Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Yoga and Quraan


The president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Albert Mohler, caused a stir with a recent column decrying the practice of yoga by Christians. Eleven Texans including Mike Ghouse responds to the Texas faith panel. http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2010/10/texas-faith-should-non-hindus.html

Here is Mike's take including a reference to the Muslim clerics in Malaysia whose stand was similar to Albert Mohler, followed by Muhammad Irtaza's references from Quraan on the subject.
Mohler can chill.

It is human to protect oneself from perceived threats to his or her way of life and Al Mohler’s take on Yoga is the classic case of deficiency in one’s faith.  When
Galileo supported the view that Sun was at the center of the universe, the church condemned it as false and contrary to scripture, thus he was forced to spend the rest of his life under house arrest. The discovery shook up the guardians of religion; it was like pulling the rug out from under their feet.  It was a loss of control rather than the perceived depletion of faith. 

Mohler seems to be threatened with the popularity of Yoga, a beautiful practice to bring composure to oneself. He is obsessed with the idea that Yoga is a bait to lure his congregation away into “a spiritual practice that threatens to transform their own spiritual lives into a `post-Christian, spiritually polyglot’ reality”, and then he asks, “Should any Christian willingly risk that?” How mistaken can one be? Yoga is not a mutually exclusive practice, nor is it a religion; it is indeed a catalyst in achieving the union of mind and body that is central to all spirituality.

A similar call was made in Malaysia a year ago, the Muslim clerics called Yoga was Hinduizing their faith and wanted to ban the practice of Yoga in their country, likewise, the radicals among Hindus routinely vandalize the stores that sell Valentines cards claiming that it is an invasion of their culture. The Middle Eastern nations ban display of religious symbols in public space for the fear that they may lose their flock. 

The power of faith is stronger than anything out there, even though it is an intangible possession; people have given up their lives but not their faith. Historic events like Masada, Inquisitions, Bilal, Guru Tej Bahadur and several other events of the world stand testimony to one’s commitment to faith. People should have the freedom to pursue happiness and spiritual fulfillment.  

The insecurity of self proclaimed guardians of faith is exhibited by their desire to keep a tighter leash on their followers without realizing that humans are born to be free, you cannot bind them through fatwas, but freedom. 
Should we stick to the earlier Christian belief that God gave the life and let’s not give medicine to the sick, because it has pagan or Muslim origins?

Throughout the history of mankind, men and women have sought methods and systems that can keep them from getting off the handle; that can ease them from tensions and bring peace of mind and tranquility to one. 

When you are scattered with too many things in a given moment, you take a break, have a cup of coffee, go for a walk, meditate or make a list. This act of refreshing oneself is called yoga, getting your act together, bringing your body and mind together to function well.

Yoga is neither Christian nor Hindu; it is a beautiful gift that originated in India for the benefit of mankind to function cohesively.  All individuals and nations should give and receive the good without labeling it.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker on Pluralism and Islam offering pluralistic solutions to the media and public on issues of the day. His blogs and sites are listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/ 


It is a great blessing from God that He committed in our service everything. The Quran does not exclude yoga from His blessings.  Yoga is one of Creator's wonderful creations. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that yoga can make us feel good!
[45:13] He committed in your service everything in the heavens and the earth; all from Him. These are proofs for people who reflect.

Yoga has been practiced for more than 5,000 years.  Most Westernized yoga classes focus on learning physical poses, which are called asanas. They also usually include some form of breathing technique and possibly a meditation technique as well. Some yoga classes are designed purely for relaxation. But there are styles of yoga that teach us how to move our body in new ways. Choosing one of these styles offers the greatest health benefits by enabling us to develop our flexibility, strength, and balance

[16:18] If you count GOD's blessings, you cannot possibly encompass them. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

[5:87] O you who believe, do not prohibit good things that are made lawful by GOD, and do not aggress; GOD dislikes the aggressors.

[7:32] Say, "Who prohibited the nice things GOD has created for His creatures, and the good provisions?" Say, "Such provisions are to be enjoyed in this life by those who believe. Moreover, the good provisions will be exclusively theirs on the Day of Resurrection." We thus explain the revelations for people who know.

Thank you and may God guide me,
Muhammed Irtaza

Monday, October 18, 2010

Q5:8 - Do not deviate from Justice


Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo koonoo qawwameena lillahi shuhadaa bialqisti wala yajrimannakum shanaanu qawmin AAala alla taAAdiloo iAAdiloo huwa aqrabu lilttaqwa waittaqoo Allaha inna Allaha khabeerun bima taAAmaloona
Topics discussed in this Verse:
[Allah's attributes:Aware (Well_acquainted)] [Fear of Allah] [Justice] [Kabah]

·  5:8 (Asad) O YOU who have attained to faith! Be ever steadfast in your devotion to God, bearing witness to the truth in all equity; and never let hatred of any-one [19] lead you into the sin of deviating from justice. Be just: this is closest to being God-conscious. And remain conscious of God: verily, God is aware of all that you do.

Q5:2 - Role of Muslims in the Society

It is the last sentence that has contributed to the defining the role of Muslims “ The role of Muslims is to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill for a sustainable peace in the community. http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/

Mike Ghouse
# # #

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ تُحِلُّواْ شَعَآئِرَ اللّهِ وَلاَ الشَّهْرَ الْحَرَامَ وَلاَ الْهَدْيَ وَلاَ الْقَلآئِدَ وَلا آمِّينَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلاً مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرِضْوَانًا وَإِذَا حَلَلْتُمْ فَاصْطَادُواْ وَلاَ يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ أَن صَدُّوكُمْ عَنِ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ أَن تَعْتَدُواْ وَتَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى الْبرِّ وَالتَّقْوَى وَلاَ تَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى الإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ (5:2) 
Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo la tuhilloo shaAAaira Allahi wala alshshahra alharama wala alhadya wala alqalaida wala ammeena albayta alharama yabtaghoona fadlan min rabbihim waridwanan waitha halaltum faistadoo wala yajrimannakum shanaanu qawmin an saddookum AAani almasjidi alharami an taAAtadoo wataAAawanoo AAala albirri waalttaqwa wala taAAawanoo AAala alithmi waalAAudwani waittaqoo Allaha inna Allaha shadeedu alAAiqabi

   Asad) O you who have attained to faith! Offend not against the symbols set up by God, nor against the sacred month [of pilgrimage], nor against the garlanded offerings, [4] nor against those who flock to the Inviolable Temple, seeking favour with their Sustainer and His goodly acceptance; and [only] after your pilgrimage is over [5] are you free to hunt. And never let your hatred of people who would bar you from the Inviolable House of Worship lead you into the sin of aggression: [6] but rather help one another in furthering virtue and God-consciousness, and do not help one another in furthering evil and enmity; and remain conscious of God: for, behold, God is severe in retribution!

Q5:38-40 - Crime, Punishment, do no judge

Crime, Punishment and Judgmement.

The essence of these three verses; There is a punishment for crime as a deterrant, but there is relief from punishment if one repents and then God adds, he is the one to will what happens in after life, thus suggesting do no judge.  There is consistent theme in Quraan, guiding one not to judge others, for he alone knows what is in one's heart and what is one's faith.

Mike Ghouse
# # #

Waalssariqu waalssariqatu faiqtaAAoo aydiyahuma jazaan bima kasaba nakalan mina Allahi waAllahu AAazeezun hakeemun

·  5:38 (Asad) NOW AS FOR the man who steals and the woman who steals, cut off the hand of either of them in requital for what they have wrought, as a deterrent ordained by God: [48] for God is almighty, wise. -

The extreme severity of this Qur'anic punishment can be understood only if one bears in mind the fundamental principle of Islamic Law that no duty (taklif) is ever imposed on man without his being granted a corresponding right (haqq); and the term "duty" also comprises, in this context, liability to punishment. Now, among the inalienable rights of every member of the Islamic society - Muslim and non-Muslim alike - is the right to protection (in every sense of the word) by the community as a whole.

As is evident from innumerable Qur'anic ordinances as well as the Prophet's injunctions forthcoming from authentic Traditions, every citizen is entitled to a share in the community's economic resources and, thus, to the enjoyment of social security: in other words, he or she must be assured of an equitable standard of living commensurate with the resources at the disposal of the community. For, although the Qur'an makes it clear that human life cannot be expressed in terms of physical existence alone-the ultimate values of life being spiritual in nature-the believers are not entitled to look upon spiritual truths and values as something that could be divorced from the physical and social factors of human existence. In short, Islam envisages and demands a society that provides not only for the spiritual needs of man, but for his bodily and intellectual needs as well. It follows, therefore, that-in order to be truly Islamic - a society (or state) must be so constituted that every individual, man and woman, may enjoy that minimum of material well-being and security without which there can be no human dignity, no real freedom and, in the last resort, no spiritual progress: for, there can be no real happiness and strength in a society that permits some of its members to suffer undeserved want while others have more than they need.

If the whole society suffers privations owing to circumstances beyond its control (as happened, for instance, to the Muslim community in the early days of Islam), such shared privations may become a source of spiritual strength and, through it, of future greatness. But if the available resources of a community are so unevenly distributed that certain groups within it live in affluence while the majority of the people are forced to use up all their energies in search of their daily bread, poverty becomes the 'most dangerous enemy of spiritual progress, and occasionally drives whole communities away from God-consciousness and into the arms of soul-destroying materialism. It was undoubtedly this that the Prophet had in mind when he uttered the warning words (quoted by As-Suyuti in Al-Jami' as-Saghir), "Poverty may well turn into a denial of the truth (kufr)."

Consequently, the social legislation of Islam aims at a state of affairs in which every man, woman and child has (a) enough to eat and wear, (b) an adequate home, (c) equal opportunities and facilities for education, and (d) free medical care in health and in sickness. A corollary of these rights is the right to productive and remunerative work while of working age and in good health, and a provision (by the community or the state) of adequate nourishment, shelter, etc. in cases of disability resulting from illness, widowhood, enforced unemployment, old age, or under-age. As already mentioned, the communal obligation to create such a comprehensive social security scheme has been laid down in many Qur'anic verses, and has been amplified and explained by a great number of the Prophet's commandments.

It was the second Caliph, `Umar ibn al-Khattab, who began to translate these ordinances into a concrete administrative scheme (see Ibn Sa’d , Tabaqat I1I/1, 213-217); but after his premature death, his successors had neither the vision nor the statesmanship to continue his unfinished work. It is against the background of this social security scheme envisaged by Islam that the Qur'an imposes the severe sentence of hand-cutting as a deterrent punishment for robbery. Since, under the circumstances outlined above, "temptation" cannot be admitted as a justifiable excuse, and since, in the last resort, the entire socio-economic system of Islam is based on the faith of its adherents, its balance is extremely delicate and in need of constant, strictly-enforced protection. In a community in which everyone is assured of full security and social justice, any attempt on the part of an individual to achieve an easy, unjustified gain at the expense of other members of the community must be considered an attack against the system as a whole, and must be punished as such: and, therefore, the above ordinance which lays down that the hand of the thief shall be cut off.

One must, however, always bear in mind the principle mentioned at the beginning of this note: namely, the absolute interdependence between man's rights and corresponding duties (including liability to punishment). In a community or state which neglects or is unable to provide complete social security for all its members, the temptation to enrich oneself by illegal means often becomes irresistible - and, consequently, theft cannot and should not be punished as severely as it should be punished in a state in which social security is a reality in the full sense of the word. If the society is unable to fulfil its duties with regard to every one of its members, it has no right to invoke the full sanction of criminal law (hadd) against the individual transgressor, but must confine itself to milder forms of administrative punishment. (It was in correct appreciation of this principle that the great Caliph `Umar waived the hadd of hand-cutting in a period of famine which afflicted Arabia during his reign.) To sum up, one may safely conclude that the cutting-off of a hand in punishment for theft is applicable only within the context of an already-existing, fully functioning social security scheme, and in no other circumstances.(Quran Ref: 5:38 )

Faman taba min baAAdi thulmihi waaslaha fainna Allaha yatoobu AAalayhi inna Allaha ghafoorun raheemun
Topics discussed in this Verse:
5:39 (Asad) But as for him who repents after having thus done wrong, and makes amends, [49] behold, God will accept his repentance: verily, God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace. -

Le., by restituting the stolen goods before being apprehended by the authorities (Manar VI, 382).(Quran Ref: 5:39 )

Alam taAAlam anna Allaha lahu mulku alssamawati waalardi yuAAaththibu man yashao wayaghfiru liman yashao waAllahu AAala kulli shayin qadeerun
Topics discussed in this Verse:
[Allah:forgives sins] [Allah:to Him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth] [Kabah]

·  5:40 (Asad) Dost thou not know that God's is the dominion over the heavens and the earth? He chastises whom He wills, and He forgives whom He wills: for God has the power to will anything. -

وَكَتَبْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ فِيهَا أَنَّ النَّفْسَ بِالنَّفْسِ وَالْعَيْنَ بِالْعَيْنِ وَالأَنفَ بِالأَنفِ وَالأُذُنَ بِالأُذُنِ وَالسِّنَّ بِالسِّنِّ وَالْجُرُوحَ قِصَاصٌ فَمَن تَصَدَّقَ بِهِ فَهُوَ كَفَّارَةٌ لَّهُ وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أنزَلَ اللّهُ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ (5:45)
Basit - Hussari - Minshawi
Wakatabna AAalayhim feeha anna alnnafsa bialnnafsi waalAAayna bialAAayni waalanfa bialanfi waalothuna bialothuni waalssinna bialssinni waaljurooha qisasun faman tasaddaqa bihi fahuwa kaffaratun lahu waman lam yahkum bima anzala Allahu faolaika humu alththalimoona
Topics discussed in this Verse:

  • 5:45 (Asad) And We ordained for them in that [Torah]: A life for a life, and an eye for an eye, and a nose for a nose, and an ear for an ear, and a tooth for a tooth, and a [similar] retribution for wounds; [61] but he who shall forgo it out of charity will atone thereby for some of his past sins. [62] And they who do not judge in accordance with what God has revealed - they, they are the evildoers! , -

  • # # #

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Quran (Koran) Conference in Dallas, an American effort to build cohesive societies

    The Conference puts a Quraan in the hands of panelists made up of Pastors, Rabbis, Pundits, Shamans, lay persons, elected officers and the public. It is to demystify the myths about Quraan and Islam. An American effort to build cohesive societies.


    Oct 10, 2010 - DALLAS, TEXAS - The Foundation for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress have announced a conference on Quraan in Dallas to be held between 3:00 PM and 6 PM on Sunday, December 5, 2010 at the Unity Church of Dallas.  

    Representing the organizations, Mike Ghouse adds, "As members of diverse family of faiths, we seek to demystify the myths and falsification of our respective faiths. It is time for all of us to gather and understand the Qur'aan, the holy book of Muslims, which has been the subject of attack by a few among us. Indeed, the conference is a positive response to negative sermons delivered from a few pulpits of America this year."

    The uniqueness of the event is highlighted by facing the "terrifying passages" of Quraan.  For the first time in history, the actual verses from Quraan will be read directly and explained by non-Muslim panelists made up of Pastors, Rabbis, Pundits, Shamans, Clergy, lay persons and elected officials who have a deep interest in bringing Americans together on common grounds.  The Muslim scholars either affirm their reading or refer to the Quraan for further understanding. It would be indeed a first hand educational experience.

    It is time now to replace the ill-will with goodwill; no American has to live in anxieties, discomfort or fear of the other. The purpose of this conference is to remove such myths in an open forum in the public and restore the cohesiveness of our society and work towards building a safe and secure America.  

    Bring your children to experience the multi-cultural costumes in a designated room for them.

    Refreshments will be served after the event.


    Please R.S.V.P. to confirmattendance@gmail.com  
    Direct your inquiries to QuraanConference@gmail.com .

    For details visit website http://www.quraanconference.com/

    Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker, writer, optimist, educator and an activist of Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam and Civil Societies. He heads the Foundation for Pluralism and World Muslim Congress and offers Pluralistic solutions to the media and the public on issues of the day.  Mike's work is reflected at three websites & twenty two Blogs listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/

    Saturday, October 9, 2010

    Quraan on Justice

    We are pleased to share the verses from Quraan on different topics, thanks to Muhammad Irtaza for compiling this group of verses on Justice.
    [3:21] Those who have rejected GOD's revelations, and killed the prophets unjustly, and killed those who advocated justice among the people, promise them a painful retribution.

    [3:161] Even the prophet cannot take more of the spoils of war than he is entitled to. Anyone who takes more than his rightful share will have to account for it on the Day of Resurrection. That is when each soul is paid for whatever it earned, without the least injustice.

    [4:2] You shall hand over to the orphans their rightful properties. Do not substitute the bad for the good, and do not consume their properties by combining them with yours. This would be a gross injustice.

    [5:8] O you who believe, you shall be absolutely equitable, and observe GOD, when you serve as witnesses. Do not be provoked by your conflicts with some people into committing injustice. You shall be absolutely equitable, for it is more righteous. You shall observe GOD. GOD is fully Cognizant of everything you do.

    [6:151] Say, "Come let me tell you what your Lord has really prohibited for you: You shall not set up idols besides Him. You shall honor your parents. You shall not kill your children from fear of poverty - we provide for you and for them. You shall not commit gross sins, obvious or hidden. You shall not kill - GOD has made life sacred - except in the course of justice. These are His commandments to you, that you may understand."

    Mike Ghouse comment: When the conversation is about Idol, in this instance, it could mean invoking one to take the resposnbility for his/her actions and not produce his/her own version of God to get away from being just. An Idol here could mean excuse.

    [7:29] Say, "My Lord advocates justice, and to stand devoted to Him alone at every place of worship. You shall devote your worship absolutely to Him alone. Just as He initiated you, you will ultimately go back to Him."
    [16:90] GOD advocates justice, charity, and regarding the relatives. And He forbids evil, vice, and transgression. He enlightens you, that you may take heed.

    [17:33] You shall not kill any person - for GOD has made life sacred - except in the course of justice. If one is killed unjustly, then we give his heir authority to enforce justice. Thus, he shall not exceed the limits in avenging the murder; he will be helped.
    [22:60] It is decreed that if one avenges an injustice that was inflicted upon him, equitably, then he is persecuted because of this, GOD will surely support him. GOD is Pardoner, Forgiving.

    [25:68] They never implore beside GOD any other god, nor do they kill anyone - for GOD has made life sacred - except in the course of justice. Nor do they commit adultery. Those who commit these offenses will have to pay.

    [42:39] When gross injustice befalls them, they stand up for their rights.
    [42:40] Although the just requital for an injustice is an equivalent retribution, those who pardon and maintain righteousness are rewarded by GOD. He does not love the unjust.
    [42:41] Certainly, those who stand up for their rights, when injustice befalls them, are not committing any error.
    [49:6] O you who believe, if a wicked person brings any news to you, you shall first investigate, lest you commit injustice towards some people, out of ignorance, then become sorry and remorseful for what you have done.
    [49:9] If two groups of believers fought with each other, you shall reconcile them. If one group aggresses against the other, you shall fight the aggressing group until they submit to GOD's command. Once they submit, you shall reconcile the two groups equitably. You shall maintain justice; GOD loves those who are just.

    Mike Ghouse comment; What is God's command here? It is either to forgive or reconcile for God likes those who forgive and repent.
    [55:9] You shall establish justice; do not violate the law.

    [57:25] We sent our messengers supported by clear proofs, and we sent down to them the scripture and the law, that the people may uphold justice. And we sent down the iron, wherein there is strength, and many benefits for the people. All this in order for GOD to distinguish those who would support Him and His messengers, on faith. GOD is Powerful, Almighty.