Introduction by Inteltrends
The English translation of this article was released through official Taliban media channels, however the article itself is sourced from Al-Somood – an online magazine reporting on mujahideen affairs and Shari’ah rule. The article offers a good glimpse into the workings of the Taliban’s “shadow government” at the provincial and local levels in Afghanistan. According to media reports the Afghan people are increasingly turning to the Taliban administration for justice and services.
The Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan And Its Successful Administrative Policy
Source: Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (citing Al-Somood)
By Ikram Maiwandi
January 27, 2011 02:29
It is patently clear from the experiences of those who preceded us and firmly established from our own observations that the success of Islamic governments, as well as democratic and despotic governments, and the prosperity of religious; educational; governmental and other establishments lies in the superiority of its administrative regime in heeding its important elements (lofty aims, the abilities of its leader, having a righteous entourage around him, etc.).
Complete victory in this field requires diligent efforts from those heading it to implement decisions issued; established regulations and fixed principles. Attention must also be paid to the impartiality of the administration through the good selection of personnel who are recruited to work there.
I do not intend to list the components of successful administration or to declare the characteristics of an Islamic Administration. What concerns me here is to shed light on the Islamic Emirate’s policy in the realm of administration and coordination despite the difficult circumstances surrounding it connected to its heavy involvement in the Holy Jihad and the bitter war against the Americans and their partners in their repulsive crimes. I also strive to place before you, as Allah enables me, simple information regarding the order of the Islamic Emirate – or the Taliban regime, as they say, so that perhaps it will benefit the readers of our heroic magazine “al-Somood” to “heal the breasts of the Believers” and “Nor is that for Allah any great matter”.
The loftiness of the desired objective and the sanctity of the anticipated goal – combined with the firm anchoring of this sanctity within those who belong to this administration after they are made fully aware of it – are together a strong factor in successfully achieving the declared and sought-after goal. It is also the secret behind reviving the spirit of altruism, dedication and sacrifice in the spirit of the staff (members). When they are convinced of the importance of their jobs they will compete in rushing to complete their assigned tasks and exert the utmost of their efforts for the sake of achieving the highest objective and sacred goal, because they will see the laudable results and great benefits behind their activities and above the ceiling of their own invaluable works. As Allah Almighty says in this regard: “They are those who, if We establish them in this land, establish regular prayer and give regular charity, enjoin the right and forbid wrong: with Allah rests the end (and decision) of all affairs.” (al-Hajj: 41).
Moreover, concern must be paid to attracting trustworthy and competent persons, and choosing specialized cadre; contingent upon piety and impartiality. Specialization without piety corrupts an administration and piety without competence weakens it. In the event of a contradiction, the pious one is given preference, because he is like the shepherd whose legs are tied and is unable to benefit the flock or serve the people. But the corrupt one is a ravenous wolf spoiling the earth and harming others. Preventing damage takes priority among wise men and in any event the selection of righteous people is a strong element of successful administration. This is in accordance with the words of the Almighty: “Allah doth command you to render back your Trusts to those to whom they are due” (al-Nisa: 58)and “Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you.” (al-Hujurat: 13).
The capacity of the personality of the leader who directs the people religiously, politically and ideologically is no less important than any of the above. Indeed, it is considered one of the most important elements of successful administration. The leader is the axis around which matters pivot. He employs the community to achieve his goals and directs people to goodness and happiness. He warns them against evil and danger according to his lights. Among the duties of the leader – after trust in and reliance upon his Lord and Creator – is to make a diligent effort in directing the activities of all the employees and volunteers who assist him – in an atmosphere of cooperation – towards the fixed goal. He is also responsible for creating strong feelings among the people to move quiet hearts and slumbering eyes, and energize the human power for self-sacrifice for the sake of achieving high and lofty goals. It is notable that among the qualities of the successful leader are that he is free; male; of sound mind and emotion; with knowledge; vision; strength; courage; wisdom; organizational skills and other qualities mentioned in the books of fiqh and ‘aqidah. So seek it where you would expect to find it.
1. After this pleasant introduction, I take you to the subject of this study by saying: In its entire organization, the Islamic Emirate relies on the Book of Allah Almighty and upon the Sunnah of his Messenger (SAW), the Sunnah of the rightly guided Caliphs and the sayings of the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them all. It utilizes the fatwas of the followers and the opinions of mujtahid scholars, may Allah Almighty have mercy on them. The Emirate borrows from the history of bygone nations and its system consists of the components of a successful administration balanced with the sanctity of its goals, the vision of its leader, and the strength of its faith and the qualifications of its workers with regards to piety; devotion; trust; competence, etc.
2. Based on this, the Administrative System of the Islamic Emirate is based upon the principles of the Islamic Caliphate from the era of the rightly guided Caliphs, may Allah be pleased with them, in dividing the country into provinces, appointing pious and righteous governors, guiding workers to piety and justice, encouraging the establishment of a religious and worldly policy, tending to the needs of the people, instructing them in matters of religion and encouraging them to make the utmost effort in promoting virtue and preventing vice. Regulations have been drawn up for the guidance of the Mujahideen fi sabeel Allah. Messages are constantly sent for this purpose to guide them; direct their deeds; illuminate their thoughts and have them follow in the footsteps of the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them. Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, spoke to the people thus, saying “O people, by Allah I do not send you governors to flog you or take your wealth but I send them to teach you your Religion and the way you should follow (sunnah). If anything other than this is done to anyone, he should refer the matter to me. By Him in whose hand is Umar’s soul, I will provide justice for him.” (History of Islam/Dr. Hasan Ibrahim/part 1, page 455).
Uthman ibn Affan, may Allah be pleased with him, wrote to his governors in the provinces, saying: “Allah has decreed the imams to be shepherds, he did not ask them to be tax collectors. When this Ummah emerged, they were created as shepherds; they were not created as tax collectors. Your imams are on the verge of becoming tax collectors and not shepherds. If that happens, diffidence, fidelity and loyalty will be torn apart. The best course is to look to the affairs of Muslims and what is requested of them. Give to them what is their due and take from them what you ought”. (Previous reference/part 1/page 455).
3. The area of our Muslim country of Afghanistan is approximately 650,000 square kilometers with an estimated population of at least 33 million people. The country is divided into 34 administrative units, each named a province such as Qandahar, Helmand, Herat and Balkh province. Moreover, each province is divided into multiple directorates, big and small such as Marjah in Helmand province, Arghandab in Qandahar province, etc. Each directorate contains beautiful areas and numerous villages. There are a total of 400 provinces, while there are tens of thousands of villages.
4. In each village, there is a faithful leader (appointed) by the Emirate and who is responsible for civilian and military affairs. He has around him from 10 to 50 Mujahideen depending on the prevailing circumstances. A new leader is selected from among them if the previous leader is martyred or is unable to continue to lead for any reason. In case of a disagreement, the matter is elevated to the amirs above them. This battalion – called a front – is ready for combat and to fight against the enemy night and day. They are also recourse to which people raise their complaints, whether among themselves or between them and other villages. If the problems are small, they are referred to notables of the tribe for resolution. If the problems are big, then they are elevated to the senior officials in the directorate for a decision to be made in accordance with pure Shari’ah law.
5. Each directorate has a Governor of known piety among the people. He has a deputy with experience in affairs of the region. Under their command work different committees such as: Committee for Arbitration and Settling Disputes; Committee for Education and Development; a Military Commission to manage war issues, etc. The Governor is the commander of the whole village and area leaders in that directorate, and he is responsible for the application of Allah’s Shari’ah there. The appointment and dismissal of the Governor is in the hands of the Supreme Command after consultation with the provincial Governor and the province-level Military Committee. He works under the command of the provincial Governor and is directly responsible for the directorate.
6. Each province of the country is an independent unit with a commander called the Governor. He has a deputy to assist him. The Governor is directly responsible for the Supreme Command of that province and directs its military, civilian, financial and legal affairs. Usually this important post is entrusted to an experienced and capable man; a man of Religion and morality who fears no one in Allah. He is a true and trustworthy, and capable of directing matters. Among his duties is application of Shari’ah laws and statutes; supervision of directorate governors; execution of the war plan; supervision of financial resources and expenditures. Committees with appropriate authorities work with him on the province level, including legal, military and financial committees; an education committee, etc. The appointment and dismissal of the Governor is the responsibility of the Supreme Commander after consultation with the High Shura Council.
7. Above that is the role of the Main Committees with authority at the level of the Islamic Emirate. Each Committee is composed of a number of trustworthy and loyal persons with experience in their assigned occupation. In the current structure of the Emirate, these replace – as circumstances dictate – the old Ministries. They are as follows:
A. The Military Committee: This is equivalent of the Ministry of Defense and coordinates military affairs, including preparing young men for sacred Jihad; arming the Mujahideen with weapons, ammunition and equipment; preparing war plans; issuing orders for battles and attacks on enemy bases, dens of lackeys, etc.
B. Preaching and Guidance Committee: This is composed of the senior scholars and issues fatwas on important matters of fiqh. It also appoints and employs scholars and preachers and provides guidance to the Mujahideen and citizens and gives advice to the commanders and officials.
C. Ministry of Culture and Information: It broadcasts statements of the Amir-ul-Momineen, may Allah Almighty protect him, as well as the decisions of the Supreme Command, the judgments, statements and decisions of the High Shura Council, and publishes magazines and newspapers in different languages. It publishes news of the Mujahideen and their conquests and refutes the claims of the charlatan enemy; revealing his conspiracies and plots; and refuting his propaganda via important websites on the internet.
D. The Political Committee: This is equivalent to the Foreign Ministry and is responsible for foreign relations. It makes great efforts to build, expand and develop foreign relations.
E. Education Committee: This committee builds different kinds of schools, and prepares an educational curriculum and selects well known leaders from the provinces and appoints teachers and the administrative apparatus for the schools; all for the purpose of spreading Islamic and contemporary learning; obliterating illiteracy and fighting ignorance in society and educating the developing generation.
F. Financial Committee: This undertakes the development of financial resources for the Emirate, organizes the Expenditures Diwan; monitors banks, etc.
G. Committee for Prisoners and Orphans: This is concerned with affairs of prisoners and orphans; it works strenuously for the release of the prisoners, and to raise their children and the children of the martyrs and helps with the living expenses of their families.
H. Health Committee: This is concerned with treating the wounded and sick Mujahideen, and helps them with their living expenses. It also works to prepare comfortable quarters for them during their convalescence.
I. Committee for Foreign Establishments: This directs them to affected areas and supervises their work and their men up close to ensure that they are not carrying out works that negatively impact our ‘aqidah.
8. High Shura Council: This is composed of high-ranking men in the Islamic Emirate. The appointment and removal of its members is carried out by the Amir-ul-Momineen. The duties assigned to the Council include monitoring the situation in Afghanistan; searching for suitable solutions for internal and external problems; guiding the Main Committees at the level of the Islamic Emirate in their work; and issuing statements on international, regional, and internal occasions and drafting regulations and laws in accordance with the Book and the Sunnah.
9. The Supreme Command represented by the Supreme Leader; the Amir-ul-Momineen Mullah Mohammad Omar (Mujahid), may Allah Almighty protect him, who is the direct leader of the Holy Jihad. He is the primary caretaker for all of Afghanistan’s military and civilian affairs and, in his capacity as Supreme Leader of the Mujahideen and Amir-ul-Momineen, he is zealous in the application of Allah’s Shari’ah, starting with himself; his household; his family; soldiers and followers; reporting to his flock and all Muslims in the world as is made patently clear in his sermons and speeches. He strives – following those pious leaders who preceded him – to rule with justice by assigning positions to trustworthy people; carefully selecting his entourage; and choosing the loyal and righteous to accompany him. He closely monitors the actions of his men in high positions and advises them to be pious before Allah in public and private, give their people their rights and avoid causing them any harm.
10. His two trusted deputies act to aid him with devotion and piety. They are his helpers in rolling out the carpet of Allah’s heavenly Shari’ah upon the land of the country. They carry out the experienced leader’s decisions with all faithfulness and honesty without adding or subtracting anything. They are responsible for keeping pace with matters of Jihad and putting the responsible agencies in action. They are also responsible for convening the High Shura Council and consultative councils and organizing all affairs of the Islamic Emirate.
The Last Word
The strong faith of the Leader of the Islamic Emirate in Allah the All-Wise and All-Powerful; in the sanctity of his goal; and its deep roots in the hearts of his workers; and the impartiality of the administration in selecting righteous men is a symbol of heroism; and the secret of the success of the Holy Jihad in the country. This is especially represented in the faith of the heroic leader Mullah Mohammad Omar (Mujahid), may Allah give him victory over his enemies, when he said “No, No” to occupation, relying instead upon Allah Almighty and Omnipotent, despite of the greed of the infidels and their attacks upon the defenseless people. Rather he ordered Jihad against them to defend the Religion and honor, uttering the words of his predecessors: Allah is sufficient for us; He is the best disposer of affairs.
There is no doubt that the Mujahideen are the helpers of Allah. If a Mujahid is not a supporter of Allah, then who is? This is especially true in our modern age when they are led by noble scholars and seekers of Shari’ah knowledge and the righteous from among Allah’s servants. As for the desired goal and objective of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan it is to elevate the word of Allah Almighty and establish an Islamic government by every meaning of the word, and to expel the enemies of Allah; the Americans, from the country. It is for Allah to humble to the depths the word of those who are infidels, to justify the truth and prove falsehood false. It is for Allah to give honor to the holy Jihad, Islam and the Muslims and to humiliate idolatry and the idolaters.
And for this, let those aspire who have aspirations.
Translated From The Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan: Al-Somood Magazine Issue #55
The following commentary is reprinted with permission from Global Research.
Islamophobia and the Plight of Christian Arabs
© Nicola Nasser
Source: Global Research
January 12, 2011
Suddenly, the U. S.-European alliance is acting to protect the “existence” of the Christian Arab minority against the Muslim Arab majority whose very existence is besieged and threatened by this same alliance, drawing on a wide spread Islamophobia while at the same time exacerbating Islamophobia among western audiences whom the international financial crisis is now crushing to the extent that it does not spare them time or resources to question the real political motives of their governments, which have been preoccupied for decades now with restructuring the Arab world geographically, demographically, politically and culturally against the will of its peoples with a pronounced aim of creating a “new Middle East.”
Ironically this sudden western awakening to the plight of Christian Arabs comes at a time when all Arabs, both Muslims and Christians, are crushed by U.S. and Israeli military occupation or foreign political hegemony, but worse still when they are in the grip of a social upheaval in the very states that are by will or by coercion loyal to this alliance, where unbalanced development and an unemployment rate more than double the world average are pushing masses onto the streets to challenge the legitimacy of their own pro–west governments. Exactly at this time, when Arab masses need their “social” unity for national liberation, sovereignty, liberty and freedom, a European campaign is being waged to divide them along religious and sectarian lines.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy — who on Dec. 9, 2009 wrote in Le Monde defending a Switzerland vote banning Muslim mosques from building minarets and made a national fuss on banning less than two thousand French citizens from wearing Niqab — said on Jan. 6 that he “cannot accept” what he described as “religious cleansing” of Arab Christians. His Foreign Minister, Michele Alliot-Marie, wrote to the EU’s foreign affairs baroness, Catherine Ashton, asking for the union to draw up a plan of action in response. France took the initiative to call a meeting of the U.N. Security Council last Nov. 9 to discuss international protection of Iraqi Christians. On Dec. 22, Italy’s foreign Minister Franco Frattini said his country was presenting a resolution to the U.N. to condemn their “persecution.” Together with his French, Polish and Hungarian counterparts, Frattini wrote a joint letter to Ashton asking her to table the issue at the foreign ministers meeting on January 31 and to consider taking “concrete measures” to protect them. On Dec. 17, the German Bundestag passed a resolution defending the freedom of religion around the world, but viewed with “great concern” the resolution of the U.N. Human Rights Council on March 25 last year against the “defamation of religions” because it “undermines the existing human rights understanding.”
The European political reaction sounds excessively selective in its concern over an allegedly missing right of the freedom of religion of the Christian minority in a region where civil and human rights for the Muslim majority are missing thanks in the first place for the support the regional governing regimes, which confiscate these same rights, receive from the U.S.–European alliance, and the European selectivity allegedly in defense of the “threatened” existence of the Christian Arab minorities speaks louder when it is compared with the deafening European silence over the threatened existence of the Arab and Islamic cultural identities of the majority, let alone the European incitement against both identities, a double standard that explicitly invokes suspicious questions about the credibility and sincerity of the European “rights” concerns and about the real political goals behind these pronounced concerns. For example, more than 300 mosques were attacked, some of them of a UNESCO World Heritage Center standards, hundreds of Muslim clerics were murdered, millions of Muslims were forced either to migrate internally or immigrate externally in the U.S.–occupied Iraq, and the plight of Iraqi Christians has been and still is merely a side show of the overall destruction of the whole state there, but the European rights consciousness did not and still does not find it worth a similar call for defense and protection.
Unfortunately, this traditional European divide–and–rule policy in the Arab world, as it was the case for centuries, is today finding ample papal blessing from the Vatican to justify itself, not in the eyes of Arabs, but in the eyes of its own audiences. President Sarkozy’s whistle blower cry this January 6 that Christians in the Arab–Islamic world are victims of a planned “religious cleansing,” came on the backdrop of the Vatican’s Pope Benedict XVI repeated call on the world leaders to rise up for the protection and “defense of the Christians in the Middle East.” It is a cry fraught with the connotations of the historical precedent of the Vatican–blessed Fourth Crusade, which consisted mainly of a crusading army originating from areas within France and which was diverted from invading Egypt by sea to the sacking of Constantinople, the capital of the political and spiritual rival, the Orthodox Church, to which the overwhelming majority of Christians in the Arab–Muslim world belong, instead of “liberating” Jerusalem from Muslims.
Pope Benedict XVI’s wilful or careless indifference towards exploiting his church concerns by “secular” politicians like Sarkozy to serve their down to earth goals, or towards exacerbating Islamophobia, which in turn fuels Christianphobia, is reminiscent of how the older Sarkozy–type “Christ–abiding” and non–secular politicians concealed from the bulk of the crusading army a letter from Pope Innocent III, who made the new Fourth Crusade the goal of his pontificate, warning against the diversion of the crusade, forbidding any atrocities against “Christian neighbors” and threatening excommunication. In as much as the indifference of the crusader pope to carry out his threat had led to the demise of the Byzantine Empire, the fall of Constantinople in the hands of the Muslims less than three hundred years later and turning the crusades into a war against the rival church more than against the Muslims, the indifference of the present day Pope Benedict XVI is threatening to counterproductively achieve the demise of Christian existence in the “East,” which he has made, it seems, the goal of his pontificate.
Ever since the Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople in 1204, Arab Christians in the Muslim world have been wary of the messages and emissaries of Rome as a cultural spearhead of foreign invasion and hegemony. Even a Catholic loyal to the Vatican like the incumbent Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, had this to tell the Israeli Haaretz exclusively four days before Benedict XVI’s “pilgrimage” to the Holy Land in September 2009: “The thing that worries me most is the speech that the pope will deliver here. One word for the Muslims and I’m in trouble; one word for the Jews and I’m in trouble. At the end of the visit the pope goes back to Rome and I stay here with the consequences.” Patriarch Twal’s fears were vindicated last week when Egypt recalled its Vatican envoy for consultations over the Pope’s remarks on Egyptian Copts: The “new statements from the Vatican” are “unacceptable interference” in Egypt’s “internal affairs,” the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement. Syrian analyst Sami Moubayed recently wrote that similar papal remarks were to the “fundamentalists … a blessing in disguise.”
Pope Benedict XVI since he occupied the papacy seat seems totally insensitive to the worries of his representative in Jerusalem; he doesn’t seem short of words and seems careful not to miss an opportunity to utter provocative anti-Muslim pronouncements that place both his church clergy and followers on the defensive among both their Christian as well as Muslim compatriots. However, he places them in a more critical position by his helplessness to find any words or an opportunity in his latest torrential rhetoric about the protection of Christians and their plight in Holy Land itself, where they have been victims of actual ethnic and religious cleansing for more than sixty years now since the Palestinian Nakba in 1948, when the state of Israel was declared independent on the ruins of their homes.
From a regional perspective, both Christian and Muslim, the very existence of Christians is threatened, besieged and gradually cleansed by the Israeli military occupation in the Palestinian cradle of Christianity — where Christ was born, spread the word of God, love and peace and crucified. The papal silence on this simple fact of life is much louder in the region than Pope’s pronounced appeals for the defense and protection of Christians on the peripheries of the birthplace of Christianity, in Iraq, Egypt or Lebanon for example, because when the center of Christian gravity crumbles in Jerusalem, the periphery supports would not hold for long and even the important St, Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican would be a pale substitute, and the center of Christian gravity in Jerusalem is almost totally Judaized, and is off limits to the Christians both in the Palestinian cradle of Christianity as well as to their brethren on the Arab and Muslim periphery, unless they are granted an Israeli military permit to visit, which is rare and very tightly selective.
Viewed from Christian regional perspective, the papal appeals for their protection could hardly be described other than contradictory, if not hypocrite, particularly in view of a Vatican’s document in July 2007, approved by Benedict XVI, which declared Catholicism as “the only true church of Christ” and “other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches.” So, “what” Christians Pope Benedict is appealing to defend and protect? A year earlier, Coptic Pope Shenouda III denied there was any dialogue or contacts with the Vatican although thirty three years before both sides agreed to form joint committees for bilateral dialogue. With the exception of Armenian church as a late newcomer but nonetheless an independent church, the Coptic, Orthodox, Chaldean, Assyrian, Syriac, Melkite and other Eastern communions have existed and coexisted among and with Arabs since the earliest days of Christianity, because they are Arabs either by ethnicity or by culture and they are the overwhelming majority of Christians in the Middle East and an integral part of the Arab society.
Islamophobia is warning that Muslims are “returning” to Islam, but is it not top on the agenda of Pope Benedict XVI to return Europe to Christianity? “We must reject both secularism and fundamentalism,” the Pope said in his annual address on Christmas Day, but is it not secularism that the Pope, Europe and the U.S. are preaching now to de-Arabise and de-Islamise Arabs? This double standard ironical western contradiction deprives their calls for the protection of Arab Christians of whatever credibility it might still have in the Arab eyes. Their “protection” will prove counterproductive sooner or later. Christianphobia that fuels anti – Christian blind terror is an already active byproduct.
The ‘Church of Islam’’
Commenting on the Synod of Middle East Christian leaders that convened in the Vatican last October, the spiritual leader of the Melkite “Catholics,” Patriarch of the Church of Antioch, Gregorios III, had this to say, quoted by the Lebanese Daily Star last December: “The Synod for the Middle East is a Synod for Arab countries, for Arabs, a Synod for Arab Christians in symbiosis with their Arab society. It is a Synod for the ‘Church of the Arabs’ and ‘Church of Islam’.” The adviser to the Muslim Sunni Mufti of Lebanon, Dr. Mohammad Al–Sammak, who was invited to the Synod, recognized the Arab identity of Christians in the Middle East: “I cannot live my being Arabic without the Middle Eastern Christian Arab … They are an integral part of the … formation of Islamic civilization,” he told the Synod.
Politically and religiously these Christians have been on the other side of the Vatican–blessed old or modern western conquests, and politically and religiously they have been all along protected by Arabs and Muslims, otherwise they would not have survived. Their existence is now under threat because the existence of their Arab–Islamic incubator is on the line, besieged either by direct military occupation in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan or by economic sanctions and political hegemony; their existence was not threatened when the Arab–Islamic state was an empire and a world power, nor was it threatened during the crusades despite the atrocities committed by their western co-religious crusaders, which would have invited a reprisal had it not been for the teachings of Islam itself.
The U.S.–led world war on terror targeting mainly Arabs and Muslims is perplexing western pro–law, peace and human rights audiences by smoke–screening their governments’ military adventures and modern crusades, which is the real action that created terrorism as the only possible reaction expected by the overpowered nations. However the invading creator and the created terrorists in their bloody divide are smoke–screening also any possible resurface of the forgotten Islamic covenants that protected the indigenous two thousand–year old Arab Christians since the advent of Islam in the seventh century. In the year 628 AD, a Christian delegation from St. Catherine’s Monastery, in Egypt’s Sinai, met Prophet Mohammad and requested his protection. The Prophet granted them a protection charter.
Dr. Muqtedar Khan, Director of Islamic Studies at the University of Delaware and a fellow of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, wrote this about the charter: “The document is not a modern human rights treaty but even though it was penned in 628 A.D., it clearly protects the right to property, freedom of religion, freedom of work, and security of the person. A remarkable aspect of the charter is that it imposes no conditions on Christians for enjoying its privileges. It is enough that they are Christians. They are not required to alter their beliefs, they do not have to make any payments and they do not have any obligations. This is a charter of rights without any duties! The first and the final sentence of the charter are critical. They make the promise eternal and universal. By ordering Muslims to obey it until the Day of Judgment the charter again undermines any future attempts to revoke the privileges. These rights are inalienable.” In the year 631, Prophet Muhammad received a delegation of sixty Christians from Najran in the Prophet’s mosque in Medinah, allowed them to pray in the mosque, and concluded the “covenant to the Christians of Najran” treaty which granted them religious and administrative autonomy as citizens of the Islamic State. In 637, Islamic Caliph Omar ibn al–Khattab granted the similar “Covenant of Omar” to the Patriarch of Jerusalem Sophronius.
However, neither Islamophobians nor their terrorist Islamists have any interest but to dump these Islamic ideological covenants for the protection of Arab Christians. No Arab Christian fears for his life from his Muslim neighbor or his government, but he or she definitely fears these two protagonists, who are both foreign to his history and culture. No foreign protection of Arab Christians could match the protection and solidarity they received from their Muslim compatriots both in Iraq and Egypt following the bombings of a church in Baghdad on October 31 and a church in Alexandria on New Year Eve. In the latter case there were reports of Muslim human shields to protect the Christmas religious celebrations of Egyptian Christians, let alone the solidarity statements by both outlawed Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya and the Muslim Brotherhood and the thousands of police deployed for the same purpose, in a remarkable show of national unity and historic coexistence.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), scheduled to meet in the UAE on January 19, will discuss the situation of Christians in member states, according to Lebanon parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri. On this background, there are also reports that Egypt will ask the Arab League economic summit this month, to discuss foreign, and in particular western, interference in Arab Affairs. European offers of protection are already backlashing.
The only real threat to the existence of Arab Christians showed for the first time when the European colonialism first, then the U.S. imperialism, self–appointed western powers as their protectors. It is noteworthy that in both the Iraqi and Egyptian cases the native Christian Arabs are now paying the heavy price of the U.S. anti–Pan–Arabism of both late Jamal Abdul Nasser and Saddam Hussein. Their plight started with the forcing of pro– U.S. regimes in both countries.
To describe the latest attacks against Christians as a plan of “religious cleansing,” as President Sarkozy has done, suggests a persecution that doesn’t exist; this is “not the case in the Middle East at the moment,” it is “not supported by the wider community,” said Fiona McCallum of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, who is a specialist on the Christian communities in the Middle East, adding: “It’s important to also note that immigration takes place from the region from both Christians and Muslims as well.”
Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Bir Zeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.
By Daniel Masters, Isma’il Kaka and AbdurRahman R. Squires
Source: Islam Way
The word “Islam” is an Arabic word which means “submission to the will of God”. This word comes from the same root as the Arabic word “salam”, which means “peace”. As such, the religion of Islam teaches that in order to achieve true peace of mind and surety of heart, one must submit to God and live according to His Divinely revealed Law. The most important truth that God revealed to mankind is that there is nothing divine or worthy of being worshipped except for Almighty God, thus all human beings should submit to Him.
The word “Muslim” means one who submits to the will of God, regardless of their race, nationality or ethnic background. Being a Muslim entails willful submission and active obedience to God, and living in accordance with His message. Some people mistakenly believe that Islam is just a religion for Arabs, but nothing could be further from the truth. Not only are there converts to Islam in every corner of the world, especially in England and America, but by taking a look at the Muslim World from Bosnia to Nigeria, and from Indonesia to Morocco, one can clearly see that Muslims come from many various races, ethnic groups and nationalities. It is also interesting to note that in actuality, more than 80% of all Muslims are not Arabs – there are more Muslims in Indonesia than in the whole Arab World! So even though it is true that most Arabs are Muslims, the large majority of Muslims are not Arabs. However, anyone who submits completely to God and worships Him alone is a Muslim.
Continuity of the Message
Islam is not a new religion because “submission to the will of God”, i.e. Islam, has always been the only acceptable religion in the sight of God. For this reason, Islam is the true “natural religion”, and it is the same eternal message revealed through the ages to all of God’s prophets and messengers. Muslims believe that all of God’s prophets, which include Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, brought the same message of Pure Monotheism. For this reason, the Prophet Muhammad was not the founder of a new religion, as many people mistakenly think, but he was the Final Prophet of Islam. By revealing His final message to Muhammad, which is an eternal and universal message for all of mankind, God finally fulfilled the covenant that He made with Abraham, who was one of the earliest and greatest prophets. Suffice it to say that the way of Islam is the same as the way of the prophet Abraham, because both the Bible and the Qur’an portray Abraham as a towering example of someone who submitted himself completely to God and worshipped Him without intermediaries. Once this is realized, it should be clear that Islam has the most continuous and universal message of any religion, because all prophets and messengers were “Muslims”, i.e. those who submitted to God’s will, and they preached “Islam”, i.e. submission to the will of Almighty God.
The Oneness of God
The foundation of the Islamic faith is belief in the Oneness of Almighty God – the God of Abraham, Noah, Moses and Jesus. Islam teaches that a pure belief in One God is intuitive in human beings and thus fulfills the natural inclination of the soul. As such, Islam’s concept of God is straightforward, unambiguous and easy to understand. Islam teaches that the hearts, minds and souls of human beings are fitting receptacles for clear divine revelation, and that God’s revelations to man are not clouded by self-contradictory mysteries or irrational ideas. As such, Islam teaches that even though God cannot be fully comprehended and grasped by our finite human minds, He also does not expect us to accept absurd or demonstrably false beliefs about Him. According to the teachings of Islam, Almighty God is absolutely One and His Oneness should never be compromised by associating partners with Him – neither in worship nor in belief. Due to this, Muslims are required to maintain a direct relationship with God, and therefore all intermediaries are absolutely forbidden. From the Islamic standpoint, believing in the Oneness of God means to realize that all prayer and worship should be exclusively for God, and that He alone deserves such titles as “Lord” and “Savior”. Some religions, even though they believe in “One God”, do not make all of their worship and prayers for Him alone. Also, they also give the title of “Lord” to beings that are not All-Knowing, All-Powerful and Un-Changing – even according to their own scriptures. Suffice it to say that according to Islam, it is not enough that people believe that “God is One”, but they must actualize this belief by proper conduct. In short, in the Islamic concept of God, which is completely based on Divine Revelation, there is no ambiguity in divinity – God is God and man is man. Since God is the only Creator and continual Sustainer of the Universe, He is transcendent above His creation – the Creator and the creature never mix. Islam teaches that God has a unique nature and that He is free from gender, human weaknesses and beyond anything which human beings can imagine. The Qur’an teaches that the signs and proofs of God’s wisdom, power and existence are evident in the world around us. As such, God calls on man to ponder over the creation in order to build a better understanding of his Creator. Muslims believe that God is Loving, Compassionate and Merciful, and that He is concerned with the daily affairs of human beings. In this, Islam strikes a unique balance between false religious and philosophical extremes. Some religions and philosophies portray God as just an impersonal “Higher Power” who is uninterested, or unaware, of the life of each individual human. Other religions tend to give God human qualities and teach that He is present in His creation, by being incarnate in someone, something – or even everything. In Islam, however, Almighty God has clarified the truth by letting mankind know that He is “Compassionate”, “Merciful”, “Loving” and the “Answerer of Prayers”. But He has also emphasized strongly that “there is nothing like unto Him”, and that He is high above time, space and His creation. Finally, it should be mentioned that the God that Muslims worship is the same God that Jews and Christians worship – because there is only one God. It is unfortunate that some people mistakenly believe that Muslims worship a different God than Jews and Christians, and that “Allah” is just the “god of the Arabs”. This myth, which has been propagated by the enemies of Islam, is completely false since the word “Allah” is simply the Arabic name for Almighty God. It is the same word for God which is used by Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians. However, it should be clarified that even though Muslims worship the same God as Jews and Christians, their concept of Him differs somewhat from the beliefs of other religions – mainly because it is based completely on Divine Revelation from God. For example, Muslims reject the Christian belief that God is a Trinity, not only becaue the Qur’an rejects it, but also because if this was God’s true nature, He would have clearly revealed it to Abraham, Noah, Jesus and all of the other prophets.
The Arabic world “Al-Qur’an” literally means “the recitation”. When used in regards to Islam, the word Qur’an means God’s final message to mankind that was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. The Qu’ran, sometimes spelled Koran, is the literal word of God – as it clearly says time and time again. Unlike other sacred scriptures, the Qur’an has been perfectly preserved in both its words and meaning in a living language. The Qu’ran is a living miracle in the Arabic language; and is known to be inimitable in its style, form and spiritual impact. God’s final revelation to mankind, the Qur’an, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad over a period of 23 years. The Qur’an, in contrast to many other religious books, was always thought to be the Word of God by those who believed in it, i.e. it wasn’t something decreed by a religious council many years after being written. Also, the Qu’ran was recited publicly in front of both the Muslim and non-Muslim communities during the life of the Prophet Muhammad. The entire Qur’an was also completely written down in lifetime of the Prophet, and numerous companions of the Prophet memorized the entire Qur’an word-for-word as it was revealed. So unlike other scriptures, the Qur’an was always in the hands of the common believers, it was always thought to be God’s word and, due to wide-spread memorization, it was perfectly preserved. In regards to the teachings of the Qur’an – it is a universal scripture, and it is addressed to all of mankind, and not to a particular tribe or “chosen people”. The message that it brings is nothing new, but the same message of all of the prophets – submit to Almighty God and worship Him alone. As such, God’s revelation in the Qur’an focuses on teaching human beings the importance of believing in the Unity of God and framing their lives around the guidance which He has sent. Additionally, the Qur’an contains the stories of the previous prophets, such as Abraham, Noah, Moses and Jesus; as well as many commands and prohibitions from God. In modern times in which so many people are caught up in doubt, spiritual despair and “political correctness”, the Qur’anic teachings offer solutions to the emptiness of our lives and the turmoil that is gripping the world today. In short, the Qur’an is the book of guidance par excellence.
The Prophet Muhammad (May the Peace and Blessings of God be upon him)
Unlike the founders of many religions, the final prophet of Islam is a real documented and historical figure. He lived in the full light of history, and the most minute details of his life are known. Not only do Muslims have the complete text of God’s words that were revealed to Muhammad, but they have also preserved his sayings and teachings in what is called “hadith” literature. This having been said, it should be understood that Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad was only a man chosen by God, and that he is not divine in any way. In order to avoid the misguided wish to deify him, the Prophet Muhammad taught Muslims to refer to him as “God’s Messenger and His Slave”. The mission of the last and final prophet of God was to simply teach that “there is nothing divine or worthy of being worshipped except for Almighty God”, as well as being a living example of God’s revelation. In simple terms, God sent the revelation to Muhammad, who in turn taught it , preached it, lived it and put it into practice. In this way, Muhammad was more that just a “prophet” in the sense of many of the Biblical prophets, since he was also a statesman and ruler. He was a man who lived a humble life in the service of God, and established an all-encompassing religion and way of life by showing what it means to be an ideal friend, husband, teacher, ruler, warrior and judge. For this reason, Muslims follow him not for his own sake, but in obedience to God, because Muhammad not only showed us how to deal with our fellow human beings, but more importantly, he showed us how to relate to and worship God, worship Him in the only way pleasing to Him. Like other prophets, Muhammad faced a great deal of opposition and persecution during his mission. However, he was always patient and just, and he treated his enemies well. The results of his mission were very successful, and even though his mission started in one of the most backward and remotes places on earth, within a hundred years of the death of Muhammad, Islam had spread from Spain to China. The Prophet Muhammad was the greatest of all of God’s prophets, not because he had new doctrines or greater miracles, but because the results of his mission have brought more human beings into the pure and proper belief in the One True God than any other prophet.
The Islamic Way of Life
In the Holy Qur’an, God teaches human beings that they were created in order to worship Him, and that the basis of all true worship is God-consciousness. Since the teachings of Islam encompass all aspects of life and ethics, God-consciousness is encouraged in all human affairs. Islam makes it clear that all human acts are acts of worship if they are done for God alone and in accordance to His Divine Law. As such, worship in Islam is not limited to religious rituals. The teachings of Islam act as a mercy and a healing for the human soul, and such qualities as humility, sincerity, patience and charity are strongly encouraged. Additionally, Islam condemns pride and self-righteousness, since Almighty God is the only judge of human righteousness. The Islamic view of the nature of man is also realistic and well-balanced. Human beings are not believed to be inherently sinful, but are seen as equally capable of both good and evil. Islam also teaches that faith and action go hand-in-hand. God has given people free-will, and the measure of one’s faith is one’s deeds and actions. However, human beings have also been created weak and regularly fall into sin. This is the nature of the human being as created by God in His Wisdom, and it is not inherently “corrupt” or in need of repair. This is because the avenue of repentance is always open to all human beings, and Almighty God loves the repentant sinner more than one who does not sin at all. The true balance of an Islamic life is established by having a healthy fear of God as well as a sincere belief in His infinite Mercy. A life without fear of God leads to sin and disobedience, while believing that we have sinned so much that God will not possibly forgive us only leads to despair. In light of this, Islam teaches that: only the misguided despair of the Mercy of their Lord. Additionally, the Holy Qur’an, which was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, contains a great deal of teachings about the life hereafter and the Day of Judgment. Due to this, Muslims believe that all human beings will ultimately be judged by God for their beliefs and actions in their earthly lives. In judging human beings, Almighty God will be both Merciful and Just, and people will only be judged for what they were capable of. Suffice it to say that Islam teaches that life is a test, and that all human beings will be accountable before God. A sincere belief in the life hereafter is key to leading a well-balanced and moral life. Otherwise, life is viewed as an end in itself, which causes human beings to become more selfish, materialistic and immoral.
Islam for a Better Life
Islam teaches that true happiness can only being obtained by living a life full of God-consciousness and being satisfied with what God has given us. Additionally, true “freedom” is freedom from being controlled by our base human desires and being ruled by man-made ideologies. This stands in stark contrast to the view of many people in the modern world, who consider “freedom” to be the ability to satisfy all of their desires without inhibition. The clear and comprehensive guidance of Islam gives human-beings a well-defined purpose and direction in life. In addition to being members of the human-brotherhood of Islam, its well-balanced and practical teachings are a source of spiritual comfort, guidance and morality. A direct and clear relationship with Almighty God, as well as the sense of purpose and belonging that one feels as a Muslim, frees a person from the many worries of everyday life. In short, the Islamic way of life is pure and wholesome. It builds self-discipline and self-control through regular prayer and fasting, and frees human-beings from superstition and all sorts of racial, ethnic and national prejudices. By accepting to live a God-conscious life, and realizing that the only thing that distinguishes people in the sight of God is their consciousness of Him, a person’s true human dignity is realized.
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