The Consequences of Teaching Violence

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There are reports that some Muslims have left Islam upon being taught that Islam teaches violence. This is similar to what was happening in India when Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad put forward his claim to being the Messiah.

The Teachings of Islam on Fasting

The purpose of Fasting in Islam

1. To develop and strengthen our powers of self-control, so that we can resist wrongful desires and bad habits, and therefore “guard against evil” (see extract 1 above). In fasting, by refraining from the natural human urges to satisfy one’s appetite, we are exercising our ability of self-restraint, so that we can then apply it in our everyday life to bring about self- improvement.

“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard against evil.” — The Holy Quran, 2:183

2. To attain nearness and closeness to God so that He becomes a reality in our lives. As we bear the rigours of fasting purely for the sake of following a Divine commandment, knowing and feeling that He can see all our actions, however secret, it intensifies the consciousness of God in our hearts, resulting in a higher spiritual experience.

Allah says: “And when My servants ask you (O Prophet) about Me, surely I am near. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me, so they should hear My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way.” — 2:186

3. To learn to refrain from usurping other’s rights and belongings. In fasting we voluntarily give up even what is rightfully ours; how can then we think of unlawfully taking what is not ours but belongs to someone else?

“And swallow not up your property among yourselves by false means, nor seek to gain access thereby to the authorities so that you may swallow up other people’s property wrongfully while you know.” — 2:188

4. Charity and generosity is especially urged during Ramadan. We learn to give, and not to take. The deprivation of fasting makes us sympathise with the suffering of others, and want to try to alleviate it; and it makes us remember the blessings of life which we normally take for granted.

Fasting in Islam does not just consist of refraining from eating and drinking, but from every kind of selfish desire and wrong-doing. The fast is not merely of the body, but essentially that of the spirit as well (see extract 4 above). The physical fast is a symbol and outward expression of the real, inner fast.

“He who does not give up uttering falsehood and acting according to it, God has no need of his giving up his food and drink.” — The Holy Prophet Muhammad

5. Fasting is a spiritual practice to be found in all religions. The great Founders of various faiths, such as Buddha, Moses and Jesus, practised quite rigorous fasting as a pre- liminary to attaining their first experience of spiritual enlightenment and communion with God.

Jesus fasted forty days and forty nights, and explained it by saying: “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:2-4). Moses also fasted forty days and forty nights (Exodus 34:28)

The real purpose of fasting is to attain righteousness. A person who undergoes hunger and thirst, but does not behave righteously, has done nothing. If someone is told the aim and object of doing a certain duty, and he does that duty but without attaining the required aim and object, it is as if he has not done that duty – Maulana Muhammad Ali

US Panel: Pakistani Schools Teaching Religious Intolerance

Pakistani religious students

A report by the U.S. government’s commission on religious freedom says public schools and madrassas – private religious schools – in Pakistan are fueling discrimination by casting Hindus, Christians and other religious minorities in a negative light. The report also documents how schools in the mostly-Muslim country are not teaching religious tolerance.

The U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom is funded by the government but independent, and it has actively monitored the rise of violent religious extremism in South Asia. Its new report says textbooks in Pakistan’s public schools and madrassas negatively portray Hindus, Christians and other religious minorities. The commission said such biases fuel acts of discrimination and possible violence.

It found that public school textbooks often have a strong Islamic slant, and that religious minorities either are omitted or referred to in a derogatory way. Continue reading

Sunnis copying Lahori Ahmadi teaching

Jihad
The Sunnis say that Jihad in the sense of fighting non-Muslims is a fundamental duty of all Muslims. They accuse the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, of violating Islamic teaching by abrogating Jihad. The Promised Messiah did not do so. He said that it is true that Jihad is a fundamental duty of every Muslim but its true meaning is to exert oneself in support of Islam. This should be done, firstly, by non-violent means. Jihad, meaning armed struggle, is a duty only if restrictions are being placed on the Muslims in their religious observances or propagation. Interestingly, France has banned hijab which the Sunnis believe to be a fundamental part of Islam but yet no Sunni has declared jihad against the French!

In the link below, a fatwa by Dr Tahir Al Qadri echoes words of the Promised Messiah. He even says that terrorists are heretics. However, he needs to define terrorism and terrorist which he has not done. We also challenge him to say whether or not the Promised Messiah was right to condemn such actions.

Sheikh issues fatwa against all terrorists

Is America really a secular state?

An interesting article was written on The Washington Post website recently.

It discusses the role of religion in US politics. In theory the US is a secular state and religion plays no part in the affairs of the state. In practice, Christians, especially the conservatives, use their numerical strength to ban ideas they do not approve of, particularly in school teaching.

You can read the original article here