Sunday, 20 May 2012

What is Piety

WHAT IS PIETY? (a Muslim Perspective)

Piety? Taqwa? God Consciousness? Being Aware of God? What is it?
Allahu AKBAR...GOD is the Greatest!

To be aware of HIM is to be aware of Our Smallness... before Him!
Our Ignorance/ Our Reliance / Our Helplessness !

Is Piety the Salawaat? Or the Prayers? Or whichever religious duty you feel most about?
Is Piety feeling that you are ones who are blessed above everyone else?
That God blesses you abundantly/ and chooses you above everyone else?

Isn't that what the former Nations (Ummah's) believed?

The Khawarij.
It is a perennial thought of mine... that I always come around to the Khawarij...

They prayed abundantly at night, their beards were soaked with tears and yet it availed them not!
Why? Who were they? What were they?
Are we the they of today?

That question should be on the lips of you and me, perennially!
Year in, year out! Day in, day out!

Of Course Rasul Allah (saw) told us of their father (allegorical) that he read the Qur'an but it didn't reach lower than his throat! Like father like son!
But they cried real tears!
Does it mean understanding... that they did not Understand... not just the Qur'an but life?

We know that they didn't understand because they disputed with Ali (ra) about the silliest of things... AND they thought themselves PIOUS and Right.. that they were the blessed above all the Muslims!
And today we have Muslims who hold themselves better than other Muslims...
Who believe that they are blessed above other Muslims, let alone the other Nations...

Who when you tell them that you have seen something or done Hajj Akbari... say no it is not possible... because they want to be the Ones who are blessed...
Are they PIOUS?
Who hold themselves above other?
Are these not the lessons of Khidr and Musa (as) revisited?

What is Piety revisited

Earlier in my blog I mentioned that Piety is smallness before God.  It is realising your dependence on HIM, becoming fully aware of the frailty that is Life!
In other respects it is DOUBT!
Our Nations Sidiq, Abu Bakr (ra) makes that clear. The man who had no doubt, the one who said when he was told that Muhammad (saw) had ascended the heavens in one night.. "If he says it, then it is TRUE!" .
That was the man, who on his being made the Successor if Muhammad (saw) after he had passed away, said in his inauguration speech... "I am not the best amongst you!".
He doubted!
He did not doubt the truth of Muhammad (saw), nor of Islam... but he doubted!
What did he DOUBT? He doubted himself!  AND that is true PIETY!
After he had become the leader of the Muslims, he was spotted going to the Market to earn his, and his family's, living. Umar (ra) told him that he should take a stipend from the treasury, because the leader of the Muslims cannot go to the market!
Abu Bakr as-Sidiq (ra) eventually agreed and did so. But he continually doubted himself! He asked several notable companions, amongst them Ali (ra), whether or not the stipend was too weighty or much! And only after they had all given him their opinions in favour of it, did he concede. And yet the doubt remained and he was never really truly at ease. That is PIETY.
It is reflected not just in how you approach GOD, but in how you deal with your fellow man!
The man who had no doubt about GOD and His Messenger, doubted himself and that stands him out to be amongst the truly Pious...
IN Contrast the Khawarij... they prayed until their beards were wet with tears. But they thought themselves better than the companions and they never doubted themselves!
STRENGTH...."Never let your morals get in the way of Doing what's Right!"
I have thought on this English saying and I can only find one instance in which it might be said to hold true. And that is when you are faced with a situation where an animal is suffering and you are in a position to end that suffering. For me morals are principles, and principles should always be upheld!
For me... it makes more sense to say "Never let your PIETY get in the way of doing what's RIGHT!" This for me rings more true! For piety is smallness before God, and humility before man. But that should not stop you from doing what is right. And it didn't stop Abu Bakr As-Sadiq (ra) from fighting the Ridaa Wars.
When it was necessary to be Strong... He was strong and fearless!
However there is vital difference between him and his attitude and our leaders! Have you ever seen TB or GB when they meet the people with whom they don't agree. You can see the scorn on their faces. When the anti-war protesters marched, they did not listen but rather gave the refrain "We have a mandate!"... derision!
When the rebels, who sought to fight the Muslims, re-entered Islam and came before Abu Bakr (ra)... How did he treat them? He treated them with all respect, and kindness and thought the best of them!
He bestowed honour and presents upon those who initially fought against him. And only when they proved the worst (as happened on one case) did he judge them based on their worst!
Piety... even  when you have to be strong and fearless, is to think the best of people! And to think as Abu Bakr (ra) said in his inaugural speech.. "I am not the best amongst you!". And this is one of the lessons that Jesus (Nabi Isa (ra)) was sent to teach mankind.. "every man who puts himself up as somebody, will become a nobody!"

To augur ILL?
When Muhammad (saw), and for that matter all Prophets, was sent to Qur'aish they suffered the drought. Allah t'ala made it so, so that their hearts might open to HIS message. That they might feel vulnerable and remember HIM. But as with the man mentioned in S. Fajr, they augured ill of Muhammad (and all the Prophets). This is contrary to belief!
A believing man augurs well even during hard times. Just as the Muhammad's (saw) companions augured well of the battle of the trench, when they had no food and were hard pressed in the defense of Medina... "This is what God has promised!". May Allah t'ala bless them, who showed us the qualities of belief!
It is this attitude that we find in the believer, that we found in Muhammad (saw) and in his successor Abu Bakr (as), to think the best of the people and to augur only good from them (unless they prove it false), that destroys steriotypes. It is the lesson of all four of the rightly guided Caliphs, to think the best of the people and to carry your faith in God to the limits that are demanded.
And this is the rational attitude that I mentioned in my blog on Conspiracy Theories.. the Diana Conspiracies. Take and think the best of what everyone has to offer, and if you have to argue (from a discussion point of view) then argue to the best of what they have to offer. Do not assume the worst of any man!
The Relevance to Me!
As I said in my previous blog.... the issues of Piety and the Khawarij, are a source of constant deliberation for me. Who they were, why they were and what they were?
But when I forget about the World and focus on my brothers in the religion, I find that they do not think as much as they should on those issues. For them piety is a book, or a prayer?
They do not doubt themselves, nor do they think good of the people (other than those that resemble them), and they sometimes augur ill.
I remember when I posted some thoughts on another website, trying to make Muslims think... they augured ill of me, thought badly of me and did not doubt themselves!



The Diana Conspiracies (1st posted MySpace 26/10/07)

10 years after the untimely death of Princess Di and the British public are finally getting to hear certain facts that have always been dismissed as false rumour by the establishment.

The funny thing about the nature of the relationship between the establishment and conspiracy theories is that whilst the establishment always brands conspiracy theories and their proponents as irrational, their treatment of them is far from rational.

Rational or Irrational Methodology?

After 7/7 the media representative of the MCB (Muslim Council of Britain) whilst on the one hand talking of engaging Muslims in dialogue, sought to mock the very real majority of the Muslims who believed in a Conspiracy. He said, in all seriousness (and in complete mockery), that British Muslims should stop blaming the French for 7/7, just because Britain had just beaten France at being nominated to host the 2012 Olympics.

Likewise I have read in a periodical devoted to the thinking classes (either the Spectator or the News Statesman) an article written, once again in all seriousness, of conspiracy theorists who claim that the 9/11 planes were not really planes, but missiles made to look like planes by having holographic images superimposed on them.

Of course conspiracy theories come in all shapes and sizes, from the plain ridiculous to the uncomfortably plausible. And yet the establishment, at every turn, seeks to disprove and ridicule the whole of that wide spectrum, by not taking the best example of it, but by taking the worst.

And that is irrational!

It is an unspoken rule of the adversarial nature of debating that, when you argue against a point, you should always argue to the best example that your opposition has to offer. And this should especially be so when the opposition do not have the opportunity to present their case.

Such treatment does little to answer credible conspiracy theories.

And there are credible theories! Mostly, all you have to do is to read the press with a view to ironing out conflicting testimony. That is to THINK!

7-7.....With 7/7 all you had to do was to take the testimony of Christophe Chaboud at face value, and everything else would fall into place neat as a jigsaw puzzle.

He was head of The French Anti-Terrorism Coordination Unit and one of five senior officials sent by the French government to London immediately after the attacks. He reported in Le Monde on the days following the attack, and spoke of military grade explosives, lower limb trauma and hinted that the perpetrators were known to the authorities.

That is as opposed to home made fertilizer explosives, upper body trauma (consistent with back-packs) and a HUNT!

Of course he later retracted his statements, which only added to their poignancy.

Taking his statement as the cornerstone of any theory, one could build a very plausible narrative of events which could just as easily fit what we know, as the narrative produced later by the government, but with drastically different conclusions.

That our government will not cave in to the very real need for a public enquiry into 7/7 only adds credibility to any and all conspiracies.

A Conspiracy to kill the People's Princess?

As for Princess Di, and Dodi Fayed, the attention of the inquest this week shifted from the testimony of observers to the behaviour of the paperazi, with a view to once again blaming them.

1) Last week we were told that....Princess Di was poised to make a very important celebratory announcement. The media who were privvy to this assumed it to be either her pregnancy or imminent marriage.

2) There was a black car, evidently, jostling with her car as they entered the tunnel at high speeds. This was seen by members of the public as the cars entered the tunnel. These people also mentioned 2 distinct types of sounds as if the cars collided before the crash.

3) A driver of a car towards the front of the Tunnel testified that he did also saw a black car. And that he saw a blinding flash in the tunnel. And that after the crash a motorcycle carrying a passenger, which was in front of Diana's car, stopped. One man got off, looked inside, remounted and they sped off away. The way the flash was described was more akin to the blinding flashes that the military use to stun, than to flash photography.

4) Another man was woken up by the noise of crash, went to his window and saw two cars exiting from the tunnel at high speed. A black car exited and appeared to be being shielded by a white car. They went hurtling around a corner bumper to bumper, the white car behind the black car.

The focus of the inquest may have turned toward the Papparazi. However, I for one do not think the Papparazi capable of driving with such skill!

"Unexplainable FACTS?"It will probably be 10 or so more years before more unexplainable facts emerge out of both the 9/11 and the 7/7 quagmires. Unexplainable, of course, by the "established" fact of what actually happened.

However, even now explainable by majority us (British, American and Citizens of the World) who believe that there are things that we are not being told. More for the good of the powers that be, than for our own good.


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Do Muslims Love to Hate?

Do Muslims have a Hate Gene?
(originally published MySpace 4/11/07)

Most anyone could believe that Muslims are born with a HATE gene. Such a theory could easily explain much of what our Politicians and Media tells us. However this theory belies the fact that most Muslims are the happiest people.

The Evidence.No matter wherever you go in the World from Sub-Saharan Africa to Timbuktu, you will find that Muslims are both happy and generous with their food and company.

The Reason.
This fact is borne of a ritual and habit that makes a Muslim, the five times daily prayers. The first vocalization of this, following God is Great and the start of Prayer, is "Hamd" Praise/Thanks be to God.
This forces you to find something to be grateful for, irrespective of your circumstance, five times daily. Whether you are in Abu Gharib Prison without cause or reason, or left destitute without home or family in Palestine, it is this "hamd" that forces you to remember what you have, and be grateful and happy for it.

The first Command.
This phenomenon of happiness was the first command issued to the Prophet Muhammad (saw) to make people happy, by reminding the orphan, the destitute and poor of Gods mercy and favour upon them (S. Ad-Duha). And if you can make them happy, then most anyone can be made happy except the ungrateful and the arrogant.

And it is this happiness that is the strength of the Muslims, because you cannot break a man unless you make him despair.

Even in these desperate times when the Palestinian People have suffered 37 years of crimes and terrorism that is the Israeli occupation, and the Iraqi People have suffered similarly under the Wests one time ally, Saddam Hussein, and still continue to suffer under American and British Occupation, Muslims have not been broken and cannot be broken.

This because of the thankfulness that is the body and soul of their religion. Even when they have nothing else to give other than their lives, it is their religion that decrees that they go in the hope that God will accept their offering. Despair may be the cause but it is their Islam that ensure that they leave this life in the hope of meeting God in happiness.

Thus it is that Muslims are to todays Machiavellian Politics, employed by todays World Powers, a nightmare. They will never go away and they can never be conquered.

The strength of Islam lies in it being contrary to hate and on it beings based upon thankfulness and happiness.

No Hate, but not LOVE!
However, unlike Christianity, Islam is not about love but about obedience to God and acting on the things that He values and loves being Truth and Justice, but not vengeance.

It is true that some Muslims do seek redress by vengeance and use Islam as a means of doing so.

But pity these, whoose religion showed the World freedom of conscience and generosity unprecedented. In that their Muslim forbears withheld nothing of what they knew, and sought to educate without regard for gain. For they knew that knowledge belongs to no man, and calls none master, save God alone. And it is the same for Islam, it belongs to no man and yet some of us are privileged to be called Muslim.

Shafee...Sweet and Simple!

PS. I do not normally do Dawa, for me the concern is changing perceptions and seeking true words.

There were TEN Heads in a Row.. Tra-la-laa-la-laa

10-Heads in a Row (tralala...)

A friend of mine, Pesh by name, recently asked me the following question:

"If a man throws a coin 10 times and it comes up heads each time. What can you say about the next throw?''

Depending on you level of education your response should be 1 of 3.

However the standard answer is often non-intuitive. The people who give it often do not feel comfortable giving it. They often answer so, because they have been taught to say so. And it is this that makes this an interesting question.

If you know a child ask them too, see what their response is and ask them why?

SimplicityIf they have no understanding of probability but a real experience of tossing coins, they probably would exclude the information and rely on their experience and say either heads or tails.

Some EducationIf they have some rudimentory knowledge of probability theory and how it's taught in schools, they'd probably say TAILS. Because in School you're taught to look at the average, long term, ratio of events.

Still more education.... Gives people like you and me who give the "correct" answer of it being 50:50, an either-or with an equal chance. But even though you've been educated to say that answer... Doesn't it feel wrong! It's not intuitive, is it? And don't you feel uncomfortable saying so?

We say it because of course the coin has got no MEMORY of what it did on the previous other 10 throws.

So why doesn't it feel right?
Is it because we are too much ingrained with the traditional concept of probability as a measure of long-term ratios?
Or is there some deeper significance?

A Deeper Significance?You see there is another school of statistics and probability theory that is called Bayesian. Bayesians say that probability measures not some objective number (a platonic ratio) but a state of belief or unbelief. Where 1 and 0 are states of certainty, and all in between are varying states of uncertainty. They use a theorem (suprisingly called Bayes Theorem) to update their beliefs (probabilities) based on the occurrence or non-occurrence of events. The relative significance of events for the belief or non-belief is given by a ratio... Known as the likelihood ratio.

Whereas the traditional school doesn't have the power to question beliefs unless you formally construct a hypothesis and an alternate hypothesis, Bayesians are given over to questionin their beliefs of things. Traditionally you have to formally construct alternate hypotheses and then both design and carry out an experiment. Granted you can then measure your confidence in your decision. But what a bolava... A 3 step process... Which only allows you to do so after you've formally considered that you might just be holding an ereonous belief.

The POWER of Questions!
Once again we've come to a traditional point in my thought..."The power of questions!

"The traditional question is "What can you say about what happens next?"
The Bayesian question is "What can the 10 heads in a row tell you about the nature of things (in this instance being the coin)?"

I believe that the latter question is far more important... powerful than the former!
What's the likelihood of getting 10 Heads in a row with an un-biased coin?
Answer =1/(2^10)... Not very likely is it?

Questioning your beliefs yet?

I didn't cheat as so many traditionalists would have you believe.I never said that I was tossing a traditional coin... Of course with me being who I am... I was tossing a Bayesian's "Head-Head" coin... Just to make a point!

What's the point?

Well if you're into probs and stats... Then I believe that Bayesian Theory is a hell of a lot more powerful than traditional theory.

And if you're not.... Then Questions are a lot more powerful than answers.

But just make sure that they are real questions... Not I told you so ones?

One last Powerful Question!Last but by no means least.... I'd like to ask just one more tiddily lil question, and that is: What's the likelihood of a man announcing to the World, some 1400 years ago, that the Sun has a term fixed?

Yes, you can say that there have been many doomsday predictors throughout the centuries. When they saw the eclipse of the Sun, they said the end of the World was nigh because of the Sins of Man.

This man said something similar but profoundly different, he said that the Sun had a fixed term... that the sun would expire after a fixed period of time.

And then he told us of waters boiling, of mountains vanishing, of the earth convulsing (to it's very core) and of the stars falling...And on the Day of Reckoning, the Sun would be 1 mile above the Earth. And people will be called forth from their graves...

Ask any cosmologist what would happen when the Sun's power gives out....

Would it not implode and then explode into a SuperNova....
Would not the seas burn and boil....
Woul not the sky become red like ointment....
Would not the stars fall....

In the 1920s Einstein witnessed the phenomenon that verified his general theory, and that explains the stars falling! The phenomena was a gravitational lens that bends light, and when the Sun explodes the stars we see in the heavens will fall. But not to the ground, but to the Horizon!

That man was Muhammad (saw) who taught that God was ONE and of the coming Day of Decision...
the Day of Sorting!

May Allah t'ala reward him exceptionally, magnanimously and increasingly!

P.S. The above is my interpretation only... And people are subject to limitations and errors..!