Floating on a Cloud of Mercy

The singer reflects on what drew him to Islam--and how it allows his creative side to flow.


04/16/2008 07:21:09 PM

Another thing he spoke about was that he would construct a building alongside the Mosque where children will be taught the arts, computers etc including Music classes. I questioned him on what would the worshipper who comes in to say his salah in the Mosque do when he hears all the music going on in adjacent building. He told me: " Let him go to his home and pray". He himself is a singer and plays Islamic music at concerts. I have purchased some of his Islamic music.


04/16/2008 07:19:48 PM

? He is a fine Imam and converted to Islam about 25 yrs ago and conducts Qu'ran Class every Sunday. I have attended and heard him. He is a wonderful teacher of the Al Qur'an in English. When I objected to the way he planned ot raise money for the Mosque, he told me where does it say in the Qur'an that money cannot be raised this way? He wanted to see it in some ayaat or from any hadiths on this matter.


04/16/2008 07:18:19 PM

Assalaamu Alaikum. I have a question. I came across an Imam of a Mosque here in USA and he was trying to raise money to renovate the Mosque for many years. All the members of his congregation would not contribute enough zakath or sadaqa for this noble cause. His contention was that if his congregation did not contribute than he would have to raise the money by other means. One of the ways that he is planning on doing this is by getting a Sponser to pay for a 3 to 5 star hotel rent and there he would hold a dinner party - each ticket to cost - a certain amount and he would provide food as well as entertainment - entertainment in the form of women and children dressing up in various "Islamic" dress and parading on stage. The Christians and Jewish families would also participate and have a dress parade in like manner. This is how he plans to raise the money for Allah's Masjid. Is this allowed per Islamic principles?


07/31/2007 01:54:08 PM

I can't agree that Qur'an is God's word, but there are several verses I like. I think a person who sincerely tries to be a good muslim can be a good person, if his faith does not degenerate into religious bigotry and prejudice against gays, Jews, Americans and others. However, I do think Islam should have a fifth pillar: NON VIOLENCE. And that jihad should be abolished. THAT is the reform that Islam needs: Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Baha'u'llah all taught non violence, so if Islam is really from the same one source it should be willing to affirm non violence.


04/18/2007 04:17:55 PM

Cat Stevens is part of the Ahle Sunna, just like Hamza Yusuf, or Nuh Ha Mim Keller, they uphold the need for sunna and hadith. Which are at best dogmas, superstitions and illogical reasoning. And merely fabrications or politically motivated lies. God did not forbid music, in any of the previous revelations or even in the Quran. it is these leagalist or these corrupters of the deen of Islam, who deceive people to believe that music is forbidden or haram. The truth is there is no hardship in Islam, and that is the truth found in the Quran, in which God says the religion is of ease not hardship. They are all sects which are also talked of in Islam, the Sunnis, the Shias, the Salefis, the Ahmedis, etc. The truth shall be known and the truth shall make you free. submission.org the best source on Islam welcomes you to think again.


02/27/2007 08:40:18 AM

You guys are digressing way too much. This message board is for comments pertaining to the article, not to debate the existence of God with each other. Please find a more appropriate forum. There are lots of them on this website. Thanks.


02/06/2007 02:51:35 PM

(continued) Finally, if I am in error believing that people can live without illusion in their lives, well, I can live with that. But I'm not convinced that I am necessarily wrong about this. In fact, and unlike the "concepts of gods", I think there is some fairly convincing evidence (ex-Baptist's and nuns included) that people really could, with some application of right thinking, reduce the number of illusions that they possibly might live by.


02/06/2007 02:44:24 PM

(continued) Let me say that, my interest in religion has three aspects: first, it is part of my personal journey about finding out how things really are; second, it is part of my interest as an educator and citizen in making as many people as possible think critically about anything, in the optimistic belief that a better society will result; third, it is a defensive action against other people's attempt to curtail my freedom of thought and speech. I think the last point needs further discussion because it lies at the root of at least one major misunderstanding in the atheist/science and religion debate, constituting one huge stumbling block that leads people, including skeptics, to react emotionally whenever the subject is brought up for discussion.


02/06/2007 02:38:00 PM

Hey, jacknky, it's only a message board. I'm here only to debate the issues, not point fingers or tell people that 'they' are flawed, even though their notions and ideas might well be. Nor do I accept the proposition that some people "CAN'T" change or that ignorance is a "part of who" people are. And I'm confident that your disbelief would change if you were presented with decisive proof of the existence of supernatural entities. I don't know, but I detect a bit of uncharacteristic disingenuousness in some of the things you have recently posted on this thread, which really is a surprise.


02/06/2007 10:52:46 AM

(cont'd) If we don't attack them there might be some theists who will join us. Maybe you and I and liberal theists can join together to keep religion out of the schools and protect the rights of homosexuals. Your underlying assumption seems to be that humans can live without their illusions. I don't know that's true. In fact, that may be as much an error as we believe concepts of gods are.


02/06/2007 10:52:24 AM

I think the debate CAN be a healthy one. I also think it can quickly degenerate into one of defensiveness and finger pointing. I think a very real question might be "What do we do besides "debate"?" I can see the theists on these boards get defensive and feel attacked. I can understand why. I was raised a Southern Baptist and my ex-wife is an ex-nun. I know what it feels like to be told there is something fundamentally flawed with who I am. And THAT's what we're saying to theists who may indeed be living sound compassionate lives. YOU are fundamentally flawed because you live "irrationally". But their belief is a part of who they are. Maybe they CAN't change that any more than I can change my disbelief. Belief can be used to open up to wisdom and compassion. It also can be used to shut down into discrimination and exclusion. THAT's what we ought to be fighting against, when religion is used in a harmful way.


02/05/2007 07:02:49 PM

(continued) Atheism, at least for me, is very far removed from the usual listing of the errors of theism. Nor can atheism be equated with denialism. It holds real and practical implications for the place of religion and the obligations of atheism in our societies.


02/05/2007 07:00:06 PM

Personally, jacknky, I think the debate between atheism and theism a healthy one, and unlike you, I haven't detected the fundamentalism among atheists that you seem to perceive. Humans love to explain things. True universals of human nature are rare, yet our passion for explanations is surely one of them. So, the real question for me is how we should consider our urge to understand the world. Only then can we ask ourselves whether atheism or theism forms part of a coherent worldview. This new debate between atheism and theism forces us into an investigation of philosophy, science, history, ethics, and aesthetics, and a desire for intellectual integrity and a commitment to truth.


02/05/2007 04:35:23 PM

steppen, "but as soon as they claim that their elaborate assumptions are somehow immune from criticism, revision, or rejection, they will get no quarter from me." I tend to agree, although I will cut a theist some slack if they acknowledge that this is their belief and not fact. Some will, you know.


02/05/2007 04:33:38 PM

steppen, "And, no, 'my' interpretation of atheism is really not agnosticism. Have a look at the word: 'a-theism' = without a God." Instead, I looked at a dictionary. Atheist: a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings. I take "disbelieves" to mean we believe something else. I can see where you may not. Agnostic: a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience. While some may poo-poo "not-knowing" it seems reasonable to me to acknowledge that in much that is existential "I don't know" might be the most honest answer. It certainly can help keep us from sliding down the same slippery slope into dogma that religion is so prone to.


02/05/2007 04:23:51 PM

steppen, I really don't know how I've become an apologist for religious faith. I've really stepped into it. I think I'm responding to a tone that is emerging among us skeptics that sounds as dogmatic and dare I say attacking as any I perceive coming from a fundamentalist. I personally am trying to inject a little humility and acknowledgement of the human condition into what I perceive to be an increasingly virulent discussion.


02/05/2007 04:03:17 PM

By the way, jacknky, people can believe what they want (and they will), but as soon as they claim that their elaborate assumptions are somehow immune from criticism, revision, or rejection, they will get no quarter from me.


02/05/2007 03:42:05 PM

"Semantics." Well, jacknky, you'd be the last one I'd expect to draw that card. And, no, 'my' interpretation of atheism is really not agnosticism. Have a look at the word: 'a-theism' = without a God. Agnosticism, on the other hand, is the studied art of fence-sitting in face of fields neither of which offers greener grass. I would highly recommend to anyone who considers him or herself an agnostic to peruse the segment in Richard Dawkins new book - The God Delusion - entitled The Poverty Of Agnosticism where he identifies it two forms (one legitimate and one not so) to be thoroughly disabused of maintaining that position in respect to the existence of God. As he points out, how many of us are agnostic in respect to the existence of fairies (a-fairyist). Well, you can't disprove that hypothesis one way or the other, now, can you?


02/05/2007 03:21:51 PM

"True believers CAN'T change their beliefs just like we can't either." Balderdash, jacknky, and speak for yourself. I have changed many of my beliefs throughout my life as compelling evidence has persuaded me to do so. And do you really have a problem with grasping what "compelling evidence" amounts to that you need a definition? And just where have I condemned "all" belief in a blanket way? Some may find it "fun" to point fingers at others beliefs, but there are certain beliefs that demand critique, especially those one's that have proved parlous to millions in the past. Theists may not be from another planet, but many of their beliefs have the capacity to place this one in a state of jeopardy.


02/05/2007 12:44:43 PM

"I think this statement indicates an incomprehension of what 'atheism' actually means. Contrary to popular understanding, an atheist is not someone who "believes" that there is no God, but rather one who lacks a belief in God (a-theism, without a God)." Semantics. But I believe your interpretation of atheist is really an agnostic. An agnostic holds that the existence of God is unknowable. An atheist denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings. So theists who say an atheist is substituting one belief for another are basically correct, not so correct for agnostics. "...I want to see that evidence before I will allow them access to my children in the schools." Agreed.


02/05/2007 12:38:17 PM

steppen, "the fact still remains that theism is grounded in elaborate assumptions for which the theist is unable to furnish the least bit of compelling evidence." Define "compelling evidence". Are theists from another planet? Is not your defining what is "compelling" to them another dogma? It's possible they are attuned to aspects of existence that you and I aren't. It would be like our being color blind and those who see in color describe an "elaborate" world we can't see. It may be fun to point fingers and identify the problem but then what? I think theists need to learn that their beliefs are subject to question just like any other human endeavor but a blanket condemnation of all belief seems unrealistic. True believers CAN'T change their beliefs just like we can't either. Let's be careful not to paint them into a corner.


02/05/2007 12:24:39 AM

Re Steppen "What do you believe ?" is the heading, and of course that also includes your opinion, what ever it may be. In all "The Truth, the Light and the Way is al that counts anyWay LUV 2 ALL Wisdum


02/04/2007 06:00:53 PM

No, I wouldn't agree that it is "all about opinion", Wisdum. There are some truths and realities that transcend mere opinion.


02/04/2007 05:29:31 PM

Re- steppen It's all about opinion isn't it ! After listing to his opinion, mine and his concur. Of course U2 are still entitled to yours LUV 2 ALL Wisdum


02/04/2007 03:40:05 PM

Wisdum: You forgot to add, or were we to assume it...? that it is only your opinion that Gary Zukav's book is "the most important book written in the last 100 years" Actually, a goodly number of scientists, possibly starting with Darwin, have always emphasized that evolution and man's spirituality are inextricably tied. The late Carl Sagan was one of the latter one's to see the connection and wrote several influential books inspired by the notion.


02/04/2007 10:42:06 AM

"SEAT OF THE SOUL" by Gary Zukav. This is the most important book written in the last 100 years. Somebody has finally tied evolution and spirituality together. Thank God ! It is availabe in book or audio book. BTW, good to see U2 again ! LUV 2 ALL Wisdum


02/03/2007 01:36:37 AM

You're welcome, MargoPego. While I may not agree with your beliefs, I can still appreciate your point of view, which you convey with refreshing sincerity and clarity. And, no, I don't think your babbling, but I do hope that tomorrow will see you greatly refreshed.


02/02/2007 11:32:32 PM

steppen0410e, I just want to say "thanks" for your compliments about how my posts are written. Thanks for stating what you thought about what Namchuck wrote. I apologise if I'm wrong. It's quite possible that I misunderstood what was written. I came to conclusion that I have no problem with believing and having faith in God, even if there's no clear proof of His existence. I've also not seen any proof that there isn't a God. Me, I choose to believe, and that's all I'm going to say here. I think I've said it already anyway. If I seem to be babbling, sorry! I'm just very tired tonight. :S This is a very interesting and stimulating discussion! I'm learning a lot about the ways others see things. :D Thanks for your honesty and lack of antagonism towards each other. It's refreshing in a discussion of this type. :)


02/02/2007 04:38:43 PM

And then, maybe not.


02/02/2007 03:36:30 PM

And anticipating Namchuck's response, and as Harris validly points out, it is not about "pointing the fingers at good hearted theists" - as if, somehow, there good heartedness makes their beliefs immune from criticism - but actually seeing and identifying that, no matter how "good hearted" the theist may be, the fact that he has convinced himself that his beliefs about the world can float entirely free of reason and evidence can prove parlous to the well-being of everyone else in ways that both Harris and Namchuck have identified. Perhaps his goodheartedness, his loving and wise and compassionate disposition would enable him to recognize this?


02/02/2007 03:24:58 PM

"As an atheist I'm beginning to not believe that little theory..." Believe that little theory or not, jacknky, the fact still remains that theism is grounded in elaborate assumptions for which the theist is unable to furnish the least bit of compelling evidence. "Otherwise we're just arguing that our belief is 'better' than their belief." I think this statement indicates an incomprehension of what 'atheism' actually means. Contrary to popular understanding, an atheist is not someone who "believes" that there is no God, but rather one who lacks a belief in God (a-theism, without a God). "I see nothing supernatural in the world...Others see evidence that there is..." Fair enough, but let them advance that "evidence", and irrespective of how loving and wise and compassionate they may be, I want to see that evidence before I will allow them access to my children in the schools.


02/02/2007 01:44:59 PM

steppen, "only that the basis, perhaps, lacked any kind of reason grounded in evidence." As an atheist I'm beginning to not believe that little theory. A theist's belief is not grounded in "evidence" that WE as non-theists can see or accept. That's all we can say. Otherwise we're just arguing that our belief is "better" than their belief. That's what this world needs, more arguing and finger pointing. I see nothing supernatural in the world and base my ethics and belief system on there being nothing supernatural. Others see evidence that there is and it might work for them. For me, the true criteria is if they are loving and wise and compassionate, how they live their lives.


02/02/2007 01:36:52 PM

Namchuck, "Perhaps, but the very maintaining of the ground of those "different directions" may be the very seed-bed by which all the intolerance that so afflicts the world arises." Perhaps. As an atheist I loved reading Sam Harris' book. very validating. But solving the problems of human intolerence extends further than saying "That's the problem." The next step is to decide what to do about it. Is it really helpful to point fingers at good-hearted theists and say "You are the problem" when they might be our allies in fighting intolerence? Who is a better ally, a Christian who works hard to help the poor and sick or an atheist who sits on his butt and tells the Christian he's "wrong"? I know intolerent atheists and I know tolerent theists. Don't you?


02/01/2007 04:06:30 PM

Now, there's a funny thing! The last line of my penultimate post was typed after the paragraph that began "I believe you (MargoPego) have genuine convictions...", yet it somehow mysteriously appeared at the end of my message!


02/01/2007 04:01:59 PM

Good posts, Namchuck! Your's, too, MargoPego! Again, well articulated and permeated by sincerity. I believe you have genuine convictions about your faith, just like the one's I have heard from those who hold different, and even contradictory, convictions about their respective faiths. By the way, I don't think that Namchuck was suggesting that there was "no basis" for your beliefs, only that the basis, perhaps, lacked any kind of reason grounded in evidence. I mean, after all, we only believe because we don't know. Of course, none of this amounts to any evidence for a God, or gods, existence.


02/01/2007 03:41:16 PM

(continued) Anyway, although we can never prove or disprove the existence of God, science can tell us where God isn't. God isn't to be found in the creation of the Earth, nor in the evolution of life. And while Cat Steven's may continue to write pretty songs about his own spiritual preference, believers, like him, still continue to display an insufficient taste for evidence that permits irrationalism to abound.


02/01/2007 03:34:59 PM

saganev: There was a whole lot of things that are now understood on naturalistic terms that were once considered "impossible" and thought to signify the existence of an "intelligent creator". And I would like to see the probability math that would suggest that the Big Bang "borders on the impossible". There is a couple of things that can be said about the hypothetical creator: (a) he is crap at communicating (hence, the literally thousands of different understandings of him that has kept various believers at each others throats for millennia), and, (b) the question of the "intelligent creator's" creative competence. To adopt the explanation of intelligent creation, one would be forced to attribute a host of flaws and imperfections to the creator.


02/01/2007 03:23:12 PM

There's an article floating around Beliefnet somewhere about the guy, whose name escapes me right now, who came up with the "Big Bang Theory"? An interesting point is that he came to the conclusion that there likely is/was an intelligent creator simply because the odds of all this (solar system, earth and life) coming together as it did by accident borders on the impossible.


02/01/2007 03:19:58 PM

I would prefer not to fight at all, jacknky, and I see the same kind of loving and compassionate people as you among the religious of my family and friends. But I wonder if that love and compassion has anything to do with believing on things without evidence? "Should we not agree to fight intolerance even if we come to the conclusion from different directions?" Perhaps, but the very maintaining of the ground of those "different directions" may be the very seed-bed by which all the intolerance that so afflicts the world arises. I think this is where Sam Harris is entirely correct in his view on the moderates within religion.


02/01/2007 02:34:52 AM

As a devout Christian, I do strive to follow the teachings of Jesus wholeheartedly, and that includes compassion for all and true acceptance of people, no matter what they've done or what they believe. I know that faith isn't something easily grasped, if it's grasped at all, and I don't try to explain it, but it's not meant to be explained. If anyone who I feel sincerely and truly wants to know why I believe what I do (yes, there are reasons that I have carefully thought through) then I'd be happy to explain it.


02/01/2007 02:33:11 AM

First off, I just want to say "Thanks" for saying that my thoughts were well articulated. I do my best to think through as I write. As for my willingness to surrender my life - should it be required of me - "for notions that rest on a complete absence of evidence," this is something I decided that I'd do if I felt I had to long ago after much soul searching and thoughtfulness. I was raised in a Christian home, but I have never accepted the teachings I was raised with blindly. I went through a real time of searching and study and, yes, I did look at other beliefs and religions. After quite a while of this (I used my intellect and intelligence more than anything else at this time), I came to the conclusion that there was no other belief system for me. I do not care if others think there is no basis for my beliefs or for such "notions," as Namchuck put it.


01/31/2007 04:30:30 PM

steppen: I hope that you are not saying that those who believe in God are without reason. In my opinion that would be a sad and divisive statement, and really no better than the religious fundamentalist mindset.


01/31/2007 04:24:51 PM

Namchuck, Yes, I believe you're correct. On the other hand, I see all around me religious people who are filled with loving kindness, who live lives dedicated to others. These religious folk don't want to fly airplanes into buildings or discriminate against homosexuals. They appear to abhore fundamentalism as much as we do. Are they the enemy? Are we to paint them with the same broad brush as their intolerent bretheren? Should we not agree to fight intolerence even if we come to the conclusion from different directions?


01/31/2007 03:36:08 PM

I wouldn't concede that point, jacknky. There are literally thousands, if not millions, of people alive today whose religious beliefs are as ancient and anachronistic as the world views postulated by their so-called sacred literatures.


01/31/2007 02:57:05 PM

No, sagenav, faith doesn't "necessarily have to preclude reason", unless, of course, that faith is the belief in historical and metaphysical propositions without sufficient evidence. It is the invoking of this kind of faith that I refer to as the transparent admission that its claims cannot stand on their own two feet.


01/31/2007 12:56:23 PM

sagenev, "Some of our atheist brothers and sisters need to take care not to become dogmatic and fundamental in their own beliefs so as to exclude their liberal and spiritual allies." Well said. As an agnostic I've come to a similar conclusion. We too can be guilty of dogmatic thinking as we are also humans. If dogmatism and fundamentalism are the enemies of compassion, which I think they are, then liberal theists and atheists should be joining forces, not sniping at one another.


01/31/2007 12:50:42 PM

Namchuck, "But I would agree, though, that Muhammad's attitude to women seemed to be an enlightened one for the age, although he is reported as suggesting that hell was largely populated by women." In a way, it really doesn't matter what the religious leaders taught so many years ago. It's what people today BELIEVE was taught that matters and it matters that that faith is unquestioned in their minds.


01/31/2007 12:46:31 PM

Beachoffice, "If Muslim women are comfortable in what you call a second-class role, why don't we mind our own business and let them be." That's a biiig "if". The point is that women don't have choices so if they're NOT comfortable being second class citizens they have no recourse.


01/31/2007 12:43:31 PM

Doratheexplora, "To my understanding, it has been the "cultural" manipulations of Islam that have woven in some cases seemingly misogynistic and oppressive realities into some practices." Some practices?? Can you name me a predominantly Muslim country in the world today where woman have equal rights to men?


01/31/2007 09:59:51 AM

I apologize, my previous post should read: Does Faith necessarily have to preclude reason.


01/31/2007 09:59:04 AM

Does faith necessarily have to preclude faith? I don't think so. Some of our atheist brothers and sisters need to take care not to become dogmatic and fundamental in their own beliefs so as to exclude their liberal and spiritual allies.


01/30/2007 03:44:23 PM

"the strength of faith..." I've said it before, and I'll say it again, faith, by its very invocation, is a transparent admission that religious claims cannot stand on their own two feet. Faith is the ultimate cop out from having to do any real thinking.


01/30/2007 03:16:52 PM

SolusCado: If I may butt in on your post to Namchuck (and I agree with him that the Baroque assumptions of religion "rest on a complete absence of evidence"), I don't think many people actually make the claim that "there is in fact NO GOD". What most atheists and non-theists suggest is that (a) there is insufficient evidence to justify belief in God, gods, or any other form of supernatural entity (this is atheism's softer form); or, in its harder form, that there is enough evidence to justify disbelieving in God, gods, or any other form of supernatural entity.


01/30/2007 03:08:05 PM

That's okay, gojoe283. Unlike you, though, I do not stand in awe of the Muslim belief in one God. Like all the other major religions, Islam is founded on elaborate assumptions that are in their nature monarchic. That is, the assumptions are unquestionable generally on pain of heresy, sin, damnation, torture, or some combination thereof. If one's experience or commonsense or intuition or logic contradicts the creed, then the fault lies not with the privileged beliefs, but with the experience, commonsense, intuition and logic. I have no respect for any world view where, in constructing one's worldview, the nature of the explanation must always remain subservient to the assumptions of the worldview.


01/30/2007 02:33:18 PM

Steppen: Based on some research on the Net, I stand corrected. You are correct in that Stevens' father is Greek and his mother is Swedish. In addition his bio states that both his rents are Christians. I based my statement on what I heard from others in my community. Besides this, I do respect Muslims' belief in one G-d. My problem with Islam (as with any "killing" religion) is the Koran's statements about the glory of killing for the sake of Allah, in the case of those who refuse to believe this way.


01/30/2007 06:47:02 AM

namchuck - I am hesitant to post a response, as I really don't have time for a 3-day back-and-forth. :) Steppen knows what I mean. BUT, I just have to disagree with you in the statement "for notions that rest on a complete absence of evidence". While I am the first to stand up and say that I believe what I believe without the support of evidence, but for the strength of faith, I have yet to see one shred of evidence that there is in fact NO GOD.


01/29/2007 05:48:42 PM

I think your confusing the accident of ancestry with religious conviction, gojoe283. Anyway, I believe Cat Stevens is of Greek ancestry, at least on his paternal side. All that aside, though, you have a point, and a significant one at that about the Muslim attitude to the Jews. I guess one can almost see the situation as a family feud that has smouldered, with frequent violent outbreaks, over the millennia.


01/29/2007 05:13:38 PM

Cat Stevens was a Christian? Sorry folks, you have to re-read your facts. His real name is Steven Katz and he's Jewish. All the more tragic. I have yet to meet a Muslim who will admit that the Jewish people have the right to tiny patch of land where we can live in peace. Oh, I forgot. Many people do believe that, including many Muslims. It's called Auschwitz.


01/29/2007 03:43:24 PM

Jesus did say some things with sufficient ambiguity to allow a door to be opened for violence. For instance, 'I came not to bring peace but a sword' and his comment in John 15:6 inspired his followers to put hundreds of thousands of unbelievers to the sword and to be burned at the stake. Perhaps these were simply unwitting statements by Jesus who could not have foreseen how they would be interpreted and abused by his devout followers, but the same could not be said for some of the violent things that Muhhammad has Allah proclaim in the Koran or what he said on his own behalf in the Hadith. I'm with Namchuck here. The killing religions of man should be shunned by all reasonable and compassionate people.


01/29/2007 03:09:05 PM

Well articulated posts, MargoPego, but, for the life of me, I still cannot fathom just how anyone in this day and age could be willing to surrender their life - the only one we get as far as we know - for notions that rest on a complete absence of evidence. The "Him" that you claim you would never renounce exists, as the evidence strongly suggests, nowhere else but in your mind, just as those entities that many Muslims, Hindu's and other religionists are all so willing to devoutedly follow to their deaths only exist in their minds. This is why I call them the 'killing religions', as they seem to thrive and flourish on the concept of death. But I would agree, though, that Muhammad's attitude to women seemed to be an enlightened one for the age, although he is reported as suggesting that hell was largely populated by women.


01/28/2007 09:16:34 PM

Just so people know, I don't want to seem like a fundamentalist - I'm not, but I am a very strong believer in Christ and in His teachings. As for someone's earlier post about Islam being a religion that puts women down and forces them to live covered under the veil, that's a misconception as someone else pointed out. Mohammed never said that women should be covered, and he was all for equality. A lot of religions - Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and others - if followed correctly, actually promote equality of all people and were not intended to keep anyone down or to make people seem less than they are - created equal in God's eyes.


01/28/2007 09:13:00 PM

I'm a Christian who doesn't see the teachings of Jesus as promoting killing or hurting others. It's always bothered me when I see people saying that they're killing in the name of Jesus, and I don't agree that the Crusades or the Inquisitions were right. If a person's going to really follow the teachings of Jesus, as every Christian should strive to do, then she should strive to live a life of peace and compassion toward everyone, whether she disagrees with them or not. As for being willing to die for my faith, yes, I would be. I'm not willing to kill for any reason, but I would be willing to be a martyr (not the kind who goes out on suicide missions as some terrorists do or anything like that) if Christians were being persecuted, even with the risk of death. This doesn't mean I'm going to go out of my way to seek martyrdom - it just means that that's how strongly I believe in my faith and how devoutly I follow Jesus and how I will never renounce Him.


01/28/2007 07:05:31 AM

Just checking. Paula


01/28/2007 01:07:48 AM

Yes, PaulaEdwina, that would include Christianity, and any other religion that people are both willing to kill and die for.


01/27/2007 09:16:31 PM

Namchuck, That would rule out christianity wouldn't it. Be careful what you ask for. Paula


01/27/2007 09:03:19 PM

Killing religions should be forsaken by every reasonable and compassionate person, and that despite the perfumed smokescreens thrown up by their celebrity adherents.


01/26/2007 07:16:10 PM

Beachoffice, IMO back in slave days there were slaves who were happy with their masters. It didn't make slavery any more right did it? Secondly, if among those women who are happy as second class citizens there are women who are not happy to be second class citizens, where is their voice? Thirdly, let's not make assumptions about muslim women being second class citizens right? And this whole idea that the problem lies in women who want to be men is specious. That would be like saying that slaves who want to be free really just want to be white. Paula


01/23/2007 02:57:27 PM

It is my understanding, and my belief, that some women are content to let the man be the man when he is able and comfortable in that role. Not all women need to be equal. I fear that some of the problems we are facing today are because women have chosen to be the man. If Muslim women are comfortable in what you call a second-class role, why don't we mind our own business and let them be.


01/22/2007 06:01:19 PM

I feel as if there are some serious misconceptions about Islam as being a religion that treats women as second-class citizens or "less than human." My understanding is that the faith prinicipals of Islam hold women in very high regard and recognize their power, starting with the Prophet's daughters. To my understanding, it has been the "cultural" manipulations of Islam that have woven in some cases seemingly misogynistic and oppressive realities into some practices.


01/18/2007 03:30:02 PM

I am a long-time fan of Cat Stevens and the spirituality apparent in his music was probably the thing that attracted me to it. But why Islam? I don't understand why he would be attracted to a faith that has always treated women, including his wife and daughters, as second-class citizens at best and as something less than human at worst. This is a serious question, please explain.


01/17/2007 11:20:39 AM

A lot of Muslims condemned Rushdie's book but did not necessarily agree with the fatwa issued for his death. By the way, the fatwa, to my knowledge, has been cancelled. Everyone has the right to their point of view, but when a point of view closes the heart or the mind, it is especially sad. Yusuf Islam's new CD is beautiful in its tone of love, tolerance and respect. To refuse to listen because of an old fatwa is to miss out on a piece of the continuing story of the personal and spiritual growth of Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens.


01/17/2007 10:11:09 AM

Reminder: Cat Stevens joined the call among Muslims globally for Salman Rushdie's death for his book "The Satanic Verses." At the time, 80s band "10,000 Maniacs" (Natalie Merchant) were widely commended for holding off releasing their album to remove a cover of a Cat Stevens song from it in protest of Stevens' call for the murder of Rushdie. Unless Stevens has recanted that call and I am not aware of it, I question the wisdom of giving him an audience on Bnet.


01/16/2007 11:52:09 PM

I listened to Cat Stevens until he turned his back on his Christian upbringing and embraced the Koran.


01/16/2007 05:40:05 PM

It is great to read about how Cat Stevens converted from Jesus to Muhammed. Those who believe in any god should find his path fascinating and insightful. As more Christians convert to Islam, rather than the other way around, it should speak to those still seeking.


01/14/2007 11:39:31 AM

I think that "frjimod's" choice of "much inferior" when comparing the Quran to the New Testament is not in the spirit of true, respectful, interreligious dialogue. It's a pretty loaded phrase that comes off as pejorative. Furthermore, in his/her "reflections" on violence done to non-Muslims in the name of Islam, I would encourage "frjimod" to also reflect on violence done to Muslims in the name of Christianity, starting with the crusades.


01/10/2007 12:46:46 PM

I have found much admirable and poetic in the Quran,but in its ethics and theology ,it seems much inferior to the New Testament. Yusuf Islam seems indifferent to the persecutions in the name of Islam of many non Muslims in the Islamic world ,yet he would be far form such if the Non Muslim world treated Muslims the way non muslims are treated in Dar -al_-Islam.


01/09/2007 07:39:29 PM

It is very interesting to me to see how a man is free to follow his spiritual path in the non muslim world. If a muslim man decided to convert to another religion he would be accused of apostasy and condemned to death. Please correct me if I am wrong.


01/09/2007 08:12:45 AM

Asalam Alaikum, I am also a revert to Islam and I read your remarks with great joy and understanding. It is hard to explain what "stood out" about Islam because as we know, Allah calls to us in our hearts and souls, not merely in our minds. To Xayver: nothing is missing from Dr. Islam's account, that is, nothing that can be explained in words. By the way, "An Other Cup" is wonderful.


01/08/2007 03:56:00 PM

I am actually more curious about what happened after you received the Qu'ran and read it and your ultimate decision to become a Muslim. You said it 'struck' you, OK. It talks about humanity as "one family".. what does that mean? What was it about Islam that stood out, since you admit that the other religions you studied expressed the same? Something just seems to be missing, and I am only asking because I am curious. I read the Qu'ran too.