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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Gift Anyone Dreads To Receive

"For as long as man breathes, the conquest for answers to life's questions continues, and there is an awful lot of answers to face."

Arguably, Eid Al Fitr is the most appropriate time of the year for Muslim communities around the world to celebrate with families and friends.  The celebration would be incomplete without gift-giving  to loved ones and friends, being generous and performing good deeds as the most natural things a Muslim is expected or required  to do. Eid Al Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan when all adult and able-bodied Muslims are required to fast from dusk till dawn. They also believe that a good deed performed in Ramadan earned them ten or hundred times more reward than an ordinary good deed done in any time of the year, hence they come in abundance.

While most Muslims have the right attitude toward the significance of Eid, sadly there are some who believe the opposite. Just last week, a twin suicide bombing happened in a military academy in Algeria that left 16 students and 2 civilians dead. Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) immediately admitted responsibility, and proudly announced that it is their  gift for Eid to the mothers and wives who had lost their sons and husbands in the carnage. The bombings coincided with the time when people in the academy were gathered for the iftar or breaking of fast. The leader of Al Qaida offshoot who took responsibility for the gruesome killings, even congratulated the mothers of the victims for their sons' lives who will be rewarded in "heaven" for their "martyrdom".

In Egypt, a recently released senior leader of the Egyptian Islamic jihad terrorist group Sheikh Adel Shehato, announced that Christian churches in Egypt and others that exist in Islamic countries may need to be blown up and Christians exterminated to allow the advance of Islamic law, or Shariah. He confidently says that his principles are guided by Shariah and that he is not bound by the laws of men or any constitution, but by the "divine law" that says, if Christians don't want to convert to Islam they have to pay what they call a jizya tax, or else they are compelled to exterminate them. He further stressed that the Shariah is not based on logic but by the law of god. 

His take on democracy:
"As Muslims, we must believe that the Quran is our constitution, and that it is impossible for us to institute a Western democratic regime. I oppose democracy because it is not the faith of the Muslims...According to Islam, it is forbidden for people to rule and to legislate laws, as Allah alone is ruler. Allah did not hand down the term [democracy] as a form of rule, and it is completely absent from the Arab and Islamic lexicon."

And on a worldwide Islamic kingdom he envisions:
"Of course we will launch a campaign of Islamic conquest throughout the world. All The Muslims in the world who wish to see the Shariah implemented worldwide will join the Egyptian army in order to form Islamic battalions, whose task will be to bring about the victory. There are Muslims and there are infidels. We will have ambassadors in every country. We want to call all other countries to join Islam, and that will be the task of the ambassadors. If [they] refuse, there will be war."

His pronouncements were quite scary if we were to analyze them, and who would not? The man believes he is following the precepts of his god and in fact he is doing him great service by advancing the cause of Islam. He even believes that true Muslims should not make friends with Christians for it is the commandments of Allah. He would further say that he knows everything what the Quran instructs all Muslims to do in order to please god. Well, these are words coming from a terrorist - a sworn murderer of anyone labeled as infidel. And yes, I was convinced that this does not constitute the true Islam, knowing fully well that Islam is a "Religion of Peace". In fact, this slogan is uniquely endemic to Islam just like "Connecting People" is to Nokia, and "Just Do It" is to Nike.

As though I was poised to discredit the words of the terrorist on my own lame arguments, my curiosity led me to search through Bing and cringed at what  probably one of the most liberating and shocking revelations I have never imagined. Still not convinced, I went on rummaging at my old clothes where the small English Quran  given to me by our company accountant was neatly buried that I almost forgot I hid one there. Perhaps just the second time I laid my fingers on that gift to me, I felt awkward and awesome I had to read it leftward. And there I found the truth that would support the claims of the man, whom many of us would want to call insane and hateful. If  indeed he believes he is actually following what  his religion preaches, then I have every reason to believe that this man knows what he is talking about.

The following are verses I copied from the holy Quran that are worthy to ponder upon. If this is actually what gave birth to unheard of hatred in the world, I hope that all religions can still co-exist without lives being wasted for religions' sake. 

"Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9: 121)

"Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with  them. Hell shall be their home." (Surah 9:73)

"Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9: 27)

"Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Surah 8:36)
"Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5: 51)

"Slay them wherever you find them...Idolatry is worse than carnage...Fight against them until idolatry is no more and God's religion reigns supreme." (Surah 2: 190)

To them, the Bible may be the book of the infidels and the enemies, yet these are what it says pertaining to one's enemy and to people who do harm to them :

"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. - (Matthew 5:44)

"But I tell you who hear me; Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. - (Luke 6: 27-36)

This post would have not led to what you may call a discourse, a debate or what, for it was never my aim to talk about religions. I just found it necessary not to ignore elements of great importance, to be able to perhaps find answers to a polarizing 'truth' why there is enmity towards one another. The articles that I stumbled upon that I thought betrayed logic and defied human compassion, on murdered peaceful sons as gifts for orphaned mothers in Eid - just does not sink in well with my psyche, or maybe I just need to accept the plain truth as it is? As the saying goes, "You should know the truth and the truth will set you free". For as long as man breathes, the conquest for answers to life's questions continues, and there is an awful lot of answers to face. It only boils down to whichever man decides to embrace.

Still the second day of Eid, I prefer to dwell on tradition that this holiday is meant to be joyful for a variety of reasons. Having a longer rest after a month-long of exhausting work is one. After all, I still believe the real God of the universe is a merciful and gracious God who created humans for His glory and that He loves them so much more than anything. Surely, it is comforting to know that the God that I've known personally is rich in compassion and slow to anger. If anything, this divine truth is more liberating as opposed to the anxieties of war, famine, natural disasters, human greed and all these hatred the world is known to offer. Eid Mubarak to all!


DonPepe1972 said...

This post is an eye opener. I like the verses you've quoted from the bible about our enemies. And it's wonderful of HIM to say that we should love our enemies no matter what. Praise the LORD! Love your post!

Siock said...

@ Pepe, yes indeed, the truth sets us free. God bless. :-)

braggito said...

Unfortunately, there are people who will kill and die in the name of faith.

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