Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ahmadiyya Muslims translate Quran into Yiddish

Moderator Mike Ghouse's Note:  

I  admire the Ahmadiyya Muslim community for the peaceful work they have been doing, where  ever they go. They bring a good name to Islam and Muslims.

However, no Muslim, Christian, Jewish or Hindu community is free from arrogance and hints that they are better, peaceful, scientific, old...  to claim superiority over the others does not make religious sense. The very first principle of religion, any religion is humility, where every one feels there is a greater power, and that we all have equal opportunity to excel.  Muslims are no exception - its a shame that one tribe claims to be better, legitimate or otherwise, as if God has secretly signed a deal with them - that is non-sense.  I was happy to read the work of Ahmadiyya Muslims in spreading positive thoughts about Islam every place they do their work and I salute them for the same.  

One of the things Ahmadiyya community needs to resist is telling others that "we are the Muslims who advocate peace" not like the other ones. We condemn terrorism, etc etc."  It is not a good statement, you got that wrong, All Muslims advocate peace,  fewer than 1% of Muslims don't; same formula applies to all religions.  It is not just Ahmadiyya, every group has such men, who denigrate the other as if it is going to make them superior.  

Please note the following sentence in the article is not kosher, "You don't hear about us because we don't throw rocks at buses," Odeh said. Its like Romney saying they don't ask my birth certificate because they know I am from here"  By the way, with the limited time I have in a given day, I do note thoughtless comments like the one above. As a persecuted minority, I understand, but still cannot justify such comments. 

As a Muslim I am continually embarrassed by the Muslim behavior in Pakistan and elsewhere, whose Islam is not based on being a good Muslim, but denying others their Muslimness. Muslim are so eager to deny Ahmadiyya their Muslimness, as if they own Islam and God has made them his deputies to render judgments.  What a shirk! Things have to change. 
Mike Ghouse

Group's Israeli leader says aim was to show different face of Islam.

Members of a Muslim sect that translated parts of the Koran into Yiddish are marking 25 years since that translation was published.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community leader Muhammad Sharif Odeh with the Yiddish text in Haifa
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community leader Muhammad Sharif Odeh with the Yiddish text in Haifa in August 2012. 'We had to make sure our neighbors could read the Koran too.' Photo by Haggai Frid
The president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Israel, Muhammad Sharif Odeh, said the group translated select parts of the Koran into Yiddish in order to present a different face of Islam. In addition, said Odeh, "We decided we had to make sure that our neighbors could also read the Koran."
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the only Islamic community that believes the Messiah has come. Adherents believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, born in 1835, was the "metaphorical second coming of Jesus ... whose advent was foretold by the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad," according to the website. "God sent Ahmad, like Jesus, to end religious wars, condemn bloodshed and reinstitute morality, justice and peace," say believers.
There are some 2,000 Ahmadiyya Muslims in Israel; most of them reside in Haifa's Kababir neighborhood. The sect says it has tens of millions of followers in more than 200 countries.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community translated parts of the Koran into Yiddish in 1987. The sect chose Yiddish, one of 100 languages into which it has translated parts of the sacred book of Islam, so that "Yiddish speakers who wanted to know about us would be able to do so without language being an obstacle," Odeh explained.
The decision to translate the Koran into Yiddish was made by the community's religious leader at the time, the fourth Caliph, Mirza Tahir Ahmad, who was living then in Pakistan. The current Caliph, the fifth, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, resides in the United Kingdom.
Odeh said the particular selections that were translated show that Islam is "not the way it is presented in Afghanistan." He noted, for example, "Before the Koran, women did not have rights. The Koran gives women full protection on the spiritual level and gives her an independent status." Odeh has been head of the local Ahmadiyya community for 13 years.
Most Israelis know little about the sect, which is considered peaceful and non-proselytizing. Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav has gone so far as to call them "Reform Arabs." The community's motto is "Love for all, hatred for none."
"You don't hear about us because we don't throw rocks at buses," Odeh said. "We believe that nothing can be achieved through hatred and hostility." He said he is very worried about the talk of a possible war with Iran, and that the Caliph recently appealed to all world leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to avoid a war. "Netanyahu didn't respond, Queen Elizabeth actually did," Odeh reported.
Odeh said the concept of secularism is foreign to the Ahmadiyya community. "Everyone prays, some come to the mosque and others pray at home." Believers express their faith in concrete ways as well. Wealthier members tithe at least 10 percent of their monthly income to the community; everyone else gives six percent. The sect does not accept government funds, on principle. One quarter of the money collected from local members is passed on to fund the sect's international activities.
Kababir is considered a mixed neighborhood, with a significant minority of Jews in addition to the Ahmadiyya majority, and city officials view it as a model of coexistence.
"Haifa is an example par excellence of living together," Odeh said, adding, "It's not coexistence, it's monoexistence, as it were. What is coexistence? In my view it's when everyone keeps their distinctiveness and does not seek to assimilate. Residents of the neighborhood don't feel different, it's a matter of education, that's the idea of Ahmadiyya." According to Odeh, there is a growing trend of West Bank Palestinians joining the Ahmadiyya community.
"Ideology is not fought with weapons," he said. "Even if you're under occupation Islam does not allow you to hurt others. Nothing can be solved with hatred."

Gov. Christie: Tonight, Speak up for American Muslims at the RNC

I hope Chris does speak, he has the courage to speak it like it is. It takes a few good men to highlight the goodness and forbid evil. I am a Republican and will stay as a Republican, but have decided to vote for Obama. http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2012/08/2016-obamas-america-disgustingly.html
Mike Ghouse
Chris Christie: Defend American Muslims New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been an outspoken critic of Muslim haters in the US. Whether it was the lunatics who opposed the so-called Ground Zero mosque in lower Manhattan, the Quran burner, the anti-Sharia legislation "crazies", Congressman Peter King's 'radicalization' hearings, the NYPD's spying on millions of American Muslim citizens or his public support of Paterson's Imam Mohammad Qatanani - on all these fronts, Governor Christie has defied the public sentiments and even sidestepped his own party's rhetoric when he chastised bigoted statements and polices aimed at American Muslims. Now that he is set to deliver the keynote speech at this year's Republican convention in Tampa, Florida, we expect his continued leadership on this topic. To remove the stigma of Republican hate for everything Muslim, it will require a giant like Chris Christie. 
The question will be of timing rather than conviction. Can Christie speak truth to his political core? The GOP platform, approved recently, will include a plank supporting a ban on the use of foreign law (including Sharia, or Islamic law) in U.S. courtrooms. Christie is on record for having opposed such legal maneuverings to restrict the use of Islamic code under limited conditions and where the protagonists are consenting Muslims. 
Supporters have long argued that, and the planks sponsors readily admit, targets the religious beliefs of American Muslims. A cursory review of the anti Sharia plank reveals that it modeled on the more than 78 or so bills introduced in state legislatures nationwide based on draft legislation originally promoted byDavid Yerushalmi, an infamous Islamophobe with a history of making bigoted statements targeting women, African Americans, and people of the Jewish faith. It is worth noting that the passage of the anti Sharia plank in this year's Republican platform only confirms the growing anti Muslim rhetoric espoused by so many Republican politicians and other public officials. 
All the anti-Sharia bills introduced in state legislatures were sponsored by Republican legislators- without exception. Only 14% of Americans, however, believe that American Muslims ultimately want to establish Sharia or Islamic law as law of the land. Muslims resort to certain Sharia codes in limited commercial and matrimonial cases, so long as the decisions rendered do not supersede or conflict with the US Constitution. Extensive legal and academic coverage of this topic has begun in earnest.
The anti-Sharia plank was adopted without argument or debate during a meeting of the Republican Party's platform committee. The policy statement was introduced by Kansas Secretary of StateKris Kobach, an anti-immigration activist who also wrote Arizona's controversial SB 1070 "papers please" law. (Watch video here) The Kansas law Kobach spoke of at the platform committee meeting, which Muslim organizations have already challenged as unconstitutional and discriminatory, was derived from Yerushalmi's template. Kansas legislators acknowledged that the bill targeted Muslims. In March of 2012, we successfully dissuaded the NJ state legislature to withdraw a similar bill she introduced.
While RNC platforms rarely make into the official position of the elected president of the United States, the inclusion of such clearly anti Muslim language, especially with little or no objections, portends a serious divide between the rank and file republicans and their leaders on the one hand, and American Muslims on the other - many of whom are also Republican voters. Christie has the opportunity to reclaim the moral compass of not only the Republican Party, but also that of America.
Included in the State's delegation to the Convention is Sherine Al-Abd, An Egyptian Muslim delegate. She will be listening to her hero governor erase her doubts about the party's anti Muslim stance. I, the of America and indeed the Muslim world will be watching. As quoted in the Record, "They didn't pick me and think I was going to come here and be something different than what I've been." Amen!
Aref Assaf, president of American Arab Forum

Friday, August 24, 2012

Blasphemy Law has NO Qur'anic Basis

More articles on the topic at www.BlasphemyLaws.com

Some Muslim countries have legislated punishment for blasphemy. This draws on the Classical Sharia (Law) of Islam that evolved in the medieval ages and was inevitably informed by the historical realities and entrenched customs and practices of the era. However, with a sea change in civilizational paradigms, many of its rulings suffer anachronism, stand in conflict with international human rights charters and conduce to injustice, anarchy and barbarism in today's politically volatile and globalized world. All such rulings need to be examined in light of the universal message of the Qur'an which is by far the highest and incontestable authority in Islam. 

This essay - an exercise in ijtihad (intellectual scrutiny with the limits set by God) investigates the case of blasphemy. It draws on a recently published focused exegetic work, the Essential Message of Islam [Amana Publications, USA- 2009] that is duly approved by al-Azhar al-Sharif and endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl, Alfi Distinguished Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law.

The Qur'anic pronouncement "not to insult those whom others (lit., 'they') invoke besides God" (6:108) is a clear reminder against profaning any deity, idol or symbols held sacred by other people. The Qur'an, however, does not prescribe any punishment for the offenders. It warns humanity that there will always be some people who will hurl seductive remarks at the Prophet (6:113) or be inimical to him (25:31) for fun or cupidity and asks the believers to simply ignore them. In other words, the Qur'an treats blasphemy as a moral vice and does not regard it as a punishable/ criminal offence.

The Meccan enemies of the Prophet called him impostor, a madman (30:58, 44:14, 68:51), and an insane poet (37:36). They ridiculed the Qur'anic revelation (18:56, 26:6, 37:14, 45:9), which they declared to be strange and unbelievable (38:5, 50:2), a jumble of dreams(21:5) and legends of the ancients (6:25, 23:83, 25:5, 27:68, 46:17, 68:15, 83:13). They accused the Prophet of forging lies and witchcraft (34:43, 38:4), forging lies against God, forgery and making up tales (11:13, 32:3, 38:7, 46:8), witchcraft (21:3, 43:30, 74:24), obvious witchcraft that was bewildering (10:2, 37:15, 46:7), and of being bewitched or possessed by a Jinn (17:47, 23:70, 34:8). By definition, all these accusations were blasphemous. Nowhere in its text does the Qur'an prescribe any punishment for those who uttered these blasphemies.

The advocates of blasphemy law may raise the following points:

1. The slanderer and maligner of the Prophet can upset peace and harmony like priests of Cordova (Spain, 851-859) [1].

2. Maligning any religion, religious leader, text etc. purports to demonize and dehumanize it and can fuel hatred, religious bigotry and animosity, and in the present day context, feed Islamophobia and Islamofacism.

The arguments appear convincing but there are more compelling grounds against prescribing any punishment for blasphemy.

The highly porous and subjective character of the 'offense' (blasphemy) can lead to a chaotic situation within the Muslim community and persecution of the minority community as is happening in Pakistan these days.

An uncouth citizen can use it to settle a score with a non-Muslim or even a Muslim neighbour or financially exploit him by a threat of blasphemy charge.

An Islamic State can use it for political repression of dissidents.

By strict application of blasphemy law in a broader sense, a Sunni Sharia Court can charge the entire Shia community of blasphemy for their invectives against the Prophet's close relatives - the first three Caliphs, who were either his father-in-law (Abu Bakr and Umar) or son-in-law (Uthman).

The theologians in the Islamic heartlands can issue an endless stream of fatwas for the heads of the countless Islam bashing scholars and writers, whose speech, writing and symbolism can sometimes be construed as blasphemous.

The very notion of killing a person for blasphemy contradicts the Qur'anic cardinal principle of justice that relates only to offences committed against fellow humans.

Conclusion: The relativism and porosity in the definition of 'blasphemy' can open a floodgate of blasphemy charges against unsuspecting individuals, members of the minority, Muslim sects and Islam.critcal scholars and writers. Since the Qur'an, conceivably cognizant of these caveats, does not  prescribe any punishment for blasphemy, the blasphemy law needs to be repealed. Blasphemy symbolizes and epitomises hatred that inevitably breeds hatred - regardless of any law against it. This can in turn feed radicalisation, foster terrorism, and trigger communal riots. Muslim jurists will do better by insisting on getting a firm Security Council Code of Conduct and may be limited punishment for blasphemy depending upon the gravity and potential impact of the offence and the attitude of the offender, rather than legislating a capital punishment or even, any punishment for blasphemy - which remains a porous act of misconduct and moral turpitude.

[1]. Between 851 and 859, some priests in Cordova, now southern Spain, used to utter in public places highly insulting and abusive remarks against the Prophet deliberately seeking capital punishment. They were an embarrassment to both the Christian community and the Emir and were executed by application of Sharia law as this was the only way to prevent them from a highly provocative behaviour in public.

Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur'an since early 90's, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.
August 24, 2012.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

No Jewish People Without Israel

Why the future of American Judaism as we know it depends on the survival of the Jewish state? This article is a must read for all those who want to understand Jews and Israel, it is one of the most comprehensive articles I have read and gives an insight into understanding Jews. The story is not only of Jewish people, but most other minorities can relate with this experience:   

I have written my own piece at Huffington post - Who am I to worry about Israelis and Palestinians? What inspires me to be involved in the Israel Palestine conflict? The following is the story of my struggle to see a cohesive world, the story will take you through different emotions but at the end, I hope you feel a sense of completeness of the story. Due to its length, it is a three part article. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/israel-and-palestine-moving-forward_b_1258261.html

Here are some of the most powerful excerpts from the article below.

The following Paragraph is precisely my understanding and reasons for the support of Israel, mind you not at the cost of Justice to Palestinians but with fairness to all the ones in the conflict.  I am baffled with the similarity of my articulation for the last several years and the following piece that has just appeared on August 20. 2012.

“That newfound confidence has historical antecedents, of course: American Jews’ confidence resembles that of the Jews of Cordoba—who were forcibly converted, burned alive at the stake, and summarily expelled in the Spanish Inquisition. The Jews of Berlin in 1930 also believed they had found the ultimate enlightened home, that the dark days of Europe would never return. And in the space of but a few years, German Jewry was erased.

 “In ways we do not sufficiently recognize, Israel has changed the existential condition of Jews everywhere, even in America. Without the State of Israel, the self-confidence and sense of belonging that American Jews now take for granted would quickly disappear.

A home is where on drops all the guards and feels a sense of comfort and security. I have expressed the same sentiments in many of my writings including the one at this blog.

“Israel, like it or not, is not just a homeland to Israelis. It is also a “state unto the Diaspora”; the state that, even from afar, secures the life and instills the passions of Jews all over the world.

Indeed, that is the case with most immigrants, they feel home where they were born and their ancestors came from. Most of the first generation Indians call India their home, like wise it is the same with British, Irish, Italian, German, Japanese, Pakistanis, Arabs, Mexicans, Chinese, Iraqis and others. For the first Generation of Jewish people after Israel was created, even though they were born here, Israel is home to them. It is the second generation and the ones after that whose sense of home is in America, the second generation continues to struggle but for the third generation and up - it is America first, America is home. There will be nothing else in their psyche, other than what would be injected into them. 

“But then, as this thinking goes, if Israel refuses to budge, it is Israel that is responsible for the impasse. Faced with a choice between loyalty to their humanitarian values or to their parents’ Zionism, they have chosen the former.

I love the above it, "Loyalty to their humanitarian values" - is a profound statement applicable to 2nd generation of Muslims, Jews, Immigrant Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Buddhists  and other immigrants. This is inherent in all humanity no matter where we live. I consider that an American Value. Unlike all other nations, Americans values are egalitarian, humanitarian and about treating others fairly and equitably. Its part of American psyche and I am blessed to have that sense flow through veins.

“Sensitive to the underdog everywhere, and with a deep-seated belief in fairness, they insisted and continue to insist upon balancing the scales. The Palestinians, they decided, needed a state.

This is the core value of all religions, but a very passionate value of America. It is the case with all Americans who are born here. Indeed the follow paragraphs also represent Muslims, and other immigrants in America.

“But amazingly, 50 percent of those 35 years old and younger said that Israel’s destruction would not be a personal tragedy.

“Ours is the first generation in which the centrality of Zion in Jewish dreams is beginning to fade. It is fading rapidly, and we know why. Part of it has to do with the fact that Israel’s supporters have framed the conversation about the Jewish State in terms of the conflict with the Palestinians. Even among knowledgeable and committed Jews, an oral Rorschach test in response to the word “Israel” evokes responses such as “checkpoints,” “occupation,” or “settlements”—as though the conflict were all that Israel is about.

I hope a day will come in the world, where everyone feels home wherever they are. It is a two sided effort.  I am passionate about justice and freedom and Israel Palestine is an issue that I hope to contribute to bring security to Jews and justice to Palestinians.

Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day - This article is at - http://israel-palestine-dialogue.blogspot.com/2012/08/no-jewish-people-without-israel.html as well as the source below: 

No Jewish People Without Israel

Why the future of American Judaism as we know it depends on the survival of the Jewish state By Daniel Gordis|August 20, 2012 7:00 AM|

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Muslims Condemn Blasphemy Charges against Christian Teen in Pakistan

Blasphemy has become a tool of harassment to a few who have nothing better to do than create chaos. We ask the people of Pakistan to seriously debate the blasphemy laws. Islam is about free will and as Muslims we need to stand against any oppression towards any human being following in the footsteps of the prophet.

Full article at: 

Can a Muslim woman marry a believing non-Muslim?

Please feel free to share with your friends and groups. 

Can a Muslim woman marry a believing non-Muslim?

This essay draws on a recently published focused exegetic work, the Essential Message of Islam [Amana Publications, USA- 2009] that is duly approved by al-Azhar al-Sharif and endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl, Alfi Distinguished Professor of Law at the UCAL School of Law. 

The Qur’anic verses 2:221 and 5:5 as well as those on the criteria of divine judgment (2:62, 4:124, 5:69, 64:9, 65:11) may be considered conjunctly to probe whether the Qur’an allows a Muslim woman to marry a believing non-Muslim man, the way it expressly allows Muslim men to marry believing non-Muslim women (5:5).

Here are some irrefutable facts:

 2:221 permits both men and women to admire and choose a believing mate. Its gender neutral literalist rendition runs as follows:

“Do not marry women who associate (others with God), until they believe (in God). A believing maidservant (amah) is better than a woman, who associates (others with God,) even if she allures you. Do not marry men who associate (others with God) until they believe (in God). A believing male-servant is better than a man who associates (others with God,) even if he allures you…” (2:221).

The verse 5:5 expressly allows a Muslim man to marry any believing woman regardless of religion. No argument about it. The verse, however, remains silent about whether a Muslim woman is free to marry a believing non-Muslim man as suggestive in the verse 2:221, which predates 5:5 in the revelation calendar.   

The verses 2:62, 4:124, 5:69, 64:9, 65:11 consistently declare that God will judge all believing humanity on the basis of their deeds.

It thus follows that a believing non-Muslim man is spiritually sound to espouse a Muslim woman (2:221), and earn to divine approval (2:62, 4:124, 5:69, 64:9, 65:11) as well as a Muslim man. Hence, there should be no Qur’anic bar for a Muslim woman to choosing a good non-Muslim man, provided of course he commits, not to compel her to change or defy her faith, to love her with mercy and compassion (30:21), honour her as co-equal (9:71) and let her avail all the rights and perform all her duties and social obligations as enjoined by the Qur’an, which are fortunately largely covered in the human rights charters. The believing non-Muslim man also must undertake contractually to keep from extramarital sex, drugs, drinking bouts and moral abuse like ill temperament and harsh behaviour.   

This raises the question, why an explicit permission was not given for such interfaith marriage. The answer is obvious. Such a marriage during the Prophet’s era through to very recent times would have resulted in a Muslim woman’s losing all her Qur’anic privileges as well as individual legal status, and her non-Muslim husband may also have compelled her to convert to his religion, as until recent times, no major religion other than Islam accommodated inter-faith marriage. However, “with the permeation of Islamic values across the global multi-religious communities and the remoteness of the Qur’anic ideals from many Islamic societies, the table has turned and there have been cases of interfaith marriages between Muslim women and believing non-Muslim men.” [1]

1.    Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publication, Maryland, USA 2009, p. 218.]  
Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur’an since early 90’s, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.
August 22, 2012.


Muslims like all other people follow the tradition, but when there is a new development, every one goes helter skelter, and worry about handling the situation (keeping it in control), the first response is usually a No. 

Back in the interior parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Bangladesh and other nations, regardless of the religion, honour killings are happening. Neither the civil laws nor the religious laws mean much, even though religion is falsely quoted for their acts.

At least here in America, a nation with a can-do attitude, no one can kill the other without consequences, and no one can tell the other what to do. After all, no one is responsible for your acts other than yourselves on the day of Judgement. That is Islam

Interfaith marriages will be more common in the next decade, every other kid will be marrying a high school sweet heart or a college friend  - being good human will never be compromised.  We have a choice to see Islam as what Islam does to us internally (making the best of humans) and let it, or push the external appearance of Islam as Islam.

We need to prepare for the future.

It is disappointing to many couples, that their clergy or a parent insists that the other person convert to their faith tradition, some do, and some fake it and some are not comfortable with the idea.

Muslims in America are culturally different but very independent,  our kids grow up with people whose life style is traditional American -i.e.,  participating in sports, camping, sleep overs, and living with friend's, visiting each other on social occasions both religious and secular. Most of our kids are raised with openness and not averse to being a part of what their friends do. 

We do not have the worries, which are legitimate worries in Muslim societies.

What will others say about kids? No one will say a thing whether you are from mixed race or mixed religion, you live a fairly normal life  accepting others. Will some one marry them? That question does not arise at all.  
Culturally, they are Muslims; wearing what Muslims wear in their parent lands, eating what they eat, and of course no one will eat pork, or drink alcohol. Pay with the same frequency as they  in Muslim lands. Not all Muslims worship five times a day, and fast 30 days. 

The couple is deeply committed to marry, they go ahead and get married any ways,  but sorely miss out on the ceremony, sometimes living with  a sense incompleteness in their lives.

Marriage is between two individuals, and their families and friends are supporters and cheerleaders to celebrate and complete their joy. God loves happy marriages.  

One must admire the couples that marry outside their tradition, ethnicity, faith, and race. Indeed, they are doing what the spiritual masters had done for thousands of years; to fall the barriers between people, and learn to respect the otherness of other and accept the God given uniqueness of each other.

I have seen disappointments, where couples from different faiths wishing to marry were not able to do that.  Either the parents or the guardians of the religions were not comfortable with the situation and did not want to be a part of it, which we must respect.  All that the couples wanted was a touch of their own tradition and I feel their anguish and a sense of in-completion in their marriage when the tradition is not followed.  I recall a situation where a Jewish mother disowned her daughter for marrying an “infidel” Baha’i, it happens with every religion including Atheists. 

Alhamdu Lillah, I have officiated many weddings with a variety of combinations;  Christian -Hindu,   Hindu- Muslim, Jain-Muslim and now this week, I will be officiating a Jewish-Christian wedding. Most couples, particularly Muslims do not want even invite their friends fearing that instead of cheering their marriage they will be tearing it apart live villains.  

The wedding next week between a Jewish Bride  a Christian Groom will be officiated by this Muslim. They want me to share the information after the wedding and Insha Allah,  I will. 
If you have some one who wants to get married happily without hassles, I will be happy to officiate their wedding. I do counselling to the parents about focusing on the happiness of their children and do talk with the bride and groom. 

Please remember Islam is not about imposing one’s will on others, being judgemental about others or acting as God to others and making declarations;  Islam is about making a better human, a Rahmat for humanity in the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) the ultimate peace maker and mercy to mankind. No one should be afraid of a Muslim, if one does, than we are a not a Rahmat to others. 

Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive societies where no one has to live in fear of the other. A vision of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Muhammad Asad - the first Citizen of Pakistan

Muhammad Asad - The First Citizen of Pakistan
M. Ikram Chaghatai

As deputy secretary in charge of the middle east division of foreign ministry, asad prepared a memorandum for creation of something like a league of muslim nations, and having discussed it with prime minister liaquat ali khan, he officially toured saudi arabia, egypt and syria. Liaquat’s assassination, however, put an end to his plans for uniting the muslim nations. On his return, he submitted a report on his middle east tour to foreign minister sir zafarullah khan, who read it through and put it aside.

Leopold Weiss alias Muhammad Asad’s (1900-1992) reputed autobiographical travelogue, entitled The Road to Mecca, covers only a third of his long life and ends as he enters his home after his conversion (1926), first in Berlin and then in Cairo, with his German wife. Afterwards, he spent about fifteen years in India where he met Iqbal (1934) who advised him to abandon his plans of further traveling and “to remain in India to help elucidate the intellectual premises of the future Islamic State.” As a humble young follower, his whole Weltanschauung (world outlook) was changed by Iqbal, who set him out on a path that ultimately led him “to a revival of all the dormant hopes of Islam, the creation of a political entity of the people bound together not by common descent but by their common adherence to an ideology.” In view of Asad’s intellectual capabilities, scholarly accomplishments, marvelous exposition of Islamic concepts and personal experiences of the contemporary Muslim world, Iqbal tried to appoint him as the chairman of the department of Islamic Studies in one of the local colleges, but for certain reasons Asad could not accept it. 

 Whenever Asad came to Lahore he visited Iqbal, and they spent many an hour talking about the prospect of Pakistan. They discussed in detail the forms in which the future Islamic State of Pakistan should be organized and the ways and means to persuade the Muslim political leaders to stand up boldly for their common ideal. Following Iqbal’s advice, Asad wrote a series of articles about why Pakistan had to be established and had them published in various European newspapers and periodicals; some of those articles appeared also in an Urdu translation in a leading newspaper of Lahore. In addition, Asad delivered some lectures on the same subject in Lahore and Delhi. As stated by Asad himself, it had been Iqbal who was the first to formulate, in clear-cut political terms, the idea of an Islamic State in North India and who thus gave it body and life. In fact, Asad devoted all his efforts to bring into reality Iqbal’s dream of an ideological Islamic state.

During the Second World War, Asad's Austrian citizenship put him in imprisonment by the Indian government and the six years he spent in an internment camp made him more conscious about the significance of freedom for all human beings. No doubt, this incident intensified his aspirations for a separate homeland for the Indian Muslims.

Soon he started a monthly periodical named Arafat that was primarily a vehicle for Asad’s ideas, aiming at a fundamental reconstruction of our approach to the problem of Shariah. This journalistic monologue of Asad was to be a clarion-call at the critical time of Pakistan Movement. Three months before Pakistan came into being, he wrote an article under the title “What do we mean by Pakistan?” in which he emphasized the real purpose underlying the future establishment of Pakistan: that purpose did not consist in merely providing more economic opportunities or posts to Muslims but, rather, in enabling them to live effectively as Muslims and to realize the spirit of Islam in their political forms, in their laws and social institutions. In another issue, published less than a month before the Independence Day, Asad penned a lengthy essay entitled “Towards an Islamic Constitution” and it was the first attempt ever made to outline the principles which must be incorporated in the constitution of any state that claims to be ‘Islamic’. Asad’s thoughtful studies were destined to become the first step in the development of our modern political thought and for this reason he can be rightly called as one of the intellectual founders of Pakistan.

After going through the harrowing experiences of Partition (1947), Asad reached Lahore and settled here. Two months after Pakistan appeared on the map of the world, Nawab of Mamdot, the first Chief Minister of West Punjab, contacted Asad for establishing a special department to work out the ideological premises on which Pakistan should rest. Asad accepted this proposal and within a few days the scheme was set forth in a formal Memorandum, the budget estimate discussed and approved in conjunction with the Head of the Finance Department, and an official notification issued. The Department of Islamic Reconstruction– the first government institution with which the word `Islamic’ appeared– came into existence. Explaining the aims and objectives of this newly created Department in a radio talk on 18th October 1947, Asad proposed to make it a sort of “clearing-house” of ideas and endeavours aiming at religious and social uplift of the Muslim Ummah. Though it was his ‘baby’, he had to leave it under the pressure of Liaquat Ali Khan, the Prime Minister, and join the Foreign Service as Deputy Secretary in charge of the Middle East Division.

This Division comprised the whole Arab world, including North Africa, as well as Iran. Asad had very definite ideas as to the policies which Pakistan ought to pursue in that part of the world. Soon he prepared a long, explicit memorandum for the Foreign Minister, Sir Zafrullah Khan, outlining his policy proposals in some detail. On completion, this memorandum contained some outspoken criticism of the policies pursued by the Government until then. In this confidential document, Asad emphatically recommended immediate cooperation with the Arab States for creation of something like a League of Muslim Nations and having discussed it with the Prime Minister, he officially toured Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria with the very first passport marked “citizen of Pakistan”. At the end of this diplomatic mission, he received the news of Liaquat Ali Khan’s assassination (1951), which proved a full stop to his plans for uniting Muslim nations. On his return, he submitted a report on his Middle East tour to the Foreign Minister, Sir Zafrullah Khan, who read it through carefully and then put it aside. Thus, Asad's enthusiasm for Muslim unity became a file in the archives of the Foreign Ministry.

In 1951, Asad’s work at the Middle East Division came to an end and he was appointed as the second-in-command to the Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Patras Bukhari, with the rank of Minister Plenipotentiary. Asad and his boss did not know one another personally and they never tried to be friendly. In consequence, their mutual relations were always strained and they never had the feeling that they were members of one and the same ‘team’ working towards common ends.
By chance, at a reception Asad met Pola, an American of Polish origin who was destined to become his third wife (d. 2007). She was a young, beautiful and intelligent woman. He fell in love with her and when he came to know that she had already embraced Islam he decided to marry her, despite the difference of age and temperament. But under the rules of the Foreign Office, he was bound to get prior permission to marry a non-Pakistani national. He applied through proper channel but the Governor-General rejected his application. So, he submitted his resignation from the Foreign Service, divorced his Arabian wife (Munira, d. 1978) and in the inspiring company of his new wife, he sat down and wrote his extraordinary book entitled The Road to Mecca.

After a lapse of few years, Asad, while living in Beirut, received an invitation from the Vice-Chancellor of the Punjab University, Mian Afzal Husain (1869-1970), to organize an International Islamic Colloquium in Lahore. As he had for some time been considering return to Pakistan, he decided to accept the invitation. Apparently, this Colloquium seems to have been the continuation of an International Islamic Conference which was held in Princeton in 1954 under the aegis of the Princeton University and the American Congress. Several eminent Western and Eastern scholars participated in it and emphasized the need for rapid growth of social, commercial and political relationship between Muslims and those others of the Graeco-Roman heritage. 

They also felt that in the context of an insidious threat of Communism and the hideous distress it caused all around, there could indeed be some enduring value in genuine co-operation with the moral-intellectual force of Islam. Sayyid Amjad Ali, Ambassador of Pakistan in America, was deeply impressed by its scholarly presentations and started thinking about holding such an awe-inspiring assemblage of savants in Pakistan. Afterwards, as a Finance Minister, he allocated an amount of seven lakh rupees for this purpose and a Colloquium Committee, comprising representatives of the six Pakistan universities, relevant Departments of the Government, and distinguished independent scholars, was organized to select subjects for discussion in this Colloquium and decide matters of policy concerning its organization and management.

In March 1957, this Colloquium Committee, with the approval of the Government, appointed Asad at a salary of fifteen hundred rupees per month to make suitable arrangements for holding the Conference and edit/publish the papers submitted on this occasion. In his first meeting with the Vice-Chancellor of the Punjab University, basically an agriculturist, Asad had the impression that Mr. Husain disliked him and was perhaps unhappy at his choice as organizer of the Colloquium. But Asad, with his profound knowledge of Islam, his complete command of the Arabic language and his acquaintance with many of the personalities who were to participate in the Conference, was the logical choice for organizing it.

Gradually, the differences between Asad and the Vice-Chancellor became more intense. Although Asad was supposed to have a free hand in the choice of scholars to be invited to the Colloquium, Afzal Husain kept interfering and questioning the right of this or that person to be invited, and suggesting some definitely inappropriate ones. It had been decided upon the outset that there would have to be more or less ‘official’ delegations from all the Muslim countries, which was a somewhat delicate issue because of the obtrusive presence of Jamal Abdul Nasir in and outside Egypt, but Asad believed that it would be possible to accommodate both pro-Nasir and anti-Nasir elements, since this was presumably to be a scholarly conference. Another conflicting issue of translating the presentations from English to Arabic and vice versa worsened the situation. 

Finally, Asad decided to hand over the work to the Vice-Chancellor himself and to step aside. From the beginning, his wife, Pola, was assisting him as his private secretary without having any `position’ or salary, so in the first week of December 1957, about three weeks before the inauguration of the Colloquium, she personally met the Vice-Chancellor and gave him all the typed English and Arabic letters and other relevant documents. At that time, everything had already been accomplished and even the air tickets had been issued, and it did not much matter to Asad that he would not even be a participant in the Colloquium. After two years (1960), when its proceedings came out, one could not even find his name there. What revenge a Vice-Chancellor had taken on a scholar like Asad who had a high standing both in Pakistan and in the entire Muslim world!

Full of disgust, Asad returned to Europe via Karachi where his old friend Mumtaz Masan, Finance Secretary, came up with a proposal which would perhaps change his mind. Asad was offered the co-directorship of a soon-to-be established Institute of Islamic Research. But it was too late, and in any case he had rightly tried resigning from– or being pushed out of Government posts– and he realized all too well that a co-directorship could never work, even with the best of will on both sides.
Again, during his stay in Switzerland, Asad received a letter from the President of Pakistan, General Ayub Khan, who was a great admirer of his book named The Principles of State and Government in Islam (1961). In a subsequent exchange of letters, he proposed to Asad to come to Pakistan and have the membership of a seven-man group of Muslim scholars– who both supposedly knew the world and were experts on Islam– to advise him with regard to everyday matters as well as the drawing up of a new Islamic constitution for the country. At that time, Asad was immersed in his cherished work on the Qur’an, and so he regretfully declined.

After many years, Asad was again invited by another President of Pakistan, General Zia ul-Haq, in 1983 and that was his last visit to this country. When he arrived at Islamabad, which he had not yet seen, he was received at the plane with great honour and escorted to the Presidency. During his sojourn in Islamabad, there was a series of meetings with members of the Ansari Commission in order to prepare a kind of programme for the President for the future. Asad agreed with some, and as usual disagreed with others, which he found retrograde. On one point he was firm and insistent that Muslim women should have exactly the same rights in the political sphere as had men, to the extent of becoming Prime Minister.

Asad also spared some time to meet with his surviving friends in Lahore and Islamabad and at the request of the President made several radio and television appearances, as always spontaneous. On his return to Portugal, he was besieged by letters from literally hundreds of admirers in Pakistan, offering him land, a house, everything but he refused politely, as his concept of Pakistan was beyond all these worldly trivialities.

Asad loved Pakistan, his conception of Pakistan, even when it turned its back on him, and he never felt resentment at the treatment he had received from it. He remained a citizen– the first citizen of Pakistan– until the end, although he had been strongly tempted to accept the generous, spontaneous gestures of many heads of Islamic States to have their citizenship and passport, which would have made his life so much easier.

Asad contributed so much to Pakistan’s early political and cultural life but was unfortunately shunted from the corridors of power. He served this country as the head of the Directorate of Islamic Reconstruction, Joint Secretary of the Middle East Division in Foreign Office, Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Nations and organizer of the International Islamic Colloquium. If we delve into the archival material of these government departments, the role played by Asad for his beloved Pakistan can be dealt with in detail. But here an important question arises: where are the relevant official documents housed? Nobody knows.

In his youth Asad heard a voice of an old man in Kurdistan: “If water stands motionless in pools, it becomes stale, muddy and foul; only when it moves and flows does it remain clear. Absolutely true. Physically, Asad is no more, but he is and will always be a part of our memory. According to a mystical dictum, he who lives in your memory never dies.


Email to: SpeakerMikeGhouse@gmail.com

Voice of Moderate Muslims

Voice of Moderate Muslims
Voice of Moderate Muslims

Moderate Islam Speaker

Moderate Islam Speaker
Moderate Islam Speaker

quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797



We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration (www.UnitydayUSA.com) held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.

URL- http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2013/08/planned-muslim-response-to-quran_18.html

Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.