Iraq PM Warns Sunnis Could Be Shut from Power

December 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Suadad al-Salhy and Aseel Kami

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq’s Sunni Muslim minority rejected a call for all-party talks on Wednesday, ignoring U.S. pressure for dialogue to resolve a sectarian crisis that has erupted since American forces left the country this week.

With fears mounting that the nation of 30 million might one day fragment in chaos in the absence of the U.S. troops who toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki warned Saddam’s fellow Sunnis they faced exclusion from power if they walked out on his ruling coalition.

The main Sunni-backed party, furious at terrorism charges leveled by the Shi’ite-run authorities against Iraq’s Sunni vice president on the day Americans left, rejected Maliki’s call for all-party talks in the coming days and vowed to try and unseat the prime minister in parliament, a move unlikely to succeed.

Having stuck by a decision to withdraw U.S. forces in 2011, a return of the kind of sectarian blood-letting that killed tens of thousands of Iraqis after Saddam fell could embarrass President Barack Obama as he campaigns for re-election.

Vice President Joe Biden called Maliki and the Sunni speaker of parliament on Tuesday to press for urgent talks among Iraq’s leaders. But there was little sign of a thaw on Wednesday, although it remained unclear how far the rhetoric reflected a real threat to the fragile coexistence of Sunnis with the majority Shi’ites and ethnic Kurds, both oppressed under Saddam.

Maliki, calling on the Kurds to hand over Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi who has taken refuge in their autonomous region, said he wanted Hashemi’s Sunni-backed Iraqiya block to end a boycott of parliament and of his year-old power-sharing government.

“But,” he warned, “If they insist, they are free to do so and they can withdraw permanently from the state and all its institutions.”

SUNNIS SLAM MALIKI

Iraqiya said it would not attend talks with Maliki, “since he represents the main reason for the crisis and the problem, and he is not a positive element for a solution.”

As well as Hashemi, who stands accused of running death squads based on televised confessions by men claiming to be his bodyguards, the other most senior Sunni politician, deputy prime minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, is also under fire from Maliki, who has asked parliament to remove Mutlaq from office.

Hashemi has dismissed the charges against him as a fabrication, a denial that has credibility in Washington, where one U.S. official said he believes the charges were unfounded.

The White House on Tuesday said it was “obviously concerned” about the arrest warrant issued for Hashemi. In his calls to Baghdad, Biden had “stressed the urgent need for the prime minister and the leaders of the other major blocs to meet and work through their differences together.”

Shi’ite leaders insist there is no political motive behind the case against Hashemi. But Sunnis, outnumbered about two to one by Shi’ites, see it as proof that Maliki, now freed of the trammels of U.S. occupation, is determined to tighten his personal grip on government and to marginalize the Sunnis.

In a system devised under U.S. occupation to divide power, Iraq has a Shi’ite prime minister with Sunni and Kurd deputies, a Kurdish president with Shi’ite and Sunni vice presidents, and a Sunni parliament speaker with Shi’ite and Kurd deputies.

Having long shunned the U.S.-backed institutions set up when Saddam’s decades of one-man rule ended, Sunni voters propelled Iraqiya into first place in a fragmented parliament last year. But Maliki was able to draw on other Shi’ite and Kurdish groups to build a coalition, in which Iraqiya eventually took part.

Tensions among the major groups has, however, hamstrung the government, leaving key posts such as that of defense and interior minister unfilled and obstructing legislation that could clarify rules for investing and exploiting Iraq’s vast oil and gas reserves.

Iraq sits astride a Sunni-Shi’ite faultline running through the Middle East, fuelling mutual accusations of foreign influence, whether from Shi’ite Iran to the north or from the Sunni-ruled Arab states to the south.

In an interview with Reuters, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari, an ethnic Kurd, said that the country’s domestic schisms risked inviting more interference from outside:

“As long as your internal front is fragmented and not united … others who want to interfere will be encouraged,” he said. “That’s why it is very important to deal with this crisis as soon as possible.”

(Additional reporting by Serena Chaudry in Baghdad; Writing by Alastair Macdonald)

14-1

The Eternal Jihad is Doable

September 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Karima Friedemann

Modern psychology seems to agree with Islam that there are two kinds of people in this world, ultimately: Power Over and Power Within people. Marriages and nations have been destroyed because of the conflict between these two human philosophies. It seems completely impossible that they could ever live in peace, because one viewpoint says that in order for me to win, you must lose. This is the viewpoint of Jahiliyyah. The other viewpoint says, “I can never win unless you win also.” In Islam we have learned that if even just a small part of your body hurts, the entire body cannot sleep. It is the classic domination vs. cooperation framework conflict. It is as old as time. It would take a philosopher to really delve into it, but basically, the Prophet (s) told us this struggle will go on until the end of time! This is the eternal inner jihad.

When the medieval Christian world came into contact with the Arabian and African Muslim world, they did not have a complete code of honor. Because Christ’s teachings involved turning the other cheek, there was no actual Christian law to govern war. Therefore, there were no boundaries. It is very similar to India’s meat industry today. Because eating meat according to Hinduism is a sin, there are no laws or ethics governing the treatment of cows in India. They treat it like an all or nothing situation.

As a result of Europe’s dance with the Muslims during the Anglo-Saxon period, Christians absorbed what they learned from their Islamic enemies and interpreted things in their peculiar ways. Europeans had never before seen women on or near the battlefield. The Muslim women who accompanied their husband “Saracens” on long journeys were described as promiscuous witches in traditional English literature. Yet curiously, indirectly, the Islamic hadith got indirectly written into the tales of King Arthur, who is the fictional equivalent in literature of our Imam Ali.

Ali (sa) is best known for refusing to kill the pagan enemy simply because he didn’t want to kill out of anger or ego, he would only kill for the sake of Allah. The man had spit on Ali’s face. Ali just let him go! Ali is the ultimate historical character across all nations that defined righteous behavior on the battlefield. The Anglo-Saxons after their experience with the Muslim world adopted the creed that war was supposed to be about freeing prisoners, feeding widows and orphans and helping the needy and oppressed, and this wisdom was spread throughout Europe through the tales of King Arthur. Before Christians came into contact with Islam, they thought war was just about killing people for power and commercial products. They didn’t accept Islam directly but they rewrote their own teachings to include the Islamic wisdom indirectly.

There are even earlier teachings in Islam that involve this basic human conflict between ignorance and reason. The Prophet Sulayman (as) when approaching the Queen of Sheba in marriage made it clear that the pagan system of her empire was going to have to submit to Islam if she wanted peace with her neighbors. There truly cannot be any compromise between hedonistic materialism and the prophetic way. They are like night and day.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D writes in an article about Good Self Esteem, “Our society often confuses personal power – “power within” – with “power over,” which is about controlling others. There is a vast difference between personal power and control. Personal power comes from an inner sense of security, from knowing who you are in your soul, from having defined your own intrinsic worth. It is the power that flows through you when you are connected to and feel your oneness with a spiritual source of guidance. It is the power that is the eventual result of doing deep inner emotional and spiritual work to heal the fears and false beliefs acquired in childhood.”

All people on earth are obligated by the promise that they made before time with Adam (as) in front of God to do this work of inner searching towards guidance and ultimate truth, including banishing the false teachings of our childhoods. There are no excuses. According to Islam, nobody has the right to say they didn’t realize they were supposed to do this in their lifetime. We made that promise to God before birth.

Dr. M. Paul continues: “Even if you do manage to have some control through anger, criticism, judgment, or money, this will never give you personal power – When the soul has dominion over the body, you have the power to manifest your dreams, to stay centered in the face of attack, to remain loving in the face of fear. When the soul has dominion over the body, you have tremendous personal power.”

Every person who is serious about their role on this earth is going to have to learn how to control their animalistic impulses especially when feeling wronged. We cannot make rational decisions about how to deal with a situation until we let go of our attachment to knowing we were wronged.

The animal instincts of fight or flight – the instincts of the body – often have dominion over our choices, but these reactions are largely caused by adrenaline. After prolonged periods of adrenaline stimulation without any change in the situation, the immune system begins to shut down. It is a huge journey to learn how to stand up to injustice without losing your center of control within.

13-37

Overlooking a Health Care Power of Attorney Can Be Costly

May 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil Daudi, Esq.

A very important estate planning tool that is not given the same attention as a Durable General Power of Attorney is the Health Care Power of Attorney (HCPOA). A HCPOA is a document that gives someone you trust the ability to make your medical decisions for you when you are unable to do so yourself. Once drafted, signed and witnessed, the patient advocate (person appointed) appointed is essentially filling the shoes of the principal (person signing the document) with respect to all health care decisions; thus, physicians are expected to respect and abide by their decisions as if they were being made by the principal individual himself.

Appointing someone to act as your HCPOA plays a significant role for not just the principal, but also for the patient advocate. Without a properly drafted HCPOA, and in the event you have a loved one (e.g. spouse) in the unfortunate situation of being admitted into the hospital, you would have no authority to make medical decisions on your spouse’s behalf. The proper procedure would be to file a petition with the court and be appointed as their Guardian/Conservator. This process can be time consuming and even costly.

When drafting your personal HCPOA document there is a particular section that deserves close attention. In the event you are in a persistent vegetative state or an irreversible coma, you will have to select who it is that you want to weigh the burden of your treatment versus the benefit. The three choices are: (1) Allowing your patient advocate to decide whether the burden of treatment outweighs the benefit; and based on that decision, your patient advocate has the authority to stop further treatment; (2) Allow the doctor to reasonably conclude that the burden of treatment outweighs the benefit; and based on the doctor’s decision, the doctor will decide whether to stop further treatment; and (3) Allow you to live as long as possible regardless of the burden and cost of treatment.

These are three important choices that need to be carefully addressed. By making such a decision it allows your patient advocate to know beforehand that they are responsible for your medical treatment. Through careful planning and by appointing a trustworthy patient advocate, it can bring significant ease to your personal estate. It is advised to appoint someone who is close to you and who knows your wishes, whether religious or personal, as that person can then make the proper decisions with your specific intent in mind.

Rather than going through the stress of probate, a HCPOA is the simple document that can protect your wishes as the principal and provide your patient advocate with the convenience that they would not otherwise have.

Adil Daudi is an Attorney at Joseph, Kroll & Yagalla, P.C., focusing primarily on Estate Planning, Shariah Estate Planning, Asset Protection, Business Litigation, Corporate Formations, Physician Contracts, and Family Law. To contact him for any questions related to this article or other areas of law, he can be reached at adil@josephlaw.net or (517) 381-2663.

13-20

Why You Need a Durable General Power of Attorney

May 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil Daudi, Esq.

What happens to your finances when you are mentally incompetent to handle them yourself?  Without proper planning, it is likely that the court will appoint someone, who does not necessarily have your best interests in mind, to make financial decisions for you.  In such situations, as unfortunate as it is, it is becoming more and more common for people to be taken advantage of.  Therefore, it is increasingly important to draft a Durable General Power of Attorney (POA). 

A Durable POA is a legal document that allows you to name an individual that will make financial (and other important) decisions on your behalf should you one day become incapacitated. Your selected POA will be legally bound to act on your behalf with your best interests in mind as if you yourself were making the decisions. 

In Michigan there are two types of Durable POAs: Springing and Immediate. A Springing POA, which is more commonly used, comes into effect when two doctors draft separate letters indicating that you are no longer competent to make your own decisions. Once these letters are received, only then does the POA have authority to control your finances.
In contrast, an Immediate POA is established as soon as the documents are signed; therefore, there is no requirement of obtaining the letters from the doctor. It is very common for people to begin with a springing POA, and then once they reach a certain age, they make the change to an immediate POA, thus avoiding the headache of having to obtain the doctors’ letters.

Although a POA is vital to any estate plan, it is equally important to think carefully about who you appoint as your POA. Remember, you are appointing someone who will act and make decisions on your behalf; therefore, it is imperative that this individual is someone you completely trust because they will be the ones who will have access to your bank accounts, investments, stocks, mutual funds, and even real estate property. Make sure when you sit down with your attorney that you seek their advice on who you should appoint because sometimes family members, although loved, are not always the best option.  

In the event you are declared incompetent, and you have failed to draft a POA, then your family members will be left with the burden of asking the court to appoint a guardian. This process will be stressful and time consuming and the costs will be unnecessarily burdensome. However, with a little bit of planning you can ensure that your family members will not only avoid the courts, but more importantly you will have selected a trust-worthy individual to control your finances. So take those steps to ensure that your money is being managed by the person you trust.

Next week’s topic: Medical Power of Attorney

Adil Daudi is an Attorney at Joseph, Kroll & Yagalla, P.C., focusing primarily on Estate Planning, Shariah Estate Planning, Asset Protection, Business Litigation, Corporate Formations, Physician Contracts, and Family Law. To contact him for any questions related to this article or other areas of law, he can be reached at adil@josephlaw.net or (517) 381-2663.

13-19

Trains Explained, for kids

April 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

tufail

A train is a connected series of vehicles for rail transport that move along a track (permanent way) to transport freight or passengers from one place to another. The track usually consists of two rails, but might also be a monorail or maglev guideway.

Propulsion for the train is provided by a separate locomotive, or from individual motors in self-propelled multiple units. Most modern trains are powered by diesel locomotives or by electricity supplied by overhead wires or additional rails, although historically (from the early 19th century to the mid-20th century) the steam locomotive was the dominant form of locomotive power. Other sources of power (such as horses, rope or wire, gravity, pneumatics, and gas turbines) are possible.

The word ‘train’ comes from the Old French trahiner, itself from the Latin trahere ‘pull, draw’.

There are various types of train designed for particular purposes. A train can consist of a combination of one or more locomotives and attached railroad cars, or a self-propelled multiple unit (or occasionally a single powered coach, called a railcar). Trains can also be hauled by horses, pulled by a cable, or run downhill by gravity.

Special kinds of trains running on corresponding special ‘railways’ are atmospheric railways, monorails, high-speed railways, maglev, rubber-tired underground, funicular and cog railways.

A passenger train may consist of one or several locomotives, and one or more coaches. Alternatively, a train may consist entirely of passenger carrying coaches, some or all of which are powered as a “multiple unit”. In many parts of the world, particularly Japan and Europe, high-speed rail is utilized extensively for passenger travel.

Freight trains comprise wagons or trucks rather than carriages, though some parcel and mail trains (especially Travelling Post Offices) are outwardly more like passenger trains.

Trains can also be ‘mixed’, comprising both passenger accommodation and freight vehicles. Such mixed trains are most likely to occur where services are infrequent, and running separate passenger and freight trains is not cost-effective, though the differing needs of passengers and freight usually means this is avoided where possible.

Special trains are also used for track maintenance; in some places, this is called maintenance of way.

In the United Kingdom, a train hauled by two locomotives is said to be “double-headed”, and in Canada and the United States it is quite common for a long freight train to be headed by three or more locomotives. A train with a locomotive attached at each end is described as ‘top and tailed’, this practice typically being used when there are no reversing facilities available. Where a second locomotive is attached temporarily to assist a train up steep banks or grades (or down them by providing braking power) it is referred to as ‘banking’ in the UK, or ‘helper service’ in North America. Recently, many loaded trains in the US have been made up with one or more locomotives in the middle or at the rear of the train, operated remotely from the lead cab. This is referred to as “DP” or “Distributed Power

The railway terminology that is used to describe a ‘train’ varies between countries.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the interchangeable terms set and unit are used to refer to a group of permanently or semi-permanently coupled vehicles, such as those of a multiple unit. While when referring to a train made up of a variety of vehicles, or of several sets/units, the term formation is used. (Although the UK public and media often forgo ‘formation’, for simply ‘train’.) The word rake is also used for a group of coaches or wagons.

In the United Kingdom Section 83(1) of the Railways Act 1993 defines “train” as follows:

    a) two or more items of rolling stock coupled together, at least one of which is a locomotive; or
    b) a locomotive not coupled to any other rolling stock.

United States

In the United States, the term consist is used to describe the group of rail vehicles which make up a train. When referring to motive power, consist refers to the group of locomotives powering the train. Similarly, the term trainset refers to a group of rolling stock that is permanently or semi-permanently coupled together to form a unified set of equipment (the term is most often applied to passenger train configurations).

The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway’s 1948 operating rules define a train as: “An engine or more than one engine coupled, with or without cars, displaying markers.”

12-15

Egypt/Palestine : The Wall of Shame

February 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Tariq Ramadan

2010-02-10T110526Z_497589140_GM1E62A1H2L01_RTRMADP_3_PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL

Palestinians tries to break off bricks from a building at an abandoned airport that was destroyed by an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip February 10, 2010. Israel launched an air strike in the southern Gaza Strip in response to Palestinian rocket fire, an army spokesperson said on Wednesday.

REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

It is common knowledge that the Palestinians have long been direct victims of the directionless, spineless and hypocritical polices of the Arab leadership. It is equally common knowledge that the State of Israel need make no effort to impose its vision, its methods and its objectives. Given the support of the United States, Europe’s guilty silence and the compliant passivity of the Arab regimes, we know what to expect. The foreign policy of most Arab states has been described with good reason as “pro-Zionist.” Their cowardice and treachery comes as no surprise.

Following last year’s murderous attack on Gaza by Israeli forces, we may have thought we’d seen the worst. That judgment failed to take into account the ingenuity of the “worse yet” scenario produced by the Egyptian regime and the “religious authorities” of al-Azhar. In the name of “national security”, of the fight against “terrorism”, and ultimately, of combating “corruption”, “smuggling” and “drug trafficking”, the Egyptian government is building a wall reaching twenty meters below ground level to stop the “Gazans” from carrying out their “illegal” activities and from digging “smuggling tunnels.” Of course, the Egyptian government has no intention of confining the inhabitants of Gaza to their hell; of course, the measure is dictated only by concern for national security! So persuasive is the argument that the committee of religious experts of al-Azhar quickly endorsed the government decision, declaring it to be “islamically legitimate” (“in conformity with the Shari’a”) for the country to protect its borders. (The al-Azhar scholars were responding to a fatwa issued by the International Union of Muslim Scholars that had ruled the exact opposite, that the Egyptian decision was “islamically unacceptable.”)

For shame! So this is how justice is mocked, how power and religion are misused. The Palestinian people, and most of all the inhabitants of Gaza, are denied their dignity and their rights; deprived of access to food, to water and to basic health care. And now, the Egyptian government becomes the ally of Israeli policy at its worst: isolating, strangling, starving, and smothering Palestinian civilian life after having eradicated hundreds. The aim is clear: to choke off all resistance and to destroy its leadership. The Egyptian government has blocked convoys attempting to deliver badly needed aid to the Palestinian people in an effort to raise the siege of Gaza. The mobilization that brought hundreds of women and men from around the world to Rafah was met by refusal upon refusal by the Cairo authorities, along with a strategy of selective humiliation.

For shame! No wonder the Israeli government purring with contentment. After all, a new and “promising” start for the “peace process” has been announced! There will be something for everybody: the United States, along with Saudi Arabia and Egypt has spared no efforts to draft a new and “comprehensive” program. A splendid “peace process” indeed, in whose name civilians have suffered months of blockade before their leaders are invited to take their place at the “free” and “respectful” negotiating table. Israel can keep on purring: it can play for more time without making the slightest concession. Settlement activities are to be temporarily frozen—except for construction projects already underway. Finer negotiations would be hard to find!

It cannot be repeated often enough: the Egyptian “national security wall” is a wall of shame. The religious authorities that have legitimized it have behaved exactly like the notorious “ulama” (Muslim scholars) or “Islamic councils” that openly serve power, whether of dictators or the forces of colonialism, or of some self-styled Republic specializing in the manipulation of religion. What can possibly remain of their credibility after issuing a “political fatwa” that lends the Islamic endorsement of craven scholars to the power of dictatorship? Silence would have been far better.

We must condemn these unacceptable acts, and stand beside those who resist with dignity. If successive Israeli governments know one thing—with which we must agree—it is this: the Palestinian people will not surrender. For those who may still harbor doubts, we must add a second certainty, that of time: History is on the side of the Palestinians; it is they who represent, today and tomorrow, hope for the noblest human values. To resist oppression, to defend one’s legitimate rights and one’s land, to never yield to the arrogance and to the lies of the mighty. As for the power of the Israelis, the Egyptians and others, as for the fatwas of government-appointed ulama, these things too will pass; they will pass, and will be forgotten. Happily forgotten. For the duty of memory is transformed into forgetfulness when it comes to the names and the acts of dictators, traitors and cowards.

12-7

Harun Yahya – Unawareness—A Sly Threat

January 21, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Characteristics of Unaware Individuals
Unaware individuals focus their attention on and pursue worldly desires and expectations as if they were in a trance. They direct all of their efforts toward achieving a higher rank or position and more possessions, and constantly imagine and talk about what they will do with the money they earn. They are so preoccupied with these things that they forget about Allah’s commands and prohibitions. Unable to conceive of Allah’s knowledge and power, they feel under no obligation to respect the limits He has established for humanity.
Remembering Allah stimulates the conscience of those who do not believe in the Hereafter and reminds them of their unawareness. But when they struggle with their egos as to whether they should fulfill their responsibilities to Him or not, they end up clinging to their unawareness. As a result, they feel great inner discomfort whenever Allah’s name is mentioned:
When Allah, the One and Only, is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter shrink back, shuddering. But when others apart from Him are mentioned, they jump for joy.
Az-Zumar: 45
Now, let’s examine the general character of these unaware individuals.
They do not remember Allah and the Hereafter and their hearts are filled with worldly ambitions.
Believers’ morality is so deep and sincere that nothing prevents them from remembering Allah and observing the obligatory prayers:
(There are people who are) not distracted by trade or commerce from remembering Allah, performing prayer, and giving alms, fearing a day when all hearts and eyes will be in turmoil.
Al-Nur: 37
But, unlike believers, unaware individuals have their hearts set on this world’s possessions. This makes them always want to have more and a better life, regardless of how they are currently living. They think money can buy them power and recognition and make them happy. First, they want to amass wealth, and then they want to store it and acquire even more. To make this appear legitimate, they make various excuses. By refusing to spend their money to earn Allah’s pleasure, they amass wealth and think only about satisfying their worldly desires. Their fate is described in the Qur’an:
On the Day it is heated up in the fire of Hell, and their foreheads, sides, and backs are branded with it. (They are told): “This is what you hoarded for yourselves, so taste what you were hoarding!”
At-Tawba: 35
… who has amassed wealth and hoarded it! He thinks his wealth will make him live forever. No indeed! He will be flung into the Shatterer.
Al-Humaza: 2-4
Blinded by their desire for worldly possessions, these people are unaware of the fate awaiting them. Having spent their lives obsessed with earning and spending money, they cannot remember Allah, perform their daily prayers, or give money to the poor. However, believers whose hearts are filled only with the desire to win His favor never forget that all of their possessions are no more than His gifts that are to be used to earn His pleasure. Believers, who think only of pleasing Allah and obtaining His mercy, work eagerly so that they may contribute to His religion. Since they cannot become caught up in any other passions, they will always remember Allah, approach Him in prayer, and understand that everything comes from and ultimately belongs to Him. As a result, they will regard their possessions as reminders to thank and praise Him.
Allah gives the example of Prophet Solomon (as) who, although he had great wealth, was neither distracted by it nor made it a focus of ambition; rather, he saw all of it as a reason to thank and praise Him:
When swift horses champing at the bit were displayed before him in the afternoon, he said: “Truly do I love the love of good, with a view to the glory of my Lord,” until the sun disappeared behind its veil.
Sad: 31-32
Until Prophet Solomon (as), Allah had never given anyone such power and wealth. He used these blessings to exalt Allah’s glory and proclaim His religion’s magnificence and honor. He always gave thanks to the true owner of his wealth and possessions.
Unaware people turn their backs on Allah, thinking that wealth, position, and fame can make them happy and content. They enjoy being among people who talk about these things, for in such an environment they can praise themselves and criticize others as well as spend hours watching useless and inane television talk shows:
(Unbelievers are) those whose eyes were blind to My remembrance and whose ears were unable to hear.
Al-Kahf: 101
But believers are not content with possessing worldly goods or participating in useless conversations; rather, they are content only when praising and remembering Him and reading the Qur’an:
… those who believe and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of Allah. Only in the remembrance of Him can the heart find peace.
Ar-Ra’d: 28
Not using their intellects
In unbelieving societies, the phrase “lack of intelligence” denotes people with mental disabilities and those who behave in an abnormal manner. But in the Qur’an, this phrase refers to those individuals who reject Allah’s existence and that of the Hereafter, who live only to satisfy their own egos. According to this definition, people who lack intelligence are not only found in mental hospitals, but also make up a part of society as a whole.
The mind is one of Allah’s greatest gifts to humanity. Rational people always act according to their consciences; properly appreciate His knowledge and power; and love, fear, and respect Him. They do their best to please Him, to save themselves from Hell’s eternal punishment, and are eager to attain the Hereafter’s endless blessings. In addition, they ponder deeply on Allah’s creation and appreciate His endless power and greatness, In other words they are believers. Those irrational individuals who do not have this ability are described in the Qur’an:
Have they not traveled throughout the land, and do they not have with which hearts to understand or ears with which to hear? It is not their eyes that are blind, but the hearts in their breasts that are blind.
Al-Hajj: 46
The most distinguishing feature of these irrational people is their preference for the life of this world, to which they are so passionately devoted, over that of the Hereafter. And yet Allah warns such people to reflect on this world’s true nature:
The life of this world is nothing but a game and a diversion. The Hereafter is better for those who guard against evil. So will you not use your intellect?
Al-An‘am: 32
Anything you have been given is only the enjoyment of the life of this world and its finery. What is with Allah is better and longer lasting. So will you not use your intellect?
Al-Qasas: 60
We have sent down to you a Book containing a Reminder for you. So will you not use your intellect?
Al-Anbiya’: 10
The perfectly ordered systems and creatures that Allah has created, together with all that they teach us about reality, are beyond the vision of unaware people; they can only be appreciated by believers who use their intelligence. Intelligent, aware believers carefully observe everything in their vicinity and ponder deeply on what they see. In the Qur’an, Allah gives the examples of a mosquito, a honeybee, a spider, and many other creatures He has made to encourage people to think about and appreciate His knowledge, power, and artistry. However, only those believers with intelligence can know their qualities and understand the perfection of living things and their qualities based on what they produce. From these, they can appreciate His power and artistry.
As for unaware individuals, their irrationality causes them to imagine that the creatures they see around them every day are simple and ordinary. To them, a bee just buzzes around and lands on flowers, and a mosquito is just a blood-sucking pest:
The worst of beasts in Allah’ sight are the deaf and dumb (people) who have no intellect.
Al-Anfal: 22
Another important aspect of such people is that since they cannot discriminate between rationality and irrationality, they imagine that they are rational and that it is the rational people who are irrational:
When they are told: “Believe in the way that the people believe,” they exclaim: “What! Are we to believe in the way that fools believe?” No indeed! They are the fools, but they do not know it.
Al-Baqara: 13

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – ALLAH is the Only Reality

September 10, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)

“..…And further, thou seest the earth barren and lifeless.  But when We pour down rain on it, it swells, and puts forth every kind of beautiful growth in pairs.  6). This is so because ALLAH is the Reality.  It is He who gives life to the dead, and it is He who has power over all things.” 

Qur’an 22:5, 6

Repeated:  There is a positive thinking book out called “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff – and it’s all small stuff.”  This statement sort of puts in perspective everything we know.  ALLAH, The Almighty, made Adam (human beings) to be over everything we can see or imagine.  That is awesome power.  Just look at the creation of ALLAH.

We can start with the tiniest of atoms, which we cannot see with our naked eye, and they are composed of matter even smaller.  We are in control of even this microscopic material.  Look at the awesome destructive power we unleashed by splitting one.  The ensuing chain reaction resulted in the most destructive and deadly weapon man has ever used against his fellow man.  And that was 60 years ago so you can imagine what we have now.

We can then look at what we can see in this world.  Trees, animals, etc. are all under our control.  Tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters, will one day be controlled by us or at least we will harness their power for our use.

And this world seems to be nothing compared to the universe and beyond.  Adam is also in charge of that.  I don’t think it will be long before we have people living and vacationing on the moon.

But with all that great and powerful material creation that we can see, as well as imagine, we must remember, it is all fading away.  Science has calculated that the sun, as massive as it is, is burning out.  Only ALLAH is permanent. He, ALLAH, says everything is fading away except Him.  ALLAH is The Reality – The ONLY Reality.

“What is with you must vanish: what is with ALLAH will endure.  And We will certainly bestow, on those who patiently persevere, their reward according to the best of their actions.” 

16:96

So knowing this great truth we should not let any person bring us some “small stuff” and make us feel inferior to them.  Sometimes we let people chastise us by reminding us of some mistake we have made.  They will go so far as to make you seem stupid for making the mistake.  But we must remember, that mistake, and everybody’s mistake will go away along with the rest of creation.

Generally these people are reminding you of your shortcomings to make you seem small and make them seem big to you.  This is nothing but Shaitan trying to fulfill what he promised ALLAH he would do to Adam (human beings).  And when you look closely at them, you find they are making more mistakes than you – but trying to conceal them.  Their aim and intention is to denigrate you.

But if you view it right, your mistake is only there as a learning tool for you.  It is to teach you not to do that thing again.  But it will go away because ALLAH is the only reality.  If these evil people try to denigrate you by calling you stupid or something worse, just say, “maybe I am, but so are you.  ALLAH is the only reality.”  This should make you feel better instantly and while you are feeling better about yourself you can more directly take steps to improve yourself.  

As Salaam alaikum
(Al Hajj) Imam Abdullah El-Amin

Nathan Brown: Arab Democratic Movements

September 3, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

By Geoffrey Cook, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)

Today is a hot (unusually muggy day from a hurricane a [thousand miles south] off the Pacific Coast of Mexico).  I am looking back to  a discussion documented in my notebooks in Berkeley with Nathan Brown and Mohammed Hafez–Brown is not Muslim, but he is a great scholar of Islam.  Professor Brown spoke to those present on understanding Islamicist politics and their electoral opposition to the often corrupt parties in power in their nation states.

Islamist Arab Parties – especially in Egypt – have had great successes in elections, but they almost never win. 

Mainstream “democracy” is manipulated by Arab leaders.  This is why Islamist Parties mostly refuse to take part in elections and often react violently by resisting against their rulers and their pseudo-“Parliaments.”  On the other hand, examples can be had in the victory of the Islamic Parties in Algeria which the Party in power refused to  recognize the results leading to a protracted civil war.  Another instance can be found in the Gaza 2006 election that Jimmy Carter and his observation team described as the fairest that they had ever witnessed, but both Israel and the United States and Egypt refused to recognize! 

Outside the Islamic world political Islamicism is equated with Nazism, but “It is more like [European] ‘Christian’ Democracy in that it, too, makes a religious reference to its politics.”  The slogan of the Muslim Brotherhood is “Be prepared!” which resonates from the Koran itself, and is on the visual crest of the Party.  The Brotherhood began as a secular movement to help individuals to become better Muslims, but later its philosophy flowed into politics.

Dr. Brown maintained that “Elections in the Middle East have predicable results, but uncertain rules.”  For the most part they are designed for the government to win.  Those Islamists who contend find it  advantageous for them (see my article on Da’wa and Democratic Politics in a back issue of this  publication) although they are “not recognized as a full political party” by the establishment.  Yet they are able to weather a harsh political climate. 

They are “highly ideological, and enforce their principles;” so, that they “will not rupture into discordant fissures although debate and schism has arisen over minute issues.”

Hard decisions have to be made over elections.  Elections can raise the primacy of politics over religion which is always a concern amongst devout people.

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Threatening Iran

July 23, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

By Paul Craig Roberts, Countercurrents.org

When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Japan did not spend years preparing her public case and demonstrating her deployment of forces for the attack. Japan did not make a world issue out of her view that the US was denying Japan her role in the Pacific by hindering Japan’s access to raw materials and energy.

Similarly, when Hitler attacked Russia, he did not preface his invasion with endless threats and a public case that blamed the war on England.

These events happened before the PSYOPS (Psychological Operations) era. Today, America and Israel’s wars of aggression are preceded by years of propaganda and international meetings, so that by the time the attack comes it is an expected event, not a monstrous surprise attack with its connotation of naked aggression.

The US, which has been threatening Iran with attack for years, has passed the job to Israel. During the third week of July, the American vice president and secretary of state gave Israel the go-ahead. Israel has made great public disclosure of its warships passing through the Suez Canal on their way to Iran. “Muslim” Egypt is complicit, offering no objection to Israel’s naval forces on their way to a war crime under the Nuremberg standard that the US imposed on the world.

By the time the attack occurs, it will be old hat, an expected event, and, moreover, an event justified by years of propaganda asserting Iran’s perfidy.

Israel intends to dominate the Middle East. Israel’s goal is to incorporate all of Palestine and southern Lebanon into “Greater Israel.” The US intends to dominate the entire world, deciding who rules which countries and controlling resource flows.

The US and Israel are likely to succeed, because they have effective PSYOPS. For the most part, the world media follows the US media, which follows the US and Israeli governments’ lines. Indeed, the American media is part of the PSYOPS of both countries.

According to Thierry Meyssan in the Swiss newspaper Zeit-Fragen, the CIA used SMS or text messaging and Twitter to spread disinformation about the Iranian election, including the false report that the Guardian Council had informed Mousavi that he had won the election. When the real results were announced, Ahmadinejad’s reelection appeared to be fraudulent.

Iran’s fate awaits it. A reasonable hypothesis to be entertained and examined is whether Iran’s Rafsanjani and Mousavi are in league with Washington to gain power in Iran. Both have lost out in the competition for government power in Iran. Yet, both are egotistical and ambitious. The Iranian Revolution of 1979 probably means nothing to them except an opportunity for personal power. The way the West has always controlled the Middle East is by purchasing the politicians who are out of power and backing them in overthrowing the independent government. We see this today in Sudan as well.

In the case of Iran, there is an additional factor that might align Rafsanjani with Washington. President Ahmadienijad attacked former President Rafsanjani, one of Iran’s most wealthy persons, as corrupt. If Rafsanjani feels threatened by this attack, he has little choice but to try to overthrow the existing government. This makes him the perfect person for Washington.

Perhaps there is a better explanation why Rafsanjani and Mousavi, two highly placed members of the Iranian elite, chose to persist in allegations of election fraud that have played into Washington’s hands by calling into question the legitimacy of the Iranian government. It cannot be that the office of president is worth such costs as the Iranian presidency is not endowed with decisive powers.

Without Rafsanjani and Mousavi, the US media could not have orchestrated the Iranian elections as “stolen,” a n orchestration that the US government used to further isolate and discredit the Iranian government, making it easier for Iran to be attacked. Normally, well placed members of an elite do not help foreign enemies set their country up for attack.

An Israeli attack on Iran is likely to produce retaliation, which Washington will use to enter the conflict. Have the personal ambitions of Rafsanjani and Mousavi, and the naive youthful upper class Iranian protesters, set Iran up for destruction?

Consult a map and you will see that Iran is surrounded by a dozen countries that host US military bases. Why does anyone in Iran doubt that Iran is on her way to becoming another Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, in the end to be ruled by oil companies and an American puppet?

The Russians and Chinese are off balance because of successful American interventions in their spheres of influence, uncertain of the threat and the response. Russia could have prevented the coming attack on Iran, but, pressured by Washington, Russia has not delivered the missile systems that Iran purchased. China suffers from her own hubris as a rising economic power, and is about to lose her energy investments in Iran to US/Israeli aggression. China is funding America’s wars of aggression with loans, and Russia is even helping the US to set up a puppet state in Afghanistan, thus opening up former Soviet central Asia t o US hegemony.

The world is so impotent that even the bankrupt US can launch a new war of aggression and have it accepted as a glorious act of liberation in behalf of women’s rights, peace, and democracy.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com

11-31

Americans & America’s National Interests

July 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

By Dr. Aslam Abdullah, TMO Editor in chief

For almost 40 years, we Americans are being led to believe that Israel is a Western outpost in the Middle East and it is the only democratic country in the region that looks West. We are being led to believe that only Israel can defend out interests in the Middle East.

What are our interests in the Middle East? What are our core values?

In one simple word, our interests are in oil and in capturing a market share that would sustain our jobs and economy.

What are our core values?

In one simple word, our core values are defined by free market and unbridled capitalism.

We have rarely stood for democracy and democratic values. We have supported dictators and we still support them. We have supported movements that destabilize democracies primarily to ensure that our market interests are shared. Out interests are not determined by our people who vote in every election. Rather they are determined by those who influence our representatives through money and intimidation.

Our power elite has a grudge against Islam and Muslims. It does not view Islam a credible force in the world. In its view, Islam is a regressive ideology that dictates its draconian laws through the instrument of state. Our power elite relies on the medieval understanding of Islam for this perspective. Regardless of its leanings towards liberal or conservative thoughts, it believes that a religion that cannot change according to the will of those who produce capital is not worthy of anything.

The power elite is supported at least in action by Muslim monarchs, dictators, and Muslim political entities who have yet to provide a blue print for a society where human beings can live with dignity and freedom. On the contrary, they have projected Islam as a faith that is intolerant towards all those who are not willing to listen to its call. The way religious opposition is dealt in Muslim majority countries is a living proof of that.

Regardless of what the power elite tries to dictate, we Muslims must make every possible attempt to connect people and identify with their interests. We must present our perspectives of national interests to them without being intimidated. Otherwise, we would remain a pawn in this ponzy politics that legitimizes double standards in every policy issue. We the people have a right to determine our national interests collectively. We must never allow any lobby to dictate its terms on us. We are a democracy that are led by lobbyists and not by people. We claim that we believe in a government of the people, by the people for the people. But we tend to promote a government of the people, by the lobbies and for the lobbyists.

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