Bismillah – Clearing the Confusion
Basmalah (reciting Bismillah) which means “In the name of Allah”, has been an easy target for critics of Islam and has constantly been bombarded with illogical allegations. There stands a great need to clear out the very genuine queries which many non-muslim have regarding bismillah and also the need to answer all the allegations against it in order to stitch the mouth of all those illogical boasters who try and allege the authenticity of Islam.
How Sustainable Farming Could Feed 3 Billion More People
A three-pronged approach has been developed to remedy the global food shortage.
With the population of the world expected to hit 9.7 billion by 2050, it’s no secret that reliable, sustainable, and nutritious food sources need to be developed today to provide for the future tomorrow. But the outlook of providing enough food for future generations is skeptical at best, and scientists, researchers, and farmers are concerned that not enough is being done in the present to prevent food-related catastrophe.
However, some individuals do hold positive outlook that if given the right tools for change and support, another 3 billion people could be fed from sustainable farming methods.
Paul West, from the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, along with colleagues believe that if‘given the right levers’, feeding the whole world will be possible. The team believes that the majority of food production problems stem from just a handful of countries, and if such areas could be concentrated on, three billion more people could potentially be fed, along with reduced environmental damage.
“The way we are growing agriculture right now is totally not sustainable.” said West
West and his colleagues have been looking for “leverage points”, or areas with the most potential to change how we grow food. The team focused on the 17 crops that represent 86 percent of the world’s crop calories and consume the most water and fertilizer. From their findings, they developed a three-pronged approach to remedy the global food shortage situation.
Stated Greg Asner of the Carnegie Institute for Science in Stanford, California, “They’re taking a high-altitude view of all the possible points that need to be made if we’re going to feed a planet full of people. It’s incredibly valuable to have all that in one place.”
The study led by West suggests three fundamental areas where food production can be boosted and grown sustainably, leading to increased yields from unproductive farms, decreased amount of waste produced, and change in the way people eat.
In the map below, highlighted areas depict where the most money could be saved.
Jimmy Carter: Israel’s Apartheid (Video)
Former American President Jimmy Carter speaking the truth about the apartheid regime and the persecution and oppression done by the Israeli government to the palestinian people in Gaza. He responds to a caller who asks questions concerning pressure put on the US political system and the resulting support of Israel. #FreePalestine #SaveGaza #PrayForPalestine
The sign of time: a reflection on Surat al-‘Asr
In one of the shortest chapters or surahs of the Qur’an, we read: By Time! Verily man is in [a state of] loss; except those who believe and perform righteous deeds, and enjoin one another to [follow] the truth, and enjoin one another to patience. [103:1-3] This chapter, or surah, is known as Surat al-‘Asr.
Gaza to get floating power station from Turkey
By: Evrim Ergin, Seda Sezer and Jonny Hog
REUTERS – Turkish shipbuilder Karadeniz Holding plans to send an electricity generating vessel to Gaza to provide urgently needed power in the enclave left reeling by Israel’s Operation Protective Edge that began last month.
‘We tortured some folks’ – Obama on CIA tactics after 9/11 (Video)
US President Barack Obama made a rare acknowledgment during a Friday press briefing concerning the United States’ past use of enhanced interrogation tactics in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Dogs in Islam
Islam teaches its followers to be merciful to all creatures, and all form of animal cruelty is forbidden. Why then, do many Muslims seems to have such a problem with dogs?
Most Muslim scholars agree that the saliva of a dog is ritually impure, and that contact with a dog’s saliva requires one to wash seven times. This ruling comes from the hadith:
The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “If a dog licks the vessel of any one of you, let him throw away whatever was in it and wash it seven times.” (Reported by Muslim)
It is to be noted, however, that one of the major Islamic schools of thought (Maliki) indicates that its not a matter of ritual cleanliness, but simply a common-sense method way to prevent the spread of disease.
There are several other hadith, however, which warn of consequences for dog-owners:
The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Whoever keeps a dog, his good deeds will decrease every day by oneqeeraat (a unit of measurement), unless it is a dog for farming or herding.” In another report, it is said: “… unless it is a dog for herding sheep, farming or hunting.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari)
The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Angels do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or an animate picture.” (Reported by Bukhari)
Many Muslims base the prohibition against keeping a dog in one’s home, except for the case of working or service dogs, on these traditions.
Other Muslims argue that dogs are loyal creatures that are deserving of our care and companionship. They cite the story in the Quran (Surah 18) about a group of believers who sought shelter in a cave and were protected by their canine companion who was “outstretched in their midst.”
Also in the Quran, it is specifically mentioned that any prey caught by hunting dogs may be eaten — without any need for further purification. Naturally, the prey of a hunting dog comes into contact with the saliva of the dog; however this does not render the meat “impure.”
“They consult you concerning what is lawful for them; say, Lawful for you are all good things, including what trained dogs and falcons catch for you. You train them according God’s teachings. You may eat what they catch for you, and mention God’s name thereupon. You shall observe God. God is most efficient in reckoning.” -Quran 5:4
There are also stories in Islamic tradition that tell of people who were forgiven their past sins through the mercy they showed towards a dog.
The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “A prostitute was forgiven by Allah, because, passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that.”
The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “A man felt very thirsty while he was on the way, there he came across a well. He went down the well, quenched his thirst and came out. Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. He said to himself, “This dog is suffering from thirst as I did.” So, he went down the well again and filled his shoe with water and watered it. Allah thanked him for that deed and forgave him. (Reported by Bukhari)
In another point of Islamic history, the Muslim army came across a female dog and her puppies while on a march. The Prophet, peace be upon him, posted a soldier nearby her with the orders that the mother and puppies must not be disturbed.
Based on these teachings, many people find that it is a matter of faith to be kind towards dogs, and that dogs can even be beneficial in the lives of human beings. Service animals, such as guide dogs or epilepsy dogs, are important companions to Muslims with disabilities. Working animals, such as guard dogs, hunting or herding dogs are useful and hard-working animals who have earned their place at their owner’s side.
Middle Road of Mercy
It is a fundamental tenet of Islam that everything is permissible, except those things that have been explicitly banned. Based on this, most Muslims would agree that it is permissible to have a dog for the purpose of security, hunting, farming, or service to the disabled.
Many Muslims strike a middle ground about dogs — allowing them for the purposes listed, but ensuring that the animals have their own space which does not overlap with human living spaces. Many would ensure that the dog is kept outdoors as much as possible, and at the very least is not allowed in areas where Muslims in the home pray. For hygienic reasons, when an individual comes into contact with dog saliva, one needs to wash.
Owning a pet is a huge responsibility, that Muslims will need to answer for on the Day of Judgment. Those who choose to have a dog must recognize the duty they undertake to provide food, shelter, training, exercise, and medical care for the animal. That said, most Muslims recognize that pets are not our “children,” nor are they humans. One should keep things in perspective.
We must not let our misunderstandings about dogs lead us to neglect, mistreat, or harm them. The Quran describes pious people who had a dog living among them, and dogs are loyal and intelligent creatures that make excellent work and service animals. One must only be careful not to come into contact with the dog’s saliva, and to keep its living area clean and away from any areas used for prayer.
Lack of Familiarity
In many countries, dogs are not commonly kept as pets. For some people, their only exposure to dogs may be packs of dogs that wander the streets or rural areas in packs. People who do not grow up around friendly dogs may develop a natural fear of them. They are not familiar with a dog’s cues and behaviors, so a rambunctious animal that runs towards them is seen as aggressive, not playful.
Many Muslims who seem to “hate” dogs are really, therefore, simply afraid of them. They may make excuses (“I’m allergic”) or emphasize the religious “uncleanliness” of dogs simply in order to avoid interacting with them.
Abdullah Hakim Quick: Journey to the Hereafter (Audio)
“A thought provoking series of lectures on the Islamic beliefs concerning the Akhirah (the Next life): The process of Death, the pain and punishment of the grave, the minor and major signs of the Last Day, the Resurrection from the graves, the Reckoning before Allah and the final abode Paradise or Hell. Delivered in an atmosphere of social upheaval and political turmoil in the Middle East, these presentations are a must for all who need an authentic look at the threatening events of our times.”
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