Do all Muslims pray five times a day?
Posted: 19 January 2006 03:57 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Do all Muslims pray five times a day?  If so, it must be pretty inconvenient at times.

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Posted: 19 January 2006 09:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Only the religious amongst them.  Just as many people proclaim themselves to be christians, but don’t go to church, so too do you have people who proclaim to be muslims, but happily drink alcohol, or don’t pray their 5 daily prayers.  Same as in any religion really…

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Posted: 23 May 2006 04:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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There are many Arabs who are Christians and DO go to church .

Some Muslims dont pray , but fast and pay zakat . and drink alcohol too .
the religious do pray .  people can pray anywhere , At work , in a field , at the beach , it does not have to be in a mosque .  if you can not pray at a specific time , it can be delayed until there is more time to do it .

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Posted: 08 June 2006 09:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Allah wanted humans to pray 20 times a day, but Mohammed as able to talk allah into changing that to five time a day.
Its hard to steal, kill and have sex with one’s 9’yrs old wife and pray 20 times a day

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Posted: 09 June 2006 07:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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[quote author=“sjkebab”]Only the religious amongst them.  Just as many people proclaim themselves to be christians, but don’t go to church, so too do you have people who proclaim to be muslims, but happily drink alcohol, or don’t pray their 5 daily prayers.  Same as in any religion really…

Are you trying to say that people are basically the same everywhere?

Thank you. Sometimes we need to remember that not everybody is an extremist, and that no religion can claim to have none, as no religion can be accused of having all of them.

We all need to be just a little more tolerant.

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Posted: 10 June 2006 04:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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From the book “Defeating Jihad” by Serge Trifkovic:

“Islam has created jihad and remains defined by jihad.  It is the only major religious doctrine in religious history with a developed doctrine, theology, and legal system of mandatory violence against non-believers.  This fact makes Islam the earliest political ideology that adopted terrorism as a systemic tool of policy, not as a temporary and unwelcome expedient.” (page 57)

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Posted: 06 July 2006 02:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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[quote author=“georgex5”]From the book “Defeating Jihad” by Serge Trifkovic:

“Islam has created jihad and remains defined by jihad.  It is the only major religious doctrine in religious history with a developed doctrine, theology, and legal system of mandatory violence against non-believers.  This fact makes Islam the earliest political ideology that adopted terrorism as a systemic tool of policy, not as a temporary and unwelcome expedient.” (page 57)

FYI/E


Al-Serat  

The Spiritual Significance of Jihad

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Seyyed Hossein Nasr
Vol. IX, No. 1


And those who perform jihad for Us, We shall certainly guide them in Our ways, and God is surely with the doers of good.
(Quran XXXIX; 69) 

You have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad. (Hadith) 

The Arabic term jihad, usually translated into European languages as holy war, more on the basis of its juridical usage in Islam rather than on its much more universal meaning in the Quran and Hadith, is derived from the root jhd whose primary meaning is to strive or to exert oneself. Its translation into holy war combined with the erroneous notion of Islam prevalent in the West as the ‘religion of the sword’ has helped to eclipse its inner and spiritual significance and to distort its connotation. Nor has the appearance upon the stage of history during the past century and especially during the past few years of an array of movements within the Islamic world often contending or even imposing each other and using the word jihad or one of its derivative forms helped to make known the full import of its traditional meaning which alone is of concern to us here. Instead recent distortions and even total reversal of the meaning of jihad as understood over the ages by Muslims have made it more difficult than ever before to gain insight into this key religious and spiritual concept. 

To understand the spiritual significance of jihad and its wide application to nearly every aspect of human life as understood by Islam, it is necessary to remember that Islam bases itself upon the idea of establishing equilibrium within the being of man as well as in the human society where he functions and fulfills the goals of his earthly life. This equilibrium, which is the terrestrial reflection of Divine Justice and the necessary condition for peace in the human domain, is the basis upon which the soul takes its flight towards that peace which, to use Christian terms, ‘passeth understanding’. If Christian morality sees the aim of the spiritual life and its own morality as based on the vertical flight towards that perfection and ideal which is embodied in Christ, Islam sees it in the establishment of an equilibrium both outward and inward as the necessary basis for the vertical ascent. The very stability of Islamic society over the centuries, the immutability of Islamic norms embodied in the Shari’ah, and the timeless character of traditional Islamic civilization which is the consequence of its permanent and immutable prototype are all reflections of both the ideal of equilibrium and its realization as is so evident in the teachings of the Shari’ah (or Divine Law) as well as works of Islamic art, that equilibrium which is inseparable from the very name of islam as being related to salam or peace. 

The preservation of equilibrium in this world, however, does not mean simply a static or inactive passivity since life by nature implies movement. In the face of the contingencies of the world of change, of the withering effects of time, of the vicissitudes of terrestrial existence, to remain in equilibrium requires continuous exertion. It means carrying out jihad at every stage of life. Human nature being what it is, given to forgetfulness and the conquest of our immortal soul by the carnal soul or passions, the very process of life of both the individual and the human collectivity implies the ever-present danger of the loss of equilibrium and the fact of falling into the state of disequilibrium which if allowed to continue cannot but lead to disintegration on the individual level and chaos on the scale of community life. To avoid this tragic end and to fulfill the entelechy of the human state which is the realization of unity (al-tawhid) or total integration, Muslims as both individuals and members of Islamic society must carry out jihad, that is they must exert themselves at all moments of life to fight a battle both inward and outward against those forces that if not combatted will destroy that equilibrium which is the necessary condition for the spiritual life of the person and the functioning of human society. This fact is especially true if society is seen as a collectivity which bears the imprint of the Divine Norm rather than an antheap of contending and opposing units and forces. 

Man is at once a spiritual and corporeal being, a micro-cosm complete unto himself; yet he is the member of a society within which alone are certain aspects of his being developed and certain of his needs fulfilled. He possesses at once an intelligence whose substance is ultimately of a divine character and sentiments which can either veil his intelligence or abett his quest for his own Origin. In him are found both love and hatred, generosity and coveteousness, compassion and aggression. Moreover, there have existed until now not just one but several ‘humanities’ with their own religious and moral norms and national, ethnic and racial groups with their own bonds of affiliation. As a result the practice of jihad as applied to the world of multiplicity and the vicissitudes of human existence in the external world has come to develop numerous ramifications in the fields of political and economic activity and in social life and come to partake on the external level of the complexity which characterizes the human world. 

In its most outward sense jihad came to mean the defence of dar al-islam, that is, the Islamic world, from invasion and intrusion by non-Islamic forces. The earliest wars of Islamic history which threatened the very existence of the young community came to be known as jihad par excellence in this outward sense of ‘holy war’. But it was upon returning from one of these early wars, which was of paramount importance in the survival of the newly established religious community and therefore of cosmic significance, that the Prophet nevertheless said to his companions that they had returned from the lesser holy war to the greater holy war, the greater jihad being the inner battle against all the forces which would prevent man from living according to the theomorphic norm which is his primordial and God given nature. Throughout Islamic history, the lesser holy war has echoed in the Islamic world when parts or the whole of that world have been threatened by forces from without or within. This call has been especially persistent since the nineteenth century with the advent of colonialism and the threat to the very existence of the Islamic world. It must be remembered, however, that even in such cases when the idea of jihad has been evoked in certain parts of the Islamic world, it has not usually been a question of religion simply sanctioning war but of the attempt of a society in which religion remains of central concern to protect itself from being conquered either by military and economic forces or by ideas of an alien nature. This does not mean, however, that in some cases especially in recent times, religious sentiments have not been used or misused to intensify or legitimize a conflict. But to say the least, the Islamic world does not have a monopoly on this abuse as the history of other civilizations including even the secularized West demonstrates so amply. Moreover, human nature being what it is, once religion ceases to be of central significance to a particular human collectivity, then men fight and kill each other for much less exalted issues than their heavenly faith. By including the question of war in its sacred legislation, Islam did not condone but limited war and its consequences as the history of the traditional Islamic world bears out. In any case the idea of total war and the actual practice of the extermination of whole civilian populations did not grow out of a civilization whose dominant religion saw jihad in a positive light. On the more external level, the lesser jihad also includes the socio-economic domain. It means the reassertion of justice in the external environment of human existence starting with man himself. To defend one’s rights and reputation, to defend the honour of oneself and one’s family is itself a jihad and a religious duty. So is the strengthening of all those social bonds from the family to the whole of the Muslim people (al-ummah) which the Shari’ah emphasizes. To seek social justice in accordance with the tenets of the Quran and of course not in the modern secularist sense is a way of re-establishing equilibrium in human society, that is, of performing jihad, as are constructive economic enterprises provided the well-being of the whole person is kept in mind and material welfare does not become an end in itself; provided one does not lose sight of the Quranic verse, ‘The other world is better for you than this one’. To forget the proper relation between the two worlds would itself be instrumental in bringing about disequilibrium and would be a kind of jihad in reverse. 

All of those external forms of jihad would remain incomplete and in fact contribute to an excessive externalization of human being, if they were not complemented by the greater or inner jihad which man must carry out continuously within himself for the nobility of the human state resides in the constant tension between what we appear to be and what we really are and the need to transcend ourselves throughout this journey of earthly life in order to become what we ‘are’. 

From the spiritual point of view all the ‘pillars’ of Islam can be seen as being related to jihad. The fundamental witnesses, ‘There is no divinity but Allah’ and ‘Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’, through the utterance of which a person becomes a Muslim are not only statements about the Truth as seen in the Islamic perspective but also weapons for the practice of inner jihad. The very form of the first witness (La ilaha illa’ Lla-h in Arabic) when written in Arabic calligraphy is like a bent sword with which all otherness is removed from the Supreme Reality while all that is positive in manifestation is returned to that Reality. The second witness is the blinding assertion of the powerful and majestic descent of all that constitutes in a positive manner the cosmos, man and revelation from that Supreme Reality. To invoke the two witnesses in the form of the sacred language in which they were revealed is to practice the inner jihad and to bring about awareness of who we are, from whence we come and where is our ultimate abode. 

The daily prayers (salat or namaz) which constitute the heart of the Islamic rites are again a never ending jihad which punctuate human existence in a continuous rhythm in conformity with the rhythm of the cosmos. To perform the prayers with regularity and concentration requires the constant exertion of our will and an unending battle and striving against forgetfulness, dissipation and laziness. It is itself a form of spiritual warfare. 

Likewise, the fast of Ramadan in which one wears the armour of inner purity and detachment against the passions and temptations of the outside world requires an asceticism and inner discipline which cannot come about except through an inner holy war. Nor is the hajj to the centre of the Islamic world in Mecca possible without long preparation, effort, often suffering and endurance of hardship. It requires great effort and exertion so that the Prophet could say, ‘The hajj is the most excellent of all jihads”. Like the knight in quest of the Holy Grail, the pilgrim to the house of the Beloved must engage in a spiritual warfare whose end makes all sacrifice and all hardship pale into significance, for the hajj to the House of God implies for the person who practices the inner jihad encounter with the Master of the House who also resides at the centre of that other Ka’bah which is the heart. 

Finally the giving of zakat or religious tax and khums is again a form of jihad not only in that in departing from one’s wealth man must fight against the coveteousness and greed of his carnal soul, but also in that through the payment of zakat and khums in its many forms man contributes to the establishment of economic justice in human society. Although jihad is not one of the ‘pillars of Islam’, it in a sense resides within all the other ‘pillars’. From the spiritual point of view in fact all of the ‘pillars’ can be seen in the light of an inner jihad which is essential to the life of man from the Islamic point of view and which does not oppose but complements contemplativity and the peace which result from the contemplation of the One. 

The great stations of perfection in the spiritual life can also be seen in the light of the inner jihad. To become detached from the impurities of the world in order to repose in the purity of the Divine Presence requires an intense jihad for our soul has its roots sunk deeply into the transient world which the soul of fallen man mistakes for reality. To overcome the lethargy, passivity and indifference of the soul, qualities which have become second nature to man as a result of his forgetting who he is constitutes likewise a constant jihad. To pull the reigns of the soul from dissipating itself outwardly as a result of its centrifugal tendencies and to bring it back to the centre wherein resides Divine Peace and all the beauty which the soul seeks in vain in the domain of multiplicity is again an inner jihad. To melt the hardened heart into a flowing stream of love which would embrace the whole of creation in virtue of the love for God is to perform the alchemical process of solve et coagula inwardly through a ‘work’ which is none other than an inner struggle and battle against what the soul has become in order to transform it into that which it ‘is’ and has never ceased to be if only it were to become aware of its own nature. Finally, to realize that only the Absolute is absolute and that only the Self can ultimately utter ‘I’ is to perform the supreme jihad of awakening the soul from the dream of forgetfulness and enabling it to gain the supreme principal knowledge for the sake of which it was created. The inner jihad or warfare seen spiritually and esoterically can be considered therefore as the key for the understanding of the whole spiritual process, and the path for the realization of the One which lies at the heart of the Islamic message seen in its totality. The Islamic path towards perfection can be conceived in the light of the symbolism of the greater jihad to which the Prophet of Islam, who founded this path on earth, himself referred. 

In the same way that with every breath the principle of life which functions in us irrespective of our will and as long as it is willed by Him who created us, exerts itself through jihad to instill life within our whole body, at every moment in our conscious life we should seek to perform jihad in not only establishing equilibrium in the world about us but also in awakening to that Divine Reality which is the very source of our consciousness. For the spiritual man, every breath is a reminder that he should continue the inner jihad until he awakens from all dreaming and until the very rhythm of his heart echoes that primordial sacred Name by which all things were made and through which all things return to their Origin. The Prophet said, ‘Man is asleep and when he dies he awakens’. Through inner jihad the spiritual man dies in this life in order to cease all dreaming, in order to awaken to that Reality which is the origin of all realities, in order to behold that Beauty of which all earthly beauty is but a pale reflection, in order to attain that Peace which all men seek but which can in fact be found only through the inner jihad.

http://al-islam.org/al-serat/jihad-nasr.htm

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Posted: 08 July 2006 08:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Islam and the Question of Violence

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Seyyed Hossein Nasr
Vol. XIII, No. 2


Despite the presence of violence in many regions of the world ranging from Ireland to Lebanon to the Pacific Basin and involving many religions from Christianity to Hinduism, the Western world associates Islam more than any other religion with violence. The Muslim conquest of Spain, the Crusades - which were not begun by Muslims -, and the Ottoman domination of eastern Europe have provided a historical memory of Islam as being related to force and power. Moreover, the upheavals of the past few decades in the Middle East and especially movements using the name of Islam and seeking to solve problems of the Muslim world created by conditions and causes beyond the control of Muslims have only reinforced the idea prevalent in the West that in some special way Islam is related to violence.
To understand the nature of Islam and the truth about the assertion often made of Islam’s espousal of violence. it is important to analyze this question clearly remembering that the word islam itself means peace and that the history of Islam has certainly not been witness to any more violence than one finds in other civilizations, particularly that of the West. In what follows. however, it is the Islamic religion in its principles and ideals with which we are especially concerned and not particular events or facts relating to the domain of historical contingency belonging to the unfolding of Islam in the plane of human history

First of all, it is necessary to define what we mean by violence. There are several dictionary definitions that can be taken into account such as ‘swift and intense force’, ‘rough or injurious physical force or action’, ‘unjust or unwarranted exertion of force especially against the rights of others’, rough or immediate vehemence’ and finally ‘injury resulting from the distortion of meaning or fact’. If these definitions are accepted for violence, then the question can be asked as to how Islam is related to these definitions. As far as ‘force’ is concerned, Islam is not completely opposed to its use but rather seeks to control it in the light of the divine Law (al-shari’a). This world is one in which force is to be found everywhere, in nature as well as in human society, among men as well as within the human soul. The goal of Islam is to establish equilibrium amidst this field of tension of various forces. The Islamic concept of justice itself is related to equilibrium, the word for justice (al-‘adl) in Arabic being related in its etymology to the word for equilibrium (ta’adul). All force used under the guidance of the divine Law with the aim of re-establishing an equilibrium that is destroyed is accepted and in fact necessary, for it means to carry out and establish justice. Moreover, not to use force in such a way is to fall prey to other forces which cannot but increase disequilibrium and disorder and result in greater injustice. Whether the use of force in this manner is swift and intense or gentle and mild depends upon the circumstances, but in all cases force can only be used with the aim of establishing equilibrium and harmony and not for personal or sectarian reasons identified with the interests of a person or a particular group and not the whole.

By embracing the ‘world’ and not shunning the ‘kingdom of Caesar’, Islam took upon itself responsibility for the world in which force is present. But by virtue of the same fact it limited the use of force and despite all the wars, invasions, and attacks which it experienced. it was able to create an ambiance of peace and tranquillity which can still be felt whenever something of the traditional Islamic world survives. The peace that dominates the courtyard of a mosque or a garden whether it be in Marrakesh or Lahore is not accidental but the result of the control of force with the aim of establishing that harmony which results from equilibrium of forces, whether those forces be natural, social or psychological.

As for the meaning of violence as ‘rough or injurious physical force or action’, Islamic Law opposes all uses of force in this sense except in the case of war or for punishment of criminals in accordance with the shari’a. Even in war, however, the inflicting of any injury to women and children is forbidden as is the use of force against civilians. Only fighters in the field of battle must be confronted with force and it is only against them that injurious physical force can be used. Inflicting injuries outside of this context or in the punishment of criminals according to the dictum of the shari’a and the view of a judge is completely forbidden by Islamic Law.

As far as violence in the sense of the use of unjust force against the rights of others and laws is concerned, Islam stands totally opposed to it. Rights of human beings are defined by Islamic Law and are protected by this Law which embraces not only Muslims but also followers of other religions who are considered as ‘People of the Book (ahl al-kitab)’. If there is nevertheless violation in Islamic society, it is due not to the teachings of Islam but the imperfection of the human recipients of the Divine Message. Man 15 man wherever he might be and no religion can neutralize completely the imperfections inherent in the nature of fallen man. What is remarkable, however, is not that some violence in this sense of the word does exist in Muslim societies, but that despite so many negative social and economic factors aggravated by the advent of colonialism, overpopulation, industrialization, modernization resulting in cultural dislocation, and so many other elements, there is less violence as unjust exertion of force against others in most Islamic countries than in the industrialized West.

If one understands by violence ‘rough or immoderate vehemence’. then Islam is totally opposed to it. The perspective of Islam is based upon moderation and its morality is grounded upon the principle of avoiding extremes and keeping to the golden mean. Nothing is more alien to the Islamic perspective than vehemence, not to say immoderate vehemence. Even if force is to be used, it must be on the basis of moderation.

Finally, if by violence is meant ‘distortion of meaning or fact resulting in injury to others’, Islam is completely opposed to it. Islam is based on the Truth which saves and which finds its supreme expression in the testimony of the faith, la ilaha illa ‘Llah (there is no divinity but the Divine). Any distortion of truth is against the basic teachings of the religion even if no one were to be affected by it. How much more would distortion resulting in injury be against the teachings of the Qur’an and the tradition of the Prophet!

In conclusion it must be emphasized that since Islam embraces the whole of life and does not distinguish between the sacred and the secular, it concerns itself with force and power which characterize this world as such. But Islam, in controlling the use of force in the direction of creating equilibrium and harmony, limits it and opposes violence as aggression to the rights of both God and His creatures as defined by the divine Law. The goal of Islam is the attainment of peace but this peace can only be experienced through that exertion (jihad) and the use of force which begins with the disciplining of ourselves and leads to living in the world in accordance with the dicta of the shar’ia. Islam seeks to enable man to live according to his theomorphic nature and not to violate that nature. Islam condones the use of force only to the extent of opposing that centripetal tendency which turns man against what he is in his inner reality. The use of force can only be condoned in the sense of undoing the violation of our own nature and the chaos which has resulted from the loss of equilibrium. But such a use of force is not in reality violence as usually understood. It is the exertion of human will and effort in the direction of conforming to the Will of God and in surrendering the human will to the divine Will. From this surrender (taslim) comes peace (salam), hence islam, and only through this islam can the violence inbred within the nature of fallen man be controlled and the beast within subdued so that man lives at peace with himself and the world because he lives at peace with God.

http://www.al-islam.org/al-serat/IslamAndViolence.htm

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