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March 2012 eGazette – Separation of Mosque-Church and State‏

Al Islam eGazette

Khalifatul Masih V, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad: ‘Separation of Mosque-Church and State!’

On the 2nd Day of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Germany’s Annual Convention (Jalsa Salana) on 25th June 2011, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), Khalifatul Masih V, Fifth Successor to the Promised Messiah(as) and Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, delivered an address to an audience of over 300 non-Ahmadi guests. The majority of the guests were of German origin, whilst delegations from Macedonia, Slovenia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Malta, Hungary, Lithuania, Estonia, and various Arab countries were also in attendance. The guests included people from various professions, including doctors, teachers, lawyers, politicians, as well as ordinary citizens. We present below the transcript of the address delivered by Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba):

All the distinguished guests: Assalamo‘Alaikum Wa RahmatullaheWa Barakatohu – Peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all. First of all I would like to thank all of the guests who, despite not being a part of our religion, are attending this event taking place within our Annual Convention. This program today has been organized specifically for our non-Ahmadi friends, and indeed the majority, or at least quite a number of guests, are non-Muslim. Certainly, your attendance at this event demonstrates your broad-mindedness, whereby as citizens of Germany, you appreciate that it is important to understand and recognize each another, irrespective of religious differences. A large majority of the Ahmadis in Germany are not of German origin. In fact, apart from just a few people, the vast majority are of either Pakistani or Asian origin. This shows that not only have you come here irrespective of religious differences, but also irrespective of national and cultural differences. It is said that some of Germany’s indigenous population has Asian ancestry. It may seem that many of the world’s nations are divided by their cultures and languages, but the truth is that their cultures and languages often have common roots. If we look, for example, at the case of the Indo-Pak-sub-continent, we observe that for a very long period various nations came and inhabited its lands. If we look just at Pakistan, we find that dozens of tribes and ‘brotherhood’ systems existed. Over many eras these distinct groups came to form one nation. … Look at the true picture of Islam portrayed by the Ahmadiyya community. It is on these teachings that you should base your judgment.

In this speech, Khalifatul Masih V, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad has also stressed, separation of Mosque-Church and State. He says:

In one verse, the Holy Qur’an teaches us that: there should be no compulsion in matters of faith (Ch.2:V.257). Some of you may not be aware that this verse was revealed when the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw) had already established a government in Madinah. At the time, a covenant had already been made with the Jews and other tribes, and a functioning system of government was in place in which the Holy Prophet (saw) had already been accepted as Head of State. The injunction to keep religion and government independent of each other was revealed at that time and in those circumstances, even though the difference between right and wrong had become manifest, and even though the Muslims believed their religion to be true and their teachings to be unparalleled. With this injunction it became clear that these excellent teachings were to be spread through love and affection, rather than by force or by acting unjustly towards others. Allah has said that a requirement for a just government is that it should separate religious matters from matters of State, and every citizen should be afforded his due rights. This principle is absolute and without exception, to the extent that you must act justly even with those people who have displayed hatred towards you, and who due to this opposition have persecuted you repeatedly in every possible way. The Holy Qur’an states: O ye who believe! Be steadfast in the cause of Allah, bearing witness in equity; and let not a people’s enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice. Be always just, that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah. Surely, Allah is Aware of what you do. (Ch.5:V.9) This is the key principle to running a government, that religion should play no part in it. Religious differences should not be an obstacle to the implementation of justice.

To read the views of Khalifatul Masih V, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad further click here


Solomonic wisdom needed to establish Separation of Mosque-Church-Synagogue and State

By Zia H Shah MD

The Judgment of Solomon refers to a story from the Hebrew Bible in which King Solomon of Israel ruled between two women both claiming to be the mother of a child. It has become a metaphor referring to a wise judge who uses a stratagem to determine the truth, tricking the parties into revealing their true feelings. Specifically, the judge pretends that he will destroy the subject matter of a dispute, rather than allowing either disputing party to win at the expense of the other.

The story is recounted in 1Kings 3:16-28. Two young women who lived in the same house and who both had an infant son came to Solomon for a judgment. One of the women claimed that the other, after accidentally smothering her own son while sleeping, had exchanged the two children to make it appear that the living child was hers. The other woman denied this and so both women claimed to be the mother of the living son and said that the dead boy belonged to the other.

After some deliberation, King Solomon called for a sword to be brought before him. He declared that there is only one fair solution: the live son must be split in two, each woman receiving half of the child. Upon hearing this terrible verdict, the boy’s true mother cried out, “Please, My Lord, give her the live child—do not kill him!” However, the liar, in her bitter jealousy, exclaimed, “It shall be neither mine nor yours—divide it!” Solomon instantly gave the live baby to the real mother, realizing that the true mother’s instincts were to protect her child, while the liar revealed that she did not truly love the child. The reputation of the king greatly increased when all the people of Israel heard of this wise judgment.

However, in Judaism, in the time of Solomon in the seventh century BC, there was no distinction between the sacred and the profane. This lack of separation of the Temple and State or Synagogue and State in Judaism should become fairly apparent from a quick reading of some of the verses of the Old Testament. If any one doubts this premise, let me suggest the reading of a short article Violence in the Bible and Jihad in the Quran. King David was a ruler and his son Solomon was not only a king, a prophet, a writer but also a judge as depicted in the picture above. Unlike Judea our planet has changed into a pluralistic society, a global village, with a population of seven billion, which is constantly buzzing with interaction. Two billion Christians are interacting with 1.5 billion Muslims, a billion Hindus, half a billion Buddhists and 15 million Jews, in discussion forums, social media and chat rooms. Not to mention millions of agnostics and atheists among their ranks, some enjoying listening to Christmas carols and others not knowing what carols mean. Yet each religious person is carrying a world view, which in some if not many ways, denies the world view of others, so something got to give. All countries are signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which enshrines the human dignity and religious freedom of all of us, but almost all countries are violating these rights in some sense by maintaining certain laws that favor the religion of the majority. So, let me now catalog a few of these violations in different countries of the world.

Right wing political parties in almost all countries, including India and USA, are claiming special rights or a metaphorical first born child, for religious majorities, even in the sphere of governance and state. All the political movements to introduce Sharia laws, the Cairo declaration and the blasphemy laws in the so called Muslim countries are prime examples of similar violation or lack of Solomonic wisdom.

To read more click here


Queen of England: ‘The role of the Church is to Defend free Practice of all Faiths!’

Speaking at the first public event to mark her Diamond Jubilee, the Queen said that the concept of the established Church is “commonly under-appreciated” and “occasionally misunderstood”.

She said the Church was “woven into the fabric of this country” and had helped to build a better society, but added that the Church of England has a duty to protect the freedom of all faiths in the country.

Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms, head of the 54 member Commonwealth of Nations, and, in her role as the British monarch, Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

To watch the Queen’s video click here


The Separation of Church and State Is Impossible: Unless of course it is divinely sanctioned

The New Yorker (blog) February 15, 2012: by Rollo Romig

“Religion is the basis and Foundation of Government.” That’s something James Madison wrote, in 1785. Except he didn’t really write it—or, rather, he did write those words, but with a bunch of other words before and after “religion,” and the point he was getting at had to do with individual rights, not God in government. It’s the kind of out-of-context quotation that gets passed around the blogosphere by people who want to assert that the Founding Fathers were stateside apostles, who’d been guided to the idea of America by the light of a deep religious faith. Fortunately, for secularists, the quote is a sham.

But what if the religious conservatives are right? What if the secularist dream—a true separation of church and state—is actually impossible? What if politics requires religion in order to function? These are among the questions that the philosopher Simon Critchley works over in his new book, “The Faith of the Faithless,” which takes as its starting point a line that Oscar Wilde actually did write, from the depths of prison: “Everything to be true must become a religion.” For readers of Critchley’s earlier works, this avenue of inquiry may come as surprise. Critchley, after all, has written that philosophy begins in “religious disappointment”—or, more bluntly, “the death of God”—and believes that “the heart of the horror of the present” is the deep entanglement of religion into politics. Nonetheless, he’s concluded, “with no particular joy,” that the two are not meant to become untangled. All political forms, he writes, are best understood as sacred ideas in secular dress.

I sat down for tea with Critchley in his Brooklyn Heights brownstone last week to ask him what he meant. Is a truly secular politics even possible? “I don’t think there’s ever been any such thing as secularism,” Critchley told me. “Even if you look at things like social democratic forms of government, which would believe themselves entirely secular, they’re not. If you look at a country like Sweden, it has taken the moral teachings of Lutheranism and combined them with a form of utilitarian ethics into a form of social behavior, which people think of as just the way things are. But for me, different forms of political life are different forms of what’s sacred.” Every state, every government, he said, requires “something that sanctifies it.”

In part, what Critchley’s talking about is “civil religion,” a term Rousseau coined to describe all the mechanisms—symbols, rituals, relics, songs, ceremonies—that bind a polity together. In America, Critchley said, it consists of “things like the Pledge of Allegiance, the worship of the flag, the cult of the war dead, the various traditions and celebrations that make up the annual life of the republic.” (To witness American civil religion in full expression, look no further than Whitney Houston’s ecstatic performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl XXV.)

Ours is a nation founded on a creed, the Declaration of Independence, and guided by a sacred text, the Constitution, which, as Critchley puts it, “you can’t be against—it’s just a question of how you’re gonna be for it.” And our history has long been presented to us in religious terms. As Michael Kammen writes in his epic study of how Americans interpret their tradition, “Mystic Chords of Memory,” historic sites such as Mount Vernon or colonial Williamsburg were conceived not as living classrooms or tourist traps but as “shrines,” as stops on a pilgrimage. But American civil religion really took hold—and, not coincidentally, America first became a coherent nation—with Abraham Lincoln. “Lincoln gave voice to the providential aspect of American civil religion,” Critchley told me, “the sense that the force of history is with the United States, and war was a necessary crucible out of which the new American identity had to be formed, and that was somehow also the will of God.” Lincoln was even a martyr, shot down on a Good Friday.

But isn’t this all just metaphor? Isn’t Critchley conflating religion with mere nationalism? To an extent, sure. But the connection is more direct than that.

To read further click here


Those defending US Constitution from sharia must have failed high school civics

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

By Reza Aslan and Harris Zafar / February 29, 2012

There are those who would have you believe that Islamic law, or Sharia, is taking over America. They seem to allege that the 1 percent of the American population that is Muslim is on the verge of a total takeover of the United States, and if Americans are not vigilant, soon we’ll all be stoning adulterers and chopping off the hands of thieves.

Take Rep. Allen West (R) of Florida, who recently alleged that, “there is an infiltration of the sharia practice into all of our operating systems in our country as well as across Western civilization. So we must be willing to recognize that enemy.”

If that kind of hyperbolic statement sounds ludicrous, it’s because it is. Yet nearly two-dozen states have proposed legislation to prohibit the use of Sharia.

To read further click here



March 2012


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Muslim Sunrise



Links from Islam for the West

Violence in the Bible and Jihad in the Quran

Religion, Politics and Human Rights

Sharia Law: Concept of Enforcement?

How Shariah, an Intended Compass for Peace, Became a Tool of Oppression

An invitation to other religions: demonstrating human rights and Universal Brotherhood from your scriptures

‘Let the Muslim be my Master in Outward Things!’ References to Islam in the Promotion of Religious Tolerance in Christian Europe


From the Archives of Alislam-eGazette

September 2011

October 2010

May 2011

June 2009


Demystifying Shariah

Source / Courtesy: Washington Post

By Nasim Rehmatullah and Amjad Mahmood Khan

Shariah is a misunderstood and misused concept. Critics of Islam frequently employ terms like “creeping shariah” to stoke fear amongst the masses. The Park 51 controversy and the increasing media focus on Islam provide an opportunity to educate Americans about the true teachings and practices of Islam concerning shariah.

Shariah literally means “a path to life-giving water,” and refers to a defined path upon which all God-fearing people are advised to tread. It is grounded in the recognition of God’s existence. Shariah presupposes that there is a God. God reveals His desire of how man should shape his destiny, and God’s will is manifested in the form of certain laws or principles. These laws or principles constitute shariah.

Shariah is not unique to Islam. Every faith has its own form of shariah. In the United States, for example, our legal system already permits some narrow civil matters to be settled through alternative dispute resolution. Among such alternative mechanisms is the beit din, or rabbinical law courts. American Jews routinely go before beit din to arbitrate real estate deals, divorces and business disputes.

To read more click here


Human Rights, Human Principles, and the Case of Derogatory Cartoons

Source: Review of Religions

By: Jonathan Butterworth

Muslim Sunrise

In this era, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi, who was prophesied to appear by the past scriptures of religions and by the Holy Qur’an as the Messiah, has explained to us the true teachings of Islam and the correct practice of the Holy Prophet, may peace be on him. Hence, in light of his teachings, when the Danish cartoons were published in 2005, the Community he left behind – the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, under the auspices of the 5th Successor to the Promised Messiah, may peace be on him, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba) – displayed the true manner in which Muslims should react to such incidents. Whilst some other Muslims caused damage and destruction to life and property, Ahmadi Muslims presented the true and exemplary teachings of Prophet Muhammad, and used peaceful means of voicing their protest.

Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba) also delivered a series of Friday Sermons, beamed around the world through the Community’s 24-hour satellite television station, Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International (Sky Channel 787 in the UK) in which he unequivocally denounced hurtful speech, and also the disorderly reaction of certain misinformed Muslim groups. He expounded the beautiful model of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, and explained how a true Muslim should behave in such situations. Thus, an article was prepared by the Ahmadiyya Community which was sent to the newspaper that had published the cartoons. Islam’s real teachings were expounded as well the appropriate manner in which to protest; namely through peaceful ‘Jihad [struggle] of the Pen’ to express disapproval and anguish at the publication of the images, rather than inflammatory public rallies. The people of Denmark received the article positively, which was published in the newspaper. The President of the Journalists’ Union extended an invitation to the Ahmadiyya Community, where the matter was further explained. The Union were told of the beautiful teachings brought by the Holy Prophet; his high morals, tolerance, compassion for others and also his civility. Numerous meetings were held with ministers and others, articles published, and discussions took place where the correct teachings of Islam were explained. One cartoonist plainly stated that had such meetings taken place previously, and had he known what Islam truly stood for, he would never have made the caricature.

It is strongly believed that when a person becomes acquainted with the true teachings of Islam, he or she would never harbor a desire to ridicule its religious personages, but would instead praise the virtues Islam promotes. And when certain misled Muslim organizations comprehend the true meaning of the verses of the Holy Qur’an, they would not react violently to criticisms of Islam, but would rather respond with wisdom, love, prayers and logic—which were the manners in which Muhammad himself responded to insult and offensive speech.

To read further click here


 

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