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.InshAllah. last won the day on June 17 2014

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  1. Is Trump Going to Lie Our Way Into War With Iran? By MEHDI HASAN NOV. 29, 2017 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/29/opinion/is-trump-going-to-lie-our-way-into-war-with-iran.html Photo Mike Pompeo, the director of the C.I.A., at a Senate committee hearing in May. CreditChip Somodevilla/Getty Images A decade and a half ago, in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, President George W. Bush’s administration conjured up not only terrifying images of nuclear mushroom clouds but also of Saddam Hussein plotting with Osama bin Laden to attack the United States. Mr. Bush himself declared that Mr. Hussein “aids and protects terrorists, including members of Al Qaeda” while Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called links between Iraq and Al Qaeda “accurate and not debatable.” It wasn’t true, of course. But it helped make the case for war. That may be why a similar lie is getting trotted out again now, except this time the target is Iraq’s neighbor, Iran. On Oct. 13, in his statement decertifying the Iran nuclear deal, President Trump claimed that Tehran “provides assistance to Al Qaeda.” The following week, his C.I.A. chief, Mike Pompeo, went further: “It’s an open secret and not classified information that there have been relationships, there are connections,” Mr. Pompeo said at an event hosted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a neoconservative think tank. “There have been times the Iranians have worked alongside Al Qaeda.” On Nov. 1, the C.I.A. released a new batch of nearly 470,000 files recovered in the 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. But the agency did more than just release the documents to the public. It provided advance copies to the foundation’s online publication, Long War Journal. (The C.I.A. said it was common practice to distribute declassified documents to the news media and academic organizations on an embargoed basis and that the only agenda in releasing these files was “to enhance public understanding” of Al Qaeda.) Long War Journal homed in on a 19-page document by an unidentified Qaeda official who claimed that the Iranian government had offered “Saudi brothers” in Al Qaeda “everything they needed,” including money, arms and training in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon, “in exchange for striking American interests in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.” Yet the Iranian offer, admitted the official, was never accepted by Al Qaeda — if such an offer was in fact made. The timing of these latest claims from the president and his C.I.A. chief are hardly coincidental. Tensions in the Middle East are ramping up. America’s chief allies in the region, Saudi Arabia and Israel, are pushing even more aggressively than usual to confront Iran. With the Obama administration gone, they have found a soul mate in the White House. President Trump has staffed his administration with hawks who believe that the road to solving the Middle East’s problems runs through Tehran. Nikki Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, has accusedIran of trying to “hold the world hostage to its bad behavior.” Defense Secretary James Mattis once described the three biggest threats to American national security as “Iran, Iran, Iran.” A former State Department official who worked under Mr. Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, told me that the Trump administration is “obsessed” with Iran in the same way that the Reagan administration was obsessed with the Soviet Union. Inside the government, the former official added, “Iran, ISIS, Al Qaeda, are all mentioned in the same breath, as a menacing threat.” But Americans aren’t exactly itching for a new war. (A majority, in fact, believes the country would be better offstaying in the nuclear deal with Iran.) So how can the Trump administration build a case for a pre-emptive strike? Those claims of a nefarious alliance with Al Qaeda might help. The “bomb Iran” crowd has long pointed to the presence of senior Qaeda officials, including members of the Bin Laden family, inside Iran since late 2001. But Iran is far from being a base or command center for Al Qaeda. In 2001, after hundreds of Qaeda fighters crossed into Iran from Afghanistan fleeing American airstrikes, the Iranians deported most of them back to their countries of origin. In 2003, the Iranians offered to swap Qaeda members held under house arrest for members of Mujahedeen Khalq, a militant group that seeks to overthrow the Iranian government, who are being detained by American forces in Iraq. The relationship between the Salafi Sunnis of Al Qaeda and the Shiite clerics of Iran is “not one of alliance” but “highly antagonistic” and “largely based on indirect and unpleasant negotiations over the release of detained jihadis and their families, including members of Bin Ladin’s family,” according to a 2012 report by the Combating Terrorism Center at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The report said that Iran held onto senior Qaeda figures not to protect or assist them but to use them as bargaining chips with the United States and also as a deterrent against Qaeda attacks. When I asked terrorism experts what they made of the alleged Iran-Al Qaeda ties, they were unanimous in their incredulity. “I’ve never seen any evidence of active collaboration,” said Jason Burke, the author of an acclaimed book on Al Qaeda. Ali Soufan, a former F.B.I. agent and the author of the new book “Anatomy of Terror,” dismissed the coverage of the C.I.A.’s documents as an “oversimplification of the facts” and a result of “the Trump administration joining Saudi Arabia’s anti-Iran campaign.” Few would deny that Iran has sponsored groups listed by the United States as “foreign terrorist organizations,” such as Hamas and Hezbollah. But, say the experts, support for Al Qaeda is another matter altogether. As William McCants, a former American government adviser on extremism and author of a recent book on the Islamic State, put it, Iran and Al Qaeda “never embraced as lovers.” So far, none of the documents newly released by the C.I.A. contains a smoking gun. Have Iranian security forces and members of Al Qaeda had contacts, or done deals? Probably. Are there Qaeda figures still living in Iran? Almost definitely. Does that mean there’s an anti-American alliance between Iran and Al Qaeda? No. Mr. Trump, like Mr. Bush before him, is beating the drum for war in the Middle East. But he needs a pretext for an attack on a sovereign nation that, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, is complying with the terms of the nuclear deal. The American public fell for a false pretext in 2003 — and it cannot afford to do so again. Saddam Hussein was not allied with Al Qaeda; for all its faults, neither is the Iranian government. As Mr. Bush himself once famously tried, yet failed, to say: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) is the host of Al Jazeera English’s program “UpFront''
  2. homeopathy study / vision

    Agree its rubbish
  3. What if God was fictitious?

    You could have an infinite multiverse, that produces an infinite number of worlds, all of which are not life permitting. For a multiverse to be able to produce life permitting universes, it has to be fine-tuned. So the possibility of a multiverse does no refute the fine-tuning argument. It also doesnt explain the fine tuning of the world for discovery:
  4. The whole chain of cause and effect is sustained by Allah swt. It cannot exist for a second without His will وَمَا تَشَاءُونَ إِلَّا أَن يَشَاءَ اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ Takwir 29
  5. Women are superior to men- Sayyed Kamal AlHaidery

    I don't doubt that he will qualify it with conditions, expand upon, try and reconcile other texts with it, etc, so I am not saying that it is his final word. But if he were later to say that women aren't superior to men, then he would be contradicting himself. Maybe this isnt his final opinion, and maybe he will change his mind, but based on what he has said he believes that the Quran teaches that women are superior. I just cant see him saying 'actually the Quran doesnt say that women are better than men', after explicitly saying that it does. He may present a more naunced opinion, but cant deny the basic claim without contradiction. You are following his lectures more closely than I am, so please post anything that says otherwise.
  6. Women are superior to men- Sayyed Kamal AlHaidery

    I believe you are referring to this bit: وأنا مع هذا القول الثالث لان الآية بعد أن وجد أن أم مريم تحسرت لان هذا المقول خصوصاً قوله وليس الذكر كالأنثى إذا كان المقول أم مريم المفروض القضية تصير معكوسة إني وضعتها أنثى وليست الأنثى ماذا؟ لأنها ماذا تريد ذكراً حتى يخدم فالآن تحسرت وحزنت فلا معنى لان تقول وليس الذكر كالأنثى لابد أن تقول وليست الأنثى كالذكر لأني وضعتها أنثى He says the words 'the male is not like the female' are not from the mother of Mariam, and this is his opinion. He then gives some explanation why. He then goes on to say: ليس قولها الله اعترض هنا على من على أم مريم قال أين تذهبين ما لك كيف تحكمين أنتِ كنت تريدين ذكر ومن قال لكِ أن الذكر قيمته عند الله كالأنثى بل الأنثى أعظم من الذكر بمراتب فلمَ أنت متحسرة أنت مشتبهة متوهمة أن الأنثى ماذا؟ أقل من الذكر بل أن الأنثى أعظم ماذا؟ أعظم من الذكر ولهذا القرآن ماذا يقول؟ يقول وليس الذكر ماذا؟ كالأنثى Allah objects to those who hold Mariam's mother's view (regarding the inferiority of women), saying: ... the female is greater than the male by stations, so why are you upset? You are upset and confused that the female is less than the male. Rather, the female is greater than the male, and for this reason the Qur'an says 'the male is not like the female'. Then he mentions the narrations about blessings being in women. Then objects to the claim that the aya is specifically restricted to Mariam. Then says that you should be proud if you are created a female (provided you are pious). Then he criticizes people who devalue his opinion, basically confirming what he said previously was his opinion لا يفتخر وكذلك هنا فإذن المرأة ينبغي إذا وجد الإنسان وخلق امرأة لابد أن تفتخر أنها ماذا؟ أنها امرأة وأنها أنثى الآن انظروا هذه الثقافة التي يقول بحسب فهمي ومن حق الآخر يقول سيدنا هذا فهمك أقول بلي أنت الذي تقوله أيضاً ليس فهمك لماذا فهمك باءك تجر وباءنا لا تجر؟!
  7. Women are superior to men- Sayyed Kamal AlHaidery

    Salam brother, Its pretty clear he's not merely giving an alternative possible interpretation, but his own interpretation. For example, when it comes to the second argument, he explicitly says that his opinion is that the relevant bit of the aya is parenthetical, and not the words of Mariam's {a} mum. And then he goes on to argue that the wording implies that women are superior to men. Then he says that because of this, if a human is created a woman, then they should be proud of this. And straight after this he says 'this is my understanding' and that others are entitled to their own understanding. Then in the next video, he refutes the claim that the relevant part of the aya is restricted to Mariam only, and says that the context doesnt restrict the generality of the Aya and applies to all women (provided they are pious etc) Admittedly I have only watched 2 of the videos, so if there is something elsewhere that casts a different light on what he said please let me know. Although I am not happy with some of the things he has said in the past, I have a lot of respect for Sayid Kamal and for his knowledge and intellectual approach. I am glad he is doing these bahth kharij talks. This is really good brother, I pray you are successful. Please let us know if you manage to speak to him and what his response is.
  8. He argues that according to the Quran, women are superior to men. In this talk he isnt concerned with ahadith, although he does very briefly mention them. He gives 2 Quranic arguments that women are better than men. The first is based on Surah Thuha and Surah Kawthar. He says in Surah 93:5 Allah swt promises to give something to the Prophet to make him well-pleased. This is the only place that Allah swt is seeking the pleasure of the Prophet, whereas the guiding principle is usually opposite - that the Prophet and everyone else ought to be seeking the pleasure of Allah. Allah swt makes the Prophet well-pleased by giving him Kawthar, which is a progeny from Fatima [a] - a female. Thats the gist that I understood, but I dont really get how that shows the superiority of women over men. The second argument is more persuasive, although ultimately Im not convinced. It is based on the verse in Surah Aal-Imran: فَلَمَّا وَضَعَتْهَا قَالَتْ رَبِّ إِنِّي وَضَعْتُهَا أُنْثَىٰ وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا وَضَعَتْ وَلَيْسَ الذَّكَرُ كَالْأُنْثَىٰ ۖ وَإِنِّي سَمَّيْتُهَا مَرْيَمَ وَإِنِّي أُعِيذُهَا بِكَ وَذُرِّيَّتَهَا مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ {36} [3:36] So when she brought forth, she said: My Lord! Surely I have brought it forth a female-- and Allah knew best what she brought forth, and the male is not like the female --, and I have named it Mariam, and I commend her and her offspring into Thy protection from the accursed Shaitan. The bit I have underlined above is not the mother of Mariam talking - it is a parenthetical sentence according to Sayid Kamal. He argues that 'the male is not like the female' shows that women are superior (as long as they meet the conditions of piety etc). When the mother of Mariam gives birth to Mariam, she is saddened that her child is a girl. This is because girls were seen to be inferior to boys - women inferior to men. You can imagine her thinking 'women arent like men' ie not as good as men. But Allah swt refutes this by saying the opposite: Men are not like women, i.e. men arent as great as women. In other words: you are saddened because women are seen to be inferior to men, but in fact they are better than men. Ultimately Im not convinced, not because I know he's wrong about the verse, but because there seem to be multiple ways to read the verse, and I'm not convinced that his way of reading it is the correct one. I said earlier that his focus was on the Quran and not on hadith, but he does briefly mention ahadith which seem to place women beneath men in status, e.g. 'women are deficient in intellect'. Sayyid Kamal says that its the cultural bias of people that makes them focus on these ahadith, but ignore other ahadith that seem to imply the superiority of women. He mentions that there are ahadith that say blessings are in women specifically. He doesnt quote the ahadith but says they are many. The implication is that this makes women superior, because they have this great quality essentially or perhaps more readily. He's probably the first Marji' or Ayatollah, or even famous Muslim scholar to say that women are greater than men.
  9. Qur'an on Racism

    وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافُ أَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَأَلْوَانِكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِلْعَالِمِينَ And one of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your tongues and colours; most surely there are signs in this for people of knowledge. [Surah 30, verse 22] According to this verse the diversity of colours of people is a good thing - its one of the signs of God. I can imagine a black person 1400 years ago hearing this, having been told his whole life that he was inferior because of the colour of his skin, and now realising that differences in colours is a beautiful thing in Islam, and one of the many sign of Allah swt. It must have been a very liberating thing to grasp.
  10. Hamza Yusuf @ 14:50 Alvin Plantinga @ 1hr 25:20
  11. is circumcision still necessary ?

    Circumcision reduces the risk STDs including HIV, and reduces the risk of urinary tract infections (which kill huge numbers every year), as well removing the risk of balanitis, phimosis and paraphimosis, This is why the prestigious American Academy of Pediatrics recommended newborn circumcision after a review of the evidence: After a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence, the American Academy of Pediatrics found the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks The American Academy of Pediatrics If I wasn't Muslim I would still circumcise my children.
  12. Ammar Nakshawani on sex slaves

    With regards to Islam's approach to slavery, here are some possibilities (but these arent exhaustive) 1. Islam actively tried to stop slavery (through various religious injunctions) because Islam viewed slavery as intrinsically immoral 2. Islam encouraged the abolition of slavery (through encouraging emancipation, various injunctions etc) because Islam viewed slavery as generally immoral 3. Islam encouraged the abolition of slavery because Islam viewed emancipation to be better than slavery (although the latter was not necessarily immoral given the context of 7th century Arabia) 4. Islam was indifferent vis a vis slavery and emancipation 5. Islam was pro-slavery as slavery was good given the context of 7th century Arabia Notice that option 1 to 3 are all on the side of anti-slavery / pro-emancipation, but to different extents. Personally I believe a good case can be made that Islam was pro-emancipation, as freeing slaves is something encouraged in Islam. It doesnt follow from this that something like (1) is true however.
  13. The truth is that science has a bad reputation when it comes to accepting new ideas. As scientists, we like to think we are calm, objective, unbiased champions of the evidence. But if the evidence changes the paradigm, it often squanders the life's work of many proud people. This is just as true today as it was back in 1906 ... Scientists are not the paragons of mutual camaraderie we might imagine them to be – all hell-bent on uniting under one banner to seek the truth. They are human. Big intellects bring big egos. In Pursuit of Memory by Joseph Jebelli
  14. What's killing us

    From: http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2017/10/whats_killing_u.html What's killing us? I made the following graph. I include the top ten causes of death in the U.S., plus homicide and illegal drug overdoses, because the latter two are actually discussed in political discourse. Observations: 1. The top causes of death almost never appear in political discourse or discussions of social problems. They're almost all diseases, and there is almost no debate about what should be done about them. This is despite that they are killing vastly more people than even the most destructive of the social problems that we do talk about. (Illegal drugs account for 0.7% of the death rate; murder, about 0.6%.) 2. This is not because there is nothing to be done about the leading causes of death. Changes in diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes can make very large differences to your risk of heart disease, cancer, and other major diseases, and this is well-known. 3. It's also not because it's uncontroversial what we should do about them, or because everybody already knows. The government could, for example, try to discourage tobacco smoking, alcohol use, and overeating, and encourage exercise. There are many ways this could be attempted. Perhaps the government could spend more money on trying to cure the leading diseases. There obviously are policies that could attempt to address these problems, and it would certainly not be uncontroversial which ones, if any, should be adopted. Those who support social engineering by the government might be expected to be campaigning for the government to address the things that are killing most of us. 4. Most of these leading killers are themselves mainly caused by old age. If "Old Age" were a category, it would be causing by far the majority of deaths. Again, it's not the case that nothing could be done about this. We could be doing much more medical research on aging. 5. It's also not that we just don't care about diseases. *Some* diseases are treated as political issues, such that there are activists campaigning for more attention and more money to cure them. There are AIDS activists, but there aren't any nephritis activists. There are breast cancer walks, but there aren't any colon cancer walks. 6. Hypothesis: We don't much care about the good of society. Refinement: Love of the social good is not the main motivation for (i) political action, and (ii) political discourse. We don't talk about what's good for society because we want to help our fellow humans. We talk about society because we want to align ourselves with a chosen group, to signal that alignment to others, and to tell a story about who we are. There are AIDS activists because there are people who want to express sympathy for gays, to align themselves against conservatives, and thereby to express "who they are". There are no nephritis activists, because there's no salient group you align yourself with (kidney disease sufferers?) by advocating for nephritis research, there's no group you thereby align yourself *against*, and you don't tell any story about what kind of person you are. In conclusion, this sucks. Because we actually have real problems that require attention. If we won't pay attention to a problem just because it kills a million people, but we need it also to invoke some ideological feeling of righteousness, then the biggest problems will continue to kill us. And by the way, the smaller problems that we actually pay attention to probably won't be solved either, because all our 'solutions' will be designed to flatter us and express our ideologies, rather than to actually solve the problems. *** My Take: He has a point. But he overstates it. We care about drug-related deaths not just as a cause of premature death, but because drugs ruin lives. And as someone points out in the comments, the age at which death occurs is also relevant. These criticisms notwithstanding, he has a point. And I think we can make the same argument if we focus on violent deaths. Why do 'muslim' terrorism related deaths get far more media attention than other violent crime related deaths? Its because many people in the West are aligned with groups such as evangelicals, zionists, anti-religion groups, and focusing on muslim-related violence expresses alignment with these groups, and may also give these groups a sense of legitimacy, as well as helping further their goals. It's not because these groups care about the good of society.
  15. Our view on the omnipotence paradox

    Salam From : A Commentary on Theistic Arguments by Ayatollah Jawadi Amuli