Thursday, July 30, 2009

Things In Common by Syed Akbar Ali

Cover page - Ladies with veil covering their heads, men with skull caps. None of the people on the cover are Muslims.

43 Chapters

1 Islamic Countries "Bouncing Along"

Pakistan is set to join the ranks of the other failed 'Islamic' countries.

Malaysia n Turkey are two Islamic countries that have a fairly established democratic system but both are still far from achieving the status of advanced nations in the economic, political n social development of their people. The Islamic countries are just bouncing along on the road that seems to be getting rougher for them.

Narcissism : A Real Problem
The problem with Pakistan - political system, tribal n religious beliefs

The writer hopes to change the state of affairs - majority of Muslim n non Muslim do not know much what is and what is not inside the Quran. In this book the writer has listed many things which are sometimes assumed to be part of the Quran(by non Muslims n some Muslims) but in reality they are not. Many of these things seem to have an inter-religious commonality especially with the Bible and Jewish theologies yet are not found in the Quran.

2 Jihad

Jihad in the Quran is struggle against the unbelievers. Nowhere in the Quran jihad is armed or violent aggression against anyone.

3 Sectarianism: Arguing Over Assumptions & Dead Folks.

Sects - Shia. The Quran does not condone sectarianism.

Arguing over hypothetical assumptions

Scholars from Shiah sect have worked out the hypothetical question whether the prophet would have preferred to die in the lap of his wife Aisha or in the arms of his son in law Ali. What s the purpose of arguing this? what is the relevance to today's world or even yesterday's world?

Sermons that are devoid of mentioning God

Learning point - give sermon must quote the Quran, write religious articles must have references to the Quran.

The writer reproduced a quote from Ibnu Kathir - well known for his interpretation of the Quran - about a beast that will emerge towards the end of time. The Islamic world has accepted the writings of old scholars almost as if they were written in stone. To be accepted without question.

Stories about incredulous beasts are not found in the Quran. The New Testament in the Bible talks about an incredulous beast at the end of time. - An example of the commonality between the Bible and the Muslim preachers but these things are not found in the Quran.

4 Close proximity or Khalwat, Misyar & Mutaah

Khalwat not mentioned in the Quran.
Overzealous moral squads
A man could breastfeed from a woman, he will become her muhrim or blood relation. This idea of promoting the suckling of adults has been addressed by Imam Malik ibn Anas who wrote Al Muwatta - considered to be the first formulation of Islamic jurisprudence. Here again it seems that the writer is not in favour of Imam Malik?

Some religious folks in Saudi in 2006 allow misyar marriage. A man need not permanently live with or even provide support to the woman.

Mutaah marriage practised sometimes by the Shiah sect.

5 Why Not Quote The Quran?
Hijab is found 7 times n Hudud is mentioned 14 times in the Quran.
It is strange that scholars did not refer to verses of the Quran that mention hudud n hijab as a basis to formulate the religious views n laws regarding hijab n hudud.

Hijab is stated 7 times in the Quran to mean a barrier, a curtain or a divider and not once does it refer to the head cover which the religious scholars want the women to wear on their heads.

Head covering for women in other belief systems - Bible
Where does purdah come from? In Hindu Rajasthan a purdah was the women's wing, which was a part of a house or building.

What does the Quran say about Aurat?
The aurat of the woman refers to the woman's private parts ie those parts which should not even be seen by her own children (except toddlers).

Religious headgear for men

6 The Hudud Laws

There are 14 occurences of the word hudud and its derivatives in the Quran. All occurences talk about domestic affairs between man and woman.
"Although the religionists keep harping about hudud they never refer to even one of the verses in the Quran.

7 Mufti & Kadi

Mufti n kadi are not found in the Quran. The position of mufti is actually a creation of the British colonialists. A mufti is a religious scholar who is an interpreter or expounder of sharia law, capable of issuing fatwa or opinions on a matter. Kadi is just a judge.

8 The Mufti of Perlis on the Israiliyah Stories

Muslim preachers sometimes used Israiliyah stories.

9 The Dinero & The Dinar

there is no such thing as Islamic banking. There is nothing particularly islamic about the dinar. It was just the name of the coin that was introduced by the romans in their Roman Empire.

10 The Treatment of Apostasy

there is no death penalty nor any kind of temporal punishment in the Quran for apostasy.

11 Putting Up 'Holy" Writing

This chapter discusses the superstitious belief in numbers or the 'power' of numbers. muslims from the indian subcontinent seem to be mesmerized by the number '786'.

12 Belief In The Second Coming & Things Like That

13 Restrictions Against Menstruating Women

Restrictions against menstruating women are found in the Bible but not in the Quran except the quran says that when the women are clear of their menses then the men can resume their marital relations.

14 Blasphemy, Insulting Religion & Such

15 The Ashura Rituals

16 Jewish Treatment of 'Korban Pesach'

17 The Hebrew Akedah - Belief, Binding Faith & Stuff

18 Punishment for Adultery

19 The Treatment of Slavery

20 Beards

21 Prohibition of Photographs,Carvings & Such

22 The Amen

Nowhere in the Quran is found the word Amen. The Bible has numerous occurences of the word Amen to curse people who may have done something that is not sanctioned by the Bible . The priests shall first curse them and the congregation shall then say 'Amen'.

23 The Aqeqah Feast or Khenduri Aqeqah

The teaching is not found in the Quran but the Bible mentions the practice of slaughtering the animals to commemorate the birth of children.

24 Dogs & Lizards

The writer is very supportive of muslims keeping dogs. He is a dog lover.

25 Halal Restaurant Stickers, Washing with Mud & Such

enforcement officers have nothing better to do than raid Muslim restaurants.

26 What's A Muslim Name?

27 The 99 Names of God

28 Taking Money In the Name of Religion

29 Ijma

30 Guidance from Village Intellects

31 Insufficient Honesty & Trustworthiness

32 Human Beings First

33 Democracy Compatible With Quran But Not Religion

34 Replying Wilder's 'Fitna'

35 Malaysia Withdrawing Into A Cocoon Too?

I wish the Malaysian policy makers would read this

36 The Third World In Malaysia

Malaysians - please read this.

37 Lowering The Averages

38 Indonesia

'Whatever good, (O man) happens to thee, is from god...' Surah 4:79

39 Islam Makes you Rich But Religion Can Make You Poorer
In this chapter the writer argues how unpractical the hijrah calendar, having Thursday n Friday as day off is economic loss.

He cited 'Lost History - The Enduring Legacy of Muslim scientists, Thinkers, and Artists' by michael Hamilton Morgan, 2007.

Among them are Al Khwarizmi,Ibn al-Haytham, Al-Tabari, Ahmet Celebi, Omar Khayyam,Jabir ibn Haiyan.

40 Lets Become Facilitators Like The Chinese

41 China Ascendent: The Islamic Precedent

42 The Malthusian Church : A Good Example of Another Bad 'Religion'
malthus - the economist

43 Where To Malaysia?

Comment : The writer reproduces many reports about 'religious' ignorance. Very practical. He showed incidences where religious people so bothered about school uniform- baju kurung too sexy, high heels n lipsticks to be banned in Kelantan.So many startling issues that can provoke the reader. Controversial issues - dogs not najis etc. An eye opener. Mind provoking.

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