14 June 2008

Religion of Peace?

Are men really superior to women as the Qur'an says? Are women intellectually inferior as Muhammad taught? Does propagating material (the Qur'an) that openly curses people of other religions amidst random calls to violence really improve the health of our societies? Is it right to keep women as sex slaves, merely because the Qur'an explicitly allows it in multiple places? Should atheists and homosexuals have to choose between the noose and an outward profession of faith in Allah?

Yes, there are Muslims who take issue with these aspects of Islamic theology, but it doesn't change what Islam is. Don't confuse the ideology with the individual. Don't draw conclusions about Islam based on the Muslims that you know, be they terrorists or humanitarians. Islam must be understood on the basis of what it is, as presented by the Qur'an the Hadith and Sira (biography of Muhammad).

By the same token, don't draw conclusions about the Muslims in your life based on the true nature of Islam. Like any other group, not all Muslims think alike.

Above quote from:

http://www.thereligionofpeace.com

I find it an interesting website in that this section of it, the one differentiating Muslims from Islam, sounds politically correct as to be almost sickening, but the rest of the website seems very inflammatory on purpose.

I'm still a bit confused as to what a Muslim IS. I hear you can just make a statement like, Allah is God and Muhammad is his prophet, and ta-da! you're a Muslim.

Did I just become a Muslim? OK, I unconverted really quick just now, then. No fair smearing me if I run for political office that I used to be a practicing Muslim. Can I just give an aside and say the "Muslim" thing is not fair to Obama? Of course, he ought to just come out and admit that he used to be one because truth is more important than political death. If you're going to go into the mosque with your dad and PRAY TO ALLAH there, who do you think you are fooling that you were never a Muslim? And he studied the Koran as a kid, but we're expected to believe these studies had no effect? (Well, maybe they didn't. I don't see too many Islamics clamouring for abortion and gay rights. )

But I believe people can change, how about you? If he made some generic statement like, "Allah does not exist and Muhammad is no prophet," I think all of us Christians ought to be satisfied with that. Give it a rest! There are so many other things wrong with this fellow's candidacy, and he can't help who his father is! I think we can see by Obama's ideology that he is no Wahabi Muslim, nor yet a Dobson Christian. Where he is spiritually, I cannot tell, but I know I'm not voting for him. It's not my place to judge his standing with God, but I *do* feel called to make character and values judgments when I vote for someone.

And do you know what? Sometimes I'm wrong.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Mrs. C.,

    There is so much here that I disagree with. I understand you are asking for clarification on these honest questions that are unfortunately based on lack of knowledge. I am not even going to try here to address these many religious issues (the topic is just too big!).

    I would just like to say that I wish I could share with you my experience as a (Christian) woman in Morocco (a moderate Islamic country) these past 17 years. I am married to a Muslim, but he has never asked me to convert to Islam (although the law states that all children with at least one Muslim parent must be Muslim). My BIGGEST SURPRISE upon moving to Morocco was how WELL women are treated, and how much they are respected (they are treated much more respectfully than in the United States).

    Having studied Islam extensively (however being no scholar, nor a convert) I can tell you that "Allah" is the SAME God the Christians and Jews pray to. In fact, under Islam, those two religions (Christianity and Judaism) are the only other ones accepted and respected. A Muslim man can marry a Muslim, Christian or a Jewish woman (precisely for the reason that they believe in the same God), but he cannot marry any other faith. (The reason women cannot marry outside the faith is that it is "assumed" by SOCIETY--not the Koran--that "the MAN is the head of the family, and the wife and children will follow his lead in religion.)

    The supposed "superiority" of men over women comes not from the Koran, but from SOCIETY, both of that time (which is why you find such references about the superiority of men in the Koran) and now.

    Eileen's next post, in fact, is going to be somewhat on this issue, how men got to be "head" of the family, superior in decision-making matters. (And don't forget that until recently in the United States, women had to promise to "obey" when they got married, too!)

    I am a teacher of third-grade children. When some of these religious issues come up in class (It it IS true that Muslim children are taught that their religion IS the only TRUE religion, and the BEST one, ALL OTHERS--including Christianity and Judaism being in error, even though they are "tolerated." Christianity and Judaism are tolerated in the same way by Islam, as Judaism was tolerated, but seen to be in "error" by Christianity for many centuries.) I tell the children that THE DIFFERENCES between the religions are NOT what is important. I tell them that what IS important is WHAT KIND OF A PERSON WE ARE before God.

    For example, does it matter whether we pray on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday? NO. Does it matter whether we pray down on the floor, sitting, kneeling, or standing? NO. Does it matter what the NAME of the building we pray in is called? NO.

    I tell the kids what DOES matter is do we BELIEVE in God, ARE WE HONEST in our dealings with others? Do we try not to tell lies, not to cheat, not to steal, be kind to others, respect our parents, try not to be jealous of others, and in general, ALWAYS TRY TO TREAT OTHERS AS WE WOULD LIKE TO BE TREATED? Of course these principles are equally in Islam, as in Christianity.

    The religious people (of any religion) who are causing problems tend to be those who don't want to think about the above PRINCIPLES, and instead want to concentrate on RULES, like "everyone should do this, everyone should do that, you should wear gloves, or socks, women should do this, men should do this, etc........!!!!!" And in so doing, they are not really practicing the ESSENCE of the religion.

    I am very happy to be married to a man who doesn't bother about all these RULES, but who is kind, honest, and forthright every day of his life. He is an excellent husband and father.

    I have a maid at present (and yes, maids are actually necessary here) who makes SURE to wear a scarf (completely optional in Morocco) to cover her hair and "claims" to pray, but who (together with her scarf) wears loads of makeup, very tight clothes (sort of defeating the purpose of the scarf!!) and who definitely isn't honest.

    Best regards,
    Madame Monet (in Marrakesh, Morocco)
    Writing, Painting, Music, and Wine
    winewriter.wordpress.com

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  2. Ah! Madame Monet, people truly are the same the whole world over. I'm teaching my children that Christianity is the one True religion, the others are false but have varying degrees of error. (In our brand of conservative Christianity, the only "error" in Judaism is its incompleteness without Jesus, so it's all true but just missing a big piece.)

    I'm trying to teach my children to love and respect others, but must admit to stark, horrible terror upon seeing Muslim women cloaked in black so that you cannot see their faces. I just imagine the Grim Reaper and I am terrified beyond belief. (I've heard people call this Islamophobia, but I think it's more the outfit. I'm not scared of Muslim women with just the scarf on their head - forgive me, I forget what that's called and I know there's a special name for it.)

    I've also heard from older Western accounts that the burqua really allows for anonymity and MORE freedom of movement, but I don't know if that's true today.

    It's interesting you note that women are better treated in Morocco. I don't wonder if the behaviour of these women would lead the men to respect them more. I'm sure a Moroccan man would be SHOCKED at how some women behave in public here. I'd absolutely, positively agree with you about religion and the "rules," while recognizing some people get this way because our society is a bit depraved.

    BTW my best friend is also a maid. Well, she is more what we'd call a "cleaning lady" here. It's a job that offers reasonably flexible hours and good pay.

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