Tag Archive | non-Muslims

The Fluoride Call is Being Heard!

The Fluoride Call is Being Heard!

By Hwaa Irfan

Finally, in the U.S. where fluoridation of water is a public health policy, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC discovered that:

“Recent evidence suggests that mixing powdered or liquid infant formula concentrate with fluoridated water on a regular basis may increase the chance of a child developing … enamel fluorosis.”

Enamel flourosis is a poisoning of the physiological system the most visible part of which is the formation of brown and white spots on the teeth.

In 2003, the issue became controversial in the U.K. at a time when it was under consideration to follow in the footsteps of the U.S. At a time when the U.K. was more multicultural and considered the opinions of its smaller communities, the Green Party had compiled a report Truth Decay to challenge the arguments that had settled with the scientific reasoning, and the National Pure Water Association, NPWA,  had engaged the opinions of the Muslim communities.  Taking up on the Islamic argument, Jane Jones of the NPWA pointed:

“You don’t deliberately pollute the gift of God. There is no question it is against Islam. Water is absolutely sacred.”

This argument was a little late for the Muslim community of Birmingham where fluoridation of water began in 1964. To add to the heat, the article Fluoridation and The Liquid of Life by Hwaa Irfan was thrown into the debate with Muslim professionals arguing against such a notion being Islamic., which is easily done if only the basics of Islam is applied. Looking at the spirit and the essence of Islam, the argument applies to all, and benefits all, because it rests on the laurels of the natural laws that govern a level of biodiversity that keeps all that sustains life in balance.  Given that the human body is constituted mainly from water, to consume water that contains elements that impure in physiological terms does not make sense when it comes to sustaining good health! 

Fluoridation and The Liquid of Life

By Hwaa Irfan

01/06/2001

In modern society, we often rely on science to provide us with all the answers, even though it cannot always do it. But Muslims can seek and receive those answers from Allah (SWT) through observing and realizing His Will within the laws of nature.

{Do not those who disbelieve see that the heavens and the earth are open were closed-up, but We have opened them; and We have made of water everything living, will they not then believe} (Al Anbiya: 21:30)

The Qur’an gives us a great deal of information about the purity of water. We know that water is a fundamental natural resource that gives humanity its life force. Unfortunately, the continued tampering with the bounties of Allah (SWT) results in serious repercussions. Industrial innovations have taken their toll on our resources and have specifically had strong ramifications on our water resources. For example, adding fluoride to our water is one way in which industry has served to alter not only the resource itself, but man’s health as well.

Fluorine (Fa) is poisonous and highly reactive. It was discovered by Swedish chemist Karl Scheele in 1771 and isolated by French chemist Henri Moissan in 1886. Fluoride has been added to the public water supply for years, despite continued controversy and growing evidence outlining possible problems. In parts of India, the natural level of fluoride in water is 10 parts per million and has led to fluorosis or chronic fluoride poisoning, mottled teeth and deformed bones.

Scientists from the University of Illinois have likewise found significant abnormalities in the blood and the muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems of inhabitants of Cornwall Island, where a high level of fluorine was present. Ailments that were brought on by exposure to the element included: anaemia, rashes irritability, diabetes, high blood pressure and thyroid disease.

In 1959, the Reynolds Metals Company built an aluminium smelter on the bank of the St. Lawrence River in New York State. Three years later, the cattle on Cornwall Island became lame and developed swellings on their legs. Eventually they became so crippled that they would have to lie down to pasture and began crawling from grazing site to grazing site. As they aged, drinking cold water and chewing became more and more painful. During their first pregnancies, the cow’s udders remained very small and they could not produce sufficient milk for the nursing calves. Most cows died during later deliveries and the calf mortality soared.

The veterinarian, sent by Reynolds Metals to investigate the matter, attributed the failing health of the cows to external and internal parasites. Disturbed by this diagnosis, the Mohawk Indian elders approached Professor Lennart Krook, an eminent veterinary scientist at Cornell University, and asked him to further investigate. After extensive tests, Professor Krook announced that,

“Owing to extensive and serious chronic fluoride poisoning, no cattle born on Cornwall Island (which is downwind from Reynolds Metals) will live for more than 5 years .”

A team led by Professor Krook and Dr. George Maylin, of the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, concluded:

“Of all pollutants that effect farm animals, fluorine has caused the most severe and widespread damage. The objective of the present study is to record yet another man-made fluorine pollution disaster and to interpret the pathogenesis of the osseous change in view of recent advances in the understanding of bone metabolism”.

Today, the agents used to fluoridate U.S public water supplies have shifted from sodium fluoride (NaF) to silicofluorides (SiF). Fluorine derived from SiF is excreted through the kidneys, whereas fluoride residues from NaF are more likely to be excreted in faeces. SiF treated water can increase the transport of heavy metals within stomach-blood and blood-brain barriers, increasing the rate of toxic uptake and behavioural dysfunction. Communities using SiF treated water have discovered higher levels of lead in children’s blood than those in children living in areas with non-fluoridated or NaF treated water. Likewise, the former group of children exhibited higher rates of anti-social behaviour. This was found to be the case in Massachusetts, Georgia, Wisconsin, Texas, Illinois, Alabama and North Carolina.

In Dr. A. K. Susheela’s affidavit in the case of the “Safe Water Association Inc. versus the City of Pond Du Lac” in United States District Court, she states that fluoride:

· Destroys bones, teeth, blood vessels, and stomach lining
· Causes infertility
· Causes poisoning with symptoms of headache or nausea
· Adversely effects membrane bound enzymes and the transfer of Calcium and Magnesium ions;
· Inhibits protein & DNA synthesis
· Impairs cortisol production and
· Alters bone matrix constitution.

Experiments have shown that water containing 1 – 4 parts per million of sodium fluoride can have adverse effects on the Central Nervous System; and at 0.6 parts can disturb antibody production in the immune system. Industries with significant fluoride pollution problems include coal – burning power stations; aluminum, zinc, copper and steel mills; fertilizer works; cement and brick works; plastics manufacturers; glass factories; pottery and tile makers; and chemical factories and nuclear processing plants.

Hydrogen fluoride (HF) is the most common and most dangerous pollutant that exists in these industries, with many HF leaks taking place over the years. An official report of Mobil Gas’s refinery in Torrence, California stated,

“The consequences may have been so great as to warrant regulations to direct industry to phase out its use or substitute processes with less environmental hazards.”

According to the Health and Safety Executive, British HF manufacturing plant locations remain hidden for fear of potential terrorist activity.

Unfortunately, possible solutions remain problematic because those industries with major fluoride pollution problems are some of the most powerful interest groups in society. Since the emissions are difficult to control, they would incur high costs on the parts of the unwilling producers. When money talks, common good goes out the window!

Naturally, fluoride occurs in the body, and in foods such as fish and vegetables. But excessive intake, especially that of chemically engineered fluorine, is way beyond our body’s limits.

{O you who believe! Eat of the good things that We have provided you with, and give thanks to Allah if Him it is that you serve} (Al Baqarah  2:172)

Sources:

Holy Qur’an.

Hutchinson, B. Dictionary of Science. Britain: Helicon Pub. Ltd. 1994.

Journal of the American Dental Association October 14, 2010; 141(10):1190-1201

Masters, Roger D. “Poisoning The Well.” Dept. of Government: Dartmouth College Foundation for Neuroscience and Society. MSNBC.

Meikle, J. “Stopping the Rot.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2003/sep/03/medicineandhealth.publichealth

Smith, Geoffrey, E. “Excerpts: The Secret War and The Fluoride
Conspiracy.” United States District Court. Medford, Oregon. Barrett – v – Sherell. MSNBC. 5/23/01.

Susheela, A. K. “Affidavit of A. K. Susheela, Ph.D. Safe Water Association, Inc. vs. City of Fond Du Lac.” United States District Court. Medford, Oregon. Barrett – v – Sherrell.

Related Topics:

Prince Charles on Islam and the Environment

The Peace that Will Not Proceed

The Peace that Will Not Proceed

By Hwaa Irfan

If anyone was in any doubt about the peace process between Israel and Palestine, or has been under any illusion that there is indeed a peace process, despite the fact that the Israeli government seems to avoid controlling it’s settler’s as much as it enjoys controlling Palestinians,  for the expansion of its concept of a state, well without further adieu the significant role of the U.S. leaves little left to the imagination. 

The global service of the Jewish people, JTA reports on how the U.S. will store “an additional $400mn in emergency equipment in Israel.” Either Obama is out of his depth when it comes to stabilizing the fragile U.S. economy through the multi-billion sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia, China, and others, or the Obama Administration is setting up a warfare situation to finalize the re-balkanization of the world’s global resources, or both.

According to the report the deal will transpire over a 2-year period, with the military equipment to be delivered over that period, and to be made available to Israel in times of emergency. How that emergency is to be defined and by whom, given the errant behavior of a rogue state which pretty much creates its own illusions, and gets the rest of the world to believe in it – the military ware applied in the 2nd war on Lebanon was from the U.S. stockpile!

By 2012, $1.2bn of U.S. military equipment will be stockpiled in Israel whose only threat is a reaction to its barbaric and dehumanizing actions. Israels’ march forward to the realization of an Israeli state that will included parts of Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria continues unabated. The aim to push Palestinians out of Palestine into Jordan also continues unabated. Its desire to sustain the threat of global terrorism through undisclosed mercenary and PSYOPS tactics around the world, so that it can remain to be unnoticed in its ambitions plays the world like pawns in its games.

First reported in Defense News, the stockpile provides a supply depot for U.S. troops to use misnomered equipment such as “smart bombs”, when it chooses. This lack of conscientiousness of what is needed to re-balance the world, demonstrated the level of deception and lack of will to redress the damage that has been done by at least, three terms of Bush & Son global governance. These people are clearly obsessed with a notion of power, a power that can only be sustainable at a temporary cost to the rest of the world – temporary because no one will tolerate the consequences for long, and temporary because common interests are only in-common when there is a benefit to all parties involved.

The Illusion of Threat

One doubts that the fear of being attacked is genuine, but it does serve to promote the notion of a certain set of people as the enemy, and in that service, much can be done to betray the people of the world. All throughout the occupation of Palestine, Israel has never been under any physical threat, except the threat that it can never exist as a state in its own right on other people’s land. It has ignored it religious leaders, and the Jewry as a whole, creating a global elite that has very little to do with Judaism as a religious practice.

It is the inability to believe that others can treat them better than they treat others that seems to keep them determined in their actions/paranoia. The notion of natural justice is lost expecting those unlike them to behave in the same manner in which they behave. As they continue to demonize Iran, like Iraq in preparation for a greater war, there notion of Iran, is unfortunately liken to some Muslims who perceive power, status and nationalistic beliefs before they perceive Islam. When in 2001, the appeal of 10 Iranian Jews rejected by the Iranian judiciary, like automatons, the West and the believers in Western democracy shouted foul without recognizing that 8 Muslims were also accused of espionage. Neither did the West and its sympathizers note that the sentence was reduced from 4 – 13 years respectively to 2 – 9 years on the basis that they were found innocent of two of the charges against them. There is a long list of cases in the U.S. and the U.K of non-Muslims who have been found guilty when in fact quite blaringly innocent! All countries are sensitive to the security of their nations, but when fairness is ruled out, national security becomes a national obsession.

In the late 1980’s, the approximate number of Jews in the Arab world alone was 4,700,000. As one of the Peoples of the Book, Jews have had a place in Muslim societies since the dawn of Islam. The Sahifa, agreement of Medina in 622/3 C.E., stated:

  1. The Aus were to pay the blood money of the persons they had killed before, and every group was to redeem its prisoners with justice
  2. No Believer should seek to turn the auxiliary of another Believer against him
  3. God-fearing Believers shall oppose whoever seeks to sow injustice, sin, or enmity among the Believers; every man’s hand shall be against him even though he might be the son of one of them
  4. The Jews who follow us shall have aid and equality, except those who do wrong or aid the enemies of the Muslims
  5. No idolater shall take Qurayshi property or persons under his protection nor shall he turn anyone against a believer
  6. The Jews shall bear expenses with the Muslims as long as they fight along with them
  7. None may go to war without the Holy Prophets’ (SAW) permission, but they are not prevented from taking vengeance for a wound.

This treaty was written following the Battle of Bu’ath in which Jewish tribesmen fought for the losing cause of ‘Abdullah bin Ubayy against Prophet Muhammed (SAW), and the Muslims. They would not support Prophet Muhammed (SAW) because he was not a Jew; however, the Muslims kept their word and Allah’s (SWT) covenant despite their antics.

The Jews had suffered greatly under the Goths in Spain, but the advent of Islamic rule brought them the freedom to practice their rites and traditions. They flourished in the fields of medicine, philosophy, literature, money-lending and the translation of Arabic text into Latin. The neighborliness between them and the Muslims influenced them to pray in Arabic, rather than the Hebrew which they knew so little of at the time, to perform ablutions before entering their synagogues, and to sing Jewish songs to old Arabic melodies. They lived this way for over 400 years!

Today, the life of acceptance has no meaning. The Zionists have brainwashed themselves and others into believing that their violation of the human rights of others is justified by their search for a home and their own human rights.

In fighting for a home separate from Muslims, they have broken the first 6 of their Seven Laws of Noah, so when they refer to their covenant with God, where do they stand when they have broken the covenant? At a press conference in Illinois, U.S. in March 2000, David Weiss of the Neturei Karta group in Jerusalem stated:

“The holocaust was divine punishment on the Jewish people for their abandonment of the Torah. Until the Zionist movement, Jews lived peacefully among their neighbors.”

Whether this is true or not, the Jews did live peacefully amongst Muslims, when non-Muslims did not give them that right.

“They call us colonists,” said one Jewish man to the Guardian Weekly reporter Linda Grant. 

“But if we lose, where do I go? Back to Yemen, where my grandfather came from in the 1930s?”

It did not occur to this man that he did come from somewhere, and that the notion of what he referred to as home has pushed the world towards a possible WWIII. Yet for Palestinians, the so-called peace process, despite what Zionists have put them through, has been about how to live with Jews as neighbors.

{And We had made known to the children of Israel in the Book, most certainly you will make mischief in the land twice, and most certainly you will behave insolently with great insolence.} (Al-Bani-Israel 17: 4)

“A person cannot be conscious of others when he lacks of consciousness of himself” – Hwaa Irfan

Sources:

JTA “U.S. to Store More Weapons in Israel.”  http://www.jta.org/news/article/2010/11/11/2741699/us-to-store-more-weapons-in-israel

Related Topics:

Muslim Cordoba Going for a Song 

Between the Builder and the Architect: Frederick II, and the Castel Del Monte

Albanian Muslims Risked Their Own Lives to Save Jews in the Holocaust

Muslim and Jews Side By Side in the Bronx

The House of Three Rooms

Forgiveness Between Sand and Stone 

One is the Loneliest Number

U.S. Set to Destabilize the Rest of the World

Facing Armageddon

Gaza and Israeli Might Over Human Rights

From Silwan to the City of David

Stop War on Iran

The Echo of Life

Xenophobia on African Shores and Elsewhere

Finding a Global Balance

The Charity of Love

The 9/11 March Against Islamophobia

The 9/11 March Against Islamophobia

From A.N.S.W.E.R

Thousands of people rallied today in lower Manhattan in defense of the Muslim, Arab American and South Asian communities that have been increasingly demonized in recent months.

The demonstration dwarfed the smaller right-wing, racist mobilization that was organized in opposition to the planned construction of an Islamic Community Center several blocks from the site of the former World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.

Today’s demonstration was organized by a broad coalition of progressive, anti-war, Muslim, Arab American, South Asian and social justice organizations from the Black, Latino and Asian communities. The ANSWER Coalition organized its members and supporters to join this important mobilization against racism and Islamophobia. Speakers at the demonstration included Ramsey Clark, Cynthia McKinney, representatives of the International Action Center, December 12th Movement and others.

It is critical for the anti-war movement and all people of conscience to stand together in defense of the Muslim community, and in opposition to racism and war.

The ANSWER Coalition is organizing people from all over the East Coast and Midwest to participate in the Stand Up-Fight Back contingent at the Oct. 2 mobilization in Washington, The Oct. 2 mobilization will draw together hundreds of thousands of working people who will demand jobs, peace and justice.

Please show your support for the continued work of the ANSWER Coalition. Now is the time that we must all come together and take to the streets in the struggle for justice. http://www.answercoalition.org/

Related Topics:
The Doctrine of Discovery
Activists for Gaza We Applaud You
Islamophobia: From The Spanish Inquisition to the Western Inquisition
Can Common Sense Prevail Over the Veil?
Partial Victory Over Arizona Immigration Law
Our Africa: Europe’s Debt Pt.1
Xenophobia on African Shores and Elsewhere
The Redemption “Songs” of Muslim Youth

AHome or a House!

Home or a House!

By Dr Ahmed Adam

I like my house, but I love my home

A house is made up of bricks and stones
But a home is made up of flesh and bones

A house is built with layers of bricks
But a home is built with layers of people

A house is a piece of Real Estate in your street
But a home is a piece of Real Estate in your Heart

A house is cold and empty
But a home is warm and lively

A house is made beautiful by furniture
But a home is made beautiful by those that you love

A house is a place for shelter
But a home is a shelter for your heart

A house has got property value
But a home is something that you value

A house has a price
But a home is priceless

A house has a rug and a ceiling
But a home has a hug and a feeling

A house is held together by cement and plaster
But a home is held together by love and laughter

A house is a place that nourishes your body
But a home is a place that nourishes your soul

A house is merely a collection of rooms
But a home is a powerful collection of memories

A house is held up by roof beams
But a home is held up by lofty dreams

A house is where you can walk around without a shoe
But a home is where everyone understands you

A house is a place where the paint is peeling
But a home is a place that is full of feeling

A house is a place that you can lease
But a home is a place where you can find peace

A house is a place for entertaining and socialising
But a home is a place where you don’t have to say anything

A house may not look like a castle on the inside and outside
But a home is a place where everyone is treated royally

A house is a place where you go to sleep at night
But a home is a place where someone worries when you don’t come home

A house is often a one year project
But a home is usually a life-long project

A house can be replaced
But a home is irreplaceable

A house can be rented, bought and sold
But a home is more precious than diamonds and gold

The best places in the world can be exotic and thrilling
But there is no place that is as sweet as home.

Related Topics:
Discovering Your Emotional Intelligence
Happiness Doesn’t Grow on Trees!
The Brain Says Men and Women are Different When It Comes to Stress
Hassan Fathy: The Barefoot Architect
Love and Time
Forced to Build Sandbag Homes in Gaza

Prince Charles on Islam and the Environment

A speech by HRH The Prince of Wales titled Islam and the Environment, Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford
9th June 2010

Vice Chancellor, Your Royal Highnesses, Director, Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is a very great pleasure for me to be here today to help you celebrate the Oxford Centre’s twenty-fifth anniversary. Whereas bits of your Patron are dropping off after the past quarter of a century, I find quite a few bits of the Centre still being added! However, I cannot tell you how encouraged I am that in addition to the Prince of Wales Fellowship, the number of fellowships you now offer continues to grow and also that this Summer you will welcome the fifth group of young people on your Young Muslim Leadership programme which is run in association with my charities. This is a vital contribution to the process of boosting the self-esteem of young Muslims – about whom I care deeply.

“It has been a great concern of mine to affirm and encourage those groups and faith communities that are in the minority in this country. Indeed, over the last twenty-five years, I have tried to find as many ways as possible to help integrate them into British society and to build good relationships between our faith communities. I happen to believe this is best achieved by emphasizing unity through diversity. Only in this way can we ensure fairness and build mutual respect in our country. And if we get it right here then perhaps we might be able to offer an example in the wider world.

“I am slightly alarmed that it is now seventeen years since I came here to the Sheldonian to deliver a lecture for the Centre that tried to do just this. I called it “Islam and the West” and, from what I can tell, it clearly struck a chord, and not just here in the U.K. I am still reminded of what I said, particularly when I travel in the Islamic world – in fact, because it was printed, believe it or not, it is the only speech I have ever made which continues to produce a small return!

“I wanted to give that lecture to address the dangers of the ignorance and misunderstanding that I felt were growing between the Islamic world and the West in the aftermath of the Cold War. Since then, the situation has both improved and worsened, depending on where you look. Certainly the sorts of advances made by the Oxford Centre have helped to build confidence and understanding, but we all know only too well how some of the things I warned of in that lecture have since come to pass, both here and elsewhere in the world. So it is tremendously important that we continue to work to heal the differences and overcome the misconceptions that still exist. I remain confident that this is possible because there are many values we all share that have the powerful capacity to bind us, rather than what happens when those values are forgotten – or purposefully ignored.

“Healing division is also my theme today, but this time it is not the divisions between cultures I want to explore. It is the division that poses a much more fundamental threat to the health and well-being of us all. It is the widening division we are seeing in so many ways between humanity and Nature.

“Many of Nature’s vital, life-support systems are now struggling to cope under the strain of global industrialization. How they will manage if millions more people are to achieve Western levels of consumption is highly disturbing to contemplate. The problems are only going to get much worse. And they are very real. Whatever you might have read in the newspapers, particularly about climate change in the run up to the Copenhagen conference last year, we face many related and very serious problems that are a matter of accurate, scientific record.

“The actual facts are that over the last half century, for instance, we have destroyed at least thirty per cent of the world’s tropical rainforests and if we continue to chop them down at the present rate, by 2050 we will end up with a very disturbing situation. In fact, in the three years since I started my ‘Rainforest Project’ to try and help find an innovative solution to tropical deforestation, over 30 million hectares have been lost, and with them this planet has lost about 80,000 species. When you consider that a given area of equatorial trees evaporates eight times as much rainwater as an equivalent patch of ocean, you quickly start to see how their disappearance will affect the productivity of the Earth. They produce billions of tonnes of water every day and without that rainfall the world’s food security will become very unstable.

“there are other facts too. In the last fifty years our industrialized approach to farming has degraded a third of the Earth’s top soil. That is a fact. We have also fished the oceans so extensively that if we continue at the same rate for much longer we are likely to see the collapse of global fisheries in forty years from now. Another fact. Then there are the colossal amounts of waste that pollute the Earth – the many dead zones where nothing can live in many major river estuaries and various parts of the oceans, or those immense rafts of plastic that now float about in the Pacific. Would you believe that one of them, off the coast of California, is made up of 100 million tonnes of plastic and it has doubled in size in just the last decade. It is now at least six times the size of the United Kingdom. And we call ourselves civilized!

“These are all very real problems and they are facts – all of them, the obvious results of the comprehensive industrialization of life. But what is less obvious is the attitude and general outlook which perpetuate this dangerously destructive approach. It is an approach that acts contrary to the teachings of each and every one of the world’s sacred traditions, including Islam.

“What surprises me, I have to say, is that, quite apart from whether or not we value the sacred traditions as much as we should, the blunt economic facts make the predominant approach increasingly irrational. I imagine that few of you are familiar with the interim report of the United Nations study called The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Study which came out in 2008. It painted a salutary picture of what we lose in straightforward financial terms by our destruction of natural systems and the absence of their services to the world. In the first place they calculated that we destroy around 50 billion dollars worth of a system that produces these services every year. By mapping the loss of those services over a forty year period, their estimate is that, in financial terms, the global economy incurs an annual loss of between 2 and 4.5 trillion dollars – every single year.

“To put that figure into some sort of perspective, the recent crash in the world’s banking system caused a one-off loss of just 2 trillion dollars. I wonder why the bigger annual loss does not attract the same kind of Media frenzy as the banking crisis did?

“This should demonstrate the flaw in the sum that does not need an Oxbridge mathematician to understand – that Nature’s finite resources, divided by our ever-more rapacious desire for continuous economic growth, does not work out. We are clearly living beyond our means, already consuming the Earth’s capital resources faster than she can replenish them.

“Over the years, I have pointed out again and again that our environmental problems cannot be solved simply by applying yet more and more of our brilliant green technology – important though it is. It is no good just fixing the pump and not the well.

“When I say this, everybody nods sagely, but I get the impression that many are often unwilling to embrace what I am really referring to, perhaps because the missing element sits outside the parameters of the prevailing secular view. It is this “missing element” that I would like to examine today.

“In short, when we hear talk of an “environmental crisis” or even of a “financial crisis,” I would suggest that this is actually describing the outward consequences of a deep, inner crisis of the soul. It is a crisis in our relationship with – and our perception of – Nature, and it is born of Western culture being dominated for at least two hundred years by a mechanistic and reductionist approach to our scientific understanding of the world around us.

“So I would like you to consider very seriously today whether a big part of the solution to all of our worldwide “crises” does not lie simply in more and better technology, but in the recovery of the soul to the mainstream of our thinking. Our science and technology cannot do this. Only sacred traditions have the capacity to help this happen.

“In general, we live within a culture that does not believe very much in the soul anymore – or if it does, won’t admit to it publicly for fear of being thought old fashioned, out of step with “modern imperatives” or “anti-scientific.” The empirical view of the world, which measures it and tests it, has become the only view to believe. A purely mechanistic approach to problems has somehow assumed a position of great authority and this has encouraged the widespread secularisation of society that we see today. This is despite the fact that those men of science who founded institutions like the Royal Society were also men of deep faith. It is also despite the fact that a great many of our scientists today profess a faith in God. I am aware of one recent survey that suggests over seventy per cent of scientists do so.

“I must say, I find this rather baffling. If this is so, why is it that their sense of the sacred has so little bearing on the way science is employed to exploit the natural world in so many damaging ways?

“I suppose it must be to do with who pays the fiddler. Over the last two centuries, science has become ever more firmly yoked to the ambitions of commerce. Because there are such big economic benefits from such a union, society has been persuaded that there is nothing wrong here. And so, a great deal of empirical research is now driven by the imperative that its findings must be employed to maximum, financial effect, whatever the impact this may have on the Earth’s long-term capacity to endure.

“This imbalance, where mechanistic thinking is so predominant, goes back at least to Galileo’s assertion that there is nothing in Nature but quantity and motion. This is the view that continues to frame the general perception of the way the world works and how we fit within the scheme of things. As a result, Nature has been completely objectified – “She” has become an “it” – and we are persuaded to concentrate on the material aspect of reality that fits within Galileo’s scheme.

“Understanding the world from a mechanical point of view and then employing that knowledge has, of course, always been part of the development of human civilization, but as our technology has become ever more sophisticated and our industrialized methods so much more powerful, so the level of destruction is now potentially all the more widespread and un-containable, especially if you add into this mix the emphasis we have on consumerism.

“It was that great scientist, Goethe, who saw life as the masculine principle striving endlessly to reach the “eternal feminine” – what the Greeks called “Sophia,” or wisdom. It is a striving, he said, fired by the force of love. I am not sure that this is quite the way things happen today. Our striving in the industrialized world is certainly not fired by a love of wisdom. It is far more focussed on the desire for the greatest possible financial profit.

“This ignores the spiritual teachings of traditions like Islam, which recognize that it is not our animal needs that are absolute; it is our spiritual essence, an essence made for the infinite. But with consumerism now such a key element in our economic model, our natural, spiritual desire for the infinite is constantly being reflected towards the finite. Our spiritual perspective has been flattened and made earthbound and we are persuaded to channel all of our natural, never-ending desire for what Islamic poets called “the Beloved” towards nothing but more and more material commodities. Unfortunately we forget that our spiritual desire can never be completely satisfied. It is rightly a never-ending desire. But when that desire is focussed only on the earthly, it becomes potentially disastrous. The hunger for yet more and more things creates an alarming vacuum and, as we are now realizing, this does great harm to the Earth and creates a never ending unhappiness for many, many people.

“I hope you can just begin to see my point. The utter dominance of the mechanistic approach of science over everything else, including religion, has “de-souled” the dominant world view, and that includes our perception of Nature. As soul is elbowed out of the picture, our deeper link with the natural world is severed. Our sense of the spiritual relationship between humanity, the Earth and her great diversity of life has become dim. The entire emphasis is all on the mechanical process of increasing growth in the economy, of making every process more “efficient” and achieving as much convenience as possible. None of which could be said to be an ambition of God. And so, unfashionable though it is to suggest it, I am keen to stress here the need to heal this divide within ourselves. How else can we heal the divide between East and West unless we reconcile the East and West within ourselves? Everything in Nature is a paradox and seems to carry within itself the paradox of opposites. Curiously, this maintains the essential balance. Only human beings seem to introduce imbalance. The task is surely to reconnect ourselves with the wisdom found in Nature which is stressed by each of the sacred traditions in their own way.

“My understanding of Islam is that it warns that to deny the reality of our inner being leads to an inner darkness which can quickly extend outwards into the world of Nature. If we ignore the calling of the soul, then we destroy Nature. To understand this we have to remember that we are Nature, not inanimate objects like stones; we reflect the universal patterns of Nature. And in this way, we are not a part that can somehow disengage itself and take a purely objective view.

“From what I know of the Qu’ran, again and again it describes the natural world as the handiwork of a unitary benevolent power. It very explicitly describes Nature as possessing an “intelligibility” and that there is no separation between Man and Nature, precisely because there is no separation between the natural world and God. It offers a completely integrated view of the Universe where religion and science, mind and matter are all part of one living, conscious whole. We are, therefore, finite beings contained by an infinitude, and each of us is a microcosm of the whole. This suggests to me that Nature is a knowing partner, never a mindless slave to humanity, and we are Her tenants; God’s guests for all too short a time.

“If I may quote the Qu’ran, “Have you considered: if your water were to disappear into the Earth, who then could bring you gushing water?” This is the Divine hospitality that offers us our provisions and our dwelling places, our clothing, tools and transport. The Earth is robust and prolific, but also delicate, subtle, complex and diverse and so our mark must always be gentle – or the water will disappear, as it is doing in places like the Punjab in India. Industrialized farming methods there rely upon the use of high-yielding seeds and chemical fertilizers, both of which need a lot more energy and a lot more water as well. As a consequence the water table has dropped dramatically – I have been there, I have seen it – so far, by three feet a year. Punjabi farmers are now having to dig expensive bore holes over 200 feet deep to get at what remains of the water and, as a result, their debts become ever deeper and the salt rises to the surface contaminating the soil.

“This is not a sustainable way of growing food and maintaining the well-being of communities. It does not respect Divine hospitality. The costs it incurs will have to be borne by those who will inherit what is fast becoming the ruined and frayed fabric of life. So for their sake, we have to acknowledge that the immediate, short-term financial benefits of our predominant, mechanistic approach are too expensive to continue to dominate our way of life.

“This happens when traditional principles and practices are abandoned – and with them, all sense of reverence for the Earth which is an inseparable element in an integrated and spiritually grounded tradition like Islam – just as it was once firmly embedded in the philosophical heritage of Western thought. The Stoics of Ancient Greece, for instance, held that “right knowledge,” as they called it, is gained by living in agreement with Nature, where there is a correspondence or a sympathy between the truth of things, thought and action. They saw it as our duty to achieve an attunement between human nature and the greater scheme of the Cosmos.

“This incidentally is also the teaching of Judaism. The Book of Genesis says that God placed Mankind in the garden “to tend it and take care of it,” to serve and conserve it for the sake of future generations. “Adamah” in Hebrew means “the one hewn from the Earth,” so Adam is a child of the Earth. In my own tradition of Christianity, the immanence of God is made explicit by the incarnation of Christ. But let us also not forget that throughout the Christian New Testament, Christ often refers to Himself as “the Son of Man” which, in Hebrew, is “Ben Adam.” He, too, is a “son of the Earth,” surely making the same explicit connection between human nature and the whole of Nature.

“Even the apocryphal Gnostic texts are imbued with the same principle. The fragments of one of the oldest, ascribed to Mary Magdalene, instructs us that “Attachment to matter gives rise to passion against Nature. Thus, trouble arises in the whole body; this is why I tell you; be in harmony.” In all cases the message is clear. Our specific purpose is to “earth” Heaven. So, to separate ourselves within an inner darkness, leads to what the Irish poet, WB Yeats, warned of at the start of the Twentieth Century. “The falcon cannot hear the falconer,” he wrote, “things fall apart and the centre cannot hold.”

“The traditional way of life within Islam is very clear about the “centre” that holds the relationship together. From what I know of its core teachings and commentaries, the important principle we must keep in mind is that there are limits to the abundance of Nature. These are not arbitrary limits, they are the limits imposed by God and, as such, if my understanding of the Qu’ran is correct, Muslims are commanded not to transgress them.

“Such instruction is hard to square if all you do is found your understanding of the world on empirical terms alone. Four hundred years of relying on trying and testing the facts scientifically has established the view that spirituality and religious faith are outdated expressions of superstitious belief. After all, empiricism has proved how the world fits together and it is nothing to do with a “Supreme Being.” There is no empirical evidence for the existence of God so, therefore, Q.E.D, God does not exist. It is a very reasonable, rational argument, and I presume it can be applied to “thought” too. After all, no brain scanner has ever managed to photograph a thought, nor a piece of love, and it never will. So, Q.E.D., that must mean “thought” and “love” do not exist either!

“Clearly there is a point beyond which empiricism cannot make complete sense of the world. It works by establishing facts through testing them by the scientific process. It is one kind of language and a very fine one, but it is a language not able to fathom experiences like faith or the meaning of things – it is not able to articulate matters of the soul. This is why it consistently elbows soul out of the picture.

“But we do have other kinds of “language,” as Islam well knows, and they are much better at dealing with the realm of the soul and matters of meaning. Each is a different aspect of our language, in fact. Each deals with different aspects of the truth and if you put empiricism, philosophy and the spiritual perception of life together, just as the Islamic tradition at its best and richest has always done, then they tend to complement each other rather well.

“Take the difference this made in the Ninth and Tenth Centuries, as an example, during the so-called “Golden Age of Islam.” It was a period which gave rise to a spectacular flowering of scientific advancement, but all of it was underpinned by an age-old philosophical understanding of reality and grounded in a profound spirituality, which included a deep reverence for the Natural world. Theirs was an integrated vision of the world, reflecting the timeless truth that all life is rooted in the unity of the Creator. This is the testimony of faith, is it not, embodied in the contemplative implication of the formless essence of the Qur’an’s haqîqa? It is the notion of Tawhîd, the oneness of all things within the embrace of the Divine unity.

Islamic writers express it so well. Ibn Khaldûn, for instance, who taught that “all creatures are subject to a regular and orderly system. Causes are linked to effects where each is connected with the other.” Or the great Shabistâri in Fourteenth Century Persia, who talked of the world being “a mirror from head to foot, in every atom a hundred blazing suns where a world dwells in the heart of a millet seed.” Words that resonate, don’t you think, with William Blake’s famous lines, “to see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wild flower.”

Other Western poets have captured this truth too. William Wordsworth, perhaps one of the greatest of all our Nature poets, describes “a sense sublime of something far more inter-fused… a motion and a spirit that impels all thinking things, all objects of thought and rolls through all things.” I quote the poets because they help us identify this “sense sublime” and inspire reverence for the created world.

Reverence is not science-based knowledge. It is an experience always mediated by love, sometimes induced by it; and love comes from relationship. If you take away reverence and reduce our spiritual relationship with life, then you open yourself up to the idea that we can be little more than a chance group of isolated, self-obsessed individuals, disconnected from life’s innate presence and un-anchored by any sense of duty to the rest of the world. We are free to act without responsibility. Thus we turn a blind eye to those islands of plastic in the sea, or to the treatment meted out to animals in factory farms. And it is why the so-called “precautionary principle” is so often thrown out of the window.

This is the principle that would make us think twice if, say, we were to climb into a vehicle that happens to have a ninety per cent chance of crashing. Instead, because the danger is not proven beyond doubt, we think it is safe to embark upon the journey. This is how we proceed in many significant fields – in matters like genetic modification or climate change. We go on denying that there may be side-effects, even if our intuition warns us to be cautious, or even if there is some related evidence. Recently, for instance, the news emerged that, for the fourth year in a row, more than a third of honey bee colonies in the United States failed to survive the Winter. More than three million colonies in the U.S. and billions of honeybees worldwide have died. Scientists say they are no nearer to knowing what is causing this catastrophic collapse, but there is plenty of evidence that modern pesticides have played their part. Given that bees, like nearly every other bug, are insects, I would have thought it was rather obvious. And yet we carry on with a narrow-minded, mechanistic approach to industrialized farming with all its focus on high yields at whatever price. So we lace the fields with pesticides that kill insects. It is quite bizarre how we continue to entrust our food security to the very substances that are destroying the harmonic cycle which produces our food. It really is a form of collective hubris and I often wonder if those who practise such well-exercised scepticism in these matters will ever see that “the Emperor is wearing no clothes?”

“This, then, is why the wisdom and learning offered by a sacred tradition like Islam matters – and, if I may say so, why those who hold and strive to preserve their sacred traditions in different parts of the world have every reason to become more confident of their ground. The Islamic world is the custodian of one of the greatest treasuries of accumulated wisdom and spiritual knowledge available to humanity. It is both Islam’s noble heritage and a priceless gift to the rest of the world. And yet, so often, that wisdom is now obscured by the dominant drive towards Western materialism – the feeling that to be truly “modern” you have to ape the West.

“To counter that tendency I have done what I can with my School of Traditional Arts to nurture and support traditional and sacred craft skills – not least those of Islam – because they keep alive a perspective that we sorely need, even though short-term fashion deems them to be irrelevant. The geometry and patterning that are taught at the School are the basis of the many crafts that have been all but abandoned in many parts of the world, including the Islamic world. It is a tragedy of monumental proportions that they are being forgotten because they reflect the spiritual mathematics found everywhere in Nature. As Islam teaches very specifically, it is a patterning that reflects the very ground of our being. It is the Divine imagination, so to speak; the ineffable presence that is the sacred breath of life. As the Seventeenth Century mystic, Ibn Âshir, puts it, by the practice of these arts you “see the One who manifests in the form, not the form by itself.”

“For many in the modern world this is hard to understand because the view of God has become so distorted. “God” is seen as being, somehow, outside “His” creation, rather than part of its unfolding – what the Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, called “the force that through the green fuse drives the flower.” Being the principle that underlines the Cosmos, the Cosmos is the result of God knowing it and of it knowing the uncreated God. Notice the emphasis there on “un”-created. It is of profound importance. The basis of all existence is in this relationship.

“I suspect the reason why this is such an unfashionable view is that the deep-seated experience of participation in the living, creative presence of God is offered to us in all traditions not by empiricism, but by revelation. This is a rare and precious gift and only given to those whose supreme humanity and capacity for great humility achieves a mastery over the ego. It comes at the moment when “the knower and the known” become one – the moment when the mind of Man comes into union with the mind of God.

“This, of course, is not deemed possible from an empirical point of view, but revelation is a very different kind of knowing from scientific, evidence-based knowledge, and I cannot stress the point strongly enough; by dismissing such a process and discarding what it offers to humankind, we throw away a very important lifeline for the future.

“I must say, once you do blend the different languages – the empirical and the spiritual together as I am suggesting, and as I have been trying to say for so long – then you do begin to wonder why the sceptics think the desire to work in harmony with Nature is so unscientific. Why is it deemed so worthwhile to abandon our true relationship with the “beingness” of all things; to limit ourselves to the science of manipulation, rather than immerse ourselves in the wider science of understanding? They seem such spurious arguments, because, as Islam clearly understands, it is actually impossible to divorce human beings from Nature’s patterns and processes. The Qur’an is considered to be the “last Revelation” but it clearly acknowledges which book is the first. That book is the great book of creation, of Nature herself, which has been taken too much for granted in our modern world and needs to be restored to its original position.

“So, with all this in mind, I would like to set you a challenge, if I may; a challenge that I hope will be conveyed beyond this audience today. It is the challenge to mobilize Islamic scholars, poets and artists, as well as those craftsmen, engineers and scientists who work with and within the Islamic tradition, to identify the general ideas, the teachings and the practical techniques within the tradition which encourage us to work with the grain of Nature rather than against it. I would urge you to consider whether we can learn anything from the Islamic culture’s profound understanding of the natural world to help us all in the fearsome challenges we face. Are there, for instance, any that could help preserve our precious marine eco-systems and fisheries? Are there any traditional methods of avoiding damage to all of Nature’s systems that revive the principle of sustainability within Islam?

“To give you an idea of what I mean, let me offer a few examples drawn from the work done by my School of Traditional Arts, where project workers have shown that re-introducing traditional craft skills brings a coherence to peoples’ daily lives, perhaps because they fuse the spiritual with the practical.

“Since I founded it, the School has helped restore these skills in places as far afield as Jordan and Nigeria. It also helps to build bridges within communities in this country which have suffered the worst fractures. In Burnley in Lancashire, for instance, project workers have been teaching children from many backgrounds an integrated view of the world using the patterns of Islamic sacred geometry. This has not just inspired the imagination of the children taking part, but their teachers too. They tell me they have discovered a much more integrated approach to education, where maths and art are not alien to one another, but are seen as two sides of the same coin and directly rooted in Nature’s patterns and processes.

“In Afghanistan, I have only recently managed to see the work being done under the umbrella of what we have called “the Turquoise Mountain Foundation” – an initiative I launched some four years ago – which is running similar education programmes and craft training courses. It is also helping with the urban regeneration of the old historic quarter of the city by guiding people to start businesses using the craft skills they have learned.

“For example, in the building of schools, people are being shown how to use mud-bricks which are a quarter of the price of the concrete blocks used by other agencies. They are also resistant to earthquakes, whereas concrete is not. And they cope much better with extremes of temperature – mud-brick buildings are cooler in the Summer and warmer in the Winter. What is more, they use local labour and local, natural materials. So these schools are a good example of how traditional wisdom blends with modern needs. After all, you can still use computers and other modern technology in a mud-brick building! And more comfortably, too, given it is more suited to local conditions.

“When I finally did manage to reach Kabul earlier this year – after several years of trying – what I saw was truly remarkable. It proved to me that teaching and employing traditional crafts is an effective way of re-introducing the kinds of techniques that are benign to the natural environment. They are also capable of restoring a cultural balance in peoples’ minds. By encouraging a wider celebration of the traditional, ancient culture of Afghanistan, these skills help in a very practical way to counteract the oppressive effects of extremism in all its forms, both religious and secular. This is how traditional wisdom works. It is not a theory or a science written down. Its wisdom is discovered through practice and in action.

“These are schemes that are close to my heart, but the Oxford Centre keeps me informed of many others. Working in Muslim countries, the World Wildlife Fund has found that trying to convey the importance of conservation is much easier if it is transmitted by religious leaders whose reference is Qur’anic teaching. In Zanzibar, they had little success trying to reduce spear-fishing and the use of dragnets, which were destroying the coral reefs. But when the guidance came from the Qur’an, there was a notable change in behaviour. Or in Indonesia and in Malaysia, where former poachers are being deterred in the same way from destroying the last remaining tigers.

“And it is not just such interventions that are important. It is mystifying, for instance, that the modern world completely ignores the time-honoured feats of engineering in the ancient world. The Qanats of Iran, for example, that still provide water for thousands of people in what would otherwise be desert conditions. These underground canals – unbelievably 170,000 miles of them – keep the water from the mountains moving down the tunnels using gravity alone. And the water in every village is then kept fresh by the way the storage towers keep the air flowing freely, moved by the wind.

“In Spain, the irrigation systems constructed 1200 years ago also still work perfectly, as does the way in which the water is managed by the local population – a way of operating devised before the Muslim rule in Spain disintegrated. The same sorts of Islamic management schemes operate in other parts of the world too, like the “hima” zones in Saudi Arabia which set aside land for use as pasture. These are all examples of how prophetic teaching, in this case framed by the guidance of the Qu’ran, maintains a long term view of things and keeps the danger of a self-interested form of short-term economics at bay.

“I am sure that if an organization like the Oxford Centre could help to establish a global forum on “Islam and the Environment” many more very practical, traditional approaches like these could become more widely applied. They may range from science and technology to agriculture, healthcare, architecture and education. Think what could be achieved if mothers and fathers, the teachers in madrassas and Imams, all sought to demonstrate to children how to translate Islamic teachings into practical action – how to blend traditional knowledge and awareness of Nature’s needs with the best of what we know now.

“This is certainly something I feel we have to do in the one final issue I have to mention as I close. Perhaps a few facts and figures might demonstrate why.

“When I was born in 1948, a city like Lagos in Nigeria had a population of just three hundred thousand. Today, just over sixty years later, it is home to twenty million. Thirty-five thousand people live in every square mile of the city, and its population increases by another six hundred thousand every year.

“I choose Lagos as an example. I could have chosen Mumbai, Cairo or Mexico City; wherever you look, the world’s population is increasing fast. It goes up by the equivalent of the entire population of the United Kingdom every year. Which means that this poor planet of ours, which already struggles to sustain 6.8 billion people, will somehow have to support over 9 billion people within fifty years. In the Arab world, sixty per cent of the population is now under the age of thirty. That will mean, in some way or other, 100 million new jobs will have to be created in that region alone over the next ten to fifteen years.

“I am well aware that the very long term prediction is that population may go down. 150 years from now the trends suggest there may be as few as four billion people, maybe even just two billion, but there is no getting away from the fact that in the short term, in the next fifty years, we face monumental problems as the figures rocket. No mega-city can ever hope to catch up with the present expansion in their numbers to provide adequate healthcare, education, transport, food and shelter for so many. Nor can the Earth herself sustain us all, when the demands and pressures on her bounty worldwide are becoming so intense.

“I know it is a complicated issue. The experts suggest that, in theory, the Earth could support 9 billion people, but not if a vast proportion is consuming the world’s resources at present Western levels. So the changes have to be essentially two-fold. It would certainly help if the acceleration slowed down, but it would also help if the world reduced its desire to consume.

“I have been following carefully the findings of my British Asian Trust in India which has been helping to run a women’s education project in a drought-prone region of Maharashtra called Satara. They have noticed that a real difference can be made when women are able to become more involved in the running of the community. This is also the experience in Bangladesh. I have long been fascinated by Muhammad Yunus’s Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. It operates micro-credit schemes that offer loans to the poorest communities through a bank which is now ninety per cent owned by the rural poor. Interestingly, where the loans are managed by the women of the community, the birth rate has gone down. The impact of these sorts of schemes, of education and the provision of family planning services, has been widespread. Whereas in the 1980s, the average family in Bangladesh had six children, now the average figure is three. But with mega-cities growing as they are, I fear there is little chance these sorts of schemes can help the plight of many millions of people unless we all face up to the fact more honestly than we do that one of the biggest causes of high birth rates remains cultural.

“It raises some very difficult moral questions, I know, but do we not each one of us carry the same responsibility towards the Earth? It is surely time to ask if we can come to a view that balances the traditional attitude to the sacred nature of life on the one hand with, on the other, those teachings within each of the sacred traditions that urge humankind to keep within the limits of Nature’s benevolence and bounty.

“Ladies and gentlemen, you have endured all this with patience and fortitude. You have also given a very good impression of listening to my own personal thoughts on the perspective opened up by Islamic teaching. I have wanted to convey them to you because it always moves me to be reminded that, from the perspective of traditional Islamic teaching, the destruction of the Earth is represented as the destruction of a prayerful being.

“Whichever faith tradition we come from, the fact at the heart of the matter is the same. Our inheritance from our Creator is at stake. It will be no good at the end of the day as we sit amidst the wreckage, trying to console ourselves that it was all done for the best possible reasons of development and the betterment of Mankind. The inconvenient truth is that we share this planet with the rest of creation for a very good reason – and that is, we cannot exist on our own without the intricately balanced web of life around us. Islam has always taught this and to ignore that lesson is to default on our contract with Creation.

“The Modernist ideology that has dominated the Western outlook for a century implies that “tradition” is backward looking. What I have tried to explain today is that this is far from true. Tradition is the accumulation of the knowledge and wisdom that we should be offering to the next generation. It is, therefore, visionary – it looks forward.

“Turning to the traditional teachings, like those found in Islam that define our relationship with the natural world, does not mean locking us into some sort of cultural and technological immobility. As the English writer G.K. Chesterton put it, “real development is not leaving things behind, as on a road, but drawing life from them as a root.” I would also remind you of the words of Oxford’s very own C.S. Lewis, who pointed out that “sometimes you do have to turn the clock back if it is telling the wrong time” – that there is nothing “progressive” about being stubborn and refusing to acknowledge that we have taken the wrong road. If we realize that we are travelling in the wrong direction, the only sensible thing to do is to admit it and retrace our steps back to where we first went wrong. As Lewis put it, “going back can sometimes be the quickest way forward.” It is the most progressive thing we could do.

“All of the mounting evidence is telling us that we are, indeed, on the wrong road, so you might think it would be wise to draw on the timeless guidance that comes from our intuitive sense of the origin of all things to which we are rooted. Nature’s rhythms, her cycles and her processes, are our guides to this uncreated, originating voice. They are our greatest teachers because they are expressions of Divine Unity. Which is why there is a profound truth in that seemingly simple, old saying of the nomads – that “the best of all Mosques is Nature herself.”

Source:
Prince Charles: Islam and the Environment

The Tresses of Forgetfulness. 

Veiling Through Time
The Tresses of Forgetfulness.

By Hwaa Irfan

A time remembered is a period of historical films on British history when to see a woman veiled was quite normal. To surf on the ‘net, one could be led to believe that the veil begins and starts with Islam or as a wedding dress accessory. The event of banning the veil in France has only served to show how much is based a gut reaction so deep that there is a past to it. Another misnomer is the underlying reason President Chirac banned all religious symbols of expression form all religions as a desperate man trying to quell the growing uncontrollable tide of anti-Semitism in France. The last time one looked, Jews indigenous to the Middle East were of the same Semite race as those they feel superior to – the Palestinians (both Christian and Muslims)! As such, the growing attacks against Jews spreading across Europe in Britain, Germany, Italy and Belgium etc as been engineered to turn against Muslims. This has symbolized how far humanity has to go before it can become humane where men women and children have taken to the streets in the 20th century to march for their individual rights. The suffragettes once fought for women’s rights that only released women into a slavery to the body beautiful against the dictates of a Christian Europe that incarcerated women to a life of servitude in mind and body when Islam had given Muslim women their rights.

This dictate, descends from the Christian Bible which states in 1Corinthians II:

4 Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered brings shame upon his head.

5 But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled brings shame upon her head, for it is one and the same thing as if she had had her head shaved.

6 For if a woman does not have her head veiled, she may as well have her hair cut off. But if it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should wear a veil.

7 A man, on the other hand, should not cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man.

8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man;

9 nor was man created for woman, but woman for man;”

Further clarification is given in 1 Timothy II 8-9 of the Gospels:

10 For this I was appointed preacher and apostle (I am speaking the truth, I am not lying), teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

11 It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument.

12 Similarly, (too,) women should adorn themselves with proper conduct, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hairstyles and gold ornaments, or pearls, or expensive clothes,

13 but rather, as befits women who profess reverence for God, with good deeds.

14 A woman must receive instruction silently and under complete control.

15 I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man.

16 She must be quiet.”

Hence it is written early in the codes of Christianity that women should. Far from ending in the past, the veil was used to subjugate women in Christianity. It was the first Latin theologian of the 2nd and 3RD century Quinus Septimus Florens Tertullianus who with fervor wrote on the veiling of women:

    “. For that custom which belies virgins while it exhibits them, would never have been approved by ant except by some men who must have been similar in character to the virgins themselves. Such eyes will wish that a virgin be seen as has the virgin who shall wish to be seen. The same kinds of eyes reciprocally crave after each other. Seeing and being belong to the self-same lust…

    The matter that has been left to choice, for each virgin to veil herself with, as she might have chosen, just as (she had equal liberty)… But when the power of discerning began to advance, so that the license granted to either fashion was becoming the mean whereby the indication of the better part emerged; immediately the great adversary of good things and much more of good institutions set to his own work…

    Every public exposure of an honorable virgin is (to her0 a suffering of rape: and yet the suffering of carnal violence is the less evil, because it comes of natural office. But when the very spirit itself is violated in a virgin by the abstracting of her covering, she has learnt to lose what she what she used to keep….”

The Western patriarchal view of women can be embodied as Tertullian wrote:

    “ It is not permitted to a woman to speak in the church; but neither (is it permitted her), to teach, not to baptize, not to office”

    “It remains likewise that we turn to (the virgins) themselves, to induce them to accept these (suggestions) the more willingly… But we admonish you, too women of the second (degree of) modesty, who have fallen into wedlock, not to outgrow so far the discipline of the veil, not even in a moment of an hour, as, because you cannot refuse it, to take some other means to nullify it, by going neither covered nor bare. … Arabia’s heathen females will be your judges, who cover not only the head, but the face also, so entirely, that they are content, with one eye free, to enjoy rather half the light than to prostitute the entire face. A female would rather see than be seen”.

Enveloped in the Western perception of women is the ‘Fall of Eve’ which has shaped Western societal norms throughout the centuries. Christian scholar Leland Haines spells it out: It was only the wealthy that one can find explored their sense of sexuality outside of social mores. “Not to wear the veiling implies freedom from submission to man.

Medieval Era

It was the noble women who wore covered their hair with bonnets and veils especially after the church issued an edict that women should keep their hair covered.

Middle Ages

A lot of Western women’s frustration over their gender can be attributed down to the church as opposed to Christianity and the general view of women in society. During this period, it was single, divorced and noblewomen that had the right to possess property the right to which was lost once they married. Women could trade, save money and were legally liable until then. Under French ‘Salic Law’ women could inherit land in the 6th & 7th century as long as there were no male relatives. It was a combination of theologies of Aristotle and Augustus that culminated in Thomas the Aquinas Head of the English Church who firmly established in this period the belief that women’s role was solely to marry, procreate and raise children. Any intellectual pursuit was the prerogative of men. Women were inferior and the causes of evil. It was this that increased the flow of women to become nuns where they could have some degree of control over their lives.

Elizabethan Period

The ‘snood’ that arose out of the Tudor period became the rage with fashion trendsetter of the day, Queen Elizabeth. Crocheted or beaded, ‘snoods kept the hair out of the way and clean. Still popular today.

Victorian Period

Often deemed the most oppressive period in Western women’s history, It was during the middle of the 19th century that the hair started to hang loose at the nape, with curls, crimps and all kinds of tantalizing hairstyles when the agricultural revolution had offered more food than before, and the Industrial Revolution offered new jobs, new towns, new societies, more and varied commodities. Queen Victoria’s introduction of the wedding dress gave a new life to the veil. It has set a trend that has become a dream for most girls.

19th Century
With major renovations taking place in Paris, doctors were strongly recommending that women wore veiled bonnets to protect themselves from dust and airborne diseases. In fact it was fashionable to the extent that women viewed the veil as a symbol of high-class and respectability. Art historian Dr. Marni Kessler as a male had contradictory views on the subject but stated that the veil provided a barrier between the woman and the city “She was not blinded by the veil, but nevertheless held back, protected and shielded from modern life”.

Hence, women were appendages of men with no rights of there own as embodied in Christian teachings and were the property of men. Is it embedded somewhere in their trace memory every time they look at a veiled Muslim woman. Can it not be seen that unlike certain Christian teachings of old, that the veil in Islam is not about subjugation to men, but about not being subjugated to the body. Can it not be seen that the rights of women in Islam, is written into Islam and is not an influence from elsewhere?

Western women were void of any sought of rights until the 19th century. That past was to be broken with the advent of industrialization that only respects profit not rights. Through the vehicle of the Suffragette movement, became free from one form of slavery into the slavery of the body. Believing to be free, Western women were no longer appendages of men. The fast sweeping changes was too much for the likes of some. The free Church rose, part of which is he conservative Christian group the Amish, who separated themselves from this world they wished not to belong to and followed strict codes against military involvement and the older members are against the use of electricity the veil was a part of the Amish wife’s daily wear. Some communities still hold onto their traditions

For many women today, the hair has become all too important although the essence of femininity has been associated with the hair. Yet, in the West, up until the twentieth century, hairstyling was limited to the upper classes in the West. We never think of how much we adulterate hair with many harsh chemicals found in modern day shampoos and permanent dyes. Whatever the tradition, in general, the hair when styled was confined by shaving, cutting, the hairstyle itself and veiling except for those where every ploy was used to entice the men as long holds much provocation to men. Otherwise it was considered unhygienic and impractical to have the hair loose.

Pt.II

Hair Crazy

To show how obsessed with visual appeal we have become, a poll by Yankelovich Partners in 2001 showed that 69% of Americans felt that clothing, hair and make-up were the most important determining factors in deciding on whether or not one got a job and 67% said that ones appearance affects whether one gets a new challenge, responsibility or opportunity and can you believe that 78% of Americans believed that clothes, hair and make-up affects the ability to do the job. However, one should bear in mind that Yankelovich were sponsored by the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association to provide this survey!

The Process of Making Something Positive, Negative.

It is almost as if, those that seize the opportunity to attack Islam through the issue of women or use Muslim women to unload what is still imbedded in their psyche from an oppressive past have associated the Islamic veil as a tool of male chauvinism under the guise of ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ yet have no working alternative to put in its place!. Through the old game of ‘labeling’ in the church.

    “The technique of labeling is used to discount a person who opposes the beliefs of a religious addict. Labeling attempts to dehumanize persons so that dismissing them or their opinions is much easier. Choosing not to address someone individually who has doubted the toxic faith, the religious addict places a blanket negative label on all who would disagree with his or her personal habits. Rather than state that John Smith has made a negative statement, the addict proclaims that there are ‘detractors’, ‘traitors’ or ‘malcontents’ who would destroy the ministry or organization. The label becomes a rallying point under which the other followers can be moved to action to squelch a revolt”!

So as such, the rallying cry has been made and we arise our voices, the question is not who, but when will there be success in de-robing the Muslim woman? This is the idea after all, to make the Muslim woman feel as if she is ancient and therefore making her react emotionally to what is going on and unwittingly undo all that supports the fabric and well-being of a Muslim society – the family. The fairy-tale of Rapunzel was only enchanting to many because of the length of her hair which her knight in shining armor used to climb his way into her heart. A people have been made to feel inferior because of their hair:

“We are still enslaved in our thinking.
Society has molded us in our speaking.
I have a problem with the word nappy because it is not being associated with our true identity as being happy.
Why do I have to have a chemical on any of my hair.
I don’t want to conform to any standard of theirs.
They, are those who impose their repressed feelings on the impressionable youth.
Who are just learning to love themselves inside and out.
Youth who want only to fit in with a set standard of beauty, without a doubt.
We as a people need to come together on this.
Most are living happily because ignorance is bliss.
They don’t know that saying “good hair” is as degrading as using the N-word as a term of endearment.
By changing our thinking, we can not only come out of darkness mentally but come out of our concealment!” –

Nappy Hair.com

Many distance themselves from others because of the loss of hair in illness. One teenager wrote:

    “Her hair Her hair was like an ocean with curls and curls and waves. There were red streaks, in her long brown hair; her eyes were emeralds, her skin a golden bronze. She is my best friend. I would do anything to have her hair – the way it fell Against her shoulder, Like a golden maple frame around a beautiful picture.
    “What’s chemo?” I asked as Mom pulled me aside. I hope she doesn’t die. I hope she can still have her hair. But; she can’t, and it fell out She had Hodgkins disease And she lost her hair. Seeing her in the hospital with clearly painful tubes tied to her chest with massive grey machines attached to her – without her hair. It was hard to look. To see her hurting so badly, made me hurt too, So I cut my hair. by Ashley Nestor, New City, NY”

(Ashley from teenink.com).

The High Cost of Sexploitation

We are in denial I think as to what impact the hair has in determining who we not because it actually does, but for some deeper meaning, it has an illogical affect on human-beings that can make one like, hate, resent, bully, desire and reject a person an for no other reason. Every physical feature on a woman’s body has to have a visual appeal that only some non-Western women try to not emulate. That visual appeal has become packaged as sex – sex as a commodity. Beautiful women have become visually available to sell the unsaleable. Sexploitation invites men to poses with their eye what they cannot possess with their hands. Playing on the desires of men, heightening their sensibilities to a point whereby many find it difficult to not take what they have been ‘invited’ to take. The illusion of women’s rights in the West have been at the cost of men’s rights only serving to enslave both genders to the unalienable right ‘to have’. The other term for it is ‘consumerism’ -the same consumerism that is the rock-bed of Western industrialization, colonialism and globalization that has led to all forms of violence occurring in civil society. The RAINN Organization that provide the ‘National Sexual Assault Hotline’ in the U.S. state: “Every two minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted”. There were 247,730 victims of rape in 2002, 44,000 of rape victims were under 18 years of age, 93% of juvenile sexual assault victims knew their attackers, 34% were family members and only 7% of the attackers were strangers. This only serves to show how even the individual concept of family is being eroded.

When women choose to neglect their rights as recognized under Islam, they also become negligent of the possible consequences not only to herself, but to her family and society as a whole. The veil is a protection of those rights which only a few non-Westerners are beginning to wake-up to. Transforming from the common Western perception of veiled Muslim women, that was shaped by their own past, Production Coordinator, Mary Walker for the BBC2 series ‘Living in Islam’ said in ‘ Impact Magazine’:

Dissolving a Myth

    “To me the veil symbolized the oppression of women, making them invisible, anonymous and voiceless, and the cause of this oppression lay in the will to perpetuate the family and maintain a patriarchal framework – the very basis of an Islamic Society. I thought women were entirely submerged by divine justification of their role as wife and mother… ‘Living in Islam’ was filmed over two years in 19 different countries and on location I was a lone female in an otherwise male team… The first Muslim woman I met in Mali was far removed from my preconception about the Muslim female. She was the wife of a sheikh dedicated to converting pagan villagers to Islam. A sophisticated, well-educated woman, previously married to a diplomat, she had renounced a Western lifestyle for a life in purdah… The emancipated woman in the West faces the conflict between confirmation of her femininity and the privileges that she associates with it, and repudiation of the confines of her female role and all the limitations that men want her to assume. From where I stood, this woman had transformed those limitations into privileges… On my next trip to northern Nigeria, I met two more women who would alter my views even further.. And once again they had rejected the Western lifestyle which I considered so superior to Islam in its treatment of women… The women talked and in their answers I saw seeds of my own re-evaluations. They argued that the veil signified their rejection of an unacceptable system of values which debased women while Islam elevated women to a position of honor and respect.

    “It is not liberation where you say women should go naked” Just as to us the veil represents Muslim oppression, to them miniskirts and plunging necklines represent oppression. They said that men are cheating women in the West. They let us believe we’re liberated, but enslave us to the male gaze…”

The tresses of forgetfulness is what fell with an enchanting dance
To grace her body in the glowing sun.

Those tresses caught not his eye, but his senses and could not,

Would not rise above that trance

His imagination unfolded passions within from where he cared not

For all he saw in that moment

Was a need to fulfill what lied within with what he saw –

Who she was

Did not matter, neither did her honor.

Enraged by her rejection he triumphed in that hour.

First Written 01/19/04

Sources:

Ashley, N. “Her Hair”. 12/22/03. http://www.teenink.com/Past/1999/10604.html

Barker, Katrina. “Symposium Looks at Costume Veil History”. 2. 12/21/03. http://newsnet.byu.edu/textonly/story.cfm/46860

Ccel.org. “Ante-Nicene Fathers: On the Veiling of Virgins”. 14. 12/21/03.http://www.ccel.org/fathers2?ANF-04/anf04-09.htm

Cyculture.net. “Lefkara Lace Designs”. 4. 12/20/03. http://www.cyculture.net/lefkara/html/designs.html

Eliznik.org.uk. “Womens’ Headwear”. 2. 12/2/03.
http://www.eliznik.org.uk/RomaniaPortul/w_headwear.htm

Haines, Leland. M. “The Christian Veiling”. 16. http://www.bibleviews.com/Veil.html

Headcoverings.com.. “Ladies Coverings Online Catalog”. 8. 12/07/03.
http://headcoverings.com/CoveringsOrder1Veils.htm

Nappyhair.com. “Napptural Poetry: Poems of Happiness”. http://www.nappyhair.com/articles/nappy_poetry.htm

RAINN.org. “RAINN Statistics”. 4. 01/13/04. http://www.rainn.org/statisitcs.html

Spirtualabuse.org. “Labeling”. 3 12/20/03. http://www.spiritualabuse.org/hair/labels.html

Usm.maine.edu. “Women in the Middle Ages”. 3. 12/20/03. http://www.usm.maine.edu/~flc/emily.htm

Womenwork.org. “Work Your Image: The Importance of Appearance on the Job” 12/23/01. 2. 12/20/03. http://www.womenwork.org/pdfresources/wyisurveyreport.pdf

New American Bible. “1 Corinthians II”.
http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/1corinthians/1corinthians11.htm

New American Bible. “1 Timothy II”. http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/1timothy/1timothy2.htm

Facing Armageddon

The Oldest Image of the CosmosFacing Armageddon

Between the Sun & the Moon

By Hwaa Irfan

What does one do when everything that has held to be true is turned upside down? Shaytan promises and manipulates through our weaknesses all that we have forsaken in our lives. When one is in the midst of an unidentifiable enemy, the ability to comprehend is thwarted by the instinctive nature to survive, and the lower self.

In these time, no one knows that more than, both those who thought they knew their religion and those who have realized that they know very little. Those that have unreasonable fear of Islam/Muslims, have learnt how to exploit overly sensitive Muslims too well; with examples like the Danish cartoons heightening the panic amongst Muslims. This panic has helped to polarize positions; and have brought to the surface personal demons for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

{O believers! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others towards you make you swerve towards wrong and depart from justice. Deal justly, that is next to piety; and fear Allah, for lo! Allah Knows very well all that you do} (Al Maidah 5: 9).

A Symbol of Reciprocity

In recent years, a few have noticed the procession of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian events descending upon us within days, and weeks of each other. To live in an environment whereby these occasions can be shared with related salutations which are reciprocated one could think that Allah (SWT) has been providing for us a window of opportunity to get to know each other more. In the year Islamic lunar year of 1427 and the solar year of 2006 the days are numerically the same, if one removes the accustomed 11 day difference; a controversy abounds over the findings of a 3600 year old device (dated to the Bronze Age) that was used to synchronize the solar and lunar calendar.

When Europe knew not philosophy, Muslims lived their lives by scientific-based philosophy; today’s experts question how such an ancient piece of technology can be from pagan Europe, because the device, The Sky Disc was found in the forest of Germany in 1999 by looters, then officially seized in 2002 in Switzerland, has been referred to as the Sky Disc of Nebra. The Sky Disc is one of those items that seems to be discovered or “re-discovered” at times when we are in need of guidance – challenging Europe understands of its own history as the West challenges the identity of anything not Western.

    “In other words, perhaps the Sky Disc itself wasn’t European at all. Perhaps the disc had simply been passed by traders from the advanced East, and had somehow wound up in the hands of primitive Europeans. The importance of the Disc now hangs in the balance” commented Thusitha Jayasundera from the BBC Horizon program.

Since then, it has been found to have Babylonian origins, and that it was used to calculate whether a 13th month should be added to the lunar calendar.

What is for sure is that humanity hangs in the balance!

The universe holds all that is in an intricate balance. The Sky Disc holds the symbol of the sun and the moon, yet we humans can only hold each other in contempt. Much has been done to Muslims and other peoples of the earth since the 19th century with the balkanization of Muslim lands to support the prosperity of the global dominant culture of the last century and the beginning of this century; a prosperity with an expensive price tag! Re-marketed as globalization, self interest was the driving seat with a nationalistic thinking that could not be sustained without respect and the cooperation of each other’s nations and the subjugation of the rest of creation. Using reductionism in Islam, we forsook our rich heritage accommodating this secularism, which accommodates all kinds of injustices, which in turn we too have accommodated. This secularism are in arm with it’s foundation stone, capitalism has turned citizens away from being human, and into being a collection of individuals all self interested. As the grandson of Mahatma Ghandi, late Ramachandra Ghandi so poignantly described:

    “The implicit anthropocentrism of the secularist imagination, even more than its explicit Eurocentrism, is its chief weakness. Anthropocentrism makes it impossible for secularism to be ecologically sensitive. Licensed to plunder nature, secularism, becomes the ideology of those who are most capable of plundering nature: the industrialized, scientifically and technologically advanced societies of Europe and their imitators and servitors around the world.”

We have found it easier to accept the false notions against each other, because the dominant cultural paradigm which we all play a part in perpetuating banks on this alienating competitiveness. As long as we remain divided the sun and the moon within us will remain divided like ourselves and thus unable to provide answers. The Sky Disc found at a time when we are each other’s answers, and at a time when nature revolts at our malaise warns us of what we need to do to return an equilibrium to our inner nature, and the earth on which we live.

{Mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may come to know one another} (Al Hujurat 49: 13)

First written 2002
Updated April 26 2010

Sources:
The Sky Disc of Nebra
http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/arqueologia/nebra_disk.htm