The following essay is addressed to fellow members of the family of faiths, particularly those who have formed negative impressions about Islam in their interactions with Muslim Imams, and the Imams and Muslim organizations.
Dr. William Hayden had a bad experience in an encounter with an Imam (appended below). I am sure you had, but certainly, I have had that experience. First of all, we regret that one of my fellow Muslims has reinforced the narrative of killing the infidelsIslamic. Secondly, as Muslims, we need to take responsibility for the prevalence of such ignorance among our Imams and scholars and offer solutions.
Years ago, I was in a Mosque; a similar experience took place. The Imam was addressing the interfaith gathering, and a lady asked him about beating the wife. The Imam had a mean smile (to me) on his face and said, the commandment is to hit with Miswak (an earlier version of toothbrush, a tiny branch of a tree about 6″ long). I interrupted and told him that for a millennium, the scholars of that time had interpreted the word “Daraba” to mean “beat.” A woman scholar by the name Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar has researched it thoroughly and found out that Daraba meant separation, it is used as such 23 out of 27 times in the Quran. Now, the Imams who are current with the interpretations are clear about it.
Still today, many men believe they can beat their wives with “Miswak” after admonishing them, how disgusting it is, and goes against the spirit of Islam of treating women with dignity. Prophet Muhammad was one of the first men who restored the rights of women to be individuals, to own property, initiate marriage and divorce, and be accountable for their acts individually. Please note that even until 100 years ago, women were treated as chattels in America.
Islam is accused of violence, not because it is, but because Muslims allowed misinterpretations of the Quran and the fake Hadiths to continue. Most of them did not pay attention to the translations. As an example, the Word Jihad carries the same wisdom in the Quran, to reign in on ill-will, anger, hate, malice, and the aptitude of avenging. Shamefully, the traditional scholars had interpreted as warfare against infidels. Islam abhors wars, the only way it would allow is in self-defense.
The Seerah (Prophets Biography) by Ibn Hisham inspired Al-Baghdadi to abuse the Yazidi, Christian, and Shia women as goods of pleasure won in the battle. Why don’t we label these books as “Do not entirely reflect the character of the Prophet and Allah’s disposition?” Or even call them Bogus books.
There are many such misunderstandings. Muslims out of reverence for the scholars failed to do their due diligence and swallowed a whole lot of crap as legitimately Islam. Corrections are coming now. I would suggest you read three-books – The Quran translation by Dr. Safi Kaskas, Hadith by Dr. Abdur Rab and American Muslim Agenda by Dr. Mike Ghouse.
Quran is the only authentic book for Muslims, all other material is subject to checking it out, but not believing them as the truth.
Infidels are those who do not believe what the Muslims believe. To be an on equal footing, an Islamic value, those Muslims who don’t believe what you believe are infidels.
Quran expressly prohibits killing any human, unless it is in self-defense. The verse says, if you save a life, it is like saving the whole humanity, or if you kill one person, it is as if killing the entire understanding. The idea springs from Cain and Able, if both of them had killed each other, the whole humanity would have gone, and thus saving one, saved the entire humankind.
Every field of knowledge has Mandatory Continuing Education (MCE); sadly, our Imams and preachers do not have that luxury afforded to them. It is time we start the MCE course at ICNA and ISNA conventions. Many of our Imams are not current with the “accepted” changes in the items mentioned above. We need to consider making MCE, a requirement to hire an Imam.
We need a new light on why we do what we do. I hope ISNA and ICNA leadership takes bold steps to present different points of view instead of chasing their tails. Islam is the umbrella of the Aalameen (Universe) and accepts full diversity within its shade. Indeed it agrees with all humanity, as we all originated from Adam & Eve. All are vying to do good and must be appreciated.
As an Atheist turned Muslim (since 1998), Islam is not a belief drilled into me, but the wisdom to create peaceful, cohesive societies where every human feels secure about his/her faith, race, ethnicity, and culture. If you want to learn about Islam, listen to criticism of Allah, Muhammad, Islam, and the Quran and find common sense answers right in the Quran. You will find wisdom in the Quran, instead of reacting as it may offend your belief. The more criticism you hear, the more knowledgeable you become with confidence. Indeed, Islam is common sense. Let me assert, If it is not common sense, then it is not Islam.
Let me also caution – finding the truth is your responsibility. If an Imam says this is the Quran, it isn’t. There are three (out of 55 now) translations out in the market that is ugly and spiteful. To ensure you are reading the right translation read at least four different translations and make sure you read three verses before and after the problematic verse.
Go to this site www.IslamAwakened.com scroll down at the home page, and for every verse, there are 50 different translations. The burden is on you to find the truth, and if you do, you will find peace of mind and clarity.
If all else fails, buy my book “American Muslim Agenda.” Check the website www.AmericanMuslimAgenda.com for reviews by Rabbi, Pastor and Muslim scholars, contents, and critical responses.
A NOTE FROM DR. HAYDEN
WHAT IS AN INFIDEL?
By Dr. Hayden
The author, Rick Mathes, is a well-known leader in prison ministry. The man who walks with God always gets to his destination. If you have a pulse you have a purpose.
The Muslim religion is the fastest growing religion per capita in the United States , especially in the minority races and especially with prison inmates.
Last month I attended my annual training session that’s required for maintaining my state prison security clearance. During the training session there was a presentation by three speakers representing the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Muslim faiths, who each explained their beliefs.
I was particularly interested in what the Islamic Imam had to say. The Muslim gave a great presentation of the basics of Islam, complete with a video.
After the presentations, time was provided for questions and answers. When it was my turn, I directed my question to the Muslim and asked:
‘Please, correct me if I’m wrong, but I understand that most Imams and clerics of Islam have declared a holy jihad [Holy war] against the infidels of the world and, that by killing an infidel, (which is a command to all Muslims) they are assured of a place in heaven. If that’s the case, can you give me the definition of an infidel?’
There was no disagreement with my statements and, without hesitation, he replied, ” Nonbelievers”
I responded, ‘So, let me make sure I have this straight. All followers of Allah have been commanded to kill everyone who is not of your faith so they can have a place in heaven. Is that correct?’
The expression on his face changed from one of authority and command to that of a little boy who had just been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.’
He sheepishly replied, ‘Yes.’
I then stated, ‘Well, sir, I have a real problem trying to imagine The Pope commanding all Catholics to kill those of your faith or Dr. Stanley ordering all Protestants to do the same in order to guarantee them a place in heaven!’
The Muslim was speechless.
I continued, ‘I also have a problem with being your friend when you and your brother clerics are telling your followers to kill me! Let me ask you a question:
Would you rather have your Allah, who tells you to kill me in order for you to go to heaven, or my Jesus who tells me to love you because I am going to heaven and He wants you to be there with me?’
You could have heard a pin drop.
Needless to say, the organizers and/or promoters of the ‘Diversification’ training seminar were not happy with my way of dealing with the Islamic Imam, and exposing the truth about the Muslims’ beliefs.
In twenty years there will be enough Muslim voters in the US. to elect the President.
I think everyone in the U.S. should be required to read this, but with the ACLU, there is no way this will be widely publicized, unless each of us sends it on! This is your chance to make a difference.
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Dr. Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker, author, business consultant, community organizer, news-maker, and an interfaith wedding officiant. He is deeply committed to Religious Freedom, Human Rights, and Pluralism in Religion, Politics, Societies, and the workplace. He is dedicated his time to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day to the media and civic, religious, and political leaders.