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nor21

Christian war/crusades on islam

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(bismillah)

i have come across this and it basically just shocked me to see this:

it really reminded me of this : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crusade

History just seems to repeat itself

any comments on it appreciated

Those who do not learn from their past are destined to repeat it.

Are Muslims not also accused of wanting to take over the world in religion?

In defence of my neighbours to the south...They know that they are the greatest people in the world and know it all the way to their state line, (which most have never crossed). Most also believe in God...(the one George talked about).They are the most geographically inept people in the world, and some still think the "Middle East" is somewhere between Little rock, and Memphis. In school they are taught the grand and glorious victories of the US of A, and are never taught world history.

I have talked with people from all over, and most Europeans will say, "Oh yeah, Calgary, just inside the rockey mountains in Canada.

Americans will say, "where?" I'll say in Canada, they say "where?", I say North of the 49th parallel, they say "what?" Then I tell them I have to go tan some new hide to make straps for the dog sled, and they say Okay...<--- I only used that line once. I have engaged in conversations about waterproof keyboards because in the summer our igloos melt all over them tho.

Are they radical? If you do the drive from Little rock, Arkansas to Memphis Tennesse you'll see bullet holes in every road sign.

Ignorance is not evil, it's just ignorance. The general population believes "Muslim" is evil. It's what they've been taught.

They honestly feel in their heart what they are doing in Iraq is best for the people.

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(salam)

Oh no, they're gonna convert all the Iraqians and Iranistanis! They've foiled our satanic demonic plans to kill everyone, including ourselves!

To the escalade!

Sorry, I should have broken the news to you in softer tones. You have an Escalade? Should you not be using a Hummer?

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(salam)

Lol, no, I do not have an Escalade. But, it would be a good way to escape once the missionaries find out about the evil plans of the anti-Christ (which is none other than me according to some I've run into).

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Are Muslims not also accused of wanting to take over the world in religion?

Political pluralism and religious pluralism are two different things. The former should be encouraged, the latter should be rejected.

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(salam)

The political goal of Islam is not to force everybody into our religion, but rather give God and His Law supremacy over all peoples. This is why Christians and Jews living in Muslim lands (for the most part at least) were not forced into Islam, but rather their rights and religious practices were protected and even encouraged.

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Shia Engineer wrote: Political pluralism and religious pluralism are two different things. The former should be encouraged, the latter should be rejected.

Could you define for us what you mean by "religious pluralism"?

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Shia Engineer wrote: Political pluralism and religious pluralism are two different things. The former should be encouraged, the latter should be rejected.

Could you define for us what you mean by "religious pluralism"?

Religious pluralism is kind of a "all paths lead to God" approach, and that all religions are all equally valid reflections of reality. This of course must be rejected, and as Muslims we have to stand firm that Islam is the one and only right path, and nothing else. Political pluralism on the other hand is respect for people of other faiths, and although we reject their faith system as invalid, we nonetheless respect their right of freely practicing what they wish, in addition to all of us working together on common goals.

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Those who do not learn from their past are destined to repeat it.

Are Muslims not also accused of wanting to take over the world in religion?

In defence of my neighbours to the south...They know that they are the greatest people in the world and know it all the way to their state line, (which most have never crossed). Most also believe in God...(the one George talked about).They are the most geographically inept people in the world, and some still think the "Middle East" is somewhere between Little rock, and Memphis. In school they are taught the grand and glorious victories of the US of A, and are never taught world history.

I have talked with people from all over, and most Europeans will say, "Oh yeah, Calgary, just inside the rockey mountains in Canada.

Americans will say, "where?" I'll say in Canada, they say "where?", I say North of the 49th parallel, they say "what?" Then I tell them I have to go tan some new hide to make straps for the dog sled, and they say Okay...<--- I only used that line once. I have engaged in conversations about waterproof keyboards because in the summer our igloos melt all over them tho.

Are they radical? If you do the drive from Little rock, Arkansas to Memphis Tennesse you'll see bullet holes in every road sign.

Ignorance is not evil, it's just ignorance. The general population believes "Muslim" is evil. It's what they've been taught.

They honestly feel in their heart what they are doing in Iraq is best for the people.

I spent a fortnight up there one weekend and actually saw the grass grow. We are not as ignorant down here as some insecure folks in the Great White think we are. We are taught world history all the way back to the begining when Columbus stumbled on our shores in Cape Cod. I know what I am talking about.

Peace

Satyaban

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I spent a fortnight up there one weekend and actually saw the grass grow. We are not as ignorant down here as some insecure folks in the Great White think we are. We are taught world history all the way back to the begining when Columbus stumbled on our shores in Cape Cod. I know what I am talking about.

Peace

Satyaban

Lol, you must have visited Saskatchewan. That's where you can tie your steering wheel to your gas pedal and set an alarm clock for the estimated next gas station. That's our flat lands, you can watch your dog run away from home for three days.

I was in the Dallas airport when one of the security guards asked a fellow where he came from. The fellow told him Saskatoon Saskatchewan. The guard went back to his partner and said "I don't know, he doesn't speak english"

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I spent a fortnight up there one weekend and actually saw the grass grow. We are not as ignorant down here as some insecure folks in the Great White think we are. We are taught world history all the way back to the begining when Columbus stumbled on our shores in Cape Cod. I know what I am talking about.

Peace

Satyaban

Sssh, don't spoil their fun. My family are all from up north and every time we visit, we're subjected to ridicule, criticism and complaints from Canadians about their neighbors to the south. I met this one guy from Vancouver Island who ranted on about his hatred for Americans. I wondered where this hatred came from and supposed that at some point in his life he must have had a bad experience in the US. I let him vent and asked him when was his last visit to the States. Imagine my surprise when he informed me that he had never visited the US! How does one enter a dialogue with someone like that? I told him I hoped he felt better after getting that load off his chest and wished him a wonderful day and left.

Americans should be more educated about Canada than they are but, sadly, it's not due to ignorance, it's just that they're not interested.

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it's not due to ignorance, it's just that they're not interested

Lol, probably more truthfull than my assumption. Actually I have friends all over the US, and I don't share your Vancouverite friend's opinion, (I've actually been in the States.) It was the show, "So you want to be a millionaire" where I laughed the loudest. The $500.000 question was, How many provinces in Canada? It took the guy a good ten minutes. He did get it right tho.

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Religious pluralism is kind of a "all paths lead to God" approach, and that all religions are all equally valid reflections of reality. This of course must be rejected, and as Muslims we have to stand firm that Islam is the one and only right path, and nothing else. Political pluralism on the other hand is respect for people of other faiths, and although we reject their faith system as invalid, we nonetheless respect their right of freely practicing what they wish, in addition to all of us working together on common goals.

There's another possibility for religious pluralism other than believing all religions are equally valid. Another possibility is that there are multiple potential paths, but one is better than the others, or more likely to get you to your goal.

Edited by kadhim

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There's another possibility for religious pluralism other than believing all religions are equally valid. Another possibility is that there are multiple paths, but one is better than the others, or more likely to get you to your goal.

Yeah, I am listening to tafsir of Surah Yasin with Sheikh Bahmanpour, and he discusses this very concept. He uses Quran to back his point. He said he would get back to this topic and discuss it more in depth, and I haven't finished yet- I hope I am no misunderstanding his point.

But this does make sense to me.

Wasalaam

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There's another possibility for religious pluralism other than believing all religions are equally valid. Another possibility is that there are multiple potential paths, but one is better than the others, or more likely to get you to your goal.

But on the individual level, it is still black and white, where somebody says, "I will follow this one religion, and nothing else, because I believe this path is the best investment". How this can be turned around into the gray area on the societal level is what is beyond me.

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(salam)

There are good aspects in every path. Islam is, by definition, submission to God in the best means. Remember that 'Islam' as the universe's modus operandi may have some differences with the 'Islam' that we with our limited mind understand - we are always capable of error and will never fully grasp every aspect of Islam perfectly, so the best way to get closest to that path is to follow the directions of the Prophet (pbuh), and insha'Allah, God will forgive our further trespasses.

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One of the greatest causes of friction in this world is that too many think their path is the only path. So we fight about it to save our selves from our selves. My path is the only path for me I don't know about anyone else.

peace

Satyaban

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Yes, the ideal, best understanding of Islam is "the Truth." If truthfulness is measured on a continuous scale from 0 to 1, this ideal understanding is a 1. None of the other faiths even in their ideal forms share the perfect measure of 1. But other faiths, particularly certain ones share great deals of the truth. Religions are not all different; there is a huge common core. So if a non-Muslim believes in God, and strives, within the best of his understanding to reach Him, God, in his Mercy, will recognize the effort to the extent it is correct. If the person is genuinely ignorant of the best truth, it is unjust for his good efforts within the best truth he understands to be rejected if his intentions are good.

Ayat. Mutahhari has a nice explanation of the last chapter of his Divine Justice.

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But on the individual level, it is still black and white, where somebody says, "I will follow this one religion, and nothing else, because I believe this path is the best investment". How this can be turned around into the gray area on the societal level is what is beyond me.

Not quite clear on your meaning. Can you elaborate about your individual/social point?

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Not quite clear on your meaning. Can you elaborate about your individual/social point?

Religion becomes something that is increaingly individualized, where somehow a religious path can suit one person but is not considered compatible with somebody else. In other words, religion is something that is based on its merits to the individual, rather than its purpose as a collective and universal system.

However, when one personally chooses their religious path, that person is instinctively saying that this particular path is the best investment, and best reflects reality, therefore simultaneously rejecting other belief systems. The issue comes when that same person says that other people can follow different paths, and that their path has equal validity with his or her own path. Since there is somehow this distinct unexplained personal identity that makes one religion work for one person and another for another person, what I call "religious" pluralism becomes the norm.

I really don't have it all figured out myself and your input would be appreciated. I hope you can see through this very mediocre and elementary explanation.

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OK. Well, what about this as a perspective.? Not all paths are equally valid. Islam is the path that is most valid (completely valid) for all. However, other paths are not totally invalid, but are valid to lesser degrees to the extent that they agree with Islam.

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How can a faith that incorporates blatant shirk have any validity? One of the most important beliefs of Islam is Tawhid.

We learn from the Qu'ran and the Ahil bayt (as) that idolatry is one of the worst acts a human can do. If you have a 'path' that promotes and embraces this evil, how can you defend it?

Which faith/faiths are you referring to?

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No flames, just my 2 cents.

Show me a faith that can rival Islam in its perfection.

I am convinced that no one faith has all the perfection. Reason, Those who are faithfull would all be drawn to it.

You can't take multiple paths to Allah (swt). The only path that can reach The Truth is that path that offers complete utter submission.

Submission to God is a factor in most faiths. (I have a buddy became a minister of the "anything goes" church, but y'know) Does it become a "my faith is more submissive than yours" kinda thing?

I don't like the term 'path' for a number of reasons.

Path is Biblical expression as well as Quranic. What path means to me is that faith is a journey, not a destination.

We're all born Muslims

I was born naked lookin like a purple Eskimo. I was totally ignorant of anything but a need for a food source. I had no concept of any form of God until I learned my mother tongue, and learned there was a God. "Born Muslim" sounds more like totally ignorant when phrased like that. I wasn't born Muslim, I was born typical human.

therefore Islam represents the return to our original state of nature.

There again I differ in understanding as when I leave this earth I won't even be able to take the body I was born with.

I get the sense that you're viewing Islam more as a 'path' rather than a spiritual state. I believe Islam to be the spiritual state of submission. I think it's quite possible for a Buddhist to return to their original state of nature. However, I would contend that buddhists who have returned to their original state of nature are in actuality following the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) yet for a number of reasons, ranging from a cultural reasons to a lack of an Islamic education, don't realize it. In a sense, a Buddhist who has reached the Truth is practicing Islam in action, but not words.

Does that make a submissive Unitarian a "closet"muslim?

Example: Many Muslims proclaim the Shahada on a regular basis. However, the Qu'ran makes clear that they're many hypocrites. Mere proclamation of the Shahada doesn't make you a muslim, but rather it takes a sincere belief in the words.

That is certainly not limited to one religion.

In college, I had the opportunity to meet a devout roman catholic, orthodox jew, tibetan buddhist, and sufi. They were identical in terms of spiritual behavior. Sure one of them may have referenced God as HaShem instead of Allah, but their spiritual behavior was identical.

There is a tremendous difference between Roman Catholic and Protestant, even.

If I'm catching your drift it sounds like what you are saying is that regardless of religious background, submission to God/HaShem/Allah, or other, Spiritual submissive behavior is not dogmatically rooted in any one religion, but in the relationship between man and God.

Anyway, this concept is very deep and I have a feeling people are going to flame me for this.

You said Spiritual, that's pretty deep for a Muslim already, ;)

(Notes fleeting exit of Ali Haydar when confronted with deep spiritual concepts)

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I need to add my 2 cents here.

I think there are many paths with the same destination. These paths twist and turn and sometimes cross each other or travel together. To support that they travel together I offer the following. Each faith has had its mystics to include Rumi, St Auguustine, those who follow the Kaballah and others who carry the same message of transcendence. One of my faiths great saint Sri Sri Ramakhrishna experienced many faiths and found them all to be valid.

My thought is that any path can be corrupted my mixing in things that are off the path. For me this path is only to seek God not to change world politcs. Plus I don't think one chooses a path but the path chooses you. So it is best to stay with the path you are born into until you find another irrestible attraction. Like it or not this is a personal journey and not a froup experience.

Peace

Satyaban

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For Prophet Muhammad's birthday next week, we're going to have a former pastor speak at the masjid.

Oh. At the IECOC? Send my salaams to Sayyid Qazwini. He's visited us in Montreal a few times.

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Very few. Show me a faith that can rival Islam in its perfection. You can't take multiple paths to Allah (swt). The only path that can reach The Truth is that path that offers complete utter submission.

I don't like the term 'path' for a number of reasons. We're all born Muslims, therefore Islam represents the return to our original state of nature. I get the sense that you're viewing Islam more as a 'path' rather than a spiritual state. I believe Islam to be the spiritual state of submission.

Again, I don't mean to be misunderstood. The Truth, definite article, is one. Truthfulness=1. Other faiths have the truth cut with some falsehood, but there are faiths where this amount of falsehood is much less than others. Truthfulness=0.85 or 0.90, say. They're largely rightly guided by their tradition, they believe it to be the best, and their intention is to reach God by the best way they know. Will it not be accepted from them? God knows best, but reason says they should be, if their intentions are indeed right.

My understanding is that the notion of Islam as a path, a way from here (worldliness and imbalance and distance from God) to there (spirit orientation and balance and closeness to God) is well-established by the fatihah: "Guide us to the straight path." I find the presence of the adjective mustaqeem/straight to be intriguing. It doesn't say, "guide me to the path," but "guide me to the straight/straightest path." My background is physics, where there is a law of nature, fundamental, called the Principle of Least Action. In rough terms, it says that the laws of nature behave such that things unfold in a somehow optimal way. When light travels from A to B, it takes, of all the possible paths, the path that takes the least amount of time, for example. In General Relativity, a particle takes the "'straighest' possible" trajectory given its initial conditions, its mass and energy, and the shape of local spacetime.

Nature, bound to God's Law, is optimal. A true, best submission to God by humans, who with free will are not so bound, would be to behave in the way that optimizes their path through life, both in terms of overall happiness in this life and their setting themselves up for the next, through the psychological/sociological/economic/political phase space in which he is embedded. I.e., an optimal solution to the dynamics of life given the relevant boundary and initial conditions. The analogy from nature tells us there is one optimal solution.

But there are other paths such that, though suboptimal, nevertheless, in their overall movement, progress toward God.

I think it's quite possible for a Buddhist to return to their original state of nature. However, I would contend that buddhists who have returned to their original state of nature are in actuality following the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) yet for a number of reasons, ranging from a cultural reasons to a lack of an Islamic education, don't realize it. In a sense, a Buddhist who has reached the Truth is practicing Islam in action, but not words.

Indeed. We understand each other to some extent. To build on this, does not a Buddhist who has not quite reached the Truth find himself in a similar position to a Muslim who is less than perfectly submissive?

In college, I had the opportunity to meet a devout roman catholic, orthodox jew, tibetan buddhist, and sufi. They were identical in terms of spiritual behavior. Sure one of them may have referenced God as HaShem instead of Allah, but their spiritual behavior was identical.

My experiences are similar, and this is one of the roots of my thinking.

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Hi Jacob,

I think you are bouncing around a bit here.

An absolutley perfect religion would have by now drawn in Placid. If you have not yet met Placid, he will be back in about two weeks.

An absolutley perfect religion would only have one sect, one belief, and no hypocrites.

You say you agree with Kadhim, yet he refuted your "None other than Islam is the straight path"

You have said "Islam is the only submission to God that exists in the universe.", then you say the Dalai Lama is closer to Allah than you are.

You will still have to work on the "Born Muslim" theory and explain how a newborn is submissive to Allah.

You were born already programmed to understand and know your creator. Who do you think gave you intellect? Who do you think gave you a heart? Your ability to smile, laugh, cry, and hate, all come from your creator. In your fragile state as a baby, you're solely dependent on your creator for sustenance. The only difference between you as an infant and now, is now you have the choice to deny the credit God deserves in your life. God still sustains you with every breath you take, even this very moment, for everything is in accordance with the will of God.

I was programmed to look for mothers milk, that's about it. Same as my own children.

Interestingly enough you have added a very old Christian trumpet, and that is that God gives all. You are totally dependant on God for every nanosecond of your life. The only reason you are alive is because God gives you every breath you take.

God created all, then he created human life. He created life to regenarate itself, not so He'd have to kick start every human that comes into being. God created oxygen so He wouldn't have to breathe for every human on earth. If you are talking about the spirit that God gives all humans that's okay, but the spirit God gives us is not God Himself.

I wish that everything was in accordance with the will of God, but look around. I pray often that the Will of God be followed, but it is in my finite understanding, and for particulars that I pray, not for world peace.

How many atrocities have been commited in the name of God, yet you know for a fact that God would not have anything to do with these horrid events.

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Having realized with mind and heart, having become wise, you will no longer move on the path of death. Therefore, they call renunciation the ardor surpassing all others.

Krishna Yajur Veda, Mahanarayana Upanishad 537-8. ve, 439

Peace

Satyaban

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In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:6

The veil of ignorance (jahiliyah) prevents many from embracing God. The Qu'ran repeatedly talks about the ignorant. The tragic story of Nuh embodies the ignorance of people:
(I pray that you and your friend listen to this surah) How many messengers must God send to you before you open your eyes?

From your response I know you don't know Placid.

There is only one Islam and one ummah. I'm not sure where you got this idea that there are different types of Islam. The Salafis, alawites, ismailis, and other heresies are a result of free will.

I got the idea from the Sunnis who say you don't have a free will. How could such differences come from the perfect religion?

All it means is that men have chosen to embrace evil rather than God.

You are saying it is the will of God that some of His creations prefer to serve evil?

May I suggest that you investigate more on Islam truly is. Islam existed long before Prophet Muhammad, Jesus, or even Abraham . Islam has existed since the creation of Adam

Your investigation would have to start with the OT, as it is the oldest recorded reference, like it or not. Yet again, in contrast to your words, such a perfect religion would not have a beginning let alone the beginning of man.

I've yet to reach the point in my life where I can emulate the Prophet in terms of his compassion, mercy, and love. The Dalai Lama by showing compassion to humanity is closer to the Message of Islam than me. In summary, you aren't practicing Islam until your heart becomes infused with mercy and compassion.

I can say the same of myself in relation to the life and teachings of Jesus. Your intensions are honourable to say the least.

It is a hard call, not an accusation, but remember what the Dalai Lama does is in full public view.

As Muslims, we believe that every moment of existence is willed by God. All of existence is dependent on God, ranging from the formation of clouds, the flowing rivers, or the orbit of the moon.

As a Christian I was taught the same, but I see it like this...

As a child I saw this preformer. his trick was to spin plates on posts. I forget how many he was spinning, but as some would slow down he could not reach they would fall and break. Everybody marvelled at how many this guy could keep spinning, but I was thinking of how to spin the posts which would keep the plates spinning indefinitley. I never did design anything, but then again, I think I was around 8 yrs old at the time. If a little kid can think of such things God certainly has taken every opportunity already.

Imagine orchestrating the in and outs of some 6 billion sets of lungs.

The laws of physics, as Kadhim could explain would be, if you set in motion an object such as the moon, or a complete solar system in a zero atmosphere, you don't have to go back and give it another spin. If another planet was to crash into the earth it would not be from a motion God just made, it would be from the day he originally set it in motion.

Eyes do not see Him face to face, but hearts perceive Him through the realities of belief. He is near to things but not (physically) contiguous. He is far from them but not (physically) separate. He is a speaker, but not with reflection. He intends, but not with preparation. He molds, but not with (the assistance of) limbs. He is subtle but cannot be attributed with being concealed. He is great but cannot be attributed with haughtiness. He sees but cannot be attributed with the sense (of sight). He is Merciful but cannot be attributed with weakness of heart. Faces feel low before His greatness and hearts tremble out of fear of Him.

Profound, but incomplete.

The good and bad is still the result of the will of God. A man can't murder someone unless God allowed the event to happen. (However, God still granted humanity free will to chose between right and wrong) The horrible earthquake that killed millions is the result of God. Leukemia is the result of God.

I think the Book of Job explains the core of the philosophy pretty well. Job goes through the worst that can happen to a human being, ranging from being a victim of a crime to disease. Job questions God's fairness in allowing this calamity.

When God does respond to Job, he responds not with an explanation for Job's suffering but rather with a question: Where was Job when God created the world?

The essence of the story is that humans have finite understanding, therefore who are we to question the will of God?

The book of Job has been interpreted in a few ways, but finite understanding would be the least of the points. Of course Job had no idea what was going on, yet he said "The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away, Blessed be the name of the Lord"

This is the first indication that at that point of time satan was still allowed to come before God. God proved His aforeknowledge of Job by offering him up as a test to make a point to satan. God did nothing but lift the hedge of protection he had placed around Job. Can you imagine how badly satan wanted to get to Job? Job was rewarded for his own faithfullness, not by God's will. A test of such magnatude could only have been fair on God's part or else it would mean nothing.

When God does respond to Job, he responds not with an explanation for Job's suffering but rather with a question: Where was Job when God created the world? The essence of the story is that humans have finite understanding, therefore who are we to question the will of God?

The best short answer, Where were you that you don't understand?

Or...Well, you see Job, I have this fallen angel. He wanted a test so I set you up...

It is not ours to question the will of God, but to seek it. It is our choice whether we do or not, but God could not give us that freedom yet control us. Either we are human or robots.

P.S. The breath you're taking now is still the result of God. Who do you think allows the oxygen to pass into your lungs? Who do you think allows the animation of your existence? God has never been separate (but not merged) from his creation. God is not some anthropomorphic super king sitting in the cloud with a scepter who put things in motion and left the scene (deism has no place in Islam).

As much as I believe in divine intervention, God gave me a spirit at birth. The job of this spirit is to "keep my plates spinning" God also gives us a guardian angel, as in the hedge of protection given to Job. How can a human do the perfect will of God with a free will?

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Guest JacobM

^

(Please note, I would love to give you a proper response, but I'm no longer sick (I had a cold) and now I have to go back to grad school :(. I will post again when my exams are over. )

My final thoughts on this discussion,

I would not recommend getting educated on Islam by the average laymen (which includes me @) ). All your questions can be properly addressed by referencing to the Qu'ran and further clarified by the teachings of the Ahl-bayt (as). Think of the Ahl-bayt as living embodiments of the Qu'ran. If you want to begin to understand God, you must first emulate the Ahl-bayt (as). (Please note we do not worship them by any means for that would be idolatry)

So much of Islam is based on how we interact with our fellow man. Even though I find theological conversations immensely intellectually stimulating, I will contend that I can not even begin to understand our lord until I love my neighbor as I love myself. If I was to sum up the message of Qu'ran in a few sentences, I would describe it as the following:

1. Love Allah (swt) with your heart and mind.

2. Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

3. The rest is commentary.

http://www.sublimequran.org/ is the only translation of the Quran I recommend.

Read an authoritative biography on Imam Ali (as).

I think you owe it Jesus (as) to seek the truth.

Peace be with you

P.S. My mom is a christian like you. I am former sunni so let me state that many sunnis do not truly represent Islam in any shape or form. The lovers of the Ahul-bayt (as) are only ones who represent Islam.

Some verses of the Qu'ran, which may help you understand God...

- Sura Al-Noor ..

- Sura Ad Duha (very moving) Edited by JacobM

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^

(Please note, I would love to give you a proper response, but I'm no longer sick (I had a cold) and now I have to go back to grad school :( . I will post again when my exams are over. )

My final thoughts on this discussion,

I would not recommend getting educated on Islam by the average laymen (which includes me @) ). All your questions can be properly addressed by referencing to the Qu'ran and further clarified by the teachings of the Ahl-bayt (as) . Think of the Ahl-bayt as living embodiments of the Qu'ran. If you want to begin to understand God, you must first emulate the Ahl-bayt (as) . (Please note we do not worship them by any means for that would be idolatry)

So much of Islam is based on how we interact with our fellow man. Even though I find theological conversations immensely intellectually stimulating, I will contend that I can not even begin to understand our lord until I love my neighbor as I love myself. If I was to sum up the message of Qu'ran in a few sentences, I would describe it as the following:

1. Love Allah (swt) with your heart and mind.

2. Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

3. The rest is commentary.

http://www.sublimequran.org/ is the only translation of the Quran I recommend.

Read an authoritative biography on Imam Ali (as) .

I think you owe it Jesus (as) to seek the truth.

Peace be with you

P.S. My mom is a christian like you. I am former sunni so let me state that many sunnis do not truly represent Islam in any shape or form. The lovers of the Ahul-bayt (as) are only ones who represent Islam.

Some verses of the Qu'ran, which may help you understand God...

- Sura Al-Noor ..

- Sura Ad Duha (very moving)

Glad you're back on your feet.

May God Bless.

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Just to add my 3c worth (the AU$ has depreciated quite a bit since the economic meltdown started).

Islam is perfect, but man is not. No religion, not matter how complete and endowed with truth and sincerity will draw to it all people - or even a majority, for that matter. God has bestowed upon us free will, and we possess both angelic and bestial/satanic aspects. It is entirely too easy for most of us to allow the latter to overwhelm the former. You cannot make those who are spiritually blind see, no matter how perfect your message.

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We are all taught from a young age that our religion is the only way to Heaven.

It was a Muslim that made me take another look. We worked together, prayed together, and shared lots. The one thing that we both recognized was that we were worshipping the same God.

Neither he nor I felt we had to "save" each other.

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