Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sheikh Hamza's Challenge


On November 20, 2010 Sheikh Hamza, Yusuf, one of the foremost Muslim leaders in the United States spoke to an audience of over a 1000 Muslims and Non-Muslims at a CAIR dinner in Sacramento In his speech he urged the Muslim community to purge itself of anti-Jewish sentiment in its Mosques and its homes. Sheikh Hamza, one of the founders of Zaytuna College, the first Muslim University in the United States does not speak as an enthusiastic supporter of the policies of the State of Israel. He is not. He does not speak as a “moderate” Muslim. He is an enthusiastic Muslim. He speaks as one whose understanding of the normative textual traditions of Islam lead him to the inevitable conclusion that the Quran leaves no room for the baseless hatred of an entire group of people. With these words “Among the followers of Moses there are those who guide in accordance with the truth, and the truth renders them righteous,” the Quran [7:159] calls on Muslims to avoid seeing Jews as a communal mass but as free-willed individuals capable of both righteousness and unrighteousness. When I heard of Sheikh Hamza’s words, I heard not only a challenge to America’s Muslims but a challenge to its Jews. Are we too prepared to purge ourselves of Anti-Muslim sentiment in our synagogues, in the boardrooms of institutions, in the classes of our schools and in our homes? I believe that peace and the perfection of this world may well depend on our conferring dignity on one another as servants of the One true G-d. Will we rise to the challenge?

11 comments:

  1. I'm not sure how well this challenge would be recieved. There is the possibility that a person as young as my self would raise up this challenge and be completely ignored or worse ostracized for it. I guess the real question is... How do we bring up the challenge to the community in a way that is acceptable to them? Maybe in a way that will cause them to think. I notice that every time Islam comes up in conversation, that this baseless hatred has swept through the community like a disease. I would dare to call it an epidemic.

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  2. I forgot to mention. The picture by Sheikh Hamza's Challange is beautiful.

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  3. "Words from the heart enter the heart."
    It is always wrongly attributed to the Talmud. Even though the Talmud didn't say it, it is nevertheless true. I believe that if little guys like you and me speak from the heart and to the best in people folks will listen. But its not ok to say nothing when we hear it.

    The picture is by Michael Green and is from an amazingly beautiful book which is an illustrated guide to Muslim prayer according the teachings of Bawa Muhayadeen.
    He also did an "Illuminated Rumi" which is sumptuous.
    I wouldn't necessarily recommend either book for their Islamic authenticity only for beauty.

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  4. Tzavi, B"SD

    There is a man in Israel today who shares your first name, though his last name is MiSinai. He picked up where others have left off & has "discovered" that a HUGE number of Arabs in Israel have Jewish origins & are most likely descendants of Jews who'd never left, but were forced to convert to Islam. They were actually rather comfortable until certain Israelis brought 'Arafat from Tunisia & Lebanese/Persian Hamas took over Gaza.

    I remember a sweet, Jewish doctor in Gaza curing the Muslim sick, showing compassion & respect. One day, in front of the horrified eyes of Muslims he'd been helping, Hamas "activists" burst into the room & axed him to death.

    You can sweetly mingle as much as you fancy, but historically the NATIONALIST Arabs have assassinated moderates.

    best,
    Ra'anan
    Jerusalem

    Oh, & "uma" is NOT related to " 'am," rather "uma" is also a Hebrew word as in the 7 umoth of Cana'an.

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  5. Ra'anan,
    I will be writing about Nationalism in the next few weeks. I suspect that observant Muslims (and I would hope observant Jews) are often horrified at the horrors that people will commit in the name of "Nationalism" as we all should be. As for "sweetly mingling." You are right that there are always risks. Ultimately the risks of staying in our own little corners is probably greater. When sweet minglers outnumber nationalist thugs the world will be a better place.
    You will need to consult your local Hebrew linguist but I believe that am, umma, and the umot are all in fact etymologically related to one another. The basic meaning is "people".
    kol tuv
    Lee

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  6. As-Salaam aleikum, wa rahmat Allahu wa barakatu!

    I am a creature of GD before I became part of a family, a tribe and a nation.

    Being such a creature, I am intrinsically tied to other creatures, through our Creator, more essentially than I am tied to any family, tribe or nation.

    I am thankful to be blessed by our Creator to have the sense to realise, recognise and empathise with a fellow creature in mutual praise for the Creator.

    As a Muslim, I praise the Creator in the way directed in the Quran. I recognise that my brother, Tzvi, also praises the Creator in the way directed in the Torah.

    It doesn’t matter how I, or Tzvi, praise Him, it’s the praising that counts. And the basic, primary step to live by His Laws is to recognise that we each, in our way, struggle towards the same destination. And that realisation is a source of great happiness for me. Shalom alekem u-verakha!

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  7. "[7:159] calls on Muslims to avoid seeing Jews as a communal mass but as free-willed individuals capable of both righteousness and unrighteousness."

    This is a refreshing line. I have found that the fundamental reason the Qur'an mentions Prophet Moses and the Israelites more than any other prophet or group of people is precisely for the reason you expressed; their stories are abundant with enriching moral lessons, embracing both the light and dark as part of a greater moral evolution towards our Creator.

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  8. Assalamu Alaikum,Every soul has to taste the death, after which no repentance s accepted, I don't understnd y ppl fyt, if sm1 whthr jew or christian or Muslim in short ppl of book r nt agree vth each other, then evry1 s responsible for thr own decision no1 can force or compel any1 to accept sm1 else's belief!! Its Allah who guides. So just pray 4 bettermnt of mankind n ppl of book rather than forcin n fytn amongself, coz good deeds n love vth mankind s nly thng tat 'll stand 4 us on day of resurrection nt hatred n anger, fi'amanillah!!

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  9. This is beautiful, dear sir. We're all in this together. Thank you and peace be upon you.

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  10. A hadith said: he who doesnt give the non muslims their rights then he isnt part of my ummah(group/followers). And story about prostitute who gave dying & thirsty dog water then able to enter paradise. And quran anyway never teaches hatred. Of course if a person only read one verse without reading previous & next verses after it then could mislead its meaning. I believe all religions are teaching good things. Just like prophet noah (peace be upon him), that his son didnt want to be in same belief. It teaches me that a pious person no matter what religion is then tend to be loving, patience, forgiving, sincere, honest. It needs true strength to be like that. The more closer to God then the more one realize her weakness & dont dare to judge others. The more i study & decide to be practising muslim then the more respect i have for all human, & other creatures. Mr lee has been introducing me the beauty of his religion. Sometimes i wish his family is living in same country so i could giving them true friendship. Quran said dint think you are holy cause Allah knows truly who you are. it askes me to keep repairing myself, A hadith said: he who doesnt give the non muslims their rights then he isnt part of my ummah(group/followers). And story about prostitute (dying & in thirsty after trying to find water) who finally gave dying & thirsty dog water then able to enter paradise. And quran anyway never teaches hatred. Of course if a person only read one verse without reading previous & next verses after it then could mislead its meaning. I believe all religions are teaching good things. Just like prophet noah (peace be upon him), that his son didnt want to be in same belief. It teaches me that a pious person no matter what religion is then tend to be loving, patience, forgiving, sincere, honest. It needs true strength to be like that. The more closer to God then the more i realize my weakness & dont dare to judge others. The more i study & decide to be practising muslim then the more respect i have for all human, & other creatures. Mr lee has been introducing me the beauty of his religion. Sometimes i wish his family is living in same country so i could giving them true friendship. Reading his timeline on twitter is trully blessing. I have catholic, hindu bestfriend back in my home country & surely want to have more friends from all kinds of backgrounds. I even more care with animals & plants. Learning from stories of prophets, finding Mr.Lee on twitter, & yusuf estes + abdur r green have touched my heart. Reading his timeline on twitter is trully blessing. I have catholic, hindu bestfriend back in my home country & surely want to have more friends from all kinds of backgrounds. I even more care with animals & plants. Learning from stories of prophets, Mr.Lee on twitter, & yusuf estes + abdur r green have touched my heart. I am grateful, & all the best to you&yr fam. May God grants my wishes for you& fam. The more good deeds we do, the happier we'll be. (My motto now :-) )

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