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In the Name of God بسم الله

thepeacemaker

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Everything posted by thepeacemaker

  1. People do bizarre things in desperation. There are Shia women I know who eat mud (from Karbala) with the hopes of conceiving a baby. Of course, they even have hadeeth to support the bizarre behavior. When one of our guests at our house went into sujood during salat, we heard crackling sounds, like a squirrel gnawing on wood. Later we noticed our turbahs starting to vanish. It was so comical I couldn't make stuff up like that even if I tried. One factor that kind'a skews the numbers in regards to Muslims converting to something else is the unique stance of Islam (or is it Muslims' belief) in killing a Muslim who converts to a different religion so it's not a fair comparison.
  2. Wa'alaykum Salam V.B. ...dude you sound like one Adam-bezaar troubled soul ...because the above is more of a rant (comical nonetheless) than a serious desire to understand the ground realities. Let me illustrate by a parable. Bacteria is present everywhere - on a dinner plate as well as on the floor but that does not mean we eat off the floor. Same way, crime/corruption/problems exist in developed countries as well as in Pakistan but the two do not compare. There is nothing embarrassing with admitting it nor is it something to be ashamed of because no single person can take credit or blame for the overall good or bad that exists in any country. No one chooses the country of their birth. So I would advice you that instead of wasting your time trying to pull others down, try to lift yourself and your country up. Contribute with whatever skills you have for the betterment of your fellow citizens. It's not about where we start, it's how far we progress. In case you're still wondering what the crime rate in the US is like, here is a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_cities_by_crime_rate Ranking based on 'violent crime' [Rank|City|State|Population|ViolentCrimePer100000People]: 1 Detroit Michigan 860,971 2,289 2 St. Louis Missouri 348,197 2,198 3 Memphis Tennessee 669,264 1,951 4 Oakland California 396,541 1,918 5 Baltimore Maryland 624,237 1,631 6 Atlanta Georgia 497,290 1,624 7 Nashville Tennessee 564,169 1,509 8 Minneapolis Minnesota 371,240 1,503 9 Miami Florida 410,252 1,492 10 Philadelphia Pennsylvania 1,435,533 1,475 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_murder_rate As of 2004, global homicide rate was 7.6 homicides per 100,000. Pakistan was 6.86/100,000 and US was 5.80/100,000.
  3. Are you really serious in comparing safety (or for that matter anything) in Pakistan with that of US and UK? Are you getting your facts about US and UK from Urdu majalis? As for comparisons with India, both the countries are in a fairly bad state currently, but it does not take a social scientist or a news analyst to figure which one of the two is going in the wrong direction. The first step in solving a problem is acknowledging the problem. Fyi, NY is nowhere close to having the highest crime rates in the US, let alone the world. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_cities_by_crime_rate
  4. The uncertainty exists as far as we're concerned because science has not reached the point where that "uncertainty" can be measured or explained. But we have to start with the premise that all particles follow established rules. So regardless if the movement is measurable, we can deduce that, based on science, the state of the universe 1 second later will depend on its state a second ago. Does that not make sense?
  5. [mod, you deleted the wrong post. Here is the original post] Eid-e-Shabaan Mubarak to all. Last night we visited our local masjid to celebrate the birth of our twelfth Imam (as). The speaker was a visiting Maulana from Australia who had excellent oratory skills. In addition to sharing many noteworthy hadeeth and teachings, he stressed on three specific conditions, as per hadeeth, that would indicate the arrival of the Imam (as). First, the number of deaths as a result of violence will reach its peak. He cited the events in Iraq and Afghanistan as evidence of this condition. Next, livelihood would be very scarce and he used the recession and the �credit crunch� as examples. And the third condition would involve widespread death due to previously unknown diseases and used the rapid spreading of swine flu as an example. He said that this was possibly the first 15th Shabaan in our lifetimes when all three conditions have converged, and this is all the more reason to pray more fervently for the zuhoor of the Imam (as). Of course, being an effective speaker, his dire and sobering analysis of our seemingly last days had a profound impact on the crowd so the intensity of our naareys and duas reached a fever pitch. There was one minor problem though. The Maulana was wrong on all three counts. Harvard Professor and psychologist Steven Pinker charts the historical decline of violence and shows that despite the current violence, we are living in the most peaceful time in our species' existence. The statistical probability of a person dying as a result of violence is at its lowest. With regards to poverty, researchers have observed a clear decline in the percentage of people living in poverty and hunger from 1981 to the present. In the current times, governments and philanthropic organizations around the world are heavily contributing towards eradicating hunger, when in contrast, entire civilizations (e.g. Mayas, Mohenjodaro) in the past would vanish as a result of drought and starvation. World food production is at its highest, thanks to advancements in agricultural technologies. And lastly, with regards to diseases, the human beings of today on average have the highest life expectancy in recorded history as a result of better medical care and safer work environments. A total of 1100 people have died as a result of swine flu across the globe since it emerged in April, which doesn't really qualify as a lethal epidemic. So, in conclusion, if the criteria for our Imam (as) reappearing is to encounter violence, health, or economic upheaval on a global scale then we�ll have to wait a bit longer because the trends are going in the other direction. Dr. Steven Pinker - Short presentation on the �history of violence� http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_...f_violence.html Absolute Poverty Measures for the Developing World, 1981-2004 http://www-wds.worldbank.org/servlet/WDSCo...PDF/wps4211.pdf 1100 swine flu deaths worldwide http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/08/05/swine...aths/index.html End Times in Various Religions http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/End_time
  6. To make an accurate assessment, not only does one have to live in the US (many Muslims do) but one has to receive at least some level of education in US history and political science. Most immigrant Muslims in the US don't hence the widespread misconceptions and prejudices. I do not think the two cases even remotely compare because the Romans' control over their vast empire was through force. In the case of the US, none of its states would secede even if we had a vote/referendum in all 50 of them. US, as a country, derives its strength from its people who have among the highest literacy rates, have the best educational institutions, are extremely productive and innovative, and enjoy unprecedented freedoms and unparalleled rights. None of that is about to change anytime soon. Ironically, as far as the foreign policy is concerned, if their ill advised ventures come to an end, it'll actually make the US stronger.
  7. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8...=rss-topstories Pakistan: Who's Attacking the Christians? Wednesday, Aug. 05, 2009 By Omar Waraich / Gojra The intruders wore masks and carried guns. They went door to door, through the narrow and dusty alleyways, asking if there were any Christians inside. When the terrified faces inside replied yes, they poured chemicals on the small, redbrick homes of Episcopalians and Evangelicals, setting them ablaze. In some cases, they didn't bother with the question. Instead, they opened fire and hurled rocks, forcing families to flee in a panic � moments before fresh flames consumed their homes as well. When the attackers were done, nine people had been killed and 45 homes lay smoldering and destroyed in the clustered Christian colony in Gojra, a town in central Punjab, marking the worst anti-Christian violence Pakistan has seen in recent years. A tearful woman crouches over rubble outside the attackers' first target. "Look what they have done to our church," says Shahida William, the wife of the pastor, pointing at the deeply blackened one-room Faith Bible Church. Inside, bricks are strewn across the floor. The stinging smell of the chemicals used still hangs in the air. A few houses down, Ethel Gill points to nine bullet holes that have been punched into the top story of her home. "They threw rocks and bricks at us. Then they opened fire. We cowered for safety and ran away, jumping over roofs of other houses. We eventually found sanctuary in a church." She shows the remains of her Urdu language Bible: "Look at our holy book. The pages are all burnt. Is this not desecration?" (See pictures of the ethnic rivalries that lie beneath the surface of Pakistan.) The roots of the attack lie in Korian, a village five miles away from Gojra. There, a Christian family was celebrating a wedding on July 28 when, somehow, a rumor spread alleging that the revelers had torn the pages of the Quran and thrown them in the air. No evidence has emerged that this actually happened. But the mere suggestion appeared to set off days of rioting. Christian homes in Korian were torched, before the violence spread to Gojra. Last Friday, Christian residents say, the preacher at a nearby mosque issued a fiery sermon inciting violence against them. The police visited the Christian community later that night, warning them of possible violence the next day. Some left that very night. But it appears others didn't receive the warning, and were present when thousands of Muslim protesters charged through the town. Clashes ensued between the advancing Muslim crowd and the much smaller group of Christians trying to push them back. The police were caught in the middle for some time, before they, for reasons that remain unclear, melted away. Some members of the Christian community allege that the police stood by as a group of armed men mounted their attack. Paramilitary forces were dispatched on Sunday, but their arrival came too late, residents say. Authorities and human rights groups now suspect that the attackers belonged to the Sipah-e-Sahaba, a sectarian militant group from the nearby town of Jhang. A senior member, Qari Saifullah, served as Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud's righthand man and trained scores of suicide bombers. The group's even more vicious offshoot, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, is considered al-Qaeda's front in Pakistan. The enduring and undisturbed presence of Sipah-e-Sahaba and other militant groups in central and southern Punjab has led many analysts to predict that the militants will open up their next front here. Already, the Pakistan army has said that "splinter groups" from Jaish-e-Mohammad have been fighting alongside the Taliban in Swat. And Punjab is also home to front groups of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the outlawed militant group that was blamed for last November's Mumbai massacre. (See pictures of the long journey of the lone surviving Mumbai gunman.) The Gojra tragedy has sparked outrage across Pakistan. The government has ordered a judicial commission to investigate what happened and parliament passed a unanimous resolution condemning the violence. Islamabad's gestures, however, have done little to assure Pakistan's estimated 3 million Christians, who are 60% Catholic, 40% Protestant (the second largest religious minority after Hindus). Many now question whether they can remain safe in a country that has long neglected them, and continues to have blasphemy laws that have been repeatedly exploited by violent extremists. "This isn't the first time that this has happened," says Pastor William, who heads the burnt one-room church. Similar episodes of broke out in the towns of Shantinagar in 1997, and Shangla Hill in 2005. Just last month, accusations of blasphemy triggered violence in four different towns in Punjab. On Tuesday, two people were killed in the town of Muridke after a similar accusation was raised. In each case, says Pastor William, blasphemy laws are used as a pretext for attacks on religious minorities. Anger is now spreading in Pakistan's Christian community. On Wednesday, riots broke out in Lahore's Youhanabad neighborhood, where stick-wielding Christian protestors smashed buses and property. Pakistan's blasphemy laws date back to the colonial era. The late military dictator Gen. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq introduced a further, harsher clause as part of his sweeping "Islamization" program. Human rights groups have long appealed to successive government to repeal or amend these laws. The current ruling party, the Pakistan People's Party, vowed to do so in its election manifesto. As yet, nothing has been done. But presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar says that the Gojra tragedy "has increased the urgency of revisiting these laws".
  8. There is no evidence that the necktie is a symbol of the cross. Not sure why would a mujtahid issue fatwas about cultural practices, even with regards to his own country, if those practices have no religious dimension. ---------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necktie Origins The necktie can be traced back to the time of the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) when Croatian mercenaries from the Military Frontier in French service, wearing their traditional small, knotted neckerchiefs, aroused the interest of the Parisians.[1] Due to the slight difference between the Croatian word for Croats, "Hrvati", and the French word, "Croates", the garment gained the name "Cravat". The new article of clothing started a fashion craze in Europe where both men and women wore pieces of fabric around their necks. In the late seventeenth century, the men wore lace cravats that took a large amount of time and effort to arrange. These cravats were often tied in place by cravat strings, arranged neatly and tied in a bow.
  9. A good marriage is the best thing in the world and a bad marriage is the worst thing that can happen to a person. The key is to fully understand what you're getting into. It is shocking to see how many youth marry without discussing important issues with their prospective spouses. For anyone planning marriage, I would seriously recommend that both sides fill out a questionnaire (something like in eharmony.com) and see if your characters are compatible ...else Allah hi Maalik! In many cases where the marriage has turned really sour (verbal abuse, etc) it is better to leave, if you can afford it, than subject yourself and the children to the abuse, as the effects will last for generations.
  10. A friend of mine shared an interesting observation with me about predestination. Here was his analysis: "Let's say we're playing a game of pool. A fraction of a moment after the stick hits the cue ball, we can theoretically calculate the trajectory of the cue ball, how it is going to impact the 10 balls, what direction exactly each of those balls will go, etc till everything comes to rest. In other words, right after the very first impact, everything is destined to follow paths based on scientific principles." "Now let's apply this analogy to the big bang billions of years ago at the atomic level when the entire universe was one unit of mass. Right after the moment of the big bang, one can at least in theory, predict the position of the atom at T+1 seconds. And pushing this idea forward, we can predict the trajectory of the atoms to infinity. This leads to the conclusion that all atoms in the universe including those that compose human beings are simply following trajectories based on established principles of science so in theory the future is predictable and we're simply just a result of that initial big bang." I found this idea interesting. Any thoughts from resident philosophers on here?
  11. Why is it that all the aliens are found in the US and all the Jinns are found in India/Pakistan?? :huh:
  12. Why do you think 1,000,000,000 Sunni Muslims would gladly fall in line behind a Shia Imam? Most Muslims simply looked the other way as eleven previous Imams were killed. Were those eleven Imams weaker than the twelfth that they could not even conquer their own city let alone the whole world as you say the twelfth Imam would do? Please explain.
  13. Ouch! that was below the belt. :) ...no seriously, comparing honesty and integrity between Western countries and Middle Eastern/South Asian countries when it comes to the media or even the general public interactions is absurd. There is a reason the latter are collectively termed "developing" or "third world" countries, and why we have millions of Muslims thronging to Western embassies for visas.
  14. If the people of Muslim countries really wanted to get rid of their corrupt leaders no other country could stop that from happening. Right.... because Shia Muslims can practice their cultural, religious, and social activities with utmost freedom in Muslim countries. As for people in Shia countries, they're busy going after other minorities.
  15. You are correct. According to Ayatullah Sistani's rulings, it is better to pray the five salat on their proper times and not combine them.
  16. Why is it that the only Muslims are the ones who seem to complain and blame? Many other countries (even Japan that was viciously nuclear bombed) have moved on, developed themselves, and are thriving. Even US neighbors Mexico and natural-resource-rich Canada curiously never have complaints about US taking over them and other such baloney. Answer is simple - Muslim dictators like to fool their masses by pointing fingers left and right so they have an excuse to stay in power. The day Muslim masses stop worshiping their leaders and start holding them accountable their condition will improve.
  17. Memorable quote from Shiachat: "you're the one who is killing you." ...we should start a collection. :)
  18. Unlike the Shias, most Sunni Muslims do not consider it obligatory.
  19. It is allowed if you follow the rulings of Ayt Fadhlullah: http://english.bayynat.org.lb/QA/qa.aspx?id=122 Q: I know that Sayyed Fadlullah deemed it permissible for a man to shave his beard, but I want to leave my beard because it is one of the Prophet’s traditions. What should I do in this case? 9/15/2006 1:38:26 PM A: Although we deemed it permissible to shave one’s beard, it is Ahwat Istihbaban (recommendable precaution) for the pious person not to shave it because, nowadays, it is said to be a religious symbol.
  20. Asking whether suicide bombing is a sin or a crime is like asking whether money is bad. The answer is that it depends. Suicide bombing involves knowingly killing one's self in the process of killing someone else. When non-Muslims ask me about it, I cite an example from popular culture - the movie Independence Day - which has aliens taking over the planet earth. During the climax, the missile launcher of a drunk pilot's F16 gets locked. So he takes his plane and rams it into the alien flying saucer thereby saving humankind. So the question whether suicide bombing is a sin or not is irrelevant. The real question is whether the target of the attack is legitimate, regardless of one dies in the process or not. Frankly, if I were flying an aircraft loaded with bombs and if the best chance to stop an incoming enemy navy ship was to ram into it, then I probably would, most people would (of course I would take out a serious life insurance policy before hand). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_Day_(film) Randy Quaid as Russell Casse: A widowed, alcoholic crop duster and veteran Vietnam War pilot who claims to have been an alien abductee ten years prior to the events of the film. He struggles to care for his three children. At the end of the film, he sacrifices himself to destroy an alien destroyer, gaining the admiration of his eldest son, who previously held little respect for him.
  21. Part of the solution is to frame the problem in a positive way. At the ground level, debating over long term global warming trends would be less effective than discussing the effects of pollution, destruction of finite resources, and permanent loss of species. No one debates the negative effects of cars, factories, etc burning fossil fuels, and the need for the average citizens to be less wasteful, and that is the message that should be highlighted. And heavens knows the Middle East would be better off when the oil runs out and people start relying on what is between their ears and not what is under their feet.
  22. Traditional style Arabic calligraphy is very attractive however I feel that its time has passed and has been done to death. In recent times, I've seen artists taking a more modern abstract approach to Arabic calligraphy. Using computer graphics, you can achieve amazing results as seen in the links below and it is not very hard to learn nor is it expensive. I think making fine art (2D, 3D) is not a problem as long as it does not involve indecent subjects. However, some Shia scholars strangely enough still prohibit making of 3D objects. You can see these link for inspiration: http://www.sakkal.com/CalligArtIntro.html http://www.sakkal.com/ArtArabicCalligraphy.html
  23. The solution is not eliminating differences (that is never going to happen) rather it is to learn to live with differences. If some Sunnis think Shias are kafir, it's their right to think that. And it is the right of any Shia to do nazr or whatever for any reason including celebrating Muawiya's death (if that is what they want to do).
  24. The word Barzakh is translated as 'partition', so it's not really a physical place but some sort of a barrier ...perhaps like a time warp door in sci-fi movies. Regardless, it's not very useful fretting over the details since right after the moment of death we'll be beyond the point of making amends anyway. Surah Al Muminoon 023.99-103: (In Falsehood will they be) Until, when death comes to one of them, he says: "O my Lord! send me back (to life),- "In order that I may work righteousness in the things I neglected." - "By no means! It is but a word he says."- Before them is a Partition till the Day they are raised up. Then when the Trumpet is blown, there will be no more relationships between them that Day, nor will one ask after another! Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy,- they will attain salvation: But those whose balance is light, will be those who have lost their souls, in Hell will they abide.
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