By: Abdullah Hakim Quick
Even though insults and attacks are being hurled at Muslims by right wing bigots and secular extremists, Islam does not condone the killing of innocents or even random assassination of people who have drawn pictures or made statements against Allah and His Messenger. The killings in Paris today have to be condemned by the whole Muslim world and extremism has to be opposed. Almighty Allah tells us:
“Invite (all) to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: surely your Lord knows best who have strayed from His Path and who have received guidance.” (16:125)
A true Islamic State should be a place of peace, stability and tolerance; not chaos, hated and wanton killing!!!
Here is the peace and beauty that an Muslim street should give.
These fascinating photos from 1880 feature pilgrims from 10 countries during Hajj. Back then, before the advent of modern transport such as commercial air travel, the journey to Hajj was far more difficult and perilous and these pilgrims would have undertaken journeys of weeks or months to reach Makkah.
By: Tim Urban
On the morning of Saturday, August 2nd, I got in a taxi in Erbil, the regional capital of Kurdish Iraq, and asked the driver to take me to the Khazir refugee camp.
This was a scary-ish thing to do.
The “scary” part is a result of the fact that the Khazir camp is outside of the borders of the somewhat autonomous Kurdish region, one of the only secure parts of the country.
The “ish” part comes from the fact that the Khazir camp, though outside of Kurdish borders, is still in an area currently controlled by the Peshmerga—the Kurdish army.
Iraq has been a scary place for a while now, for a number of reasons, but it’s currently scary in italics because of the terrorist group we’ve all gotten to know about in the past three months—ISIS.
“Never have I witnessed such sincere hospitality and overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood as is practiced by people of all colors and races here in this ancient holy land, the home of #Abraham, #Muhammad and all the other Prophets of the holy scriptures. For the past week, I have been utterly speechless and spellbound by the graciousness I see displayed all around me by people of all colors.
The development of the modern nation states throughout the Arab world is a fascinating and heartbreaking process. 100 years ago, most Arabs were part of the Ottoman Empire/Caliphate, a large multi-ethnic state based in Istanbul. Today, a political map of the Arab world looks like a very complex jigsaw puzzle. A complex and intricate course of events in the 1910s brought about the end of the Ottomans and the rise of these new nations with borders running across the Middle East, diving Muslims from each other. While there are many different factors leading to this, the role that the British played in this was far greater than any other player in the region. Three separate agreements made conflicting promises that the British had to stand by. The result was a political mess that divided up a large part of the Muslim world.
Barmakid Family (600s-900s)
The Barmakids were a family of Buddhist administrators from the city of Balkh, in what is now Afghanistan. When the Umayyad Caliphate conquered the area in the the mid-600s, the family converted to Islam. After the Abbasid Revolution in 750, the Barmakids rose to prominence as talented administrators. They carried with them centuries of experience in the Persian Empire of how to manage large government bureaucracies, something the Arab Abbasid caliphs were ignorant of.
As viziers, they exercised great influence on the formation of the empire in the late 8th century. Yahya ibn Khalid al-Barmaki was particularly influential. He was appointed as the tutor and mentor to the young Harun al-Rashid, who would go on to become the caliph during which the Abbasids had their golden age. Under his tutelage, Harun al-Rashid managed to establish peace with the empire’s neighbors, exponential economic growth, the patronage of scholars, and a system of infrastructure that rivaled that of ancient Rome. The Barmakid family as a whole thus had a huge impact on the political shape of the Muslim world that would continue for centuries.
Berke Khan (Unknown-1266)
As the grandson of the great Mongol conqueror, Genghis Khan, Berke Khan was an important figure in the Mongol world in the mid-1200s. Like other Mongols, he originally practiced a form of pagan shamanism. As the leader in the Golden Horde – a Mongol army – he was sent to the North Caucasus Mountains and Eastern Europe to subdue the Kipchak Turks. He eventually managed to lead armies all the way into Hungary.
Hulagu Khan’s army attacking Baghdad
Then during his travels back towards the Mongol homeland, he stopped in Bukhara where he questioned local Muslims about their beliefs. He was convinced of the message of Islam and converted, becoming the first Mongol leader to accept Islam. After his conversion, many of the soldiers in his army also converted, leading to tension with the other Mongol armies, who were ravaging Muslim lands, including the ancient capital of the Abbasids, Baghdad.
After hearing of the sack of Baghdad in 1258 by his cousin, Hulagu Khan, Berke promised vengance, declaring, ”He (Hulagu) has sacked all the cities of the Muslims, and has brought about the death of the Caliph. With the help of God I will call him to account for so much innocent blood.” By allying with the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt, Berke managed to hold back Hulagu’s army enough to prevent a major invasion (and destruction) of the remainder of Muslim lands in Egypt, Syria, and the Hijaz.
Zağanos Pasha (Unknown-1461)
Of Greek or Albanian origin, Zağanos Pasha was drafted into the elite Janissary corps of the Ottoman Empire as a child. Like other Janissaries, he was educated in Islam, civil administration, and military matters. He was soon appointed as a mentor and advisor for a young Mehmed II, who would later become the seventh sultan in the Ottoman dynasty.
When Mehmed became sultan, he appointed Zağanos Pasha as his second vizier. Zağanos Pasha was commonly consulted on all matters of state, especially the siege and conquest of Constantinople in 1453. During the siege, he was given command of a section of the army north of the city, and his troops were among the first to successfully capture a portion of Constantinople’s legendary walls. His legacy lives today in the numerous endowments (including mosques, soup kitchens, and public baths) in his hometown of Balikesir as well as in Edirne.
Many Muslims and websites claim that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. As proof, they usually present us with unverifiable claims and baseless media quotes. Apparently ABC News had claimed “Already more than a billion-people strong, Islam is the world’s fastest-growing religion”, a quote which cannot be traced to its source. Also CNN World News stated “Fast-growing Islam winning converts in Western world”, a statement which they fail to back up with any evidence. However, if we examine the actual data available for Islam, it reveals that Islam is neither the fastest growing religion by number of adherents or the fastest growing religion by percentage-increase.
The growing number of Muslims in the world is due primarily to the higher than average birth-rates, and consequent population growths of Muslim countries and communities. And their growing presence in non-Muslim societies such as Europe and the Americas is overwhelmingly due to immigration. Furthermore, converts to Islam are vastly outnumbered by those who choose to leave the religion and embrace another faith or worldview. And the majority of converts that Islam does manage to attract, decide to leave within the first few years of practicing it.
[005:050] Do they, then, seek the rules (and rites) of the (pagan) ignorance (of earlier days)? For a nation with faith, who could be a better Judge (and Guide), if not Allah?
[026:113] “My Lord alone has the prerogative to judge them, if only you could realize.”
[055:031] For you, the two sin laden groups, (one of men, the other of jinn), We would soon devote Ourselves (exclusively to judge you)!
[060:003] Your relatives and your children will not benefit you on the Day of Judgment; He (God) will judge (all matters) between you. Allah watches everything you do!
[002:113] The Jews say: “The Christians have naught (to stand) upon; and the Christians say: “The Jews have naught (To stand) upon.” Yet they (Profess to) study the (same) Book. Like unto their word is what those say who know not; but God will judge between them in their quarrel on the Day of Judgment.
[003:055] ……………(partial verse)…….. Then shall ye all return unto me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute.
[004:141] …………..(partial verse)……….”Did we not gain an advantage over you, and did we not guard you from the believers?” but God will judge between you on the Day of Judgment. And never will God grant to the unbelievers a way (to triumphs) over the believers.
[006:114] Say: “Shall I seek for judge other than God?……..(partial verse)……….
[010:093] ……….(partial verse)……..Verily God will judge between them as to the schisms amongst them, on the Day of Judgment.
[016:124] The Sabbath was only made (strict) for those who disagreed (as to its observance); But God will judge between them on the Day of Judgment, as to their differences.
[021:112] Say: “O my Lord! judge Thou in truth!” “Our Lord Most Gracious is the One Whose assistance should be sought against the blasphemies ye utter!”
[022:017] Those who believe (in the Quran), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians, Christians, Magians, and Polytheists,- God will judge between them on the Day of Judgment: for God is witness of all things.
[022:056] On that Day of Dominion will be that of God: He will judge between them: so those who believe and work righteous deeds will be in Gardens of Delight.
[022:069] “God will judge between you on the Day of Judgment concerning the matters in which ye differ.”
Even if we judge others we need to do so based on Guidance from Allah and only in those cases where we have permission to judge someone. However we can never judge another person’s faith because that is an impossibility for a human to do.
Also, we should fear hypocrisy and practice what we preach.
Indeed Allah is the best of Judges