Friday, December 2, 2011

(13) Islamophobia.

By Sodium

Islamophobia is an unfamiliar word, even to millions of Muslims. Therefore, it is imperative to ask the following two fundamental questions:

~ What is exactly the meaning of Islamophobia?

~ Does Islamophobia exist in the real world?

In order to provide clear answers and in order to adhere firmly to objectivity in this attempt in answering the two questions,the discussion or rather the treatment of Islamophobia will be done under two titles: (A) The Meaning Of Islamophobia,and(B) The Existence Of Islamophobia:

(A) The Meaning Of Islamophobia:
It is obvious that Islamophobia is made of connecting two different words to each other through the alphabet "O" between them. Therefore,in order to obtain the correct definition of Islamophobia,one must deal with the meaning of the two different words,meaning "Islam" and "Phobia".

* Islam means obviously the religion of Islam. Hence no need to dwell any further on its definition.

* Phobia is a word that belongs to the realm of psychology and most likely that's why it needs a special treatment here,since the vast majority of the world's population is not familiar with the field of psychology. Thus,an exact definition of the word,"Phobia" is the minimum requirement for better comprehension of Islamophobia.

The American Heritage Dictionary Of The English Language provides the following definition of the word,Phobia:

"Phobia: 1. A persistent,abnormal,or illegical fear of a specific thing or situation. 2. Any strong fear,dislike or aversion."

The person who suffers from a "Phobia" is called a "Phobe",and The American Heritage Dictionary provides the following definition to the word "Phobe":

"Phobe-indicates one who fears or averse to something,for example xenophobia."

In a similar arrangement of words to Islamophobia,the word "Xenophobia" is made of two different word connected to each other by the alphabet,"O". The same dictionary provides the following definition for the word "Xen":

"Xeno indicates the presence of or a reference to that which is strange or different,for example xenolith,xenophobe."

What can be understood from all of the above is the following:

# Islamophobia means not only fear of Islam but irrational,abnormal and illegical fear of Islam. Such kind of extreme fear can be attributed to human ignorance of the essence of Islam.

# Islamophobia can also stem from the evil side of the human nature,meaning: bigotry and hatred of Islam,Muslims,Jews,Illegai Immigrants, Atheists, Homosexuals, Pro-choicers, Socialists, Communists, Lefties and Neoconservatives. Since time immemorial, humanity could not get rid of its own side of evilness. Always and always,the evil side of the human nature has to find a minority to hate and to express its own bigotry.

# Islamophobia can also be instigated by politicians against an already discriminated minority in their communities,in order to win the votes of the bigoted voters.

(B) The Existence Of Islamophobia:
It is safe to say that Islamophobia cannot exist without persons who allow abnormal, illegical and irrational fear to dictate their behaviors towards "something"-in this case; the "something" is Islam. And those persons who hate Islam, for variety of reasons,are called Islamophobes.

Of course,Islamophobes deny that they are Islamophobes just like the Anti-Semites deny that they are Anti-Semitic. In fact,the more the Islamophobes hate Islam and Muslims,the more they claim that Islamophobia is a myth. As one examine is the social and personal behaviors and the violence or calls for violence or unacceptable and unconstitutional against Islam and Muslims make their entire claims as the real myth. Reasons:

+ If Islamophobia is a myth why then physically attacking Muslims just because they are Muslims? Such behavior is not different from attacking Jews by the Anti-Semites,  just because they are Jews. No difference except substitute the word,"Jews,by the word "Muslims".

+ If Islamophobia is a myth,why then demonizing Islam,on daily basis,by the Islamophobes to a point of calling it,not a religion,but a cult on national TV,by a well known Christian preacher?

+ If Islamophobia is a myth,why then violently attacking Mosques by the bigoted Islamophobes?

+ If Islamophobia is a myth,why then stupidly burn the Qur'an,the Muslims' Holy book?

The above questions and many more similar to them are the proofs that Islamophobia not only exists but encouraged by those who are the most Islamophobes.

Denying the existence of Islamophobia by the most Islamophobes does not make it a myth. And claiming it to be a myth does not make it so either, because the evidences are overwhelming, indeed, that Islamophobia does exists because of the existence of those who are Islamophobes.

If the Islamophobes do not like being described as having abnormal,illegical and irrational fear towards Islam and Muslims,all they have to do is stop being haters of Islam and Muslims and try to truly understand the essence of Islam,as it should be understood correctly. Period. If they can do that, they will be free of their horrible obsession with Islam and Muslims.

Next topic will be topic number (14),the last topic of this series about Islam and it will be posted shortly,as time and health permit to do so.

Friday, May 20, 2011

(12) The Status Of Women In Islam.

By Sodium

This topic, " The Status Of Women In Islam " and " The Meaning of Jihad In Islam" are the most misunderstood and abused in the Western World. Hence, one is compelled to raise the following question:

Why the greatest misunderstanding of Islam, especially misunderstanding the concept of Jihad and Status of women in Islam, exist more in the Western World than any other region of the globe?

An honest question requires an honest answer.

No attempt will be made here to answer the above question.

The above question is being raised here because no one else has risen it,as far as the writer of this essay has known.

Back to the topic at hand, topic (12) The Status Of Women In Islam:

In order to understand and possibly appreciate Islam's impact on the rights of women in relation to the rights of men, one must have a degree of knowledge about the status of women in ancient other religions and other cultures and in Arabia before the appearance of Islam.

It is safe to say that since time immemorial, women as equal to men, as human beings, have never been fully realized till present time. Yes, the rights of women have been recognized, in the last 100 years, and certainly developed to a better levels than it was before, it simply had not and has not fulfilled what women truly deserved as equal partners to men. That is so world wide, even in the United States of America. True, the laws call for equality with the rights of men, but how can the laws change what exists in biases against women in the hearts of so many men who do not believe that women are equal to men in every aspects, excluding their different physical characteristics, as human beings.

Within the content of all the foregoing, an attempt will be presented here, about the status of women in Islam:

Before Islam appeared in Arabia in the 7th century A.D., polygamy was rampant in Arabia. A man could marry as many wives as he could afford supporting. There was no limit. And women were willing to share their husbands with other wives lest they ended-up unmarried old maids. Women accepted such male polygamy out of necessity, because of the tribal wars that engulfed the tribes of Arabia over a well of water or grazing rights for their domesticated animals. The harshness of life in a desert region dictated on all Arabs to adhere firmly to their "Murowah", (also written as Muro'ah ) To comprehend the meaning of "Murowah",please review topic(1) Arabia Before The Appearance Of Islam of this series which is being made of 14 different topic about Islam. The point to remember is this: because of such tribal wars for survival, the gender ratio of the number of women to the number of men in the society was altered drastically, creating imbalance: much more women in the society than men. There were more than one factor creating such a social gender disorder. The following two factors come to mind:

Factor One:
Vengeance was an integral part of "Murowah", or " Muro'ah ". To overcome the threat of future vengeance by the males of the defeated tribe, the victorious tribe made a point in killing all males of the defeated tribes, including the infant males, leaving women and infant females alone.

Factor Two:
Before Islam appeared, courage and ability to fight in defense of the interest of the tribe and dedication to protect the weak members of the tribes were all part of "Murowah",only physically strong males could accomplish such goals, the new birth of males in the tribe was most welcomed and the new birth of females was completely unwelcomed to a point of burying alive the newly born female babies by some tribes, those tribes that were desperate for newly born males for the fulfillment of their "  Muro'ah ".
Such were the status of women before Islam appeared in Arabia. Therefore,a man having 30 wives,for example was quite acceptable,if not totally normal!!

As Islam spread in Arabia all the old norms, mores and traditions had somehow altered:

~ Tribal wars were stopped.
~ Unity amongst the people of Arabia prevailed.
~ Burying newly born female infants was religiously outlawed.
~ Polygamy was altered greatly: instead of a man marrying thirty wives or unlimited number of wives, Islam lowered it to four,with a strict qualification: only if the husband could be just among the four wives-an impossible possibility. Hence, the vast majority of Muslim husbands adhere firmly to one wife and one wife only.

So far, the foregoing outline has touched on the social disorder, with regards to women, that existed in Arabia before Islam appeared and the remarkable social order Islam had achieved and accomplished for women of the Arabian peninsula. A remarkable improvement, indeed.

Question: what has been the impact of the Qur'anic instructions and the Hadiths' teachings on the status of women in Islam?

Although the writer of this essay believes that the Qur'anic Arabic language is untranslatable, it seems that there is no other way available to pin point the status of women in Islam without using some of the translated verses of the Qur'an, in addition to some translated Hadiths:

From The Qur'an:
"Oh mankind Verily. We have created you from a single pair-male and female;and made you into nations and tribes that ye may know each other." (Q. 49:13).

"Women and men mutually form complements to one another." (Q. 2:18).

"He created for you helpmates from yourselves that ye may find rest in them and He ordained between you love and mercy." (Q. 30:21).

"Those who defame virtuous women and do not produce four witnesses (in support of their accusation) flog them with four score stripes and never admit their testimony. And these are to be regarded as wicked people",(Q. 24:4).

"If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with them, then only one", (Qur'an 4:3).

From The Hadiths:
"The best among you is the one who is best towards his wife."

"The world is an ephemeral thing, of which one takes advantage and among the worldly things nothing is better than a good pious wife."

"The perfect believer is one who has a perfect character and is kind to his wife."

"Even paradise lies under the feet of your mothers."

These are a tip of the iceberg, but for the purpose at hand are just adequate to show that Islam has enhanced the status of women from being used or even rejected by a male-dominated social order or disorder to fully equal to the other half of the society.

There are verses prohibiting the horrible and barbaric burying of newly born infant females and strongly condemned it.

There are verses deal with inheritance with regards to rights of men as well as the rights of women. These verses require a great deal of explanations and interpretations they deserve a stand-alone-treatment, but their message is clear: women's status and rights are fully respected and protected in Islam.

As it may be seen, Islam has greatly improved the status of women from total subjugation to profound liberation. Therefore, when a Muslim husband badly abuses his wife, nowadays, in the 21 Century, he does so because of his poor character, not because Islam instructs him to do so. Not at all.

Next topic will be topic number (13),titled " Islamophobia ". It will be covered as time and health circumstances permit.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

(11) The Meaning Of Jihad In Islam.

By Sodium

The Arabic word, " Jihad, "simply means "struggle". But, such a definition is too simplistic, since the word,"Jihad",has been used in the Qur'an and Hadiths and hence the question is often asked what kind of struggle one is dealing with. That means that further explorations are needed to achieve more meaningful meaning of the word," Jihad, " as it is expressed in the scriptures of Islam.

"Jihad" means any one of, or all of the following detailed meanings, related to its appearances in the scriptures of Islam:

(A) Since the solid-rock foundation of Islam is " Al-Tawheed, ",meaning ,"The ONE-NESS OF GOD",and since the vast majority of the people of Arabia in the 7th century(AD) were Pagans,it took a great deal of "Jihad" for the converts from Pagan to Islam, to adhere firmly to the belief that there was only one God who created life and the whole universe. Here,the meaning of "Jihad" is to struggle for the sustenance of such a belief.

(B) There are certain negative characteristichs embodied in the human nature that can be most damaging to the common good of any human society. It takes personal " Jihad "to overcome the tendency of such charachteristics before they implode from within of the human nature. In such a case,"Jihad" means struggle for self-discipline and self-control.

(C) As The Prophet Muhammad and his followers had settled in Medina, they had to build a new community for themselves so that they could practice their religion and the Islamic way of life, under the guidance of the Prophet Muhammad." Jihad "meant ,here,struggling within the community to build such a community through cooperation,compassion toward one another as members of a harmonious community, with a common goal: serving the common good.

(D) Islam abhors injustices and abhors starting an aggression, but if injustice is committed against Islam and Muslims and if aggression is committed against Islam and Muslims, it is the obligation or rather the duty of all Muslims to fight back in self-defense, until all injustices are eleminated and the aggression is defeated or at least stopped. There is no " turning the other cheek " in Islam. But,the instruction is very clear: never, never start an aggression which is just as telling about the essence of Islam, as " turning the other cheek " in Christianity.

These are the fundamental meanings of the Arabic word,"Jihad" in Islam.

Although there are other meanings of "Jihad" in Islam such as " Jihad " to aquire knowledge, Jihad to practice all the five pillars of Islam, as they were listed in Topic,(4) of this series, the above list from (A) through (D) makes a fine understanding of what the word ," Jihad "really means.

Just to show the priority of the various meanings of " Jihad, " as The Prophet Muhammad returned to the city of Medina,with his followers,after the Battle of Badr against the caravan of the Meccans who wanted to kill him, he was quoted saying the following statement:

" We are returning from the lesser Jihad and going on the Greater Jihad. "   For the authenticity of this Hadith, check Al-Bukhari, the exponent and authoritative scholar on all Hadiths.

It is clear that the meanings of "Jihad" in (A),(B) and (C) take precedent for understanding "Jihad" than (D). That does not mean that (D) should be ignored. It should not. It is just not as great as the other three meanings of "Jihad".

Next will be Topic (12) The Status Of Women In Islam.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

(10) The Greatness Of Islam.

By Sodium

Some Islamic scholars define the greatness of Islam by its many characteristics, as described in the verses of the Qur'an and as recorded in the Hadiths, ( speeches and comments made by the Prophet Muhammad ) and the Sirah (the way The Prophet conducted his daily life). Such characteristics include following, but not all of the characteristics:

* The fundamental and solid foundation of Islam is," The Tawheed, ",meaning, the belief in the "The Oneness of God). Remember that the whole Arabia was mainly Pagan.

* Islam asks its adherents of the faith to follow moral path and pious deed in their daily lives.

* Knowledge, whether technical or abstract, is highly respected and encouraged in Islam.

* Ignorance is, at least, criticized, if not condemned in Islam.

* The element of flexibility does exist in Islam.

* Love, friendship, unity, justice, and tolerance are embodied in the teachings of Islam.

* Islam calls for moderation even in eating foods.

* Islam is kind to the poor and sides with the underdogs in any society.

* Islam is compatible with new invention and new discoveries.

* Islam stands firmly against slavery.

Although all the characteristics cited above about Islam are true,the writer of this essay believes that the greatness of Islam stems from its unique simplicity. Such a simplicity lies in the following characteristics:

~ Islam requires no middle human acter to be between a Muslim and his God,(Allah).

~ The Muslim can spread his little rug on the ground of any place in the world and face the direction toward the Holy ground of Ka'bah in Mecca and pray. He needs not to go to a mosque to pray,although Muslims go to the mosques to pray together,especially on Fridays.

~ Muslims can adhere firmly to the five pillars of Islam, listed and outlined in Topic (4) of this short course and be good practicing Muslims.

There are other characteristics of Islam, but all the foregoing characteristics are enough, for the time being, to remember by the novice readers who are interested in learning about Islam.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

(9) Continuation Of Interpretation Of The Verses Of The Qur'an.

By Sodium

The writer of this essay was lucky enough to get the four volumes of "Tyseer El-Tafseer" (Making The Interpretation Easy) from Eyad, as a gift, just two years before Eyad died,at the young age of around forty, from cancer. His father, Chief Justice Ibrahim Qattan, had passed away three years earlier. In a sense, Chief Justice Qattan was lucky, due to the fact that he passed away before seeing his oldest son dying from cancer. The writer of these lines deeply mourned and terribly missed both of them. Learning from both of them like learning from a vast sea of profound knowledge and valuable wisdom. Their memory will remain with the writer of these words as long as he lives.

The four volumes of the " Tyseer El-Tafseer " ( Making Interpretation Easy ) have become the main reference the writer of this essay consults when he faces difficulties in understanding any verse or surah,(revelation),in the Qur'an. Chief Justice Qattan has even given the Arabic-Arabic definitions of difficult words in the Qur'an, in the four volumes, so vividly and easy to follow.

Although Oxford University in England usually translates what has been published in the Arab world, the writer, here, has no idea whether the monumental four volumes of "Tyseer El-Tafseer" have been translated into English or not. If they have, it is highly recommended, to those interested, to have them in homes libraries, as a reliable reference for the interpretation of the verses of the Qur'an, although the writer of this essay strongly believe that the Qur'anic Arabic is simply and purely untranslatable. However, some translation from reliable sources is better than translation from unreliable sources.

I Will not burden the novice readers of this essay with the complexity of the details involved in the interpretation of the verses of the Qur'an, but will suggest to remember the following points:

~ Scholars differ in the interpretation of some of the verses of the Qur'an.
~ Scholars differ in their Ijtihad, (relentless dedication in digging out knowledge about the possible correct interpretations of the verses of the Qur'an.)
~ The most reliable interpretations are those that are based upon the archives of the content of the Qur'an and the interpretations recorded by the Sahabah, (Companions),of the Prophet Muhammad such as Abu-Bakr El-Sidiq, The First Caliph after the death of the Prophet, Omar ibn El-Khattab, The Second Caliph, Othman ibn Affan, The Third Caliph and the first person who wrote the Qur'an, Ali ibn Abi Taleb, The Fourth Caliph and First Cousin of the Prophet Muhammad. In addition to those four companions, there were many others, but one name coms to mind is the name of Al-Bukhari who was a man of deity and who spent his life in recording and segregating the more than 600,00 Hadiths, speeches and statements so many people claimed that they heard the Prophet saying, and sirah, (the way the Prophet conducted his daily affairs).

~ As a result of Ijtihad, ( relentless dedication in digging out and searching for knowledge for the sole purpose of correctly interpreting the verses of the Qur'an ),the following Mathahib, (Schools of Thought), had developed:

* Hanafi School of Thought: founder and scholar, Imam, ibn Hanaf.
* Maliki School of Thought: founder and scholar, Imam, ibn Malik.
* Shafi'i School of Thought: founder and Scholar, Imam, ibn Shafi'.
* Hanbali School of Thought: founder and scholar, Imam, ibn Hanbal.

Each one of these four schools of thought has its followers in the Arab and Islamic world and the followers of each of the school of thought seem to concentrate in specific countries or regions of the Islamic world. For example, The Hanbali School of Thought is followed by most Muslims in Saudi Arabia while Maliki School of Thought is followed by majority of Muslims in Iran. So is the case in the rest of the Arab and Muslim world.

The difference between one school of thought and the other three school of thought is simply in details of the interpretation of the verses of the Qur'an, since all Muslims everywhere adhere to the Five Pillars of Islam, outlined/listed in Topic (4) earlier.

There are other ways through which the verses of the Qur'an were interpreted, ranging from historical records to philosophical thoughts to social and scientific thoughts to Shi'a thoughts to Mu'atazalah (the secluded and isolated ones by choice) thoughts, Sufis philosophy(will dedicate a special topic on it, at a later time separate from the course currently at hand). There are also the Fiqh approach for interpretations and it has to do of the derivation of Shari' a laws. Perhaps one of the most reliable ways of interpreting the verses of the Qur'an is the one that is based on KNOWING THE REASON FOR A PARTICULAR VERSE TO APPEAR IN THE QUR'AN IN THE FIRST PLACE.

The writer of this essay has been convinced that knowing, or at least understanding of the reason/reasons behind the appearance of a verse in the Qur'an, in the first place, makes a lot of sense, because of the strength of The Principle of Cause an Effect which applies in the interpretations of countless phenomena in different fields of human endeavors. In other words, each verse(EFFECT) in the Qur'an must have a (CAUSE),a story or event that compelled its appearance in the Qur'an, in the first place.

Final words: If the novice reader, about Islam, can remember just 50 percent of the foregoing, for the time being, he or she has achieved some learning and some value ,he or she can build on,if interested.

(9) Interpretations Of The Verses Of The Qur'an.

By Sodium

It is imperative to keep in mind that the interpretation of the verses of the Qur'an has never been easy. Islamic scholars spend a life time in their attempt to find the correct interpretations and some of them die before they reach their objectives. One of those Islamic scholars who had reached his objective before he passed away in the 1980's was Justice Ibrahim Qattan who was the Judge of Judges of The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan where the writer of this essay was stationed in its capital, Amman, for more than 20 yeas, managing technical business operations for the whole Middle Eastern and North African countries, on behalf of an American multi-national corporation. During that period of time, the writer of this essay met Eyad Ibrahim Qattan in a conference on the Arabic literatures for which the writer had/has a great deal of appreciation, if not total and complete fondness. Fast friendship developed with Eyad who happened to be the oldest son of Justice Ibrahim Qattan. Through Eyad,the writer had the utmost honor and pleasure in meeting with his father whose face gave the impressive impression of radiating a mixture of dignity, honesty, morality and sheer human humility. His manners command instant admiration and so it has been ever since the first meeting. In short,he was a man with beautiful demeanors,beautiful soul and beautiful mind.

Achievement of Chief Justice Ibrahim Qattan:
Justice Ibrahim Qattan was a graduate of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, the oldest and most prestigious university in the Arab world, if not in the whole world. To make a long story short, Chief Justice Qattan held the position of Minister of Justice or Minister of Education of the government of Jordan, several times, before he was promoted to the highest judicial position and title in the land: Judge of  The Judges. While holding that office, Prince Hassan ibn Talal, the Crown Prince of Jordan, then, had commissioned him to try to find reasonable interpretations for the verses of the Qur'an. After years of researches, in the Arabic language and Islamic archives wherever he could find them, world wide, Justice Qattan wrote and published four monumental volumes, interpreting every verse in the Qur'an. None was left out. He was a true master in the scholarly interpretation of the verses of the Qur'an one has to see and review the four huge volumes Justice Qattan authored to truly appreciate what the writer, here, has been trying to convey to the readers of this essay.

Justice Qattan has crowned his monumental four volumes by the following fitting title:

"Tyseer El-Tafseer" (the spelling of this title can also be: Tysir El-Tafsir ).

"Tyseer" in the Arabic language means " Making Easy".
"El-Tafseer" in the Arabic language means "The Interpretation".
The net result of the translation is:

"Making Easy The Interpretation"

[Warning from the writer of this essay: Interpretation of the verses of the qur'an has never been easy. Justice Qattan chose the above title for his four volumes to encourage other scholars to do their share of contributions without fear of failure.

I am facing technical difficulty. Must stop.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

(8) The Language Of The Qur'an.

By Sodium

As it is well known, that the language of the Qur'an is the Arabic language. What is unknown to a large number of people, world wide, that the written Arabic language of the Qur'an is so beautifully mesmerizing as it is chanted by a beautiful voice. Because of this fact, one may encounter a problem in deciding whether or not to consider the language of the Qur'an as classical Arabic, or may be just some form of rhythmic poetry or may be just a beautiful Arabic prose.

Although lengthy discussions can be initiated and facilitated by various and different opinions by those who, as the writer of this article, are fascinated by the beauty of the language in which the Holy Qur'an is written, there is no need to burden those who wish to learn the fundamentals about Islam, for the sole purpose of enhancing their common and broad knowledge. But to give the possible conclusions that one may reach after reviewing the lengthy discussions about the written language of the Qur'an, it is prudent and wise to simply remember the following conclusions reached by the writer of this essay:

~ The written Language of the Holy Qur'an is NOT classical Arabic.

~ The written language of the Holy Qur'an is NOT Arabic poetry.

~ The written language of the Holy Qur'an is NOT Arabic prose.

~ The written language of the Holy Qur'an IS QUR'ANIC ARABIC, meaning: no other forms of the Arabic language and its various and great literatures fit to frame the written language of the Holy Qur'an in any one of them.

Please note that the writer of this essay used the world "Holy" repeatedly in the foregoing. That has been done deliberately for support in making the following comments:

* Moses had changed part of the Red Sea into land to save his people from slaughter. That was a miracle made by Moses.

* Jesus Christ had made the blind see, had healed people with leprosy and even revived Lazarus from his death. These are miracles made by Jesus Christ..

* The Prophet Muhammad had not done miracles similar to what Jesus and Moses did. But Muhammad's miracle is, indeed, the fascinating Qur'an whose language is mesmerizing when it is chanted collectively by a group of prayers, or singularly by an Imam or Mua'zen like Bilal, first Mua'zen in Islam. Because of that and all of the above outline, the use of the word " Holy " in describing the Qur'an has become fully and fairly justified, since the written language of the Qur'an sounds so divine.

If the reader who reads this article remembers the foregoing outline about the written language of the Qur'an, he or she would achieve a degree of enlightenment that others lacked.

One more point to remember is the following important point:

In the opinion of the writer of this essay, the written QUR'ANIC ARABIC IS UN-TRANSLATABLE, in spite of the fact it has already been translated into so many languages. In order to understand the essence of Islam CORRECTLY, profound knowledge of the Arabic language is an empirical pre-requisite. There is no other way out of this pre-requisite. Period.

Monday, January 3, 2011

(7) Muhammad's Triumphant Return To Mecca.

By Sodium

Islam instructs all Muslims to be kind to fellow human beings. However, if attacked,self-defense becomes imperative and the Muslims should fight back with all force they might be able to muster.

Although the Muslims fled Mecca and left all their possessions behind and were confiscated by the Pagans of Mecca, the intent of the Qurayishi Pagans remain the same: they still wanted to kill the Prophet Muhammad and slaughter his followers. Muhammad had to reciprocate by planning " ghazos ",meaning " raids " against the Qurayshi caravans that travelled to Syria and other surrounding regions of Arabia, where commerce was an integral part of their way of life. The following three " ghazos ",meaning, " raids "  were mentioned frequently in Arab history books:

* The Battle of Badr.
* The Battle of Auhud.
* The Battle of Mu'atah.

The first two battles took place in Arabia, against the caravans of the Qurayshis who wanted to kill him. Mu'atah was fought by some of Muhammad's followers in southern Jordan against the Byzantiun Romans. The Muslims won the first battle, Badr, but lost the other two.

What was going on was a tet for tat kind of military warfare that was ended when both parties, the Meccan power elites and Muhammad agreed to a truce called Hudaybiyyah. The Romans were taken care of later on, after Muhammad's death by the First and Second Caliphs Abu Bakr Alsidiq and Omar ibn Al-Khattab, respectively.

The points of the Truce of Hudaybiyyah were three:

~ No more hostilities between the Pagans of Mecca and the Muslims of Medina.
~ Muslims who wish to make the pilgrimage to Ka'aba, the holy site built by the Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael, in Mecca,they might do so, beginning in the next year.
~ Muslims in Medina will extradite back to Mecca any Meccan who leaves Mecca without the consent of his or her protector.

The Muslim followers of Muhammad initially thought that their Prophet had made a mistake in agreeing to the terms of the truce of Hudaybiyyah, but later on realized he had done the right things. Reasons:

#  For the first time he was considered by the power elites of Mecca their equal, not someone whom they wanted to slay and slaughter his Muslim followers as well.
#  Free from military activities would help all Muslims to prepare better for the future.
#  The Prophet Muhammad had gained a great deal of admiration amongst the people of Mecca since he recognized the importance of the pilgrimage to Ka'aba, in a sense similar to theirs, and at the same time told them: " I have my religion and you have yours ", which implied that he did not believe in the conversion to his religion by a forceful manner.

All of the foregoing were merely a prelude to Muhammad's Triumphant Return To Mecca. Add to that that during his preaching activities in the 10 years he spent living in Medina, the number of Muslims increased exponentially.

The Truce of Hudaybiyyah lasted for two years. Now, the Prophet Muhammad could assemble more than 10,000 Muslims strong ready to back him up and defend Islam, if necessary. Unfortunately, the Truce of Hudaybiyyah broke down after two years, because of the following bloodshed that took place between the following Jewish Arab tribes:

- The Jewish tribe of Banu Khuza'a which had good relation with the Prophet Muhammad.
- The Jewish tribe of Banu Bakr which had an alliance with the Meccans.

Banu Bakr had made a night raid against Banu Khuza'a, slaughtering a few of them. The Meccans helped Banu Bakr in weapons and took part in the fighting. As the details of this bloody event unfolded, the Prophet Muhammad sent a message to the Meccans, asking them to choose one of the following conditions:

+ Pay blood money for those who were slain of the Banu Khuza'a.
+ Declare no responsibility of what the Banu Bakr had done.
+ Declare the Truce of Hudaybiyyah null.

The Meccans replied that they would accept only the last condition: Declaring The Truce of Hudaybiyyah null. Later on, the Meccans realized that their reply was a mistake. They sent Abu Sufian, one of their powerful men, to Muhammad to renew the Truce of Hudaybiyyah, but now Muhammad declined to accept Abu Sufian's request.

So it was in 629 the Prophet Muhammad organized more than 10,000 Muslims strong and marched on to Mecca. With hardly any resistance, he entered Mecca with his Muslims followers triumphantly and peacefully. Mecca whose Pagans inhabitants attempted for years to kill him and destroy his new religion had become now under his full control.

The first order of business done by Muhammad was declaring amnesty for past offenses. The second order of business was destroying all the Pagans' idols in Ka'aba and making it a holy place to the Muslims who were considered decedents of Ishmael, the oldest son of the Prophet Abraham whom the Muslims considered one of them.

Finally, most Meccans became Muslims. The influence of Mecca was extremely great in Arabia. It was a commercial hub for all tribes in Arabia. It was a gem for those who ran it. Now it is under Islamic control. As a result, all Arabia became Islamic in characteristic and no more Pagans worshipping so many idols as gods or goddesses could be found in Arabia.

Shortly after the Prophet Muhammad had made his last welfare pilgrimage to Ka'aba, (perhaps in 632 ), and retrurn to Medina, he became ill,and died shortly later in the lap of his wife Ai'asha, after asking her to distribute the few possessions he had to the poor. He was 63 year old when he died.

His achievement has been great, indeed. He changed Arabia from a tribal society, living in a tribal warfare system, tribes fighting one another over a well of water or grazing rights for their domestic animal and their harsh deserts provided them with little to sustain their lives. Hence, the first two Caliphs who ruled Arabia after the death of the Prophet wanted Arabia to remain united. One way, they thought, could accomplish that was to see what the Arabs could do outside Arabia, so that they would not go back to their tribal warfare, as they practiced it before the appearance of Islam. It is a myth to think of the Arab conquests of the old world was to spread Islam. It was not. The conquests were manifestations of some sort of imperialism. That was the case with the human nature since the time of Alexander the Great, Roman empire, Persian empire, Arab empire, Ottoman empire, British empire, French empire, Soviet empire, and now the Great American empire consisting of 737 military bases across the globe. Nothing has changed in the fundamentals of the human nature. Nothing has changed, indeed.