Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Defenders of the Faith?

It is narrated that 50 days before the Prophet's birth in Mecca the Kaaba was to come under attack a Yemeni/Abyssinian army mounted on elephants. On hearing the story of the impending attack the Prophet's grandfather Abdul Mutalab was seen hurrying towards the Kaaba. When asked what he was going to do he replied that he had camels grazing around the Kaaba. There was shock & dismay. People asked him how can you possibly care about your camels when the Kaaba is about to be destroyed? He made his famous reply:
"LilBait rabun ya7meeh. Wana rabu hazihi alebil."

The translation is that the Kaaba is the House of no one but God & God is perfectly capable of protecting His own House. Whereas Abudul Mutalib was responsible for his cattle & should defend them.

Later the Qura'an narrates how God did indeed protect His House in Surat AlFil.

The Qura'an also has another message for us in Surat Al-Hijr.

"Ina Na7nu nazalna elzikr wina lahu la7afithoon."
"Surely We have revealed the Reminder and We will most surely be its guardian." [15:9]

If AbdulMutalib - an idolator - had enough faith in the Creator to know that what Allah has undertaken to protect no one can harm why are so many believers today so fiercely protective of the faith?Why are they so afraid to leave this to Allah?

Does the Truth really need to be treated with kid gloves as if it was something fragile that will break & shatter?Isn't it Falsehood that cannot stand up to scrutiny?Can the word of God not stand on its own two feet?

Did Allah send us His Message to protect us or to ask us to rise up & defend it?Defend it from what?Don't we keep repeating that Islam is deen fitra?If it is then how come we get so possessive of it?If it is deen fitra then it belongs to all humanity. It is something that anyone can reach on their own if they search within themselves because it is in their fitra(nature). Is this not why we call converts to Islam reverts?So if we truly believe all this?Why do we try to hide it away from prying eyes us as if it was our family jewels?

When I hear something that goes against my understanding of faith I defend my ideas the same way AbdulMutalib was defending his Ibil(cattle). My thoughts are my responsibility so I defend them. If I am right then it is for my own good. If I am wrong then that detracts NOTHING from the Faith & it is my own loss. If someone does me the favor of making me aware of where I was wrong then I acquire new thoughts - like buying new cattle. In all cases that I don't kid myself that I - or anyone else - am defending the Faith because the Faith is in no need of humble human protection.

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36 Comments:

Blogger roora said...

hi Loulou

great story, my mom told me about it before when i was very young , about Abdel Motaleb, prophet Mohamed (PPBUH), grand's father

yeah God elhamdAllah is protecting his home (kaaba) amd the zekr which is quran so it is the same since prophet Mohamed (PPBUH) days , no change was made in it what so ever, because God is protecting it , even the tashkeel , that makes great difference in the meaning if it was altered in arabic words. nothing was changed since more than 1400 years.

8/17/2005 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger roora said...

one other thing regarding " protecting the religon as if it is something fragile that will break or shuttle.

it depends on your perception of what do you mean to defend?
from my point of view defending means that any thing misunderstandable in religon that any body claims and you know the answer , it is your responsibility then to answer, so as to clear things up for them. it is not fragile , elhamdAllah we have strong basis here , we may not be well aware of evey thing but we are not scholored.

but if some one claims by something that is unreal about religon or misundestood from his side , and i know it , then it is a responsibility to clear things for him or her. it is nt a matter of my inner thoughts (like my cattle ), because my inner thoughts (my cattle )could be different than my best frined in how we approach life .

that is how i see defending then. islam is yeah of strong basis that is why any misclarification fo any one could find a reasonable answer for it that addresses your mind and your heart

another form i can see of defending faith , is raising your children and teachning them religon properly so as to apply it in their lives.

"Did Allah send us His Message to protect us or to ask us to rise up & defend it"

in prohet's days , they were calling people for islam , this could be another way of defending ,
and maybe more , Allah A3lam

8/17/2005 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger doshar said...

loulou,

yes i know the story of the elephant of abraha, every moslem knows it tab3an. but it might be that he can't defend the ka3ba, can only protect his camels. if he had an army that can defeat the invaders, i am sure he would have done it. the story tells us that the forces were indeed grave and unmatched by the arabs in mecca in any way. i think if someone had invaded mecca to destroy the ka3ba after the muslims had entered it, wouldn't the prophet had defended it? .


about defending faith:

Islam is indeed a religion that no one can tear down, and quran is indeed ma7fooz. but God could have put asbab (as in methods) to this.

a number of years ago, some people made this beautifully decorated mos7af, and distributed it for free. someone read it and found a mistake that was definietely intentional. in soorat Al Imran, there is a verse saying "and whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers" (2:85)

anyway this mos7af, the words meaning "other than" were removed, so totally reversing the meaning!!

so when who ever found it noticed this, he did not stay passive and say : God will preserve his quran. itis not my business. he went and reported it to fix it and all these masa7ef were confiscated and destroyed.

and we have an obligation if not to defend Islam , then to call for it. (da3wa). it is our duty to try to talk to people about Islam and show the good in it. it is not enough just to follow. not to protect it, but because it is our duty towards it and towards our fellow humans. and so, el agdar if someone says something that in your opinion is wrong about Islam ,and taints it, we should correct the idea. no specifics in mind beleive me.

so, it is not due to weakness in Islam, Islam is a belief, not a structure,to tear down. and also a way of life that the prophet PBUH has really went through alot to spread. out of faithfulness to him, we should defend what he called for, from being maimed or portrayed wrongly

of course, there is a good and constructive way to do that. not all ways serve the purpose, and some do indeed undermine it, but the objective is sound.

kan nefsy a2ool el aya be el3araby, but i don't know why, the comment box doesn't allow me to script in arabic

8/17/2005 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger Mohamed said...

Seems that we treat our faith as if it is flawed! where we have to hide parts of it and parts of our history, attack those who criticize it, and never allowing ourselves or others to think about it (just repeat what is said to us).

8/17/2005 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger Twosret said...

Oh seriously I'm laughing so much here. So in return we post pictures of nude women with veiled women, that brings up a lot of history and faith related depth of thoughts.

It makes us very creative in our faith and portrays the real image of Egypt.
El 3alem we El Ma3arfa betnot men El boobs wallAhi. Ya wad Ya fet enta!

8/17/2005 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger doshar said...

mohamed there is a difference between our religion "Islam" and our faith. faith means how you feel and react to Islam. so your faith might me different than mine. one's faith can be said to be stronger than another's.
but our religion is one, and the same and is gonna be the same even if no one in the world is following it .

and Islam is indeed not flawed. but the way we practice it might be. and I have absolutely nothing to hide about Islam. you heard about the guy that converted to Islam then went to hijj and said el hamdo li Allah that i aslamt before i met the muslims? that is the problem, there are alot of misconceptions about Islam, misconceptions, mish flaws, and clearing these is great.

8/17/2005 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Mohamed said...

Meen twosret dee?

This was not in return to anything! That picture I posted has nothing to do with faith aslan and is not a faith-related post in the first place. Fee eih? I'm pointing out a contradiction. Are you blind not to see that! Eih ba'a elly in return welfaith elly felmawdoo3?!

And what has this got to do with Loulou's post here?!

8/17/2005 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger roora said...

mohamed , twsoret is showing and pointing out the contradiction as well ,

To say the truth i was disguested with this picture

8/17/2005 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger Mohamed said...

Well, I was too Roora. But who cares. Its the truth, so face it.

8/17/2005 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger roora said...

mohamed , what truth ? , i dont buy it

8/17/2005 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger Highlander said...

Loulou this is actually a nice post :)and I understand what you meant, but I was wondering if you understood what roora, doshar, or twosret are trying to convey as well.

I think ( if I understood correctly) that religion (din)from the point of view of Muslim faithful cannot be changed and has not been changed. On the other her our personal faith in God ( i.e. our iman ) is in different shades and varies in individuals. As for defending the religion or apologizing for it , that is not needed of course , however what is needed and would be more useful like the commenters have mentioned is to truely try to clarify misconceptions and mistakes about it. This would not be a cover up job -as some have suggested-but just an explanation with a critical view.Nothing wrong about that I think Loulou right?

With regards to the said picture on Mo's blog, the contradiction is obvious to see of course and was remarked upon by Twosret. I think Mohamed that you should not mind to accept it as constructive criticism, I personally don't care for nudity and you can argue this is the truth since this picture physically exists online, but maybe you could have let somebody else post as I'm sure it clashes with your sense of respect for the female body, the fact that you mention that it will be removed soon and that the bared chest has been esthetically 'covered' attests to that, because as a regular reader of your blog I always notice how much you remark on your keenness to get closer to God.

Loulou I enjoy reading your blog very much ( even though I hardly comment) and the saga with K. keeps me riveted . All the best.
Highlander

8/17/2005 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger Mohamed said...

Highlander, my keeness to get closer to God or not is nobody's business really. The fact that I talk about it doesn't give anyone the right to judge me. Sure anyone can criticize as they wish, or even curse as they wish, but no one should pretend to be God.

With regards to the picture, it has nothing to do with respect for the female body. The woman is topless in public (its not like someone sneaked in her bedroom, and you can see there's a little kid in the pic background), and there are tons of topless women in Egypt, I didn't ask them to take their tops off you know. Its not like I'm making fun of her body. And the woman is pausing for the camera herself. If anyone doesn't like it, don't look at it. Yes, I plan to remove it because I personally find the picture ugly, but beauty is not the point of the post.

People seem to turn everything personal in this blogorama, judging everyone else. And someone like Twosret for example can't seem to be able to live without getting friendly and mushy with anyone on this blogosphere, and if they're not her friends she has to turn against them in a sick way. The truth is, I don't give two shits what anyone says about me, and I've said that on my first post ever on my blog --but some don't get it and think I care! So if anyone doesn't like what I write or say, which is always as objective as it gets, then they can shove it up their asses.

So give it up you all, the picture is there, whether you like it or not. Its there in real life, so live with it.

8/18/2005 12:25:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...

roora/doshar/highlander,

First I want to thank you all for your contributions to this topic. Wasn't actually planning to comment on this post because I thought I explained my personal perspective clearly & presented all my questions. What I was interested in was getting some perspective on them from others which you were all kind enough to provide.

The point I was trying to make was that sometimes when you think you are defending the Faith what you are really defending is your own thoughts, your own ego & your desire to be right. It's a trap we all fall into sometimes so we need to watch out.

Having read your comments I find I do have some thoughts on some of the points you all mentioned. Have to ask you all to give me until tomorrow to organize my thoughts & get back to you. It's almost 1:00am here.

8/18/2005 12:33:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Mohamed,

Am curious why you posted the pic. Other than your usual love of controversy I mean:)

I don't find it disgusting. Personally I never swim in public. But I have pics very similar to this one taken on the beach with European friends in Casablanca & in Tunisia. In those pic am fully dressed & they're practically naked. All it means to me is that am a Muslim & they're not. I think it's kind of cool when people with some diametrically opposed moral values can be friends.

8/18/2005 12:37:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Twosret & Mohammed,

This blog has become like a second home to me. Therefore you may all consider yourselves my dinner guests. Please try not to trade punches over my dinner table:)

8/18/2005 12:39:00 AM  
Blogger Mohamed said...

Loulou, what is the point of any of my posts? :) I never claimed I said anything important on my blog.

Why I published that specific post? Well, I say it in the title - "Egypt has it all". Its that simple. If anyone is offended, its really ridiculous to blame me (but I don't mind it). If someone is taking it personally and trying to play smart, then elly 3ala raso bat7a ba'a!

I didn't imply the picture was funny, nor that it was wrong or whatever. Like many of my posts, I leave people to come up with their own conclusions. I just point out some of my observations we khalas. I didn't even make a judgmenet about the picture except that I personally don't like it (and I made that observation here not in the post).

Loulou, how's you're cooking? Have to know if its worth the plane ticket you know :)

8/18/2005 12:53:00 AM  
Blogger Al Sharief said...

Lou,

intresting is your post,
What worries me nowadays that I hear the same for the "Aqsa Mosque" that god is the protector & palestinians should not make a fuss of all the recent & current violations to the holy place, giving a parallel reasoning to the protection of Kaaba! "LilBait rabun ya7meeh". This could be a dangerous practice for "Beit Al Maqdess"

Aer we confusing History and Faith issues? per the Dallula Effect?

http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=10658231&postID=112409015566433381

8/18/2005 01:31:00 AM  
Blogger roora said...

mohamed why this language ? and why this attitude ?
you know you can say what you want in a more descent and calm way

8/18/2005 02:05:00 AM  
Blogger roora said...

thanks loulou , for your post , it was nice to explore out , waiting for your thoughts

8/18/2005 02:07:00 AM  
Blogger Highlander said...

Mohamed :

"Highlander, my keeness to get closer to God or not is nobody's business really. The fact that I talk about it doesn't give anyone the right to judge me. Sure anyone can criticize as they wish, or even curse as they wish, but no one should pretend to be God."

So basically we ARE in agreement don't you think ? We also have established that the said picture WAS present in public. (The fact that it could be photoshopped or one taken from those family albums online is not even an issue here).

Though of course no one should judge you, but it must be said in truth that the contradiction lay in the personality of the blogger projected and that post. Since we all blog in public and have comment sections then this means someone will be reading what we write and perhaps have his/her own thoughts about it. It is all about perception of the other. People can me mistaken in their perception because in blogs we can choose whatever role we want. Also it is true- as you so rightly said- that you intentionaly leave your posts vague sometimes to analyse people's reactions.

So to recapitulate, some people may have harboured misconceptions about fromcairo's author gleened from the posts and thus thought that the now notorious post was contradictory. I don't think we should take the criticism or the praise- for that matter- personally since they are only addressed to the blog persona or more precisely to the "perceived image of the blog persona". I am writing this on the strenght of your remark to the effect that you are not adverse to criticism ,which in my book is a very healthy attitude Mohamed. That is why I concur with Loulou about not flaming each other. I mean since our personas are in the blogosphere by our choice, and each one of us has his private reasons for blogging but we all obviously want to gain more experience in human interaction ( even in the virtual world) then every one can criticize/concur with us anytime whether we like it or not.

I could not find in the comments up to now any reference by anyone pretending they are God.

By the way where is the comment section on your blog? we miss that.

8/18/2005 03:08:00 AM  
Blogger Highlander said...

Loulou: sorry to hijack your comment section by my long tirade. I already gave you my 2cents worth on the subject you brought up in your post. I appreciate your taking the time to read it, but honestly please do not feel obligated to reply. Thank you and all the best.

8/18/2005 03:14:00 AM  
Blogger Highlander said...

Twosret: I understand your comment with regards to the photo...as you noticed most of us did not find it disgusting (and I'm sure you did not either) though maybe 'controversial' as Loulou said, in the sense of it being unexpected even though it is all a part of Egypt.

Although this subject was off-topic we could attempt to link it to the topic by for example putting forth that individually defending our faith in Islam/God (which as I said comes in degrees)would perhaps entitle us not to engage with the photo in the first place. However, we are all human and fallible after all.
I hope this has clarified things.

8/18/2005 03:36:00 AM  
Blogger Twosret said...

Guys,

Words are stronger than swords and obviously I irritate M@h@med enough :). Punch him at your dinner table Loulou:) naaah I don't enjoy punching guys especially guys like Mohamed, your dinner table is respected and I will not stoop to his level.

8/18/2005 06:13:00 AM  
Blogger Twosret said...

"In those pic am fully dressed & they're practically naked. All it means to me is that am a Muslim & they're not."

Loulou,

What if they are muslims and they are in two piece bathing suit? Would you see them as non-muslims?

Just curious

8/18/2005 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger Mohamed said...

Highlander, big words that I don't understand any of it --seriously, my English is not that good.

Twosret, glad you finally came to your senses. And glad that you're finally speaking for yourself and not for some 'anonymous' commenter.

8/18/2005 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger haal said...

'Does the Truth really need to be treated with kid gloves as if it was something fragile that will break & shatter..'

Like the idea of the post loul. What we dont know scares us, that's for sure, especially when it comes to religion, faith and God. We want all that to them to be perfect and thus become over protective.

'[Coran]....God is protecting it , even the tashkeel.'
There was no dots or tashkeel when the Coran was first collected.

'if AbdulMutalib - an idolator ...'
sorry Loul, my historian itch.... This is a common misconception. We think of idolators as those who dont have the concept of God, on the contrary, they did and they have ALLAH as the God, but they used subgods to communicate to GOd and thus built Allaht, al3uzza,... to mediate between them. So the concept of God, ALLAH, so for sure AbdalMutilib knew there is God...


'an obligation if not to defend Islam , then to call for it. da3wa'

Sure, we should do da'wa but the da'wa is vis-a-vis the knowledge you have, not what you think you know, and for sure you have to watch out who you are talking to. What convinces you doesnt for a fact convince others...we think our religion is GREAT that if you just tell them 'listen to this verse or that, or look to how islam does that', he will just be convinced. We tend to forget that other religions are wonderful too, and they carry almost the same message....

So it really depends how you carry this 'da'wa', and how ready are you to take this role.

8/18/2005 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger roora said...

there was no tashkeet written haal , because aslan the quran was not written but memorized properly with how to say it by taskeel , on the prophet and his companions
actually their arabic was automatically perfect

and then when it was written and they added the tashkeel ,
it was done to preserve how to read the quran as it was read on the prophet

8/18/2005 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger haal said...

Roora,
I could argue against these statments of yours, but maybe not on this post.

But I propose be a little accurate in what you say. But again, as I said, not on this post at least.

8/18/2005 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Doshar & AlSharief,

I think you both misunderstood my meaning in posting the AbdulMutalib story. Personally never understood this story in the physical, literal sense.

What I find appealing is the symbolism of the story. Some things are our responsibility to protect but other things God pledged His Protection to.

Obviously if there is an invasion of your country or if someone is trying to kill you you must defend yourself. But then you are defending yourself or your country. Neither yourself nor your country are Divine. They are physical entities which are vulnerable to destruction & would certainly benefit from human protection.

That was my meaning. To me that's what defence means - defending something or someone who or which is weaker than whatever force is trying to attack them.

8/18/2005 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Highlander,

"I think ( if I understood correctly) that religion (din)from the point of view of Muslim faithful cannot be changed and has not been changed."

This I cannot agree with. No philosophy that claims to be a way of life can remain unchanged because human life & human society is not fixed or static. It's in a constant state of evolution & development & sometimes even deterioration.Any philosophy or religion that fails to evolve with life will either seriously stall the development of its followers or become irrelevant marginalized by them as they evolve.

Yes Islam provides us with some unchanging spiritual & moral guidelines but the job of applying these guidelines to reality is ours. The application that one group of Muslims may have followed in some part of the Islamic World 500 years ago may not work for another group of Muslims in another time or place.

8/18/2005 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Mohamed,

Yes actually I am a good cook if I do say so myself. And I take my best china very seriously. Can't promise to be forgiving if anyone breaks anything.:)

8/18/2005 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Twosret,

"What if they are muslims and they are in two piece bathing suit? Would you see them as non-muslims?"

Funny you should ask. In one of the trips I mentioned, a Muslim friend of mine kept wanting to do the same i.e. wear very skimpy bikinis(g-strings) on the public beach, drinking & dancing with & flirting with virtual strangers on the beach. It was a big problem for me & also for my parents. Why?Because back in UAE this girl wears hijab. She doesn't do those things infront of her parents. But she was doing them on holiday with us when her parents basically trusted my parents to be responsible for her.I didn't like it because it was so hypocritical. She was trying to be something she's not and causing a lot of headaches for me in the process.

I didn't consider her a non-Muslim because I knew that she does believe in Islamic principles & she does know that what she was doing was wrong. She was just allowing herself to get carried away by the excitement of having some freedom for the first time in her life. She comes from a very strict family & is very repressed. I think she convinced herself she was allowed a few sins once in her life.

I have a couple of Tunisian friends from very, very secular families. So secular that they hardly practice anything about Islam except for Ramadan & Eid. I tend to think of them like my non-Muslim friends. I don't mean to be negative or judgemental or anything but I really see no difference between them & my American or European friends - except that they speak Arabic & have Muslim names.

8/18/2005 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger LouLou said...

haal,

thanks for the correction about AbdulMutalib & idolatory.

What I like about the story is AbdulMutalib's instinctive faith in God which he was not taught by any organized religious indoctrination. It was just fitra. Which is great.

8/18/2005 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger LouLou said...

roora,

"from my point of view defending means that any thing misunderstandable in religon that any body claims and you know the answer , it is your responsibility then to answer, so as to clear things up for them."

But why is it that if you hear something about religion that you don't agree with you immediately see Faith as under attack & needing defence?Why not just see it as other people trying to understand, find truth?

When 2 Muslims disagree on an issue of faith how do you decide which one of them is on the defence of Islam & which one on the attack?Who makes that decision?

Back in the days of the 4 Sunni Imams for example, when they disagreed on religious issues which one of them was defending Islam & which one was attacking?

Or is it just that in their time religious debate was acknowledged & accepted & entire Fiqh & Shariah sciences where built around trying to resolve religious disputes between Muslims and that is why Muslim society was healthier in their time than it is today?Because people questioned & questioned & argued until they found something they really believed in & followed it?Because they did not yakhshu fillahi lowmat la'em while we just want to fit in & form clubs & belong?

Did you know people used to hear one fatwa from one Imam & not feeling satisfied with it, they then used to travel half-way across the world on camel-back to hear another fatwa from another Imam?

Is it that today unlike them, we have become lazy, we don't want to think or research, we care more about social appearances than truth?So we just follow whatever is popular even if we have doubts about it?

8/18/2005 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger roora said...

no it is not only a matter of discussing .at the end of the day , it is not a matter of who defends and who attacks , God knows our intensions so well.

regarding the fatwa , yeah i used to ask for different fawas and opinions but with scholored people as you say , and in the end of the day it is for my benefit. for example the travelling thing for women , if it is wrong to travel without having their own me7ram is wrong or not , i asked in that nowdays , i guess this is fine with me , bel3ks it is better actually to ask and to follow up on what you should do properly.

haal , i think what i said was clear enough regarding the tashkeel , and most well read people knows about the tashkeel thing that you say that was not clear

8/18/2005 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger Abu Sinan said...

Great post, nice blog.

8/22/2005 08:54:00 PM  

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