Chaos, Genocides, homicides, abuse & oppression.

 

Where is God and why doesn’t he intervene?

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

Where is God and why doesn’t he intervene? Doesn’t he see what is happening on earth? All the wars, genocides, crimes, child abuses and catastrophic chaos, if he is the absolute power and justice, why doesn’t he prevent bad things from happening? These are questions that are not asked exclusively by atheists and anti-religion activists, as many believers of the major religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) are putting forward similar questions. Therefore, it has become a necessity to address such wonderings in an academic and logical approach, which leaves no doubt for any free mind. However, it must be noted that such questions when asked by atheists, are rhetorical questions, which are intended for weakening the notion of a divine entity rather than presenting a solution or an alternative. An atheist person has to adhere to the rules of engaging in a theological discussion, which mandates solving the notion of a divine entity within the principle and attributes presented by theologians, rather than his/her own illusions and illustration of a God or a creator.

Therefore, these types of questions require a primary believe in God and his divinity prior to addressing them, as the question itself, suggests that the person asking the question apprehends God’s powers and attributes. However, due to lack of knowledge, social and academic struggles, he/she has developed certain doubts due to enormous amount of pressure and exposure to doubtful claims and wonderings.

Therefore, based on the question, the person asking the question acknowledges God’s wisdom, power, justice and all of the attributes affiliated with his divinity and existence.

As mentioned in previous articles and similar pieces about this topic, the obligation and the power, which has been given to mankind is free-will and the ability to comprehend and acquire intellect. Therefore, the notion of God’s intervention in preventing crimes and genocides neglects the notion of granting free-will, as this power will hold no value and humans are subjected to pre-destiny, fatalism or what theologians call necessitarianism. Individuals are responsible for the actions and decisions, and they should acknowledge that each decision and action have consequences, which they should be willing to face. Therefore, when a tyrant decides to commit a genocide against a specific race or group of people, other equally share the responsibility to prevent him/her and save the lives of those facing the danger. Free-will is the strongest power that has been granted to humans, which enables them topple regimes, diminish civilizations and introduce new norms and values. Therefore, this strong and astonishing power should be utilized to prevent crimes and genocides as well.

In addition, if under any circumstances God decides to intervene and prevent a certain action, the notion of justice has been lifted from God and his attributes. This notion means, if God decides to prevent a bad or corrupt individual from committing a specific crime or action, he should do the same for all humans. (Why is God preventing X from committing a wrong action and saving him/her from facing the consequences, and he is not doing the same for Y?) Nonetheless, this type of argument also annuls the legitimacy of equality and judgement, as God shall not be able to judge humans, if he decides to intervene in certain cases and prevent atrocities from happening.

God has granted humans with free will, and although evil is also present to deceive and alter people’s intention, the righteous path has been presented and paved by messengers and prophets. Therefore, the excuse has been lifted and all humans hold equal opportunities to accept their obligations and responsibilities toward themselves and others. There is a verbum in Arabic that states, Pharaoh was asked: how did you become pharaoh (tyrant)? He responded: I found to one to stop me.

Ignorance and surrendering to corruption and deceitful tendencies itself is a crime that should be primarily prevented by the individual him/herself, as no one holds the authority and the power to force a specific position upon another. Therefore, instead of accusing God and requesting his intervention, the presence of conscience and intellect is always necessary to make the right decisions through free-will and save humanity from any sort of atrocities and calamities.

Google Raised $11 Million For Refugees, Migrants In Just 3 Days

Credit: Raad Adayleh/AP
Syrian refugee students welcome as German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel visits the classroom during his visit at the Zaatari refugee camp near Mafraq, north of Amman, Jordan.
 
Google launched a massive fundraising appeal last week for refugees and migrants, and the entire world stepped up to the challenge. The search engine pledged to match donations until the collective effort raised $11 million. It reached the goal in just two-and-a-half days.

Rita Masoud, a refugee who left Afghanistan and later became a product marketing manager at Google, launched the initiative on September 15. She wrote an open letter on the company blog, in which she requested donations for migrants and refugees and explained the donation matching process.  Google directed the money to four nonprofits: Doctors Without Borders, the International Rescue Committee, Save the Children, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

The company solicited donations through a banner on its homepage that read: “Help refugees and migrants in urgent need. Google will match your donation.”

Google is in good company with others who have launched initiatives to help refugees. Apple CEO Tim Cook stated the corporation will donate $2 for every $1 an employee gives. And last week, TripAdvisor promised to match its community’s donations up to $375,000.

Although Google has stopped matching donations, it encourages individuals to contribute directly to the nonprofit recipients, saying, “The crisis isn’t over.”

Rationality VS Emotions

 

Which one is applied in our lives?

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

Sociology scholars argue that majority of labels that are given to ideologies, individuals and groups are derived from religious doctrines, as the notion of US and THEM is present in most religious scriptures. The social conducts of societies toward others is usually ethnocentric and based on principles and norms adopted by the majority that have common and mutual ground. Therefore, labels like Evil, Good, dangerous and others are assigned or given to anyone or any group that looks, thinks and talks different. In addition, these sociologists think that even though a society might be tolerant to others, the notion of acceptance is entirely different than tolerance and co-existence, which is why co-existence has become the essence of social fabric. Therefore, subconsciously individuals tend to label others as evil, dumb, criminals and terrorist, racist, abusive or any other negative label, which they would use for their enemies or nemesis.

Max Weber’s rationalization theory, which refers to replacing traditions, values, norms, emotions and personal motivations with calculated rationales, suggests that bureaucratic ideals responsible for presenting and developing rationales for decisions. However, other sociologists have suggested that the notion of bureaucratic ideals is also used in religions to rationalize a certain label for a certain individual, group or an ideology. Although Weber argues that due to increased rationalization inherent in social life, especially in western societies, individuals are trapped ‘Iron Cage’, scholars use the same notion for religious bureaucracies. Therefore, individuals that follow a certain ideology or religion become trapped in their own created Iron Cage, which makes them unable to accept others, but at the same time mandate them to co-exist.

Rationality VS Emotions

Although it is argued that rationality through bureaucratic ideals is used for social structures and tendencies adopted by individuals, the theory of ‘affectual action’ suggests that emotions are the driving force behind all rationalities. Emotions such as hate, love, fear, loyalty, insecurity, security, dependency, independence, anger, gratitude, hope, curiosity, panic, desire, aversion, pride and frustration are the rationales behind almost all actions and decisions taken individuals.

Therefore, the following wondering as raised, which questions the argument presented by sociologists: Religions are developed and delivered to direct the emotions of individuals, as desires and emotions of people vary in kinds and levels, which means that rationalization is not necessary the primary goal of religions. In addition, if rationality was the purpose of religion, the criteria and bases for good and evil would have been formed in accordance with populist tendencies rather than the current common comprehension of good and evil. Therefore, why would religions be responsible for the social labels used by societies toward groups and individuals or ideologies?

There is a famous quote by Imam Ali, where he states: “People are the enemy of what they don’t know (or comprehend)’. Therefore, the emotions triggered by ignorance can vary from one individual to another, based on geographical position, interaction, past experience and grievances. These emotions are satisfactory to form an unorthodox and unscientific view about an individual, a group or an ideology, which can become a social norm or emotion that is adopted by a large portion of the society.

Categorization

Racial profiling, ethnic profiling and any sort of labeling used for others is a type of categorization that is used socially by individuals to distinguish themselves from anyone who is different. However, categorization is present and evident in the best idealistic case of equality and just environment.

  • Ignorance VS Knowledge
  • Powerful VS Weak
  • Ugliness VS beauty
  • Disability VS Healthy

These are some of the categories that would still exist regardless whether social acceptance is present or not, which will still be a sort of profiling a certain group within a society. Therefore, why would it be any different, when a certain ideology or a religion presents its own set of categories like believers and non-believers? Why would it be different when a religion outlines the criteria, which identifies good and evil based on its own principles?

The notion of categorization and profiling has existed since the beginning of creation, or as some theologians suggest, categorization has been a divine methodology that is used in creation. The notion of hell and heaven, the notion mortals and angels, the notion of prophets and random people are all examples of categorization outlined and created by the almighty. However, these categorizations are emotion-free, as they are bound by the will of a divine entity that cannot have emotions. In addition, the categorizations created by mankind have been affiliated with emotions and struggles since ancient days. The notion of elites and peasants, the notion of devoted and infidels, the notion of social classes (Upper Class, Middle Class, Lowe Class, Bourgeoisie, and proletariat) and many other categorizations have been catastrophic in many cases. These categories are affiliated with progress and conduct methods that are full of emotions and motivations driven by desire and need.

Conclusion

Regardless of faith and believe, the principles of good and evil are outlined by a set of criteria and guidelines that are universal. Therefore, a believer and a non-believer both agree upon the atrocity and benefit of certain actions and deeds. In addition, unorthodox action or decision that profiles and labels others or confiscate their rights and will or supresses them, doesn’t need rationality, as no rationality can be presented for such notions. Therefore, religion bounds emotions with rationality, and not the other way around.

Lethal Force

This article was first published on https://youtu.be/Jw8UG-BaPUQ.  All rights and claims on this article below to Shiawisdom.com claims no responsibility.

There is a widespread and persistent problem of unnecessary or excessive force by police in the United States. The recent deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Ezell Ford and many others have set off a long-overdue conversation on race, policing and justice as well as protests around the country.

The UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials set out strict human rights safeguards for the use of force. These standards provide that law enforcements should only use force as a last resort and that the amount of force must be proportionate to the threat encountered and designed to minimize damage and injury. Amnesty International is concerned that state laws on the use of lethal force by law enforcement officers do not comply with international standards and is calling on all states to review and revise their use of lethal force statutes in line with those standards.

WiFi, Move Over – Here Comes LiFi

This article was first published on https://shar.es/17WEH7.  All rights and claims on this article below to Shiawisdom.com claims no responsibility.

Disney researchers last week demonstrated Linux Light Bulbs — a protocol for a communications system that transmits data using visible light communication, or VLC, technology.

Linux Light Bulbs can communicate with each other and with other VLC devices — such as toys, wearables and clothing — over the Internet Protocol, according to Disney scientists Stefan Schmid, Theodoros Bourchas, Stefan Mangold and Thomas R. Gross, who coauthored a report on their work. In essence, they could establish a LiFi network that would function in much the same way that WiFi works.

Scientists have been experimenting with the concept of using light to channel data transmissions for years. Previously, however, the use of VLC supported simple communication between devices. Linux Light Bulbs may take that process one step further by enabling networking on VLC devices.

However, the throughput is critically small compared to other visible light approaches, and the technology suffers from proximity limitations, noted James T. Heires, a consultant at QSM.

“Visible light technology is viable for the Internet of Things, but only on a limited basis. This is due to the physical limitations of visible light,” he told LinuxInsider. The transmitter and receiver “must be within line of sight of each other.”

How It Works

Modern light-emitting diode light bulbs, or LEDs, can provide a foundation for networking using visible light as a communication medium, according to the Disney researchers’ report.

The team modified common commercial LED light bulbs to send and receive visible light signals. They built a system on a chip, or SoC, running the Linux operating system, a VLC controller module with the protocol software, and an additional power supply for the added electronics.

The key to the project’s success was the Linux software that enabled the signals to work with the Internet Protocol. The VLC-enabled bulbs served as broadcast beacons, which made it possible to detect the location of objects on the network and to communicate with them.

The Linux connection is at the software level. The Linux kernel driver module integrates the VLC protocol’s PHY and MAC layers into the Linux networking stack.

The VLC firmware on a separate microcontroller communicates with the Linux platform over a serial interface, the report notes.

Slow Going

The drawback is the speed. The network’s throughput maxed out at 1 kilobit per second, noted SeshuKiran, founder of XAir.

“A data rate of 1 Kpbs means a maximum 2 to 3 pixels of a good photograph can be transmitted per second,” he told LinuxInsider. “Good luck with an entire photo. For half of an HD photo to go, it will take 10.66 days.”

The technology may not be fast enough to compete with other technologies. WiFi operates around 3 GHz, and invisible light frequency starts at 3 THz. That is some 1,000 times higher than the WiFi frequency.

“Technically, it should [seem] that light has a better promise in delivering data. It is true in theory — but electronics and circuits say otherwise,” said Kiran.

Made for IoT

Developers have proposed a wide range of applications for VLC tech — using LiFi in place of anything currently supported by commercial wireless technologies such as WiFi.

“The Disney effort is fairly limited in terms of performance, but other projects suggest that broadband quality data transfer performance is possible, said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

“The real issue driving VLC is the pervasiveness of the base technology,” he told LinuxInsider.

Data transfer solutions like Wi-Fi require specialized equipment, installation and maintenance. However, light fixtures are virtually everywhere.

“Since LED represents the future of commercial lighting, developers are suggesting that VLC capabilities could easily be enabled in existing homes and businesses without the need for expensive extraneous systems,” King said.

“On the IoT side, VLC would provide an easy way of connecting endpoint sensors to back-end systems without needing to build expensive, dedicated networks,” he pointed out.

The Disney researchers developed hardware peripherals that effectively turn a consumer LED fixture into a Linux host, including a kernel module that integrates the VLC’s physical and MAC (media access control) protocol layers with a Linux-based networking stack, King added.

Trying Times

Light has been used as a communication medium for decades. Major uses include fiber optics and infrared devices, noted Heires. Auto industry researchers have been investigating the incorporation of VLC tech into headlights and sensors to allow cars to communicate with each other and thus avoid collisions.

“Applications such as using light to extend the range of a WiFi signal are within reason. However, since light does not travel through solid objects, such as walls or floors, light is impractical for applications such as TV control, sensor monitoring or security,” he said.

Brighter Ideas to Come

One of the lowest data rate uses for VLC and the IoT is for automatic door openers equipped with light sensors at the lock. Point your smartphone at the door and flash a modulated-light app with a specific code to open the door.

Such a system would work for homes, hotels, garages and more.

Another use is modulating streetlights to deliver specific information, such as alerts and emergencies, across an entire city.

It also could be used to safeguard top secret communications between coworkers.

“If a light bulb in the garden could deliver commands for the automated sprinkler, … that would be “a definite possibility,” Kiran suggested. “Data rates are not yet crucial there.”

Selective Sympathy

The current refugee crisis

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

The notion of sympathy with a certain individual, group, belief or ideology has been able to shift the outcome of many crisis and conflicts, as the global opinion mandated for affirmative action to be taken in certain cases for resolution. However, the same sense of sympathy that applies to certain cases has marginalized and sidelined many victims of horrendous crimes, which has happened or still happening. Therefore, it is witnessed that certain victims are prioritized and sanctioned due to political reasons, while other are left to suffer continuously under the blade of whomever has oppressed them. The recent case of selective sympathy was witnessed in the past weeks, during the current refugee crisis in the Middle East, when a Syrian-Kurdish child was found drowned and dead on the shore of a Turkish town. Indeed, the picture of that child was heartbreaking, as he summarized the entire afflictions and sufferings of Middle Eastern children, and the amount of violence they have been subjected to. The story of that boy was even more heartbreaking, when news headlines announced that the boy’s mother and older brother had been drowned and dead as well, during their attempt to escape the deadly war in Syria and find safety in Europe.

The global headlines made the story of that Syrian child, as the face of the refugee crisis, which placed enormous pressure on European and other western states to take imminent actions to end the crisis. Ultimately, Germany decided to take thousands of those refugees and other state like Austria, Hungary, Italy and other European states started taken lesser numbers, due to the public pressure.

Primarily, many observers believe the crisis could have been evaded, and none of the current dilemmas were supposed to even happen, as a coordinated political solution to the Syrian crisis, would have resolved the Syrian conflict. In addition, the resolution of the Syrian conflict would have been affected the Iraqi political scenario as well, as ISIS and other terrorist groups would have never been able to mobilize their fighters easily in and out of Syria.

Nevertheless, now that the crisis has happened and millions have been displaced and dislodged, it would primarily be the responsibility of other Muslim countries to host the refugees. It is not a secret that some of the richest countries in the world are in the Middle East, which raises a question that what have they not accepted any of those refugees. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who were the primary supporters of many armed rebels in Syria, have not accepted one refugee in their lands, and other states like Kuwait, UAE have acted as no crisis even exists.

However, the question that truly requires the attention of all observers and the global masses, is the intention behind creating the selective sympathy that is witnessed regarding certain cases. Even though, the Syrian child’s photo brought tears to the eyes of many people, including state leaders, it must be asked: why are other crisis and cases of child abuses and victimization are not being considered as important? For instance, wasn’t there another children in the same boat that carried the Syrian child and his family? An Iraqi woman appeared on the National TV and narrated how her two children drowned in that boat as well, as the group guide fled and let them alone before the massive sea waves.

The Iraqi scene is filled daily with pictures of students and innocent children being the victims of explosions, genocides and organized crime, as the Iraqi government stays motionless and unable to resolve the matters. The so-called Arab coalition to retrieve Political Legitimacy in Yemen, has been bombing the Yemeni cities for the past few months, and thousands have been killed in those strikes. Among the victims of those strikes are hundreds of innocent children, as one picture showed a Yemeni child losing his skin due to use of prohibited weapons. Another Yemeni child was buried under her house for days, and after few days she was found alive, but taking her out of the wreckage was not possible, therefore, she died before the rescuers, as they could not do anything for her. In addition, the current bombing campaign against Yemen is being supported by majority of western states, which contradicts the notion of acting humanly with the current refugee crisis.

The other victims, who require and deserve immediate attention are the people of Bahrain, as hundreds of women, minors and children are persecuted and victimized daily by the Bahraini regime. There are numerous footages on YouTube and other sites, where Bahraini women and children are being beaten or humiliated by the Bahraini authorities. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other organizations have recorded hundreds of similar cases in that country, which are not receiving any media coverage or public attention.

Therefore, it is a moral obligation upon any free soul to sympathize with these victims and use any possible peaceful and legit mean to help them regain their dignity and the honorable life they deserve. The notion of selective sympathy itself, is a kind of oppression against all of those, who are not being considered as victims and sympathized with.

Islamic Lunar Calendar

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

The Islamic Lunar Calendar or Hijri Calendar, which consists of 12 months in a year of 354 days, is used to date events in Muslim countries, and used by all Muslims to determine the proper days of Haj season, fasting month (Ramadhan) and other Islamic holidays and festivals. The initiation of this calendar is dated to the migration of Prophet Mohammad from Mecca to Medina, which occurred in 622 AD. The interesting fact about this calendar lays in the number of days it holds, which are 10 to 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar. In addition, determining the beginning and end of the month depends on crescent sighting, which can be different from one geographic zone to another. The issue of determining the beginning of the Hijri month usually becomes problematic prior to Ramadhan and at the end of Ramadhan, as Muslims are eager to determine the first and last day of this holy month. Therefore, majority of Muslims, whether Shia or Sunni, turn to their religious authority institutions and wait for their announcements to formally determine the start and end of Ramadhan.

In addition, due to difference in jurisprudential opinions, during some years, Muslims are divided and start the month of Ramadhan in two different days, which ultimately affects the end of the month as well. However, the necessity lays in determining the end of the months, as Muslims are prohibited from fasting on the day of (Eid), which marks the end of Ramadhan. Therefore, even if the beginning of the month is differed upon, Muslims can fast that day with an intention of doubt, which means if that day is Ramadhan, then it is considered as first day, and if it is not the first day, it will only considered as commendable deed. However, fasting beyond the last of Ramadan with the intention of Ramadhan fasting would subject Muslims to atonement.

However, to evade such a dilemma, Shia jurisprudence has presented several options, which are used as simplification methods for Muslims during the months, where crescent sighting is important and essential (Ramadhan & Haj Season).

  • The first solution for this problem is very simple, as it has been offered by the Quran itself in verse 185 of chapter 2: “So, whoever of you sights the month, he must observe fasting”. Therefore, Muslims are suggested to go for heights and do what Islam calls moon-sighting. In this case, if any Muslim sights the crescent, he/she is obligated to start fasting on the next day, regardless if rest of the Islamic world is fasting on the next or not, as his/her sighting is sufficient. Therefore, that person will do the same thing upon the 29th day of Ramadhan, and if he/she sights the moon again, that would mark the end of Ramadhan for him/her and the next day is considered Eid for that person. However, if the crescent was not sighted, that person will fast the full 30 days of Ramadhan, and after the completion of 30 days the month of finished and the first day of the following month is considered Eid.
  • The other situation that might occur is due to the impossibility of moon sighting, due to weather conditions or any other obstruction. Therefore, Islamic jurists can permitted to Muslims to travel outside their towns boundaries, as they have travel over 24 kilometers, and return to their home only once the time of noon prayer has arrived. This solution can be done after a Muslim has fasted for 29 days, and there is a possibility that the 30th day is Eid.

Islamic Lunar Calendar Months

Just like any other calendar consists of 12 months, as mentioned earlier. The Islamic Lunar year start on the first of month of Muharram and end on the 29th or 30th day of month of Dhu Al-Hijjah. The name of Islamic Lunar months are:

  • Muharram
  • Safar
  • Rabi Al-Awwal (I)
  • Rabi Al-Thani (II)
  • Jumada Al-Awwal (I)
  • Jumada Al-THani (II)
  • Rajab
  • Sha’aban
  • Ramadhan
  • Shawwal
  • Dhu Al-Qa’adah
  • Dhu Al-Hijjah

Among these 12 months, four of them are considered the forbidden months, which many historians and scholars believe those forbidden designation to these months dates back to pre-Islamic era in Arabia. The four forbidden months are: Muharram, Rajab, Dhu Al-Qa’adah and Dhu Al-Hijjad. During these months Arabs and later on Muslim refrained from wars and any sort of confrontation, as whomever broke the code was renounced by rest of the Arab tribes.

Astronomical VS Visual consideration of Lunar Calendar

The issue of using astronomical calculations or modern tools to determine the beginning and end of Islamic months has been raised and used by several Muslim jurists and scholars. According to those scholars and jurists, considering and using astronomical methods to determine the beginning and end of the lunar month is permissible, as these calculations are precise and accurate. Therefore, Muslims are able to carry their rituals precisely on the intended dates and times, as the visual sighting of the crescent is subjected to several conditions and complications.

However, the scholars rejecting astronomical methods are not denying the accuracy of calculations or the tools used, as modern science has been able to determine the birth of the crescent several days prior to its birth. Nevertheless, the rationale used by these scholars to their rejection is derived from the Quran and the traditions of Prophet Mohammad and his holy household. According to those scholars, the visual accessibility of moon sighting has been labeled by the Quran through (Naked Eye), meaning without any tools or calculation. The Quranic verse state sighting not observing, as observing can be attained through telescopes or even astronomical calculations. Therefore, those scholars reject any notion of astronomical consideration for determining the start and end of the Islamic lunar months.

Regardless, this specific issue should not be viewed as a divisive matter, as Muslims are obligated to take their religion from the experts, and those jurists and scholars are the expert, which becomes an issue of submission to the expertise of the jurist a person follows.

14 Years since 9/11: What has changed?

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

The course of modern history was changed on the morning of September 11, 2001, when four coordinated terrorist attacks by Al-Qaeda (Islamic Terrorist Group) on symbolic United States landmarks took place. The casualties of these attacks were over almost 3000 people dead and over 6000 injured, as majority of these casualties were in New York City (World Trade Towers). The US government under the administration of President George W. Bush conducted several foreign and domestic policies, which are still affecting the global politics until this day. In addition, many of the current political developments are directly linked to those events and the policies placed after the attacks by the US administration and other western states.

However, as Muslims, whether residing in the west or the Middle East, the political developments and policies have influenced our lives in various ways, which have often created many challenges and struggles. The pre-emptive approach adopted by many western states, became the rationale behind persecution and detainment of many innocent Muslims, as they were placed under surveillance and black lists, for their last names, acquaintanceship, family affiliations, profession and expertise. In addition, rendition of several Muslim US-Citizens was revealed in the headlines, where individuals were subjected to torture and excruciation in foreign countries by the request of US government. The Taliban regime in Afghanistan was toppled, as a massive western coalition invaded that country, since the base of Al-Qaeda was believed to be in Afghanistan. In 2003 the United States and Britain alongside other countries invaded Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and toppled the notorious regime of Saddam Hussein. Drone attacks were ordered by the US administration inside Muslim countries, which targeted terrorist sites and groups, which (mistakenly) took the lives of innocent people. The rise of Islamophobia in the west and public criticism of Islamic principles and teachings was witnessed in several countries, which set a precedent, as satiric cartoons of Prophet Mohammad were drawn in Europe, which created global outrage among Muslims.

In addition, some political observers believe that even the regime changes in the Middle East, known as the Arab Spring were related to 9/11, and the policies and event post those attacks, as the tendencies of western powers in the region were shifted and changed. Regardless, the events in planet earth are currently being labeled as pre-9/11 and post 9/11, which shows the impact of this date on all aspects of life upon the entire humanity in general.

Therefore, it would be beneficial to dissect the new conditions and variables within Islam as a religion and Muslims as general, which have been caused by those events. The necessity of this dissection is derived from the notion that within each misfortune or struggle, an opportunity presents itself. Therefore, as Muslims we must apprehend and acknowledge the opportunities that have presented themselves to us, post September 11, 2001.

9/11 & Islam

To be precise, the negative impact of 9/11 was majorly on Muslims and Middle Easterners, as arguing that a religion followed by over 1 billion people is entirely violent is a bogus and absurd claim. Therefore, Islam as a religion not only did not suffer from the attack of 9/11, it can be argued that Islam did benefit from the aftermath of those events. According to many statistics and polls, Islam was the leading topic searched on the Internet globally post 9/11, as many people (non-Muslims) wanted to know more about the religion, those attackers claimed to follow. The curiosity within these researches came from the fact that many Muslims had lived in the west, and many non-Muslim had interacted with them through the years, and nothing unordinary was sited. Therefore, it was essential to find out, whether all Muslims were adopting such extreme view, or whether Islam did support such extreme ideology.

In addition, the attack of 9/11 opened the eyes of many observers and non-Muslims, upon many essential and necessary details about Islam and its different ideologies, as Muslims were not viewed through the same scope. The difference between Wahhabism, mainstream Sunni Islam, Shia Islam and other Islamic sects was being distinguished and outlined, which was enabling non-Muslims to make more precise and thorough statements about Muslims and Islam. Nonetheless, the same results were mandating Muslims to outline the roots of radicalism and terrorism in their religion, which resulted in several academic works that identified the source of fundamentalism in Islam. In addition, due to the attacks by Anti-Islamic activists and groups that Islam was a violent religion and its prophet spread his religion through coercive means, Muslim were learning about the different methods to defend their religion.

9/11 & Muslims

No one can deny that 9/11 attacks were behind many limitations placed upon Muslims around the globe, where they were subjected to verbal, physical, social and even financial abuses. There are hundreds of cases in North America and Europe, where Muslims were subjected to racism, unnecessary screening, and physical abuses. Therefore, Muslims were faced with new necessities and priorities that mandated them to establish organizations and institutions that defend them and treat their struggles through legit and legal means.

In addition, the retaliation methods adopted by the United States and other western states in their war on terror, or their security measures were used by many radical scholars and preachers to revive new means of radicalization. Although these policies and measures will never justify the actions of terrorist groups, but western presence in Muslim Lands, Neo-Colonialism, Abu Gharib torture photos and other titles were used to draw new blood for radical and terrorist groups.

Therefore, Muslims were mandated to more active in various methods to defend their religion on two fronts. The first front was before the external attacks on Islam and its prophet, which even pushed many second generation Muslims to enter universities and higher education institutions to study social sciences. Therefore, we have witnessed many more Muslim students in Political science departments, journalism, criminology, sociology and security agencies. These development helped the Muslim communities in west to develop modern means and methods to defend themselves and secure their freedoms and rights.

The second front was among Muslims themselves, as Muslims were mandated to challenge radicalism within their own circles. Many Islamic centers and institutions were reviewing their policies and sermons to ensure they promote the peacefulness of Islam and reject any notion of fundamentalism. In addition, if bad apples were not contained, many communities reported them to the authorities to place them under surveillance or even detain them. Nonetheless, even mainstream Muslims were more cautious about their actions and conducts in their homes and in public, as they did not want to give any implications that they have radical tendencies.

Conclusion:

It is argued by many academic scholars and observers that majority of terrorist attacks around the world, were motivated by political struggles, where Islam was used as a legitimacy cover. However, whether political policies or religious ideologies were behind those development, the aftermath of 9/11 forced Muslim to develop new means for asserting their co-existential tendencies within the societies they reside in. In addition¸ the political and religious awareness among Muslims has been dramatically increased, which helps Muslims prevent radicalization and western societies understand Muslims better.

Islam & Technology

 

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

The discussion whether science and religion are compatible has been around for decades, as some argue that autocracies have not added anything to science and technology, therefore the nature of religious fundamentals is not compatible with science. However, although this discussion still remains very active, the use and benefiting from science and technology is also the subject of many discussions among religious scholars.

Islam’s view on the notion of using modern technology and science is very similar to other religions, as it promotes the use of any modern means to simplify life for better causes and purposes. However, the difference lays in Islam’s consideration for all aspects affiliated with using technology and science, as these facilities come with various complications and twisting struggles that might challenge the faith of a believer. Therefore, Islamic jurisprudence has weighed in and presented many solutions for the proper use of technology and science, to enable Muslims take advantage of them in the best way possible, which doesn’t jeopardizes compliance with Islamic laws.

Primary purpose of Science and Technology

As majority of scientists argue, the purpose of science and technology is to serve people and make their lives simpler and more efficient, which means any negative and wrong use of science and technology was not originally intended.  However, we have witnessed that individuals and groups have taken advantage of technology and science to slaughter people, eliminate races, and endanger humanity. In addition, the same ‘peaceful’ means of technology have been used for socially-ill purposes, like pornographic sites, intra-marital affairs, brainwashing youths and individuals, hacking and cybercrimes and many other technological actions that harm the society. Therefore, Islam’s goal to interfere with use of technology and science is only for the purpose of bringing sanity, rationality, accordance, ethical conduct, respect and compliance with religious and statuary laws.

Islamic Prospect on use of Technology

Islam views the primary use of technology should be in accordance with the original purpose that was behind the creation and development of technology, which is simplification and accommodation. The notion of simplification and accommodation can be affiliated with any aspect of one’s life, which can be personal, public, religious and ideological. An individual can use technology to generate wealth and revenue through legal and legit means, provide services and information for the public, deliver and present his ideologies and religious values and principle to others. Therefore, for instance something like internet can be used for legit on-line business, public information site or it can be used for cyber financial scams and preaching hate and violence.

The role of religion is to identify the threats and dangers of technology and outlining them to believers to prevent them from ever using technology in a way that makes them legally and jurisprudentially responsible. Islam does not place a limit on using technological means, as far as the use of such methods is for legit and legal purposes, especially if such a notion is used for delivering and presenting the true essence of Islam and its peaceful message. However, once technology is used for personal desires that demolish the characteristics of human being and his/her dignity, Islam intervenes and prohibits such use. Once technology is used to spread hateful and violent ideologies, Islam suggests using the same technology to present the opposite ideology and promote peace and tranquility. Once technology is used for generating illegitimate wealth, Islam intervenes and says the wealth generated through such method is Haram and unlawful. Once technology is used breaching people’s privacy through hacking and infiltration, Islam weighs in and states, individual privacy and personal affairs are not be shared in public, and any harm that might occur from such action should be indemnified and compensated.

However, some might argue that the mentioned laws and Islamic principles about use of technology have been addressed through statuary legal avenues, and nothing new is presented. Nonetheless, it should not be forgotten that Islamic principles and jurisprudential law have laid the ground work for these modern methods centuries ago, which means majority of these Islamic laws are extracted and derived from principles that are over centuries old. In addition, Islamic jurisprudence has presented answers and basic ground work for some of the most sophisticated scientific works in the recent years as well. Cloning, Telecommunication, surveillance, stem cell research, residence in space and other planets, property and ownership in space and other planets, natural resources gathering methods, genetic alteration and many other modern technological and scientific discoveries and advancements are subjected to Islamic laws and jurisprudence. Therefore, any Muslim is able to take advantage of these astonishing superiorities and advancements, if he/she comply with the principles and laws outlined by Islamic jurisprudence.

Ali Ibn Yaqtin: Humanity illustrated

 

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

The Haj season is once again upon us, where millions of Muslims travel to Mecca and Medina to perform the Haj rituals, which is a mandatory obligation upon each Muslim at least once in a lifetime, if he/she becomes physically & financially capable. However, over the years the true meaning of Haj had been altered by many distractions and desires, which eliminate the beauty of this spiritual journey that many people pay thousands of dollars for. It is believed that once a person completes the rituals of Haj, he/she become free of sins or according to some narrations, like the day he was born. However, we witness this privilege does not deter many of the pilgrims from repeating the same wrongdoings over and over again. Many individuals travel to Mecca and Medina for commercial purposes to buy cheaper products, which they can sell at higher prices in their countries. Others use the Haj journey as a social exposure to serve their personal image in the public, and meanwhile they commit some of the most horrendous sins and crimes against other Muslims. However, there are many Muslims, who try to make their Haj experience a life-changing experience, where their entire conducts, actions, deeds, desires and priorities are changed. Nevertheless, the Haj journey of one specific man in history marks the true purpose of this holy journey, which placed him as one of the most honorable men in history.

Ali Ibn Yaqtin was one of the pupils of Imam Al-Sadiq and a loyal follower of him, who was known to be among the most pious and humble men during those times. It is narrated that once the season of Haj had arrived, Ali found out that Imam Al-Sadiq is going to Haj as well, therefore, he decided to accompany the Imam as well. He had saved up some coins for his journey for a long time, and he was counting the days to arrive in Mecca and meet with his Imam and take advantage of his time with him in Mecca.

Ali started his journey to Mecca and all he was thinking about, was performing the Haj with his Imam. During his way to Mecca, Ali met a woman who was placing a dead animal inside a bag. The scene was very unusual for Ali, as he knew that eating a dead animal was prohibited in Islam, and it did not seem like that woman had hunted that animal, since it was obvious the animal had been dead already. Ali approached the woman and said to her: Peace be upon you, O’ sister. What are you doing with this animal? She replied: I am taking this animal to my home to cook it for my children. The answer of that woman shocked Ali even more, which mandated him to ask the woman: don’t you know that eating the meat of a dead animal is (Haram) prohibited in Islam?

The woman replied: I am a widow with little children in the house, and I have no means to provide for them, therefore, I am obliged and compelled to use this dead animal for my children, as we have not eaten anything in several days. Therefore, the rule you mentioned doesn’t apply to us.

Ali was shocked, as he had never seen a person so desperate, where he/she is willingly eating the meat of a dead animal, which meant he had to make one of the biggest decisions of his life. Ali looked upon the sky and said: O’ Lord, you are well aware about my intention and how I wanted to perform Haj with the Imam of my time, but this woman is more merited to have the coins that I have saved for Haj journey.

Ali looked at the woman and said: please leave this dead animal and take these coins and use them to provide food and other necessities for your children. The woman was very happy and in disbelieve, as she could not believe that someone would donate his entire earnings to her. She thanked Ali and left, and Ali had to return to his home without ever reaching his destination.

Once the Haj rituals were over and everyone had returned to his home and family, friends and neighbors of Ali Ibn Yaqtin started coming to his house to congratulate him for his Haj journey. In addition, other pilgrims, who had already been to Mecca that year, were coming to Ali and congratulating him as well, which made Ali even more surprised. Ali was telling them that he did not go to Haj that year, and he never reached Mecca. However, they were telling Ali that they had seen him in Mecca during all the rituals, and some of them even told him, they spent time with him in certain places.

Ali was speechless and did not know how to reply to all of those people. However, Imam Al-Sadiq was back from his Haj journey as well, and believers had decided to go and visit him in his house. Once they got to the house of the Imam and met with him, they told him about Ali’s denial and how he was saying he did not perform Haj that year and he never reached Mecca. Imam Al-Sadiq replied: This year the only people, who truly performed Haj were Ali, my camel and I. However, Ali is right, and he told them the story about the woman, and how Ali donated all of his coins to her. Therefore, Allah appointed an angel resembling Ali, who performed Haj on his behalf this year.