Islam

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ECOLOGY: AN ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE
By Iftekhar A. Hai, Director of Interfaith Relations, United Muslims of America The below article was published in EarthLight magazine about the Islamic attitude towards nature and the environment. It will also be published in a book called "The Best of EarthLight: Ecology and Spiritual Living"

Al Ghazali, the most renowned Muslim scholar, philosopher, writer and teacher, lived from year 1058 to 1111 c.e. during the Muslim era in Spain and Portugal, said, ãI can excel in rational knowledge (law, theology, philosophy and science) while remaining egotistical, self centered and arrogant. People can become masters in worldly knowledge with their inner self still impure. Moses Maimonides, the most renowned Jewish scholar, philosopher, writer and teacher was greatly influenced by the writings of Al Ghazali. He lived from 1135 to 1204 c.e., born in Cordoba during the Muslim era in Spain said, “ cannot You achieve excellence in thoughts, word and deeds without the purification of the heart with divine knowledge. These two great people lived to influence multitudes of people from generations to generations. Their works are still held in high esteem. Even today, these two philosophers and thinkers are read and quoted for their wisdom. From all their writings it is evident that they, not only respected and enhanced human rights, by explaining the law, they also were firm believers in extending kindness and compassion to the animals. Both compared humans being as a refined species of the animal kingdom. The difference between human being and animal life is the intellect. The intellectual power to decipher, analyze and compare, the intellectual power to judge, rationalize and act according to the dictates of the one’conscience. s The heart of the conscience been maintained by the criteria of what is Right and what is Wrong, as contained in our…...

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...ISLAM Islam. Misunderstood by generations of people, characterized as the religion of terrorists and extremists, and feared for its massive growth, nothing could be further from the truth. These misconceptions are easy, too. Popular media, the actions of an express few and poor education have all lead to a sphere of ignorance concerning this peaceful path to God. Growing up in a Christian family, and following the mainstream media, it is easy to see how something such as Islam could be vilified, and very few, if any, questions asked about it. This is what helps to grow the ignorance concerning Islam and how misperceptions continue to be propagated. To be fair, it is easy to see how some of the misperceptions came about - fanatical devotees who spend more time in prayer than others, a single minded devotion to their religion and Mohammad (peace be upon him), and the constant struggle in Middle East all paint a picture that does not do Islam or it adherent’s justice. In fact, they barely scratch the surface of what Islam is all about, and what little truth does come out cannot overcome the negative stereotypes that have been ingrained in the larger population. So, was I affected by these misperceptions? The answer, unfortunately, is a resounding yes. As a member of society I too was easily drawn into the web of negativity that surrounds Islam. I didn’t credit it with any positive accomplishments, nor did I grant it any legitimacy as a religion, mostly based on the actions...

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...Medina (Saudi Arabia). The Prophet Muhammed started reciting the Quran. Allah (God) created the heavens and the earth. Allah too, created the various ethnicities. Allah put order and purpose in his creations. Everything in creation depends on Allah for his grace and mercy. The question of identity deals with a “way of life”. Muslim beliefs, practices, and concepts are derived from the Quran. It’s a mean of attempting to understand ourselves, the world, and granting meaning or perspective to our lives. Islam defines identity based on the relationship with Allah due to full submission. In Islam it’s not the question of meaning or purpose, but what is the meaning or purpose of life? To Islam everything in nature has a purpose, and because of that the whole universe is Muslim because it surrenders. “Allah’s guidance is the only guidance, and we have been directed to submit ourselves to the Lord of the worlds.” (Sura 6:71, The Holy Quran) There are three moral standards of Islam : a) commanding self: is the self that incites human beings and evil. “Yet I do not hold to myself to be free from weakness, for the Commanding self (the animal self) is surely prone to enjoin evil, except on whom my Lord has mercy.” (Sura 12:53, The Holy Quran) b) The Self-Accusing Spirit, and c) Love and Faith in the All-Mighty. Faith in Allah is the core foundation of Quranic code, because our faith in God strengthens the heart to achieve good and shun evil. If the evil is shunned, then the......

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...Islam discussion Sunni and Shi'a are the two main Islam denominations. Sunni is the larger of the two and represents about eighty percent of the Muslim population. They both believe in the sacred text from the Qur'an. Both of them have only one God. Men may marry up to four women. Denied Jesus died on a cross but He did go to Heaven. Both believe in the second coming of Jesus. For both the Sunni and Shi’a; Christianity and Judaism are people from the Book. Their differences originate from leadership. Sunnis’ elected the first caliph; Abu Bakr to lead “the people of Sunnah”. The Shi’a believe the rightful successor to the Prophet Muhammad was ‘Ali. For the Sunni Ali was considered “The lion of God” the first male converted to Islam and the warrior champion of the faith. On the other side; for the Shi’a people God refer to Ali as “Ali is from me and I am from him, and he is the protector of every true believer after Muhammad”. It is important to know that despite these differences in opinion and practice; Shi’a and Sunni Muslims share the main group of Islamic belief and are considered by most to be brethren in faith. Even most Muslims do not distinguish themselves by claiming membership in any particular group. They prefer to call themselves simply, "Muslims." Women are currently often considered second class citizens. They do not have rights or those few rights they are given can be taken away by their husband or religious leaders. Usually women are not allowed to......

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