Tag Archive | religion

Transporting Weapons and Fighters into Syria*

endless-staircase by Peter BrookerTransporting Weapons and Fighters into Syria*

According to a Libyan General National Council (GNC) advisor in charge of Libya’s disarmament program, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the subject, “getting weapons and radical Islamists out of Libya is our main concern, so now we have a disarmament program where part of it involves transporting weapons and fighters to Syria.”

Tens of thousands, if not more, of foreign fighters are making their way into Syria to join the rebel forces as they fight against the regime of Bashar Al-Assad as the civil war enters its third year. Among the non-Syrians reported to be fighting alongside the rebel forces are Americans, Syrians, Moroccans, Libyans, Egyptians, Bosnians, and others.

However, in conversations, it remains unclear whether their addition to the battle will be able to turn the tide against Assad’s army, with some already abandoning a battle they’re not certain they can win.

According to Basel, a Syrian living in Egypt with close ties to the Syrian military, who asked that only his first name be published for reasons of safety, “The Syrian army occasionally captures Egyptians [fighting with the rebels], but they’re not in the hundreds. The majority of [foreign] fighters are Tunisians and Libyans, followed by Afghans, Bosnians and some Americans. Libya has been providing training and weapons and has training camps and the vast desert where they can train in secret.”

However, another source who also asked to remain anonymous due to his sensitive position with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, told The Media Line that there are thousands of Egyptians fighting the Assad regime.

Citing Damascus-based political analyst Alaa Ebrahim, Iran’s PressTV reported that the number of foreign-backed fighters exceeds 10,000. But a Syrian military source who was not permitted to speak on the record cited much higher numbers. “There are around150,000 foreigners fighting against the Syrian regime in Syria,” he said. “The numbers are increasing. Last October, there were only around 70,000 foreign fighters, mainly from Tunisia, Libya, and Afghanistan.”

Lately the Egyptian media has begun running stories of its martyrs who were killed in Syria.  One of them was Mohammed Mehrez, an Egyptian political activist and doctor who died fighting in the Ashrafieh region, and is the brother of Yasser Mehrez, a leading figure in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, who according to the Egyptian daily Al-Wafd, is a member of its media team.

According to recent media information, Mohammed Mehrez, like other Egyptian fighters, entered Syria via this town on the Turkish border and joined Jabhat Al-Nusra, a radical group fighting against the Syrian regime.

Antakya, Turkey, is a border town with subtle Syrian ties and Arab atmosphere located12 miles from the Syrian border. Here, Firas, a former Syrian army special forces captain who holds dual Dutch-Syrian citizenship and now supports the Free Syrian Army (FSA), is found. A year ago, during the Libyan uprising, he was heard directly lobbying for the Syrian revolution among Libyans — raising money to fund the transporting of weapons from  Benghazi to Misrata, from where they made their way into the hands of the rebel forces.

Now, Firas is a “transporter” – someone who arranges for weapons, food, medicine and even people to cross into Syria illegally. He has also helped rebels wanted by the Assad regime to escape. His main customers are insurgents from Bosnia, Serbia, Egypt and Tunisia who are seeking to cross the border into Syria, along with journalists. He said he uses his skills honed in Syria’s special forces unit to help journalists differentiate between good and bad transporters. “’Good’ transporters won’t trade journalists for money offered by the regime,” he said.

Firas told The Media Line that Salafi Muslims are now in control of the checkpoints, stopping foreigners they suspect of being spies, for questioning. Touting his services to would-be customers, Firas says, “We just have to agree that you have to come with me, since I know the way and know how to deal with the Salafis at the checkpoints. We want avoid any conflicts.” Anticipating possible trouble, Firas asks his potential clients whether their passports contain Iranian or Israeli stamps. “I remembered these same issues from my time in Egypt and Libya during their revolutions, where many journalists were accused of being spies,” he said.

The presence of the Al-Qa’ida terror network was seen in the revolutions in Libya, Egypt, and Lebanon, and its presence is now being felt in Syria as well. Al-Qa’ida is hoping to mark their territory in the Arab Spring, to re-establish their Caliphate’s legacy, creating Islamic states. Firas said there was discomfort among the Syrian rebels due to the presence of Jihadist and Al-Qa’ida elements. “Rebels aren’t feeling completely safe.”

Syrian National Television calls Firas an arms trader, with his picture aired under the heading “terrorist” and termed a “traitor to Syria.” He shied away from openly admitting that he smuggles weapons, some of the rebels he was transporting offered stark confirmation. One claimed that each time she crossed the border, she hid six Kalashnikov assault rifles under her abaya, the cloak worn by veiled women in Syria. Firas says he’s no longer allowed back in his hometown of Latakia, and that Syrian intelligence has issued a warrant for his arrest.

On a flight from Antakya to Egypt, The Media Line correspondent encountered a rebel fighter from Morocco, two from Libya and a Syrian:  all claiming to have fought on the front lines in Syria and now traveling first-class for a few days of rest and relaxation and family visits. The said they received cash stipends from their rebel commanders, who are responsible for distributing the money “from the top down.”

“We don’t get much, just enough for our expenses,” one said. “I just get $200 a month. The commander of our battalion receives the money, and he takes care of giving it to us,” he explained.

The fighters told about their experiences in Syria. Basel, the Syrian, said he was twice detained by Syrian Air Force intelligence; another time by the Syrian police. He was released by the air force after being forced to exclaim that, “There is no God but [Syrian President] Bashar [Al-Assad].” Others would bribe their ways out.  He presented his release document in which he vows not to fight against the Assad regime again.

Basel said that he fought in the early months in Libya and received some battle instruction, and was trained to use an anti-aircraft machine gun, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), and surface-to-air SAM-7 missiles.  “I went to support my Libyan brothers,” he said, adding that he participated in battles at both Benghazi and Brega.

Abd Al-Duhaimi, one of the two Libyans, told me that they were inside Syria for about three weeks, where they went on reconnaissance missions to identify targets for the rebel forces. He said it was difficult to engage the Syrian National Army because of their advanced training and weapons superior to those used by the rebels.

Basel said opposition troops were able to capture four 22 mm. artillery pieces from the Syrian army, but they were low on ammunition for them, “so they’re useless.”

He said Idlib in the northwest is the only liberated city in Syria.  “They are totally free. They have their own police force, court system, and traffic police. The city is totally independent and the Assad regime cannot enter due to the mountainous nature of the city, with the rebels controlling the mountain tops,” Basel said.

According to the rebels, morale is down despite the large number of foreign fighters. Libyans Abd Al-Duhaimi Hamza opined that the fight “wasn’t worth it. There [was a] huge gap between our strength and that of the Syrian army. We just had Kalashnikovs and night vision goggles. They are an organized force. They made us go back to Libya.” He mentioned that compared to Libyan government forces during its revolution, the Syrian regime has better weapons, more expertly trained fighters, and a stronger determination to end the uprising.

According to a Libyan General National Council (GNC) advisor in charge of Libya’s disarmament program, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the subject, “getting weapons and radical Islamists out of Libya is our main concern, so now we have a disarmament program where part of it involves transporting weapons and fighters to Syria.”

The question now is whether the rebels can continue to make progress. If Assad is to suffer the same fate as former Libyan President Muammar Al-Qaddafi, the rebels clearly must continue to attract, and even increase, their international support.

But as the Syrian civil war stretches far longer than expected, some among the hunkered-down rebels seem to be losing their momentum and foresee defeat. For the moment, though, according to one fighter, they are “going home to see family. When the revolution is over, I will come back, but this isn’t working at the moment. It’s much tougher than Libya.”

Source*

Related Topics:

Egypt: Busy Controlling Smuggled Weapons*

Another Shoe on Behalf of Iraq, but for Bremen*

Saudi Admits to Collaborating with Syrian Armed Terrorists*

The US Razing Hell through 35 African Countries*

Qatar’s Agenda in Syria*

U.S. Drones Out of Africa and Everywhere!

The New Middle East vs. the Arab Spring

Commemorating the 2nd Anniversary of the Peaceful January 25the Revolution!

PSYOPS on Social Networks

The Role of CIA-base in Libya Made Apparent from Clintons Bombshell*

So-Called Free Syria Army on a Stealing Spree of 1,000 Factories

Belgian MP Exposes Neo-Colonial Plot*

Over 60 Priests Accused of Paedophilia*

Over 60 Priests Accused of Paedophilia*

 

A study shows at least 66 German priests have been accused of sexually abusing minors and adults between 2000 and 2010.

More than 60 German clerics have been accused of sexually abusing minors and adults between 2000 and 2010, Germany’s Roman Catholic Church says.

According to a study conducted by three German forensic centers for research, at least 66 priests had been charged with 576 cases of sexual abuse of mostly male victims during the ten-year period.

The German Bishops’ Conference released the report on Friday, saying that nearly three-quarters of the 265 alleged targets of sexual misconduct were male.

The study further revealed that most of the priests found guilty of sexually abusing minors were psychologically normal.

The study was launched in April 2011 after hundreds of victims alleged that they had been sexually harassed as minors between the 1950s and 80s, creating a crisis for the church nearly two years ago.

The priests contacted the victims through the church congregation, the report found out.

Over the past years, large numbers of such scandals involving Roman priests have surfaced. The Pope has been accused of trying to cover up the scandals.

Abuse allegations have rocked the Roman Catholic Church in Germany in recent years, making thousands of disenchanted Germans leave the Church over revelations of abuse.

About 180,000 renounced their Catholicism in 2010, up 40 percent from 2009, due to the revelations of priests sexually abusing minors, the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.

Source*

Related Topics:

Vatican and Queen Accused of Crimes Against Humanity

More Paedophiles Exposed Amongst U.S. Military and U.K. Politicians!

Saving Children from Who into What!

What February 14 Meant to Film-Director Sean, Oliver Stone’s Son!

What February 14 Meant to Film-Director Sean, Oliver Stone’s Son!

Many were disappointed or temporarily pleased by the offerings from the commercialized romantic notion of love as presented by Valentine’s Day. However the Sun was busy with the work of the Divine by releasing a coronal mass ejection, in the shape of a heart according to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Valentine’s Day. This of course is not to be confused with the lower forms of love that far too many have become accustomed to.

But for a 27 year old filmaker, following in the footsteps of his Oscar-winning father Oliver Stone,  Sean made a deal with the Divine.

Sean completed the triangle of the three Divine faiths by converting to Islam in the Iranian city of Isfahan on February 14 2012 or 21 Rabi Awwal, which is the Islamic month in which Prophet Muhammed was born. Sean took on the name ‘Ali, but whether that is in addition to or in place of his birth name is not yet apparent.

Sean told Fars News:

“The conversion to Islam is not abandoning Christianity or Judaism, which I was born with”

“It means I have accepted Mohammad (PBUH) and other prophets”

It just goes tho show the world does not revolve around Israel and its allies!

Source

Related Topics:

Iran: Where the Wise Dare Not Play Fools

Another Iranian Scientist Downed!

Aligning with the Universal Changes: Your Mind

What is Love!

Hajj Changed My Life!

Heavenly Signs: Between the Lion and the Waterbearer

Heavenly Signs: Between the Lion and the Waterbearer

 

By Hwaa Irfan

Islam does not support the practice of fortune telling, and neither do I. With time, one learns that whatever is going to happen depends on two factors, that one is in control, and what is not under one’s control. What is within one’s control is one’s  heartfelt intentions, and even then it is influenced heavily by what level of being one is at, at the time to be able to manifest that intention. What is not under one’s control are external factors including the actions of others, and that one will see a new day. If we are honest with ourselves, we can say who are now, but we can not say what we will be tomorrow – how much we would have learnt from today, and how willing we are prepared to apply those lessons least to the greater good.  

However, what I do here, is look for His signs in everything, wherever they may be, even in the person we do not like very much. Sometimes who and what we do not like is represented by something or someone we have misunderstood because of our egos, and at this time in our human development, I look to a symbolic representation of the unification of self which is reflected strongly in what is happening in Egypt currently. For those of you who are tired of this news, please bear with me.

As we approach 11 February 2012, tensions mount for it commemorates this day in 2011 when the youth revoluntionary forces succeeded in forcing their now former president to step down. Tensions have mounted between different factions since then, represented by the ego/ the ‘Lion’, in this case the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, and the conscience or the “Waterbearer” the Egyptian youth. The Egyptian revolutionary youth as if from above have been driven to defend this revolution. This revolution has erupted at a time when man in danger of falling completely under the ‘Veil of Forgetfulness’ without ever accessing our souls, and hence our true selves. Latter Day Saint, David Peck refers to Islamic scholar…

Sayyed Husayn Nasr, a prominent Islamic intellectual, informs us that: “The purpose of reciting the Qur’an and other spiritual exercises is to ‘awaken the soul from the dream of forgetfulness’ and enable it to ‘gainthe supreme principal knowledge for the sake of which it was created.’” This is an invitation to pierce the “veil of forgetfulness,” which Islam likens to a dream state. Also referred to in the gnostic “The Apocryphon of John” and in certain traditions around the world, we are being warned on many levels so that we may wake up!

The Ego vs. the Conscience

To New Agers, the “Dawning of Aquarius” represents a new era of peace and harmony for the world.  Aquarius is the sign of the “Waterbearer.”

Five days before the commemoration of the January 25th Revolution, the Lotus Revolution (lotus represents the jihad an nafs – the struggle from the lower self to the higher self) the soul/Sun entered the astrological sign of Aquarius. The influence on our Earth has been well documented and evidenced. As we see the conscience of the Egyptian people struggle for something so fundamental yet not appreciated by counter revolutionaries, and those who struggle for less, the key influence of  Aquarius is humanity. As a global influence we will either be open to it or not before the Sun leaves Aqaurius on 18 February, even though the influence will linger for some time afterwards.

As a global influence, more people will respond to this global call from above, and as such may we synchronize for the benefit of all. For Aquarius represents group awareness, an awareness that may conflict with sectarian views, the kind of awareness that currently is incomprehensible to those deep in self interest. It is like two worlds in one, where the aware seem like a threat to the sectarian, when all the aware are only struggling for the greater good. As that idealism bursts forth from youth, youth who in the West are a separate entity going through a phase, those idealistic youth will feel like athreat to many of the older generation who have compromised much of themselves to live and perpetuate what has led to the sacrifice of their own souls.

These revolutionary youth,  are only but the nations conscience daring to dream, and inviting all to dream with them in order to create a better world for all. They invite us to break with old patterns, and habits that serve no beneficial purpose in the long run, and if we dare to listen, learn we can all learn to live a more wholesome way. They act from a deep unexplained knowing that they are not only thinking of their nation. They are not to be confused with the youth who have taken hook, line and sinker, the concept of youth we have been brainwashed with since the 1950s.

When we are resistant to change, change finds ways to disrupt the straight jackets that we have put on ourselves.

Four days (January 21st) before the commemoration of the move towards the Lotus Revolution,  at 16.00 UT, Sunspot 1401 catapulted a blast of radiation towards our Earth. Depending on what state of existence we are in the affect can vary, but affecting human activity depending on its strength. From cessation of power, to acts of aggression, from hyperactivity to justice being done. Then of course impact on information technology. By January 21st 2012, the credibility of the ego-lion, SCAF, was waning, after a period of silencing the conscience-bearing waterbearers whose outcry revived what seemed  like a waning Lotus Revolution. They reclaimed the revolution as the anniversary drew near, and the Sun began to shine through what was an unusual European winter.

By January 24 solar flares erupted from Sunpost 1402 rushing towards Earth at 2200 kilometres a second, sending charged particles that entered Earths atmosphere on the 24 2012 14:18 UT. With calls to step down SCAF had scheduled the Ashura Council elections the week following the anniversary they though they had claimed, to face failure with a 15% turn out – this was a sign that the people and not just the youth were none too happy with the fact there had been no real change from what was deemed obsolete. Since then, protests, met with resistance, thus violence erupted from peaceful demonstrations mobilizing the nation around 74 deaths that arose out of a football match.

Despite the fact that Mercury entered Aquarius on January 27, the opportunity for creative thinking the lion and its supporters did not act in a manner that could resolve the situation, and lead to reconciliation, but instead has led to separation. That opportunity fell only on the shoulders of the conscience, in this case the newly elected People’s Assembly that remembered that they are their to serve the people and not the other way around and in doing so, the call grew louder from different sections of the population, but not all, for the lion/SCAF to stand down. The lion refused, and then compromised by bringing forward the presidential elections by a month.

The ‘Veiled’ lion/SCAF had missed out on 7th February, when the full moon (Aaaymul Baydh in the Islamic lunar calendar) was the opportunity to bring out the best in us, with the full moon under the influence of Aquarius – the noble, and true, the soul of our Sun, and the constellation of Leo also noble, but self aware, and creative –  the Waterbearer, the free spirit, the humane, the group conscience who innately does what is right, and the proud lion both together could have offered a way forward for all, for all us have taken sides, preferences that we have mistaken for choices, but the God given gift bequeathed to man above all of His creations, involves personal will, a will that we mistake for our choices which have been coerced, mainpulated, and subdued to the lowest common denominator – and with that, comes the divided self.

The struggle between the waterbearers of Egypt, and the factions that keep trying to extinguish the January 25 youth Revolution, is the struggle of the divided world, and hence the divided self, all of which in the year of personal and collective power, 2012, cannot subdue the revolution of the self, the Lotus Revolution, which will evolve a more wholesome global society, alongside, those who have become totally addicted to the anti-life.

Other Divine Forces at Play

11-01-12 is under the strong influence of higher teachings, which if we submit to staying on the lowest vibration, is aggressive, and reactionary to anything that does not reinforce that position of self interest. It is a window of opportunity that calls on the individual to become part of the whole in order to waken from that sleep in which our hearts can never find contentment. From the 3rd February to aid that process, the planet of spirituality, Neptune is in constellation that it guides, Pisces after 165 years, i.e. 1899.

Like a message in the bottle, after 165 years, it was last month (January 2012) that the media informed us of the findings of Charles Darwin’s fossil collection has been found 165 years later – talk about timing. In February 1899, the U.S. experienced the great blizzard with freezing temperatures that reached sun city Florida. It was also the year that Cuba became independent from colonial Spain.February 4, 1899, was the revolt against U.S. occupation of the Philippines, Feb 6th, the Spanish-American war ended. It was not until July 1899 that the Hague’s Humanitarian Law was signed in.

As the planet of spirituality, Neptune returns to Pisces after 165 years, the U.S. and Europe have been experiencing phenomenally bad weather conditions, but their is no peace on the horizon – does this mean we have learnt less than we did then?

Neptune will be in Pisces until 2025 offering us a chance to rise from the ‘Veil of Forgetfulness.’ On it’s brief visit to Pisces April-August 2011, was not long after that the Occupy Movement came to life. This time round, we find many of us are confused, but rather than label it, or be controled by it by reacting negatively, we should allow the invisible doors in our lives to appear from Pisces, which represents the collective conscious. If we want to be healed from the pain of our miscreations, rather than struggle back into that straight jacket, we should allow time and to reveal without conditions. But just to add spice to the journey, the desire for action, and sex is complicated by Mars goign retrograde, and we may even find ourselves putting a lot of effort into something that does not deliver the goods, and hopefully we will learn from that too!

Evolution or Involution?

As SCAF send out forces for 11 February to ‘control’ the Day of Civil Disobedience, the ego must be mindful of the tricks it plays on us, but hopefully learn from past mistakes, like the big mistake SCAF made on the football violence that led to 74 deaths in Port Sa’id, Egypt. This means greater flexibility, and a willingness to divine the truth for if we keep repeating old patterns, we will get the same results unless we are ready to open to what comes from our consciousness represented by the waterbearers. This will also mean greater sensitivity, but if we remain centered within, then we will be guided by our higher selves, the greater good that is struggling to increase its vibration. Our egos/SCAF have no choice in the matter – did we think we could get away scotch free from our actions without suffering the consequences?

Once we see the truth about ourselves, we are then more able to recognize our true strengths, make the necessary reforms so we can expand upon basic principles from which to sustain us, and those around us no matter how far for this is the Lotus Revolution, and the rising from the “Veil of Forgetfulness.”

It all depends if we choose evolution or involution –  will we drink from the waters of life poured out of the pitcher of the waterbearers (our conscience), that ushers forth through Leo’s the lion/SCAF upon society? Or will we only listen to. Act from the ego, Leo’s head?

The challenge has been set by the full moon in Aquarius-Leo when the call for greater freedom around the world may look as if it has been silenced by the establishment, but watchout for old patterns that serve no greater purpose to the benefit of all will be challenged, for full moon in Aqaurius-Leo stabilizes the seeds of idealism, and the new moon in Aqaurius will help to find a way! If the will is active, the choice is ours between:

–        Dreams or nightmares!

–        Compassion or betrayal!

–        Forgiveness or hypocrisy!

We might feel imbalanced by a rush of experiences, never experienced before, but this is just a part of our unfolding to a greater dream, and one which we can navigate if we learn to have faith in the aprt of ourselves that dares to escape the ‘Veil of Forgetfulness’ that separates the ego from the subconscious, and the conscience.

References:

Peck, D. “The Qur’an: Reading for Moral Truth.” http://www2.byui.edu/Perspective/v1n3pdf/v1n3peck.pdf

Related Topics:

Aligning with the Universal Changes: Your Health

Aligning with the Universal Changes: Your Mind

Heavenly Signs: From Solar Flares to Social Unrest

The Children of God’s Revolution 1

Earth Weakening Defences as Veil of Plasma is Discovered

What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom!

What Frequency Am I Traveling on Right Now?

The Intelligent Heart

Controversy:The Muslim Marriage Bill

South Africa: The Muslim Marriage Bill

 

By:  ISLAMIC INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE

Courtesy of samuslims@?samuslims.co.za

 

On the 18th March 2011, UUCSA issued a document entitled, “MUSLIM MARRIAGES BILL UPDATE”.

This document, very much like all their previous ones on this topic is ambiguous and grossly misleading.

We issue an open letter, challenging UUCSA to prove their bona fides regarding the MMB and request that they respond to our queries:

UUCSA claims that the MMB Project was taken up by the South African law Commission “at the request of the MUSLIM COMMUNITY of South Africa”. Where, when and how did UUCSA come to this conclusion that the MUSLIM COMMUNITY requested it?

UUCSA claims in their pamphlet that “outright rejection” of the Draft Bill “will only result in the Bill subsequently being passed with all its flaws and imperfections.” This assertion begs the question: Is UUCSA, aware with certainty that this Bill will be passed as law? It is boldly mentioned in their pamphlet “The Department of Justice has subsequently published the draft Bill for COMMENT”, and then they proceed to scare the Muslim public into believing that this Bill WILL be passed as law.

Simple logic dictates that if ALL the ‘Ulama bodies in South Africa reject the Bill, the government can NEVER pass it as law. Do we understand that by UUCSA encouraging ‘engagement’ with the government regarding the MMB means that UUCSA actually does want this Bill to be passed?

UUCSA claims that it “has undertaken a protracted process of consultation with various stakeholders (appropriate word, given that the ultimate desire is financial gain) to prepare a detailed submission on the Draft Bill. A series of meetings were held with ‘Ulama, Muslim lawyers and Muslim judges.” Who exactly are these ‘stakeholders’? Please list the names of the ‘Ulama, MUSLIM lawyers and MUSLIM judges (the plural in the words lawyers and judges suggest more than one) with whom there has been consultation? This cannot be a secret, can it?

If the interested parties are ‘stakeholders’ they should be ‘man enough’ to stand by their convictions and allow their names to be known. To the best of our knowledge the only ‘Ulama who stand 100% behind the Bill are the handful in the Jamiat Fordsburg, and MJC hierarchy. As for the rest of the ‘Ulama who are members of the Jamiat and also MJC, they know nothing about the MMB and those who do have some knowledge of it have secretly voiced their objection to it.

The ‘secret’ meetings held by UUCSA and Jamiat Fordsburg where they discuss the MMB are only made known after they are held. The misguided purposely feed misinformation beguile and hoodwink their docile flock. As for the MUSLIM lawyers, we know only of ONE single person who is pushing for the BILL, probably in the hope of being elected the first “Qadhi” judge. And “MUSLIM judges”– we know of none, perhaps one or two who sport Muslim names, but no one else.

Incidentally, it is interesting to note that in a recent court case regarding the MMB, UUCSA had a non-Muslim lawyer representing them. We wonder what happened to the MUSLIM lawyer stakeholders! Be that as it may, kindly list the names of the various ‘stakeholders’.

UUCSA further crows that it had “convened a special meeting of some of the leading Muftis of our country to discuss and study its proposed amendments. Al hamdulillah, UUCSA’s submission was supported by a bench of eight leading Muftis.” Again, we humbly beg the question: WHO ARE THESE LEADING MUFTIS? Not those members on your payrolls, perhaps? Neither those who hail from foreign countries and barely know enough English to hold a meaningful conversation, let alone understand a legal document like the MMB? Please do divulge their esteemed names. Incidentally, the opponents to the MMB can list the names of DOZENS of Muftis who support their stance.

UUCSA naively states that it “reaffirms its stance that appropriate Shari’ah – compliant legislation on Muslim marriages and their consequences will accord greater protection to Muslims and the Shari’ah against unhindered judicial meddling and such recognition will better serve the Muslim community within our secular constitutional democracy.”UUCSA’s crass ignorance truly is astounding. How will the present South African judicial system which holds its Constitution supreme ever allow ‘Shari’ah-compliant legislation on Muslim marriages and their consequences’ unhindered meddling? Is UUCSA really that blind, or do they think the South African lawmakers are blinder than them? How will they ever allow that only Muslim judges sit in on Muslim Marriage cases brought to court, when the Constitution states clearly that no one can discriminate on the basis of race, religion or gender, especially in the case of singling out a judge of your choice? Wishful thinking! How will the Constitution of the country which prides itself in gender equality ever allow that divorce be the unique right of men only or that men receive double the shares of their female siblings? “Unhindered judicial meddling” is UUCSA’s proverbial ‘pie in the sky’!

Finally, UUCSA has to bolster its flagging reputation by advertising their latest rhetoric: “UUCSA is made up of seven organizations. Six of the seven members support the process of seeking legal recognition of Muslim Marriages and their consequences.” Please do tell who these SIX ORGANIZATIONS comprise of? As far as we know, other than the Fordsburg Jamiat and MJC, the rest are one and two male organisations that represent no one other than their titles. As for MJC, ask the Capetonians what active role they play in the Community. Even the Capetonians will tell you that MJC is involved in nothing except Halal certification. MJC has become masters at projecting a facade of importance, duping therewith only the non-Muslim dignitaries and government representatives their sheikhs flirt with. The Jamiat Fordsburg, by their very own admission to the Court as recent as a few days ago, boldly stated that they represent only their registered members. The Muslim Community, it seems, is not party to their wheeling and dealings, or of any concern to them, except of course, when it comes to Lillah and Zakaat collection time.

The Intelligent Heart

The Intelligent Heart

By Hwaa Irfan

It is the nature of materialistic/mainstream medicine to separate the part from the whole, with a resulting reductionist approach as to what is functioning mechanically, and what is not. If part is not working, it can be fixed through some sort of treatment, or removed, and if there is no progress the dark area of the unknown within modern medicine leaves it to die. It is only with the strides of men and women health professionals that have had made positive inroads into this materialistic way of thinking that any progress has been made, but still mainstream medicine maintains the shape of its true nature.

Ignoring that our immune system is unable to facilitate the role of fighting of colds, flu’s and herpes when we are experiencing long-term emotional/psychological stress, and the ability to recover from major illnesses, and post-operative care is due to general well-being. Relegated to the seat of the emotions, the heart in terms of disease has become the number one cause of death in the U.S.

As such, most of us have come to view our bodies in such a way, and more or less expect our bodies to behave perfectly with the help of mainstream medicine. As education and mainstream perception of the brain have taken up this pattern of understanding, more and more focus has been on the brain as he driver behind intelligence, with good education, and a good job as the paradigm to be fulfilled. After all it is pragmatic, and therefore achievable with clear signs towards achieving this goal. Today we have  a  tendency to not believe otherwise, and while modern/mainstream science is still catching up with the wisdom-based knowledge of certain indigenous, religious and spiritual landscape of the human body,

When this almost instant solution does not happen, we begin to fall prey to the feeling of powerlessness over our lives, the result of which is depression. However, most belief systems rooted in the Laws of Nature, have always known otherwise when it comes to the relationship between the heart and the brain. It was in 1999 at a workshop on the Alchemy of the heart when Sheikh Muhammad Maulad said:

“The actual physical heart in our breast beats about 100,000 times a day, pumping two gallons of blood per minute, 100 gallons per hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for an entire lifetime! The vascular system that sends this life-giving blood is over 60,000 miles long: it is more than two times the circumference of the earth. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that the heart starts beating before the brain is formed; the heart begins to beat without any central nervous system. The dominant theory was that the central nervous system is what is controlling the entire human being from the brain, yet we know now that in fact the nervous system does not initiate the heartbeat. It is actually self-initiated; we would say, it is initiated by Allah subhanahu wa t’ala.

The Brain Connection!

The heart starts functioning before the embryo becomes a fetus, and receives information intuitively before the brain even forms, which places a question over when to abort an unborn child. Neurocardiologist researcher, Dr. J. Andrew first described the heart brain in 1991 as containing 40,000 neurons with a complex circuitry, which is able to sense, regulate and remember, i.e. not a mechanical organ, but a sensory organ that is able to process, encode information, and facilitate decisions about its activity over the central nervous system. “The heart-brain is able to sense hormones, heart-rate, blood pressure, and then translate them into neurological impulses”, the biochemical content of the local blood flow, and process all that information within the heart-brain, not the brain. It is only then that the information is sent to the central nervous system through the vagus nerves, and the spinal column! It has been known in the scientific world since 1967 (through the work of Chernigovskiy ) that the neural data from the heart influences the function if other organs and biological systems, like the nervous, respiratory, lymphatic, skeletal, and endocrine systems, the digestive tract, the urinary bladder, the spleen. We know some of this for ourselves if we have ever experienced the kind of nervousness that rushes us to the bathroom, or the nervous colon or stomach cramps when a certain situation presents its self!

The Institute of HeartMath, IHM founded in 1991 has been exploring the physiological mechanisms of the heart, which has had a good response more so from the field of alternative health, than mainstream medicine. In 2009, research by IHM had found that the alpha and beta waves of the brain are synchronized to the heart with increased alpha waves occurring when there is greater psycho-physiological occurrence. What this means is that when there is synchronicity between the mind and the body, and alpha waves (connects conscious with subconscious, memory recall, ability to focus, truly relaxed, meditative state, creative flow) is greater. The body is therefore in greater balance and not compromised by dis-ease through stress, anxiety and going against what is right for the body-mind relationship. We are warned in the following ahadith when Wabisa ibn Ma’bad went to consult with Prophet Muhammed (SAW):

Forgetting that our Creator created all life forms, and is more capable of creating complex biological ecosystems that interdependently function without deteriorating into a state of chaos man has ignored the essence of his own being in favor of something more practical and more dysfunctional. The heart was reclassified as part of the hormonal system in 1983, in line with the Chinese human energy field of the chakras, which aligns the thymus (part of the hormonal system) with the heart chakra.  In 2009, IHM found that the heart with its own neurological network of 40,000 neurons (referred to as the heart-brain) governs the brain, and that the brain does not govern the whole body as mainstream medicine and education has led us to believe. Yet, the heart produces hormones and neurotransmitters! The atria of the heart produces the hormone atrial peptide/balancing hormone affecting the electrolytic balance in the blood vessels, the kidneys, adrenal glands and the regulatory regions of the brain. The heart also produces the bonding hormone, oxytocin active in the roles of

  • Love
  • Bonding
  • Childbirth
  • Lactation
  • Trust
  • Cognition
  • Complex sexual and maternal behaviors
  • Learning social cues
  • Long term pair bonding

Most hormones produced in the heart are released in synchronization with the rhythm of the heart, and in doing so generates the most powerful and extensive rhythmic electromagnetic field produced by the body.  This produces an electric voltage 60 times more powerful than the brain affecting every cell in the body, and a magnetic field 5,000 times more powerful than the brain radiating out of the body several feet away. This human energy field has long been recognized by all forms of Vibrational Healing  as it is the means by which Vibrational Healing  works!  Now branches of mainstream science has proven that the human energy field produced by the heart and the brain is not bound by time or space, which has been proven by most forms of distant healing, and prayer!

{We have created man and We know what his soul suggests to him, for We are higher unto him than the neck-artery…} (50:16)

Schooling, and media continuously bombards us with information, all of which we cannot process. We think that there is something wrong with us when we cannot process all that information, and may even simplify what information we do process filtering out what is really important/necessary. However, in reality, our cognitive abilities are reduced when there is too much external stimuli, and this is indicated by the decrease in alpha waves.

Input to the brain from the heart influences the function of the thalamus, thus affecting the ability of the thalamus to plays its role in synchronizing brain activity.  The thalamus is located in the front of the brain, and is concerned with sensory input, the relationship between sensory and motor input, as well as related cognition and perception.

Life Lessons

IHM research has identified 4 psychological modes that affect the synchronicity of the heart and the brain in everyday life in relation to cognition:

Mental Focus

  • Impassive emotions while focusing on a task

The heart and brain responds with low brain frequency, and a more harmonic pattern of brain waves.

Psycho-physiological Incoherence

  • Negative emotions like anxiety, anger and frustration

The heart and brain responds with a lower brain frequency (sympathetic nervous system activity), and arrhythmic heart pattern.

Psycho-physiological Coherence

  • Sustained positive emotions that arise for care, appreciation, compassion

The heart and brain responds with a peak in the low frequency brain waves, increased synchronicity between sympathetic  and parasympathetic nervous systems, heart rate, respiration and blood pressure. There is also increased parasympathetic activity at its level of resonance and greater synchronization with the heart-brain of the heart.

Relaxation

  • Calm emotions while at rest from the stressors of life

The heart and brain responds with a higher brain frequency (parasympathetic activity), decreased autonomic outflow, and a lower heart rate.

Then there are two psychological modes that occur under extraordinary life circumstances

Emotional Quiescence

  • Heart-focused. The exclusion of external chatter, the feeling of internal peace, and heart-centered serenity. Able to discern the flow of energy within, and to and from others.

The heart and brain responds low brain frequency, and a very low heart rate (almost flat-line) with very little power elsewhere.

Extreme Negative Emotions

  • Highly focused intense fear, rage with intense physical power, and decreased sensitivity to physical pain.

The heart and brain responds with excessive parasympathetic activity, heart rhythm almost flat-line, but with a very high heart rate preventing parasympathetic flow to the heart.

“You have come to ask about righteousness? I said: “Yes.” He said “Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the soul feels tranquil, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in the soul and moves to and fro in the breast even though people again and again have given you their legal opinion [in its favor.” – (An Nawawi #27)

It is only in secular thinking that we have learnt to separate the body from the mind, and the mind from the heart. We have given supremacy to the brain, neglecting the heart and the soul. Yet, the laws of nature that our bodies have been assembled on show to us every day that when we act against our bodies, we also act against our hearts, and our minds. We may not be aware of this, and that is because we have been entrained to not think this way. Not only that, we do not see the connection with the global deterioration of health and well-being.

By connecting how we feel with how we think, we complete the circuitry of our bodies to a level that we are not only better able to process information, but discern which information which is actually useful to us. This leaves us with more energy to evolve as human beings, and evolve as a society at large. There is increased vitality to cope with the challenges that life presents to us as we connect to positive feelings of compassion, courage, patience, sincerity, appreciation and gratitude for this is the source of the intelligence of the heart.

For those who pray and/or meditate on a daily basis, the opportunity presents its self to take time out to reduce the external chatter/stimuli enough to realign with the heart, as we breathe into the heart, and become receptive to the inner voice of the soul. We have the chance to reevaluate our relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and those we care for to realign with our heart-brain. We have the chance to move on where others are not ready to move on, and to evaluate what really is important midst the daily demands that can sometimes overwhelm us. Every moment is a new opportunity, and every day presents us with new lessons to learn from.

The energy point for the heart or heart chakra is above the naval, between the shoulder blades. Of the seven major chakras, it is considered the bridge between our lower/outer selves, and the higher/inner selves. The lessons we must learn here are service, compassion, the ability to give and receive love, overcoming distance, hatred and restlessness. When this part of our being is balanced and open we are able to transcend the ego and be:

  • Balanced
  • Compassionate
  • Empathetic
  • Humanitarian
  • See the good in everyone
  • Desire to nurture others
  • Outgoing
  • Active in the community
  • Discriminate justly
  • In touch with one’s feelings
  • Have a living understanding of unity
  • Give and receive love
  • Dissatisfied in a marriage that lacks spirituality
  • Wait for the right partner
  • Highest expression is Divine bliss

When the heart chakra is out of balance, and the inclination is outward, the tendency is to be:

  • Demanding
  • Overly critical
  • Tense between the shoulder blades
  • Possessive
  • Moody
  • Melodramatic
  • Manic-depressive
  • Controlling of others by use of money
  • “I have made so many sacrifices for you…”
  • A master of conditional love

When the heart chakra is out of balance, and the inclination is inward, the tendency is to be:

  • Self pitying
  • Paranoid
  • Indecisive
  • Afraid of letting go/being free
  • Getting hurt/family members getting hurt
  • Being abandoned
  • Feel unworthy of love
  • Can’t reach out
  • Terrified of rejection
  • Need constant reassurance

Some of the symptoms pertaining to an imbalanced heart  chakra are:

  • Heart pains/attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Negativity
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tension
  • Insomnia
  • Anger
  • Paranoia
  • Cancer

It is not too difficult to see a correlation between the heart-brain findings of IHM, and the Chinese human energy field of the chakras, which also correlates with the Islamic system of the human energy field of the lata‘if. In fact, Sheikh Hisham Al-Kabbani identifies the lata‘if of the heart as follows:

“above and below the heart, above and below the left breast, above and below the right breast, and one on the forehead.”

Through meditation, prayer, self development and one’s actions, one can lead a healthier more contented life by shifting from the ego-centered self (al-nafs al-‘ammarah – 12:53), to the higher self  self’ (al-nafs al-mutma’innah – 89:27), from ‘acquired knowledge’ (al-‘ilm al-‘ifadi) and inspired knowledge (al-‘ilm al-ladunni -18:65) resonating with the heart-brain, and the soul of who truly are or we can suffer the personal, social, and global consequences. Only then can it be said without incrimination to follow the heart for:

“Why then was she [the soul] cast down from her high peak

To this degrading depth? God brought her low;

But for a purpose wise, that is concealed

E’en from the keenest mind and liveliest wit.

And if the tangled mesh impeded her,

The narrow cage denied her wings to soar

Freely in heaven’s high ranges, after all

She was a lightening-flash that brightly glowed

Momently o’er the tents, and then was hid

As though its gleam was never glimpsed below.” – Ibn Sina

Sources:

Gardner, J. “Color and Crystals.”  The Crossing Press, U.S. 1988.

Goleman, D. “Emotional Intelligence.” Bantam Book, U.S. 1995.

IHM. “Science of the Heart.”  http://www.heartmath.org/free-services/downloads/science-of-the-heart.html

Maulad, M.  Tr. Yusuf, H. “The Alchemy of the Heart.” http://muslim-canada.org/alchofheart2.html

McCraty, R et al. “The Coherent Heart.” Integral Review. December 2009. Vol 5: #2 http://www.integral-review.org/documents/McCraty%20et%20al,,%20Coherent%20Heart,%20Vol.%205%20No.%202.pdf

Nasr, S. H. “An Introduction to The Islamic Cosmological Doctrine.”  Thames and Hudson, U.K.  1978.

Related Topics:

Happiness Doesn’t Grow on Trees!

Discovering Your Emotional Intelligence

The Brain Says Men and Women are Different When It Comes to Stress

Attention Deficit or Information Overload in Our Children?

The Importance of the Creative Principle in Life

Distractions of Life vs. God

The Charity of Love

Nature Helps Our Brain Connect!

A Depleted Spiritual Bank Account

Reliving the Art of Communication

The Collective Intelligence of Women

Self-Awareness: Between Me, Myself and Others

Letter to the Self # 19: The Big “I”

Fasting for Change

Fast for Change 

By Hwaa Irfan

When we are surrounded with dissension, whether that dissension reveals itself in our family life or in the public sphere, to boost the meaning and purpose of our deen, fasting is a useful spiritual tool we can call on at anytime.

This is one particular time we should call on the tool of fasting, with the Wikileaks revealing the extent of the factionalism that took place in Iraq. I have worked with good Sunni’s and good Shi’a’s and whatever appears in the press would not turn me against either for I am a Muslim first and foremost, and in the tawhid of our deen, to turn against a people because of bad experiences and interpretation of information only serves to weaken my deen at the pleasure of our enemies. It hurts me to listen to Sunni’s speak of Shi’a in a negative light without little prompting, which only demonstrates how much we have become our own enemy by looking at incidents through the prism of the “other”, a prism that was introduced into the Muslim world through the successful endeavors’ of the British and the French to undermine and weaken the Ottoman Empire – they were successful, and remain successful in their deliberate campaign the spread dissension between Iraqi Shi’a and Sunni in the U.s. occupation of Iraq. We do not seek to explore the fact that Shi’a and Sunni marriages in Iraq were commonplace before the U.S. invasion and occupation, we do not seek to explore the foreign influence in the rampant violence, we do not seek to see how this politicking fragments Shi’a and Sunni unity, and we do not seek to explore the suffering that Shi’a have suffered over time at the hands of Sunni. We do not be mindful of the affiliations of the compilers of the Wikileak affect interpretation of data instead we fall prey to the same obsessions that dominate the secular world into the Muslim world, so what makes us so different?

{ And when there comes to them news of security or fear, they spread it abroad; and if they had referred it to the Apostle and to those in authority amongst them, those amongst them who can search out the knowledge of it would have known it, and were it not for the grace of Allah upon you and His mercy, you would have certainly followed the shaytan save a few} (An-Nisa 4:83) 

If the dead of Iraq were only Shi’a, would Sunni’s who see only that which is Sunni consider it to be none of their concern? If the dead were only Christians, would Shi’a and Sunni it to be none of their concern? If the dead were only agnostics, would all the Muslim sects consider it to be none of their concern? A life is a life, and life is valued in Islam, because life is the vehicle of change.

Do we forget who financed the Iraq-Iran war? It took a non-Muslim, Gareth Porter (an investigative historian and journalist) to highlight that sectarian deaths were a part of U.S. terror strategy, and that 

  • General D. Petraeus developed the strategy of using Shi’a’s and Kurds to suppress Sunnis 2004 -2005 – and what do we have a balkanized Iraq

 

  • Deployment of Shi’a and Kurd police in Sunni areas

After all, how else does one bring down a majority!

Fast to erase the idols from our hearts, the idol which turns a friend into a foe, and an imaginary fear into a living reality. But most of all, fast for the unity we so desperately need, or like the rest of the world, we will lose our selves in the hatred of the ill-conceived “other,” otherwise we will wake up one day and discover that we cannot even trust our own shadow!

{And not like those who became divided and disagreed after clear argument had come to them, and these it is that shall have a grievous chastisement} (Ale Imran 3: 105)

{Surely they who divided their religion into parts and became sects, you have no concern with them, their affair is only with Allah, then He will inform them of what they did} (An Anam 6: 159) 

My ‘Ummah will be divided into seventy three sects. All of them will be in the Fire except one? (Muslim #976) 

“What is meant by the term “ummah” in this ahadith is the ummah of response (ummatul-ijaabah – those who responded to the call to Islam after having been invited), which shall be divided into seventy three sects; seventy two of which are deviant, who practice innovated religious practices that do not constitute apostasy. Each shall be punished in accordance to the innovations and deviation (it practiced), except for those who Allah pardons and forgives. Their final abode will be Jannah. The only sect that will be safe is Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, who adhere to the Sunnah of the Prophet (sal-Allahu `alayhi wa salam) and hold fast to what he and his Companions (radhi-yallaahu ‘anhum) were holding to. It is they about whom the Prophet (sal-Allahu `alayhi wa salam) said:

((A group of my ummah shall remain steadfast, on the truth, victorious, unharmed by those who oppose them, and do not support them, until the death or until the Day of Resurrection)), [Sahih al-Bukhari, #71 & 3641, and Sahih Muslim, #1920]

As for those whose innovation casts them out of Islam, they belong to the ummah of invitation (ummatud-da’wah – those to whom the Prophet (sal-Allahu `alayhi wa salam) was sent to invite to Islam), not the ummatul-ijaabah. They shall remain in the Hell Fire forever, and this is the most valid opinion.

It is also said that the term “ummah” in this ahadith means ummatud-da’wah, which is a general term indicating all those to whom the Prophet (sal-Allahu `alayhi wa salam) was sent (i.e. mankind) those who believe and those who do not believe. Whereas the term “the saved sect” is the ummatul-ijaabah, which strictly applies to those who believe in the Prophet (sal-Allahu `alayhi wa salam), truthfully and die in such a state (of belief). This is the sect that will be saved from the Fire; either by prior punishment or without prior punishment, and their final abode will be Jannah, (insha-Allah).

As for the seventy two sects (in the second opinion) they are all, excluding the saved sect, disbelievers who will live forever in the Fire. Hence, it is clear that the ummatud-da’wah is more general in connotation than the ummatul-ijaabah. That is to say, whoever belongs to the ummatul-ijaabah belongs to the ummatud-da’wah, while not everyone of the ummatud-da’wah belongs to the ummatul-ijaabah.

And with Allah lies all success and may Allah send prayers and salutations upon our Prophet (sal-Allahu `alayhi wa salam) and his family and his companions.

The Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fataawa

 

Related Topics:

The Idols of Our Lives

The Secret Iraqi Files

The Idols of Our Lives

The Idols of Our Lives

By Hwaa Irfan

The lifestyles today are multifarious in their commonalty, which one could suppose is a gift of globalization, when we choose to look at the many dysfunctional forms of how we have ‘chosen’ to live our lives.

The verb ‘to choose’ may seem like one that depicts the democracies today, if we disregard the real meaning of ‘democracy. It may seem as if at this point in history the liberties we speak of and fight for are quickly spreading, but when extreme in polarities meet they become one and the same. That sameness can be for the sake of this argument, be reduced down to the idols in our lives on both a personal and public level. We may not see the things we worship as an act of worship whether they be material, physical (our bodies), or socio-psychological, but they do represent the individualism that separates us rather than nourishes a collective consciousness that is able to resolve the problems that we face whether those problems be personal or political. 

There is one period in history that serves as an example that may serve to reflect on the path we seem to be taking. That period is the Byzantine period, which from inception began with Constantine the Great, Monday 11 May 330, and ended on Tuesday 29 May 2453 with Sultan Mehmet II – lasting for just over 1,123 years. Lord  John J. Norwich summarized that period as follows: 

“There has been no other enduring civilization so absolutely destitute of all forms and elements of greatness… Its vices were the vices of men who had ceased to be brave without learning to be virtuous… Slaves, and willing slaves, in both their actions and their thoughts, immersed in sensuality and in the most frivolous pleasures, the people only emerged from their listlessness when some theological subtlety, or some chivalry in the chariot race, stimulated them to frantic riots… The history of the Empire is a monotonous story of the intrigues of priests, eunuchs and women, of poisoning, of conspiracies, of uniform ingratitude, of perpetual fratricides”. 

Background

Dominating the regions around the Mediterranean: including Gaul, Britain, Anatolia, the Balkans, Southern Palestine, (bearing in mind that Jordan was once a part of Greater Palestine), Egypt, and Syria; with domination over the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Though honored with the tribute of introducing Christianity as a state religion, Constantine I had patronized Christians up until the point it cam einto conflict with his burning desire to unify the Roman Empire under his rule alone.  Constantine I’s solution was to do away with synods of local bishops, and replace it with a universal Council of the Church, which was to be held in Nicaea. It took place in 325 with attendance mainly from the East with Constantine I presiding. To challenge the belief from the East that prophet Isa/Jesus the son of God and not co-eternal, , Constantine argued with a  contentious term, homoousios, meaning of substance to remove the threat from his ambitions. With majority acceptance, Constantine I’s first Ecumenical Council of Christian Churches was successful with descending voices put into exile, and their literature burnt. Constantine’s power of persuasion and supporting activities (e.g. establishing Sunday as a Christian day of worship) was able to allay any fears on the part of both pagans and Christians of the Roman Empire, yet the growing factionalism amongst Christian leaders presented a threat of further instability. 

And so it was that the Roman concept of statehood was ratified further under Emperor Constantine I. 

The Byzantine Influence

Through political Byzantium political pressure, the Western concept of monotheism found its way into Arabia in the period, which led to the first unified Arab confrontation in Southern Palestine at the battle of Ajnadayn in 634.

Byzantine and Sasanid empires were exhausted by decades of warfare by the time Arab forces sought to drive them back. The Monophysite Christians in Syria, the Nestorian Christians in Iraq had troubled relations with Byzantine and Sasanian overlords. Local populations were content to accept a new regime.

As a rule, Arab Muslim soldiers were not allowed to take hold of conquered land as their own, for those lands were considered the permanent possession of those communities, revenue could be taken, but not the land. Former religious orders were left intact with Iranian, Aramean, Coptic and Greek scribes and accountants worked for the new regime as they did for the old. Landowner, chiefs, and headmen kept their authority depending on the social order of the locality, but of course there were exceptions. With the establishment of Ottoman rule, was the Turkish influence which put greater emphasis on state rule over religious affairs in Turkish terms more than Islamic terms, often neglecting, and confiscating properties the church o the needs of Christian leaders and their communities by the 13th  century. 

The aim to bring Muslim religious life under state supervision descended from the imperialism of the Byzantines and the Sasanids to ensure proper relations between state and religion – Byzantines believed in regulating church doctrine by presiding over church councils and recommending standards of belief; whereby the emperors appointed patriarchs, bishops and archbishops.  Just as there was one ruler in heaven there could only be one ruler on earth. Islam like Christianity was to fall prey to the state so that it could be regulated in line with the needs of the state. The construction of monumental mosques followed in the steps of the monumental churches built by Constantine I under the leadership of ‘Abd al-Malik, and al-Walid in Syria and Egypt.  Ibn al-Muqaffa’ who translated Sasanid literature into Arabic took the view and advised that the Caliph could not afford  religious leaders and scholars to be outside state control in order that in turn they could control the believers.

Worshipping Idols

As we can see today by the example of the global economic crisis, the state is limited in what it can take responsibility for, and that which is the responsibility of the individual. Secularism by its nature is incapable of taking responsibility for the nature of man, and the earth that sustains us.

During the troubles of the Byzantine Empire it was to meet with a challenge, a challenge that was brought about by the evolution of the idol worshipping or more specifically icons. Byzantine had had 6 emperors in 25 years, and was in the midst of a climaxing anarchy by the time Theodosius III ascended the mortal throne.  One of his many concerns like his survival, was the question of whether art fell under the realm of religion, and whether the godhead could be depicted visually. It was at a time when icons as objects of worship was being a trend amongst the Christians to the extent that icons would be worshipped publicly in and of themselves; to the point whereby an icon would stand in as a godparent at a baptism. The bishops of Asia Minor took great offence and established a campaign. This argument appealed to Theodosius III who held sermons on the issue as in direct disobedience to the second of the 10 Commandments. Following suit, Theodosius III turned to the largest icon in the capital of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople – a huge golden representation of prophet Issa/Jesus to destroy it as an example. Outraged women set upon the demolition men and killed them there and then. Many such upheavals were to follow. It was not until 730 that a royal edict was given demanding the destruction of all icons. The lengths that followers of the Christian faith were prepared to go to, to protect their icons included monks in the East  saving what they could and fleeing to places such as Greece and Italy or into the deserts.  This measure was counteracted by Pope Gregory II and III, who asked Theodosius III to leave matters of dogma to the Church. Theodosius III responded by transferring bishoprics in the Balkans from the See of Rome, to Constantinople dividing the Christian Churches of the East and West.

It was Theodosius III’s son Constantine V who took matters further as an iconoclast. Divisions occurred within the family, where one was either pro icons or against, and anyone on the wrong side was to be eliminated. It was not until 10th February 754 that resolution was made by summoning a Council excluding all the Holy Sees of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem and Rome. The decision was that Christ was not represent-able or aperigraptos, and could not be confined to time and space, while icons of mother of Christ was full of pagan worship. To follow, all those for icons or iconodules  were excommunicated during a time when the region was experiencing a dwindling population due to malaria and the plague. To say the least iconoclasm only lasted periodically after Theodosius III died because of the iconoclast Patriarch that was in place.

The Islamic Influence 

The concept of tawhid is intrinsic to belief as a Muslim. It underlies an individual’s relationship with the Creator and His creations  i.e. all other relationships because we all come from Him, are created by Him, and unify in Him. That is why the concept of harm i.e. haram underlines the Sunnah/traditions of Islam – to hurt another, to kill another, to harm another is to harm  a part of one’s own soul. Also, intrinsic to the concept of Islam is the belief in one God, not the many gods of the Roman Empire. In the words of ‘Ali bin ‘Uthman al-Hujweri, an Afghani Muslim philosopher and teacher of 11th century AD: 

“Created things known as ta’ayyunat (limited beings)  are veils to conceal Oneness of Being in the sense that when different kinds of pots are made out of clay, various forms appear and the substance clay disappears. Similarly when water is converted into ice which is visible and water goes into concealment”.

The Islamic month of Dhul Q’adah, the month before the month of pilgrimage is significant in this respect, because it represents the birth of two prophets who sought to rid the world of the limited things that we worship. Thos two prophets are Prophet Ibrahim/Abraham, and Prophet Issa/Jesus. The extent to which some of the Byzantine Christians were prepared to go for their idols, which is basically what their icons were is only an example of the extent to which we are prepared to go today to protect our own idols. Both Prophets Ibrahim/Abraham, and Issa/Jesus did as Theodosius III, but Theodosius III did it to protect the sovereignty of the Roman Empire on earth, and Prophets Ibrahim/Abraham, and Issa/Jesus did to protect the sovereignty of God.

Multifarious

Today, we have been removed very much from our true nature, spreading the kind of confusion the implications of which we have yet to acknowledge. They can be best explained in the words of psychotherapist Carl Jung:

“… modern man can know himself only in so far as he can become conscious of himself – a capacity largely dependent on environmental conditions, the drive for knowledge and control of which necessitated or suggested certain modifications of his original instinctive tendencies.. His consciousness therefore orients itself chiefly by observing and investigating the world around him, and it is to its peculiarities that he must adapt his psychic and technical resources. This task is so exacting, and its fulfillment so advantageous, that he forgets himself in the process, losing sight of his instinctual nature and putting his own conception of himself in place of his real being.”

“Separation from his instinctual nature inevitably plunges civilized man into the conflict between conscious and unconscious, spirit and nature, knowledge and faith, a split that becomes pathological the moment his consciousness is no longer able to neglect or suppress his instinctual side. The accumulation of individuals who have got into this critical state starts off a mass movement purporting to be the champion of the suppressed. In accordance with the prevailing tendency of consciousness to seek the source of all ills in the outside world, the cry goes up for political and social changes which, it is supposed would automatically solve the much deeper problem of split personality. Hence it is whenever this demand is fulfilled, political and social conditions arise which bring the same ills back again in altered form. What then happens is a simple reversal: the underside comes to the top and the shadow takes the place of the light, and since the former is always anarchic and turbulent, the freedom of the “liberated” underdog must suffer Draconian curtailment. All this is unavoidable, because the root of the evil is untouched and merely the counter-position has come to light.” 

The idols we worship cannot replace what we have lost of ourselves whether we are Muslims or non-Muslims.  Those idols do not only take the form of physical things, but include how we see ourselves – a process of objectification which has been brought about by such champions of oppression like Western feminism, capitalism, nationalism, the gay movement, and materialism for example.  In that sense, we have become addicts of our negative emotions, because of lack of self awareness. In so doing, our negative emotions of for example, selfishness, arrogance, desire (as in lower desires), self hate, hate of others, clothes, the big wedding, the mobile, the way in which we commemorate religious events, and all that which goes with status and wealth, and all that which causes us to harm ourselves and others (including the earth) are form of idol worship. We fight to hold onto those idols as much as the Byzantine Christians fought with their lives to hold onto their icons. As Muslims, this is the anti-thesis of tawhid, which is to be in a state of Islam, not to worship Islam. To be in a state of Islam is to hand over sovereignty to Him, our Creator, but instead we allow ourselves  to be dominated by our negative emotions, and limited things. We do not even realize the limitation of those limits when they no longer provide us with the initial stimulation, or the initial rush of adrenaline, which because they are limited means to sustain the adrenaline rush, the fix, the stimulation is to want more, or to seek some other thing that provides the same initial affect. It may be that the extremes of what we are doing will bring us back to the point where the two extremes meet – when we are forced to question, to reflect and to see the idols in our lives that only serve to dis-empower us not to empower us all because they create multiplicity of being!

{Sovereignty belongs only to God; He has commanded that you shall not serve any but Him. That is the right religion, but most people do not know} (12:40) 

Sources:

Al-Hujweri, A. “The Kashful Mahjub.” A.S Noordeen, Malaysia. 2000.

Jung, C J. “The Undiscovered Self.” Routledge & Kegan Paul, U.K. 1996

Lapidus, I. M. “A History of Islamic Societies.” Cambridge University Press, U.S. 1995

Norwich, J.J. “A Short History of Byzantium.” Penguin Books, U.K. 1998. 

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The Ideology of Charisma

The Emperor’s New Clothes

The House of Three Rooms

Society Says Your Body Not Your Mind!

The Law of Three: Concealment and Attraction

Finding the Real You!

Can You Just Change Your Mind Just Like That!

Letter to the Self #2: Ego

Distractions of Life vs. God