Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah

the empire strikes back…

Archive for November, 2006

Posted by abu ameerah on Wednesday, November 29, 2006

 

This article pretty much says it all……rather than obsessing over what gets the most air-play on the 24hr news cycle — we should, instead, focus our energy doing what is already prescribed for us in our religion. Think, for example, of all the health benefits contained in the Sunnah of the Prophet (saaws).

…a few sit ups couldn’t hurt either…

By Jeffrey Kluger
Time

(Time.comexternal link) — It would be a lot easier to enjoy your life if there weren’t so many things trying to kill you every day.  The problems start even before you’re fully awake. There’s the fall out of bed that kills 600 Americans each year. There’s the early-morning heart attack, which is 40 percent more common than those that strike later in the day.  There’s the fatal plunge down the stairs, the bite of sausage that gets lodged in your throat, the tumble on the slippery sidewalk as you leave the house, the high-speed automotive pinball game that is your daily commute.  Shadowed by peril as we are, you would think we’d get pretty good at distinguishing the risks likeliest to do us in from the ones that are statistical long shots. But you would be wrong.

We agonize over avian flu, which to date has killed precisely no one in the United States, but have to be cajoled into getting vaccinated for the common flu, which contributes to the deaths of 36,000 Americans each year.  We wring our hands over the mad cow pathogen that might be (but almost certainly isn’t) in our hamburger and worry far less about the cholesterol that contributes to the heart disease that kills 700,000 of us annually.  We pride ourselves on being the only species that understands the concept of risk, yet we have a confounding habit of worrying about mere possibilities while ignoring probabilities, building barricades against perceived dangers while leaving ourselves exposed to real ones.  Shoppers still look askance at a bag of spinach for fear of E. coli bacteria while filling their carts with fat-sodden French fries and salt-crusted nachos. We put filters on faucets, install air ionizers in our homes and lather ourselves with antibacterial soap.

“We used to measure contaminants down to the parts per million,” says Dan McGinn, a former Capitol Hill staff member and now a private risk consultant. “Now it’s parts per billion.”

At the same time, 20 percent of all adults still smoke; nearly 20 percent of drivers and more than 30 percent of backseat passengers don’t use seat belts; two-thirds of us are overweight or obese.  We dash across the street against the light and build our homes in hurricane-prone areas — and when they’re demolished by a storm, we rebuild in the same spot.  Sensible calculation of real-world risks is a multidimensional math problem that sometimes seems entirely beyond us. And while it may be true that it’s something we’ll never do exceptionally well, it’s almost certainly something we can learn to do better.

Dread skews response

Which risks get excessive attention and which get overlooked depends on a hierarchy of factors. Perhaps the most important is dread.  For most creatures, all death is created pretty much equal. Whether you’re eaten by a lion or drowned in a river, your time on the savanna is over. That’s not the way humans see things.  The more pain or suffering something causes, the more we tend to fear it; the cleaner or at least quicker the death, the less it troubles us. The more we dread, the more anxious we get, and the more anxious we get, the less precisely we calculate the odds of the thing actually happening.  The same is true for, say, AIDS, which takes you slowly, compared with a heart attack, which can kill you in seconds, despite the fact that heart disease claims nearly 50 times as many Americans than AIDS each year.

We also dread catastrophic risks, those that cause the deaths of a lot of people in a single stroke, as opposed to those that kill in a chronic, distributed way.  Unfamiliar threats are similarly scarier than familiar ones. The next E. coli outbreak is unlikely to shake you up as much as the previous one, and any that follow will trouble you even less.  In some respects, this is a good thing, particularly if the initial reaction was excessive. But it’s also unavoidable given our tendency to habituate to any unpleasant stimulus, from pain and sorrow to a persistent car alarm.

The problem with habituation is that it can also lead us to go to the other extreme, worrying not too much but too little. September 11 and Hurricane Katrina brought calls to build impregnable walls against such tragedies ever occurring again.  But despite the vows, both New Orleans and the nation’s security apparatus remain dangerously leaky.

“People call these crises wake-up calls,” says Dr. Irwin Redlener, associate dean of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness.

“But they’re more like snooze alarms. We get agitated for a while, and then we don’t follow through.”

Posted in In The News | Leave a Comment »

a question

Posted by abu ameerah on Wednesday, November 29, 2006

With all of the research, so-called analysis, and reporting on Islam and Muslims (thats Mozz-lums for all of you WASPs out there) over the last few years — I have come up with a question to ask Muslims who may visit this weblog. The question is as follows:

Are you, or do you classify yourself as, a:

  • Moderate
  • Traditional
  • Orthodox
  • Modern
  • Reformist
  • Fundamentalist
  • Liberal
  • Conservative

The reason that I hightlight such a list is to point out the absurdity of such titles or labels. The notion that most people don’t enjoy being labeled is indeed true and the same applies to Muslims, as well. Over the past few years, however, there has been a growing chorus of writers, reporters, and pseudo-intellectuals who have taken the liberty of labeling and – where convenient – marginilizing entire Muslim communities or Muslims in general as falling into these ridiculous titles. What exactly do such terms even mean? Do they enhance dialogue amongst civilizations or do such titles merely isolate them? The fact of the matter is that there is no real consensus amongst Muslims to define themselves in such terms, alhamdulillah. Furthermore, those Muslims who practice their faith and have at least some connection to it are not ignorant enough to accept these useless labels, inshallah. In the final analysis, the definition or explanation of these labels depends upon the one doing the defining, so to speak. Ultimately, it all depends on the guy at the podium or the author with the new book to sell (and his own political affiliation). Ask a right wing hack and you’ll get one answer with one interpretation — ask a liberal and you’ll probably get something different.

Anyway, here is my interpretation of these labels:

  1. Moderate(s) – Moderate Muslims are those who have little time to be bothered by practicing all aspects of their religion. Many of them are more concerned with “spirituality” but the reality is something more like — we aint got the time for that either. So-called moderates tend to be more focused on the state of their pocketbooks or bank accounts rather than the state of their Emaan. “How’s my 401k doing”? Moderates like Mahmoud Abbas (Palestinian PM – aka worthless bum) seem to get allllllll of the attention and allllllll of the political legitimacy. These folks fall into every category of extremism, as understood in a religious context, and yet they get to galavant about the world in their fake armani suits, cheap cologne, and get sympathy from governmental and non-governmental actors alike. Moderates are quite pathetic indeed and yet most Muslims don’t even know that they are regarded as moderates by those in the west. By in large, however, it seems that most so-called moderates can still be regarded as Muslims (albeit dumb and lazy ones) who are not outside the fold of Islam, inshallah. Moderates also include the likes of Saad Hariri (Lebanese Parliamentarian), for example.
  2. Traditional – This is a new term that I have basically come to loathe (especially over the last few weeks). Non-Muslims who read this might be thinking….”Uh…what’s wrong with the term traditional”? Allow me to clear up any confusion. Here it is in a nutshell. Generally speaking, there is nothing wrong with using the term “traditional” (or traditionalist). Media personalities, like Bill O’Reilly (aka “The Big Giant Head”), use the term quite often — and almost wear it as a badge of honor. Their battle (or at least Bill O’s) battle is against whoever is perceived to be on the side of the SP’s, or “Secular Progressives”. Therefore, self described traditionalists (like Bill O’) can dedicate their lives to doing battle against anyone and everyone on the left including — liberals (with any social or political agenda/affiliation), Democrats, Socialists, Communists, Left-of-Center-Libertarians, Unionists, Environmentalists, Vegetarians, etc. At this point the reader should note that I am not referring to tradional(ist) in the same way in which Bill O’ or his ilk at FOX News (aka Faux News) use the term. You see, the term “traditional” has now come be used by a number of figures and groups throughout the Muslim world — all with differing (if not conflicting) agendas. Simply speaking, the term traditional has come to be part of a larger conspiracy of religious and pseudo-religious groups that seek to attack and label anyone who does not fit their own narrow vision of the acceptable Islamic identity. These people are often so moved by news headlines from Iraq, Afghanistan, or any other hot spot in the Muslim world that they immediately come out to attack and villify other Muslims (or Muslim groups) who are deemed to be “extremists” by various personalities in the West. So-called traditionalists are those individuals who seek to return to an era of Muslim scholarship and political rule similar to Islamic rule of Spain or al Andalus. Muslim rule of Spain lasted approximately 7oo years and while true that it enabled a number of scientific advancements, educational achievements (literacy being one), and socio-political benefits to take hold in Europe — these achievements are essentially meaningless to the Neo-traditionalists. The NT’s (as I like to refer to them) use the Islamic rule of Spain as a convenient intellectual smokescreen of sorts. They also make frequent reference to a small cadre of Islamic scholars as well. This list of noble scholars includes the likes of al Haafidh Imam Ibn Hajar Askalani, Ibn al Qayyim, Imam al Ghazali, etc. The combination of Muslim rule of Spain and this list of Islamic scholars provides the so-called traditional Muslims with a facade by which they can promote their misguidance and falsehood. Therefore, the term traditional is used as a means to confuse westerners and intellectuals in Muslim quarters about Islam and Islamic values. All the while, however, throngs of ignorant Muslim masses are infused with the deviant teachings of Sufism and others upon the path of innovation in their Deen. The current list of well known, self proclaimed, traditionalists includes (but is not limited to): Hamzah Yusuf, Zaid Shakir, Nu Ha Mim Keller, Hisham Kabbani, etc. etc. All well known leaders of the Alhul Bid’ah crowd, a’oudhubillah.
  3. Orthodox – This term is generally used to desribe all of those individuals who reject the teachings of NOI (Nation of Islam) or any other like-minded politically radical group. So-called Orthodox Muslims tend to comprise what is often referred to as “Sunni” Islam. While many of those Muslims who refer to themselves as Orthodox often do tend to be innovators — they are still far better then disbelievers like those found within the Nation of Islam.
  4. Modern – So called Modern Muslims or Modernists tend to be those Muslims who don’t necessarily reject the essential pillars of Islam — but they openly reject to basic Islamic teachings and sacred sources. For example, a modernist might not reject the authority of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) as the final Messenger of Allah (SWT) — but they reject various aspects of his Sunnah. Rejection of the Sunnah, in any sense, denotes kufr and that is why many of these modernist figures are likely disbelievers merely prancing about as genuine Muslims. However, it should be noted that, not all Modernists are disbelievers. The vast majority I suspect, and Allah (Azza wa’Jall) knows best, are severely misguided and simply ignorant of their deen.
  5. Reformist — Those who claim to be “Muslim” … all the while seeking to change, alter, and ultimately destroy the religious & theological foundations of Islam. Reformists are basically selfish people with nothing better to do but create contraversy by attacking a religion that they often know very little about. Instead of trying to “reform” Islam, Islamic Law, or Islamic doctrine — they should instead try to “reform” the often backward cultures and societies that gave them birth.
  6. Fundamentalist — This is actually interesting because…..well….uhhh…..the simple definition of “fundamentalist” (or a simple respone to fundamentalist) would be to just say: me. In simple terms, if you were to WIKI the term fundamentalist — the chances are quite high that my picture would come up — or at least someone that looks kinda like me. You know, the bearded robe-wearing freaks who have probably only used a computer once in their lives and that was to throw it at a jew or some other infidellllllllll. Anyway, a “fundamentalist” (as understood in the west) is any Muslim who uncompromisingly adheres to the statement (and all that it entails): Ash-hadu an La illaha ilallah wa Ash-hadu ana Muhammadan Abduhu wa Rasooluh. A fundamentalist is also any Muslim who prays…..and that’s about it. I don’t have to interject politics into this — because Muslim-haters don’t necessarily interject politics. Many in the west are quite clear about their hatred of Islam & Muslims and don’t necessarily always focus upon the geopolitical realities of the broader middle east — they just get to the core of the matter and tackle Islam head on, so to speak. Instead of taking a deeper look at the Iraq debacle — they just attack the Prophet (saaws) or misuse any ayah from the Qur’an. To be regarded as a fundamentalist, especially in the post 9/11 era, all one has to do is be a practicing Muslim — and not be afraid to look like it.
  7. Liberal — Like reformists, the Liberal camp simply wants intellectual (and at times religious) cover for their sins. Liberals are just too lazy to intellectually challenge Islam…..sooooo all they can do is just moan and groan about their problems. “Why can’t we have the ‘Big Brother’ show in Bahrain“? Yep, that was an argument of a liberal in Bahrain who lamented at the fact that the “reality” show “Big Brother” was banned in Bahrain (after just a few episodes of taping). Awwwwww, poor girl — you live in one of the wealthier countries in the world…you have an education….and you have all of the basic necessities of life……..but you lack the one thing that makes life truly meaningful…Big Brother! WTF?! Yipes….reality TV claims another victim.
  8. Conservative — Conservatives are, in a nut shell, represented (for example) by many of the Turkish protestors who rallied against the Pope’s recent visit to their country. Basically, many of the Turkish protestors are well meaning and energetic nationalists who have somehow combined love of country/nation/people with religious dogma. They are not necessarily “fundamentalists” or “radical islamists” (another dumb phrase) — but they still do get offended when a deviant like the Pope openly attacks the Prophet (saaws). Just think of a conservative as someone like the former PM (Prime Minister) of Turkey, Abdullah Gul. Basically (yeah – i know i use this word to much) he associates himself with Islam and Muslims but can’t be bothered to do a lot of that Muslim “stuff” — or even try to look the part, for that matter. Think of conservatives as well-meaning people that very loosely fall under the banner of Islam — but whom are more interested in Islamic values and codes of conduct (seen as somehow being universal) rather than getting into all of that religious practice and prayer stuff.

Yeah….so….at this point you’re probably thinking, “What the !%$!@#  is this guys problem….does he hate everyone or what”? Well, to be quite honest, I merely wrote this to set the record straight, if you will.  Beating around the bush is pointless! In the final analysis, I think I’ll just stick to being a fundamentalist — yep good ‘ol fashioned Fundamenalist values for me…………

Posted in politics, Religious matters | 2 Comments »

Posted by abu ameerah on Sunday, November 5, 2006

hmmmm…..

Posted in general | 2 Comments »