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Author Topic: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.  (Read 35227 times)

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Offline FormlessTopic starter

Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« on: September 07, 2013, 12:16:50 PM »
With this thread spanning to so many pages and so many posts. Skynet , kindly compiled this table of content for easier browsing. I thank him deeply for his effort. The link is found here.





This thread inspired by a very interesting brief discussion in another thread between Retribution , Elone , Cyrano And me about a few issues regarding Islam and Muslims. Me being one , I do not mind to offer what little insight do I have to help clarify a few things to the kind comunity of E.

Please bear in mind that what I have to say is not the definite word about any of these topics , but a simple observation of what I have to offer from a neutral stand point. I am a Muslim , and I have no qualms with any other religion s'long as we have the respect we deserve as humans between one another.




Islam has many factions , but the two that dominate the grand populace of Muslims is the Sunni & the Shee'ah. The difference between the two is simple. The Sunni believes that Mohammad is the rightful prophet. And the Shee'ah believe that his cousin , Ali Bin Abitalib is the rightful prophet. But that is not how it originally began.

First allow me to say what defines a Muslim briefly. It is one phrase. " No god is there but Allah , and Mohammad is his Prophet. " Who says this and believes in it is a Muslim by default. Exclude the teachings and practices of religion because the lack of them is considered a sin , and the practice of them is like ... a scoring system to get into heavens ( Sorry for the stupid metaphor but my lack of terminology had me use this. )

This phrase was altered by the Shee'ah. But the alteration happened around the 800-900Ad era if I remember correctly. It became " No god but Allah , And Mohammad is his prophet , and Ali is his rightful Prophet. " They kept the Mohammad phrase so they would not lose it all as their numbers dwindled back then.

Now back to how it all began.

With the death of Prophet Mohammad , the Muslim feared that God's grace may have forsaken them. But 4 people stood to lead them Muslims through the path , following Prophet Mohammad's teachings. These four were the closest and most loyal followers to the prophet. Abubaker , Omar , Othman and Ali. With the death of Prophet Mohammad , Many thought that there was no reason to follow Islam anymore now that the one who called for it is dead. But the four , especially Abubaker told the people that who follows Mohammad , then he's dead. Who follows Allah ( god ) , then God never dies. Hence the conflict began.

It all started through minor debates. Islam started when humanity did not even delve into science so much. So , since Islam governs the life of a Muslim , anything new is brought into question. If the prophet was alive , anythin can be answered , but with his death and the lack of message from god , every religious figure had to ' improvise '. Abubaker ruled for only two years and then Omar came , strict , swift and harsh. Which caused many to dislike his rule , even when he was very justful. It was then that many called for Ali to be the rightful ruler because he was the prophet's cousin. That the lineage of the prophet should guide the Muslims and not anyone. Bear in mind that Abubaker , Omar and Othman were elected by the few minorities who lived in Madinah & Mecca ( Makkah ).

That was how it started. A simple conflict to whom should ' govern ' the Muslims. Nothing related to Ali as a religious figure. But just like any conflict in history , the longer it dragged , the more it mutates into something different. Several centuries down the road And those who followed Ali were calling those who did not agree with them as heathens. And so did the opposing party. ( Back then the term Sunni was not been labelled yet. )

At some point , each party conspired against the other. Skirmishes and wars , even during Ali's rule happened. And nothing could be done to avoid them. Those who were close to the Prophet started dying , and thus those who preserved peace over ideals narrowed in numbers. And those who lived by ' hearing ' about the prophet and his followers and never had a chance to see them , were the one who were driven by ' passion ' to protect the ' ideals '. When you look down history , so many occurrences happened in the same way , and that is exactly how it all happens really.

So how does any of that relate to our modern day. Look at the modern day Muslims. Which parties of Muslims are engaging in meaningless wars and causing havoc? the Shee'ah is the main faction for , Iran , Iraq , Syria & Hezbollah. As much as history has to offer , they also despise the Sunni who are mostly guided by Saudi Arabia , because the Sunni are more accepting to the western ' heathen ' presence within their soil. Thus this is what is causing these little contradictions when it comes to the portrayal of Islam.

If any more details is required , I would be happy to provide. For now I'll leave this for everyone to join. And it is not restricted to the gentlemen I mentioned at the beginning. This discussion is open for everyone.

All I ask is to be respectful of everyone. A religion is a state of mind and soul. Even an atheist deserves a respect because they share one important fundamental with any religious people. Humanity.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2015, 01:12:40 PM by Formless »

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2013, 12:56:25 PM »
Check out Maajid Nawaz. He's real good at bringing into the outlook of Radical Islam. I'll dig around for my notes for others too.

http://www.ted.com/talks/maajid_nawaz_a_global_culture_to_fight_extremism.html

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2013, 01:00:54 PM »
Thank you for a venue where I can find some insight into this topic.  I real a lot of thrillers of the international and spy genre and this is helpful in understanding the plot.  One recent read, "Fallen Angel" by Daniel Silva, used the conflict between the two as a plot device and what is written in the first post helps clarify a few things for me.

Offline Moraline

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2013, 01:02:38 PM »
Thanks for this. I know very little about Islam. It was enlightening.

So just to make sure I got this straight:

The Sunni believe that Muhammad is the prophet (full stop).
The Shee'ah believe that Ali is... (What do they believe? Do they believe that he is the rightful successor?)

Why do you think the Sunni are more tolerant of the presence of outsiders?
*I assume it's not just westerners but they are more tolerant of all outsiders in general?

Offline Hemingway

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2013, 01:11:57 PM »
To recall which is which, it may be helpful to know the full name or title of Shia Islam ( or however you which to transliterate it ), which I found transliterated on Wikipedia as Shīʻatu ʻAlī. Or the Party of Ali, if I remember my one semester of Arabic.

Edit: Not party, that's hizb, as in Ḥizbu 'llāh, or Hezbollah, or the Party of God. I think possibly "faction". But you get the idea.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2013, 01:14:01 PM by Hemingway »

Offline Retribution

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Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2013, 01:15:20 PM »
Thank you Foremless that is indeed very enlightening. I was also struck about how much alike religions are at their core. For example, as I said in the thread that originated this one I am Catholic, the original Christian church for lack of a better description. But then the Church fragmented because of politics and corruption in the hierarchy of the governing of the Church. The story of Islam sounds very similar in many ways when one refers to the split.

What I am wondering about though is why are the Shee'ah so intolerant for lack of a better description? I get the whole split when it came to succession following the Prophet's death like I said I am Catholic and the succession as to who would be Pope has had its conflicts over the ages. But when I look at the story as you laid it out I just cannot help but wonder what has made the Shee'ah so rigid?

[Edit: It also explains some of the different mannerisms in Muslims I went to college with back in the 80s. I had one Muslim woman professor who was near my age. I know she was a Sunni because we debated a lot, heck she would hunt me down at parties to carry on. That mannerism from a Muslim woman always struck me as different from what I expected. I had an Iranian classmate who was stand offish. Working on the assumption she was likely Shee'ah (I never asked) she probably viewed me as a heathen.]
« Last Edit: September 07, 2013, 01:23:34 PM by Retribution »

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2013, 01:49:28 PM »
Islam has many factions , but the two that dominate the grand populace of Muslims is the Sunni & the Shee'ah. The difference between the two is simple. The Sunni believes that Mohammad is the rightful prophet. And the Shee'ah believe that his cousin , Ali Bin Abitalib is the rightful prophet. . .

This phrase was altered by the Shee'ah. But the alteration happened around the 800-900Ad era if I remember correctly. It became " No god but Allah , And Mohammad is his prophet , and Ali is his rightful Prophet. "

This is what confused me from the other thread. Apart from book larnin', my narrow direct window onto the world of Islam comes from knowing Ismailis; in fact it was a long time before I understood that Shi'a Islam is in the minority globally speaking. And I have never heard of Shiites believing Ali is the rightful prophet instead of Muhammad. I have heard of them believing that Ali was a "friend of God" in order to emphasize the imamate coming through Muhammad's lineage, and I had always thought the Shiite Shahada was "There is no god except God, Muhammad is the messenger of the God, Ali is the Wali of God" (with the latter phrase about Ali seemingly not obligatory, although I'm guessing that varies by sect and locale). I think I get why Sunnis regard this as somewhat heretical, but it still seems to me like something a lot different in a very important way from claiming Muhammad is not the rightful prophet, no?

Offline elone

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2013, 02:12:57 PM »
Thank you Formless for this.

I am with Cyrano in not understanding that Shee'ah believe Ali as the prophet, not Mohammed. This seems odd. I know they venerate Ali who I believe was Mohammed's cousin, but where does that leave Mohammed in the overall scheme of things.

My tendency is to think of Shee'ah as those who believe in a divine lineage through the descendants of Mohammed. The Twelvers are the descendants and the last one who disappeared will someday return. This would be the Mahdi, who will return to lead Islam in something akin to the Christian Revelation. One note on Wikepedia noted that in the Koran, it was noted that Jesus would also return to help the Mahdi. Also noted was that the Mahdi would be a direct descendant of Mohammed. Would that be why the Shee'ah believe that only a descended line can rule Islam.

Like all religions, there is a lot of confusion here.

Along with others, I wonder why the two factions are so unaccepting of one another, is it that their beliefs are so strong that they cannot accept any other interpretation other than their own?

Another question, Ayatollah I assume is a religious leader, somewhat with authority like a Pope. Imam,s are local leaders and teachers. Is this correct. Does Sunni have an Ayatollah or is that strictly Shee'ah?

Thanks again for this thread. Maybe we will all learn a lot here.

Offline FormlessTopic starter

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2013, 02:37:50 PM »
Thank you everyone for taking an interest.

Callie Del Noire
Check out Maajid Nawaz. He's real good at bringing into the outlook of Radical Islam. I'll dig around for my notes for others too.

http://www.ted.com/talks/maajid_nawaz_a_global_culture_to_fight_extremism.html

This is the first time I have heard of him. But he touches on many points that makes you indeed wonder how it all works. The extremists are always driven to ' best ' their rivals , yet the democrates settles with their own achievements.

Beguile's Mistress
Thank you for a venue where I can find some insight into this topic.  I real a lot of thrillers of the international and spy genre and this is helpful in understanding the plot.  One recent read, "Fallen Angel" by Daniel Silva, used the conflict between the two as a plot device and what is written in the first post helps clarify a few things for me.

Happy to provide something insightful Mi'Lady.

Moraline
Thanks for this. I know very little about Islam. It was enlightening.

So just to make sure I got this straight:

The Sunni believe that Muhammad is the prophet (full stop).
The Shee'ah believe that Ali is... (What do they believe? Do they believe that he is the rightful successor?)

Why do you think the Sunni are more tolerant of the presence of outsiders?
*I assume it's not just westerners but they are more tolerant of all outsiders in general?

You're mostly welcome Mi'Lady.

And to answer this question , I think it has to relate to which era are we referring to. Originally , it was simply a conflict between two parties over who ' governs ' them. There was no conflict in the faith or belief itself.

But down the road , that rift in belief was formed , and those who followed Ali glorified him into a religious figure , instead of him being a righteous man. The further they went into the future , the more belief they had in that idea. So to make it simple , right now , there is a grander belief that Ali was the rightful ' prophet '. But the origins of Shee'ah does not believe it so.

Now regarding why the Sunni are more accepting of outsiders , it will require another long post if you do not mind.

Hemingway
To recall which is which, it may be helpful to know the full name or title of Shia Islam ( or however you which to transliterate it ), which I found transliterated on Wikipedia as Shīʻatu ʻAlī. Or the Party of Ali, if I remember my one semester of Arabic.

Edit: Not party, that's hizb, as in Ḥizbu 'llāh, or Hezbollah, or the Party of God. I think possibly "faction". But you get the idea.

The terms are provide are the direct names and pronunciations in the Arabic tongue. I did notice that there is a different pronunciation for them in English , but I have to look them up.

Retribution
Thank you Foremless that is indeed very enlightening. I was also struck about how much alike religions are at their core. For example, as I said in the thread that originated this one I am Catholic, the original Christian church for lack of a better description. But then the Church fragmented because of politics and corruption in the hierarchy of the governing of the Church. The story of Islam sounds very similar in many ways when one refers to the split.

What I am wondering about though is why are the Shee'ah so intolerant for lack of a better description? I get the whole split when it came to succession following the Prophet's death like I said I am Catholic and the succession as to who would be Pope has had its conflicts over the ages. But when I look at the story as you laid it out I just cannot help but wonder what has made the Shee'ah so rigid?

[Edit: It also explains some of the different mannerisms in Muslims I went to college with back in the 80s. I had one Muslim woman professor who was near my age. I know she was a Sunni because we debated a lot, heck she would hunt me down at parties to carry on. That mannerism from a Muslim woman always struck me as different from what I expected. I had an Iranian classmate who was stand offish. Working on the assumption she was likely Shee'ah (I never asked) she probably viewed me as a heathen.]

You're very welcome.

I cannot really understand it myself. Such conflicts should not linger for almost one and a half millennium. Perhaps because Mohammad was the corner stone god has provided for Islam. And with his death , there was no true guide to their future. Everyone acted on impulses. But I am afraid there is a reason lost in history. And who knows if even what we perceive today was not the fruition of something changed , altered , or even flipped completely? Some historic references mention that Ali himself was not happy about the conflict and split that happened in his time. So it was his followers who created this problem. Perhaps a search for an identity? Since Religion at that time was the identity?

Cyrano Johnson
This is what confused me from the other thread. Apart from book larnin', my narrow direct window onto the world of Islam comes from knowing Ismailis; in fact it was a long time before I understood that Shi'a Islam is in the minority globally speaking. And I have never heard of Shiites believing Ali is the rightful prophet instead of Muhammad. I have heard of them believing that Ali was a "friend of God" in order to emphasize the imamate coming through Muhammad's lineage, and I had always thought the Shiite Shahada was "There is no god except God, Muhammad is the messenger of the God, Ali is the Wali of God" (with the latter phrase about Ali seemingly not obligatory, although I'm guessing that varies by sect and locale). I think I get why Sunnis regard this as somewhat heretical, but it still seems to me like something a lot different in a very important way from claiming Muhammad is not the rightful prophet, no?

The Shahada you provided is correct. This is the one the SHee'ah pronounce these days. However , the belief behind that shahada was only conceived later on. Some even wonder if those who hold this belief at this day are true followers of the originates of their faction. In the true Islamist teachings , nothing should be altered. And that can be traced back to the Qur'an. As the Shahada was mentioned in it. And to Muslims , what is written in the Qur'an , is not be altered. To question it is a sin in fact. So when they made it their own faith that Ali was in god's favor as well as Mohammad , they broke their true Islamic faith. Of course , these are simply standards. Pronouncing the Shahada this way or the other does not have a direct impact on what your religious practices should be. Hence , where you realize that there is a certain mentality , or state of soul and mind , behind what they truly believe , both Sunni and Shee'ah.

I hope that clarifies the issues provided and forgive me for the long post.

* Shahada = The phrase a person speaks and believes in to initiate their faith in Islam.

Offline FormlessTopic starter

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2013, 02:53:41 PM »
Elone
Thank you Formless for this.

I am with Cyrano in not understanding that Shee'ah believe Ali as the prophet, not Mohammed. This seems odd. I know they venerate Ali who I believe was Mohammed's cousin, but where does that leave Mohammed in the overall scheme of things.

My tendency is to think of Shee'ah as those who believe in a divine lineage through the descendants of Mohammed. The Twelvers are the descendants and the last one who disappeared will someday return. This would be the Mahdi, who will return to lead Islam in something akin to the Christian Revelation. One note on Wikepedia noted that in the Koran, it was noted that Jesus would also return to help the Mahdi. Also noted was that the Mahdi would be a direct descendant of Mohammed. Would that be why the Shee'ah believe that only a descended line can rule Islam.

Like all religions, there is a lot of confusion here.

Along with others, I wonder why the two factions are so unaccepting of one another, is it that their beliefs are so strong that they cannot accept any other interpretation other than their own?

Another question, Ayatollah I assume is a religious leader, somewhat with authority like a Pope. Imam,s are local leaders and teachers. Is this correct. Does Sunni have an Ayatollah or is that strictly Shee'ah?

Thanks again for this thread. Maybe we will all learn a lot here.

You're very welcome.

I just posted my own thoughts about the conflict in belief. But it all remains as speculations. Nothing was ever written in stone , and as Muslims they should truly refer to the Qur'an ( Koran ).

The divine lineage belief transpired later on. As mentioned , the real people who started the conflict never questioned the original faith. They simply wanted Ali to rule instead of another.

Now in regards to the Mahdi. Muslims have a prophecy. A prophecy in regards to the ' Arrival of Judgment day ".

There's certain signs for people to know that Judgment day is near. Minor signs and the birth and rise of AL Mahdi is one of them. Almhadi is supposed to be a man of spiritual strength and justice. Being a direct descendant of Mohammad's lineage was never mentioned. Well not in any religious source I grew up with. Also if it is true . then that means Mohammad's lineage is still existence , doesn't that mean we have to glorify them? That thought alone defy that claim. But more onto Almahdi. it is true we believe that a man with that name will come and shall conquer the land. And Jesus will descend down to earth to help him.

But! The Descent of Jesus is one of the 10 Great signs of Judgment's day arrival. Along with other 9 grand signs. The fact that the Shee'ah believe in those just proves that we share the same core of religion. They just have differentalteration that they made themselves along the history path.

Why both factions hate each others? I'll try to provide more about it later on.

Ayatollah is a Shee'ah religious figure. They chose to make him , but to true Muslims , you're not supposed to put anyone between you and Allah. You just need to put your hands up and speak to Allah directly. So no we do not have a figure like that.

But we do have a ' religious committee in Saudi Arabia. It consists of several Islamic teachers and Imams who are well versed in the study of Islam. Those provide guidance and directions to how a Muslim deal with the new age. For example. What is Islam's stand point in regards to the current Arabian spring. How can someone practice Islam in a country where there are no Mosques? ( How can they do the 5 prayers without them I mean. ) It is things like that that the Committee answers for the public majority. We call it. " Hay'at Kebar Al Olama " in English it would be. " The Committee of grand Scientists " or perhaps the internet can provide a better translation.

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Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2013, 03:56:31 PM »
Thank you Foremless that is indeed very enlightening. I was also struck about how much alike religions are at their core. For example, as I said in the thread that originated this one I am Catholic, the original Christian church for lack of a better description. But then the Church fragmented because of politics and corruption in the hierarchy of the governing of the Church. The story of Islam sounds very similar in many ways when one refers to the split.

As a note, all three of the major Western religions (Islam, Judaism, and Christianity) are referred to collectively as the 'Abrahamic' religions.  When you start looking for similarities instead of differences, you find more.  It's also notable that most religions have somewhere in their core a directive that comes down to 'Be nice to one another, and you will be rewarded in the next life.' 

A few years back, Terry Jones did a four-part documentary series for the History Channel on the Crusades, which was surprisingly sympathetic to the Islamic side (considering the audience was primarily Europe and North America).  In fact, the 'Franks' are the ones who come off looking like the barbarian horde.  It was the first time that I'd heard of the difference and conflict between the Shee'ah and the Sunni.

Offline FormlessTopic starter

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2013, 04:08:37 PM »
Oniya
As a note, all three of the major Western religions (Islam, Judaism, and Christianity) are referred to collectively as the 'Abrahamic' religions.  When you start looking for similarities instead of differences, you find more.  It's also notable that most religions have somewhere in their core a directive that comes down to 'Be nice to one another, and you will be rewarded in the next life.' 

A few years back, Terry Jones did a four-part documentary series for the History Channel on the Crusades, which was surprisingly sympathetic to the Islamic side (considering the audience was primarily Europe and North America).  In fact, the 'Franks' are the ones who come off looking like the barbarian horde.  It was the first time that I'd heard of the difference and conflict between the Shee'ah and the Sunni.

Actually Oniya , most conflicts in history can provide sympathy for both sides. As long as you do not choose to support one side over the other. Of coruse that does not apply to every conflict , because some are just flat out inhumane. And that does not necessarily relate to religious conflicts , even ones caused by any sort of disagreement or savagery.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2013, 04:22:50 PM »
Honestly the split between Shi'a and Sunni has always seemed more comprehensible to me than many another religious conflict: loyalty to a lost dynasty or political partisan faction is a pretty common bond in human history -- I'd guess the traumatic manner of Ali's death only added to that -- and when you add religion into the mix, it's perhaps not too surprising that you would wind up with that division taking on religious overtones, the initial partisanship solidifying into a different tradition as it accretes its own beliefs and defines its own mainstream. The life-or-death struggles in early Christianity over the details of Christology are a lot harder to figure out.

Quote from: Formless
to true Muslims , you're not supposed to put anyone between you and Allah. You just need to put your hands up and speak to Allah directly. So no we do not have a figure like that.

Interesting to note that a lot of Sunni distrust of Shiites reminds me of Protestant distrust of Catholicism.

You know what I've never had a good sense of, though: there are supposed to be several different schools of jurisprudence in the Sunni tradition (I take it the Saudi "committee" you mention is a part of this) for identifying authentic and inauthentic hadiths and interpreting questions of faith for daily life & c. How different are these schools, really? To what extent are they a major part of a Muslim's life, and would it be easy to recognize someone following one school or another (do the Taliban in Afghanistan, for instance, or the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia have their own separate schools of jurisprudence)? If the true Sunni is not supposed to put anyone between themselves and Allah, why do they not regard the use of jurists as doing so? I often wonder about the real influence of figures like the Grand Muftis.

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Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2013, 04:56:51 PM »
Formless
Actually Oniya , most conflicts in history can provide sympathy for both sides. As long as you do not choose to support one side over the other. Of coruse that does not apply to every conflict , because some are just flat out inhumane. And that does not necessarily relate to religious conflicts , even ones caused by any sort of disagreement or savagery.

I don't doubt that at all.  But usually the 'narrator' of a history gears his telling to put his audience in the most favorable light, even if that involves whitewashing.  Admittedly the documentary was produced pre-9/11 (1995, in fact), but it still went counter to that 'standard' in the way it portrayed the European armies.

Offline FormlessTopic starter

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2013, 05:04:25 PM »
Some may ponder , why some muslims ( Mostly Shee'ah ) resent westerners and wishes to fight them. And others who are more accepting to them and wishes for a coexistence with them. ( Sunni. )

That will require a few explanations to some of the Islamic teachings. Which were wrongly ( Perhaps intentionally by the extremists? ) misinterpreted.

It boils down to , why do we hate the westerns? Nay , why do we hate non-muslims?

It was not supposed to be this way really. And there are many things I can relate to. First of all , Like Oniya mentioned. The Three heavenly religions ( Judaism , Christianity and Islam ) are supposedly accepted by any Muslim. You're not supposed to hate someone for believing that. But at the same time , they teach us something that contradicts it completely. They say that Islam is the final religion and who does not follow it , now that it was brought down to earth , shall burn in hell fire.

Another instance is how we have a specific ' religious ' standard for marriage. The prophet himself said that one should marry whom we ( we as in the family of the bride ) accept their religion and morals. There was a choice to accept a Jewish man for a Muslim woman. A Muslim can marry a Jewish or a christian woman. So how come they actually tell us to eradicate the heathens from our lands?

Now that I explained how Islam within its core accepts religions , allow me to explain the rift that made the Shee'ah what they are.

Everyone mentions Jihad. And how it means to fight the heathens and bring glory to god's name. But does anyone really know the meaning of it? What I am about to say may label me as far more a heathen than any one. But that is how I see it. Jihad means to fight in the name of Allah. But for what purpose exactly? During the days of Mohammad , any battle was fought to unify or protect the group of muslims that started to grow. Even at his time , Mohammad as a prophet of god had enemies. And battles he fought were to protect his group , or to unify another city. That was called Jihad. It was done in the name of god and his religion.

But even during Mohammad's time , it was always among the Arabs themselves. And only within the western side of the Arabian peninsula. It was those who ruled after him that chose to ' expand ' the influence of Islam to greater reaches. Hence how the Crusades occurred , but that was over a hundred years or more from Mohammad's death. By that time , countries and lands were ruled by religion. And I am here randomly quoting from Majid Nawaz' speech provided by Callie. Religion identifies who you are back then. And any difference meant a spark of disharmony. And politics were barely an Arabian asset back then. ( True Arabian politicians aspired 200 years after the death of Mohammad. )

All of that can be considered Jihad , but it can also be considered a fight for control or conquering other lands. Its not like those who were invaded sat back. war raged on and on. But in our books , Jihad was not the first choice. It was the third and last. First the Muslim governor will send messengers to invite these foreign lands into Islam , if they accept , so be it , they rule their land under the Islam teachings without changing their rulers. If they refuse , they are supposed to pay some sort of tax to keep them at peace. if non is accepted then war was the solution.

Now I never support that , but that is what is mentioned within our history book. I have yet to actually find or read a definite proof of it myself.

So this is how Jihad began. But every reason for Jihad came to a halt at the begginning of 1900. Now I cannot delve into that or allow myself , because I barely know anything about the political history of that era. But it was during the rise of the British empire I think.

But what I want to point out is , Jihad equals war. But when someone come and say that being suicidal is jihad , I have to say this. Islam forbids suicide. A Muslim does not own his life , and god owns it. So he is not allowed to throw it away. But to lose your life in war is the greatest glory. And you do not even have to be a Muslim to believe in that. History is filled with people who praise those who die in battle.

So to say that suicide equals Jihad isn't right. Its a sin. From what I see it , extremists has lost their cause with globalization. Take a look at the whole world. Religion has become a preference , a choice , a thing to consider and not a spiritual guidance to every day life. The extremists could not handle that. And thus chose to do Jihad their own way. Altering the meaning of it to fit their agenda and seeking the desperate souls , those who have no more purpose in life to do what they did.

One thing to consider before you judge what I have to say. Why is America and Britain are the only targets? South America as a whole does not believe in Islam very much and they never got anything coming their way? Japan , China , Russia , Central and south Africa? None of the extremists try to point their terrorism ( Or jihad if they want to call it ) towards these countries. Why? Because they have lost their true cause and now they only want a final flame to ignite before they pass away.

America has been part of the gulf countries for several decades now , and as they are heathens , they were well accepted and appreciated. That did not sit well with the Shee'ah in Iran and Iraq because they think the Sunni in Saudia have tainted the holy lands with the presence of the  westerners. Making it a stepping stone to start spreading their agenda across the Arabian and Islamic countries.

Perhaps it dragged along for too long , and I apologize for that. But that is why I think the Shee'ah tend to be extremists ( within political ranges of course. There are Sunni extremists as well. ) , And why the Sunni are more tolerant of outside influence.

Offline FormlessTopic starter

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2013, 05:23:38 PM »
Cyrano Johnson
Honestly the split between Shi'a and Sunni has always seemed more comprehensible to me than many another religious conflict: loyalty to a lost dynasty or political partisan faction is a pretty common bond in human history -- I'd guess the traumatic manner of Ali's death only added to that -- and when you add religion into the mix, it's perhaps not too surprising that you would wind up with that division taking on religious overtones, the initial partisanship solidifying into a different tradition as it accretes its own beliefs and defines its own mainstream. The life-or-death struggles in early Christianity over the details of Christology are a lot harder to figure out.

Interesting to note that a lot of Sunni distrust of Shiites reminds me of Protestant distrust of Catholicism.

You know what I've never had a good sense of, though: there are supposed to be several different schools of jurisprudence in the Sunni tradition (I take it the Saudi "committee" you mention is a part of this) for identifying authentic and inauthentic hadiths and interpreting questions of faith for daily life & c. How different are these schools, really? To what extent are they a major part of a Muslim's life, and would it be easy to recognize someone following one school or another (do the Taliban in Afghanistan, for instance, or the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia have their own separate schools of jurisprudence)? If the true Sunni is not supposed to put anyone between themselves and Allah, why do they not regard the use of jurists as doing so? I often wonder about the real influence of figures like the Grand Muftis.

Its not that it is difficult to understand why it happened. What is difficult to understand ( to me anyway ) is why it still exists. I think the longer we delve into the future , the greater the rift between us , and the greater the hatred grows.

Now in regards to your second paragraph. The Grand Muftis are the same as the Committee I mentioned. Different names. A Mufti is a religious figure who can be consulted to resolve a religious question or a dilemma.

But the Islamic schools you mentioned. Let us call them ' practices ' of Islam. After the age of the four  Khalifas ( Abubakir , Omar , Othman And Ali. ) Islam was already spreading outside the Arabian peninsula. AndIslam has reached foreign lands. But there were not enough teachers for it. Four peoples who studied under a man named " Anas Bin Malik Al-Shafi ".

These four practices are named after their last names.
- The Shafi Practice ( Named after Anas Bin Malik Al-Shafi )
- The Hanbaly Practice ( Named after Ahmad Bin Hanbal )
- The Malki Practice ( Named after Malik Bin Rathwan )
- The Hanafi Practice ( Named after Abi Hanifa - his last name fleets me right now )

All of them practice Islam in the same original manner , it is simply their practices of certain aspects of the religion that is different. How to do the prayers , how to do the Zakat. How to do the Hajj. But they all believe in the same fundamentals. So I can't call them factions myself because they do not contradict one another. A good example would be if you prefer to do your prayers at a church at morning or evening. If you need to be cleansed or not. Things of this sort that do not direct alter your faith.

Oniya
Formless

I don't doubt that at all.  But usually the 'narrator' of a history gears his telling to put his audience in the most favorable light, even if that involves whitewashing.  Admittedly the documentary was produced pre-9/11 (1995, in fact), but it still went counter to that 'standard' in the way it portrayed the European armies.

I cannot really comment on it , but my guess is that he wanted to share a few things he noticed about the Muslims' side? Hence why he favored them more?
« Last Edit: September 07, 2013, 05:32:04 PM by Formless »

Offline Wajin

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2013, 05:48:53 PM »
Great job explaining it all Formless, I grew up as a Muslim, and despite not being one any more I am still very much in touch with my roots, I still come to the mosque to talk to the Imam since he's a good friend of the family. I hate living in a country with quite a lot of negative feelings towards Muslims, especially because they base it on the ways of the few instead of the ways of the many.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2013, 06:02:14 PM »
It's interesting how many educated Muslims seem to use these characters from early islamic and Arab history - Ali, Hussein, Omar, Muhammad's wives, early martyrs and mystics and rulers - as ready examples of virtues, vices, political strategy, ways of interpreting the Quran and religion and so on, support-pins of discussions about politics of the present, as models and heroes. And as perennially important in themselves! I've noticed this sometimes with Muslim and Iranian friends of mine, and their parents, they address those people and their choices as if they were close in history and having a plain bearing on the present, it gets along in a personally involved way, like they were part of the near family. And sometimes with strong, immediate personal loyalty - something that's been kept alive by the Sunni/Shi'a split I figure. I mean, how often do you hear people from a European or American Christian background discussing Cyprian, Bede, St. Benedict or even St. Augustine, Constantine the great or the emperor Charlemagne, in a fervent and involved tone as if these men had lived fifty or a hundred years ago and their choices were our choices too, not far off in the depth of history, somewhere between twelve and twenty centuries ago?

Note that I am not moralizing or in any way patronizing about this. In a way it's great to be referring to events that happened this far back as clearly meaningful and deserving close attention today, and some of the history of a culture or a country will always have a quality of mirror and discussion partner to the present; that much is always there about history, whether we're aware of it or not.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2013, 06:05:08 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline FormlessTopic starter

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2013, 06:38:05 PM »
A Japanese Dane
Great job explaining it all Formless, I grew up as a Muslim, and despite not being one any more I am still very much in touch with my roots, I still come to the mosque to talk to the Imam since he's a good friend of the family. I hate living in a country with quite a lot of negative feelings towards Muslims, especially because they base it on the ways of the few instead of the ways of the many.

If the country you refer to is America. Then something you need to keep in mind. Most Americans did not hear ( or did not know much ) about Islam. So when the first thing they learned about is that it asks to kill people , why wouldn't think think negatively about it? Of course the terrorists twisted the ideals to fit what they did , but the idea was , Americans were not aware of the Islamic religion much. So it is obvious to label it the way they did when 9/11 occurred. I honestly cannot blame them. Thus why I wanted to share what I know about the religion here.

GaggedLouise
It's interesting how many educated Muslims seem to use these characters from early Islamic and Arab history - Ali, Hussein, Omar, Muhammad's wives, early martyrs and mystics and rulers - as ready examples of virtues, vices, political strategy, ways of interpreting the Quran and religion and so on, support-pins of discussions about politics of the present, as models and heroes. And as perennially important in themselves! I've noticed this sometimes with Muslim and Iranian friends of mine, and their parents, they address those people and their choices as if they were close in history and having a plain bearing on the present, it gets along in a personally involved way, like they were part of the near family. And sometimes with strong, immediate personal loyalty - something that's been kept alive by the Sunni/Shi'a split I figure. I mean, how often do you hear people from a European or American Christian background discussing Cyprian, Bede, St. Benedict or even St. Augustine, Constantine the great or the emperor Charlemagne, in a fervent and involved tone as if these men had lived fifty or a hundred years ago and their choices were our choices too, not far off in the depth of history, somewhere between twelve and twenty centuries ago?

Note that I am not moralizing or in any way patronizing about this. In a way it's great to be referring to events that happened this far back as clearly meaningful and deserving close attention today, and some of the history of a culture or a country will always have a quality of mirror and discussion partner to the present; that much is always there about history, whether we're aware of it or not.

It wasn't my intention to come across as relaying on these figures as examples. My attempt was to point out the historic figures that caused the rift. But perhaps I did not fully understand your point.

But for me , it is always better to explain anything when you start at the very root. It helps deliver the point with as many answers as possible.

Offline Wajin

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #19 on: September 07, 2013, 06:52:25 PM »
Formless
If the country you refer to is America. Then something you need to keep in mind. Most Americans did not hear ( or did not know much ) about Islam. So when the first thing they learned about is that it asks to kill people , why wouldn't think think negatively about it? Of course the terrorists twisted the ideals to fit what they did , but the idea was , Americans were not aware of the Islamic religion much. So it is obvious to label it the way they did when 9/11 occurred. I honestly cannot blame them. Thus why I wanted to share what I know about the religion here.

I live in Denmark, where we unfortunately have a quite powerful political party that is pretty much anti-islamic

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #20 on: September 07, 2013, 07:11:24 PM »

GaggedLouise

It wasn't my intention to come across as relaying on these figures as examples. My attempt was to point out the historic figures that caused the rift. But perhaps I did not fully understand your point.

But for me , it is always better to explain anything when you start at the very root. It helps deliver the point with as many answers as possible.


Oh, I didn't mean this as any sizing up of your argument specifically, with regard to those persons from the first hundred or two hundred years of Islam. Ali and Hussein are central to Shi'ism, that's for sure, I mean they are the defining heroes of the movement. I was trying to characterize a tendency to bring key persons and struggles of those years close into talk about modern-day, present-day politics, it's a tendency I've noticed with muslim friends of mine here in Europe. I've also seen it pointed out a few times by researchers and historians around here (in Scandinavia) who have been working for decades in middle eastern history and politics.

I can see the merit of digging into the roots to unravel something, when one is bringing out something that's been happening in history sometimes that's what you have to do - look at what happened early on, discuss it and reassess it. My point was that there's a sort of unconscious difference to the west here. Most people in the modern west are not that heavily concerned with history in this way, not even the early centuries of our own religious and cultural core traditions. You won't often hear a Frenchman, a Brit or even less an American arguing passionately about the merits of Pericles, Cicero, Augustine or Alexander the Great, or using them directly, off the cuff, for comparisons with modern politicians, constitutions, writers or religious leaders. I think there's much more of an attitude of "yeah, okay that's history" here - even if Alexander the Great is admirable and influential, within antiquity, he isn't really a figure who belongs in *our* modern world - the world we know personally in some sense - his campaigns and opening up of the eastern world happened a long, long time ago...although they can become the stuff of movies!  ;) The same with Augustine, Bede the Venerable or even most of the apostles of Christ - they are historical figures from a long time ago, but not everyday, immediate points of orientation to us.   
« Last Edit: September 07, 2013, 07:18:59 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline FormlessTopic starter

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2013, 06:36:28 AM »
Formless
If the country you refer to is America. Then something you need to keep in mind. Most Americans did not hear ( or did not know much ) about Islam. So when the first thing they learned about is that it asks to kill people , why wouldn't think think negatively about it? Of course the terrorists twisted the ideals to fit what they did , but the idea was , Americans were not aware of the Islamic religion much. So it is obvious to label it the way they did when 9/11 occurred. I honestly cannot blame them. Thus why I wanted to share what I know about the religion here.

I live in Denmark, where we unfortunately have a quite powerful political party that is pretty much anti-islamic

While I am aware of some of the Danish view of Islam. I have to say I have met many Danish people online who are far more welcoming of Islam than I expected. In fact here in this forum , Some danish people are friends with me. And one beautiful lady in particular makes my day. :-)

Offline FormlessTopic starter

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2013, 06:45:48 AM »
gaggedLouise

Oh, I didn't mean this as any sizing up of your argument specifically, with regard to those persons from the first hundred or two hundred years of Islam. Ali and Hussein are central to Shi'ism, that's for sure, I mean they are the defining heroes of the movement. I was trying to characterize a tendency to bring key persons and struggles of those years close into talk about modern-day, present-day politics, it's a tendency I've noticed with muslim friends of mine here in Europe. I've also seen it pointed out a few times by researchers and historians around here (in Scandinavia) who have been working for decades in middle eastern history and politics.

I can see the merit of digging into the roots to unravel something, when one is bringing out something that's been happening in history sometimes that's what you have to do - look at what happened early on, discuss it and reassess it. My point was that there's a sort of unconscious difference to the west here. Most people in the modern west are not that heavily concerned with history in this way, not even the early centuries of our own religious and cultural core traditions. You won't often hear a Frenchman, a Brit or even less an American arguing passionately about the merits of Pericles, Cicero, Augustine or Alexander the Great, or using them directly, off the cuff, for comparisons with modern politicians, constitutions, writers or religious leaders. I think there's much more of an attitude of "yeah, okay that's history" here - even if Alexander the Great is admirable and influential, within antiquity, he isn't really a figure who belongs in *our* modern world - the world we know personally in some sense - his campaigns and opening up of the eastern world happened a long, long time ago...although they can become the stuff of movies!  ;) The same with Augustine, Bede the Venerable or even most of the apostles of Christ - they are historical figures from a long time ago, but not everyday, immediate points of orientation to us.

For the first paragraph. Rest assured your points previously had me aware not to take it in that direction , so thank you. But before I get into that I have to mention that Al and his son Hussein. They are not ' heroes ' of the Shee'ah. But rather their religious figures. It is not known of Ali wanted to take the rule for himself or those around him influenced that. The fact remain that they regarded him and his son ( Which puts a question mark as he had another son named Hasan . who was never mentioned by them. ) were glorified by them because none of it would've happened if they did not fight for him back in the day , and now they defend what remnants of their belief they have here.

Now as to why Muslims regard their historic figures so much? Perhaps because that was the epitome of Islam's glory in their day. Right now? I am not surprised that the west does not need to look back into history , because they are making the future. Well , both the west and east. Everything now is driven by these poles of humanity. So while the influence of any historic figure has shrunk into mere ' quotes ' and examples in history lessons , they do not serve much in every day life. Besides it is easy to say that each western country excells in something. Pushing industry forward , creating more benefits ( and perhaps disasters by polluting the environment? ) to humans. When someone creates the moment , their mind can be wrapped up as to have no need to look back into the past. Or so is how I picture it.

Offline Wajin

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2013, 06:46:09 AM »
Indeed Form, we're not all crazy :D Helps that I was always the outsider too <.< an asian looking dude with an Asian first name and a very middle eastern sounding last name >.<

Offline Retribution

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Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2013, 07:58:30 AM »
Formless -> Thank you again, in my schooling when Islam came up the catch description always given by the teacher was that Islam advocated spreading the faith "by the sword." So war of conquest was viewed as acceptable. After reading what you have to say I see that is not necessarily a correct interpretation. But working on that sort of educational background my impression of Muslims always was that on a personal level all either wished to convert me or kill me. It was just a matter of how boisterous they were about those beliefs when it came to being an extremist or non extremist. I see now my education was faulty and it certainly alters my way of thought.

I also saw a show on History channel a few weeks back. On the level of the extremists the show spoke of a vision of an Islamic empire. So I often wonder if there is a political motivation dressed up in religion at play. My college professor I referred to used to say that terrorism is about political power and influence not religion.