I read =b= wu which I have to say irritated me at first, but then I saw it was well written and indeed an important topic to discuss. I proceeded to learn that he too views Islam through the window of all the negative stereotypes that have become all too prevalent in todays society. I don't blame him for that line of thinking, since like the majority of people he is deriving his conclusions about Islam 'The religion' through the deviated actions of a number of so called Muslims that have encaptured the whole world media it would seem.

Quick note - Just for the record, I'd like to point out that a Muslim is an individual who strives their whole life to surrender their own will (i.e. their desires, compulsions etc.) as best they can to the will of God. Therefore if someone does an action that is against the Qur'an and or Sunnah (whether it be in the name of Islam or not), then that action is an act of Sin, and needless to say Un-Islamic.

Anyway to continue, I then went on to read the wu by mr100percent who very astutely answered =b= wu point for point, and who might I add is a convert to Islam himself, so on his part there is no better or greater advertisement (for want of a better word) that he can give to the goodness of this beatutiful Deen (religion).

However, =b= responded to mr100percents wu by what it seems to me, almost ignoring the essence of what mr100percent is conveying, so I'd like to further clarify on some of =b= comments with all due respect..

  • "The reality of what Islam has come to represent in the world today.."

  • The actual reality of what Islam represents remains unchanged since the beginning of Islam, but it will not be found on CNN or BBC or Al-Jazeera etc. The reality of what Islam represents is found exclusively in the Qur'an and Sunnah. If you choose not to look at the source then that choice is yours, don't blame Islam for it!?

    Actually I'd like to further expand on this point if I may, from =b='s wu it can be seen that he seems to know what the religion represents which I shall list again so there is no ambiguity -
  • Peace
  • Tolerance
  • Inclusiveness
  • Venerating women
  • self-inquisition
  • Encourages seeking knowledge
  • But he chooses not to find out why? or where these traits are derived from?, but instead overlooks them to judge the whole of Islam by the action of those people who discredit it.

    I also feel the need to again re-itterate a point that mr100percent made which is as follows - It would be wrong of us to judge Christianity by the Actions of Adolf Hitler, and it would be wrong of us to judge Judaism by the actions of Ariel Sharon and similarly it is wrong of us to judge Islam by the preachings of Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein.. However, it would be correct to judge Christianity by the Bible, and it would be correct to judge Judaism by the Torah, and similarly it is correct to judge Islam by the Qur'an.

    Now in =b='s defence I am compelled to say that, why would he want to even begin to enquire about Islam when there are many Muslims themselves who have no aspiration to even read and understand the Qur'an, let alone live by it? the only sincere response I can give to that, is to say that the Muslims that have not attempted to understand the Qur'an are losing out on something phenomenal, and to the enquisitive non-muslim, I would say that it is the only religion that I can think of that does not contradict science, even right up to the theory of the Big Bang, now doesn't that make you even a little bit curious?

    To further continue to defragment and respond to the other queries posed in =b= response -

  • "Fundamentalists who support terrorism"

  • The word Fundamentalist is used in a derogatory fashion quite alot in the response given by =b=, the above is just one I've chosen to make my point which is as follows -
    Now what does the aforementioned phrase really mean here?.. to my understanding what is being implied is that, if you are an Islamic fundamentalist then you are a terrorist, or at the very least you are someone to be feared. Now take a break here and think about what the word fundamentalist actually means (or better still go read the node, I have a wu there expressing my own opinions). I sat down one day long and hard thinking about it, but to cut a long story short and at the risk of repeating myself, I arrived at the conclusion that I would consider myself as somewhat of an Islamic Fundamentalist, but not in the way =b= would percieve me I should imagine, I'm an open-minded fundamentalist as all practicing muslims should be.

  • "Islams association with "Terrorism".."

  • I will respond to that by approximately quoting a well known hadith within Islamic teachings which says words to the effect of 'If you kill one innocent person, then it is as if you have killed the whole of humanity'. So now there's the authentic Islamic viewpoint on the matter of terrorism, it doesn't matter what anyone else say's or does because THAT is what Islam says.

  • "Oppression of women in Islam"

  • There is really nothing further from the truth.. Islam liberated women!
    Aside from the fact that mr100percent has already stated, that the majority of Muslim converts are women, I would like to further expand on this point and question, How many of today's feminists supposedly fighting against oppression and subjugation of women, would disagree that women should be viewed of as equals of men? That female infanticide for any reason, be it social or economic is evil? That in theological terms, women should be viewed as equal with men in the sight of God, and be rewarded equally for their virtues? That as wives, they are entitled to mutual consultation in the affairs of their families? That they should be allowed to possess assets and have a right to their own business and incomes? That they should be entitled to inherit from their parents, husbands and other relatives? That they should be allowed to live freely without the fear of being molested or raped? That they should be free from the danger of sexual harassment and should not be portrayed merely as sex-objects or as objects of male desires? That the honour of their bodies be protected from pornographic portrayals? That their suffering in childbirth should be recognised, appreciated and rewarded?...
    For all these basic rights and more, women of all colours creeds and social status have had to fight tooth and nail. It is only Islam that has promoted women's rights from the very outset. Islam granted them liberation from the evils of inequality, hundreds of years, before the word "liberation" became fashionable.

  • "Suicide bombings"

  • To take your own life is against Islam and one of the gravest sins, because the Qur'an teaches that a persons life is not his own to take, and it's as simple as that... regardless to what anyone else says or does. Again this is the Islamic viewpoint. Although if people wish to ignore this and view Islam through the actions of the suicide bombers then whose fault is that? I don't rightly know, but I do know Islam is not blame worthy of such occurences.

  • "The destruction of Israel"

  • Let me say the following very carefully, 'Muslims do not want the destruction of Israel' (as far as I know), although I can not deny that there is alot of animosity between Muslims and zionists, and let's not now pretend it's one sided if you please. Muslims as well as non-muslims are outraged by the manner in which the zionist regime built-up Israel, leaving in its wake the extreme oppression of the Palestinian people who are having to bear the brunt of a humanitarian crisis. But the outrage of some of the Palestinian people is being expressed in an un-Islamic manner i.e. Suicide bombings etc. All that the Muslims worldwide want, is for the Muslims and the Jews to live in Peace and harmony with each other (surely there must have been a time when they used to!?), and personally I don't care what the country is called, so long as there is equality between the two nations and one person is not seen as a lesser human being than another. Maybe that line of thinking is knaivity on my part, but I don't understand why it's just not that simple?. My neighbour is Jewish, and I am a practicing muslim, nevertheless we get on ever so well, I don't fully understand why everyone can't live with each other like that!?.. Like I said, maybe I am knaive of the political history, but if knowing that history will make me resent an otherwise decent human being, then I'm not sure if I want to know...

  • "Where is the outrage of moderate muslims.." (against extremism)

  • When the 9/11 incident occurred, the scholars of Saudi and other Islamic figure heads condemned the act using Islamic proofs from the Qur'an and Sunnah (which is how I remembered the hadith I mentioned earlier). To be extreme is to leave the boundaries of Islam.

  • "(Why don't Muslims) Recapture their traditional Islamic values from the fundamentalists? What practical and efficacious steps have they taken towards that end?"

  • Again there is that old cliched word 'Fundamentalist' that is so easy to use, but not so easy to define, so I'm going to assume =b= means terrorist whenever he says fundamentalist. So to rephrase, how can we Muslims recapture our Islamic values from the terrorists, and what steps have we taken towards that? People, come on now open your eyes, the terrorists have not ensnared or entrapped Islam. Let me make a quick analogy here, if you have a fear of heights then the only way to conquer that fear is to face it, so surely the only way to conquer Islamophobia would be to find out what it's really all about through authentic sources!

  • "Islam appears to be having a very difficult time making a successful transition to a modern secular world."

  • Unlike all other religions that I can think of, Islam is the only religion that is free from such 'Transitions', the literal source is the same now word for word as it was 1400+ years ago. I find it ironically amusing that there are people who think this, perhaps they are not aware of the fact that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world today, where as other prominent world religions are dormant or on the decline, and all this is occurring despite ALL the negative publicity. The only phrase that comes to my mind when I think about this fact is SubhanAllah! (All praise and glory belongs to God).

  • "I entreat moderate Muslims like mr100percent to stand up and be counted among those who are against terrorism, in any cause, and who won't tolerate it in their mosque."

  • I'm sorry but this bit made me laugh, is it only in Mosques that terrorism should not be tolerated? and do you think it is only people of Islamic faith that have entered into the evils of terrorism? Come on now =b=, give it some more thought, and then look a little closer to home in your 'modern secular world'.

    So finally to conclude, there are no actual paradoxes, but only percieved ones in Islam. Since Islam is all about worshipping God and turning that worship into a way of life as detailed within the Qur'an and Sunnah, no more and no less.

    Bibliography -
    ISLAM the choice of thinking women - by Ismail Adam Patel

    My response to typo's comments:

    • You're right there are some Muslims who commit horrendous deeds in the name of Islam that are totally Un-Islamic. However, it is not upto you or I to then say that they should not be regarded as Muslims if they have taken the Shahada. It is more correct Islamically to regard them as sinful Muslims, whose opinions on Islam should be disregarded. To further explain what I'm trying to say I'll use a simple analogy - Jack the Ripper acted like an animal, but does that stop him from being a Human being?, and the answer is no, although his actions were in-human, he was still one of us, as much as we might hate the fact.

    • I also agree that without a shadow of a doubt there is much ignorance within the Muslim world. But this is not a surprise since authentic hadith (contained in Sahih al-Bukhari) informs us that the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) stated:
      "This ummah will split into 73 sects, and only one of those sects will be on the path of truth, and they are the ones who will hold fast to the Qur'an and my Sunnah."
      So right from the start, Islamically it was known by the earliest Muslims, that Islam came into the world as a stranger and it will also leave the world as a stranger just before Yaum Al-Qiyamah (The day when all mankind will be bought to account for that which they did on earth).

    • Again you are correct in noting that when I speak of Islam, I speak of the religion and not the (real, supposed or self-proclaimed) followers of it. There is a Reason for this apart from what I've stated above, and that is -
      Islam creates a Muslim, but Muslims can not create Islam, and there is good and bad in ALL people...

    Lastly, thanks for your useful comments, I hope that has further clarified my own wu.