Guest Blog

The following was written by my dear wife Iman Gholizadeh. She is so right on with this response to recent comments by Hamza Yusuf.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim…

INJECTING CONTROVERSY WHEN AND WHERE THERE IS NONE: THE HAMZA YUSUF COMMENTS…

“Not only do we need social justice, but we need social mercy” Hamza Yusuf

Those who know me, know that I am NOT an apologist or someone who holds back punches on any controversial issue. In my personal opinion, which happens to align with most of the laws of this land, people really do have a legal right to say what they want, as long as it is not taken, or interpreted as a threat, or an act that conflicts with other laws or rights conveyed in the Constitution. Therefore, on this particular issue, I won’t either. I have no problem with what Hamza Yusuf said. However, I do have a ‘problem’ with how his words – in some cases – have been maliciously misconstrued. Somehow, there is an unfounded expectation that, politicians, leaders, and others alike, are automatically expected to, in the words of my husband, ‘blow warm air and roses up people’s asses’ and when people come along who don’t agree publicly, when in private their words are sometimes worse, then phooey on them. Double standards are no protection at all from the truth. The truth is that:
1. The Black Lives Matter Movement has a right to exist, especially in the capacity of warriors against injustice against people of color; specifically unarmed Black men.
2. It has a right to advocate as vigorously, and strongly as possible for the rights of people of color, no matter what position in life held, for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, without being killed unjustly in the process.
3. Not all police who shoot unarmed Black men and other people of color are racists. As Hamza Yusuf pointed out: Unarmed, and armed White people are shot unjustly as well. It is just not reported as much, and some of the police officers who shoot to kill, and shoot first, before asking questions, are also people of color.
4. Many officers are simply in the wrong profession. The bottom line is that they are too afraid of death and dying to perform their duties as loyal servants, protectors, and law enforcers of the community. Shooting blindly in the dark at the sound of Boo!!! Is not someone willing and/or able to stay the course with justice in mind, or keeping their guns in their holsters.
5. Not all Trump supporters are racists either, and anyone who holds stubbornly to this untruth, is trying to absolve some unsavory truth in their own closet, by blaming others for their own failures, and/or inability to face the truth.
6. The Sheikhs comment about Trump being a Servant of God or something like that… we are all servants of God, but it is what and how we serve in God’s name, or God’s actions, is where we should be striving. Sometimes Allah uses creation in whatever ways necessary, to promote good, even if the ‘catalyst’ is ‘bad’. After hardship comes ease is a common saying; what about after a test, comes failure or success? Trump may be our test, or a test for the world. We can either pass or fail it, but it is up to us to use our personal and/or collective knowledge, wisdom, and common sense to pass it. Dwelling on the reasons why we are given the test, rather than why the test even exists, will cause us to fail it. Get busy folks instead of injecting controversy where there is none.
7. Finally, WE ALL need to jump out of our ‘victim’ mode, and into our survival and rebuild mode, or else we won’t survive this transition. Whether Hamza Yusuf is right or wrong is not up to the other 1.7 billion of us who have 1.7 billion opinions. Khair, we got this, if only we choose to use basic common sense – Aql’ or THINK.

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf – who I do not follow anyway (I rarely follow all these self-made or self-named Scholars) also spoke about the racism prevalent throughout the Muslim community. The Muslim who talks ish about how ‘White, Christian and/or Jewish, etc are Islamophobes, are guilty of the same crime, in as many cases as the ones we accuse. It is the same as the Pot telling the Kettle that it’s Black, when it’s Black too. Just check your own heart/house before you start checking in on someone else’s. You will find that there is more dirt in your corners and other places not readily visible, than in your neighbor’s house. Hopefully EVERYONE will discover – yet again – that it’s time to clean house, and not wait until the next election cycle! I’m trying, and so should you…

Just tryin’ to keep it real.

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Isaiah 46:9-10

9  remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like me,
10  declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, “My purpose shall stand,
and I will fulfill my intention,”

Al Iklas 112

Say: He is Allah, the One and Only;
Allah, the Eternal, Absolute;
He begetteth not, nor is He begotten;
And there is none like unto Him.

Aameen, there is no doubt that there is only ONE.

 Doolie

Love who?

In humanity’s quest to solve the riddles of nature, mankind has gotten extremely close to worshiping self, instead of the Most Rightful, Allah(The God). However you address the Lord of All Creation, to address in your prayers, reflections, quiet times etc. It is of singular importance to place all praise on The Lord of All. With no creator, there is no creation. Matters not that men of science choose to give themselves all glory and credit for what God has given to them, intelligence and free thought. The choice to seek and inquire. Human beings are the only creatures that God has gifted with an advanced intellect. They can choose, or not, to make life better , for all. At whatever level they can, or are able to.

It is not man who created the perfect blend of day and night. Surely it was not Rolex who created time. Which scientist can lay claim to creating the first single cell organism, that evolutionsists tout as the pre morph state to all life in the universe. Astaghfirullah, Ya Rabb please forgive us our over inflated egos. How can we, imperfect humans lay claim that a paramecium is the Master of Creation, or the Designer of All Worlds was a random big bang. That all life is of it’s own design, birth and death.

Ya Allah please forgive us. Forgive us for crediting ourselves creator of the most complicated of computers. The human brain, which manifests several of Your precious gifts. The ability to think, to plan, to build.

You O Lord gave us the freedom to choose between right and wrong, good and bad, kind or cruel.

With that gift of free will Dear God we have created famine, war, hate, slavery, torture and pain. In every century, on every continent since the beginning of time.

Why have we not collectively worked for the betterment of all. We have the tools, the knowledge and skill to feed, clothe and take care of all nations. A small fraction of what the United States, Russia, Great Britain and the other western countries spend on weapons would feed, dress and heal the world. Instead what is done is to cause death and destruction.

This is not what God created us for. Allahu created us for service to each other, not to worship self and ego. The Shaitan whispers, and we listen.

The pure thought of organic energy sources like wind, sun and water were gifted by God to help us provide affordable, or free energy for all instead of harvesting fossil fuels that were only ment to assist us until the technology was here. It is here.

Instead we have chosen to use these resources to kill people without damaging infrastructure. That way we can just steal and not have to rebuild.

No society is free from the guilt, but all can turn to peace.

The answers to even the most complex of the worlds problems can be answered quite simply. Peace, compassion and service to Allah Subhana wa ta ‘ala, through prayer and constant rememberance of God. God does not expect us to do Zhikrullah 24/7-365. Rememberance of God can be acheived by service to all of creation. To feed the hungry, clothe the poor, heal the sick and injured. To love the unloved. We are all sinners, and guilty of even the smallest of indiscretions against the Lord, yet The Lord is most forgiving and most compassionate. It is as simple as saying “O Lord, forgive me for my sins. Help me to become a better servant to you. Please allow me the privilege of caring for my brothers and my sisters of Your Creation”.

Are you are what I am you are?

I was recently reminded of an excerpt from the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám:
A religious man said to a whore, ‘You’re drunk, caught every moment in a different snare.’ She replied, ‘Oh Shaikh, I am what you say, are you what you seem??

Now this is not going to be one of those beware of drink and fornication talks. We know what we need to do in that case,

What we often forget how to do it seems, is to completely forget our own vices or issues and prepare to label those that are deemed “beneath us”.

Who exactly would that be? The ones that are deemed beneath us. Culturally, at least here in the US, to those born  here  everyone is “beneath”. Except of course African Americans, Mexican Americans, Puerto Rican Americans, Indigenous (native) Americans, Muslim Americans (black, white, yellow, red, etc.).

That would leave basically only white American Christians…..Alhamdulillah.

I was reading about how the Kurds were engaging the Islamic State terrorists and overheard the comment “That’s the way to kick those Muslim’s backside”.  Heaven forbid when I say Kurds are Muslims too. White Christian response, all those f—kers should die. Astaghfirullah.

This, I hate to say is another product of 911, not so much the act itself, but the response of the US Government (I.e. the Patriot Act) in removing some basic liberties that  all Americans took for granted and were guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States.

The after math of 911 brought an uber militarization of all urban, and a large percentage of suburban and rural police agencies. The result of which has led to the growth of “exceptionalism” in the United States and parts of Western Europe. This is the quintessential, “no matter how dumb I am, I and my country are better than you any old day”…Why would this be, well first and foremost, “we got the guns”..

Followed by of course, you rags had your chance. We took what you had, cause we had bigger guns and God is on our side. Just ask the Native Americans, they know…………

Now I need to pause here, because im not sure if this is going to be a civil rights exercise, or religious freedom, or perhaps a self righteous sermon. Meh, let’s see where it takes us. Insha’Allah……….Okay, okay we are still with the Islamic subject line.

Ongoing Christology

 

 

There are fewer things more exciting than to read the Beatitudes in Matthew. Even as a young child I remember being breathless at the recitation of them, imagining The Christ speaking to a large gathering, with rapt attention paid to this new bold, yet humble Rabbi. One who is insistent on the truth and the fulfillment of God’s words through previous prophets and messengers (rasul’s).

Mark’s author has revealed in simple, but effective style leading to Jesus Ministry in Galilee. Little, in my study was spent on the peripherals of The Christ experience in the opening chapter of Mark, but has more than adequately produced a background of righteousness and compassion regarding the characteristics of Esa Alaihi wa Salam.

A difficult mystery, for me anyway is deciphering Luke 9:27 as talking to the 12.”But truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” Contextually, it may be referring to his own predicted demise, but I lose the meaning somewhat with the “some standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”….

Initially reading the Gospel of Thomas, as well as the Hebrews and the Ebbionites I believed that they may have been a “dry run” for the traditional synoptic or similar gospels. Further review, and a revelation later now understanding that the early Christian writings were sectarian to a degree, perhaps relaying a preference for vegetarianism, or punishment for animal sacrifice, etc.

SubhanAllah, in deference to Dale Allison’s scholarship, reconstruction of the Jesus of history, and of religion is a bit more than accusations of hyperbole, lack of multiple attestations (i.e. Mark 9:43-48). Except for an obscure text in a Babylonian Talmud, which in my religion is more tafsir (understanding/explanation) than actual scripture.

While granted the line between biblical fiction and nonfiction can be blurry, or at times nonexistent. Then a demography of known truths and mistruths about the life of the Christ be established that would categorize information as acquired and sourced. Establishing criteria for what was acceptable, even as recently as five years ago needs to evolve prior placing script in an attestable, or unacceptable vehicle.

more of the same

Bismillah,
I hate going on long rants, but the actions of our representatives in congress never fail to amaze, amuse and anger me.
The big thing lately for congress has been President Obama shaming, or trying to. Yet I believe the only ones they bite in the ass is themselves.
Case in point, Congress has passed a bill to let victims of “terrorism” the right to sue Saudi Arabia and Iran. Without going into major detail what has these two countries done, that USA hasn’t surpassed. Immediately after 9/11 we attacked Afghanistan. Fifteen years later we are still there killing people that have never really been a threat to us so many thousands of miles away. In fact initially the Taliban (remember it was Al Qaeda we were after) was willing to cooperate with us, but we needed to “mark” our turf.
Iraq, weapons of mass destruction was the reason. never showed up, but we sure did kill a bunch of people that had nothing to do with it, except to utilize our weapons of mass destruction. Between these two simultaneous wars we caused thousands of young American deaths. Not to mention all of the lives here in the US affected. Yet no one wants to sue Bush, Cheney or Rumsfeld.
Now, what if the families of the millions of the dead, injured and disaffected in Iraq and Afghanistan wanted to sue the US? I mean damn, the US hasn’t even resolved the way African Americans were treated during the slavery, as well as and up to including today (May the Lord have mercy on the Freddie Gray’s, Eric Garner’s, and Trayvon’s).
Is the US Government going to accept the facts that they have been the cause, or the catalyst of numerous wars causing millions of lives to be lost or ruined. Neither will they accept responsibility for not taking action when warranted(i.e. Rwanda, Srebrinica). Certainly they wont. Neither do I see any change in the war policy if either Trump, or Clinton get elected……………………..Astaghfirullah.

meanderings

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

 

While refraining from aligning The Christ in any category, categorizing would simply seem to defile not only the origin of Jesus, but his divine role, as well as his historical mission. While maintaining this isolative stature with Jesus Christ, I at the same time cannot avoid comparison with the Prophet Muhammad saws. This is especially true in the years since the death of both. The veneration of Christ, which ultimately turned to worship as well as the respect for the Prophet Muhammad, which in some way has turned to perhaps a higher version of veneration, yet not being able, by Muslims to be considered worship, worship being reserved for the One God. This being said, Gnosticism, at least contextually here can apply to any of the three monotheistic religions in its veneration of the Batin, or inner knowledge of Christ, Muhammad or for that matter God.

As argued or described in The Politics of Jesus: The Disciple of Christ and the Way of Jesus, that we often find “ourselves” willing to raise self to the level of The Lord, Jesus yet stay just shy of maintaining God-like status. For instance, though a disciple of Christ, Paul is often referred to as an Apostle, a status reserved for the twelve selected by Jesus. In this respect, Paul has been seen by many as kidnapping or hijacking the New Testament. Though I do not believe this was his intent.

Human beings indeed, specifically some Christian sects believe that they are indeed made in the image and likeness of God. In 1John 1:5-7 God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, then we share together a common life…

We find in Luke 6:32-36 that, if you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you…. But you must love our enemies, and do good and lend without expecting return: you will be children of the Most High for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate.

Similarly, in Matthew 543-48 to Love your enemies and pray for your persecutors; only so can you be children of your heavenly Father, who makes the sun rise on good and bad alike and sends the rain on the honest and dishonest. You must therefore be all goodness, just as your heavenly Father is all good.

Though perhaps semantically, there is a difference between John and Luke/Matthew portraying humans that can achieve a demi god or God like status in zahir, or outside behavior.  The Gnostics at this point may have had a better insight to the allegorical, or perhaps mystical vision of God’s spiritual relationship with not only Jesus, but the other prophets as well.

Realistically, God like status or walking in the light as God is the light is a goal that cannot be reached, no matter what sect, preacher, imam or priest tells you. We are, who we are. Perfectly imperfect and incapable of being God. I dare say that this would pertain as well to Jesus in the flesh.

While researching it has become increasingly apparent to me that there is a Sunnah of Esa, or Jesus.

There is a Sunnah/Sunnat of every prophet. Allah Subhana wa ta’ala as well, has the original Sunnah. These simply meaning a tradition of practice, a way of life we can expect from. Jesus however, was or is the most unpredictable. Perhaps he being the only one knowing what was expected of him up to and including his death. That is where the traditions of Christ changed between the orthodox and the gnostic. Needing to present the Jesus that I/we want, versus the Jesus that was, versus the Jesus that will be is beyond the ability of most, if not all. At this point the traditions need to follow the concept of the author, as opposed to God. Truly, the information gleaned from the gnostic gospels, the recovered scripture and the known scripture (Holy Bible) should be enough to truly resolve the mystery, yet is it want to be solved.

Son of God, or God the Son.

This is a brief paper I submitted in 2014 as part of a course offered by the Hartford Seminary. It was led by Dr. Mahmoud Ayoub and  Rev. Nick Mumejian.

 

Is it possible to be the Son of God, without being God the Son? The possibilities are becoming more evident as the weeks go by, yet the questions progressively compound yet simplify the meaning. One of the core Christian values is yes, but how do we achieve that conclusion? At this time, in this day, it has become more than just believing on faith alone. As the exploration of new meanings, revisiting old meanings, as well as the discoveries of new sources (IE Gospel of Judas) has been beneficial to scholars studying both sides of the Jesus/God/Jesus turmoil.

The Gospel of Luke, as well as the Qur’an are similarly described, with the Qur’an being a bit more graphic in it’s explanation. I believe that Allah swt was pointing and reaffirming to His Creations the oneness of the word between the “divinely inspired” Luke, and the direct word of God in the Qur’an. The author of Luke pointing out that Maryam was filled with the Holy Spirit , while the Qur’an  was specific to mention the Angel Jibril (Gabriel) as being the vehicle chosen by Allah to impregnate Maryam, without human conception, which would of course make him divine, or a son of God.

One significant, or at least significant to me point is that Jesus “true followers” fasted during Ramadan, and prayed facing the Ka’bah . Al Islam prayed initially facing Jerusalem until roughly 624, while the Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu Alaihi Was Salam was in Medina. This of course would put praying toward the Ka’bah about six hundred years earlier.

Now here I need to veer from the course of Dr Ayoub’s Essays and reach into my own Roman Catholic upbringing, Dimitte me Dominus. The story of Paul began as Paul was either a Jew working as a Roman soldier/mercenary named Saul, or was roman. After supervising the stoning of the martyr St Stephen he was thrown from his horse after a heavenly order and became blind. While blind he had revelations, regained his sight and became a Christian. Not just any Christian, but the Christian who spread the word far and wide that Jesus was/is God.

Abu Ja’far al Tusi (Nasir al-Din al-Tusi?) debates that it is impossible for God to have children, according to verse. This, he argues “if all that is in the heavens and the earth is His possession, then both Jesus and the angels who are brought near to Him are slaves under His dominion.  A child must be by necessity be the same genus as his father, but the object of an act is never of the same genus as the subject. Every corporeal being is an object of God’s act. There is therefore no one like Him in any way Exalted be attributes of His creatures.” This subjectively states that there is no way, no how that God would, or could make an equal to Hu. Yet again in my belief, denying the All of God, That God is not created, yet nowhere did God say that He can’t create a son, which brings me back to is Jesus, being the Son of God, make him God the Son.

  Leirvik, while summarizing the past work of Dr. Ayoub seemed to summarize in a small chapter addendum “The Significance of Suffering”. Yet in this summary I’m not sure he qualified Dr Ayoub’s intentions. While Shi’i and Sunni Islam are indeed different in some doctrinal issues, but they are still based in the same root. The Qur’an. Hadith, both Sunni and Shi’i come to similar conclusions about the divinity of Jesus, with Shi’i perhaps more general in their belief of Jesus, and the belief that the Twelve Imams are indeed moderators between believers and God.

  Still, my enduring question, and answer is, is Jesus, the Son of God, or God the Son.

Abdul Khaliq