intellectual property rights: This blogger firmly believes in intellectual and other property rights. Links have been given to the material including images and maps used from outside sources. The blogger requests pointing out any material that have escaped this policy.
Today: consumption kills eco-systems; fraud, greed, grand larceny and theft bring down world's finances; deceit, infidelity and instant gratification destroy families; murders and wars have left us without peace or stability. On top we have droughts, earthquakes, floods, storms, tsunamis … has the world gone mad! Submit now to Allah before it is too late - to the One and Only God, the Creator, Lord and Sustainer of the universe, Unique in His Person and Actions, without any blemish, weakness or relatives. Follow the Sunnah of Muhammad (the last Messenger and Prophet - upon whom be the peace and blessings of Allah), and join those who will be the really successful ones.

see end of page for buttoned useful links

Friday, December 30, 2005

sisters and daughters for sale?

Are our sisters and daughters for sale? When will the horrors of dowry and bride-burning end?, asks Himendra Thakur June 1999:

Doesn't the love of one's country include love for one's countrymen? Or is it merely a fashionable thing, patriotism merely to find pride in something but not to actually strive towards a better nation? A country is her people. Years ago, Rabindranath Tagore summed it up as: Desh mrinmoy noi, desh chinmoy The country is not a chunk of earth: it is a saga of consciousness. Without the conscience of our people, this consciousness will fade. We must rouse ourselves to the daily indignities that surround us. There are a thousand places and ways we can begin loving the people of our nation, and I offer but one here. It is a journey that each of us can begin quite easily, because the victims of this malaise - dowry - are within reach, they are our mothers, sisters, friends, neighbors. People who we normally think of as "one of our own", who we ought to protect with our lives if necessary, and yet the normal course of things has fallen so low that indignities heaped on our women do little more than make us look away.

Geographical distribution of dowry deaths, 1994Source: National Crimes Bureau, Home Ministry

Andhra Pradesh - 396
Arunachal Pradesh - 0
Assam - 13
Bihar - 296
Goa - 0
Gujarat - 105
Haryana - 191
Himachal Pradesh - 4
Jammu & Kashmir - 1
Karnataka - 170
Kerala - 9
Madhya Pradesh - 354
Maharashtra - 519
Manipur - 0
Meghalaya - 0
Mizoram - 0
Nagaland - 2
Orissa - 169
Punjab - 117
Rajasthan - 298
Sikkim - 0
Tamilnadu - 83
Tripura - 6
Uttar Pradesh - 1977
West Bengal - 349
Andaman & Nicobar - 1
Chandigarh - 3
Dadra & Nagar Haveli - 0
Daman & Diu - 0
Delhi - 132
Lakshadweep - 0
Pondicherry - 4
Total - 5199

Let us begin, then, with the people whose suffering we have even ceased to notice, let alone empathize with. Let us begin with the women around us, those whose marriage through dowry we regard as normal when in fact it is apalling. Countless brides in India are constantly under harassment in their matrimonial homes because their fathers have fallen behind in the payment of endless dowry installments, or the dowry she did bring to her husband is regarded as too meagre.

Imagine the plight of a young woman, newly wed into an unfamiliar situation, and surrounded by those she has only just met, who regard her as a means to an end, little more than a device by which to enrich themselves. She knows only too well that a bride may be killed for lack of dowry ... she too must have heard the same stories we've all heard ... but she does not know what to do. She may have overheard her in-laws, even her own husband, talk casually about harassing her, and sometimes contemplate even killing her! the kind of fear that instills in a person is beyond our ability to comprehend. It isn't even fear, it is terror.

The cruelest aspect of this menace is the role that brides' parents play in perpetuating it. My inquiry at the Dowry Cell of New Delhi Police Department revealed that most of the parents of the bride do not want to take their daughters back. There is considerable social stigma in India against those parents who shelter a married daughter back in their family. In most of the cases, parents persuade the daughter to go back to her husband's home, that is considered to be the highest form of behavior one can learn from the old scriptures.

The alternative for the scared bride is to go to one of those government shelters. However, these shelters are controlled by unscrupulous bureaucrats and their politician bosses who are accused of taking full advantage of the helpless condition of the victims who come to the shelters. The reputation and working condition of most of the shelters are so horrible that a bride will prefer to die at the hands of her in-laws than to move one of those "shelters".
So, she stays in the house of her in-laws, resigned to her fate. Then, one evening, when she is working in the kitchen, someone throws a pail of kerosene on her, and someone else throws a burning match, and she turns into a ball of flames. Can she save herself by taking off her clothes ? There is no time. Petroleum products like kerosene or gasoline work very fast, aided by her own body heat. Once that splinter is thrown, there is no more chance of life.

Perhaps this sort of recital is gruesome, and we look away. We imagine that it cannot happen to anyone we know, that our education and money has raised us above these village truths. But that isn't so - we merely glamorize the slavery we perpetuate, and pretend to endow our daughters and sisters with "gifts". These aren't dowries, we tell ourselves, this is just to help her get a good start. Conveniently, we overlook the fact that there's more than one person getting married, we don't ask often enough why this good start mustn't come from both sides.
With these pretexts, we dismiss these as unimportant issues. And as we look away, an estimated 25,000 brides are killed or maimed every year in India over dowry disputes. Intellectuals pull out their calculator and say it is less than 0.003% of India's population. They slide into research mode and throw a vast array of statistics about atrocities on women in USA, UK, Pakistan, and many other countries of the world. Foundation owners refuse to help because there are so many other problems in India like street beggars, lepers, street children, bonded laborers, etc.

continue reading article ...

So, the brides keep on burning. Except, when she burns, the "problem" is one hundred percent hers, not 0.003%. She is NOT suffering from economic exploitation like bonded labor or economic deprivation like poverty : she is instead suffering from a very complex psychological set up in the minds of most of the people, the apathy of our times, and the stench of our unwillingness to eradicate dowry.

Many intellectuals do not like to talk about this subject. They open their speech with a presentation how India is doing very good in other fields like computers, space technology, etc., as if achievements in these fields can be used as excuses to burn the brides. A nation that trades in its people, sells its daughters into ready bondage, what words can describe these horrors? What kind of progress teaches us to ignore these problems, to pretend that these can never come past our doors?

One day, our daughters too will pass into slavery, and the jewel in our eyes will lead the wretched life we choose to look away from. When will it be enough? Himendra Thakur June 1999

Himendra Thakur is a founding member of the International Society against Dowry and Bride Burning in India, Inc., a non-profit, tax-exempt organization in the United States. He is currently Chairman of the Society's Board of Directors and Subcommittee on Fundraising.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

keeping April Glaspie under wraps?

Is the US State Department still keeping April Glaspie under wraps?
By: Kaleem Omar on: 25.12.2005 [16:51 ] (154 reads)
It is now more than fifteen years since that fateful meeting on July 25, 1990 between then-US Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie and President Saddam Hussein that the Iraqi leader interpreted as a green light from Washington for his invasion of Kuwait eight days later.

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The US State Department, which is said to have placed a gag order on Glaspie in August 1990 prohibiting her from talking to the media about what had transpired at that meeting, is apparently still keeping her under wraps despite the fact that she retired from the American Foreign Service in 2002. .

In all the years since her meeting with Saddam Hussein, Glaspie has never spoken about it to the media, never appeared as a guest on a TV talk show, never written an article or a book about her time as the US’s top diplomat in Baghdad. The question is: why? What has she got to hide?

April Catherine Glaspie was born in Vancouver, Canada, on April 26, 1942 and graduated from Mills College in Oakland, California in 1963 and from Johns Hopkins University in 1965. In 1966 she entered the United States diplomatic service, where she became an expert on the Middle East. After postings in Kuwait, Syria and Egypt, Glaspie was appointed Ambassador to Iraq in 1989.

Glaspie’s appointment followed a period from 1980 to 1988 during which the United States had given substantial covert support to Iraq during its war with Iran.

Before 1918 Kuwait had been part of the Ottoman province of Basra, and thus in a sense part of Iraq, but Iraq had recognised its independence in 1961. After the end of the Iran-Iraq War (during the course of which Kuwait lent Iraq $ 14 billion), Iraq and Kuwait had a dispute over the exact demarcation of its border, access to waterways, the price at which Kuwaiti oil was being sold, and oil-drilling in border areas.

It was in this context that Glaspie had her first meeting with Saddam Hussein on July 25, 1990. Glaspie herself had requested the meeting, saying she had an urgent message for the Iraqi president from US President George H. W. Bush (Bush Senior). In her two years as Ambassador to Iraq, it was Glaspie’s first private audience with Saddam Hussein. It was also to be her last. A partial transcript of the meeting is as follows:

US Ambassador Glaspie:

"I have direct instructions from President Bush to improve our relations with Iraq. We have considerable sympathy for your quest for higher oil prices, the immediate cause of your confrontation with Kuwait. (pause) As you know, I have lived here for years and admire your extraordinary efforts to rebuild your country (after the Iran-Iraq war). We know you need funds. We understand that, and our opinion is that you should have the opportunity to rebuild your country. (pause) We can see that you have deployed massive numbers of troops in the south. Normally that would be none of our business, but when this happens in the context of your other threats against Kuwait, then it would be reasonable for us to be concerned. For this reason, I have received an instruction to ask you, in the spirit of friendship - not confrontation - regarding your intentions. Why are your troops massed so very close to Kuwait’s borders?"

President Saddam Hussein:

"As you know, for years now I have made every effort to reach a settlement on our dispute with Kuwait. There is to be a meeting in two days; I am prepared to give negotiations only one more brief chance. (pause) When we (the Iraqis) meet (with the Kuwaitis) and we see there is hope, then nothing will happen. But if we are unable to find a solution, then it will be natural that Iraq will not accept death."

US Ambassador Glaspie:

"What solution would be acceptable?"

President Saddam Hussein:

"If we could keep the whole of the Shatt al Arab - our strategic goal in our war with Iran - we will make concessions (to the Kuwaitis). But if we are forced to choose between keeping half of the Shatt and the whole of Iraq (which, in Iraq’s view, includes Kuwait), then we will give up all of the Shatt to defend our claims on Kuwait to keep the whole of Iraq in the shape we wish it to be. (pause) What is the United States’ opinion on this?"

US Ambassador Glaspie:

"We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary (of State James) Baker has directed me to emphasise the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960s, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America."

(Saddam smiles)

At a Washington press conference called the next day (July 26, 1990), US State Department spokesperson Margaret Tutweiler was asked by journalists:

"Has the United States sent any type of diplomatic message to the Iraqis about putting 30,000 troops on the border with Kuwait? Has there been any type of protest communicated from the United States government?"

To which Tutweiler responded

"I’m entirely unaware of any such protest."

On July 31, 1990, two days before the Iraqi invasion, John Kelly, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, testified to Congress that the

"United States has no commitment to defend Kuwait and the US has no intention of defending Kuwait if it is attacked by Iraq."

The trap had been baited very cleverly by Glaspie, reinforced by Tutweiler’s and Kelly’s supporting comments. And Saddam Hussein walked right into it, believing that the US would do nothing if his troops invaded Kuwait. On August 2, 1990, eight days after Glaspie’s meeting with the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein’s massed troops invaded Kuwait.

One month later in Baghdad, British journalists obtained the tape and transcript of the Saddam Hussein-April Glaspie meeting on July 25, 1990. In order to verify this astounding information, they attempted to confront Ms Glaspie as she was leaving the US embassy in Baghdad.

Journalist 1:

"Are the transcripts (holding them up) correct, Madam Ambassador?"

(Ambassador Glaspie does not respond)

Journalist 2:

"You knew Saddam was going to invade (Kuwait), but you didn’t warn him not to. You didn’t tell him America would defend Kuwait. You told him the opposite - that America was not associated with Kuwait."

Journalist 1:

"You encouraged this aggression - his invasion. What were you thinking?"

US Ambassador Glaspie:

"Obviously, I didn’t think, and nobody else did, that the Iraqis were going to take all of Kuwait."

Journalist 1:

"You thought he was just going to take SOME of it? But how COULD YOU?! Saddam told you that, if negotiations failed, he would give up his Iran (Shatt al Arab Waterway) goal for the ‘WHOLE of Iraq, in the shape we wish it to be.’ You KNOW that includes Kuwait, which the Iraqis have always viewed as a historic part of their country!"

(Ambassador Glaspie says nothing, pushing past the two journalists to leave)

"America green-lighted the invasion. At a minimum, you admit signalling Saddam that some aggression was okay - that the US would not oppose a grab of the al-Rumalya oil field, the disputed border strip and the Gulf Islands (including Bubiyan) - territories claimed by Iraq?"

(Again, Ambassador Glaspie says nothing as a limousine door closes behind her and the car drives off.)

Two years later, during the American television network NBC News Decision ‘92s third round of the Presidential Debate, 1992 presidential candidate Ross Perot was quoted as saying:

"...we told him (Saddam) he could take the northern part of Kuwait; and when he took the whole thing we went nuts. And if we didn’t tell him that, why won’t we even let the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee see the written instructions for Ambassador Glaspie?"

At this point he (Perot) was interrupted by then President George Bush Senior who yelled:

"I’ve got to reply to that. That gets to national honour!...That is absolutely absurd!"

Absurd or not, the fact of the matter is that after April Glaspie left Baghdad in late August 1990 and returned to Washington, she was kept under wraps by the State Department for eight months, not allowed to talk to the media, and did not surface until just before the official end of the Gulf war (April 11, 1991), when she was called to testify informally before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about her meeting with Saddam Hussein.

She said she was the victim of "deliberate deception on a major scale" and denounced the transcript of the meeting as "a fabrication" that distorted her position, though she admitted that it contained "a great deal" that was accurate.

The veteran diplomat awaited her next assignment, later taking a low-profile job at the United Nations in New York. She was later shunted off to Cape Town, South Africa, as US Consul General. Nothing has been heard of her since her retirement from the diplomatic service in 2002. It’s almost as if she has become a non-person

keeping April Glaspie under wraps?

Friday, December 23, 2005

The story of Bismillah

bismillahir Rehmaanir Raheem

He had only two dirhams in his pocket, and no other possession.

Bashar bin Harith gave the two dirhams to a perfumer and asked him to provide the best perfume he had. The fragrance was indeed refreshing to his whole existence. Bashar left the perfumery, and sat down comfortably in a corner, took out a piece of paper from his pocket, and started putting the perfume on that piece of paper with fondness, because on the piece of paper was written:

“bismillahir Rehmaanir Raheem”

The Qureish used to begin their writings with “be Ismika Allahumma”, meaning “O Allah! (we start) in your name.” The prophet (saw) had also kept to this because its meanings are in total conformity with Islamic teachings. Then the following Ayah of Surah Hood was revealed:

“wa qaalarkubu feeha bimillahi marjaha wa mursaha”

meaning: Embark on this! With the name of Allah this boat will sail as well as stop…”. This is the story of Nuh {Noah} (as). Here Allah (swt) is teaching His vice-regents to start all lawful activities with His name by saying “bismillah”, whether quietly or audibly.

After the revelation of this Ayah, the prophet [saw] started using “bismillah”. When Surah bani Israel was revealed, in which there is an Ayah with the meaning: “(It is the same) whether you call Allah or Rehman,, (because) all of His names are Elegant”, he started writing: “bismillahir Rehmaan”. After that was revealed the Ayah of Surah Niml, in which there is a reference to the letter written by Suleman {Solomon} (as) to queen Bilqees of Saba. The Quran tells us that letter started this way: “Innahu minas Suleman wa innahu bismillahir Rehmaanir Raheem” meaning: “Definitely this letter is from Sulemaan and he begins it with the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful”.

Now the prophet [saw] also started using this sentence in full. It is very comprehensive, plain and simple but sweet at the same time. The placing of words and their phonetics are such that it charms the heart. The smallest kid is easily able to say it. No other language and no other book carried such a sentence. The first person to use this phrase was Suleman (as).

Bashar bin Harith says that he was a very intolerant and prejudiced person, always ready to pick a fight. He started going somewhere from home, when he found a piece of paper lying on the road (remember, the road then were not paved or metalled like today, they were dirt tracks). On it was written this: “bismillahir Rehmaanir Raheem”. This sentence is an ayah of the Quran, and also appears at the start of every Surah, to distinguish it from the previous one. Except Surah Taubah, every Surah starts with this sentence. Respecting the words of the Quran (which is the Word of Allah) is part of our Faith. When Bashar slept that night, he was given the glad tidings that: “you made fragrant our name; We will also make your name fragrant in this world and in the Hereafter.

What we need to understand here is that “bismillah” means the way of the deen of Allah. To make it fragrant means to act according to Islam’s way. In Islam, everything depends on your action, which are determined by the intention.

In Surah alHajj, Allah says something like: “Allah does not get the meat or blood of your sacrifice, but He receives your piety.”

Abu Hureirah relates something like: “Indeed Allah Subhanahu Ta`ala does not (judge) your bodies or your faces, but He judges your hearts.

Muaad bin Jabl was being sent as governor of Yemen. Before departure, he asked the prophet [saw] to give him some words of advice. The prophet said” “Do not let your intention be corrupted. Whatever you do, do it for the sake of gaining Allah’s pleasure. Even the littlest action will suffice for you then”.

US monitors radiation in mosques!

I would say it is a very welcome service. :)

The cost of installing radiation monitors, and staffing for regular checks must be considerable.

It is very thoughtful of the US to think of radiation mnitoring for its Muslim inhabitants. It might jsut be discriminatory, and I expect that people of other faiths would bring in a lawsuit or petition the US government to provide the same service in their places of worship.

I guess another fat contract is coming in the way of Halliburton. :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

How to have your cake, and eat it, too

a very interesting piece of legislation!

bans torture, specifically.

wow! really. That is great.

However, do not as yet jump with joy for human rights, for
there is a catch.

No, the CIA is not exempted.

But there still is a catch.

"If the US does torture, the victims have no right to take
that up in court."

Brilliant, simply brilliant!

The US says it will not torture; however, neither the US
government nor any of its personnel who do so, can be
challenged in court. And this is not from the President,
but the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Brilliant, simply brilliant!

Having your cake, and being able to eat it, too!

Is this what the US is all about?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Rewards are due to intentions

Two angels got down from the sky, and started talking to each other. Abdullah bin Mubarak was sleeping near the Ka`aba, and was dreaming. He saw this in a dream.

One of the angels asked the other: "Do you know how many Hajjis have come for Hajj this year?"

Angels have limited knowledge. The angel know sspecifically what that particular angel has been told. Anything more than that, they neither know, nor can deduce. The other angel did know the figure. He said: "Six hundred thousand have come for Hajj."

Abdullah bin Mubarak had also gone for Hajj, from Merv.

The first angel asked: "How many people's Hajj has been accepted?"

The second replied: "Wonder if anyone's has been accepted at all."

Ibne Mubarak was grieved to hear that. He thought! "So many people have come from all over the world, crossing so many obstacles like rivers, jungles, mountains, suffered so many hardships, and meeting so many expenses. Would their effort be wasted. Allah (SubHana Wa Ta`ala) does not let anyone's effort go to waste".

He had thought only so far when he heard the other angel speak: "There is a cobbler in Damishq (Damascus(. His name is Ali bin alMufiq. He could not come for Hajj, but Allah (SubHana Wa Ta`ala) has accepted his niyyah (intention). Not only will he get the reward for Hajj, but because of him, all these Hajjis will also be get the reward.

The prophet is reported to have said: "Innamal a`amalu bin niyyah", meaning the rewards of actions are dependent upon their intentions. When we pray our Salaah, we make our intention (in the heart only); when we fast our Sawm, we make the intention (in our hearts only). For the ritual Sacrifice, for Zakaah, for Hajj, for all these we have to make our intention. Action is only valid with intention. Without it, the action is simply an accident. There can be no deception in intention, but there can be in action, because intention is of the heart.

Now one gets all sort of thoughts in the heart, good as well as bad. The Sahaba (Companions) were worried, so they asked: "If thoughts or intention carry reward and punishment, what will happen about those thoughts that are not carried out?" In reply Allah (SubHana Wa Ta`ala) gave us the last verses of Surah Baqarah, which mean that any doubts or temptations in the heart will not be questioned about.

When Abdullah bin Mubarak woke up, he decided he would go to Damishq and meet that cobbler. whose intention alone carries such a lot of weight. When the order to make ritual sacrifice for Allah was given, it was revealed: "wa la kin yyanaluhut taqwa minkum", meaning: nothing (meat, blood of the sacrifice) reaches Allah except your taqwa, i.e purity of intention.

On reaching Damishq, Abdullah ibne Mubarak located that cobbler and called him out. A man appeared from the house. Abdullah asked his name. He replied "Ali bin alMufiq". Ibne Mubarak asked: "What do you do for a living?" Ali replied: "I am a cobbler". Then he asked ibne Mubarak his name.

Abdullah ibne Mubarak is a very well-known scholar of Islam. He has a very high place among the Muhadditheen, very pious and very generous. What the Quraan says about the Muttaqeen, is exemplified by him.

The two started talking. Ibne Mubarak asked Ali to tell him about himself. Ali said "For thirty years I have lived in the hope of performing the Hajj. This year I had been able save enough to go for Hajj, but Allah (SubHana Wa Ta`ala) did not will it, so I couldn't make my intention translate into action.

Abdulah ibne Mubarak felt the purity of that cobbler's heart. Islam regards greatness not in wealth or in power, but in civility, in good manners, in goodness of heart. Abullah asked: "there must be a reason why you couldn't start on the journey?" Ali replied that yes, it was not Allah's (SubHana Wa Ta`ala) will. When Abdullah ibne Mubarak persisted in his insistense, Ali who had tried to hide his generosity, eventually told the truth.

Ali said: "Once I went to my neighbour's house. His family was just sitting down for dinner. The neighbour told me: "I am sorry I cannot invite you with us." We have been without food for three days. Today I found a dead donkey, and we have cooked his meat for a meal. It is halaal for us now, but you cannot eat it, becasue it is haraam for you."

Ali continued: "On hearing this my heart bled with tears. I got up and went home, collected the three thousand dinars I had saved for Hajj, and gave my neighbour the money. I too had to go hungry but that was to save money for Hajj, but I thought saving my neighbours' lives from hunger is more important, although I still desire to go there.

Abdullah bin Mubarak could not resist any more. He told the cobbler of his dream.

However, actions must also be in accordance with the Sunnah of the prophet (saw).

The way forward for us

Let us look at ourselves, and find what is wrong, and try to correct it. The criticism I make is not aapplicable to all of us, but to many, even a majority.

Many years ago, reading the papers, (we had printed newspapers and magazines then, no (TV), certain things were clear:

the Caliphate had declined and been abolished; the Muslim countries were colonised; and only after the world wars, did the countries become independent and that was a qualified indepenence).

I could not understand then, and I only dimly understand it now, why the Muslim countries stayed separate, and did not come together to form a Caliphate. So when Egypt and Syria came together, it was a source of joy, and when the United Arab Republic was disbanded, it was incomprehensible for me.

Earlier on in life, I thought that the Muslims had lost touch with science and technology. So, I reasoned if we turn to science, we will be able to hold our own. Science and technology are the keys to stay free.

Later on, I would find fellow Muslims saying that because five powers and Israel possessed the nuclear weapon, Muslims had no chance except to give up struggles because they did not have their own nuclear weapons.

Well, when India went nuclear, Pakistan tried and managed to develop a nuclear weapon. That somewhat ensured that India did not invade it. Beyond that, Pakistan was unable to get the Kashmir issue resolved or to provide security to Muslims in other lands.

When Afghanistan was invaded by USSR, Pakistan provided support for the refugees, and a base for the Mujahideen who drove back the USSR. But when the USSR withdrew from Afghanistan, the US put back-breaking sanctions on Pakistan, and for the first time, suicides due to hunger occurred in Pakistan.

Now, why was that? The reason was that the Pakistani elite had borrowed heavily from the IFIs (International Financial Institutions), and usurped or mismanaged the money that had come in, becoming addicted to consumer goods, without investing in production that would pay back the interest or the principal on the loans. When there was a squeeze by the IFIs on credit, Pakistan was introduced to short term, heavy interest private loans, the repayment of which became even a greater burden.

It was then that 9/11 happened, and Musharraf, struggling with an insolvent state, saw it as a chance to ditch the Talibaan, and come back in favor with the US, so as to put our finances back in controllable shape.

Our religious and political leaders have mostly condemned this about-turn, but most of them are as addicted to modern consumerism, as the other parts of our elite.

It is now understood that the "freedom" we won was in name only, and that there had already been in place a mechanism (IFIs) to keep us in bondage.

The role of the two blocks in the so-called Cold War, was also to ensure that the third world countries, (and that included the Muslim ones), stayed under control.

But ask yourself: Why did the Afghans get into a civil war after the USSR withdrew?

What is wrong with Muslim societies then?

First of all, does everyone who calls himself a Muslim understand what is meant by it, and does his life reflect that understanding?

Do we know what is meant by the declaration of the kalima? What is meant by One Deity alone?

You will find that many do not understand that One Deity means a clear understanding and internalisation of Tawheed.

What is meant by the declaration that Muhammad [saw] is the last prophet?

You will find us following many leaders, other than the prophet [saw] - all this in the name of progress, or the need of times.

What is meant by our belief in other prophets (as)? and what is meant by our belief in the old Books revealed to the prophets, and belief in the Quran?

What was the purpose behind revealing the Quran? For whom was it revealed, and how do we understand it?

Does Islam tell us what sort of society to have? Does it tell us what should be our goals in life? and what are the methods we are allowed to use?

You will find that people declare belief in the prophet [saw] and the Quran, even say prayers and keep the fast, yet they do not stop stealing or telling lies.

The structure of our societies has been feudal. The mindset of feudal society is control. Our feudal and bureaucratic leaders have limited access to schooling, to technical training, to scientific and engineering knowledge, and most of the applications of knowledge.

There is ignorance and corruption at every level. There is misunderstanding of the sharia at every level. There isn't enough investment in quality, affordable, education. There isn't enough investment in employment, and there isn't a culture of professionalism.

The prophet [saw] told us that removing small pebbles from the way is also sadaqah. It means that we are encouraged to remove obstacles from other people's paths, provided of course what they are doing is legal and moral according to Islam.

Our societies place obstacles in the paths of the common man. Our societies make it difficult for people to get their due normally.

Let us then make this rule for ourselves: If what someone is doing is legally and morally correct, if we can help, then we should do so, if we cannot, at least we should not be an obstacle.

Le us go one step further: tell others to follow this example.

I read somewhere that the prophet [saw] said: a Muslim can be anything but a liar. At least when one young man approached him with a list of his sinful ways, the prophet asked him only to give up lying.

So, let us make another rule: never to lie. And go one step further. Lead by example; before telling others to tell the truth, let us do it ourselves.

The prophet [saw] said something like: if someone gets hold of land that does not belong to him, that piece of land will be wound around his neck on judgment day. We find people taking what is not theirs, particularly land.

Let us then make this third rule for ourselves: only to take what is halaal for us, and let us show others to do the same.

Monday, December 05, 2005

sex education and parents

These links are from another blog:

muslim-kidz: Birds & Bees 101

I often post links and articles from others. Maybe I lack originality, although all my life I have faced difficulty for originality; or maybe I am just lazy. The latter is definitely true.

Islam qa: When should we teach children about removing body hair?

soundvision: 7 Tips on Talking to Kids About Homosexuality

soundvision: 12 Tips For Parents: Talking To Your Kids About Sex

islam-usa: Islamic Medicine: Sex Education For Muslim Youths And Their Parents

IoL fatwa - Sex Education From An Islamic Perspective...contribution

IoL Live Dialogue with Dr Shahid AtharOur Kids & Sex Education

Islam for today: Sex Education Acceptable In Islam

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Earthquakes and safety

kashmir earthquake

kashmir earthquake

himalaya seismic region

implications of the earthquake in himalayas

protecting the family

safety tips

The American society of the Red Cross recommendations are different but valid where US building regulations apply.

Search "Doug Copp" whose "Trangle of Safety" video has become famous, but the author has been discredited. His advice is not for the US but I do not know if the advice holds for non-US building regulations.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

they survived, but for how long?


For many, the help did not reach in time.

It is freezing cold out there - hunger and disease are taking their toll.

Amputations have been taking place in the open, without anasthesia, without proper tools, without medicine.

And the helicopters will be grounded soon.

The money for their operations has dried up.

Soon there will be no way to help.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Glory be! Christian concept of God

please feel free to suggest corrections. I wrote this piece after reading the following topic on, and when my previous sole post was removed, and I was banned, as have been other Muslims who were answering the questions in a polite way. All I had asked was why another Muslim poster had been banned.

Is Allah of the Qur`an same as the God of the Bible

What do we have
for God
in Christianity?
I will try
to summarise
what I understand

One God
but wait a minute
there are three Godheads
they are different,
yet they are One
they are separate
yet inseparable

don't call it stupid
call it incomprehensible
for Faith is amazing

One is the Father
don't call Him God yet
for He is one of three persons
Other is the Son
begotten of the Father
yet equal to Him
and both from Eternity
also eternal is the third
the Holy Ghost
together they make One
as also separately

now you can call Him God
without forgetting that
the Son is also God
the Holy Ghost is also God
yet they aren't three Gods

no matter
call it

the Father sent His Son
100 percent man
and hundred % God
wait another minute
how can that be?
hundred percent of both

don't ask
call it Faith
it is lovely
isn't it?
Faith will always
rescue you

so the Father sent His Son
His only begotten Son
what does begotten imply?
sexual intercourse
but we can't have that
this begetting did not
involve sex at all

never mind
forget the meaning
of begotten
He begot
having sex

just take it on Faith
that rescuer of all things

God is free of sexuality
at least that is common
to Islam
and Christianity

so the Father sent His Son
for what, you ask
as a prophet?
to set mankind on the straight path?
once again?
like the prophets before him?

no, silly
not as a prophet
for then it would become
almost al-Islam
the religion and the way
prescribed by God
it would become the religion
of Abraham
it wouldn't allow worship
of man
while the whole idea is
to twist the mind of mankind
so that we can worship man
as equal to God
that is why
God has no Son

and the Son is Crucified
on the Cross he exclaimed
"why has't Thou forsaken me?"
he himself is God
if he is, why does he pray
to God
he is
inseparable from God
he is
equal to the Father
yet he prays to the Father

makes sense?
doesn't matter
take it on Faith
Faith is all you need

the Son died on the Cross
Good News
for you and me
if only
we accept
that his sacrifice was
atonement for our sins
if only
we would accept
that God isn't Just
that He sacrificed
His Son
His only begotten Son
for us
(never mind the contradictions)
then we could
live a life of abandon
fornication, rape
exploitation, colonisation
murder, plunder, torture

now you understand where
colonialism comes from?
why are wars fought?
why are cities bombed?
why are babies killed?
and maimed?
why is there a Guantanamao?
and an Abu Gharaib?
and a Bagram?
and others?
why depleted Uranium shells
are rained on the land
of the weak?

for no matter what you do
if you accept
Jesus as the Son
his crucifixtion as atonement
for your sins
then Glory be
you are saved

don't call it
a fib
a story
a wishful thought

call it Faith

Glory be!

Friday, October 07, 2005

earthquake rocks Islamabad

08:50 am, earthquake lasting more than a minute jolts us. We get out. Very severe jolts. Secondary jolt follows.

After awhile we get back in. Then I go out for a survey, and see a lot of people and dust. What happened, I ask people around in the street. Margalla Tower has collapsed, they say. Not quite true, I ascertain, but some damage must have occurred.

Anyway, bring the family out again. MiL needs a walker, so she is slow. Station her on a chair outside. Everyone in the street is out. Some go towards Margalla Towers. Fire Brigade, police sirens, then a helicopter.

See people hanging a rope made of bedsheets from the top floors of Margalla Towers. It is pulled up again, and after a while lowered again, probably enlenghthened. Not enoug, the exercise continues for long.

TV announces collape of a roof in a girls school in Rawalpindi. Then the cable goes out of commission.

Helicopters continue to circle overhead. Son goes out to work. I take the other car out, see a helicopter parked in the football field next to the road. Traffic ahead is choked. I turn back.

After a very long time, Fire Brigade in evidence, trying to get people out of the Towers.



I just went out.

There is a gaping hole between the blocks of Margalla Towers. Two of the blocks (ten stories each) have collapsed totally. Extent of loss of life not yet certain, but there is widespread loss throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Heavy removing machinery is being used at Margalla collapse to remove the debris.

Son has come back from work. The Blue Area (housing Islamabad's posh office blocks) have been totally evacuated.

Damage is far worse than it seemed at first.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

duas (supplications) in Ramadan

Ramadan is for becoming Muttaqi, obtaining forgiveness of Allah, release from Hell, and gaining entry to Jannatul Firdaws

1. For the first ten days (and nights) ask Allah for forgiveness with the following dua:

اللهم اغفر وارحم و انت ارحم الراحمين

Allahummagfir warham wa anta arhamur rahimeen

O our Allah! Forgive me, and have Mercy on me, and You are Most Merciful One.

2. For the next ten days [and nights :) ] ask Allah to forgive one and accept repentance.

استغفرالله ربي من كل ذنب اذنبته واتوب اليه

astaghfirullaha Rabbi min kulli dhanbinw adhnabtahu wa atoobu ileh

O my Allah! Forgive my sins and accept my repentance.

3. For the next ten days [and nights :) ] ask Allah to save one from fire (hell).

اللهم اجرني من النار

Allahumma ajirni minanaar

O our Allah! Save me from Fire (Hell)

4. For the Lailatul Qadr, (most likely in odd numbered Ramadan nights: (21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th, 29th of Ramadan, recite this dua:

اللهم انك عفو تحب العفو فاعف عني

allahumma innaka a`fuwwun tuhibbul a`fwa fa`afu a`nnee

O our Allah! Surely You overlook (our) trespasses, and You like those who overlook (other’s trespasses), so do overlook mine.

5. And as a corollary of number 2 above, I have added this one:

اللهم اني اسءلك جنة الفردوس

Allahumma inni asalukal Jannatul Firdaws

O our Allah! I ask You for Jannatul Firdaws.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

tazkiyah, let us gain it this Ramadan

assalamu aleikum

so Ramadan is almost here.

There is still uncertainty whether all of us will be able to get it. The next moment is uncertain. I pray that we all are able to take advatage and obtain freedom from Hell, and entry into Jannatul Firdaws.

What is Ramadan for?

So that we become mutaqqun. It is that we should try to become.

try to avoid sins; at least try to do the following:

lower the gaze

stop gheebat

stop lies

make sure you eat and drink only halal

speak not just halal, but try to limit non-Quranic conversations, even if halal, to the barest minimum

and stop not just speaking, but also watching and listening to haram

no songs, no stories, no watching sports,

only the Quran, the translation of its meanings, and its tafseer

do not walk knowingly towards haram

do not touch what is haram

it will be difficult, but try to make do without TV during this month

keep your thoughts pure, and towards Allah only

Thursday, September 29, 2005

police states, irresponsible governments, uncivil societies, and selfish individuals

Many, many years ago, I looked at myself and the world around me, and thought there was too much misery and wickedness around, and that I was too ill and feeble to make a positive difference. There was no hope for mankind, and so I decided I won't marry, won't have children, and thus won't contribute to increase in misery of the world.
But I had to try to continue to live, and I had my moments of weakness, so when my mum asked me to marry a girl, I couldn't say no, especially since I had a miraculous respite from asthma, which I thought was a recoevry.
A lifetime of work and struggle has passed; my son recently got married, and I have a brand new daughter, only she is already grownup :).
I look at the world now and I see the same that I saw nearly forty years ago.
Things haven't exactly turned out as I had imagined they would. I had looked at the UK, and felt Islamic upbringing was impossible there, but I can see that many practice Islam earnestly.
I look at the loss of human rights. People continue to be abducted, detained, tortured, killed and disappear without trace.
Women and children are kidnapped, raped and sold into slavery.
Governments have abdicated their responsibilities, catering to the powerful mafias, and the poor get poorer.
Societies have become intolerant and uncivil.
Mankind has become selfish.
The planet is overburdened with irresponsible large scale exploitation.
And Nature is having its revenge.
Am I seeing the cup half empty, or has the world really gone mad, and sane voices are rare?

Indian girl's one-rupee suicide

Indian girl's one-rupee suicide

Half of India's children are malnourished, a UN report says
A 12-year-old Indian girl committed suicide after her mother told her she could not afford one rupee - two US cents - for a school meal.
Sania Khatun lived with her mother in a village north of Calcutta under a tarpaulin sheet provided by the state.
Sania normally ate nothing at school but on Friday saw classmates eating rice and asked for one rupee.
Her mother scolded her and when she returned from work found her daughter hanged from the ceiling with a sari.
"She wanted just one rupee... but her mother could not give her the money due to poverty," government official Nakul Chandran Mahato told the Reuters agency.
The mother, Jainab Bewar, is a widow who works as a maid in the village of Paraspur, 200km (125 miles) north of Calcutta.
She normally fed her daughter with food she could get from the houses she worked in.
India's Telegraph newspaper said Sania was tempted by the sight of classmates eating puffed rice and oil cakes.
Ms Bewar told the newspaper: "I did not give her the money as I did not have it. I snapped at her when she insisted on it."
She and her sons never earn more than $13 a month combined, she says.
India has seen unprecedented economic growth in recent years but many remain untouched by the improvements.
A recent UN report said half of India's children were still malnourished.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Way to the Quran - Khurram Murad

Thursday, July 21, 2005

What if Islam isn't an obstacle to democracy

disclaimer: timbuktu does not agree with everything Michael has to say.

Bernard Lewis Revisited

What if Islam isn't an obstacle to democracy in the Middle East but the secret to achieving it?

By Michael Hirsh

America's misreading of the Arab world and our current misadventure in Iraq may have really begun in 1950. That was the year a young University of London historian named Bernard Lewis visited Turkey for the first time. Lewis, who is today an imposing, white-haired sage known as the doyen of Middle Eastern studies in America (as a New York Times reviewer once called him), was then on a sabbatical. Granted access to the Imperial Ottoman archives the first Westerner allowed in Lewis recalled that he felt rather like a child turned loose in a toy shop, or like an intruder in Ali Baba's cave. But what Lewis saw happening outside his study window was just as exciting, he later wrote. There in Istanbul, in the heart of what once was a Muslim empire, a Western-style democracy was being born.
The hero of this grand transformation was Kemal Ataturk. A generation before Lewis's visit to Turkey, Ataturk (the last name, which he adopted, means father of all Turks ), had seized control of the dying Ottoman Sultanate. Intent on single-handedly shoving his country into the modern West For the people, despite the people, he memorably declared Ataturk imposed a puritanical secularism that abolished the caliphate, shuttered religious schools, and banned fezes, veils, and other icons of Islamic culture, even purging Turkish of its Arabic vocabulary. His People's Party had ruled autocratically since 1923. But in May 1950, after the passage of a new electoral law, it resoundingly lost the national elections to the nascent Democrat Party. The constitutional handover was an event without precedent in the history of the country and the region, as Lewis wrote in The Emergence of Modern Turkey, published in 1961, a year after the Turkish army first seized power. And it was Kemal Ataturk, Lewis noted at another point, who had taken the first decisive steps in the acceptance of Western civilization.

Today, that epiphany Lewis's Kemalist vision of a secularized, Westernized Arab democracy that casts off the medieval shackles of Islam and enters modernity at last remains the core of George W. Bush's faltering vision in Iraq. As his other rationales for war fall away, Bush has only democratic transformation to point to as a casus belli in order to justify one of the costliest foreign adventures in American history. And even now Bush, having handed over faux sovereignty to the Iraqis and while beating a pell-mell retreat under fire, does not want to settle for some watered-down or Islamicized version of democracy. His administration's official goal is still dictated by the Lewis Doctrine, as The Wall Street Journal called it: a Westernized polity, reconstituted and imposed from above like Kemal's Turkey, that is to become a bulwark of security for America and a model for the region.

Iraq, of course, does not seem to be heading in that direction. Quite the contrary: Iraq is passing from a secular to an increasingly radicalized and Islamicized society, and should it actually turn into a functioning polity, it is one for the present defined more by bullets than by ballots. All of which raises some important questions. What if the mistakes made in Iraq were not merely tactical missteps but stem from a fundamental misreading of the Arab mindset? What if, in other words, the doyen of Middle Eastern studies got it all wrong?

A growing number of Middle Eastern scholars who in the past have quietly stewed over Lewis's outsized influence say this is exactly what happened. To them, it is no surprise that Lewis and his acolytes in Washington botched the war on terror. In a new book, provocatively titled The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization, one of those critics, Columbia scholar Richard Bulliet, argues that Lewis has been getting his master narrative about the Islamic world wrong since his early epiphanic days in Turkey and he's still getting it wrong today.

In Cheney's bunker

Lewis's basic premise, put forward in a series of articles, talks, and bestselling books, is that the West what used to be known as Christendom is now in the last stages of a centuries-old struggle for dominance and prestige with Islamic civilization. (Lewis coined the term clash of civilizations, using it in a 1990 essay titled The Roots of Muslim Rage, and Samuel Huntington admits he picked it up from him.) Osama bin Laden, Lewis thought, must be viewed in this millennial construct as the last gasp of a losing cause, brazenly mocking the cowardice of the Crusaders. Bin Laden's view of America as a paper tiger reflects a lack of respect for American power throughout the Arab world. And if we Americans, who trace our civilizational lineage back to the Crusaders, flagged now, we would only invite future attacks. Bin Laden was, in this view, less an aberrant extremist than a mainstream expression of Muslim frustration, welling up from the anti-Western nature of Islam. I have no doubt that September 11 was the opening salvo of the final battle, Lewis told me in an interview last spring. Hence the only real answer to 9/11 was a decisive show of American strength in the Arab world; the only way forward, a Kemalist conquest of hearts and minds. And the most obvious place to seize the offensive and end the age-old struggle was in the heart of the Arab world, in Iraq.

This way of thinking had the remarkable virtue of appealing powerfully to both the hard-power enthusiasts in the administration, principally Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, who came into office thinking that the soft Clinton years had made America an easy target and who yearned to send a post-9/11 message of strength; and to neoconservatives from the first Bush administration such as Paul Wolfowitz, who were looking for excuses to complete their unfinished business with Saddam from 1991 and saw 9/11 as the ultimate refutation of the realist response to the first Gulf War. Leaving Saddam in power in '91, betraying the Shiites, and handing Kuwait back to its corrupt rulers had been classic realism: Stability was all. But it turned out that the Arab world wasn't stable, it was seething. No longer could the Arabs be an exception to the rule of post-Cold War democratic transformation, merely a global gas station. The Arabs had to change too, fundamentally, just as Lewis (and Ataturk) had said. But change had to be shoved down their throats Arab tribal culture understood only force and was too resistant to change, Lewis thought and it had to happen quickly. This, in turn, required leaving behind Islam's anti-modern obsessions.

Iraq and its poster villain, Saddam Hussein, offered a unique opportunity for achieving this transformation in one bold stroke (remember shock and awe ?) while regaining the offensive against the terrorists. So, it was no surprise that in the critical months of 2002 and 2003, while the Bush administration shunned deep thinking and banned State Department Arabists from its councils of power, Bernard Lewis was persona grata, delivering spine-stiffening lectures to Cheney over dinner in undisclosed locations. Abandoning his former scholarly caution, Lewis was among the earliest prominent voices after September 11 to press for a confrontation with Saddam, doing so in a series of op-ed pieces in The Wall Street Journal with titles like A War of Resolve and Time for Toppling. An official who sat in on some of the Lewis-Cheney discussions recalled, His view was: 'Get on with it. Don't dither.' Animated by such grandiose concepts, and like Lewis quite certain they were right, the strategists of the Bush administration in the end thought it unnecessary to prove there were operational links between Saddam and al Qaeda. These were good bureaucratic reasons for selling the war to the public, to use Wolfowitz's words, but the real links were deeper: America was taking on a sick civilization, one that it had to beat into submission. Bin Laden's supposedly broad Muslim base, and Saddam's recalcitrance to the West, were part of the same pathology.

The administration's vision of postwar Iraq was also fundamentally Lewisian, which is to say Kemalist. Paul Wolfowitz repeatedly invoked secular, democratic Turkey as a useful model for others in the Muslim world, as the deputy secretary of defense termed it in December 2002 on the eve of a trip to lay the groundwork for what he thought would be a friendly Turkey's role as a staging ground for the Iraq war. Another key Pentagon neocon and old friend of Lewis's, Harold Rhode, told associates a year ago that we need an accelerated Turkish model for Iraq, according to a source who talked with him. (Lewis dedicated a 2003 book, The Crisis of Islam, to Rhode whom I got to know when he was studying Ottoman registers, Lewis told me.) And such men thought that Ahmad Chalabi also a prot? of Lewis's might make a fine latter-day Ataturk strong, secular, pro-Western, and friendly towards Israel. L. Paul Bremer III, the former U.S. civil administrator in Iraq, was not himself a Chalabite, but he too embraced a top-down Kemalist approach to Iraq's resurrection. The role of the Islamic community, meanwhile, was consistently marginalized in the administration's planning. U.S. officials saw Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most prestigious figure in the country, as a clueless medieval relic. Even though military intelligence officers were acutely aware of Sistani's importance having gathered information on him for more than a year before the invasion Bremer and his Pentagon overseers initially sidelined the cleric, defying his calls for early elections.

Looking for love in all the wrong places

Lewis has long had detractors in the scholarly world, although his most ardent enemies have tended to be literary mavericks like the late Edward Said, the author of Orientalism, a long screed against the cavalier treatment of Islam in Western literature. And especially after 9/11, Bulliet and other mainstream Arabists who had urged a softer, more nuanced view of Islam found themselves harassed into silence. Lewisites such as Martin Kramer, author of Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America--a fierce post-9/11 attack on Bulliet and other prominent scholars such as John Woods of the University of Chicago--suggested that most academic Arabists were apologists for Islamic radicalism. But now, emboldened by the Bush administration's self-made quagmire in Iraq, the Arabists are launching a counterattack. They charge that Lewis's whole analysis missed the mark, beginning with his overarching construct, the great struggle between Islam and Christendom. These scholars argue that Lewis has slept through most of modern Arab history. Entangled in medieval texts, Lewis's view ignores too much and confusingly conflates old Ottoman with modern Arab history. He projects from the Ottoman experience onto the Middle East. But after the Ottoman Empire was disbanded, a link was severed with the rest of Arab world, says Nader Hashemi, a University of Toronto scholar who is working on another anti-Lewis book. In other words, Istanbul and the caliphate were no longer the center of things. Turkey under Ataturk went in one direction, the Arabs, who were colonized, in another. Lewis, says Hashemi, tries to interpret the problem of political development by trying to project a line back to medieval and early Islamic history. In the process, he totally ignores the impact of the British and French colonialists, and the repressive rule of many post-colonial leaders. He misses the break with the past.

At least until the Iraq war, most present-day Arabs didn't think in the stark clash-of-civilization terms Lewis prefers. Bin Laden likes to vilify Western Crusaders, but until relatively recently, he was still seen by much of the Arab establishment as a marginal figure. To most Arabs before 9/11, the Crusades were history as ancient as they are to us in the West. Modern Arab anger and frustration is, in fact, less than a hundred years old. As bin Laden knows very well, this anger is a function not of Islam's humiliation at the Treaty of Carlowitz of 1699 the sort of long-ago defeat that Lewis highlights in his bestselling What Went Wrong but of much more recent developments. These include the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement by which the British and French agreed to divvy up the Arabic-speaking countries after World War I; the subsequent creation, by the Europeans, of corrupt, kleptocratic tyrannies in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan; the endemic poverty and underdevelopment that resulted for most of the 20th century; the U.N.-imposed creation of Israel in 1948; and finally, in recent decades, American support for the bleak status quo.

Yet as Bulliet writes, over the longer reach of history, Islam and the West have been far more culturally integrated than most people realized; there is a far better case for Islamo-Christian civilization than there is for the clash of civilizations. There are two narratives here, says Fawaz Gerges, an intellectual ally of Bulliet's at Sarah Lawrence University. One is Bernard Lewis. But the other narrative is that in historical terms, there have been so many inter-alliances between world of Islam and the West. There has never been a Muslim umma, or community, except for 23 years during the time of Mohammed. Except in the theoretical minds of the jihadists, the Muslim world was always split. Many Muslim leaders even allied themselves with the Crusaders.

Today, progress in the Arab world will not come by secularizing it from above (Bulliet's chapter dealing with Chalabi is called Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places ) but by rediscovering this more tolerant Islam, which actually predates radicalism and, contra Ataturk, is an ineluctable part of Arab self-identity that must be accommodated. For centuries, Bulliet argues, comparative stability prevailed in the Islamic world not (as Lewis maintains) because of the Ottomans' success, but because Islam was playing its traditional role of constraining tyranny. The collectivity of religious scholars acted at least theoretically as a countervailing force against tyranny. You had the implicit notion that if Islam is pushed out of the public sphere, tyranny will increase, and if that happens, people will look to Islam to redress the tyranny. This began to play out during the period that Lewis hails as the modernization era of the 19th century, when Western legal structures and armies were created. What Lewis never talks about is the concomitant removal of Islam from the center of public life, the devalidation of Islamic education and Islamic law, the marginalization of Islamic scholars, Bulliet told me. Instead of modernization, what ensued was what Muslim clerics had long feared, tyranny that conforms precisely with some theories of Islamic political development, notes Bulliet. What the Arab world should have seen was not an increase in modernization so much as an increase in tyranny. By the 1960s, that prophecy was fulfilled. You had dictatorships in most of the Islamic world. Egypt's Gamel Nasser, Syria's Hafez Assad, and others came in the guise of Arab nationalists, but they were nothing more than tyrants.

Yet there was no longer a legitimate force to oppose this trend. In the place of traditional Islamic learning which had once allowed, even encouraged, science and advancement there was nothing. The old religious authorities had been hounded out of public life, back into the mosque. The Caliphate was dead; when Ataturk destroyed it in Turkey, he also removed it from the rest of the Islamic world. Into that vacuum roared a fundamentalist reaction led by brilliant but aberrant amateurs like Egypt's Sayyid Qutb, the founding philosopher of Ayman Zawahiri's brand of Islamic radicalism who was hanged by al-Nasser, and later, Osama bin Laden, who grew up infected by the Saudis' extreme version of Wahhabism. Even the creator of Wahhabism, the 18th-century thinker Mohammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, was outside the mainstream, notorious for vandalizing shrines and denounced by theologians across the Islamic world in his time for his doctrinal mediocrity and illegitimacy, as the scholar Abdelwahab Meddeb writes in another new book that rebuts Lewis, Islam and its Discontents.

Wahhabism's fast growth in the late 20th century was also a purely modern phenomenon, a function of Saudi petrodollars underwriting Wahhabist mosques and clerics throughout the Arab world (and elsewhere, including America). Indeed, the elites in Egypt and other Arab countries still tend to mock the Saudis as d?ass?Bedouins who would have stayed that way if it were not for oil. It's as if Jimmy Swaggert had come into hundreds of billions of dollars and taken over the church, one Arab official told me. The hellish culmination of this modern trend occurred in the mountains of Afghanistan in the 1980s and '90s, when extremist Wahhabism, in the person of bin Laden, was married to Qutb's Egyptian Islamism, in the person of Zawahiri, who became bin Laden's deputy.

Critics were right to see the bin Laden phenomenon as a reaction against corrupt tyrannies like Egypt's and Saudi Arabia's, and ultimately against American support for those regimes. They were wrong to conclude that it was a mainstream phenomenon welling up from the anti-modern character of Islam, or that the only immediate solution lay in Western-style democracy. It was, instead, a reaction that came out of an Islam misshapen by modern political developments, many of them emanating from Western influences, outright invasion by British, French, and Italian colonialists, and finally the U.S.-Soviet clash that helped create the mujahadeen jihad in Afghanistan.

Academic probation

Today, even as the administration's case for invading Iraq has all but collapsed, Bernard Lewis's public image has remained largely intact. While his neocon proteges fight for their reputations and their jobs, Lewis's latest book, a collection of essays called From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East, received mostly respectful reviews last spring and summer. Yet events on the ground seem to be bearing out some of the academic criticisms of Lewis made by Bulliet and others. Indeed, they suggest that what is happening is the opposite of what Lewis predicted.

The administration's invasion of Iraq seems to have given bin Laden a historic gift. It has vindicated his rhetoric describing the Americans as latter-day Crusaders and Mongols, thus luring more adherents and inviting more rage and terror acts. (The administration admitted as much last summer, when it acknowledged that its Patterns of Global Terrorism report had been 180 degrees wrong. The report, which came out last June, at first said terrorist attacks around the world were down in 2003, indicating the war on terror was being won. Following complaints from experts, the State Department later revised the report to show that attacks were at their highest level since 1982.)

The new Iraq is also looking less and less Western, and certainly less secular than it was under Saddam. In the streets of Baghdad once one of the most secular Arab capitals, women now go veiled and alcohol salesmen are beaten. The nation's most popular figures are Sistani and his radical Shiite rival, the young firebrand Moktada al-Sadr, who was permitted to escape besieged Najaf with his militia intact and is now seen as a champion of the Iraqi underclass. According to a survey commissioned by the Coalition Provisional Authority in late May, a substantial majority of Iraqis, 59 percent, want their religious communities to have a great deal of influence in selecting members of the new election commission. That's far more than those who favored tribal leaders (38 percent), political figures (31 percent), or the United Nations (36 percent). The poll also showed that Iraq's most popular political figures are religious party-affiliated leaders such as Ibrahaim Jaferi and Abdul Aziz al-Hakim. To a fascinating degree, Islam now seems to be filling precisely the role Bulliet says it used to play, as a constraint against tyranny whether the tyrant is now seen as the autocratic Americans or our man in Baghdad, interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

Bremer once promised to ban Islamic strictures on family law and women's rights, and the interim constitution that he pushed through the Governing Council in March affirms that Islam is only one of the foundations of the state. But Sistani has dismissed the constitution as a transition democracy, and Iraq's political future is now largely out of American hands (though the U.S. military may continue to play a stabilizing role in order to squelch any move toward civil war). I think the best-case scenario for Iraq is that they hold these parliamentary elections, and you get some kind of representative government dominated by religious parties, says University of Michigan scholar Juan Cole. Even Fouad Ajami, one of Lewis's longtime intellectual allies and like him an avowed Kemalist, concluded last spring in a New York Times op-ed piece: Let's face it: Iraq is not going to be America's showcase in the Arab-Muslim world We expected a fairly secular society in Iraq (I myself wrote in that vein at the time). Yet it turned out that the radical faith among the Sunnis as well as the Shiites rose to fill the void left by the collapse of the old despotism.

Turkey hunt

Today, the anti-Lewisites argue, the only hope is that a better, more benign form of Islam fights its way back in the hands of respected clerics like Sistani, overcoming the aberrant strains of the Osama bin Ladens and the Abu Mousab al-Zarqawis. Whatever emerges in Iraq and the Arab world will be, for a long time to come, Islamic. And it will remain, for a long time, anti-American, beginning with the likelihood that any new Iraqi government is going to give the boot to U.S. troops as soon as it possibly can. (That same CPA poll showed that 92 percent of Iraqis see the Americans as occupiers, not liberators, and 86 percent now want U.S. soldiers out, either immediately or after the 2005 election.) America may simply have to endure an unpleasant Islamist middle stage and Arabs may have to experience its failure, as the Iranians have before modernity finally overtakes Iraq and the Arab world. Railing against Islam as a barrier to democracy and modern progress cannot make it go away so long as tyranny is a fact of life for most Muslims, Bulliet writes. Finding ways of wedding [Islam's traditional] protective role with modern democratic and economic institutions is a challenge that has not yet been met.

No one, even Bush's Democratic critics, seems to fully comprehend this. Sens. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) have introduced legislation that would create secular alternatives to madrassas, without realizing that this won't fly in the Arab world: All one can hope for are more moderate madrassas, because Islam is still seen broadly as a legitimating force. What happens if the road to what could broadly be called democracy lies through Islamic revolution? says Woods of the University of Chicago. The best hope, some of these scholars say, is that after a generation or so, the Islamic tag in Arab religious parties becomes rather anodyne, reminiscent of what happened to Christian democratic parties in Europe.

This may already be happening slowly in Turkey, where the parliament is dominated by the majority Islamic Justice and Development Party. The JDP leader, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who was once banned from public service after reciting a poem that said the mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets, and the faithful our soldiers has shown an impressive degree of pragmatism in governing. But again, Turkey is a unique case, made so by Kemal and his secular, military-enforced coup back in the '20s. If Erdogan still secretly wants to re-Islamicize Turkey, he can only go so far in an environment in which the nation's powerful military twitches at every sign of incipient religiosity. Erdogan is also under unique pressure to secularize as Turkey bids to enter the European Union, which is not a card that moderate Arab secularists can hold up to win over their own populations.

Resolving the tension between Islam and politics will require a long, long process of change. As Bulliet writes, Christendom struggled for hundreds of years to come to terms with the role of religion in civil society. Even in America, separation of church and state was not originally a cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution, and Americans are still fighting among themselves over the issue today.

In our talk last spring, Lewis was still arguing that Iraq would follow the secular path he had laid out for it. He voiced the line that has become a favorite of Wolfowitz's, that the neocons are the most forthright champions of Arab progress, and that the Arabists of the State Department who identified with the idea of Arab exceptionalism are merely exhibitng veiled racism. This is the straight neocon party line, of course: If you deny that secular democracy is the destiny of every people, you are guilty of cultural snobbery. But somehow Lewis's disdain for Islam, with its hagiographic invocation of Ataturk, managed to creep into our conversation. Threaded throughout Lewis's thinking, despite his protests to the contrary, is a Kemalist conviction that Islam is fundamentally anti-modern. In his 1996 book The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years, for example, Lewis stresses the Koran's profession of the finality and perfection of the Muslim revelation. Even though Islamic authorities have created laws and regulations beyond the strict word of the Koran in order to deal with the needs of the moment, the making of new law, though common and widespread, was always disguised, almost furtive, and there was therefore no room for legislative councils or assemblies such as formed the starting-point of European democracy, he writes. In other words, Islam is an obstacle. The Islamic world is now at beginning of 15th century, Lewis told me. The Western world is at the beginning of the 21st century. He quickly added: That doesn't mean [the West] is more advanced, it means it's gone through more. Following that timeline, Lewis suggested that the Islamic world is today on the verge of its Reformation a necessary divorce between religion and politics that Lewis believes has been too long in coming. This view has become conventional wisdom in Washington, resonating not only with the neocons but also with the modernization theorists who have long dominated American campuses. Yet behind this view, say scholars like Bulliet, lies a fundamental rejection of Arabs' historical identity. The reason for that, Bulliet believes, resides in the inordinate influence that Lewis's historical studies of the Ottomans retain over his thinking and by his 1950 visit to Turkey. Bulliet notes that as late as 2002, in the preface to the third edition of The Emergence of Modern Turkey, Lewis talked about the incredible sense of exhilaration it felt for someone of his generation, shaped by the great war against fascism and the emerging Cold War, to see the face of the modern Middle East emerge in Turkey. As a model, Bulliet argues, Turkey was as vivid a vision for him 50 years later as it was at the time.

But again, Turkey's experience after the Ottoman empire's dissolution was no longer especially relevant to what was happening in the Arab world. Ataturk, in fact, was not only not an Arab, but his approach to modernity was also most deeply influenced by the fascism of the period (Mussolini was still a much-admired model in the 1920s). And Lewis never developed a feel for what modern Arabs were thinking, especially after he began to adopt strong pro-Israel views in the 1970s. This is a person who does not like the people he is purporting to have expertise about, says Bulliet. He doesn't respect them, he considers them to be good and worthy only to the degree they follow a Western path.

The neoconservative transformationalists of the Bush administration, though informed by far less scholarship than Lewis, seemed to adopt his dismissive attitude toward the peculiar demands of Arab and Islamic culture. And now they are paying for it. The downward spiral of the U.S. occupation into bloodshed and incompetence wasn't just a matter of too few troops or other breakdowns in planning, though those were clearly part of it. In fact, the great American transformation machine never really understood much about Arab culture, and it didn't bother to try. The occupation authorities, taking a paternalistic top-down approach, certainly did not comprehend the role of Islam, which is one reason why Bremer and Co. were so late in recognizing the power of the Sistani phenomenon. The occupation also failed because of its inability to comprehend and make use of tribal complexities, to understand how to get the garbage collected, and know who's married to who, as Woods says. Before the war, Pentagon officials, seeking to justify their low-cost approach to nation-building, liked to talk about how much more sophisticated and educated the Iraqis were than Afghans, how they would quickly resurrect their country. Those officials obviously didn't mean what they said or act on it. In the end, they couldn't bring themselves to trust the Iraqis, and the soldiers at their command rounded up thousands of hajis indiscriminately, treating one and all as potential Saddam henchmen or terrorists (as I witnessed myself when, on assignment for Newsweek, I joined U.S. troops on raids in the Sunni Triangle last January).

There remains a deeper issue: Did Lewis's misconceptions lead the Bush administration to make a terrible strategic error? Despite the horrors of 9/11, did they transform the bin Laden threat into something grander than it really was? If the show of strength in Iraq was wrong-headed, as the Lewis critics say, then Americans must contemplate the terrible idea that they squandered hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives and limbs on the wrong war. If Bernard Lewis's view of the Arab problem was in error, then America missed a chance to round up and destroy a threat al Qaeda that in reality existed only on the sick margins of the Islamic world.

It is too soon to throw all of Lewis's Kemalist ideas on the ash-heap of history. Even his academic rivals concede that much of his early scholarship is impressive; some like Michigan's Cole suggest that Lewis lost his way only in his later years when he got pulled into present-day politics, especially the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and began grafting his medieval insights onto the modern Arab mindset. And whether the ultimate cause is modern or not, the Arab world is a dysfunctional society, one that requires fundamental reform. The Arab Development Report issued in the spring of 2002 by the U.N. Development Programme, harshly laid out the failings of Arab societies. Calling them rich, but not developed, the report detailed the deficits of democracy and women's rights that have been favorite targets of the American neoconservatives. The report noted that the Arab world suffers from a lower rate of Internet connectivity than even sub-Saharan Africa, and that education is so backward and isolated that the entire Arab world translates only one-fifth of the books that Greece does. Some scholars also agree that in the longest of long runs, the ultimate vision of Lewis and the neocons will prove to be right. Perhaps in the long run, you can't Islamicize democracy, and so Islam is simply standing in the way.

Iran is the best real-world test of this hypothesis right now. A quarter century after the Khomeini revolution, Iran seems to be stuck in some indeterminate middle state. The forces of bottom-up secular democratic reform and top-down mullah control may be stalemated simply because there is no common ground whatsoever between their contending visions. That's one reason the Kemalist approach had its merits, Fouad Ajami argued in a recent appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations. I think Ataturk understood that if you fall through Islam, you fall through a trap door. And in fact, I think the journey out of Islam that Ataturk did was brilliant. And to the extent that the Muslim world now has forgotten this. . .they will pay dearly for it.

But there is no Ataturk in Iraq (though of course Chalabi, and perhaps Allawi, would still love to play that role). For now, Sistani remains the most prestigious figure in the country, the only true kingmaker. Suspicions remain in the Bush administration that Sistani's long-term goal is to get the Americans out and the Koran in in other words, to create another mullah state as in Iran. But those who know Sistani well say he is much smarter than that. Born in Iran he moved to Iraq in the early 1950s, around the time Lewis saw the light Sistani has experienced up close the failures of the Shiite mullah state next door. He and the other Shiites have also suffered the pointy end of Sunni Arab nationalism, having been oppressed under Saddam for decades, and they will never sanction a return to that. So Sistani knows the last, best alternative may be some kind of hybrid, a moderately religious, Shiite-dominated democracy, brokered and blessed by him and conceived with a nuanced federalism that will give the Kurds, Sunnis and others their due. But also a regime that, somewhat like the Iranian mullahs, uses its distinctive Islamic character, and concomitant anti-Americanism and anti-Westernism, as ideological glue. For the Americans who went hopefully to war in Iraq, that option is pretty much all that's left on the table something even Bernard Lewis may someday have to acknowledge.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Blossoms of the Qur'an - thus came the answer to the prayer

Blossoms of the Qur'an - thus came the answer to the prayer Name: SharifHssn 20/6/2005(9:8) GMT

Guidance for the God-Conscious

Alif, Laaam, Meeem,

This divine writ, let there be no doubt about it-
is meant to be a guidance for all the God-conscious,
who believe in the existence,
of that which is beyond the reach of human perception,
and are constant in prayer,
and pay out of what we have provided for them for
and who believe in what has been bestowed from on high to you, O prophet,
as well as in that which was bestowed beofre your time,
for it is they who in their innermost certain of the life to come!
It is they who follow guidance which comes from the
And it is they, they who shall attain a happy state.

(Qur'an 2:1-5)

The first chapter ends with the stanza "Guide on the
straight path, not the path who have strayed nor of those who earnt your anger." This chapter initiates by outlining the purpose of the Qur'an: "guidance for the God-conscious" both in matters of spiritual and Worldy affairs.

The "Muttaqun" - "God-Conscious" are those that are ever-
aware of God and they mould their existence in accordance to this awareness.

To believe in "ghayb" - "beyond human comprehension" is to believe that life has a more deeper and meaningful
existence beyond the realms of material existence, things that can be measured and weighed. It is to believe in God, the Angels, the Last day - day of judgement, heaven and hell.

To spend out of what God has provided for one - is to
spend both the concrete: money, gold, food and also the
abstract: knowledge, compassion, mercy. These are
mentioned in the context of God-consciousness and prayer
to highlight it as a selfless act, executed for the sake
of God.

God then claims continuity with previous traditions -
Judaism, and Christianity - it is to believe that their
prophets were true, and their revelations were true. This is the description of the believer... what then of the disbeliever?

thus came the answer to the prayer

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Surah Fatihah - The Opening

Blossoms of the Qur'an - "The Opening" Name: SharifHssn 19/6/2005(14:28) GMT

In the Name of Allah, the Infinitely Compassionate, Most Merciful.

All praise is God's,
the Sustainer of all worlds,
the Infintely Compassionate and Most Merciful,
Sovereign of the Day of Reckoning.
You alone do we worship
and you alone do we ask for help.
Guide us on the straight path;
the path of those who have recieved Your favour,
not the path of those who have earned Your wrath,
nor of those who have gone astray.

This is the first chapter of the Qur'an known as "al-fatiha" - the opening. The prophet called this chapter (surah) "the mother of the book".

It is a summary of the principles of the Qur'an. The first and foremost - highlighted in every single verse is the Divine Unity and Sovereignity. Showing that Allah is the only Power who can guide and bring success. The One to whom man is answerable on the "day of reckoning", thus comes the plea for guidance and a sense of continuity from being on the "path of those who have recieved" God's "favour."

Finally it highlights the essence of a being a "Muslim", the need for voluntary self-surrender to God for guidance and protection from misguidance. Formulated in the form of a prayer so it ought to be oft-repeated and contemplated.

Thus opens the Qur'an a prayer for guidance to the Lord of the Worlds... the response comes in the form of the rest of the Qur'an.

Monday, July 18, 2005

an open letter to Muslims

an open letter to my brothers and sisters in Islam

assalamu aleikum wa rematullahi wa barakatuh

Have you felt the agony of the Ummah?

Have you ever thought why it is that Muslims continue to be persecuted and humiliated even in their own lands.

The reasons are both internal and external.

Internally, we lost our thirst for knowledge, and with it libraries went out of fashion. We were to be the Khalifa of Allah (swt) on this Earth, and that means we were to unlock the secrets of the Universe, but we left that task to others. We were to make and keep ourselves strong, but we neglected that, too. Instead an elite took over which revelled in artificially high-sounding titles and a fancy living which had no bearing on achievement. In addition, the Muslim people became divided. First on sectarian lines, then on ethnic and linguistic ones. Of course, this was preceded by, or went hand in hand with, intolerance, injustice and torture.

Externally, our enemies, and let us be clear, despite protestations to the contrary, we do have enemies.

Internally, we have to realise that sectarian divisions have come to stay until the advent of the Mehdi. We have to [i]tolerate and even strengthen[/i] each other. The Taliban were overthrown in Afghanistan only because the US was able to recruit the Northern Alliance. Why did the Taliban take on everyone, is something that is beyond my comprehension. India was able to invade and bifurcate Pakistan because the Bengalis had become estranged from the West Pakistani elite. The US is able to be in Iraq because of the alienation of the Kurds and the Shia from the Sunnis.

The grievances of ethnic or other groups residing within our territories must be rectified, and they should be allowed to participate fully in the affairs of the state. Injustice, or perceived injustice, leads to treason.

Of course, if the message were conveyed properly and internalised, the tensions would lessen, if not altogether disappear.

We must struggle to establish the humane values taught by Islam. We must force our rulers to give up torture and arbitrary detentions. We must highlight their corruption, and their investments in the West, which are largely from funds stolen from us.

And now the external enemies: The first among these are those Jews who corrupted their own Scriptures, and then entered Christianity through Paul to change the teachings of Eisaa alehis Salaam. They knew from their own Scriptures that the last prophet [saw] will be born among the Ismaelites. Those who had killed thir own prophets, who had defied the greatest of their prophets, and who had even mocked the Almighty, would not be content. So they tried their tricks, and as predicted by the prophet [saw], the Ummah split into many sects. They are now spearheaded by Israel, the Zionist entity.

The second enemy is the Crusader enemy, who is bent upon destroying Islam and Muslims. Of late this has been re-inforced by the Fundamentalists among them, who see the establishment and strengthening of Israel as preliminary to the second coming (of Jesus).

The third is the secular irreligious trend. Since their view does not incorporate a final reckoning, their compass is lopsided only towards economics, although they will use red-herrings to divert our attention from their actual purpose (of domination and control).

All these three respect only worldly power, and they have recruited the US to be their leader. But here again, the ex-colonial powers are not idle. They want a piece of the cake, too.

And is that all?

No, watch Russia, India and China.

China controls Sinkiang, a province with a huge Muslim population, and her efforts are to keep this under its thumb. Russia and India similarly have large Muslim populations, and see how they have come together in a pact which is directed agaisnt their Muslim populations.

And the cake is control of the massive wealth in lands where the Ummah is concentrated.

What then is the way to defeat these imperialists in a new guise, who will increasingly rule by proxy, through vassals, for they have no appetite for losing their own men to liberation movements?

Western Europe, the US, and to a lesser extent, Russia, cannot take large losses in men. If the methods used are abhorrent we should not aquiese in them. However, it is true that if these result in losses of the imperialist crusaders' armymen, they will lose their appetite for their adventure. We should therefore express disapproval of the forbidden methods used to dislodge the invader and occupier armies, but we should not help these enmies of ours as long as they occupy or control (through proxy) our lands and our resources.

However, it is not necessary that enemies remain enemies. When the truth is presented, many souls will be won over to the Truth, and that is our primary aim in life: to present Islam to the non-believers. The most important reason for our misery is this neglect of dawah.

So, gear up for dawah

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

some pics of ancient places

Here are some pics taken from various sources, but for more and descriptions, please visit the original sites:


Easter Island:
Easter Island

Carnegie Exihibits

Carnegie - Easter Island Full Head

Easter Island -

Rapa-Nui-Rano-Rarako - gonzalez photo

Easter Island -

ancient Egypt

continuing the stories of nations that perished.

Of course, if you have links to good images of the pyramids, mummies, wall paintings, scripts, etc. please provide these. Thanks.

Great Mysteries of Egypt, including the Great Pyramid

The British Museum:


pyramids-msn search

The Travellers' Lounge Photogallery

History of Giza

Pyramids & a Camel

Cairo Pyramids

Pyramids - large

Red Pyramids



Model of Giza Plateau

Nabateans (Nabatu) نبط ; Petra, بطرا

The Amazing Ancients

A good website for ancient ruins:

a little (nay, a gold mine) on Nabateans:

The Nabateans
Click on what interests you, e.g. Petra

a more comprehensive index of the same site:
Subject Index to regards the ruins of Petra, Madaine Sualeh and Ubar as those of a single civilisation or people. These could easily be slightly different peoples of Ashabul Hijr, Thamud and Aad. However, the above site is a mine of information and pictures.

google search Nabateans

A walk around Petra - with enlargeable thumbnails

The complete Petra

Mansour Mousher's phto galleries - very comprehensive



murrayc_2001 - Petra

Petra by Satellite

Petra - petra pics index


Petra - angus

Gallery - Petra 3

studium biblicum franciscum

The complete Petra links

comprehensive Petra pictures (334)

the small & dangerous shiq
Al Beidha: Little Petra, shiq & all wonder

The people of Lut (as) (لوط (عليه السلام

The people of Lut (as) (لوط (عليه السلام

perished nations 13

Sodom video - must see

see the following links:""


Dead Sea Scrolls:
Dead Sea"

Dead Sea Scrolls-index"

you select the entire link above, right-click on it, then select copy from the menu that pops up, and paste on the address field in your explorer page, and then you get the Chapter on the people of Lut (as) in the book "Perished Nations" by Harun Yahya:

and these from

On the western side of the Dead Sea lie the remains of two ashen cities, one at the base of Mt. Masada, and the other at the base of Mt. Sodom. In 1989, amateur archaeologist, Ron Wyatt was driving along the road past these sites. Although he had driven along this road perhaps thirty to forty times before, this time they suddenly looked like city walls and buildings. Pulling over to investigate further, Ron found that within these cities are building-like structures, all completely composed of ash. There are rooms that one can still enter today. He found interlinking streets, ziggurats and sphinx, all enclosed in traditional city walls, complete with buttresses.

Several oxydized bronze spearheads were found and even a skeleton that had completely turned to ash was found in Sodom. The marrow was visible at the ends of each of the bones. With a molecular frequency radar generator, Ron found gold salts, the by-product of vaporized gold. Samples of the material were taken and tested which proved to be pure ash. (See II Peter 2:6). From a height, one can see that the cities are laid out in an obvious man made 'square' formation. The surrounding material is all normal brown rock. The obvious question would be if the cities were destroyed 3900 years ago, how is it that the ash has not been completely eroded away? Research showed that objects burned with sulphur leave a remaining ash heavier than the original material.

Embedded in these pure ashen remains are sulphur, or brimstone balls. Sulphur is usually found in crystalline form, but this sulphur is unique to the world as it is round, white and has the consistency of compact powder. It is usually 30-40% sulphur, whereas these sulphur balls are 95-98% pure sulphur. The impurities in the sulphur are metals that would add to the heat given off. It burns at 5000-6000 degrees Fahrenheit. It was tested at Galbraith Laboratories, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA. They said that a BTU test could not be done as it would damage their stainless steel testing chamber. Sulphur is usually only found by volcanoes, sulfide ore mineral veins, or by sedimentary rocks associated with anhydrite, gypsum, limestone and saltdomes. We know that these sulphur balls must have been burning at some time in the past, because of the presence of burn rings around them.

These cities are indeed unique. Other cities that have been destroyed by fire or by volcanoes, like Pompeii, have a layer of ash on top, but under that is the original material. Here however, we see entire cities completely turned to ash.