February 2012 eGazette – The Majesty that Islam was and soon will be!
Email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.
So said Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Founder of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Have you any notion what was the strange event that occurred in the desert country of Arabia when hundreds of thousands of the dead were revived within a brief period and those who had been misguided through generations put on Divine color, and those who were blind obtained sight, and those who had been dumb began to speak of the understanding of the Divine, and the world underwent a revolution which had never been seen or heard of before? It was the supplications during dark nights of one who had lost himself in God which raised a clamor in the world, and manifested such wonders as appeared impossible in the case of that unlearned helpless one. Send down Thy blessings and peace, O Allah, on him and his people according to the amount of pain and anguish he felt for his Ummah, and pour down upon him the lights of Thy mercy forever.
[Barakat-ud-Du'a, Ruhani Khaza'in, Vol. 6, pp. 10-11]
I always wonder how high was the status of this Arabian Prophet, whose name was Muhammad, (thousands of blessings and peace be upon him). One cannot reach the limit of his high status and it is not given to man to estimate correctly his spiritual effectiveness. It is a pity that his rank has not been recognized, as it should have been. He was the champion who restored to the world the Unity of God which had disappeared from the world; he loved God in the extreme and his soul melted out of sympathy for mankind. Therefore, God, Who knew the secret of his heart, exalted him above all the Prophets and all the first ones and the last ones and bestowed upon him in his lifetime all that he desired.
He is the fountainhead of every grace and a person who claims any superiority without acknowledging his grace is not a man but is the spawn of Satan, because the Holy Prophet has been bestowed the key to every exaltation and he has been given the treasury of every understanding. He who does not receive through him is deprived forever. I am nothing and possess nothing. I would be most ungrateful if I were not to confess that I have learnt of the true Unity of God through this Prophet. The recognition of the Living God we have achieved through this perfect Prophet and through his light. The honor of converse with God, through which we behold His countenance, has been bestowed upon me through this great Prophet. The ray of this sun of guidance falls like sunshine upon me and I continue illumined only so long as I am adjusted towards it.
[Haqiqat-ul-Wahi, Ruhani Khaza'in, Vol. 22, pp. 118-119]
To read additional excerpts about the Holy Prophet Muhammad click here
Umar Farooq: Who pioneered religious freedom for the whole of humanity!
The following is a slightly modified version of a short speech I gave in Vestal High School, New York to show that Islam is a religion of peace and that revelation has contributed in a big way to human knowledge and history.
When the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, claimed Monotheism in the polytheistic society of Mecca they turned against him and he and his followers had to face persecution for 13 long years. He migrated to Medina but the Meccans did not leave him alone there and attacked Medina, it was in these circumstances that the following verses were revealed:
“Permission to fight is given to those against whom war is made, because they have been wronged — and Allah indeed has power to help them — Those who have been driven out from their homes unjustly only because they said, ‘Our Lord is Allah’ — And if Allah did not repel some men by means of others, there would surely have been pulled down cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques.” (Al Quran 22:40-41)
By mentioning Churches and Synagogues before Mosques, the revelation was laying the foundation of genuine religious freedom for the whole of humanity.
Book Review: ‘Islamic Jerusalem and its Christians: A History of Tolerance and Tensions’
By Maher Y. Abu-Munshar
Reviewed by Rabia Mir, Canada
History saw 9/11 as that splash of color upon its canvas which altered every other color there was, redefining the very image upon the canvas. But perhaps the most profound change that 9/11 produced was one of perspective. Perspectives on Islam became abundant. What was once a faith that was indeed generally condemned but simultaneously ignored became the most provocative punching bag phenomenon. But once the shock of 9/11 passed, and the fervor of justice and vengeance died down, what came to light was an incredible introspection into the heart of Islam–into the heart of Islam and its relationship with the West.
There were many books written about Islam before 9/11 and perhaps even more since: How Islam is a source of fear and affliction; how it oppresses its followers into a self-crushing submission. There have been many books written about Islam and its relationship to the West. How it subdues its opponents with treachery and terror; how it treats non-believers with contempt and cruelty. While all these topics are often discussed by Western authors (some steadfastly deriding and insulting while others standing strong for reason, cohesion and peace and reconciliation) these subjects have not been, even after 9/11, dissected by Muslim authors in an academic fashion. Most Muslims respond to such accusations in a defensive manner, often effacing their dignity in a struggle to justify their beliefs to Western critics or becoming childishly and uselessly engaged in an offensive against the West, striving to expose it as a weak and hypocritical judge of Islam. But Maher Y. Abu-Manshar follows neither of these two paths in his book Islamic Jerusalem and its Christians: A History of Tolerance and Tensions. He addresses Islam’s historical relationship with the West in an entirely academic fashion, as a student of the Islamic Jerusalem studies.
Announcing a new Website for Christian and agnostic readers: Islam for the West:
In view of the Hadith, ‘In the latter days, the sun shall rise from the West,’ a new website has been made to introduce true Islam to Christian, agnostic and atheist readers. It has several different pages, in addition to the homepage, page on Christianity, Islam, the Holy Quran the page on ‘Revelation,’ is worthy of your special consideration, as many in the West are now in complete denial of revelation, whatsoever.
It also has a Muslim Heritage tab under About Us tab, which will link a lot of our work on this subject.
The Muslim Times featuring a BBC Documentary by James Al-Khalili
Jim Al-Khalili OBE (born 20 September 1962) is an Iraqi-born British theoretical physicist, author and science communicator. He is Professor of Theoretical Physics and Chair in the Public Engagement in Science at the University of Surrey. He has hosted several BBC productions about science and is a frequent commentator about science in other British media venues.
Born in Baghdad in 1962 to an Iraqi father and English mother, Al-Khalili studied physics at the University of Surrey. He graduated with a B.Sc. degree in 1986 and stayed on to pursue a Ph.D. degree in nuclear reaction theory, which he obtained in 1989. In 1989, he was awarded a Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) postdoctoral fellowship at University College London.
Al-Khalili returned to Surrey in 1991, first as a research assistant then lecturer. In 1994, Al-Khalili was awarded an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Advanced Research Fellowship for five years, during which time he established himself as a leading expert on mathematical models of exotic atomic nuclei. He has published widely in his field.
Al-Khalili is now a professor of physics at the University of Surrey where he also holds a chair in the Public Engagement in Science. He is a Trustee and Vice President of the British Science Association.
The documentary is titled: Science & Islam – The Language of Science — a BBC Documentary. It is available on the Muslim Times’ video page and Youtube:
Medical Breakthroughs in Islamic Medicine
By Zakaria Virk, Canada
Physicians occupied a high social position in the Arab and Persian culture. Prominent physicians served as ministers or judges of the government. and were also appointed as royal physicians. Physicians were well-versed in logic, philosophy and natural sciences. All of the prominent Muslim philosophers earned their livelihood through the practice of medicine.
Muslim physicians made astounding break throughs in the fields of allergy, anatomy, bacteriology, botany, dentistry, embryology, environmentalism, etiology, immunology, microbiology, obstetrics, ophthalmology, pathology, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, surgery, therapy, urology, zoology, and the pharmaceutical sciences.
The Islamic medical scholars gathered vast amounts of information, from around the known world, added their own observations and developed techniques and procedures that would form the basis of modern medicine. In the history of medicine, Islamic medicine stands out as the period of greatest advance, certainly before the technology of the 20th century.
In 2012, the Netherlands and Turkey will celebrate 400 years of diplomatic relations. Anti–‐Islam party leader Geert Wilders spoke out against celebrating relations with the Muslim nation, which he portrayed as cruel and suppressive. He was not aware that his noise about Dutch-‐Turkish relations would draw attention to the fact that the very foundations of the Netherlands and its free religious policy are historically connected to the Muslim Ottoman Empire.
The celebrated diplomatic relations are the coming of the first official ambassador to Istanbul in
1612. But the earliest relations go back another 46 years and are much more interesting. These relations are at the roots of the struggle for independence of the united provinces of the
Netherlands against the Catholic Empire of Spain of which they were part. When the Protestant sects emerged within the Catholic world, their followers were ruthlessly prosecuted, many burned at the stake.
A Book about Muslim Heritage: ‘Arabic Islamic Science and The Making Of European Renaissance’
By Prof. George Saliba
George Saliba is Professor of Arabic and Islamic Science at the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, Columbia University, New York, United States, where he has been working since 1979.
Saliba received his Bachelor of Science (1963) in mathematics and a Master of Arts (1965) from the American University of Beirut; he earned a Master of Science degree in Semitic languages and a doctorate in Islamic sciences from the University of California, Berkeley. He has received a number of awards and honors, including the History of Science Prize given by the Third World Academy of Science in 1993 and the History of Astronomy Prize in 1996 from the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science. He was also selected as a Distinguished Kluge Chair, at the Library of Congress (2005-2006), and as a Distinguished Carnegie Scholar (2009-2010).
In his website he writes about himself: “I study the development of scientific ideas from late antiquity till early modern times, with a special focus on the various planetary theories that were developed within the Islamic civilization and the impact of such theories on early European astronomy.”
Saliba has been doing research about possible transfer of mathematical and astronomical knowledge from the Islamic world to Europe during the 15-16th centuries.
The political dramas unfolding in Tunisia, Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries present pivotal opportunities: They improve the prospects for harnessing science and its values to advance sustainable and equitable development, openness and democracy in the Islamic world.
During Europe’s so-called Dark Ages, Islamic scientists led the world in innovation. In this “golden age” of Muslim science, Muslim scholars made advances that remain cornerstones of our scientific outlook. Al-Khwarizmi developed algebra, for example, and The Canon of Medicine by Ibn Sina (Latinized as Avicenna) became the standard medical text used in Europe for centuries.
Enquiry and debate are the essence of the scientific method – and the foundations of any open society. It’s not surprising that, during this era, respect for science transcended religion, and scholars of all faiths exchanged ideas and advanced learning.
But after the 13th century, Muslim societies fell into a long decline. One feature of that decline was a mistrust of innovation by Muslim leaders. Consequently, today’s Islamic world is characterized by low levels of science, development and openness.
Many predominantly Muslim countries are ruled by authoritarian governments. Half the 57 member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference are developing countries. And 15 of the 20 countries that spend the least on the research and development needed to escape poverty belong to the OIC.
Recently, though, Muslim leaders have shown signs of increasing respect for science. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, for instance, have invested large amounts in research universities, and Turkey increased its R&D spending by 600 per cent in the past decade. Such investments have been paying off: More Muslim women, for example, are now earning advanced science degrees.
Alhazen: the Father of Optics and the First Scientist
By Zia Shah
Anyone who has ever used vision glasses or contact lenses, taken a picture with a camera or watched television has a reason to be thankful to the Father of Optics, Alhazen.
Latinized as Alhazen, in full, Abū Alī al-Ḥasan ibn al-Haytham, born c. 965, Basra, Iraq, died c. 1040, Cairo, Egypt, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, “mathematician and astronomer who made significant contributions to the principles of optics and the use of scientific experiments.”
David L. Shenkenberg writes in an article titled, ‘Before Newton, there was Alhazen,’ for Photonix.com:
“A millennium ago, an Arab scientist authored more than 100 works on optics, astronomy, mathematics and religious philosophy. Although he was arguably one of the greatest scientists of all time, his name is little known to people living in Western countries today. “
If we read all the works of Alhazen, Roger Bacon from 14th century and Sir Isaac Newton side by side, we may realize that a lot of work attributed to Sir Isaac Newton truly belongs to Alhazen. The paradigm of two civilizations, arising from the politics of crusades, deprived Alhazen of these honors. The time is now ripe to begin the study of the works of these three gifted giants, who were standing on the shoulders of prior giants, side by side, to have a better understanding of the history of science.
Alhazen also described the refraction and the dispersion of light into its component colors, ideas credited to Isaac Newton. “Certainly in the field of optics, Newton himself stood on the shoulders of a giant who lived 700 years earlier,” said Jim Al-Khalili, a physics professor at the University of Surrey in the UK. Khalili recently narrated “The Empire of Reason,” about history of science that is part of a three-part series on medieval Islamic scientists.
Nobel Laureate in physics, Dr. Abdus Salam wrote:
“Ibn-al-Haitham (Alhazen, 965–1039 CE) was one of the greatest physicists of all time. He made experimental contributions of the highest order in optics. He enunciated that a ray of light, in passing through a medium, takes the path which is the easier and ‘quicker’. In this he was anticipating Fermat’s Principle of Least Time by many centuries. He enunciated the law of inertia, later to become Newton’s first law of motion. Part V of Roger Bacon’s ‘Opus Majus’ is practically an annotation to Ibn al Haitham’s Optics.”
The punch line here is, “Part V of Roger Bacon’s ‘Opus Majus’ is practically an annotation to Ibn al Haitham’s Optics.” This is the theme of this knol to demonstrate a smooth transition of science from the Muslim era to European renaissance.
Rising of the Sun from the West in the Latter Days
By Zia H Shah MD
This article was originally published in the summer 2011 volume of the Muslim Sunrise.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, said and it is common knowledge among the Muslim circles, “In the Latter Days, the sun shall rise from the West.” The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believes that this hadith implies that religion of Islam will spread in the West in our times. Is this wishful thinking or are there reasons to believe that this prophecy from 14 centuries ago may come true soon?
Alislam’s newly developed MTA page to catch-up on great content produced by MTA International. Watch Live Stream in multiple languages, view latest Friday Sermon and any of the MTA’s program that you missed. Moreover, view schedule with local time zone to set your calendars. visit alislam.org/mta
Alislam Media Library
2500 hours of 4000 MTA programs have been uploaded on to youtube. Many are being indexed as well. For example, users can fast forward to a question in Faith Matters, Liqa Ma’al Arab and Fiqihi Masahil, with simple click on a link to a question. alislam.org/v
ePub & iBooks
10 Jama’at books available now in ePub format. With this format, you can download books for your iPad, Kindle, Nook and other mobile devices. It gives many options to users to copy/paste text, email text from book etc. Good for research and ease of reading. http://alislam.org/books/epub
Many Jama’at books are now also available in an audio (mp3) format. You can download these books for free for your mobile device and listen to them.
Jalsa Bangladesh concluded successfully with the blessed address by Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad Khalifa-tul-Maish V(aba). Jalsa and the concluding address was streamed live by MTA International and Alislam. Watch Concluding address from link below.
Pragmatic role of Muslim Heritage — German Interior Minister: ‘German Identity is Shaped by Christianity.’ But, is it True?
Source: Spiegel International
In a SPIEGEL interview, German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich discusses the motives of Norwegian killer Anders Breivik, calls for an end to anonymity on the Internet and explains why Islam is not part of German identity.
SPIEGEL: Minister Friedrich, the massacre in Norway has sparked a discussion about the political background to the attacks. Is Anders Breivik a madman or the first anti-Muslim terrorist?
Friedrich: He is a madman, but he’s also more than that. I’m not talking about insanity in a medical sense. This sort of a crime, where someone shoots children in cold blood as they desperately beg for their lives, is incomprehensible for any person with normal emotions. But other factors must also have entered into the equation, factors that made this crime possible in the first place. Investigators are now trying to determine what they are.
SPIEGEL: Is this sort of an attack possible in Germany?
Friedrich: We are increasingly concerned about radicalized perpetrators acting alone. The deadly shots at American soldiers at the Frankfurt airport were also fired by a lone perpetrator, in that case an Islamist, who had become radicalized on the Internet. We have more and more people who isolate themselves from their social environment and immerse themselves into an online world. It changes them, usually in ways that no one notices. This constitutes a serious threat, also in Germany.
SPIEGEL: Have politicians paid too little attention to the extremist anti-Islamic scene that has developed in Europe in recent years?
Friedrich: There are always defensive reactions against what we perceive to be foreign. We have to incorporate these defensive reflexes into a rational discussion process through prevention and education. In Germany, so far, we have been relatively successful at this. We are a cosmopolitan and open country.
SPIEGEL: And yet there is also a growing movement in Germany that inveighs against Islam, especially on the Internet, and warns against the supposed threat of foreign infiltration. Breivik is apparently not alone with his ideas.
Friedrich: It’s a long way from the crude political theories that certain Islamophobic blogs disseminate on the Internet to the mass murder Breivik committed. But you are, of course, right: There are certain political views in this scene that we find shocking, because they are unconsidered and full of prejudices. But we also have to realize that the abuse of Islam by Islamist extremists has contributed to this.
SPIEGEL: Anders Breivik claims to have acted in the name of Christendom. In doing so, is he misusing Christianity in a way that’s similar to how Osama bin Laden misused Islam?
Friedrich: Someone who disregards individuals’ life and limb, and their dignity as human beings, cannot invoke Christianity.
SPIEGEL: Did politicians like Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, or bloggers like “Fjordman,” who Breivik often quoted and whose identity has since been revealed, pave the way for this killer?
Friedrich: Nowadays politically motivated perpetrators like Breivik can find all kinds of radical, unsophisticated theories, especially on the Internet. They can maneuver from blog to blog, spending all their time in this intellectual soup. At some point they manage to combine it all into a cohesive worldview. But this tells us that the Internet creates completely new challenges. The principles of our legal system must also apply on the web. In democratic conflict, we argue openly on the basis of our constitutional rules of behavior. Why should this be different on the Internet? I know that I will be severely berated in the online community for this, but why don’t Fjordman and other anonymous bloggers need to disclose their true identity? Normally people use their names when they take a position. Why shouldn’t this be something that is also self-evident on the Internet?
SPIEGEL: Where is the boundary between legitimate discourse and racist or right-wing extremist agitation?
Friedrich: The boundary is set by our constitution. There can be no justification for violating the dignity of other human beings, irrespective of whether it has to do with a political or a religious view. That is the underlying consensus of our constitutional state.
Book Review: ‘Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science’
By Jim Al-Khalili
By the eighth century, with Western Europe languishing in its dark ages, the Islamic empire covered an area larger in expanse than either the Roman Empire at its height or all the lands conquered and ruled by Alexander the Great. So powerful and influential was this empire that, for a period stretching over 700 years, the international language of science was Arabic.
The teenage prince Ma’mūn would have known Baghdad at the height of its glory: a vast, beautiful city characterized by the domes and archways of its famously intricate Abbasid architecture. It had grown to become the world’s largest city just 50 years after the first brick was laid, with some estimates putting its population at more than 1 million.
Ma’mūn was not the only caliph to support scholarship and science, but he was certainly the most cultured, passionate and enthusiastic. As a young man, he memorized the Qur’an, studied the history of early Islam, recited poetry and mastered the newly maturing discipline of Arabic grammar. He also studied arithmetic and its applications in the calculation of taxes. Most importantly, he was a brilliant student of philosophy and theology, or more specifically what is referred to in Arabic as kalam, which is a form of dialectic debate and argument. The early Muslim theologians found that the techniques of kalam enabled them to hold their own in theological discussions with the Christian and Jewish scholars who lived alongside them, and who had had a head start of several centuries to hone their debating skills by studying the writings of philosophers such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle – historical figures from ancient Greece whose names would certainly have been known to the young Ma’mūn. It is even quite likely that by the early 9th century, some of their work had already been translated into Arabic.
Under Ma’mūn’s patronage, and the spirit of openness towards other religions and cultures that he fostered, many scholars from all over the empire gravitated towards Baghdad, drawn by a vibrant sense of optimism and freedom of expression. Every week, guests would be invited to the palace, wined and dined, and then begin to discuss with the caliph all manner of scholarly subjects, from theology to mathematics. He would send emissaries great distances to get hold of ancient scientific texts: one, Salman, visited Constantinople to obtain Greek texts from the Emperor Leo V (Leo the Armenian). Often, defeated foreign rulers would be required to settle the terms of surrender to him with books from their libraries rather than in gold.