Advertisement

Common Word, Common Lord

Common Word, Common Lord

More on How The Atlantic Got It Wrong About Islam: Are Beheadings “Islamic”?

In the Name of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord

In the widely-cited, and very long, article by Graeme Wood in The Atlantic, it is written:

The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail. Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it.

Advertisement

Now, there is much in this article that is quite problematic. As its proof of ISIS’ “Islamicness,” it cites one scholar who is not even Muslim and backs it up by interviewing the likes of Anjem Choudhry, a well-know British Muslim extremist. Really? Would any journalist dare do the same with Judaism, for instance? Of course not. Cough…Double Standard…Cough.

That said, let us take his point head on. Is ISIS truly “Very Islamic,” as Wood claims? Already, there have been numerous scholarly – and very good – responses to the article. Think Progress has even interviewed the scholar cited in the piece, Bernard Haykal, to get more detail about his views.

Advertisement

Yet, let us take this passage:

All Muslims acknowledge that Muhammad’s earliest conquests were not tidy affairs, and that the laws of war passed down in the Koran and in the narrations of the Prophet’s rule were calibrated to fit a turbulent and violent time. In Haykel’s estimation, the fighters of the Islamic State are authentic throwbacks to early Islam and are faithfully reproducing its norms of war. This behavior includes a number of practices that modern Muslims tend to prefer not to acknowledge as integral to their sacred texts. “Slavery, crucifixion, and beheadings are not something that freakish [jihadists] are cherry-picking from the medieval tradition,” Haykel said. Islamic State fighters “are smack in the middle of the medieval tradition and are bringing it wholesale into the present day.”

Advertisement

Let us deal with one of these behaviors, namely, beheadings. Is this Islamic? Enter this verse:

Now when you meet [in war] those who are bent on denying the truth, smite their necks until you overcome them fully… (47:4)

Are you saying, “Gotcha!”? Have I been disproven?

Umm…no. The verse is speaking about meeting the enemy on the battlefield, and it is encouraging the believers to fight vigorously. Isn’t this normal? Wouldn’t you want to have your soldiers fight valiantly on the battlefield? This is what the verse is doing: exhorting them to fight valiantly on the battlefield.

What about the words “smite their necks”? Aren’t the savages of ISIS following the letter of the Qur’an with their gruesome beheadings? No. At the time the verse was revealed, the main weapon of war was…a sword. And, when you kill your enemy on the battlefield with a sword, many times you strike at his neck. This is what the verse is saying.

Advertisement

The verse is NOT saying kidnap a relief worker (or journalist) – helping to relieve the terrible suffering of the Syrian people – and then behead them on camera if their sick demands are not met. The verse is NOT saying kidnap 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians and behead them on camera. No way can this verse be used to justify these horrific practices.

Moreover, here is the verse in full:

Now when you meet [in war] those who are bent on denying the truth, smite their necks until you overcome them fully, and then tighten their bonds; but thereafter [set them free,] either by an act of grace or against ransom, so that the burden of war may be lifted: thus [shall it be]. And [know that] had God so willed, He could indeed punish them [Himself]; but [He wills you to struggle] so as to test you [all] by means of one another. And as for those who are slain in God’s cause, never will He let their deeds go to waste.

Advertisement

According to almost all classical Qur’anic exegesis, “tighten their bonds” means take prisoners of war. It must noted that this verse was revealed at a time when prisoners of war were typically mercilessly slaughtered. The Qur’an sets a standard by which these prisoners of war – not kidnapped civilians – can be eventually set free.

Moreover, the “ransom” mentioned in the verse can also comprise – according to some interpretations – a mutual exchange of prisoners of war. In fact, after the first major battle during the Prophet Muhamamad’s life – the Battle of Badr – some prisoners of war were set free after teaching ten Muslims reading and writing.

Advertisement

If anyone in ISIS thinks that kidnapping innocent people and then beheading them for the camera can be justified by a reading of verse 47:4, then he must have a serious psychological problem. This is why we Muslims – the vast, vast majority of us – say that ISIS is “un-Islamic.” They have no understanding of the very basic tenets and principles of Islam, and they use a horrifically simplistic and psychopathic reading of Islamic texts to justify their actions.

Yes, they may call themselves Muslim, but their actions are wholly antithetical to very essence of our faith. Their actions are not normative Islamic practice; they are barbarism par excellence. Contrary to Wood’s claim, ISIS is not “Very Islamic”; it is Very barbaric.

 

Advertisement

Think Muslims Haven’t Condemned 9/11? Think Again

In the Name of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord

I had a conversation on Twitter recently when someone mentioned the “Muslim silence” on the attacks of 9/11 to me. I had to make sure the person was asking the question correctly, and he or she was. This person actually claimed that Muslims did not condemn the attacks of 9/11. As a result, just like the Muslim condemations of ISIS, I list here a (very partial) list of the Muslim condemnations of the attacks of 9/11. This list is thanks to the excellent work of UNC Chapel Hill Sociology Professor Charles Kurzman:

Advertisement

Mustafa Mashhur, General Guide, Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt; Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Ameer, Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, Pakistan; Muti Rahman Nizami, Ameer, Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, Bangladesh; Shaykh Ahmad Yassin, Founder, Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), Palestine; Rashid Ghannoushi, President, Nahda Renaissance Movement, Tunisia; Fazil Nour, President, PAS – Parti Islam SeMalaysia, Malaysia; and 40 other Muslim scholars and politicians:
“The undersigned, leaders of Islamic movements, are horrified by the events of Tuesday 11 September 2001 in the United States which resulted in massive killing, destruction and attack on innocent lives. We express our deepest sympathies and sorrow. We condemn, in the strongest terms, the incidents, which are against all human and Islamic norms. This is grounded in the Noble Laws of Islam which forbid all forms of attacks on innocents. God Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an: ‘No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another’ (Surah al-Isra 17:15).”
MSANews, September 14, 2001 (via archive.org).
Arabic original in al-Quds al-Arabi (London), September 14, 2001, p. 2.

Advertisement

Shaykh Yusuf Qaradawi, Qatar; Tariq Bishri, Egypt; Muhammad S. Awwa, Egypt; Fahmi Huwaydi, Egypt; Haytham Khayyat, Syria; Shaykh Taha Jabir al-Alwani, U.S.:
“All Muslims ought to be united against all those who terrorize the innocents, and those who permit the killing of non-combatants without a justifiable reason. Islam has declared the spilling of blood and the destruction of property as absolute prohibitions until the Day of Judgment. … [It is] necessary to apprehend the true perpetrators of these crimes, as well as those who aid and abet them through incitement, financing or other support. They must be brought to justice in an impartial court of law and [punished] appropriately. … [It is] a duty of Muslims to participate in this effort with all possible means.”
Statement of September 27, 2001.

Advertisement

Shaykh Muhammed Sayyid al-Tantawi, imam of al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, Egypt:
“Attacking innocent people is not courageous, it is stupid and will be punished on the day of judgement. … It’s not courageous to attack innocent children, women and civilians. It is courageous to protect freedom, it is courageous to defend oneself and not to attack.”
Agence France Presse, September 14, 2001

Abdel-Mo’tei Bayyoumi, al-Azhar Islamic Research Academy, Cairo, Egypt:
“There is no terrorism or a threat to civilians in jihad [religious struggle].”
Al-Ahram Weekly Online, 20 – 26 September 2001 (via archive.org).

Advertisement

Muslim Brotherhood, an opposition Islamist group in Egypt, said it was “horrified” by the attack and expressed “condolences and sadness”:
“[We] strongly condemn such activities that are against all humanist and Islamic morals. … [We] condemn and oppose all aggression on human life, freedom and dignity anywhere in the world.”
Al-Ahram Weekly Online, 13 – 19 September 2001 (via archive.org).

Shaykh Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, spiritual guide of the Hizbullah movement in Lebanon, said he was “horrified” by these “barbaric … crimes”:
“Beside the fact that they are forbidden by Islam, these acts do not serve those who carried them out but their victims, who will reap the sympathy of the whole world. … Islamists who live according to the human values of Islam could not commit such crimes.”
Agence France Presse, September 14, 2001

Advertisement

‘Abdulaziz bin ‘Abdallah Al-Ashaykh, chief mufti of Saudi Arabia:
“Firstly: the recent developments in the United States including hijacking planes, terrorizing innocent people and shedding blood, constitute a form of injustice that cannot be tolerated by Islam, which views them as gross crimes and sinful acts. Secondly: any Muslim who is aware of the teachings of his religion and who adheres to the directives of the Holy Qur’an and the sunnah (the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad) will never involve himself in such acts, because they will invoke the anger of God Almighty and lead to harm and corruption on earth.”
Statement of September 15, 2001 (via archive.org).

Advertisement

‘Abdulaziz bin ‘Abdallah Al-Ashaykh, chief mufti of Saudi Arabia:
“You must know Islam’s firm position against all these terrible crimes. The world must know that Islam is a religion of peace and mercy and goodness; it is a religion of justice and guidance…Islam has forbidden violence in all its forms. It forbids the hijacking airplanes, ships and other means of transport, and it forbids all acts that undermine the security of the innocent.”
Hajj sermon of February 2, 2004, in “Public Statements by Senior Saudi Officials Condemning Extremism and Promoting Moderation,” May 2004, page 10 (via archive.org).

Advertisement

Shaikh Saleh Al-Luheidan, Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council, Saudi Arabia:
“As a human community we must be vigilant and careful to oppose these pernicious and shameless evils, which are not justified by any sane logic, nor by the religion of Islam.”
Statement of September 14, 2001, in “Public Statements by Senior Saudi Officials Condemning Extremism and Promoting Moderation,” May 2004, page 6 (via archive.org).

Shaikh Saleh Al-Luheidan, Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council, Saudi Arabia:
“And I repeat once again: that this act that the United states was afflicted with, with this vulgarity and barbarism, and which is even more barbaric than terrorist acts, I say that these acts are from the depths of depravity and the worst of evils.”
Televised statement of September 2001, in Muhammad ibn Hussin Al-Qahtani, editor, The Position of Saudi Muslim Scholars Regarding Terrorism in the Name of Islam (Saudi Arabia, 2004), pages 27-28.

Advertisement

Shaykh Muhammad bin ‘Abdallah al-Sabil, member of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars, Saudi Arabia:
“Any attack on innocent people is unlawful and contrary to shari’a (Islamic law). … Muslims must safeguard the lives, honor and property of Christians and Jews. Attacking them contradicts shari’a.”
Agence France Presse, December 4, 2001

Council of Saudi ‘Ulama, fatwa of February 2003:
“What is happening in some countries from the shedding of the innocent blood and the bombing of buildings and ships and the destruction of public and private installations is a criminal act against Islam. … Those who carry out such acts have the deviant beliefs and misleading ideologies and are responsible for the crime. Islam and Muslims should not be held responsible for such actions.”
The Dawn newspaper, Karachi, Pakistan, February 8, 2003 (via archive.org); also in “Public Statements by Senior Saudi Officials Condemning Extremism and Promoting Moderation,” May 2004, page 10 (via archive.org).

Advertisement

Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, chairman of the Sunna and Sira Council, Qatar:
“Our hearts bleed for the attacks that has targeted the World Trade Center [WTC], as well as other institutions in the United States despite our strong oppositions to the American biased policy towards Israel on the military, political and economic fronts. Islam, the religion of tolerance, holds the human soul in high esteem, and considers the attack against innocent human beings a grave sin, this is backed by the Qur’anic verse which reads: ‘Who so ever kills a human being [as punishment] for [crimes] other than manslaughter or [sowing] corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and who so ever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind’ (Al-Ma’idah:32).”
Statement of September 13, 2001 (via archive.org).

Advertisement

Tahirul Qadri, head of the Awami Tehrik Party, Pakistan:
“Bombing embassies or destroying non-military installations like the World Trade Center is no jihad. … “[T]hose who launched the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks not only killed thousands of innocent people in the United States but also put the lives of millions of Muslims across the world at risk. … Bin Laden is not a prophet that we should put thousands of lives at risk for.”
United Press International, October 18, 2001.

Ayatollah Ali Khamene’i, supreme jurist-ruler of Iran:
“Killing of people, in any place and with any kind of weapons, including atomic bombs, long-range missiles, biological or chemical weopons, passenger or war planes, carried out by any organization, country or individuals is condemned. … It makes no difference whether such massacres happen in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Qana, Sabra, Shatila, Deir Yassin, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq or in New York and Washington.”
Islamic Republic News Agency, September 16, 2001 (via archive.org).

Advertisement

President Muhammad Khatami of Iran:
“[T]he September 11 terrorist blasts in America can only be the job of a group that have voluntarily severed their own ears and tongues, so that the only language with which they could communicate would be destroying and spreading death.”
Address to the United Nations General Assembly, November 9, 2001 (via archive.org).

League of Arab States:
“The General-Secretariat of the League of Arab States shares with the people and government of the United States of America the feelings of revulsion, horror and shock over the terrorist attacks that ripped through the World Trade Centre and Pentagon, inflicting heavy damage and killing and wounding thousands of many nationalities. These terrorist crimes have been viewed by the League as inadmissible and deserving all condemnation. Divergence of views between the Arabs and the United States over the latter’s foreign policy on the Middle East crisis does in no way adversely affect the common Arab attitude of compassion with the people and government of the United States at such moments of facing the menace and ruthlessness of international terrorism. In more than one statement released since the horrendous attacks, the League has also expressed deep sympathy with the families of the victims. In remarks to newsmen immediately following the tragic events, Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa described the feelings of the Arab world as demonstrably sympathetic with the American people, particularly with families and individuals who lost their loved ones. “It is indeed tormenting that any country or people or city anywhere in the world be the scene of such disastrous attacks,” he added. While convinced that it is both inconceivable and lamentable that such a large-scale, organised terrorist campaign take place anywhere, anytime, the League believes that the dreadful attacks against WTC and the Pentagon unveil, time and again, that the cancer of terrorism can be extensively damaging if left unchecked. It follows that there is a pressing and urgent need to combat world terrorism. In this context, an earlier call by [Egyptian] President Hosni Mubarak for convening an international conference to draw up universal accord on ways and means to eradicate this phenomenon and demonstrate international solidarity is worthy of active consideration. The Arabs have walked a large distance in the fight against cross-border terrorism by concluding in April 1998 the Arab Agreement on Combating Terrorism.”
September 17, 2001.

Advertisement

Dr. Abdelouahed Belkeziz, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference:
“Following the bloody attacks against major buildings and installations in the United States yesterday, Tuesday, September 11, 2001, Dr. Abdelouahed Belkeziz, secretary-general of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), stated that he was shocked and deeply saddened when he heard of those attacks which led to the death and injury of a very large number of innocent American citizens. Dr. Belkeziz said he was denouncing and condemning those criminal and brutal acts that ran counter to all covenants, humanitarian values and divine religions foremost among which was Islam.”
Press Release, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, September 12, 2001.

Advertisement

Organization of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers:
“The Conference strongly condemned the brutal terror acts that befell the United States, caused huge losses in human lives from various nationalities and wreaked tremendous destruction and damage in New York and Washington. It further reaffirmed that these terror acts ran counter to the teachings of the divine religions as well as ethical and human values, stressed the necessity of tracking down the perpetrators of these acts in the light of the results of investigations and bringing them to justice to inflict on them the penalty they deserve, and underscored its support of this effort. In this respect, the Conference expressed its condolences to and sympathy with the people and government of the United States and the families of the victims in these mournful and tragic circumstances.”
Final Communique of the Ninth Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, October 10, 2001.

Advertisement

Organization of the Islamic Conference, Summit Conference:
“We are determined to fight terrorism in all its forms. … Islam is the religion of moderation. It rejects extremism and isolation. There is a need to confront deviant ideology where it appears, including in school curricula. Islam is the religion of diversity and tolerance.”
Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon), December 9, 2005.

Mehmet Nuri Yilmaz, Head of the Directorate of Religious Affairs of Turkey:
“Any human being, regardless of his ethnic and religious origin, will never think of carrying out such a violent, evil attack. Whatever its purpose is, this action cannot be justified and tolerated.”
Mehmet Nuri Yilmaz, “A Message on Ragaib Night and Terrorism,” September 21, 2001 (via archive.org).

Advertisement

Harun Yahya (Adnan Oktar), Turkish author:
“The religion of Islam can by no means countenance terrorism. On the contrary, terror (i.e. murder of innocent people) in Islam is a great sin, and Muslims are responsible for preventing these acts and bringing peace and justice to the world.”
Harun Yahya, Islam Denounces Terrorism.

Shaikh Muhammad Yusuf Islahi, Pakistani-American Muslim leader:
“The sudden barbaric attack on innocent citizens living in peace is extremely distressing and deplorable. Every gentle human heart goes out to the victims of this attack and as humans we are ashamed at the barbarism perpetrated by a few people. Islam, which is a religion of peace and tolerance, condemns this act and sees this is as a wounding scar on the face of humanity. I appeal to Muslims to strongly condemn this act, express unity with the victims’ relatives, donate blood, money and do whatever it takes to help the affected people.”
“Messages From Shaikh Muhammad Yusuf Islahi” (via archive.org).

Advertisement

Abdal-Hakim Murad, British Muslim author:
“Targeting civilians is a negation of every possible school of Sunni Islam. Suicide bombing is so foreign to the Quranic ethos that the Prophet Samson is entirely absent from our scriptures.”
“The Hijackers Were Not Muslims After All: Recapturing Islam From the Terrorists” (via archive.org).

Syed Mumtaz Ali, President of the Canadian Society of Muslims:
“We condemn in the strongest terms possible what are apparently vicious and cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent civilians. We join with all Canadians in calling for the swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators. No political cause could ever be assisted by such immoral acts.”
Canadian Society of Muslims, Media Release, September 12, 2001 (via archive.org).

Advertisement

15 American Muslim organizations:
“We reiterate our unequivocal condemnation of the crime committed on September 11, 2001 and join our fellow Americans in mourning the loss of up to 6000 innocent civilians.”
Muslim American Society (MAS), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Muslim Alliance of North America (MANA), Muslim Student Association (MSA), Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), Solidarity International, American Muslims for Global Peace and Justice (AMGPJ), American Muslim Alliance (AMA), United Muslim Americans Association (UMAA), Islamic Media Foundation (IMF), American Muslim Foundation (AMF), Coordinating Council of Muslim Organizations (CCMO), American Muslims for Jerusalem (AMJ), Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA), October 22, 2001 (via archive.org).

Advertisement

57 leaders of North American Islamic organizations, 77 intellectuals, and dozens of concerned citizens:
“As American Muslims and scholars of Islam, we wish to restate our conviction that peace and justice constitute the basic principles of the Muslim faith. We wish again to state unequivocally that neither the al-Qaeda organization nor Usama bin Laden represents Islam or reflects Muslim beliefs and practice. Rather, groups like al-Qaeda have misused and abused Islam in order to fit their own radical and indeed anti-Islamic agenda. Usama bin Laden and al-Qaeda’s actions are criminal, misguided and counter to the true teachings of Islam.”
Statement Rejecting Terrorism, September 9, 2002 (via archive.org).

Advertisement

American Muslim Political Coordination Council:
“American Muslims utterly condemn what are apparently vicious and cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent civilians. We join with all Americans in calling for the swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators. No political cause could ever be assisted by such immoral acts.”
Full-page ad in The Washington Post, September 16, 2001.

Dr. Agha Saeed, National Chair of the American Muslim Alliance:
“These attacks are against both divine and human laws and we condemn them in the strongest terms. The Muslim Americans join the nation in calling for swift apprehension and stiff punishment of the perpetrators, and offer our sympathies to the victims and their families.”
September 11, 2001 (via archive.org).

Advertisement

Hamza Yusuf, American Muslim leader:
“Religious zealots of any creed are defeated people who lash out in desperation, and they often do horrific things. And if these people [who committed murder on September 11] indeed are Arabs, Muslims, they’re obviously very sick people and I can’t even look at it in religious terms. It’s politics, tragic politics. There’s no Islamic justification for any of it. … You can’t kill innocent people. There’s no Islamic declaration of war against the United States. I think every Muslim country except Afghanistan has an embassy in this country. And in Islam, a country where you have embassies is not considered a belligerent country. In Islam, the only wars that are permitted are between armies and they should engage on battlefields and engage nobly. The Prophet Muhammad said, “Do not kill women or children or non-combatants and do not kill old people or religious people,” and he mentioned priests, nuns and rabbis. And he said, “Do not cut down fruit-bearing trees and do not poison the wells of your enemies.” The Hadith, the sayings of the Prophet, say that no one can punish with fire except the lord of fire. It’s prohibited to burn anyone in Islam as a punishment. No one can grant these attackers any legitimacy. It was evil.”
San Jose Mercury News, September 15, 2001 (via archive.org).

Advertisement

Nuh Ha Mim Keller, American Muslim author:
“Muslims have nothing to be ashamed of, and nothing to hide, and should simply tell people what their scholars and religious leaders have always said: first, that the Wahhabi sect has nothing to do with orthodox Islam, for its lack of tolerance is a perversion of traditional values; and second, that killing civilians is wrong and immoral.”
“Making the World Safe for Terrorism,” September 30, 2001 (via archive.org).

Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), prominent British Muslim:
“I wish to express my heartfelt horror at the indiscriminate terrorist attacks committed against innocent people of the United States yesterday. While it is still not clear who carried out the attack, it must be stated that no right thinking follower of Islam could possibly condone such an action: the Qur’an equates the murder of one innocent person with the murder of the whole of humanity. We pray for the families of all those who lost their lives in this unthinkable act of violence as well as all those injured; I hope to reflect the feelings of all Muslims and people around the world whose sympathies go out to the victims at this sorrowful moment.”
[On singing an a cappella version of “Peace Train” for the Concert for New York City:] “After the tragedy, my heart was heavy with sadness and shock, and I was determined to help in some way. Organizers asked me to take part in a message for tolerance and sing ‘Peace Train.’ Of course, I agreed. … As a Muslim from the West, it is important to me to let people know that these acts of mass murder have nothing to do with Islam and the beliefs of Muslims.”
Press release of September 13, 2001 (via archive.org), and interview of October 22, 2001 (via archive.org).

This is only a very small part of the actual list. See the full list here. Think Muslims haven’t condemned 9/11? Think Again.

Advertisement

For the Families of the Chapel Hill Shooting Victims, All You Need To Do Is Hold Their Hands

In the Name of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord

While much of the American Muslim community, as well as Muslims around the world, are still in shock over the horrific shooting deaths of three young American Muslim college students, in accordance with Islamic proscription, the three were laid to rest earlier this week. As is always the case, the news media attention – albeit very slow to come about – will fade over the coming days and weeks. People, including American Muslims, will go back to their normal routines.

Advertisement

But the families of the three victims – Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad – will be left with their unspeakable pain. Dr. Suzanne Barakat, family physician, said it at a news conference:

Six weeks ago, I cried tears of joy at my baby brother’s wedding. Today, we are crying tears of unimaginable pain…

And yes, their pain is unimaginable. My wife and I know this fact all too well because, we lost our own daughter to cancer almost six years ago. There is nothing anyone can say to ease the pain that the families of the three victims are facing now. Nothing. Their pain is unspeakable; their pain is suffocating; their pain is something that has never been felt before.

Advertisement

And it is natural for many to reach out and try to say something to help ease that pain. I suspect many will say, “May God increase your reward” or “To God We Belong, and to He we shall return.” Some may even say, “May you be patient through this terrible tragedy.” And while all these prayers and well-wishes are good, and may the Lord answer those prayers, words will never ease this pain. Words do not know how to ease this pain.

As I stood at my daughter’s freshly-dug grave and watched dirt being poured over her pink casket, I lost it. I could not hold in the tears, hard as I was trying to keep them in. And the best thing anyone had done for me – at that dark hour – was hold my hand. He didn’t say anything. He just held my hand. I helped so much, more than he can ever know. And I have never forgotten his act of brotherhood and kindness. I will never forget it, as long as I still breathe on this earth.

Advertisement

And so I offer this piece of advice: just hold their hands. Be there for and support them as they move forward having to bear a pain that is indescribable. Only the Lord God can bring true comfort, and He will because He is so Beautiful and full of Grace and Mercy. Yet, for those that are around the families of the victims: just hold their hands.

And for what it’s worth – especially to the parents of Deah, Yusor, and Razan – I extend my hand to they. It is always here for them. And I pray that our Beautiful, Beloved Lord bring all of us comfort, and may our respective Family Reunions be in the Highest of Paradises, in the cool shade of His Majestic Throne.

Amen.

 

Advertisement

There Should Be No ‘Starving Faithful’ If Religion Is Done Correctly

In the Name of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord

I thought, for certain, that Hozier would win “Song of the Year” at the Grammy Awards last night for “Take Me To Church.” Not that I’m disappointed about Sam Smith – whose music I enjoy – but “Church’s” fame continues to be strong. Although Hozier claimed in an interview that the song is not meant to be against religion, there is a lot of stinging criticism of religion upon first glance:

My lover’s got humor
She’s the giggle at a funeral
Knows everybody’s disapproval
I should’ve worshiped her sooner

Advertisement

If the Heavens ever did speak
She is the last true mouthpiece
Every Sunday’s getting more bleak
A fresh poison each week

‘We were born sick,’ you heard them say it
My church offers no absolutes
She tells me ‘worship in the bedroom’

The only heaven I’ll be sent to
Is when I’m alone with you
I was born sick, but I love it
Command me to be well
Amen. Amen. Amen.

Obviously, I don’t like the concept of “worshiping in the bedroom,” but the sarcasm against religion is unmistakable. When reflecting over the lyrics of the song, however, this main thought came to my mind: religion should never leave anyone “starving,” which he claims in the second stanza:

Advertisement

What you got in the stable?
We’ve a lot of starving faithful

Religion, when done correctly, should be completely fulfilling – for both body and soul. At its essence, religion is the personal relationship with the Creator. It is the framework for interaction with the One Who – out of His profound Love for us – gave us life when we were dead. And this “life” is not only physical, biological life, but also spiritual life. I was never truly alive until I connected with my Lord and followed His path and lived in His love.

Therefore, such a relationship with God can never leave someone wanting.  If, however, such a relationship with God does leave someone – purportedly faithful – still “starving,” then there is something wrong with the framework.

Advertisement

I can hear retorts that the savages – “barbarian” is too kind a word – of KIL (aka ISIS) sure look like they are fulfilled, like they are not “starving faithful” by any measure. I completely disagree. Look at the fruits of their works: mayhem; murder; pillage; rape; destruction. They are widely condemned by the Muslim world and are even a laughing stock.

What they do is not spiritual fulfillment; it is criminal barbarity. What they do does not feed the soul; it fulfills the basest of human urges. What they do is not the glorification of the Lord; it defies His every word and law to the hilt. Scripture does not support their actions; it will actually be a witness against them.

Advertisement

No. When religion is done right, it brings about peace, love, justice, brotherhood, sisterhood, safety and security. When religion is done right, the soul is uplifted to the highest of heights, giving the believer an inner peace that is truly indescribable. When religion is done right, there is no “fresh poison each week,” but rather the very cure to what ails the heart and soul of the human seeker.

Too many times, unfortunately, religion has been done wrong in our world. Too many times, so much evil has been committed in the name of God that many have dismissed religion as a force for evil, as “Take Me To Church” seems to imply. Yet, this has been the case because religion has been done wrong. And it is our job – those of faith – to work as hard as we can to make sure it is done right.

Previous Posts

Boston Marathon Bombing Trial: Tsarnaev Should Not Be Sentenced To Death
In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Perpetually Loving and Merciful The trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is set to enter jury deliberations this week. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the jury ...

posted 9:45:19pm Apr. 06, 2015 | read full post »

A Doctor on Doctor's Day
In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Infinitely Loving and MercifulToday is National Doctors' Day, and all around the country, hospitals and medical offices are celebrating by thanking the thousands of physicians that work hard ...

posted 5:32:39pm Mar. 30, 2015 | read full post »

The Young Muslims That Join ISIS Threaten Their Very Salvation 
While, certainly, news of young Western Muslims running away from home to join the savages of ISIS deeply disturbs me - especially as a father of a teenage daughter - it also deeply saddens me. These misguided young Muslims do not ...

posted 9:31:59am Mar. 10, 2015 | read full post »

"House of Cards" Shows The Quest For Absolute Power Can Be Destructive
In the Name of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord The third season of the smash Netflix hit "House of Cards" comes out on February 27. I must admit, that I have been waiting for it with great anticipation. The series ...

posted 1:11:52pm Feb. 27, 2015 | read full post »

More on How The Atlantic Got It Wrong About Islam: Are Beheadings "Islamic"?
In the Name of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord In the widely-cited, and very long, article by Graeme Wood in The Atlantic, it is written: The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has ...

posted 1:49:18pm Feb. 22, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.