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Monday, August 31, 2009
i believe this is the strong prove of true islam practice and this will correct the perception of the non-mulim. enjoy reading this...
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Jerusalem was central to the spiritual identity of Muslims from the very beginning of their faith. When the Prophet Muhammad first began to preach in Mecca in about 612, according to the earliest biographies, which are our primary source of information about him, he had his converts prostrate themselves in prayer in the direction of Jerusalem. They were symbolically reaching out toward the Jewish and Christian God, whom they were committed to worshipping, and turning their back on the paganism of Arabia. Muhammad never believed that he was founding a new religion that cancelled out the previous faiths. He was convinced that he was simply bringing the old religion of the One God to the Arabs, who had never been sent a prophet before.
Consequently, the Koran, the inspired scripture that Muhammad brought to the Arabs, venerates the great prophets of the Judeo-Christian tradition. It speaks of Solomon's "great place of prayer" in Jerusalem, which the first Muslims called City of the Temple. Only after the Jews of Medina rejected Muhammad did he switch orientation and instruct his adherents to pray facing Mecca, whose ancient shrine, the Kabah, was thought by locals to have been built by Abraham and his son Ishmael, the father of the Arabs.
The centrality of Jerusalem in Muslim spirituality is apparent in the story of Muhammad's mystical Night Journey to Jerusalem. Muslim texts make it clear that this was not a physical experience but a visionary one (not dissimilar to the heavenly visions of the Jewish Throne Mystics at this time). One night Muhammad was conveyed miraculously from the Kabah to Jerusalem's Temple Mount. There he was welcomed by all the great prophets of the past before ascending through the seven heavens. On his way up he sought the advice of Moses, Aaron, Enoch, Jesus, John the Baptist and Abraham before entering the presence of God. The story shows the yearning of the Muslims to come from far-off Arabia right into the heart of the monotheistic family, symbolized by Jerusalem.
Respect for other faiths was manifest in Islamic Jerusalem. When Caliph Umar, one of Muhammad's successors, conquered the Jerusalem of the Christian Byzantines in 638, he insisted that the three faiths of Abraham coexist. He refused to pray in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher when he was escorted around the city by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch. Had he done so, he explained, the Muslims would have wanted to build a mosque there to commemorate the first Islamic prayer in Jerusalem.
The Jews found their new Muslim rulers far more congenial than the Byzantines. The Christians had never allowed the Jews to reside permanently in the city, whereas Umar invited 70 Jewish families back. The Byzantines had left the Jewish Temple in ruins and had even begun to use the Temple Mount as a garbage dump.
Umar, according to a variety of accounts, was horrified to see this desecration. He helped clear it with his own hands, reconsecrated the platform and built a simple wooden mosque on the southern end, site of al-Aqsa Mosque today.
Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock, built by Caliph Abd al-Malik in 691, was the first great building to be constructed in the Islamic world. It symbolizes the ascent that all Muslims must make to God, whose perfection and eternity are represented by the circle of the great golden dome. Other Islamic shrines on the Temple Mount, which Muslims call al-Haram al-Sharif, the Most Noble Sanctuary, were devoted to David, Solomon and Jesus.
After the bloodbath of the Crusades, when Saladin re-conquered Jerusalem for Islam in 1187, the Jews (barred from the city by the Crusaders) were invited to return, and even the Western Christians, who had supported the crusading atrocities, were allowed back. In the 16th century, Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent permitted the Jews to make the Western Wall their official holy place and had his court architect Sinan build an oratory for them there.
So why the rejectionism that some Muslims in Jerusalem display today? In history, a holy city has always become more precious to a people after they have lost it. In the struggle for survival, the more compassionate traditions tend to get lost. As Muslims the world over feel that Jerusalem is slipping from their grasp, some espouse an intolerance that is far from the Koranic spirit. In an age in which religious atrocity occurs in nearly all faiths, it would be tragic if the Muslim tradition of inclusion and respect were lost to the world.
Karen Armstrong is the author of Islam: A Short History and, more recently, Buddha
Time Magazine,16 April 2001
Omar in Jerusalem
The Caliph left Ali in Medina as his deputy and himself left for Jerusalem. He had only one attendant with him and only one camel to ride. Omar and the attendant rode the camel by turns. It happened to be the servant's turn to ride on the day when they were to reach Jerusalem. "Commander of the Faithful," said the attendant, "I give up my turn. It will look awkward, in the eyes of the people, if I ride and you lead the camel."
"Oh no," replied Omar, "I am not going to be unjust. The honour of Islam is enough for us all."
Abu Obaid, Khalid, Yazid and other officers of the army went some distance to receive the Caliph. All of them were wearing silk cloaks. This made Omar angry. He took some pebbles and threw them at his generals, saying, "Have you changed so much in just two years? What dress is this? Even if you had done this two hundred years from now, I would have dismissed you."
The officers replied, "Commander of the Faithful, we are in a land where the quality of clothes worn tells the rank of a man. If we wear ordinary clothes, we will command little respect among the people. However, we are wearing our arms underneath the silken robes."
This answer cooled down the anger of the Caliph.
Next the Caliph signed the treaty of peace. It ran as follows:
"From the servant of Allah and the Commander of the Faithful, Omar: The inhabitants of Jerusalem are granted security of life and property. Their churches and crosses shall be secure. This treaty applies to all people of the city. Their places of worship shall remain intact. These shall neither be taken over nor pulled down. People shall be quite free to follow their religion. They shall not be put to any trouble..."
The gates of the city were now opened. Omar went straight to the Temple of David (Masjid-i-Aqsa). Here he said his prayer under David's Arch.
Next he visited the biggest Christian church of the city. He was in the church when the time for the afternoon prayer came.
"You may say your prayers in the church," said the Bishop.
"No," replied Omar, "if I do so, the Muslims may one day make this an excuse for taking over the church from you."
So he said his prayers on the steps of the church. Even then, he gave the Bishop a promise in writing. It said that the steps were never to be used for congregational prayers nor was the Adhan [call to prayer] to be said there.
By Prof. Fazl Ahmad who has written many books on Islam, the Prophet Muhammad and the Caliphs
stolen fromYeo Yang Poh
On the move ... a section of anti-ISA protesters near
the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
One would understand if these were questions posed by nine-year-olds. But they are not. They are questions posed by the prime minister of this nation we call our home. Answer we must. So, why?
Because thousands who died while in detention cannot march or speak any more. That is why others have to do it for them.
Because persons in the corridors of power, persons who have amassed tremendous wealth and live in mansions, and persons who are in the position to right wrongs but won’t, continue to rule our nation with suffocating might. And they certainly would not march. They would prevent others from marching.
Because the have-nots, the sidelined, the oppressed, the discriminated and the persecuted have no effective line to the powerful.
Because the nice ways have been tried ad nauseam for decades, but have fallen on deaf ears.
Because none of the major recommendations of Suhakam (including on peaceful assembly), or of the commissions of inquiry, has been implemented. Because the proposed Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) is not in sight, while corruption and insecurity live in every neighbourhood; and (despite reasoned views expressed ever so nicely in opposition) Rela (people’s volunteer corps) is being brought in to make matters even worse.
The proponents in “Su Qiu” (remember them?) were not marchers. In fact it is hard to find nicer ways than “su qiu”, because the term means “present and request” or “inform and request”. In terms of putting forward a view or a request, it is the height of politeness. Yet they were labelled “extremists” – they who did not march.
And now you ask, why march?
Because you gave non-marchers a false name! You called them the “silent majority”, who by virtue of their silence (so you proudly argued with twisted logic) were supporters of government policies since they were not vocal in raising objections. You claimed to be protecting the interest of the “silent majority”. Now some of them do not want to be silent anymore, and you are asking why?
Yes, because double standards and hypocrisy cannot be covered up or explained away forever; and incompetence cannot be indefinitely propped up by depleting resources.
Because cronyism can only take care of a few people, and the rest will eventually wake up to realise the repeated lies that things were done in certain ways purportedly “for their benefit”.
Because the race card, cleverly played for such a long time, is beginning to be seen for what it really is – a despicable tool to divide the rakyat for easier political manipulation.
Because it does not take much to figure out that there is no good reason why Malaysia, a country with abundant human resources and rich natural resources, does not have a standard of living many times higher than that of Singapore, an island state with no natural resources and that has to import human resources from Malaysia and elsewhere.
Because, in general, countries that do not persecute marchers are prosperous or are improving from their previous state of affairs, and those that do are declining.
Because Gandhi marched, Mandela marched, Martin Luther King marched, and Tunku Abdul Rahman marched.
Because more and more people realise that peaceful assemblies are no threat at all to the security of the nation, although they are a threat to the security of tenure of the ruling elite.
Because politicians do not mean it when they say with a straight face or a smile that they are the servants and that the people are the masters. No servant would treat his master with tear gas, batons and handcuffs.
Because if the marchers in history had been stopped in their tracks, places like India, Malaysia and many others would still be colonies today, apartheid would still be thriving in South Africa, Nelson Mandela would still be scribbling on the walls of Cell 5, and Obama would probably be a slave somewhere in Mississippi plotting to make his next midnight dash for the river.
And because liberty, freedom and dignity are not free vouchers posted out to each household.
They do not come to those who just sit and wait. They have to be fought for, and gained.
And if you still want to ask: why march; I can go on and on until the last tree is felled. But I shall
I will end with the following lines from one of the songs sung in the 1960s by civil rights marchers in the US, without whom Obama would not be able to even sit with the whites in a bus, let alone reside in the White House:
“It isn’t nice to block the doorway
It isn’t nice to go to jail
There are nicer ways to do it
But the nice ways have all failed
It isn’t nice; it isn’t nice
You’ve told us once, you’ve told us twice
But if that’s freedom’s price
We don’t mind ...”
Yeo Yang Poh is a former Bar Council president. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org.