1. Standard memberhakima
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    28 Jun '14 23:50
    Today begins Ramadan...a blessed time for renewal and reflection.

    Blessings to those who enter into this Holy time with Love and Pure Intent. May their devotions touch us all!

    As Salaam!

    Hakima
  2. Standard memberhakima
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    28 Jun '14 23:52
    Because of certain events in our lifetimes, the Islamic world has been severely misunderstood...The word "Islam" itself means Peace... and sadly, holy days seem to be certain factionist groups' opportunity to wreck havoc on the innocents. In an effort to help dispel some of the misunderstandings and prejudices, here is a brief over view of what Ramadan is:

    All About Ramadan

    The ninth month of the Islamic calendar is Ramadan, a time for Muslims to focus on purifying their soul through prayer and self-sacrifice. During Ramadan, more than a billion Muslims around the world observe one of the Five Pillars (duties) of Islam: Fasting.

    Each day of Ramadan, from sunrise to sunset, Muslims aged twelve and older traditionally practice fasting. The Arabic word for fasting literally means to "refrain," which is what is religiously proscribed - not just abstaining from eating and drinking, but also restraining every part of one's physical body.

    The mouth, for example, is restrained from idle talk and gossip, while the ears are restrained from listening to obscenities. In this way, a Muslim engages his or her entire body in the physical observance of the Ramadan fast.

    In addition to the fast, Ramadan is also a time to re-evaluate one's convictions and deeds. It is a time to mend troubled relationships, give charity, find forgiveness for others, and refocus on worshipping Allah (God).

    According to Islamic tradition, the month of Ramadan is when Allah revealed the first verses of the Qur'an, the holy book, to the prophet Muhammad. In honor of this revelation, one thirtieth of the Qur'an is read each night of Ramadan during the evening prayer. By the end of the month, the whole Qur'an has been recited.

    During Ramadan, Muslims rise before sunrise to partake in a pre-fast meal, called suhoor. Each night after sunset, they break their fast with the iftar meal. The end of the month of Ramadan is marked with the joyous festival of Eid al-Fitr, which literally means the "Festival of Breaking the Fast." During Eid al-Fitr, families celebrate with elaborate feasts and dress in their finest clothes. At the same time, they increase their efforts to give charity to the poor and make contributions to their mosques.

    Blessings of Peace to All, regardless of religious or non-religious beliefs.

    As Salaam!
  3. Standard memberRajk999
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    29 Jun '14 00:33
    Originally posted by hakima
    Because of certain events in our lifetimes, the Islamic world has been severely misunderstood...The word "Islam" itself means Peace... and sadly, holy days seem to be certain factionist groups' opportunity to wreck havoc on the innocents. In an effort to help dispel some of the misunderstandings and prejudices, here is a brief over view of what Ramadan is:
    ...[text shortened]... s.

    Blessings of Peace to All, regardless of religious or non-religious beliefs.

    As Salaam!
    I would be interested in finding out exactly what you think people misunderstand about Islam.
  4. Standard memberhakima
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    29 Jun '14 02:49
    Originally posted by Rajk999
    I would be interested in finding out exactly what you think people misunderstand about Islam.
    Rajk999, thank you for your question. Many people in the state of Texas, where I live have misunderstandings about people who practice the Islamic religion. Recently, a university student reporter was assigned the Texas Republican convention. The reception she received was unfortunate, and I believe due to a general lack of knowledge about the religion and the people who practice it:

    http://www.theshorthorn.com/opinion/my-experience-at-the-gop-convention/article_f1108532-f020-11e3-9490-001a4bcf6878.html

    There are people here who do not know that the Qu'ran contains references to Hebrew and Christian biblical prophets, including Jesus, Moses, and Abraham.

    There are some who consider that to be a Muslim means to be a terrorist. This is not true, but such an assumption has a great deal to do with how people treat others whom they do not understand because they are different.
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    29 Jun '14 03:41
    I linked to this days ago in a different thread (on debate tactics), but I think it would be good for hakima to read and comment on.

    http://www.councilofexmuslims.com/index.php?topic=23495.0
  6. Standard memberRajk999
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    29 Jun '14 11:29
    Originally posted by hakima
    Rajk999, thank you for your question. Many people in the state of Texas, where I live have misunderstandings about people who practice the Islamic religion. Recently, a university student reporter was assigned the Texas Republican convention. The reception she received was unfortunate, and I believe due to a general lack of knowledge about the religion and th ...[text shortened]... deal to do with how people treat others whom they do not understand because they are different.
    Thanks for your reply Hakima. I think there are misunderstandings on both sides. Yes for sure there are people who may think that all Muslims are terrorists but those are really very few. Many people [since 9/11] have read up on Islam and do not like what they see and hear.

    So maybe its not that they misunderstand, but they in fact understand. Paul Dirac ll has posted an interesting link that you should read. There are many stories and horror stories from muslims all around the world. Are those all misunderstanding as well ?
  7. Standard memberhakima
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    29 Jun '14 14:37
    Originally posted by Rajk999
    Thanks for your reply Hakima. I think there are misunderstandings on both sides. Yes for sure there are people who may think that all Muslims are terrorists but those are really very few. Many people [since 9/11] have read up on Islam and do not like what they see and hear.

    So maybe its not that they misunderstand, but they in fact understand. Paul Dirac ...[text shortened]... s and horror stories from muslims all around the world. Are those all misunderstanding as well ?
    I will take the time to read the account in it's entirety.

    I know somewhat about the realities and the hidden agenda of religions.

    I was born a Mormon and officially left that church last year because I could not reconcile my personal spirituality with the ways in which the current administration of that church directed it's doctrine. There are many things that the Mormon church "brushes under the rug," that depicted it in a very negative light. However, there are many practices and beliefs that I still hold from that religion in my own personal path.

    Truthfully, I think that all religions as they are institutionalized and beauracratized do that.

    On the other hand, there are members of my own family and others I know who act in moral ways. They do not deserve to be persecuted or stereotyped for their beliefs.

    I think this brings me to the following point; religion does not automatically create moral people. In fact, I do not believe religion creates morality at all. Rather I think that religion provides a vehicle for moral people to practice morality. Unfortunately, religion also provides an effective vehicle for immoral people to practice immorality.

    I realize that I have probably not adequately answered either question. I promise to read the article, but will not likely respond to every specific point that the author makes. I want to make sure to read with an open mind and setting up for a defense negates that desire.

    Thank you both for your questions and your offering of the article.

    I am interested in both of your responses to it as well.
  8. Cape Town
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    29 Jun '14 14:59
    Originally posted by hakima
    Because of certain events in our lifetimes, the Islamic world has been severely misunderstood...
    The first misunderstanding, is that there is no such thing as 'the Islamic world'. There are in fact, only Muslims of many different varieties with different cultures and different beliefs.
    So, what are your views? What do you think about Sharia law? Do you think that if you decide to stop being a Muslim that there should be any form of punishment?
    What about personal relationships? I have a Muslim friend who said he was not allowed by his religion to have his closest friend not be Muslim, so he was forced to look for other friends who were Muslim. What is your view on this?
    What about the cartoons of Mohammed? If someone you know insults Mohammed in some way, will you take any steps to stop him or punish him and if so, to what extent will you go?
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    29 Jun '14 17:24
    Originally posted by hakima
    Thank you both for your questions and your offering of the article.

    I am interested in both of your responses to it as well.
    To me, the core of that page is:

    To be a good person you must not only renounce many of the central tenets of Islam, but you must also openly oppose them, wherever they manifest in the world.
  10. Standard memberhakima
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    29 Jun '14 21:00
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    The first misunderstanding, is that there is no such thing as 'the Islamic world'. There are in fact, only Muslims of many different varieties with different cultures and different beliefs.
    So, what are your views? What do you think about Sharia law? Do you think that if you decide to stop being a Muslim that there should be any form of punishment?
    What ...[text shortened]... me way, will you take any steps to stop him or punish him and if so, to what extent will you go?
    "The first misunderstanding, is that there is no such thing as 'the Islamic world'."

    Yes, I agree that this is a primary misunderstanding and that I "misspoke" in using that phrase. I am grateful that you pointed that vital misunderstanding.

    In answer to your other questions, it might be useful for you to understand that while I am a Universal Sufi, I am not specifically Muslim. My religion of origin is Mormon, of which I no longer practice, but to which I hold some of the tenets. I have studied many early Christian texts as well as Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist, Native American, and others. I embrace truth and practice according to ways which reveal that truth in my life. I hold that as each individual is unique with a variety of experiences, there cannot be "one true" religion (as I was taught as a Mormon).

    So my views on your other questions:

    What do you think about Sharia law?

    I do not think that Sharia law necessarily and exclusively reflects the intent of the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed (PBOH). Further, I think that there are world leaders who convince their people that Sharia law does reflect the law of the Prophet, and contol them through that deception.

    Do you think that if you decide to stop being a Muslim that there should be any form of punishment?...What about personal relationships?

    I believe the right to choose one's ideas, whether they are religious, philosophical, secular, etc, is an inalienable right. As such, individuals should not be punished for choosing ideas or rejecting them. The right to association is also an inalienable right, in my opinion.

    As for insults regarding the Prophet, it goes along the same lines as the right to choose one's own ideas...For myself, it is a very personal issue. It goes against my personal values to intentionally insult anyone...whether they be a Prophet or a mureed, or an unbeliever. However, I do not take it as a duty to openly correct any person who presents an insult, whether or not it is intentional.

    As a Sufi, it is my only duty to act in ways that draw me close to God. One of those ways reflects itself in how I treat my all beings in the family of humankind.

    Thank you again for your questions.

    As Salaam Aleykum

    Peace!

    Hakima
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    29 Jun '14 21:261 edit
    Thank you for your answers.
    From what I can tell, your beliefs are quite different from other Muslims I have met, but as I said earlier, Muslims do differ in their beliefs.
    To what extend to you feel the views you expressed are your own, and to what extend are they based on the teachings of Islam?
    You say the Islamic world has been misunderstood, but is it possible that your own beliefs differ significantly from those of some other muslims and maybe those other muslims have not been misunderstood? Although most Muslims are not terrorists, and the ones I know, are very nice people, the religion itself, is very strict on certain issues and as we have seen whenever issues like the cartoons of mohammed occur, many Muslims feel very strongly that violence is justified in retaliation - often against people who have nothing to do with the 'offence'. This is so serious that people around the globe are literally scared to say the wrong thing about Islam. I personally do not think Islam is quite as peaceful as you make out.
  12. Standard memberhakima
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    29 Jun '14 21:58
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Thank you for your answers.
    From what I can tell, your beliefs are quite different from other Muslims I have met, but as I said earlier, Muslims do differ in their beliefs.
    To what extend to you feel the views you expressed are your own, and to what extend are they based on the teachings of Islam?
    You say the Islamic world has been misunderstood, but ...[text shortened]... e wrong thing about Islam. I personally do not think Islam is quite as peaceful as you make out.
    You missed where I stated that I am not a Muslim.
  13. Standard memberhakima
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    29 Jun '14 22:01
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I personally do not think Islam is quite as peaceful as you make out.
    Most organized and/or institutionalized religions are as peaceful as they might have one believe.

    Peace comes from within...not from the ad-ministrations of a religion.
  14. Standard memberhakima
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    29 Jun '14 22:04
    When one finds peace within him or her/self, then it can extend to others by finding common ground, including understanding how they come to their beliefs.
  15. Standard memberDeepThought
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    30 Jun '14 00:08
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Thank you for your answers.
    From what I can tell, your beliefs are quite different from other Muslims I have met, but as I said earlier, Muslims do differ in their beliefs.
    To what extend to you feel the views you expressed are your own, and to what extend are they based on the teachings of Islam?
    You say the Islamic world has been misunderstood, but ...[text shortened]... e wrong thing about Islam. I personally do not think Islam is quite as peaceful as you make out.
    You should read the page on Wikipedia about Sufism (which I just did). They have a long history of being oppressed by more 'traditional' and hardline forms of Islam. It also explains why Hakima can consistently say that she is not a Muslim.
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