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Islamic Philosophy

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posted on Jun, 24 2006 @ 08:45 AM
Don't really know why I posted this. Just some points to bring to peoples attention, perhaps clear up some misconceptions. It's probably going to be very boring

This is the most important tenent of Islam. It's the thread that runs through the whole of Islam.

See, in Muhammad's time, although they believed in God, they had all these mini-gods to represent various aspects of God, or to render assistance in various fields. So if you wanted help with your crops, you asked the god of fertility. You wanted help with some battle, you asked the god of war, etc. Muhammad asked "If God is all-powerful, why does he need all these assistants? He can handle all the work himself". Hence the Islamic creed "There is no God but God".

When asked "Who is God?", the Quran tells muslims to reply:
Say: He is Allah, the One and Only (Oneness of God)
Allah the Eternal/Absolute(The Alpha and the Omega)
He begetteth not, nor is he begotten
And there is none like unto him
(Uniqueness of God)

This concept of unity is also meant to be mirrored in the behaviour of Muslims. They are meant to be one people, united in ideology.

The second most important aspect of Islam is equilibrium. God created everything in balance. The Quran says that everything was created in pairs (eg. man-woman, heaven-earth, etc.), everything was created "in due measure and proportion". Nature is in perfect balance, and people are expected to be as well.

Islam instructs the muslims to be balanced in their lives. Obviously, one must not be given to materialism and extreme worldliness, but neither should they go towards exaggerated asceticism or withdrawl from worldy affairs. There are numerous hadith that tell how Muhammad prohibitted people from praying throughout the night, or fasting every single day. Your body has a right over you, your family has a right over you, the rest of humanity has a right over you. You cannot forsake these rights. The Quran refers to muslims as "The middle-most community" or "The community of the middle way". Not too hot and not too cold.

It is interesting to note that the word for "balanced" and for "just" is the same in arabic. So something which has balance is also just.

God is just, but is not a machine to be handing out "Judgements" without a care for humanity. God's justice is tempered with mercy. Almost every chapter of the Quran starts with the words "In the name of God, Most gracious, Most merciful". It is believed that in the end, even the devil will be forgiven. It is incredibley easy to be forgiven, the only thing you need do is ask. Of course, there are some criteria:
1) You must mean with all your heart
2) You must not be asking for forgiveness with the intention in mind to do the same thing again
3) You must make amends to right the wrong.

Once again, Muslims are expected to be merciful to the best of their abilty. The Quran says that you have a right to obtain justice, but you'd be a better person if you forgave.

Free Will
Here's an interesting bit, that has lots of people confused. Islamic belief is that there is both free will and pre-destination. Human has been given the ability to choose which course of action to take, but God knows everyone's choice and plan.

Something to be noted here: What a person decides, and what actually happens may not be the same. However, intention is very important. If a person intended to do something (eg. go to study) but then was unable to do it (died on the way), since the intention was there, it would be as if the person had done the deed (and in this case go to heaven, as it is considered that the person died while attempting jihad).

Some points of difference: Islam believes God gave humans free will, but the angels do not have free will. The "Jinn" (of which Satan was the greatest) are also said to have free will.

Islam has some interesting ideas on worship. The word is "ibadat" in arabic, which stems from the word "abd" which means slave, or servant.You'll notice "Abdullah" (Servant of Allah) is a common muslim name. So in order to worship God, you must serve Him, do his bidding unswervingly.

There is a Hadith where Muhammad said that there are 60 branches of worship. The first (greatest) is belief in God, and the last is to remove obstacles from people's paths.
Another Hadith relates how Muhammad asked: "Do you know who is poor?". His companions replied "One without wealth". He answered "The poor among you will be the one who comes on the Day of Judgement with prayers, fasts and zakat, but would find himself bankrupt as he abused others, brought them misfortune, took the wealth of others and beat others".

Throughout the Quran there is written stuff like "We have sent you signs in .... for you to study" or "Did you not see how....?". Islam believes that the existence of God is shown throughout his creation. The Quran tells the muslims to study EVERYTHING: The stars, sky, earth, life, etc. Travelling is also very much encouraged, so as to see new things.

The Quran is very clear: "There is no compulsion in religion". One must decide for themself. There is the story of Abraham in the Quran, how he logically "found" God. The Quran also states, remarkably, that if you find any single thing wrong in it, it cannot possibly be the truth, and you are free to leave it! You must constantly question everything: The Quran also warns against doing something because those before you did that.

Of course, for those who do not have a chance to understand (those who died as children, the mentally handicapped, those who did not have all the information), it is not put against them if they didn't/couldn't understand. The ones that draw anger are those that realise that God is the truth but (due to pride, or materialism etc.) do not accept God. An example of this is the devil.

Woah. That was long. I hope some people find it useful. If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them.

[edit on 24-6-2006 by babloyi]

[edit on 24-6-2006 by babloyi]

posted on Jun, 25 2006 @ 04:12 AM
The problem lies in the interpretation and usually never in the concept itself. Nice post btw.


posted on Jun, 25 2006 @ 09:18 PM
Thats a beautiful post,
I just wish modern day Muslims would follow those very sentiments. Just as i wish modern day christians would folow theirs. Then each side could forgive the other and live side by side in peace. How ever, now Muslims seem to see they are right and every one else is wrong and that causes disrespect and friction.

Oh and as a Nurse and a wife, I will say this. The man who trys to get me into a burkha because its right will go home in a box or on the end of the sharpest knife in my kitchen. treating women as slaves and things to be hidden or killed on a whim makes me very very VERY ANGRY!

posted on Jun, 25 2006 @ 09:58 PM
Babyloi, can you explain how 'salvation' works in islam?

I mean, in christianity, basically, beleive in jesus, go to heaven, otherwise, you get punished, thus, you need to be saved, from your sins (stemming from the Fall if nothing else).

I think in Judaism that when you die you enter the grave (sheol), and simply remain there, as a sort of shade perhaps (this is similar to what most pagans of the ancient era thought happened). I don't know what the jews think happens to non-jews, etc.

But what about islam? I would think that a pious muslim, in islam, would go directly to heaven/paradise, more or less, but it is not because acceptance of the dictates of the koran yeilds 'salvation' or redepmtion from sin no?

And what of non-muslims in islam? Do they get put into 'hell' forever? Becuase I have heard that, rather, they are sent, as are some not so pious muslims, into somethingt like Purgatory, where they are 'purified', if through punishment, until they are ready to be moved into paradise.

posted on Jun, 26 2006 @ 08:34 AM
Islam does not really specify the burkha for women. Of the two mentions of clothing restrictions, one only says that one should dress "modestly", and the other instructs "The Mothers of the believers"(I think this is the term's translation) to cover themselves while travelling. "Mothers of believers" refer to the wives of Muhammad. Some people can take it to mean that all women should cover themselves while travelling, some take it to mean that all women who wish to emulate the "Mothers of believers" should cover themselves while travelling, others take it to mean that all women should cover themselves at all times.

One obtains salvation plainly by believing in God and doing good deeds. From this you can see that it's not only muslims that will go to heaven.

Non-muslims do not go to hell forever. As I said, the ones with the greatest punishment will be those that "realised" God, but rejected Him because of whatever reasons (pride, etc). However, the Quran warns us not to have the attitude of "Hey, I'm ok, I'll bide my time in hell, and then go to heaven happily ever after". There is no purgatory, it is hell.

Heh...about the interpretation vs. actual concept, you'll be surprised how many of those aspects have been twisted, even the first (most important) one! Despite all the work Muhammad went through to prevent it, he's slowly been turned into some sort of demi-god. Many muslims are not taking a "balanced perspective" and certainly not showing any mercy. Another disappointing thing is how strongly the "ritualness" has replaced the actual belief and worship. Based on the flimsiest scriptural evidence (and most elaborate interpretation), you'll go to hell for having your trousers drag on the floor, having you slippers face upwards, etc., It's sad how people will happily lap up what they're told, but refuse to study themselves. When asked which verse they got this from, they'd say: "The Imam told me this".

posted on Jun, 26 2006 @ 09:08 AM

Originally posted by babloyi
The ones that draw anger are those that realise that God is the truth but (due to pride, or materialism etc.) do not accept God. An example of this is the devil

I recall reading a story, I don't know if its Koranic or from the Hadiths or some other commentary, where there were two angels who descended to the earth. They saw a woman, lusted after her, and became so heavy with that sin that they could no longer 'ascend' back up to heaven. The woman convinced them to tell her the 'name of god', which she then used to ascend to the heavens, and she is there now, as a set of stars (I think it might even be the Pleiades).

One angel was Uzzo or some such, if that helps anyone remember.

posted on Jun, 26 2006 @ 09:52 AM
I've never heard this. I checked up uzzo on thar interweb, but came up with nothing. It may be from one of the weirder hadith, but it can't possibly be true, because unlike what City of Angels tells you, Islam believes that angels do not have free will.

posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 06:07 AM
Hello again. I thought that this time I'd write about something a little more connected to the perception of muslims today. Islam is a very flexible religion. There is a sirah where these people came to Muhammad and said that they would be muslims, except that they would not pay zakat and they would not fast. While the Prophet's companions strongly advised him not to allow this, Muhammad agreed to this. Later on, of their own accord, the people started fasting and giving zakat. The point being that Islam pays close attention to the core, and the rest comes automatically:

Surah 2:256
Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.

Likewise, Islam is also very flexible in relation to culture and customs. The only "outside" thing would be that muslims should learn a little arabic to be able to say their prayers and read the Quran. Even this requirement is reduced if a muslim has some good translations handy and can at least recite the Quran (be able to read the text, even if it cannot be understood). About the prayers, there is even a hadith where a Persian companion of the Prophet had difficulty saying his prayers in arabic, and was thus allowed to say them in persian (However, there is some controversy over this hadith; some scholars claim that he was only allowed to use persian pronounciation, while others claim that he was allowed to say the prayers entirely in his own language).

An example of this flexibility is marriage. The Islamic concept of marriage is just a contract signed by the husband and wife in the presence of a witness. However, Islam allows all the cultures own "extras". Thus, a muslim could have a wedding where the wife dresses up in a white gown and has to walk upto the "altar" and take their vows, while another muslim wedding could involve the bride and groom to dress up in brightly coloured clothes, sit down together and have a maulvi get draw up and have the contract signed.

Sadly, this allowance of local customs has in some ways caused problems. Some customs are allowed which go against Islam, they are compounded into the peoples' idea of "Islamic Culture" and then even exported. In some cases these things may be immensely ridiculous. I've met some people who thought my dress code was unislamic, because I was wearing "western clothes".

A very unfortunate effect of this is misogyny. In the example of marriage, there is a custom in the Indian subcontinent where the wife's family has to pay the husband's family to allow her to get married to him (a sort of dowry). Islam also has some concept of a dowry, but in this it is just that the husband has to have some money to be able to present to his wife. The families of the couple can also give gifts to them to help them in their new life, but there is nothing about paying each other.

Another example from closeby that region is the Pashtunwala code. It is the "Code of Laws" of the Pathans of Afghanistan/Pakistan, which got combined with their concept of Islam. It has some very unislamic concepts of "Tribal retribution" (where if a person harms someone from another tribe/family, the other person can seek retribution by harming, in the same way, anyone from the first person's tribe/family). Thus you hear stories of people raping the woman for her husbands crimes: Something that is completely prohibitted in Islam. Every person is responsible for their own actions.

There is also the Arab Bedouin custom of never having the females visible. They are always clothed in a huge covering, so that nothing is visible. Even the sons or the husbands may never see them! This unfortunately also got transferred and amalgamated into Islam. Islam does impose restrictions (as I mentioned in my earlier post) but they are certainly not as strict as this!

Another unfortunate effect of this flexibility is the excessive violence it results in. One can take the example of the Taliban. It would surprise people to know that the Taliban creed had very little to do with Islam. In the first place, such extremism is naturally abhorrent to the "Middle path" expounded by Islam (as I mentioned in my first post).

The Taliban set punishments for the slightest things: It is suggested in Islam (and suggested only! It is certainly not a point of law) that males grow their beards. If someone does not grow his beard it is of no loss to him. However, the Taliban's religious police used to apprehend people who did not have the proper length of beard, and throw them in jail until it grew to that length. This was especially troublesome for the Hazara people (who are mongol descended) as they have very little growth of facial hair. This was of no consequence to the Taliban, as the Hazara are also mostly Shia, and thus viewed to be unbelievers (This being while Islam says that anyone who believes in the God and the Prophets is a muslim). Another absurdity was the Taliban punishment for homosexuality: To have a wall dropped on the accused. Nowhere in Islam is there such a weird punishment. For sure, homosexuality is condemned, but there is no mention of this punishment.

Even in his time, Muhammad did his best to separate the local customs from Islam. There is a hadith where when he was offered some reptile for food, he said that although it is not prohibitted in Islam, it is not in his customs to eat that type of food. Therefore, one must be very careful while analysing the Hadith. Only when there is specific mention of an applicable point based on Islam is the Hadith valid. Just because Muhammad said at one point that "Vinegar is a good condiment" doesn't mean muslims should go put vinegar on all their foods. Just because Muhammad lived in a desert, spoke arabic and enjoyed eating dates doesn't mean all muslims should do the same.

[edit on 17-7-2006 by babloyi]

posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 10:42 AM
Very interesting post Babloyi,
I would like to ask you a question, how did God, according to the Islamic faith, created man and woman ?

What would you say the difference is between Fate and Destiny ?

Tks, Osbert+

posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 02:11 PM
Do you mean originally? If so, it is similar to the story of Adam and Eve in the Bible:

Surah 4:1
O mankind! reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, His mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;- reverence Allah, through whom ye demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs (That bore you): for Allah ever watches over you.

Or do you mean specifically how were man and woman first created? From dust, from earth. From clay and water "in the best of moulds". I suppose the difference (between Judeo-Christian and Islamic beliefs) is that Islam does not say anything about man being in God's image, and it does not mention Eve being made from Adam's rib (although some muslim scholars say that she was).

Or did you mean the whole story of Adam and Eve's fall from heaven?

About your second question, I suppose Fate is what causes Destiny to happen. If you are looking at it from a Islamic point of view, you could say that God is Fate. One of the 99 names of God is "The Truth". Another is "The Ultimate Trustee" or "The Disposer of affairs". However, like I said before, God has given us the power to choose our path. That God knows our path from beforehand is of no relevance to our ability to choose it (or not choose it)

[edit on 17-7-2006 by babloyi]

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