.” (Quran 20:14-16)
In a direct conversation between God and Moses, prayer was prescribed upon Moses and his followers. Prayer was also prescribed upon Prophet Muhammad and his followers in much the same way on the night of Prophet Muhammad’s journey to Jerusalem and ascent into the heavens. What does this say about the importance of prayer and its ability to connect the believer with God?
At this time, Moses must have been mesmerised. He set out for Egypt, following a strange yearning to return to his homeland. He had become lost in the dark and cold and was searching for light and guidance. He walked towards what he thought was a burning fire and found the light and guidance of God.
Moses was holding a stick or staff in his hand. God spoke to him and said what is this stick Moses, tell me about it. Moses answered, “This is my stick, whereon I lean, and wherewith I beat down branches for my sheep, and wherein I find other uses.” (Quran 20:18) Moses knew his stick very well; he knew it had no miraculous qualities. God asked Moses to throw the stick to the ground and when he did, it began to slither and shake. The stick had been transformed into a snake.
Moses was afraid; he turned on his heels and began to run away. It is a natural human inclination to be afraid of strange and unknown things, but God wanted to remove this fear from Moses’ heart. He was about to embark on a difficult mission and it was important that he began with complete trust that God would protect him, knowing that there was absolutely no reason for him to be fearful.
“And throw your stick!” But when he saw it moving as if it were a snake, he turned in flight, and looked not back. (It was said): “O Moses! Draw near, and fear not. Verily, you are of those who are secure”. (Quran 28:31)
God then instructed Moses to put his hand inside his cloak, He revealed to him another sign of his magnificence and omnipotence. Signs, which Moses would need in his coming mission, proof for those who are disobedient and rebellious.
“Put your hand in your bosom, it will come forth white without a disease, and draw your hand close to your side to be free from fear (that which you suffered from the snake, and also by that your hand will return to its original state). These are two signs, (miracles, evidences, proofs) from your Lord to Pharaoh and his chiefs. Verily, they are the people who are rebellious, and disobedient towards God.” (Quran 28:32)
God intended to send Moses to Pharaoh. The man he feared most, the man Moses thought would surely put him to death. His heart constricted on fear but God reassured him.
By: Harun Yahya HarunYahya.com* -
As a verse of the Qur'an reveals, "... Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and the Final Seal of the Prophets." (Surat al-Ahzab: 40), the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was sent to mankind as the last prophet. He was a living example of the sublime morality of Allah's last revelation. He was a friend of Allah and inspired humanity by his nearness to Him. He was His representative, noble in His eyes, and a friend to all believers.
As Allah has revealed in another verse, "We will impose a weighty Word upon you..." (Surat al-Muzammil: 5), He charged His last prophet, Muhammad (pbuh) with a heavy responsibility. Due to the Prophet's (pbuh) strong faith in Allah, he fulfilled that responsibility in the best possible way, called mankind to the path of Allah and Islam, and illuminated the way for all believers.
Although we have never seen the Prophet (pbuh), we can still do our very best to come to know his exemplary behavior, his sayings and the pleasing morality he displayed, by means of the verses of the Qur'an and the hadiths (the sayings and teachings of the Prophet [pbuh]). We can try to be like him, in order to be close to him in the Hereafter.
People today, and the young in particular, take many individuals as role models, imitate the way they behave, speak and dress, and try to be like them. Yet, since the great majority of these people are not on the right road themselves, they lack proper morality and attitudes. It is therefore a serious responsibility to lead people to the truth and the best morality and behavior. A Muslim needs to try to emulate the behavior and the morality of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Allah confirms that in a verse:
You have an excellent model in the Messenger of Allah, for all who put their hope in Allah and the Last Day and remember Allah much. (Surat al-Ahzab: 21)
Like the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the other prophets were also role models for believers, and enjoyed Allah's good pleasure. Allah says in one verse:
There is instruction in their stories for people of intelligence. This [the Qur'an] is not a narration which has been invented but confirmation of all that came before, a clarification of everything, and a guidance and a mercy for people who believe. (Surah Yusuf: 111)
As the Prophet (pbuh) has revealed in the hadith, "Verily, I have left amongst you the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Apostle which if you hold fast, you shall never go astray," a Muslim's two truest guides are the Qur'an and Sunnah (the practice of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)).
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was an example to all humanity with his morality, to which he called on mankind to live by. It was the Prophet (pbuh) who said "I was sent to perfect good character" and "By One in whose hand there is my life: None shall enter Paradise except one who has got good conduct."
In the Qur'an Allah has revealed that the Prophet (pbuh) possessed the finest morality, and says:
Nun. By the Pen and what they write down! By the blessing of your Lord, you are not mad. You will have a wage which never-fails. Indeed you are truly vast in character. So you will see and they will see which of you is mad. Your Lord knows best who is misguided from His Way and He knows best those who are guided. (Surat al-Qalam: 1-7)
Allah also revealed in that verse that the Prophet (pbuh) was a tireless toiler on His path. That demonstrates that he always displayed a pleasing morality, never departing from the way of Allah.
As the Prophet's (pbuh) words "The most perfect believer in respect of faith is he who is best of them in manners" make clear, morality is one the most important components of true faith. It is therefore an important religious duty to learn about and practice the very best examples of it. Those Muslims who follow the way of the Prophet (pbuh) need to be foremost in their morality and behavior, and to invite others to adopt that same morality.
 Prophet Muhammad's Last Sermon (http://www.stanford.edu/~jamila/Sermon.html)
 Malik's Muwatta, Book 47, Number 47.1.8
 Imam Ghazzali's Ihya Ulum-Id-Din (The Book of Religious Learnings), Islamic Book Service, New Delhi, 2001, Islamic Book
Service, New Delhi, 2001, Volume II, p.236
 Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 40, Number 4665
The prophet peace upon him share a lot with prophet Jesus (PBUH) in their morality and their spreading of God words and commandments. Their story is the same they sent by God and as happened with all God messages Satan through his agents in earth try to oppress the messages of the prophets. Mohammad have to fight back, Jesus God raised him in the right moment before the Jews got their plan almost fulfilled to have Jesus killed. In the second coming of Jesus as we know from prophecies will be the prophet and the king of the end of time. Satan however with his agents will not let his coming an easy return since he knows that he has few years only before he will be conquered by Jesus so he will try to do his best to keep his kingdom which exist now to hold in power as long as he can. However the good Christians and good Muslims who would follow God commandments will go through the tribulation and displace the kingdom of Satan.
By: Christian Ph.D. Robert Morey
Quran proves - "Allah" is NOT a 'moon god':
"And from among His Signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Do not bow down (prostrate) to the sun nor to the moon, but only bow down (prostrate) to "Allah" Who created them, if you (really) worship Him."
[Noble Quran 41:37]
The Christian acquaintance who sent me a copy of Morey's booklet also sent me five questions related to this subject. I will attempt to answer them below:
What is the significance of the crescent moon in Islam?
Answer:The Quran answers this question before you asked it. Read this verse:
"They ask you about the new moons. Say: These are signs to mark fixed periods of time for mankind and for the pilgrimage."
[Noble Quran 2:189]
Why does Islam follow a lunar calendar?
Answer:In both the Bible and the Quran religious festivals are regulated by the lunar calendar. Jews and Muslims have kept to these regulations which they believe to be from God. Why does Christianity follow a solar calendar?
Why is the feast of Ramadan marked by the appearance of the crescent moon?
Answer:I think you mean the fast of Ramadan. God commanded Muslims in the Quran to fast from dawn to sunset during the month called Ramadan (see Quran 2:185, 187). The beginning and end of the month is determined by the crescent (2:189) based on the instruction of God's Messenger, on whom be peace.Why this method and not another is not for us to say but for God and His Messenger to prescribe. However, I find it an efficient method. It is a universally applicable method, and it allows for Ramadan to move through all the seasons. This allows believers to have the pleasure of worshipping God by fasting in all the various seasons: one year in the summer, some years later in the winter.
Why does the Quran place the Sabians on the same level with Jews and Christians when scholars have clearly proven that the Sabians were involved in the moon cult?
Answer:I am not aware that the Quran has placed the Sabians on the same level with Jews and Christians. Perhaps you have in mind the following verse:
"Those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians and Sabians, whoever believes in "Allah" and the Last Day and do righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve." [Noble Quran 2:62; also 5:69]
This verse, however, does not place the Sabians on the same level as the Jews and Christians except in a particular context. The verse speaks of four distinct communities, and offers all four the opportunity to fear not nor grieve if only they would believe in "Allah" and the Last Day and do right. The four communities are:the Believers (i.e., the Muslims)the Jewsthe Christians the Sabians While they are all offered the same opportunity for improvement, nothing, is said in this verse about the validity of the existing faiths of these four communities. Otherwise the Jews and Christians who are criticized in the Quran for their deviations will not be placed on the same level with the believers. The matter becomes clear when you realize that believers here does not mean saved persons but those who ostensibly belong to the community of Muslims. They, as well as the other three groups, must do the following to be saved: believe in "Allah", believe in the Last Day, and do right. Doing right, according to the Quran, includes following every teaching of Muhammad.
Did the Meccans worship the true God since they recognized "Allah"? Was "Allah" one of the gods of the Ka'bah?And if so, where did the Meccans derive the recognition and the name of "Allah" from?
Answer:First, "Allah" was not one of the 360 idols which were in the Ka'bah, although Morey has claimed this without evidence. When the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) entered Makkah victorious he went into the Ka'bah and broke the idols therein. Second, the word "Allah" has been used all along for the name of "God" in the Arabic Bible for Jews and Christians alike. The proof is easy to verify; simple go to any hotel or motel on the earth and look in the drawer next to the bed and take out the complimentary Bible, placed there by the Giddeons and then look on page 5 or 6 where they list the examples of translations they have made into other languages. The second example given is for Arabic speakers. The verse is from the Gospel of John, chapter 3, verse 16. Everyone knows this one; "For God so loved the world..." and the word in Arabic for "God" is "Allah." Then if you have a Bible in Arabic, look on page one in Genesis, and you will find the word "Allah" 17 times. Next, the word for "God" to the Arabs, ever since the time of Abraham (peace be upon him) has been "Allah" and He is to them, the Lord of the Ka'bah (the black box in the center of the Holy Sanctuary in Makkah). He was the unseen God whom they would call upon when in distress. Yes, they worshipped the true God but their worship was not purely for Him. They also worshipped other gods thinking that they would act as intermediaries between them and the true God Allah.The Arabs know of Allah because Abraham visited Makkah and together with his son Ishmael laid the foundation of the Ka'bah. The descendants of Ishmael retained some of the worship rites and beliefs from Abraham. This included their knowledge of the true God Allah.Elsewhere we have shown conclusively that the true god, "El" of the Bible is the same as "Allah" of the Quran.Please refer to: "Yahweh, Jehovah, or Allah - What Is God's Real Name?" by Sheikh Shabir Ally.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The ultimate manifestation of God's grace for man, the ultimate wisdom, and the ultimate beauty of expression: in short, the word of God. If one were to ask any Muslim to depict it, most likely they would offer similar words. The Quran, to the Muslim, is the irrefutable, inimitable Word of God. It was revealed by God Almighty, through the instrument of Prophet Muhammad (peace be Upon Him). The Prophet (peace be upon him) himself had no role in authoring the Quran, he was merely a human secretary, repeating the dictates of the Divine Creator:
"He (Muhammad) does not speak of his own desire. It is no less than an Inspiration sent down to him."
[Noble Quran 53:3-4]
The Quran was revealed in Arabic, to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) over a period of twenty-three years. It is composed in a style so unique, that it cannot be deemed either poetry or prose, but somehow a mixture of both. The Quran is inimitable; it cannot be simulated or copied, and God Almighty challenges mankind to pursue such an endeavor if he thinks he can:
"Or do they say he forged it? Say: Bring then a chapter like unto it, and call (to your aid) anyone you can, beside God, if it be you speak the truth."
[Noble Quran 10:38]
The Quran's language is indeed sublime, its recitation moving, as one non-Muslim scholar noted, it was like the cadence of my heartbeat. Due to its unique style of language, the Quran is not only highly readable, but also relatively easy to remember. This latter aspect has played an important role not only in the Quran's preservation, but in the spiritual life of Muslims as well. God Himself declares,
"And We have indeed made the Quran easy to understand and remember; then is there anyone that will receive admonition?"
[Noble Quran 54:17]
One of the most important characteristics of the Quran is that it remains today, the only holy book which has never changed; it has remained free from any and all adulterations. Sir William Muir noted, "There is probably in the world no other book which has remained (fourteen) centuries with so pure a text." The Quran was written down during the lifetime and under the supervision of the Prophet, who himself was illiterate, and it was canonized shortly after his death by a rigorous method which scrutinized both written and oral traditions. Thus its authenticity is unblemished, and is its preservation is seen as the fulfillment of God's promise:
"We have, without doubt, sent down the Message, and We will assuredly guard it from corruption."
[Noble Quran 15:9]
The Quran is a book which provides the human being the spiritual and intellectual nourishment he/she craves. Its major themes include the oneness of God, the purpose of human existence, faith and God-consciousness, the Hereafter and its significance. The Quran also lays a heavy emphasis upon reason and understanding. In these spheres of human understanding, the Quran goes beyond just satisfying the human intellect; it causes one to reflect on implications. There are Quranic challenges and prophecies. One of the most exciting fields in recent years has been the discovery that, of the significant amount of scientific information in the Quran, including the event of the Big Bang, embryological data, and other information concerning astronomy biology, etc., there is not a single statement that has not been borne out by modern discoveries.
In short, the Quran fulfills the heart, the soul, and the mind. Perhaps the best description of the Quran was given by Ali, the cousin of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) when he expounded upon it as, "The Book of God. In it is the record of what was before you, the judgment of what is among you, and the prophecies of what will come after you. It is decisive, not a case for levity. Whoever is a tyrant and ignores the Quran will be destroyed by God. Whoever seeks guidance from other than it will be misguided. The Quran is the unbreakable bond of connection with God; it is the remembrance full of wisdom and the straight path. The Quran does not become distorted by tongues, nor can it be deviated by caprices; it never dulls from repeated study; scholars will always want more of it. The wonders of the Quran are never ending. Whoever speaks from it will speak the truth, whoever rules with it will be just, and whoever holds fast to it will be guided to the straight path."
By: Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips
Not only is the Quran unique among books today in its origin and purity, but it is also unique in the way it presents its subject matter. It is not a book in the usual sense of the word wherein there is an introduction, explanation of the subject, followed by a conclusion. Neither is it restricted to only a presentation of historical events, problems of philosophy, facts of science or social laws, though all may be found woven together in it without any apparent connection and links.Subjects are introduced without background information, historical events are not presented in chronological order, new topics sometimes crop up in the middle of another for no apparent reason, and the speaker and those spoken to change direction without the slightest forewarning. The reader who is unaware of the Quran's uniqueness is often puzzled when he finds it contrary to his understanding of a book in general and a "religious" book in particular. Hence, the Quran may seem disorganized and haphazard to him. However, to those who understand its subject matter, aim and its central theme, the Quran is exactly the opposite.
The subject matter of the Quran is essentially man: man in relation to his Lord and Creator, Allah; man in relation to himself; and man in relation to the rest of creation. The aim and object of the revelations is to invite man to the right way of dealing with his Lord, with himself, and with creation. Hence, the main theme that runs throughout the Quran is that God alone deserves worship and, thus, man should submit to God's laws in his personal life and in his relationships with creation in general. Or, in other words, the main theme is a call to the belief in Allah and the doing of righteous deeds as defined by Allah.
If the reader keeps these basic facts in mind, he will find that, from beginning to end, the Quran's topics are all closely connected to its main theme and that the whole book is a well-reasoned and cohesive argument for its theme. The Quran keeps the same object in view, whether it is describing the creation of man and the universe or events from human history. Since the aim of the Quran is to guide man, it states or discusses things only to the extent relevant to this aim and leaves out unnecessary and irrelevant details. It also repeats its main theme over and over again in the presentation of each new topic.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
The Economic Elite Have Engineered an Extraordinary Coup, Threatening the Very Existence of the Middle Class
ECONOMY Amped Status /
By David DeGraw
"The American oligarchy spares no pains in promoting the belief that it does not exist, but the success of its disappearing act depends on equally strenuous efforts on the part of an American public anxious to believe in egalitarian fictions and unwilling to see what is hidden in plain sight." -- Michael Lind, To Have and to Have Not
We all have very strong differences of opinion on many issues. However, like our founding fathers before us, we must put aside our differences and unite to fight a common enemy.It has now become evident to a critical mass that the Republican and Democratic parties, along with all three branches of our government, have been bought off by a well-organized Economic Elite who are tactically destroying our way of life. The harsh truth is that 99 percent of the U.S. population no longer has political representation. The U.S. economy, government and tax system is now blatantly rigged against us.
Current statistical societal indicators clearly demonstrate that a strategic attack has been launched and an analysis of current governmental policies prove that conditions for 99 percent of Americans will continue to deteriorate. The Economic Elite have engineered a financial coup and have brought war to our doorstep...and make no mistake, they have launched a war to eliminate the U.S. middle class.To those who feel I am using extreme rhetoric, I ask you to please take a few minutes of your time to hear me out and research the evidence put forth. The facts are there for the unprejudiced, rational and reasoned mind to absorb. It is the unfortunate reality of our current crisis.Unless we all unite and organize on common ground, our very way of life and the ideals that our country was founded upon will continue to unravel.
Before exposing exactly who the Economic Elite are, and discussing common sense ways in which we can defeat them, let's take a look at how much damage they have already caused.
Casualties of Economic Terrorism, Surveying the DamageThe devastating numbers across-the-board on the economic front are staggering. I'll go through some of them here, many we have already become all too familiar with. We hear some of these numbers all the time, so much so that it appears as if we have already begun "to normalize the unthinkable." You may be sick of hearing them, but behind each number is an enormous amount of individual suffering, American lives and families who are struggling worse than they ever have.America is the richest nation in history, yet we now have the highest poverty rate in the industrialized world with an unprecedented amount of Americans living in dire straights and over 50 million citizens already living in poverty.The government has come up with clever ways to downplay all of these numbers, but we have over 50 million people who need to use food stamps to eat, and a stunning 50 percent of U.S. children will use food stamps to eat at some point in their childhoods.
Approximately 20,000 people are added to this total every day. In 2009, one out of five U.S. households didn't have enough money to buy food. In households with children, this number rose to 24 percent, as the hunger rate among U.S. citizens has now reached an all-time high.We also currently have over 50 million U.S. citizens without health care. 1.4 million Americans filed for bankruptcy in 2009, a 32 percent increase from 2008. As bankruptcies continue to skyrocket, medical bankruptcies are responsible for over 60 percent of them, and over 75 percent of the medical bankruptcies filed are from people who have health care insurance. We have the most expensive health care system in the world, we are forced to pay twice as much as other countries and the overall care we get in return ranks 37th in the world.In total, Americans have lost $5 trillion from their pensions and savings since the economic crisis began and $13 trillion in the value of their homes. During the first full year of the crisis, workers between the age of 55 - 60, who have worked for 20 - 29 years, have lost an average of 25 percent off their 401k. "Personal debt has risen from 65 percent of income in 1980 to 125 percent today." Over five million U.S. families have already lost their homes, in total 13 million U.S. families are expected to lose their home by 2014, with 25 percent of current mortgages underwater. Deutsche Bank has an even grimmer prediction: "The percentage of 'underwater' loans may rise to 48 percent, or 25 million homes." Every day 10,000 U.S. homes enter foreclosure. Statistics show that an increasing number of these people are not finding shelter elsewhere, there are now over 3 million homeless Americans, the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population is single parents with children.
One place more and more Americans are finding a home is in prison. With a prison population of 2.3 million people, we now have more people incarcerated than any other nation in the world -- the per capita statistics are 700 per 100,000 citizens. In comparison, China has 110 per 100,000, France has 80 per 100,000, Saudi Arabia has 45 per 100,000. The prison industry is thriving and expecting major growth over the next few years. A recent report from the Hartford Advocate titled "Incarceration Nation" revealed that "a new prison opens every week somewhere in America."Mass UnemploymentThe government unemployment rate is deceptive on several levels. It doesn't count people who are "involuntary part-time workers," meaning workers who are working part-time but want to find full-time work. It also doesn't count "discouraged workers," meaning long-term unemployed people who have lost hope and don't consistently look for work. As time goes by, more and more people stop consistently looking for work and are discounted from the unemployment figure. For instance, in January, 1.1 million workers were eliminated from the unemployment total because they were "officially" labeled discouraged workers. So instead of the number rising, we will hear deceptive reports about unemployment leveling off.On top of this, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently discovered that 824,000 job losses were never accounted for due to a "modeling error" in their data. Even in their initial January data there appears to be a huge understating, with the newest report saying the economy lost 20,000 jobs. TrimTabs employment analysis, which has consistently provided more accurate data, "estimated that the U.S. economy shed 104,000 jobs in January."When you factor in all these uncounted workers -- "involuntary part-time" and "discouraged workers" -- the unemployment rate rises from 9.7 percent to over 20 percent. In total, we now have over 30 million U.S. citizens who are unemployed or underemployed. The rarely cited "employment-participation" rate, which reveals the percentage of the population that is currently in the workforce, has now fallen to 64 percent.
Even based on the "official" unemployment rate, just to get back to the unemployment level of 4.6 percent that we had in 2007, we need to create over 10 million new jobs, and most every serious economist will tell you that these jobs are not coming back. In fact, we are still consistently shedding jobs, on just one day, January 27, several companies announced new cuts of more than 60,000 jobs.Due to the length of this crisis already, millions of Americans are reaching a point where the unemployment benefits they have been living on are coming to an end. More workers have already been out of work longer than at any point since statistics have been recorded, with over six million now unemployed for over six months. A record 20 million Americans qualified for unemployment insurance benefits last year, causing 27 states to run out of funds, with seven more also expected to go into the red within the next few months. In total, 40 state programs are expected to go broke.Most economists believe the unemployment rate will remain high for the foreseeable future. What will happen when we have millions of laid-off workers without any unemployment benefits to save them?Working More for LessThe millions struggling to find work are just part of the story. Due to the fact that we now have a record high six people for every one job opening, companies have been able to further increase the workload on their remaining employees. They have been able to increase the amount of hours Americans are working, reduce wages and drastically cut back on benefits. Even though Americans were already the most productive workers in the world before the economic crisis, in the third quarter of 2009, average worker productivity increased by an annualized rate of 9.5 percent, at the same time unit labor cost decreased by 5.2 percent. This has led to record profits for many companies. Of the 220 companies in the S&P 500 who have reported fourth-quarter results thus far, 78 percent of them had "better-than-expected profits" with earnings 17 percent above expectations, "the highest for any quarter since Thomson Reuters began tracking data."According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median wage was only $32,390 per year in 2008, and median household income fell by 3.6 percent while the unemployment rate was 5.8 percent. With the unemployment rate now at 10 percent, median income has been falling at a 5 percent rate and is expected to continue its decline. Not surprisingly, Americans' job satisfaction level is now at an all-time low.There are also a growing number of employed people who, despite having a job, are still living in poverty. There are at least 15 million workers who now fall into this rapidly growing category. $32,390 a year is not going to get you far in today's economy, and half of the country is making less than that.
This is why many Americans are now forced to work two jobs to provide for their family to hopefully make ends meet.A Crime Against HumanityThe mainstream news media will numb us to this horrifying reality by endlessly talking about the latest numbers, but they never piece them together to show you the whole devastating picture, and they rarely show you all the immense individual suffering behind them. This is how they "normalize the unthinkable" and make us become passive in the face of such a high causality count.Behind each of these numbers, is a tremendous amount of misery; the physical toll is only outdone by the severe psychological toll. Anyone who has had to put off medical care, or who couldn't get medical care for one of their family members due to financial circumstances, can tell you about the psychological toll that is on top of the physical suffering. Anyone who has felt the stress of wondering how they were going to get their child's next meal or their own, or the stress of not knowing how they are going to pay the mortgage, rent, electricity or heat bill, let alone the car payment, gas, phone, cable or Internet bill.There are now well over 150 million Americans who feel stress over these things on a consistent basis. Over 60 percent of Americans now live paycheck to paycheck.
These are all basic things every person should be able to easily afford in a technologically advanced society such as ours. The reason we struggle with these things is because the Economic Elite have robbed us all. This amount of suffering in the United States of America is literally a crime against humanity.
Forget about what is your religion, race, came from where.... The world is controlled by group of elites from different backgrounds. There is no conspiracy theory it is clear like day and night who are the elites.