True Islam?

What is “True Islam?”

This question is more figurative than literal, however it’s one that I often contemplate.  Not that I don’t know the answer, but its the question and the implications of that question that I ponder most.  Who defines Islam and to whom?

As a convert or some may say revert, many often assume that my belief are somehow not “as” pure or “as” genuine of what many call “true” Muslims.  For many, the “true” Muslim lives in the Middle East.  Certainly this is a fallacy for many reasons, the problem with this fallacy, is that as a Muslim community we have allowed a situation to arise where others define our religion for us.

As a believing body, I believe that we have to institutionalize and take back our image and definition of what Islam truly is.  Often, in the midst of heated debate with non-Muslims I am often challenged with this “true Muslim” mantra.  Somehow, many non-Muslims have be lead to believe that if your a convert or non-Arab, your Islam is not “pure” or “true” enough.  Obviously, there’s many levels of hypocrisy in that belief, because that would mean that unless your Palestinian Christians, your not “Christian” enough, however, I won’t beat the dead horse about the obvious hypocrisy Muslims especially in America, are challenged with these days.

My overall point in context is this, unless we come together as an Islamic community and vigorously combat the false images and propaganda about Islam, we further harm ourselves in the long run.

Im not sure how we do this.  Im not really sure we can even convince those who have already found solice in their hate of all things Muslim or Islam, however, we have to try.  We have to roll our sleeves up and not be afraid to get dirty.

Personally, I get tired of the oft repeated accusation that “true” Muslims live in the Middle East, or that some Iraqi, Saudi, etc.  said Muslims in America, especially the African American ones, are not “true” Muslims.  Granted, this is a personal grievance, however Im not totally convinced that my experience is unique either.

In my personal opinion, I believe the practicing Muslims are more likely to be found outside the Middle East.  I won’t use terms like “true” or “false” Muslims, because Allah (swt) alone is the judge for mankind.  I know that if one believes in Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saw), then one is on the true path.

We have to get this message out, it would be better for us all.  What is “True” Islam?  Is it the suicide bomber?  Or is it the Muslims fighting to save lives?  Is it the terrorist?  Or is it the humanitarian?  Is Islam merely wearing beards, kufis, and hijab?  Or is Islam going to work, taking care of your family, and being kind, truthful, and honest?  Is Islam calling the West “the Great Satan” or non-Muslims “Infidels”?  Or is Islam welcoming non-Muslims specifically Jews and Christians into the Mosques and into our homes for diaglogue, worship, and friendship?

There is a growing feeling in America and the West that Islam is a violent religion that promotes intolerance.  Of course, this is excluding the facts that the majority of Muslims live in diverse, peaceful, societies.  However, the facts are escaping the masses, that are begining to call for our slaughter wholesale.  We are now being called the “silent majority” who by our silence somehow shows that we are in agreement with extremists and terrorists.  However, the truth and facts remain that there are thousands of Fatwas, scholars, Muftis, councils, organizations, who for many years have condemned all acts of terror as Haram (unlawful).  So it’s not that we are silent, its that the word is being confined to books, letters, and the internet, therefore you have to do what most hate to do: read.

My fellow brothers and sisters, we all know that these ideas against Islam and Muslims are false and blantant hypocrisy, and we know that the same measure would never be used by the accusers for themselves, however that is the mindset we live amongst. 

Maybe its hightime we call them on their hypocrisy, maybe we should ask for the mass protest of Christians, Jews, etc. everytime a crime is commited in a 74% “Christian” nation.  They love to say “all terrorists are Muslim” because the majority of said acts are commited by those who say they are Muslim.  Well we should remind them that by the same standard, all thieves, rapists, pedophiles, murderers, adulterers, criminals, etc.  are Christian.  I mean afterall, in a country with this much crime, yet is 74% Christian, odds are the guilty are more likely to be Christian than Muslim right?  The same goes for Europe as well.

We need to start taking our identity back and pushing forth agendas, initiatives, resolutions, etc. forward that will put us in a strong position in order to live without fear.  We need to be able to live without the fear of flying, driving, walking, living, etc. while Muslim.

We are not dealing with reasonable people on either side, whether Muslim radical or non-Muslim radical, so we may have to come to a point where we deal with both according to the way they deal with us.

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Muslims Mark Solidarity With Jews

William S. Parsons, right, chief of staff of the U.S. holocaust museum in Washington, leads visitors and a delegation of local Muslims on a tour. Rahima Ullah, left, Robert Marro and Imam Mohamed Magid participated in the tour. (By Lois Raimondo -- The Washington Post)  

William S. Parsons, right, chief of staff of the U.S. holocaust museum in Washington, leads visitors and a delegation of local Muslims on a tour. Rahima Ullah, left, Robert Marro and Imam Mohamed Magid participated in the tour. (By Lois Raimondo — The Washington Post)  

I felt compelled to share this article from the Washington Post not only because it features my Imam, but because it gives me hope.  It reminds me that if for one minute we just focused on humanity and be kind to one another anything is possible.  It also is a stark reminder to those who want to broad-stroke Muslims and Islam.  It should remind them that there are and have been many Muslims, who are not what the Television loves to portray us as.  Another good article is also local to my area, its about a joint Hanukah-Hajj feast. Hanukkah-Hajj event brings together members of both faiths”

Heres the text of the article if you can’t view it:

Local Muslim leaders lit candles yesterday at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to commemorate Jewish suffering under the Nazis, in a ceremony held just days after Iran had a conference denying the genocide.

American Muslims “believe we have to learn the lessons of history and commit ourselves: Never again,” said Imam Mohamed Magid of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, standing before the eternal flame flickering from a black marble base that holds dirt from Nazi concentration camps.

Around the hexagonal room, candles glimmered under the engraved names of the death camps: Chelmno. Auschwitz-Birkenau. Majdanek.

“We stand here with three survivors of the Holocaust and my great Muslim friends to condemn this outrage in Iran,” said Sara J. Bloomfield, the museum’s director, addressing a bank of TV cameras in the room, known as the Hall of Remembrance.

The museum, she noted, holds “millions of pieces of evidence of this crime.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad organized last week’s conference after Western countries protested his comment last year that the slaughter of 6 million Jews was a myth. The two-day meeting drew historical revisionists and such people as David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

Major American Muslim and Arab-American organizations have condemned the Iran conference. The Muslim speakers at yesterday’s ceremony did not mention that event but called for recognition of the suffering Jews experienced in the Holocaust and condemned religious hatred. Asked afterward why they did not single out Iran, the Muslim leaders said the problem was broader than the recent conference.

“The issue here is: There might be somebody from X and Y country, a Muslim, saying the same thing,” Magid said. If anyone wants to make Holocaust denial an Islamic cause, he said, “we want to say to them: You cannot use our name.”

Museum officials said a Muslim delegation had never before made such a public statement at the memorial building.

After the speeches yesterday, Bloomfield invited the visitors to light candles to remember the Holocaust victims and Muslims who rescued some of the besieged Jews. One by one, the guests silently shuffled along the wallside bank of candles: the tall imam in his round Muslim cap, known as a kufi; a woman in a Muslim head scarf; Muslim men in business suits; and three elderly women in pantsuits from the D.C. suburbs, survivors of the genocide.

One of them, Johanna Neumann, recounted at the ceremony how Muslims saved her Jewish family. Members of her family had fled from Germany to Albania, where Muslim families sheltered them and hid their identity during the Nazi occupation.

“Everybody knew who we were. Nobody would even have thought of denouncing us” to the Nazis, said the tiny 76-year-old Silver Spring resident. “These people deserve every respect anybody can give them.”

The idea for the ceremony originated with Magid, whose Sterling mosque has been active in interfaith efforts. After hearing radio reports about the Iranian meeting, “I said to myself, ‘We have to, as Muslim leaders . . . show solidarity with our fellow Jewish Americans,’ ” Magid recalled after the speeches.

He contacted Akbar Ahmed, an American University professor active in inter-religious dialogue, who asked the museum to hold the ceremony.

“It’s important that the world knows there are Muslims who don’t believe in this [Holocaust denial],” Ahmed said after the ceremony. Also in the delegation were representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

Bloomfield, the museum director, noted that Magid delayed his trip to Mecca for the annual hajj pilgrimage by a day to attend the ceremony.

“That’s a pretty strong statement,” she said.

The Holocaust victims expressed gratitude for the gesture by the Muslims.

“We could live together in peace if only more of these things were happening,” said Halina Peabody, 74, a native of Poland who lives in Bethesda.

Muslims Cadets Increasing at West Point

Im writing today primarily in response to the CBS article “Ranks Of West Point Muslims Grow“.   As a veteran of the United States Marine Corps myself, I don’t really see this as news per se, but more so a recognition of that which already exists.  Im ordinarily not one, who goes around pointing out the fact that I belong to this group or that group, so therefore my service as a member of said group should be recognized, however given the climate of the very real Islamaphobic hysteria that currently exists in our Country, I believe we should point out the role American Muslims play in our society.  I believe that by pointing out the fact that there are American Muslims in the Armed Forces that are also fighting in the “War on Terror” this may at least change some minds and hearts, as hopefully, people will see that we are just as Patriotic, Law abiding, citizens, etc.  as the next guy.

The propaganda that is spread against Muslims and Islam in general, likes to box us off as some seperate bloc or entity, that exists within America yet outside America, who wants to destroy America and the West.  This is so far from the truth, that the mere fact that I feel compelled to refute these claims is sickening. 

However, its going to take many more articles like this one, to help dispel the allegations.  Especially when on that very same site, you can read intolerant comments like this:

This is a HUGE HUGE BLUNDER!

We should be looking to destroy the islamic insanity, it signs and symbols within the US especially!

The last thing the US needs is US armed and US military-trained maniac muslims, especially when we are doing so within the US itself.

Seems like the older we get, the more STUPID we get as a nation and the more inclined to repeat blunders?

Read my lips: We may give HUMANITARIAN assistance to fellow humans.
However, the United State of America should NEVER EVER give arms and military training of any kind to muslims, EVER!
Safety first!

We have given military training to muslims and are now paying a deadly price from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

We need to take into account the fact that
MUSLIMS ARE THE ONLY GROUP ON THE PLANET THAT ARE INTENT AND COMMITTED TO THE DESTRUCTION OF THE USA AND ITS CITIZENS!

AGAIN, SAFETY FIRST! ”

It doesnt just end there:

I’m curious, are there any positive examples of Muslims reaching out to help others (non-Muslims) that anyone can credibly site?

In the interest of humanity, can you also site what contributions Muslims have made to science, medicine or other invention for the betterment of mankind?

What is positive about the saying “Death to America?”

Why should America remain accepting to all Muslims after 9/11? Is the Jihad over? “

Both of these comments were posted December 18th on that site.  It is very disturbing that people still feel this way.  The hate and blood lust against Islam and Muslims is real in America and its about time we recognize it and call it out. 

As a veteran who served this Nation Honorably, it truly hurts that often I feel as if my service, loyalty, and honor is questioned, by fellow Americans, many of whom never wore the uniform.  But hey, I served so they might have the right to be intolerant bigots….gotta love America. 

To me, what Muslims in the Armed forces are currently dealing with, is reminiscent to the days when Black Soldiers were heroes outside the country during war, but came back just to be treated as another nigger. (And yes, I used that word)  The blunt and oft ugly truth is that Muslims in general, and especially in America are the new niggers, for some of us, we are now double niggers because of our skin color and now religion, for others, this is a whole new experience altogether.

Now, I didnt want to get all “controversial” in this post, but sometimes, my feelings just begin to flow as I write.  We have to realize that America has serious racial issues.  Most racists today just cover their motives, intentions, and feelings under political window dressing to confuse the masses.  Its not so apparent these days as it was for my grandfather, but its still the same.  This hate against Muslims and Islam is so repulsive and disgusting, that the racist now finds “neat” little ways to cover it up.  The two blankets used are 9/11 and “The War on Terror”.  These blankets have been given such a huge pass that all a bigot has to do is use those two phrases to context his/her hate, and automatically the rest is ignored.

Granted, my comments today are several posts in one, but I just wanted to point out how repulsed I am on so many levels.  These West Point Cadets are serving this Country period.  These are men and women of honor, who by the way, have been accepted into the most prestigious Military institution in the Country, besides the Naval Academy (Go Navy!), and are going to be future leaders in the Army.  How dare these e-cowards, for spitting on their service!

I pray that one day SOON, a voice and a movement will arise, not just to defend Islam and Muslims, but to destroy the Satanic mindset that produces the intolerance and hate that is Islamaphobia.

I have decided to “elevate” my voice and I have purchased a domain:  http://www.theAmericanMuslim.net .  Its a work in progress, but Insha’Allah, it will be a website dedicated to the American Muslim experience.  I ask that every able bodied American Muslim that reads these words please contact me at abdur_salaam@hotmail.com to formulate a plan to make this website one of the great resources to speak our voice.  I intend to link to articles, websites, blogs, and any other medium so that others can hear our voice, and we can share our experiences.  I also intend to raise contributions to go directly to charity.

I pray that Allah (swt) gives us peace but most importantly guidance in these dark times.

Where are the Good Muslims they ask….

Im sorry, but Im getting a “little” sick and tired of this question.  I mean, everytime someone comes up with yet another allegation against Islam and Muslims, it seems like they retort when called out with the typical “well if the good Muslims would do (insert excuse), then “we” wouldnt feel (insert excuse)”.  I mean come on people!  A time has to come when common sense takes over.  Whatever accusation people have against Islam and Muslims, the 1# accusation being that Muslims are violent, radical, terrorists, and the Islam condones these actions.  They are often wrong and hypocritical lacking no real definitive, factual evidence.

Oftentimes, regardless of how much Muslims refute that particular accusation, and many others, the excuses and accusations continue to resurface anyway, primarily following the next news report of a suicide bomber, terror suspect, etc.

Now here is where the common sense should come in…  Granted, there are those who call themselves Muslim, that are radical, extremist, terrorists, and whatever else you want to label them.  However for the millionth time, they arent close to representing the 1.5 billion plus Muslims in the world.  That’s just the truth, no matter how you slice it.  However, they find ways around that too.

So then they say, well this cleric said (Insert radical cleric or President’s remark)….well guess what?  One, two, or even three or more clerics don’t speak for 1.5 billion people, nor do they override the centuries of Islamic jurisprudence and Fatwas, that often contradict what those clerics say.  Then they say, well the Koran says this (typical isolated verse) so therefore, Islam is (insert allegation).  Well the Koran says many other things, often on the surface, contrary to their allegations, why don’t they look at those verses?

This is the real issue here:  It doesnt matter that 1.5 billion Muslims across the globevare law abiding citizens….It doesnt matter that even when you isolate TRANSLATIONS of the Arabic Koran, they dont reflect the actual meaning or intention of said verse….It doesnt matter no one even asks Muslims how they interpret said verses, which by the way, must be a peaceful interpretation, or there would be 1.5 billion Muslim radicals, verses the several thousand now….It doesnt matter that even though you have websites like this one, that chronicles the hundreds, if not thousands of Muslims and Islamic scholars condemning terrorism….It doesnt matter how many marches, speeches, conference, Fatwas, etc. that have been documented and just happen to be contrary to the allegations (imagine that)….It doesnt matter that just the numbers alone show that if Islam were what they say it is, then the world would be in flames, i.e. 1.5 Billion people, 1/5 of the worlds population…It really doesnt matter.

The reason you ask?

Because those who make allegations against Islam and Muslims are not concerned with the facts.  The truth is, they really don’t like Muslims or Islam in the first place, and cling to whatever “proof” they can find to cover and excuse their veiled bigotry, racism, etc.  These people already have their minds up and no matter what is said, done, proven, etc.  They are still going to feel this way.  It doesnt matter that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are peaceful, as long as you have a few that arent, well that’s excuse enough.  It doesnt matter that the majority of the Koran speaks about peace and submission to God, as long as they can find one or two verses out of the 114 Surahs and thousands of verses, that appear to say otherwise, well that’s excuse enough.  Even when an actual scholar of Islam and Arabic, shows them that the English translation isnt accurate or that in context that’s not what it says, it doesnt matter that the person is a scholar or speaks Arabic, because in there world, English is superior, so it is what it says.  Lets not forget that some of these same people, tend to follow the Bible word for word, in 15th century Old English, never once knowing or caring about the history of the book, the original languages i.e. Greek, Latin, Aramaic, Hebrew, etc.  so in their mind, there is no room to understand linguistics, history, etc.  That would take too much time and brain power.

The truth is, these accusers are lazy zealots, who have no interest in things like facts, knowledge, and education.  They go by their feelings and what someone else told them, so as long as the media keeps the image going, they will sheepishly obey.  This same media wants you to believe that all Hispanics are illegal, all women are sex toys, all blacks are violent gang bangers, and of course all Muslims are not only Arab men or oppressed women in burkas, but terrorists too, among other things….  Ignorance is truly bliss.  If you want to know where are all the “Good Muslims” turn off the TV, get off your behind, and go to your local mosque, maybe even go knock on the door of your Muslim neighbor, talk to your Muslim co-worker, preferably, READ A BOOK!  One written by a Muslim author/scholar, by the way, and not just one.  One book wont explain 1.5 billion people, or 1400 plus years of history, so maybe taking a stab at several may get you somewhere.

Now what does this mean for us the Muslims?  Well, lets keep doing what we are doing.  Let’s remain vigilant and take our religion back.  Lets continue to educate Muslims and non-Muslims.  Let’s continue to be examples through our daily actions.  But most importantly, let’s stop trying to please non-Muslims and people in general.  Our practice is only for the pleasure of Allah (swt).  It should be apparent that our good work and deeds won’t be recognized by all.  Those that see and want to recognize us, will and those that don’t, are going to hate us anyway.  So let’s not live for them, but only for Allah (swt).  Let’s be the example for all mankind as we are commanded to be.  Let’s continue work, take care of our families, and be productive citizens.  Most of all, let’s continue to live in peace, like the billions of us are already doing.

Iran's Holocaust Conference

  

First of all, let me be apart of that large voice that believes that its high time President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gets his backside whipped in the public!  Granted, I would be lying if I didnt agree with about 80% of what he has said at the UN, or wrote in his letter to President Bush or his letter to the American People,  OK, maybe more than 80%, however, his constant disrespect towards Jews and the Holocaust, is not only wrong, but outright disgusting!

As a Muslim, who left the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC in tears, I don’t see how any person of any religion, ethnicity, etc. could think that those crimes are just a joke or not even real.  Im getting tired personally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s  double talk.  While he orates and expresses Islam beautifully in his letters and speech at the UN, at the same time he does Islam and Muslims a great disservice and is an embarrassment, because how could you deny those atrocities?  How can you speak of Islamic tolerance and beauty, yet impose cruelty within your own boarders?

As a black man whose anscestors experienced a holocaust as well, seeing the pictures of lynchings, jim crow, etc.  forever reminds me of the darkness that humans can often inflict.  Likewise, when I study or see what happened in Nazi Germany I can’t see how any Muslim in the purest sense of what that means could see how that is remotely funny.

To make matters worse, you had David Duke present.  Need I say more?  I mean how can Muslims even allow him and his ilk to come into Muslim lands.  When did Allah (swt) or the Prophet (saw) advocate racial prejudice, superiority, etc?  Did not our Prophet (saw) say that no race is superior to another?  Did not Allah (swt) say that He created us diverse so that we should know one another?

Religious zealotry and fanaticism has gone too far these days!  Islam is about balance, harmony, and peace.  EVEN WITH THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK!!!  So, I don’t care what Zionists, Neocons, or any other group does or says, as Muslims we not only have to take our religion back from pretenders, but we also have to stand up for what is right and just, regardless!

How can we allow this level of foolishness stand, when we are also subject to the same thing(s)?  How can we look at holocaust victims as meaningless, or non-existent, yet we deplore the same when it comes to Palestinians and Iraqis?  We cannot allow our disdain or even hate for the policies of America, Israel, or the West in general, dictate whether or not if we should remain civil.  Return evil with what is better, that is the Islamic way.  Yes, fight oppression, but do not transgress the limits! 

Im totally disgusted with the idea of this conference, and any Muslim that isnt, needs to re-evaluate whether or not they are just that!  There is never an excuse to delight, mock, or deny the mass injustice, slaughter, and destruction of an entire people, no matter what their skin color, nationality, or religion is.  To do so, makes one not only outside the fold of Islam, but humanity in general.

Not every American is a Neocon, Not every Israeli or Jew is a Zionist, and of course not every Muslim is a terrorist.  We are quick to defend the last statement, how many of us are willing to stand up as Muslims and defend the others?

Iran’s Holocaust Conference

  

First of all, let me be apart of that large voice that believes that its high time President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gets his backside whipped in the public!  Granted, I would be lying if I didnt agree with about 80% of what he has said at the UN, or wrote in his letter to President Bush or his letter to the American People,  OK, maybe more than 80%, however, his constant disrespect towards Jews and the Holocaust, is not only wrong, but outright disgusting!

As a Muslim, who left the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC in tears, I don’t see how any person of any religion, ethnicity, etc. could think that those crimes are just a joke or not even real.  Im getting tired personally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s  double talk.  While he orates and expresses Islam beautifully in his letters and speech at the UN, at the same time he does Islam and Muslims a great disservice and is an embarrassment, because how could you deny those atrocities?  How can you speak of Islamic tolerance and beauty, yet impose cruelty within your own boarders?

As a black man whose anscestors experienced a holocaust as well, seeing the pictures of lynchings, jim crow, etc.  forever reminds me of the darkness that humans can often inflict.  Likewise, when I study or see what happened in Nazi Germany I can’t see how any Muslim in the purest sense of what that means could see how that is remotely funny.

To make matters worse, you had David Duke present.  Need I say more?  I mean how can Muslims even allow him and his ilk to come into Muslim lands.  When did Allah (swt) or the Prophet (saw) advocate racial prejudice, superiority, etc?  Did not our Prophet (saw) say that no race is superior to another?  Did not Allah (swt) say that He created us diverse so that we should know one another?

Religious zealotry and fanaticism has gone too far these days!  Islam is about balance, harmony, and peace.  EVEN WITH THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK!!!  So, I don’t care what Zionists, Neocons, or any other group does or says, as Muslims we not only have to take our religion back from pretenders, but we also have to stand up for what is right and just, regardless!

How can we allow this level of foolishness stand, when we are also subject to the same thing(s)?  How can we look at holocaust victims as meaningless, or non-existent, yet we deplore the same when it comes to Palestinians and Iraqis?  We cannot allow our disdain or even hate for the policies of America, Israel, or the West in general, dictate whether or not if we should remain civil.  Return evil with what is better, that is the Islamic way.  Yes, fight oppression, but do not transgress the limits! 

Im totally disgusted with the idea of this conference, and any Muslim that isnt, needs to re-evaluate whether or not they are just that!  There is never an excuse to delight, mock, or deny the mass injustice, slaughter, and destruction of an entire people, no matter what their skin color, nationality, or religion is.  To do so, makes one not only outside the fold of Islam, but humanity in general.

Not every American is a Neocon, Not every Israeli or Jew is a Zionist, and of course not every Muslim is a terrorist.  We are quick to defend the last statement, how many of us are willing to stand up as Muslims and defend the others?

Christmas and religious tolerance

It’s not customary for me to talk about or give a “Christmas” message, however in light of the day and age we currently find ourselves in, I believe one is definitely necessary. Granted, for those that know me personally, I’m no beacon of all things religiously tolerant, however, I feel we have to come to a point, where our zealotry doesn’t overpower our God-given power to reason.

This reason should give us the mind of tolerance, balance, and compassion for others. We should ask those great optimistic questions like: What would the world be like if we stop for just one day with the “my God is better than your God” attitude and practice?

What would the world be like if we recognized, that its our diversity of tongues, colors, and religions that make us truly wonderful?

Imagine a world where everyone realized the right of others to believe and practice as they chose. Imagine if we actually respected these differences.

In this great nation, we witness many disturbing trends. Many, are openly displayed during this month.

This is a religious month for all three of the major Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This month, Jews celebrate Chanukah, Muslims Eid ul Adha, and the Christians celebrate Christmas. Wouldnt it be wonderful if we used this month not only as a time of reflection in our traditions, but also a time to understand that the spirit of jubilation and praise to God is the common denominator in all of our practice?

Let us give glory to God and in the spirit of that praise, also remember to be mindful to our fellow man.

What is love for the Creator, if we do not love the creation? God reveals what He wills and guides whom He wills, therefore it is not up to us the creation to decide what is better, for only God Alone knows best. Instead, God wants us to be balanced and reasoned in our approach, our practice, and to be forever mindful of Him.

I know many are upset with the lack of recognition that our traditions receive in this country. Some would rather ban religious observance in the public all together.

However, what is it that we truly gain, by insulting or wanting to do away with the traditions of another? Instead of wanting to ban Christmas, maybe we should use this tradition as a catalyst to create dialogue. Let’s examine what it was that Jesus (saw) taught, and how that message of peace is prevalent in Islam and Judaism. Let us share our traditions with Christians as a means to help close the divide and cross over the barriers of ignorance.

Most importantly, let us call up God to bless us not only with peace, but also understanding.

Here’s a great article on this subject: Christmas a time for bridge building

Happy Holidays,

As Salaam Alaikum

Peace Be Unto You

Chanukah

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights or Festival of Rededication, is an eight day Jewish holiday that starts on the 25th day of Kislev, which may be in December, late November, or, while very rare in occasion, early January (as was the case for the Hannukkah of 2005–2006). The festival is observed in Jewish homes by the kindling of lights on each of the festival’s eight nights, one on the first night, two on the second night and so on.

In Hebrew script, the word Hanukkah is written חנכה or חנוכה. It is most commonly transliterated to English as Hanukkah or Chanukah.

The holiday was called Hanukkah meaning “dedication” because it marks the re-dedication of the Temple after its desecration under Antiochus IV. Spiritually, Hanukkah commemorates the Miracle of the Oil. According to the Talmud, at the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem following the victory of the Maccabees over the Seleucid Empire, there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days – which was the length of time it took to press, prepare and consecrate new oil.

However, non-Talmudic sources include no reference to the eight days of oil that has come to be a popular understanding and modern practice of Hanukkah. The Hebrew deuterocanonical books of 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabeesrecord different reasons as the origin of the eight days of Hanukkah. 1 Maccabees reads that, “For eight days they celebrated the rededication of the altar. Then Judah and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel decreed that the days of the rededication…should be observed…every year…for eight days. (1 Mac.4:56-59)”

2 Maccabees says, “The Jews celebrated joyfully for eight days as on the feast of Booths.”

Another interpretation for the 8 day ceremony is that it commemorates the story of Hannah and her 7 sons. The story depicted in the Talmud and in the Book of Maccabees accounts how Hannah’s 7 sons were tortured and executed according to Antiochus’ policy when they refused to bow to a statue and to taste pork. Hannah herself committed suicide after the death of her sons.

Historically, Hanukkah commemorates two events:

The spiritual side of Judaism shies away from commemorating military victories, the Hasmoneanslater became corrupt, and civil war between Jews is considered deplorable, so Hanukkah does not formally commemorate either of these historical events. Instead, the festival commemorates the Miracle of the Oil and the positive spiritual aspects about the Temple’s re-dedication. In doing so, the oil becomes metaphor for the miraculous survival of the Jewish people through millennia of trials and tribulations.

Eid ul-Adha (Arabic: عيد الأضحى), (Persian: عید قربان) occurs on the tenth day of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijja. It is one of two Eid festivals that Muslimscelebrate. Eid ul-Adha is celebrated by Muslims worldwide as a commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim‘s willingness to sacrifice his son (Ishmael) for God. Others celebrate Eid-ul Adha as it marks the end of the Pilgrimage or Hajj for the millions of Muslims who make the trip to Mecca each year. Like Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha also begins with a short prayer followed by a khutba. In Mecca, the Khutba is delivered from Mount Arafat.

It is celebrated on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijja (ذو الحجة) of the lunar Islamic calendar, after Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. This happens to be approximately 70 days after the end of the month of Ramadan.

Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha last for three days. Some Islamic cultures consider Eid ul-Fitr to last three days and Eid ul-Adha to last for four, but this is not part of original Islamic teachings. The first day is the primary holiday, on which men, women, and children are expected to dress in their finest clothing and perform prayer (Salah) in a large congregation. Muslims who can afford to do so sacrifice domestic animals, usually sheep, as a symbol of Ibrahim‘s sacrifice; this sacrifice is called “Qurban.” The meat is equally distributed amongst their neighbours, relatives, and the poor and hungry. The regular charitable practices of the Muslim community are demonstrated during Eid ul-Adha by the concerted effort to see that no impoverished Muslim is left without sacrificial food during this day. Coming immediately after the Day of Arafat (when Muhammadpronounced the final seal on the religion of Islam), Eid ul-Adha gives concrete realization to what the Muslim community ethic means in practice.

Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holidaythat marks the traditional birthdate of Jesus of Nazareth. Christmas combines Christian celebrations of the birth of Jesus with various secular traditions and customs, many of which were influenced by ancient winter festivals such as Yule[1] and Saturnalia. Over time, many popular Christmas traditions have developed, including the display of Nativity scenes and Christmas trees, the exchange of gifts and cards, and the arrival of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. Popular Christmas themes include the promotion of goodwill, giving, compassion, and quality family time.

Christmas is traditionally on December 25. It is preceded by Christmas Eve and in some countries is followed by Boxing Day. Some Eastern Orthodox Churches celebrate Christmas on January 7, which corresponds to December 25 of the Julian calendar. These dates are merely traditional and neither is thought to be the actual birthdate of Jesus.[2]

Christmas is celebrated in most countries around the world, owing to the spread of Christianity and Western culture, mixed with the enduring popularity of existing winter celebrations. Various local and regional Christmas traditions are still practiced, despite the widespread influence of American and British Christmas motifs disseminated by film, popular literature, television, and other media.

In Anglo-Saxon times, Christmas was referred to as geol[3], from which the current English word ‘Yule’ is derived. The word “Christmas” is a contraction meaning “Christ’s mass.” It is derived from the Middle English Christemasse and Old English Cristes mæsse, a phrase first recorded in 1038.[3] The words for the holiday in Spanish (navidad) and French (noël) refer more explicitly to the Nativity. In contrast, the German name Weihnachten means simply “hallowed night.”

Christmas is sometimes shortened to Xmas, an abbreviation that has a long history.[4] In early Greek versions of the New Testament, the letter Χ (chi), is the first letter of Christ (Χριστός). Since the mid-sixteenth century Χ, or the similar Roman letter X, was used as an abbreviation for Christ.[5]